Q: Do you have an update on High School III?
A: At our workshop on Oct. 19, we were presented with the top five selections for names by the school’s principal. We will vote on these names at the Nov. 9 school board meeting. After that, the principal and the community will decide on a mascot. Construction of the school is on schedule so far and we will have a topping out ceremony, where the last girder goes up, on Oct. 21. We expect staffing, to include hiring the athletic director and maintenance coordinator, to begin in earnest after the first of the year. 

Q: What can you tell us about the changes to school breakfasts and lunches?
A: Months ago, we opted in to a waiver to allow us to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students at all schools; however, we were recently informed by the director of food services that we are running into so many supply chain problems and staffing shortages that he recommends we return to our pre-COVID position of charging for meals except for those who qualify for free and reduced meals as well as our 10 Title 1 school who already receive this. Parents should be on the lookout for more information coming to them about this before the start date of the first of 2022. For informational purposes, St. Johns County currently has 19 percent of students who qualify for free and reduced meals, as compared to a median of 54 percent for the state.

Q: Do you have any update on redistricting as a result of the Census?
A: There will be a public meeting at the School Board building in St. Augustine on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. and another one at Nease High School in the media center on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. for public input. Our consultants will present the four possible plans which are already on the website, www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/redistricting. Also on Nov. 2 there will be a joint meeting between the Board of County Commissioners and the School Board for continued discussion of these plans, leading up to the final meeting on Dec. 9, when we will vote. Whatever plan we adopt on Dec. 9 will go into effect that very day. 

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This redistricting only affects the county commission seat and the school board seat and has nothing to do with school redistricting. We draw our county’s five district lines the same for the Board of County Commissioners and the School Board. Separate is the redistricting for state and national legislation and congressional districts.

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 1?
A: The St. Johns County School District has many open positions, especially for paraprofessionals, which require either an associate’s degree or 60 hours of college credit. Because our support staff deficit has been so large, one thing we have done to entice applicants is offer the ability to work two jobs, such as a bus driver before and after school and cafeteria worker during the school day. We offer overtime if earned as well as benefits for full time employees. All open positions are listed on our website (www.stjohns.k12.fl.us).

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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