School Board puts Highland View on market

Highland View

Empty now for nearly three years, the old Highland View Elementary School is decaying with trees falling atop the structure and ceilings reportedly falling in.

Wes Locher | The Star
Published: Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 09:53 AM.

If at first….

The Gulf County School Board decided Monday to put the old Highland View Elementary School site on the market as district officials try to shore up a seeping budget with an asset no longer part of the district’s inventory.

Last summer school board members formally declared the land surplus with an eye toward selling the property, which is zoned for mixed-use residential/commercial.

However, after garnering no interest from potential buyers, the district backed up, went out for a new appraisal of the property and, Monday, adopted a formal process for divesture.

Most importantly, said Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton, the school board provided some fuel and buy-in to selling the property to bring much-needed, though non-recurring or one-time, dollars into the general fund.

“The importance of selling that property is to have a little bit of safe-footing going into the budget for next year,” Norton said. “It is a safety issue for a lot of issues we are going to face.”

Norton said the district budget has steadily eroded over the past seven years and the district had reduced its unrestricted fund balance to the minimum allowed by law, 3 percent.

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