By ALICIA LEONARD
South Walton – Walton County School Board(WCSB) members, administration, and staff spoke with and listened to a large group of concerned parents that put their support behind plans to expand classroom space for the ever growing south end high school.
A workshop on facility needs was presented a second time on the afternoon of Sept. 20, 2016 to discuss the need for more classroom space. Walton School District Superintendent Carlene Anderson had asked the board earlier in the month at the first presentation and discussion of the issue of overcrowding at the high school for the workshop to be held a second time in south Walton at their regularly scheduled second meeting of the month since it affected the families living there.
The coverage on the original meeting on Sept. 6, 2016, with figures on future growth and student numbers was published in the Sept. 15, 2016 edition of the Herald/Breeze.
Parents spoke in support for the expansion of at least 10 more classrooms on the high school property. The school is at 125 percent capacity meaning it is over capacity by 25 percent, according to numbers by the district.
Staff believe the school can handle the expansion due to core facilities and the ability to stagger some periods such as lunch for students. A few possibilities were discussed on existing land, and there was some discussion about the possibility of building up, but the hiring of a structural engineer will be needed before that possibility is fully explored.
The meeting ran over the expected time due to comments and questions from parents leading into a shortened workshop on the discussion and presentation of the strategic plan for the school district. Most of the discussion centered around changes in language that will be needed to meet new state statutes and requirements.
At the opening of the regular meeting the Rosemary Beach Foundation presented a check for $3,000 to the district for the “Music in Pictures” program. The Foundation has been supporting the arts in the district for many years. According to the district’s web site “The Rosemary Beach Foundation recognized district art teachers and schools for their participation in the 2016-2017 annual ‘Music in Pictures’ program, which is a year-long educational art initiative for all students in grades K-12. The Foundation donated $3,000 to the schools’ art departments.”
After the presentation the board approved the agenda before it and the adoption of previous minutes’ there was a call for public comments with none forthcoming. They then moved on to approve the consent agenda 4-0. Board Chair Jason Catalano was absent from the workshops and meetings due to the arrival of a new family member on that day.
Under the action agenda, the board approved the opening of a public hearing at 5:15 p.m. to discuss proposed new school board rules and amendments to existing rules.
The board approved the new rules and amendments with no comments from the audience during the public meeting part of of the session.
The board also approved personnel recommendations, pre-qualifications for contractors, professional development and the amending of a supplemental advisory committee, as well as approving the long overdue state of Florida assessment calendar for the 2016-2017 school year after finally receiving it.
The next meeting of the board will be a special meeting on Sept. 29 at 4 p.m. to rank the top three construction management firms for the new South Walton Elementary School build. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. with two workshops planned before the regular meeting. To see more on the school calendar and events go to www.walton.k12.fl.us.