What is happening now that the half-cent sales tax has passed?

November 2023 Capital Projects and New School Construction Update

The Sales Surtax Citizens’ Oversight Committee met on November 14, 2023. Julie Perry, Chief Financial Officer of Okaloosa County School District, provided a financial update to the committee and information on the sales tax allocation and disbursement for Okaloosa’s charter schools. Joel Linder, Program Director with Jacobs/Titan Technologies, provided a comprehensive update on the projects currently funded by the sales tax. Committee members discussed the completion of four classroom additions to schools and ribbon cuttings that recently took place at Longwood Elementary, Silver Sands, and Elliott Point Elementary. In addition, two new committee members will join, and all the members will come before the school board for approval in December. Jason Belcher, the Citizens Oversight Committee Chair, will also update the board. The committee requested to review a list of the original projects the referendum identified at the next meeting on January 9, 2024.

September 2023 Capital Projects and New School Construction Update

The Sales Surtax Citizens’ Oversight Committee met on September 12, 2023. Julie Perry, Chief Financial Officer Okaloosa County School District, provided a financial update to the committee and information on the sales tax allocation and disbursement for Okaloosa’s charter schools. Joel Linder, Program Director with Jacobs/Titan Technologies, provided a comprehensive update on the projects currently funded by the sales tax. Committee Chair Jason Belcher and fellow members discussed their intent to continue to serve on the committee and if anyone was interested in serving as the committee chair, to let him know.

July 2023 Capital Projects and New School Construction Update

The Sales Surtax Citizens’ Oversight Committee met on July 25, 2023. Julie Perry, Chief Financial Officer Okaloosa County School District, provided a financial update to the committee and information on the sales tax allocation and disbursement for Okaloosa’s charter schools. Joel Linder, Program Director with Jacobs/Titan Technologies, provided a comprehensive update on the projects currently funded by the sales tax. Committee Chair, Jason Belcher, requested an item be placed on the next meeting agenda for discussion regarding the terms for committee members.

May 2023 Capital Projects and New School Construction Update

The Sales Surtax Citizens’ Oversight Committee met on May 9, 2023. Julie Perry, Chief Financial Officer Okaloosa County School District, provided a financial update to the committee and information on the sales tax allocation and disbursement for Okaloosa’s charter schools. Joel Linder, Program Director with Jacobs/Titan Technologies, provided a comprehensive update on the projects currently funded by the sales tax. Committee Chair, Jason Belcher, relayed what he saw during his site visit at Edwins Elementary School and showed a video highlighting the progress of the other school visits. Catherine Card, Public Information Officer, Okaloosa County School District, will continue coordinating individual project site visits per Florida Sunshine Law, with Jason Belcher, for the other committee members during the summer months. 

March 2023 Capital Projects and New School Construction Update

The Sales Surtax Citizens’ Oversight Committee met on March 14, 2023. Julie Perry, Chief Financial Officer, Okaloosa County School District, provided a financial update to the committee. Joel Linder, Program Director with Jacobs/Titan Technologies, provided a comprehensive update on the projects currently funded by the sales tax. Catherine Card, Public Information Officer, Okaloosa County School District, will coordinate individual project site visits in accordance with Florida Sunshine Law, with Jason Belcher, Committee Chair, for each committee member in the coming months. 

January 2023 Capital Projects and New School Construction Update

The Sales Surtax Citizens’ Oversight Committee met on January 10, 2023. Joel Linder, Program Director with Jacobs/Titan Technologies, provided a comprehensive update on the projects currently funded by the sales tax. The committee discussed the potential of conducting site visits to see project progress in accordance with Florida Sunshine Law. Deputy Superintendent, Steve Horton, will present the 2023 Committee to the School Board on Monday, January 23, 2023.

November 2022 Capital Projects and New School Construction Update

Deputy Superintendent, Steve Horton, shared the Capital Projects and New School Construction Update to the School Board on November 11, 2022, which highlights and explains the District’s Capital project timeline (past, current, future projects).

