By STACY MARTIN
On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Walton County School Board (WCSB) held its regular board meeting at the Tivoli Complex. Attendees were welcome to join the meeting in person, participate via Microsoft Teams video platform, or call in any questions. Superintendent Russell A. Hughes made recommendations for the board approved the consent and the night’s regular agenda. The board approved the request unanimously.
Requests made to the board from the action agenda began with the approval of the 2019-2020 Walton County School District Equity Report. A motion was made by board member Kim Kirby and seconded by board member Marsha Winegarner. The board approved the request unanimously.
The next request was from the safety and security department, who requested the approval of the Walton County School District-School Safety Specialist findings and recommendations from the Florida Safe School Assessments 2020-2021(FSSAT) and the District Best Practice Assessment 2020-2021. A motion was made for approval by Winegarner and seconded by board member Bill Eddins, and the board approved the request unanimously.
Hughes then recommended the board to approve the finance department’s request for the approval of the Walton Academy Financial Statements for August 2020. A motion was made by board member Gail Smith and seconded by Kirby, motion carried.
The next request from finance was the approval of the Seaside Neighborhood School and Seaside Foundation financial statements for September 2020. The board approved the request unanimously.
Next on the agenda, the board then voted unanimously for the approval of the Walton County School District monthly financial statements for September 2020.
Hughes then recommended that the board approve services between The Integrity Group and Walton County School District for COVID-19 Funding. The Integrity Group is a disaster response and recovery consulting firm, which will provide guidance about emergency and disaster response planning and logistics support, disaster recovery reimbursement grant processing, and general consulting services in response to COVID-19. Eddins made a motion to accept Hughes’ recommendation, and Winegarner seconded the motion. The board approved the request.
A request was made from the human resources department to approve the Educational Management Consultant Services, Inc. (EMCS) contract for consultant services related to curriculum and instruction. The board voted in favor of the request.
The next item was the approval of the Educational Management Consultant Services, Inc. (EMCS) contract for consultant rervices related to South Walton High School. The board approved the request with a motion from Eddins and a second from Smith.
And the last item from human resources was a request for the approval of Oct. 20, 2020, oersonnel recommendations and personnel addendum. Hughes recommended approval from the board, and the request was approved unanimously.
From the facilities and construction department was a request for the approval of a work-order and GMP with Allstate Construction, Inc., for repairs to Bay School from damage caused by Hurricane Sally along with additional repairs to flooring, kitchen, and cafeteria. The board approved the request unanimously with a motion by Kirby, and a second by Smith.
The last item from the department was a request to post a notice to the public of the proposed purchase and intent of real property by Walton County School Board. The property is the 110 acres on Chatt Holly Rd. in Santa Rosa Beach, for just over $3 million. The board approved the request unanimously.
Under the administration department, the board received a COVID-19 update from School Safety Specialist Charlie Morse. Morse stated that cases in Florida and Walton County, COVID-19 cases have gone up. On October 20, Walton County had reported 20 new positive cases and 2,265 positive cases, and 29 fatalities. Morse said that Holy Holt with the Walton County Florida Department of Health has informed him concerning a rise in Walton County COVID cases that have not been previously documented from Walton County residents having testing done in another state. Holt also told Morse that there has been a rise in hospital rates, currently up to nine admitted residents. Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hawthorne stated that update letters went out to all employees and parents on Oct. 9, noting the district’s efforts to staying vigilant and be pro-active. Hawthorne also pointed out that the district is getting back into the routine of academics. Since the last meeting, there have also been an additional 52 students in their traditional classroom from Walton Virtual and new enrollees. Based on the enrollment numbers from the close of last year, counting brick-and-mortar and Walton Virtual, the district is currently only down .09% of their students.
No public comments we made at this meeting. Under staff reports, WCSB Chair Jason Catalano recognized both Winegarner and Smith’s service on the school board as they get closer to their last school board meetings. Catalano and the other board members all said that both members have been valuable assets to the board and the district. Smith will be retiring from her seat and replaced by Tammy Smith, who ran unopposed for WCSB District 1. Winegarner was not re-elected to her seat and will be replaced by Jeri Michie for WCSB District 4. The next board meeting will be the last meeting for both Smith and Winegarner. That meeting is scheduled for Nov. 3 at the Tivoli Complex, starting at 5 p.m.