Seaside Neighborhood School: A model for all the rest

Seaside Neighborhood School
Deborah Wheeler/The Sun
Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 02:16 PM.

In 1997, South Walton had one middle school that served the area, and that was the old Bay School in Point Washington.

Locals wanted another option, but the county's school board, which was based in DeFuniak Springs, did not think another school was needed, as south of the Bay was mainly a tourist area.

However, locals did not agree and sought support from Seaside Town Founder Robert Davis as his town plan called for a neighborhood school.

Davis brought up the option for a charter school as the state legislature was nearing approval for charter schools in the state.

Seagrove resident and attorney Billy Buzzett was asked to become the proposed school's first president and lead in securing the charter. Buzzett applied and received a three-year charter. The school was one of the first three schools in the state to receive a charter.

However, it was mandated new schools be on the same schedule as the county's other schools, which were about to start.

"We met on Tuesday night and had to start school the next day to be on the same schedule," remembers Buzzett. "We signed contracts on the hood of my car."

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