One trend the Gulf County School Board would like to see end is declining enrollment.

One trend the Gulf County School Board would like to see end is declining enrollment.

The October state count of full-time equivalent students showed that the four Gulf County public schools are down roughly 50 students compared to projections made in Tallahassee when assessing school funding each year.

That continues a decrease that began nearly a decade ago and has seen the district lose nearly 500 students during that period.

Much of this year’s decrease was seen in the Wewahitchka schools.

The student count matters because state dollars are tied to each student.

Based on current per-pupil funding under the Florida Education Finance Program the drop in students equates to a district budget shortfall of $180,000.

The district also had unanticipated costs from litigation related to the district’s Reduction in Force earlier this year.

The loss of revenue means that the district must be more vigilant in spending local capital improvement dollars. The district will focus its state bricks-and-mortar dollars son simple repairs and for needed door replacements, said Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton.

“We will continue to monitor and takes steps to ensure financial security and a balanced budget,” Norton said.

The state will conduct its next student FTE count in February. It is not uncommon to see student numbers climb between the October and February student counts.

Athletics Hall of Fame activities

During this Friday’s football game against Liberty County, Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School and the district will recognize outstanding athletes and an outstanding partner in education.

Serving as co-hosts for the game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET at Shark Field, will be the Gulf Coast State College Foundation and GCSC Student Government Association.

T-shirts, pom-poms, packs and other items will be given away during the game.

Ralph Roberson, current chair of the GCSC District Board of Trustees will be joined by Dr. Jim Anderson, vice president of the college foundation, in throwing out the first ball and assisting with the pre-game coin toss.

At halftime, Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School will induct the newest class into its Athletics Hall of Fame.

Inductees include Howard Browning; Frank Hannon; Lamar Faison; Norris D. Langston; Robert Nedley; Frank Fletcher; Billy Johnson; Dr. Oliver Harper; and Charles Smith.

Browning is the long-time broadcaster of Tiger Shark football; Hannon coached the first state championship team; Faison a coach and teacher at the school for 50 yards; Langston was an all-around athlete for whom an educational foundation is named; Nedley, Fletcher, Johnson, Harper and Smith all played in the first game at Shark Field and will also be honored for contributions to the school, community and society.

A reception will be held beneath the stadium beginning at 6:30 p.m.