NEWBERRY ‒ A movement in the city of Newberry may be gaining traction as some residents are pushing to convert the town’s three public schools into public charter schools.

According to a statement released by the school district, they were notified about the effort to convert public schools in Newberry into charter schools on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. Newberry Education First is leading the effort.

The City of Newberry issued a press release on Tuesday, Feb. 20, stating that the City acknowledges the recent proposal by a group of concerned parents to convert the city’s local elementary, middle and high schools into public charter schools. As a small community deeply invested in the education and well-being of the City’s children, “we are committed to providing the best possible educational environment for them”.

Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe has consistently maintained that the Alachua County School Board is busing students in from the Jonesville and surrounding areas rather than building a school to serve those students. In city commission meetings he has stated that Newberry and Archer students are not the cause of overcrowding in Newberry’s schools.

Although the City of Newberry has been criticized by some who believe overcrowding in Newberry’s schools is the result of large housing developments, which have been approved by the City, Marlowe disputes that notion.

He previously said that the school board is aware of the developments and has time to prepare for increased student populations in the distant future.

The City’s press release continues by saying, “In light of this proposal, we are dedicated to engaging in a constructive and collaborative dialogue with all stakeholders. We look forward to working closely with both the group of concerned parents and the School Board of Alachua County to explore this request thoroughly. Our goal is to navigate this process with the ultimate benefit of our children in mind, ensuring that their academic and personal growth remains at the forefront of any decision.”

For more information on the proposal, visit YesNewberry.org.

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