By ALICIA LEONARD
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla.- Without any guest to introduce or special business the Walton County School Board made quick business of their regular meeting agenda the afternoon of Oct. 4, 2016 at 5 p.m.
With all members present the board approved the agenda before them, adopted past meeting minutes and called for public comments. With none forthcoming they moved on to the consent agenda, approving it 5-0.
Under the action agenda the board approved agreements and contracts, grands and funding for the district’s instructional leadership and faculty development grant. After approving usual executive financial summaries, and personnel recommendations, the board approved new job descriptions in the information and technology department after discussion in an earlier workshop that evening.
The board then approved the Florida Blue 2016 Wellness Initiative with board member Mark Davis commenting the county had had a very positive response from the program.
Under instruction and curriculum, the board approved project applications for local disadvantaged students as well as a plan for parent involvement.
Also approved was a plan to apply for a project grant for teacher and principal training.
Under project planning and approval the board approved to begin the process of designing/constructing 10 classroom additions to South Walton High School as well as the district’s five-year facilities work plan.
The classrooms are budgeted to cost $4 million, and board member William “Bill” Eddins Jr. asked if this was enough space to deal with the ever-growing population of the high school, or should they be looking at a 20 classroom addition instead. Director of Facilities for the district Mark Gardner responded that the district had been approached by a land owner/broker for a 20-acre tract behind the school but much of the land was wetlands or land that would need to be improved before building anything on the property. Until they consulted architects and engineers on the process they would not know the actual cost of a bigger expansion or purchase of new land.
The board also approved compensation for employees for supervising school facilities during emergency sheltering.
A great majority of the last part of the meeting was a discussion between board members and the construction management firm that handled the building of the new Walton Middle School over the the seeding of parts of the athletic fields with hydro-seed versus sod. Davis brought the question up, saying he had not seen a good response with the hydro-seed and questioned why the board was not approached and given the ability to make the decision if there was a change in the terms of the contract for what was used.
Contractors told Davis that they had been limited with losing time due to a dispute early in the process with a neighboring land owner and then were unable to locate sod due to rain conditions. The firm’s president promised the board that if the hydro-seed did not live up to expectations within a set period of time the firm would replace it with sod at their own expense.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18, at 5 p.m. in the medial room at South Walton High School. To see more about school news go to www.walton.k12.fl.us.