February 2022 UPDATE

The School District passed Resolution 21-08 at its December 13, 2021 Board Meeting which authorized the issuance of Certificates of Participation (COPs) Series 2022A, in an amount not to exceed $130,000,000, the proceeds of which will be used to finance the planning, constructing and equipping of numerous projects contained on School Sales Tax Project Lists:

  • Classroom additions for Crestview High School, Laurel Hill School, Elliott Point Elementary School, Silver Sands School; and
  • New Cafetoriums for Plew Elementary School, Ruckel Middle School, Bob Sikes Elementary School, Edwins Elementary School, Shalimar Elementary School, and Wright Elementary School; and
  • Renovation and expansion of dining areas for Pryor Middle School, Baker School, and Crestview High School; and
  • New multipurpose buildings for Niceville High School, Crestview High School, Baker School, Choctawhatchee High School, and Fort Walton Beach High School; and
  • Multipurpose room renovation at Laurel Hill School.

School districts across Florida and the nation use COPs as a way to borrow funds to accelerate construction projects with repayment of the borrowed funds coming from future revenue sources, like Half-Cent Sales Tax revenue. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee offered its support for this initiative at the December 13th Board Meeting. The completion timeline for these construction projects is planned for thirty-six (36) months.

The voters of Okaloosa County approved the Half-Cent Sales Tax for Okaloosa Schools on November 3, 2020, for ten years.

The Capital Projects Dashboard contains more detailed information related to these and other projects.

August 2021 UPDATE

Okaloosa County Voters approved the Half-Cent Sales Tax for Okaloosa Schools on November 3, 2020. The half-cent for schools will last for ten years and will fund many needed repairs and projects to improve aging school buildings.

    1. The Citizens’ Oversight Committee continues to meet bi-monthly at the School District Central Administrative Complex to receive and review reports related to the School District’s Half Cent Capital Outlay Sales Surtax Program. This meeting is open to the press and public and the date and time will be announced on okaloosaschools.com
    2. School Security Projects are being completed in three phases.  Phase one was completed prior to the Sales Surtax.  Phases two and three are being funded through the Half Cent Sales Tax which allows for the work to be completed years ahead of schedule. All projects in phases two and three will be complete by Summer 2022.
    3. Four schools in the district received or are in the process of receiving partial roof replacements. Edge Elementary and Pryor Middle School’s Gymnasium are complete.  Mary Esther Elementary’s roof project is underway and Crestview High School’s roof project will begin at the conclusion of Pryor Middle School’s project.  All roofing projects are on track to be completed this Fall.
    4. We are in the process of working with local Architectural and Engineering firms to finalize designs and construction drawings on six new Cafetorium Buildings, two cafeteria expansion projects, five new Multipurpose buildings, and Classroom/ Administration additions and/or renovations at five schools.

Please check the Okaloosa County School District Half Cent Sales Tax Capital Program Dashboard for a snapshot of the program budget, project schedules, and each school’s project summary in the menu links above!

Ribbon Cuttings

Laurel Hill School

On Wednesday, February 14, the Okaloosa County School District celebrated the amazing Four Classroom Addition at Laurel Hill School with a ribbon cutting alongside Principal Lee Martello and staff! Each classroom has new technology and functional furniture. One classroom is outfitted for Exceptional Student Education and includes a dishwasher, refrigerator, and other appliances to teach the students life skills. Local dignitaries, School Board Members, Community Members, and Faculty attended the event. The District is grateful for the partnership with Jacobs-Titan and Lord & Son Construction for doing such a great job on the project, and also would like to thank Okaloosa Voters for making this building possible with the Half Cent Sales Tax!

Crestview High School

A ribbon cutting was held on Tuesday, January 23, at Crestview High School to celebrate the opening of the new Eight Classroom Addition. Crestview High School staff, District staff, local dignitaries, and employees of Jacobs-Titan and Lord & Son Construction toured the new building and visited algebra and biology classrooms with new technology and furniture. Over a year ago, projects started at the high school, including a cafeteria expansion, new roofing for some of the buildings on campus, new bathrooms, parking, and a multipurpose building that is nearing completion. “These projects are game-changers for our District, and it is fantastic to see them come to fruition,” stated Superintendent Marcus Chambers.

