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Jaguars donate JV, varsity uniforms to Confederate schools being renamed

A spokeswoman confirmed that the donation will include varsity and junior varsity home uniforms for over a dozen sports.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars will cover about $224,143 worth of Duval Schools' incoming school renaming expenses by donating team uniforms to the six schools undergoing changes. 

Last week, the team's communications office announced it would provide varsity and junior varsity home uniforms to the sports teams at the three middle schools and one high school that were approved for new names last week. 

The schools benefitting from the donation are J.E.B. Stuart Middle which is becoming Westside Middle, Jefferson Davis Middle which is becoming Charger Academy, Kirby Smith Middle which is becoming Springfield Middle and Robert E. Lee High which is becoming Riverside High. The remaining schools being renamed are elementary schools, which don't have team sports. 

"The Jaguars are committed to supporting after-school athletics and are honored to provide new uniforms for students to wear proudly this fall and beyond," a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to the Times-Union. 

The Times-Union requested logistic and expense details from both the Jaguars and Duval County Public Schools regarding what uniforms are and aren't covered in the donation. 

A spokeswoman confirmed that the donation will include varsity and junior varsity home uniforms for the following sports: 

  • baseball
  • football
  • softball
  • basketball
  • soccer
  • swimming
  • track
  • golf
  • volleyball
  • cheerleading
  • tennis 
  • wrestling
  • cross country

The donation will not include away band, JROTC or team away uniforms. Public records show those will cost about $195,000 for all three middle schools and $118,805 for Lee High. 

Duval Schools anticipates that the Jaguars' donation will cover about $224,000 of expenses — about $33,307 for each middle school plus $124,222 for Lee High School. 

High school band uniforms and JROTC uniforms will cost the district about $45,000 and $8,200, respectively. 

Historically, sports and band uniforms along with school signage have been among the most costly components behind a school renaming. 

In a March school board meeting, Superintendent Diana Greene said new athletic gear for Westside High School — which changed its name from Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in 2014 — cost the district $140,219.53. New band uniforms cost nearly $10,000, new JROTC uniforms cost about $13,600, new gym floors cost $17,400 and signage and mascot expenses totaled to $3,898. About $2,500 of those expenses were offset by private donations. 

So far, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund has raised more than $85,000 of its $200,000 goal for renaming costs plus additional donations and a matching grant that's waiting to be unlocked at the $100,000 mark. 

This isn't the first time local teams and organizations have stepped up to help a Duval County public school with uniform expenses. At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, leaders from the Jacksonville Armada, Beaches Adult Soccer League and more helped gift Ribault High School with new soccer uniforms after the girls' and boys' teams nearly shut down because of financial strain.

It's unclear if all the new uniforms and signage will be ready in time for the school's Aug. 3 deadline. Previously, a Duval Schools spokesman said some of the updates may be staggered throughout the school year. A Jaguars spokeswoman said they are working to confirm uniform production timing.

Emily Bloch is an education reporter for The Florida Times-Union. Follow her on Twitter or email her.

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