School Board recognizes Outstanding School Volunteers, hears annual financial report


The Walton County School District held its regular meeting on Sept. 5, 2023, at Tivoli Complex/Board Room. Jason Catalano was not present. The outstanding school volunteers were recognized and honored. Hannah Kent volunteered almost 2,000 hours at Maude Saunders Elementary School and received an outstanding school volunteer award. Donna Jackson was recognized as the outstanding volunteer award district winner. She volunteered more than 630 hours in the past year in the media center at Freeport Elementary School. Don Sandt has been volunteering at the Butler Elementary School media center for six years. 

Stephanie Hofheinz Chief Finance Officer presented the annual financial report. 

• A total of $27,835,793.85 was spent on Federal Grant Awards including:

• Child Nutrition Cluster

• Federal Pell Grant Program

• Special Education Cluster

• Child Care and Development Block Grant

• Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps

• Education Stabilization Fund

• Department of Education

• Noncash Assistance-National School lunch Program. Includes $325,628.55 of donated food received during the fiscal year. Donated foods are valued at fair value as determined at the time of donation.

• Total Revenues: $140,398,777.11 including:

• Total Revenues Received from Federal Direct: $373,120.51

• Total from Medicaid: $180,777.92

• Total from State: $20,492,635.11

• Total from Local Taxes: $111,265,412.20

• Total from Investments: $4,562,093.64

• Total from Local taxes, Investments, Student fees, other fees, and miscellaneous local: $119,352,243.57 

• Expenditures: 

• Salaries and Benefits make up 78%: $84,977,663.20

• Facilities Acquisition and Construction: $47,154,317.88

• Remaining balance: $8,266,796.03

• The Food Service Department operated in the black again this year and has since Robert Martin took over. $71,706.63

• Total Expenditures for Utilities and Energy Services: $4,431,761.33

• Technology Related Supplies and Services: $2,422,529.43

• Technology Related Equipment, Hardware, and Software: $7,319,480.67 

• Expenditures for School Buses and Energy: $71,706.63 plus $803,816.04

“Key financial highlights for the 2022-23 fiscal year are as follows:

• As of June 30, 2023, the assets and deferred outflows of resources exceed the liabilities and deferred inflows of resources by $315,755,843.60.

• In total, net position increased $45,902,320.91, which represents a 17 percent increase over the 2021-22 fiscal year.

• General revenues total $214,078,346.88, or 96 percent of all revenues. Program specific revenues in the form of charges for services, operating grants and contributions, and capital grants and contributions total $9,155,385.54, or 4 percent of all revenues.

• Expenses total $177,331,411.51. Only $9,155,385.54 of these expenses was offset by program specific revenues, with the remainder paid from general revenues.

• At the end of the current fiscal year, the fund balance of the General Fund totals $72,618,388.12, which is $11,504,335.03 more than the prior fiscal year balance. The General Fund assigned and unassigned fund balances total $71,962,427.79, or 51 percent of total General Fund revenues, while restricted and nonspendable fund balances total $655,960.33.” (From MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS) 

Kent Holland Bass was hired as Construction Manager for facilities working with Jill Smith. Jennifer Burnham was hired as Assistant Principal at Walton High School. 

Approval was given to purchase Walton County School District forms, Code of Conduct books, and Student Progression Plan booklets for the 2023-2024 school year from A&D Printing & Mailing, LLC, for $57,839.00. 

It was approved to purchase Title II, Part A – Supporting Effective Instruction in the amount of $425,682.00, funded by Federal Title II. 

Approval was given for 2023-2024 Title IX, Part A – Education of Homeless Children and Youth Project, funded by Federal Title IX in the amount of $118,919.00. The relevant text includes: 

“The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which guides Title IX, Part A, states that children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless.

“If, due to a loss of housing, a child must live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground, on the street, in abandoned buildings, or doubled-up with relatives or friends, then he/she is eligible to receive services provided under the McKinney-Vento Act.

“The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, state educational agencies must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.

“Homeless children and youth must have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment.” [end of excerpt]

Approval was given to pay $20,758.50 for Explore Learning (Reflex Math) curriculum.

A Federal Grant in the amount of $160,933.72 for 2023.24 Title III, Part A English Language Acquisition Project Award was received. 

The Board approved the renewal of Renaissance Place licenses for the 2023-24 school year in the amount of $60,143.60. The budget source is ARP ESSER 3 Formula Grant.

The Board approved a memorandum of understanding between the United Way Emerald Coast and the Walton County School Board for ReadingPals. ReadingPals is a statewide early literacy initiative that provides volunteer mentors for students from pre-k to 3rd grade who may need extra help.

An agreement with The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc. (ECCAC) a Florida nonprofit and the School Board of Walton County, Florida was approved. 

“The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center and its Prevention Team will: 

• Utilize a program that is based on the latest research and has been reviewed and endorsed by national experts.

• Provide Monique Burr Foundations Child Safety Matters curriculum, which is comprehensive age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate K-5 instruction on Internet Safety, Substance Use/Abuse Prevention, Mental/Emotional Health, and Prevention of Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Human Trafficking to help to meet Health Education instruction requirements by the Florida Department of Education as it relates to F.S. 1003.42

• Empower children to spot and respond to bullying, cyberbullying, child abuse, and digital dangers.

• Teach children that adults are responsible for their safety but encourage them that there are things they can do to help adults keep them safe – and provide 5 key safety rules.”

A Certificate of Substantial Completion for Freeport Elementary School Phase 2B was announced. Classrooms, Offices, Shared Bathrooms, Music, Art, Library, Special Learning Spaces, and Back of House (mechanical and electrical systems). 

A Certificate of Substantial Completion for Paxton School- Roof Repair and Change Order #1 was also announced. 

A FlowPath Facility Management Software for Maintenance Order System was approved in the amount of $ 14,900.00. This new system will help track work orders, assets, preventive maintenance, inspections and compliance checklists, inventory, and capital projects.

Approval was given to Participate in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Voluntary Lead Testing Program for Schools and Childcare Facilities. DEP is receiving assistance through a grant from EPA known as the “WIIN 2107” grant. This program will allow Florida licensed childcare facilities, public, charter, and tribal schools to benefit from this initiative at no cost. All participating facilities will receive:

*   On-site drinking water sample collection and analysis.

  *   Guidance for effectively communicating with parents and the community.

  *   All testing results will be posted on DEP’s Voluntary Lead Testing Program for Schools and Childcare Facilities.

There was discussion of the Property Exchange between the Walton County School Board and the Florida Forest Service/ Division of State Lands. The State insists on a 3 acre to 1 acre exchange. The property in question is in Santa Rosa Beach regarding the South Walton High School and the new Elementary School to be built on Chat Holley Road. 

Approved Consent Agenda:

• Paxton High School Agriculture Class to Travel to Auburn, Alabama on September 12-13, 2023, for Ag Use of UAS Technology at Auburn University.

• Paxton High School F.F.A. Members to Travel to Kissimmee, Florida on September 16-17, 2023, for the Chapter President’s Conference.

• Purchase of equipment for the school buses $148,447.50. 

• New playground equipment at West DeFuniak Elementary and Maude Saunders Elementary School from GameTime in the amount of $345,873.74.