The Destin High School project will be delayed
Destin High School’s (DHS) Governing Board announced Thursday that the school project will be delayed until August of 2021. The board entered into a contract to purchase Destin United Methodist Church’s (DUMC) campus. Per the contract, DUMC was to enter into their own contract to purchase Grace Lutheran Church’s campus. DUMC required that the closings be simultaneous. On the scheduled closing date, March 30, 2020, DUMC had not yet entered into their contract, due to a variety of factors.
“With this closing delay, the high school would not have a sufficient amount of time to do the necessary renovations to retrofit the campus, continue student recruiting and enrollment, and fundraising activities prior to the scheduled opening date of August of 2020,” said DHS Governing Board President, Prebble Ramswell.
Additionally, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all schools are closed until May 1, 2020, with Governor DeSantis issuing an official “Stay at Home” order for 30 days starting April 2, 2020. Due to this order being in place, the school will not be able to continue hosting informational sessions for interested families.
Florida Statute allows charter schools to defer opening without a penalty, and the DHS board intends to request a one year deferral to the Okaloosa County School District.
The field of 150 applicants for the school principal job, has been narrowed down to three candidates. Once the ““Stay at Home”” order is lifted, the board intends to have the final three candidates travel to Destin, for one-on-one interviews with the board and a parent advisory group, to make the final recommendation and selection of the principal. The plan is to bring the principal on board to work with Collaborative Educational Network to recruit students and teachers, finalize course offerings, and help establish community partnerships for the career academies.
Governing Board member, and former principal of Destin Elementary, Al Gardner said, “Parents and students who have confirmed their seats at DHS will be able to attend their Okaloosa County School District zoned school for the 2020-21 school year. We will also be personally reaching out to enrolled DHS students and their families, with additional information.”
“The people of Grace Lutheran Church share in the disappointment coming from Destin High School deferring its plans, yet remain prayerful for and supportive of the high school group as they consider their future,” commented Grace Lutheran spokesperson, Mike Wind.
Strategic planning property discussion sessions with DUMC and Grace Lutheran will resume, once groups of 10 or more can publicly gather in the state of Florida. The board will also review an additional Destin property, that an out of state landowner has proposed as a potential site for the school.
Sarah Stone, DHS Governing Board Treasurer, concluded, “This has been a difficult decision for the board to make, but we know that it is in the best interest of our students and families and we want to be mindful of the current pandemic and uncertainty that is happening in both our community and world. We are grateful to all the families who have committed to support DHS, and community members who have assisted us financially and in other ways. We look forward to continuing this journey together and to opening our school in August of 2021.”