I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
District Proposes Bold Plan to Address Facilities Needs
At the special discussion workshop of the Escambia County School Board held on Thursday, February 13th, a plan was unveiled to address some lingering facilities issues in our district. The three year plan would relocate one middle school, relocate one high school, construct a new middle school and two new elementary schools throughout the county in the next three years. The estimated $80Million in funding for this plan would come from proceeds generated by the voter approved, one-half cent sales tax -either bonded against over a thirteen year period-- or paid for outright as the stages of the plan are executed.
The high-points and key concepts from the presentation:
High School and Middle School:
Brown Barge Middle School would move to the more modern facility that currently houses West Florida High School of Advanced Technology. Woodham Middle school would be re-purposed and renovated to become the new West Florida Technical High School. (solving a long running problem at WFHS with respect to their inadequate athletic facilities and fields, lack of tennis courts, fireld-house, soccer field scoreboard, etc.etc.) The students from the former Woodham MS would be re-zoned to a new, to be constructed, north-west side middle school facility.
Two brand new elementary schools will be built. 1. will be built in southwest Escambia County, to alleviate chronic overcrowding at Helen Caro Elementary and Blue Angels Elementary (this item has been in the facilities plan for nearly a decade) and another elementary school will be built on the north-west side of the county to alleviate significant overcrowding at Beulah and Pine Meadow Elementary Schools.
At the workshop, board members were largely supportive of the plan as presented; When asked if the district was "married" to every detail of the plan being executed precisely as outlined--or if they were open to adjustments, revisions, and/or suggestions--the answer was that the operations folks were open to suggestions concerning what was presented.
There was no media present at the workshop, and therefore no mention of this plan has been covered by the local press since this $80Million announcement was made Thursday--which is amazing and sad at the same time!