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Gainesville City Schools adds March 17 as makeup day
Survey to determine preference of April 4 or a Saturday to recoup time lost to winter weather
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Wood’s Mill Academy will remain a separate entity for the 2014-15 school year, as approved by Gainesville school board members at Monday’s meeting. 

The original proposal was to no longer code Wood’s Mill as a separate school at the state level, but instead declare those students as either Gainesville High or Gainesville Middle students, depending on grade level. 

Superintendent Merrianne Dyer has said previously the coding change would not have changed how the school operates, but the board approved continuing to maintain separate coding for those students in the 2015 fiscal year.

Carly Sharec

One thing students have to know when they’re playing in the snow instead of in class: Chances are, they’re going to have to make up those missed days.

Gainesville students are now on notice they must be in class March 17, and possibly April 4.

“As a charter system, we do not have to make up days,” Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said. “We also are ahead of most of the rest of the schools in terms of we haven’t missed as many days. But it might snow again in February.”

School board members approved March 17 as an instructional day at the board’s Monday meeting, and suggested a survey be taken about whether or not the community would prefer a makeup day on April 4, a Friday, or on a Saturday.

Board member Willie Mitchell said people may already have travel plans for that day, since it is the Friday before spring break week.

“I would like to have data to see if people are showing up for those (rescheduled) days,” he said. “And maybe also do a survey to offer the option of a Saturday.”

A survey of that preference would likely be conducted via phone, Dyer said, and is expected to be completed by the end of this week. She said Gainesville Middle teachers and parents had said earlier they would prefer a Saturday makeup day.

“Many of our teachers have contacted us, or me, over the snow and expressed concern (over) the days before (the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests),” Dyer said. “The state board (of education) may move the testing window back.”

She said there would be more direction from the state level after Thursday’s state board meeting.

“I don’t disagree with the thought,” board member Sammy Smith said about surveying parents and teachers on the possibility of school on a Saturday. “With this much notice, however, I don’t think it is a crisis for a family that intends to travel (on April 4).”

“All I’m asking is for choice,” Mitchell replied.

Classes were canceled four days in January, as well as four in February. Dyer said some of the days the board reinstated as full school days from previously scheduled furlough time would cancel the effects of time missed for three of those days.

Both the March and April dates were originally scheduled as holidays. Monday was also a planned student holiday, but ended up being a full instructional day following the school system closing four days last week due to snow and icy road conditions.

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