Olustee, Eldorado school officials prepare to merge
OLUSTEE - Although it's still the middle of a long, hot summer, officials of what used to be two school districts are preparing to become one.
The newly consolidated Olustee-Eldorado School District in Jackson County is making a number of changes to the Olustee school campus that will serve all of the consolidated district's students in grades pre-K through 12th, following voter approval to consolidate the two formerly separate districts on March 7 in the face of declining enrollment for the two districts, along with decreases in state funding.
Students who formerly attended Eldorado schools will attend classes at Olustee and six teachers from the Eldorado district will be part of next year's faculty. The former Eldorado gym will be retained by the district to host basketball tournaments and other events.
There's been a lot of work to prepare for consolidation, Superintendent Gaylene Freeman said. "We've renovated two buidlings and switched around some classrooms."
Freeman said the consolidation with Eldorado will result in the now-consolidated district gaining about 65 students compared to the previous year's enrollment for the Olustee school district. Enrollment numbers for the two districts during the 2016-2017 school year totaled 130 at Olustee and 71 at Eldorado.
The two districts had five-member boards of trustees; the new district has seven trustees for the first two years and then the number will be reduced to a five-member, at-large school board.