Q & A with St. Johns County School Board Member, District 1, Beverly Slough

Q: Can you give us an update on the recent School Board vote on the high school site associated with the Silverleaf development?
A: The developer of Silverleaf wants to change the plan for the school site. The choices we were given were to accept the site adjacent to the Silverleaf DRI or have no high school site at all. The developer did agree to pay for building a road within the development to access the school from inside Silverleaf; this one DRI will generate one full high school of kids. It was quite a challenge to get to a place where we can make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners; that’s really all the school board can do. It was a tense time of thoughtful consideration and in the end the School Board voted 3 – 2 to accept the site offered by the developer. The Board of County Commissioners will vote on this at their May 21 meeting.

Q: What did you hear from some of the neighbors?
A: Some neighbors wanted to keep the original 2015 agreement which had the school site located within the Silverleaf DRI, but that was off the table. The DRI has evolved over time.

Q: Have you seen the school site?
A: I did look at the property. It is a beautiful, flat, 100 acres. It was previously a sod farm. We asked the architects to think about how they can best site the school on the land. They can move the school east and forward on the site and have retention ponds in order to not impact the neighbors too much.

Q: Do you have any other construction updates?
A: We are pushing close to converting Mill Creek Academy to a K-7 school next year. It will eventually be a K-8. It is beautiful. They have added an academic building and a gymnasium to the Mill Creek campus.

Freedom Crossing Academy and Palm Valley Academy are also on target for being K-7 schools next year.

Also next year, we are gearing up to expand Liberty Pines Academy with an additional academic building. It will take about a year to build with projected completion in 2020.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 1?
A: I’d like to emphasize that parents need to register their new students as early as possible, especially for kindergarten. If current residents would let their new neighbors who move in over the summer know to register right away, that will help us get the right number of teachers for next year. You can go to your zoned school to register; all schools will be open for the summer with reduced summer hours of 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Q: How can our readers contact you?

A: They can email me at beverly.slough@stjohns.k12.fl.us or call me at (904) 547-7510.