Q: Do you have an update on the re-bid for K – 8 School NN [as of interview date of May 16]?
A: We hope to put the bid out by the end of May. We are still hoping to be able to bid two schools and possibly three at the same time. Staff is still working with the finance department on details. By extending the construction timeline, adding additional schools, and picking things in advance like colors so that the contractor will be able to place pre-orders, we hope to have a more successful and affordable bid.

Q: What is the latest on the construction of Beachside High School?
A: Beachside is coming along. I am assured every time I ask that the school will be ready for teaching and learning when school starts in August, but that some ancillary structures, such as maybe the gym or the auditorium, might not be quite open. At this time, parent and student groups are forming in anticipation of the school’s opening. It’s becoming “their” school. Athletic Director Jen Harman is busy setting up summer athletic practices.

Q: It’s nearly the end of the school year. What is the school district busy doing?
A: While our students and teachers are busy with celebrations and award ceremonies on their campuses, we are busy at the district level working towards next year. Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Cathy Hutchins has challenged all principals to be 95 percent completed with hiring for 2022 – 2023 and most principals have said they will meet the challenge.

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The district also just approved the contract with teachers and staff for this school year (yes, 2021 – 22). Every three years, of which this was one, we look at the full book of rules and both sides can bring any number of changes, so that’s why this was so time intensive. We regret the delay, but I’m happy to report we came to an agreement and all retroactively earned money back to last July will be distributed to teachers and staff as soon as possible. With this ratified contract, all of our teachers are at the $47,500 minimum required by the state. We want to continue to retain our experienced teachers, so our hope is next year to be able to add more increases to their salaries, if the legislature will allow. Our goal now is to start negotiations ASAP for next year. There likely will not be as many issues to negotiate since we had such comprehensive negotiations this year. And the legislature was generous to us this past year, so we will have money to work with. One new thing is a provision in one of the new bills to increase the starting salary for support (hourly) staff to $15 per hour.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 1?
A: By June 1, all of our seniors will have graduated. We wish the Class of 2022 much success as they go on to college, career, or military service. 

Finally, if you have not registered your children for next school year (or if you have a new neighbor!) please do so immediately. Visit www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/student/enrollment/ or visit the student’s assigned school website.

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.

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