Congressional Leaders Say They Are Close to a Deal on the Debt Ceiling

WASHINGTON D.C. - President Barack Obama's top ally in the Senate has signed on to a long-delayed agreement to raise the government's borrowing cap and cut spending - subject to approval by his fellow Senate Democrats.

A spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Nevada Democrat supports the measure. He's the first top congressional leader to announce support.

Republican Senate leaders said Sunday they were close to a deal.

The tentative agreement would guarantee enough borrowing authority to keep the government afloat into 2013.

The measure would provide an immediate hike in the debt limit, accompanied by the promise of trillions of dollars in future spending cuts.

Cuts in spending would be phased in over a decade. Social Security and Medicare benefits wouldn't be cut, and taxes would be unlikely to rise.

Rick Scott Puts Mike Hogan to Work

Rick Scott Puts Mike Hogan to Work

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former mayoral candidate Mike Hogan didn't win his bid to lead Jacksonville, but he'll still have a job in government.

On Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott announced that he appointed 61-year-old Hogan to the Public Employees Relations Commission.

Hogan, who was the Duval County Tax Collector from 2003 to 2011, will serve as the commission's chair, succeeding Stephanie Williams Ray. 

His term starts on July 27, 2011 and ends January 1, 2012.

In the same announcement, Scott said he appointed Donna M. Poole, a labor law attorney from Tallahassee, to the commission as well.  Her term also starts on July 27 and she'll serve on the committee through January 1, 2014.

Duval County Public Schools Employee Heatlh Fair

Duval County Public Schools in partnership with each of the Bargaining Unions will be sponsoring a two-day Optional Health Insurance Fair in an effort to assist our employees with finding alternative ways to shoulder the burden of health care costs.

During the two-day event, the health insurance vendors listed below will be onsite to provide information and quotes on individual dependent health insurance plans.

Teacher Merit Pay Fails in NYC Before Florida Schools Start Program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local education advocates are calling on Governor Rick Scott to look to New York City after their teacher merit pay program was abandoned Monday.

"I applaud New York for doing what's fiscally responsible and realizing that political ideology shouldn't set the tone for what we put into practice," said Colleen Wood, Save Duval Schools Executive Director.

The program in New York City rewarded the entire school based on performance.

Here in Florida individual teachers would be rewarded.

Wood has rallied against teacher merit pay since it was first introduced in Florida, and she thinks the state should follow in New York's footsteps.

Parents Want Schools Under Local Control

Parents Want Schools Under Local Control

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's not a scientific poll, but many local parents do not want a takeover of four failing schools.

People walking the track at Jackson High said they want state leaders to give Duval County Public Schools one more year to get their failing schools corrected.

The vote happens later Tuesday in Tampa.

"I think they should give them another year," said Jacksonville resident Arline Porter. "After this year [if it doesn't work out] then they can go to independent people and let them try and straighten it out."

The decision affects Raines, Ribault and Jackson high schools, plus North Shore K-8.

Everyone Is Accountable To Jacksonville

Everyone Is Accountable To Jacksonville

The biblical interpretation from Romans 12:2,
“If Change Is Necessary Then Not To Change Is Always Destructive”
Change has come in the political climate of Jacksonville. Voters have created history
in the election of an African American Mayor. The unique aspect is that the Mayor is
not a Republican or Tea Party affiliate, but a Democrat.

The historical climate from decades of political separation based on race, education
and economics is hoped to change. To create avenues of change it is not solely
based on the Mayor and his administration, but all citizen of Jacksonville are accountable
to help Mayor Brown make that change effective and  long lasting.

Traditionally Jacksonville has been a Republican ideological city and as such a different
philosophy about public service to people. Republican cutbacks on community services
and the needs of low income families and children are often overlooked.

Duval Superintendent Statement Regarding Board Recommendation for Intervene School Oversight

When Duval Partners for Excellent Education, Inc. was started, the primary responsibility was to mobilize the entire city in supporting the four intervene schools and their feeder schools. Specifically, they were to expand the involvement of businesses and faith-based partners, university staff, non-profit and government wrap around services, as well as adding to the financial resources to attract and retain the best principals and teachers, extend learning time, and other important needs.