Bay District School Board

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It looks as though Bay Haven Charter Academy won't get a new wing added to their newly constructed school.

School Board members are trying to address the overcrowding issue, but they say they need to mull over more information before deciding on anything.

Bay Haven Charter Academy may be Bay County's newest school, but administrators say they need help.

"They're needing more classroom space to meet their class size reduction, just like everyone else."

Apparently portable classrooms aren't an option for Bay Haven. The St. Joe Company donated the land for Bay Haven and has veto power over certain changes.

Even though it's not written into the deed, St. Joe officials say they won't agree to portable classrooms on campus, so last week the board started to make Bay Haven's needs one of its priorities.

John McFatter of the Bay District School Board said, "They came to us asking for some of the capital outlay dollars to meet their class size reduction need and we thought the only way to do that was to build a new wing, and we're hearing that's not necessarily true."

The public filed a number of complaints, saying other schools had needs just as great, or greater than Bay Haven, but during Wednesday's board meeting, the board learned of another option, type four buildings.

Type four buildings are prefab construction. They're cheaper than bricks and mortar, and can last up to 50 years.

"We can really be good stewards of the tax dollar with the prefab building that is much, much cheaper and really has as long of a life as brick and mortar."

McFatter says the school district would have to spend $1.7 million on tradition buildings for Bay Haven to meet the class size reduction state law.

Prefabs would coast about $450,000. One thing’s for sure; some board members aren't happy with the idea of more portables.

Thelma Rohan, a board member, said, "If we continue to put portables on campuses today, I think we're making the same mistake we were making 20 years again in saying these will go away - just wait - we'll get a pot of money somewhere."

The board will hold a workshop next month to take a closer look at the prefab option. One more issue on next month's agenda is closing the high school campuses to off-campus student lunches.

High school students are one step closer to having to nail down their major. Wednesday Bay District School Board members approved a list of majors that will be offered in each school.

This list is now headed to Tallahassee to the Department of Education for final recommendations. Once approved, all high-school students will have to choose a major course of studies.

As part of the A++ bill, ninth graders will start taking one concentrated class each year, working towards an interest they might pursue in college.

Bay County's list only includes subjects that can be taught without hiring any new teachers. There's a possibility this could present population problems in the future.

If a school doesn't offer a major, students might opt to study at another local school. No plans have been finalized yet, but it's looking like parents will be responsible for transportation to alternate schools.