In what he called “Good news for us,” Gulf County School Superintendent Jim Norton announced that the school district would be receiving $2.5 million from the State of Florida to “benefit our athletic facilities.”
The funding was included as an appropriation in the state’s budget for 2023-24, passed by the state legislature in May and signed by the Governor earlier this month.
Although Norton did not know the specifics of the grant, he did say that the request had been submitted months ago, and included “five or six items for improvement at both Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka schools.”
With the current fiscal year coming to an end on June 30, Norton said that the district “would not open the new fiscal year books until July 10, and we will know more (at that time) about the process for advertising for bids.”
Norton expressed his thanks to State Representative Jason Shoaf and State Senator Corey Simon for their support in obtaining the funds, and emphasized that the grant “will have absolutely no effect on our local tax base.”
“This will be a tremendous benefit for both Port St. Joe and Wewa,” he said, “because in our small communities our school facilities are more like public parks that bring benefits to everyone.”
“To raise this amount of money through the normal process,” he added, “would take between eight and 10 years.”
“There are still a lot of unknowns,” Norton said,” but we want to make sure that we get the most bang for our buck when we know more specifics.”
The Star will continue to follow the developments as they become known.