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City school system meets to discuss calendar, budget cuts
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Gainesville City Schools meeting

What: To discuss changing the 2010-2011 school calendar in reaction to budget cuts

When: 11:30 a.m. Wednesday

Where: Gainesville City Schools office, 508 Oak St., Gainesville

Gainesville City Schools has called a meeting Wednesday to discuss the system’s calendar for next school year.

Officials previously approved a calendar for the 2010-2011 school year, but are reconsidering it after state officials announced budget cuts that are the equivalent of about 10 days, Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

“We don’t want to cut too many days, but we want to be sure that we don’t cut too few and go right back into a deficit,” Dyer said.
School systems around the state started scrambling mid-year to adjust their budgets after the state reduced funding contributions.

Locally, the city system lost about $5 million and Hall County Schools, a larger system, lost about $22 million.

But city system officials recently announced an anticipated fund balance of $3.3 million for the end of this fiscal year, which concludes June 30.

“Every employee in this school system has played a role in us coming back from the deficit,” said David Syfan, city school board chairman. “The board recognizes and appreciates that very much.”

Syfan added that the balance will help in the coming fiscal year as budget cuts could reach 13 or 14 percent. Cuts this year were about 11 percent, he said.

“Having a balance will allow us to keep as many people employed as possible and to keep class sizes as reasonable as possible,” Syfan said.

Having a fund balance also will help the system stay afloat in upcoming years. If the system doesn’t adjust the calendar and its spending, staff members anticipate the balance would drop to about $700,000 by the end of fiscal 2011.

“We’ve been warned that the next two fiscal years will be very similar to (this one),” Dyer said. “Because of that, we can’t dip into that balance too much. Some systems have cut as many as 20 days. We aren’t contemplating anything like that, but I can tell you now that we cannot do the (traditional) 190 (teacher calendar).”

The meeting is set for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the system’s central office on Oak Street.