The Okaloosa County School District made history Monday night, voting 5-0 to approve the charter school contract for the first high school in Destin’s history.

NICEVILLE – With all of the vetting done beforehand, Monday night’s vote by the Okaloosa County School District to approve the contract for a proposed charter high school in Destin was really just a formality.


It boiled down to, quite literally, three lines in a list of agenda items, followed by a few comments by the school board and a vote that sailed through, 5-0.


The irony in the three lines in the agenda wasn’t lost on Destin City Council member and Destin School Inc. President Prebble Ramswell.


"It really is the culmination of years of work, actually three years," Ramswell said. "Three years of effort and support from our community, but especially from our board. It just pulls us so much closer to making (the school) a reality."


Ramswell was joined by a half-dozen members of the community – volunteers and members of the board – for Monday’s vote. It was the final step in making Destin High School – the first high school in the city’s history – an official member of the OCSD. Classes are scheduled to start for grades 9-10 in August 2020.


The OCSD board took a moment to praise Destin School Inc.’s 450-page contract and the preparation done on both ends to make sure it met Florida’s standard for charter schools.


"Having the support of the school district in addition to the support of the community means the world," Ramswell said. "It really puts us just that much closer to opening the doors next year."


In July, Destin High Inc. began the process of negotiating the purchase of Destin United Methodist Church (200 Beach Drive) to be its campus – an 8.34-acre property with an asking price of $12.9 million.


Tallahassee-based consulting firm Collaborative Educational Network will begin its search for Destin High’s first principal this week. The school will expand to include grades 9-11 in 2021-2022 and grades 9-12 in 2022-2023. A mascot, logo and school colors will be announced soon.


Destin School Inc. volunteer and fundraising committee member Amanda Schrand was among those at Monday night’s meeting. Schrand’s two daughters attend Destin Middle School and Destin Elementary School.


"With all of the commutes and bridges and construction in this area, keeping (our kids) close to home is very important to our family," Schrand said. "I think my daughters already have a lot of pride in being able to stay in Destin for high school. I don’t think they quite understand everything that’s gone into this (vote), but they’ve followed the steps in the process as far as the renderings and picking the location, so it’s been a special thing for all of us."