By ALICIA LEONARD
The Walton County School Board (WCSB) met at 4 p.m. on June 27, to workshop future budget numbers and look at long-range building plans before reconvening for the last regular fiscal meeting of the 2012-2013 school year.
Walton County School District Chief Financial Officer Mary Hobbs answered questions and provided information to the board on possible loan options for future building needs.
Hobbs told the board their loan capacity with the State Board of Education is $985,000. Due to Florida Statute 1011.13, the district cannot obligate themselves in one year for more than 80 percent of their current year’s revenue generated by local taxes. Certificates of Participation (COPS) issues do not fall under this statute though and would allow the board to have borrowing power up to $50 million. WCSB member Dennis Wallace questioned the rates for the COPs loans, since they fell between 4 – 4.5 percent, varying from 20-30 year terms and requested to hear more from general lenders with possible lower interest rates.
Hobbs told the board one partial source of revenue would be to raise the Capital Outlay millage to 1.5 mills, generating at least an additional $5 million annually at current property values.
The impact on homeowners for the increase if approved could add an additional $20 to $143 to yearly tax bills according to the taxable value of the home.
The board was asked to discuss and/or set the millage rate as well as hold public meetings on student progression plans and codes of conduct on July 2 at 5 p.m., and due to the meeting running after press time for this edition, the Herald-Breeze will have a follow-up article in next week’s edition on the outcome of those meetings.
WCSD Facilities Planner Tom Blackshear presented the board with a follow-up on properties that might be large enough in the south Walton area for future school sites. Blackshear told members the choices were few due to acreage needed, storm and flooding zones, wetlands, government and state properties, and other land restrictions.
One of the largest land owners, the St. Joe Foundation, has not been receptive in prior meetings to helping the district secure a possible school site on their vast holdings in the area, WCSD Superintendent Carlene Anderson told the board.
Blackshear provided an overlay map to the board which showed very few choices due to restrictions discussed earlier and with a vast difference in acreage price, ranging from $150,000 to $450,000 per acre. Wallace questioned the asking prices on the available properties and members discussed that they are bound to get two appraisals on properties before seriously entertaining the idea of a future purchase.
After a short break, the board reconvened for their regular meeting at 5 p.m. to close out end of the year business. All members were present with the exception of Chairman Mark Davis.
The board approved the agenda before them and adopted minutes from the June 18 meetings unanimously, before calling for public comments. With none forthcoming, the board moved onto the Consent Agenda, approving it, 4-0.
Under Action Agenda items, the board held a public hearing on school board policies. With no comments from the public, the board readopted the policies 3-1, with board member Sharon Roberts being the dissenting vote.
The board then moved unanimously to pass agreements and contracts and approve year end budget amendments.
The 2013-2014 salary schedules were adopted 4-1. Personnel recommendations were passed unanimously and board members recused themselves from voting on contracts where they may have had a conflict of interest through family relations, so, two recommendations were passed 3-0, rather than 4-0.
Instruction, transportation, food services and school calendar requests were passed unanimously.
WCSD Attorney Ben Holley told the board that their suit against BP had been filed but he had not received any update on a response as of yet, before the board Vice-Chair Faye Leddon closed the meeting.
To see minutes, agenda items and upcoming meeting dates, go to www.walton.k12.fl.us/board/