As we are nearing the end of another successful school year, I want to first thank our students, teachers, administrators and staff members for their hard work and commitment this year. In partnership with our families and community, we continue to provide our students with exceptional educational opportunities allowing them to succeed at the highest levels. I want to also congratulate our soon-to-be graduates and wish them the best of luck as they move on to various college and career opportunities. This year, the district has just under 900 graduates that have been accepted to over 115 different colleges and universities. We are extremely proud of these students and all of their accomplishments.

We are already preparing for the 2018-19 school year by diligently finalizing the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget. The Walton County Board of Education has continued to maintain sound fiscal management allowing us to provide our students with a quality education while efficiently spending taxpayer dollars and planning to lower the millage rate for the fifth consecutive year.

Like other districts across the state, we are continuing to experience unfunded state and federal mandates that increase our expenses each year. This year, we are once again seeing an increase in the district’s costs for health and retirement benefits. We are proud that Walton County attracts talented, veteran teachers allowing us to staff our classrooms with the best of the best. We certainly want to continue attracting and retaining high-quality teachers by offering competitive salaries and providing good benefits, but it does add an expense to the district’s budget that must be accounted for each year.

With our community’s generous support through ELOST, we are able to fill the gaps in funding and provide our students with excellent learning environments. With Youth Middle School’s 14-classroom addition nearing completion, a phased renovation project that will include the addition of safety vestibules in 11 schools as well as an auxiliary gym, classroom addition, and overall renovations to Loganville High School is in the beginning planning stages.

I want to again express my appreciation to our staff and congratulate our 2018 graduates. We are proud of your success and know you will proudly represent our community and continue to make us all Walton Proud. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in the fall and wish you a happy, safe, and restful summer!

Nathan Franklin is the superintendent of the Walton County School District. His email address is nfranklin@walton.k12.ga.us.

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