With more money, better teachers and pupil morale, and an improved instructional program, Duval County’s public schools were moving toward quality education, said Superintendent Ish Brant.
In his first quarterly report to the public on the implementation of the $49 million 1965-66 school budget, Brant pointed to improvements that already were in place even though the budget was not approved until November, five months after the school system’s fiscal year began July 1.
The increased budget made more qualified teachers available and the increased number of teachers relieved overcrowded classrooms, he said.
Brant said vacant teaching positions were filled, more art teachers were added and for the first time, physical education teachers were hired for elementary schools.
In addition, “more textbooks, instructional supplies and equipment greatly improved the instructional program,” he reported.
• The Jacksonville Port Authority commissioned an engineering firm to draw detailed plans and specifications for the reconstruction of Talleyrand Docks and Terminals.
Register & Cummings was authorized to undertake the job and complete it by early June, when the authority would call for bids.
Rebuilding the facility was the first stage of a long-range port rejuvenation and was expected to cost $15 million.
“When finished, we will have the most outstanding facilities for the handling of dry cargo in the United States and the world,” said Engineering Director Robert Peace.
The project was scheduled to take three years and would be done in stages to permit the facility to continue in operation.
In other business, the authority increased the hourly rate paid to Gray’s Guard Service to $1.72, an increase of 2 cents per hour, to cover a rise in cost for insurance and Social Security deductions.
The authority also adopted a resolution in memory of J. Dillon Kennedy, the city commissioner and authority member who died the previous week.
• A former forester who was president of a Jacksonville forestry equipment firm was nominated to succeed Kennedy and run the city’s utilities system.
George Mosely, who was not mentioned during speculation about Kennedy’s replacement, was nominated unanimously by City Council.
It was noted the nomination represented a mystery, since in a poll of council members the day before Mosely was proposed, all nine members said they were undecided on who would fill the post.
Mosely said he was “pleased and honored” by council’s action and if confirmed by city commissioners, “I expect to continue the policies of Mr. Kennedy and to cooperate with electric department officials in operation of the system.”
• It wasn’t going so well for a coffee shipment that had arrived at the port.
More than 1 million pounds of beans from Africa were being fumigated under supervision of federal inspectors.
The action was ordered by the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Division as a precaution against the Khapra beetle, an insect that could seriously damage stored grain and seed.
Charles Hall, inspector in charge of the Jacksonville division, said the cargo was unloaded March 28 by the British motor vessel Dalla, which then proceeded to Philadelphia.
When it arrived there to unload cocoa beans, also from Africa, inspectors discovered several holds infested with the beetles.
None of the insects were found in the 8,650 bags of coffee beans stored in Jacksonville.
“We ordered the fumigation as a precaution,” said Hall, who added that methyl bromide was used in the fumigation.
“It won’t hurt the coffee — it just kills insects,” he said.
• City Council approved a bill allowing supporters of political candidates and incumbents to post campaign signs on their property — but not in residential zones, city or county property or right-of-way.
The bill, sponsored by council members Robert Roberts and Cecil Lowe, nullified a section of the building code related to unlawful signs, but retained the section prohibiting signs on any public space.
The new ordinance continued to hold candidates responsible for illegally placed signs and set the fine at up to $50 upon conviction in Municipal Court.
City Supervisor of Building H.R. Oatman, who was in the process of obtaining warrants for candidates in the May primary election who were violating the ordinance, said he had sent notices to about 30 office-seekers, but would not pursue prosecution, based on the change in law.
• James Mooney Jr., an executive with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, was selected to lead the new Metropolitan Affairs Department of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber Executive Vice President David Cooley said the function of the department would be to work closely with local government and the business, industrial and professional communities to create an awareness of urban problems and to “find solutions and recommend definite courses of action to the proper governmental agency.”
Mooney’s department would take over the Community Affairs Department, formerly directed by C. Howard Hill, who resigned to join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.
Ashley Verlander, a chamber vice president, said the organization developed the new department “to further convey to business and the general citizenry the chamber’s determination to be of real service” in all areas of the community.
“We must stay in time with the times. Constant changes in our area and region coupled with the need for new approaches to problems of wide interest demand that we constantly tailor our programs to meet the challenges ahead,” Verlander said.
Mooney, 40, was a graduate of the University of Florida and director of the U.S. chamber’s community development team.
Before entering chamber work in 1954, he worked in air transportation, retailing and public relations.