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Gainesville board discusses putting guns in schools

POSTED: September 3, 2013 8:37 p.m.

The Gainesville City school system is considering placing guns inside three of its schools.

A discussion was held at the Tuesday work session of the school board about placing guns at Gainesville High School, Gainesville Middle School and Wood’s Mill Academy.

Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the Gainesville Police Department had initially approached the schools in April, shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

She added that the issue became more timely with an attempted school shooting at DeKalb’s McNair Discovery Learning Academy in August.

The rifles would be locked inside safes, kept in the school resource officer’s office at each school. It would be one gun per school, Dyer said.

Dyer said all school resource officers are currently armed, but said recent training showed a “sidearm would not be effective in long hallways or corridors.”

The issue has been tabled so school governance councils can meet with the police. The school board is expected to vote on the issue in October.

“I think we really need to respect the decision of those governance councils because they have parents, teachers and businesspeople on there,” Dyer said. “There are a lot of sides to the issue to look at. I’m glad we’re taking the time to think this through.”

Separately, the school board approved the first reading of the system’s Fiscal Year 2014 millage rate, set at 7.59. This is the same rate as the last fiscal year.

One mill equals $1 per each $1,000 in assessed property value. Property is assessed at 100 percent in Gainesville.

There will be a called meeting Sept. 19 at noon to give final approval for the rate.

The approved FY14 budget was calculated with the 7.59 millage rate. The total 2013-14 budget was set at $68.2 million.

It was good news all around, with board members restoring three of the 10 scheduled furlough days for teachers this school year.

Those dates are Oct. 15, Dec. 19 and Jan. 3. Students are only impacted by the December date, with the October and January days for staff only.

Chief Financial Officer Janet Allison said it would cost around $630,000 to add those days back in, only including salaries and benefits.

Additional days may be restored in the future.


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