Elliott Point Elementary School

The Okaloosa County School District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Elliott Point Elementary School on Tuesday, November 14, to celebrate the recent additions to their campus. Thanks to voter support and approval of the Half-Cent Sales Tax, the school now has an eight-classroom addition with new technology and furniture, expanded bus ramp, and parking. Superintendent Marcus Chambers explained to those in attendance that the half-cent sales tax has generated over $30 million more than originally anticipated, allowing the district to expedite projects. In addition to the classroom and infrastructure upgrades, the funds are also facilitating new school construction for the first time in over a decade. “So much is happening across our school district,” stated Superintendent Chambers. “When you’re here at Elliott Point, you see the classroom additions, but you can also see the smile on Mr. Nuss’s face and as well as the teachers, and especially the students. It’s providing our students the type of atmosphere that they deserve and that they should have.”

Elliott Point Elementary School RIbbon Cutting

Longwood Elementary School

A ribbon cutting was held on Tuesday, October 3, at Longwood Elementary School to commemorate the significant renovations and additions to the school’s campus. Okaloosa County School District members, elected officials, Half Cent Sales Tax Capital Program Citizens Oversight Committee representatives, Jacobs-Titan, Lord and Son, and community members attended to celebrate and tour the school. “Due to the Half Cent Sales Tax Program that Okaloosa County Voters approved in 2020, our School District is making so many much-needed updates to our buildings throughout the entire District as well as planning for new school construction,” stated Superintendent Marcus Chambers.

Longwood Ribbon Cutting - School and Community members gathered in front of building to cut ribbon.

Silver Sands School

On Thursday, October 12, the Okaloosa County School District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Silver Sands School to celebrate a new four-classroom addition with new technology and functional furniture, new handicap-accessible playground equipment, a new entry with an extended car rider line, expanded parking and a new track. Local dignitaries, School Board Members, Community members, Teachers, Staff, Students, Parents, and members of Jacobs-Titan and Lord & Son Construction were all in attendance. Superintendent Marcus Chambers stated at the event, “Thank you for doing such a great job on the projects, and thank you to the Okaloosa Voters for making these needed improvements possible with the Half Cent Sales Tax!”

Silver Sands Ribbon Cutting - School and Community members gathered in front of school for ribbon cutting.

Citizens Oversight School Tours

Edwins Elementary School

Fort Walton Beach High School

Silver Sands School

Crestview High School

Choctawhatchee High School

Baker School

Laurel Hill School

Niceville High School

Ruckel Middle School

 

 

Testimonials

Edge Elementary School

“This beautiful, historic renovation of Edge Elementary’s front entrance provides increased building security while honoring the history of a community school that has educated generations of Niceville families.”

Dr. Samantha Dawson, Principal

Elliott Point Elementary School


“The development of our front entrance area to a true single point of entry, has been wonderful. It sets the tone to our students, parents, and faculty that safety is the district’s number one priority.”

Scott Nuss, Principal

Antioch Elementary School

“We are so excited to have our single point of entry project completed. Last spring, we saw the demolition of our front office begin and watched the transformation all summer. We now have a safe place for students, teachers, and families to be greeted upon arrival at Antioch Elementary School. The update has provided new office spaces for our bookkeeper and our School Resource Officer, as well as allowing for a waiting area for our clinic. This waiting area allows our clinic to be deemed a “sick clinic” only and students that need daily medications never have to enter the clinic and be exposed to students that could be contagious. The fencing out front has added an extra piece of mind as you can no longer access the back of the school without gaining permission to enter. Overall, the project gives all stakeholders a sense of safety upon entering the campus of Antioch Elementary School.”

Kelli Sanders, Principal