School Board approves grant for school windows, salary increases [PREMIUM]

Story by ADRIANNE WALLINE CAMPBELL 

The Walton County School Board held its regularly scheduled meeting November 16,2021, at the South Walton High School Media Center. 

Approval was given for the DOE School Hardening Grant 2021-2022 for Walton County School District. It provides $152,888 towards securing the school buildings in the county. This is the fourth year they have received the grant and this year it is planned to be used for Ballistic film for the windows. The first year they received $400,000. Superintendent Hughes prefers the front of each school to look as normal as possible, while also providing security. 

The Walton County Support Professionals Bargaining Unit and the School Board of Walton County, Florida completed negotiations and approved their agreement. The agreements reflect an increase in compensation of approximately 16.30% at an estimated cost of approximately $2,861,000. 

The Walton County Education Association Instructional Bargaining Unit and the School Board of Walton County, Florida completed negotiations for the 2021-22 school year. The agreements reflect an increase in compensation of approximately 12.81% at an estimated cost of approximately $5,850,000. Base salary increased from $44,168.00 to $47,500.00. The raises will be retroactive to July 1, 2021, with all instructional staff remaining at the current placement level. 

       The 2021-22 School Year Confidential Managerial Supervisory Salary Schedule reflects a salary increase of $0.80 per hour, and employees will be awarded a step. The salary schedule will be retroactive to July 1, 2021.

The 2021-2022 Administrative Salary Schedule reflects an increase to the base of $3,500 in addition to awarding a step for experience. Additionally, advanced degree increases have been adjusted as follows:

• Base Salary Masters: $2,500 added to Base Salary Bachelors (Previously $1,420)

• Specialist: $1,500 added to Base Salary Masters (Previously $1,400)

• Doctorate: $3,100 added to Base Salary Masters (Previously $2,800) 

The proposed salary schedule will be retroactive to July 1, 2021.

Charlie Morse gave a Covid update. There have been five consecutive weeks of no data on Thursday’s, no positive cases. There is a voluntary Moderna booster vaccination drive for employees on Dec. 1-2. Dec. 1 at the WISE Center on Walton Road in DeFuniak Springs from 10 to 11 a.m., and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. On Dec. 2 at South Walton High School from 3 to 5:30 p.m. 

John Raiman from Freeport spoke that a couple of school superintendents in California said they couldn’t believe how Walton County conducted their school board meetings without masks and actually shaking hands. 

Attendee Kat Pellegrino expressed concerns about forced vaccinations. Superintendent Hughes commented, “We are not going to let people California our Florida!”