By Wes Wolfe
April 5, 2022

A dispute over a recent land deal spurred the public records move.

A new Nassau County school slated to service rapidly expanding Nassauville developments may have a couple more acres of needed room if plans agreed to at the last county School Board meeting hold up.

“You know that we did a swap with the county on a piece of land next to Yulee High School, for a piece at the end of (Amelia) Concourse,” Superintendent Kathy Burns said. “So, we’ve been made aware of two acres that adjoin that piece of property at the end of the Concourse.”

The Nassau County School District sent eight acres to the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners to facilitate a roadway and received in return 12.24 acres that could become a new school site.

“We know that with that 12 acres there, our design of our next school, wherever that school is, is going to have to be different,” Burns said. “This land will assist us in being able to move forward with design.”

Board members learned in the November workshop on growth and planning that the population pressure is so high that a school on that site would be full from the first day.

“We need to be looking at opportunities — this is an opportunity the landowner has given us,” Board member Gail Cook said. “Whether or not we end up (buying it) after going through all these steps that we’re required to do to be able to do it, we definitely should be pursuing it.”

The Board also is taking another run at its public records policy, something that got a workout recently in a situation involving county residents and questions about the propriety of a deal allowing the district to purchase 10 acres next to Yulee Elementary School.

“What you see is the Nassau County current policy, (with examples) from St. Johns and from Duval counties,” Burns said to the Board members. “I would ask that as we’re preparing to amend and update our policy, that you look through these documents and anything else you’d like to share, so we could bring back a draft for the Board to review and for advertisement.”

Board Chairwoman Donna Martin said she’s been pulling policies from districts across the state.

“I think what’s missing, and if it’s here I’ve not seen it, is when we talk about ‘extensive time,’” Martin said. “I think we need to clarify that.”

On timeliness, Burns reminded those in attendance that district employees are conducting public records research in addition to their other duties.

“We don’t have a (public information officer), we don’t have a (public relations) department,” Burns said. “We do this on top of all our other jobs we have in this district. Our focus has been on instruction, teaching and learning. By the way, our return on investment is pretty great.”

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