Jackson County Secures K-8 School Funds

MARIANNA, Fla. - Big changes are coming to the Jackson County School District.

Funding for a new K-8 school is secure after Gov. Rick Scott signed off on the bill this session.

"It's a great feeling to know the legislature has appropriated a little over $19 million for that," said Supt. Larry Moore.

It's a sentiment both Moore and the Jackson County School Board shared during their meeting Tuesday night.

A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Scott signed-off on a $58 million grant to fund the long-awaited K-8 school in Jackson County.

Over the next three years, about $19 million will be appropriated for construction of the school.

School Board Director of Facilities Stuart Wiggins said a lot of support was needed for this project.

"I can't say enough about the support I've gotten from the City of Marianna, has graciously given us the property where the new school will go in exchange for the old piece of property that they can use for whatever programs they'll have," said Wiggins.

While the funds are finally secure for a new school, Gov. Scott also passed the controversial education bill, or House Bill 7069.

Moore believes it won't be as detrimental to the district, but it'll have some impact.

"The way we have been utilizing our Title I funds in Jackson County, we don't see 7069 being a big impact for the way that we utilize those federal dollars," said Moore.

Required recess time is also a concern.

"I understand it has to be a non-structured 20-minute time frame of recess, and that's something we're looking at, and we're going to meet with our elementary school principals on Thursday to discuss that," said Moore.

Another part of the bill requires school districts to establish a 'School of Hope' or charter school for low-performing schools.

Although school grades are not released yet for 2017, last year Graceville Elementary School was a 'D' school, and was the only underperforming school.

Moore is expecting the grade results to be higher this year.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed. We don't think that we'll have any schools that's going to be in that D or F range," said Moore.

The school board also announced that all students in public schools will receive free breakfast and lunch beginning next year.

The District met the requirements for the Community Eligibility Provision's National School Lunch Program.

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