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Okaloosa School Board Candidates 2024

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Parker Destin

Former Destin Council and Current MBBA Member
Click for more info on Parker

David Schmidt

Fort Walton Beach City Councilperson
Click for more info on David

The Okaloosa County School Board has two main responsibilities: putting together the school district’s budget (which is over $500 million!) and developing policies for the district to follow.Β 

The board comprises five elected school board members who represent geographic areas of the county. All registered Okaloosa County voters go to the polls (in August) to vote forΒ allΒ of these elections.Β 

Start the process to register to vote here.Β 

Marti Gardner, the incumbent school board member for District Two, has not filed for re-election in this race. Gardner’s decision not to seek reelection would likely mean that the school board race will come down to two candidates, Parker Destin (a local businessman) and David Schmidt (An alternative school principal).Β 

Currently, the school board comprises four former teachers and administrators and one retired business community member. Parker Destin argues that his business acumen and longstanding relationships in the community make him the better man for the job. At the same time, David Schmidt says his education bona fides and the fact his own children will be in the school system while he would serve a term in office (he’d be the only person on the board with children in the school system) make him the best choice.Β 

The Okaloosa County School System comprises 38 elementary, middle, high, and combined schools. The system also has charters for five charter schools within the community. Seven of those schools (including one charter school) are in the Niceville-Valparaiso-Eglin Air Force Base Area.Β 

Okaloosa County is rated as an “A” district by the Florida Department of Education – and has been for two decades. Every school in the Niceville-Valparaiso area received an individual school rating of an A, except the Lewis School, which also serves as a hub for the center of the county when it comes to special needs education. In addition, Eglin, Plew, Edge, Bluewater, Ruckel, Niceville and Collegiate were all named to the Florida Department of Educations list ofΒ Schools of Excellence.Β 

What Does An Okaloosa County School Board Member Do?

The Okaloosa County School Board in Florida holds the mandate to supervise the public education system in Okaloosa County. Playing a pivotal role, the board is tasked with establishing policies, making informed decisions, and offering guidance to ensure the optimal operation of the county’s public schools. Here are the primary responsibilities entrusted to the Okaloosa County School Board:

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