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Gainesville school board lists its priorities for legislators
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Gainesville school board officers

The Gainesville City Board of Education approved its new 2015 officers Monday at its meeting:

Chairwoman: Dr. Delores Diaz

Vice chairman: Brett Mercer

Treasurer: Willie Mitchell

Gainesville City Schools has a list of issues it wants its legislators to consider.

The Board of Education approved a letter listing six priority concerns for the 2015 General Assembly, which will be sent to legislators prior to the session.

“Our board has identified some legislative priorities that they would like to make sure our legislators are aware of when they go into the legislative session,” Superintendent Dr. Wanda Creel said. “These are components that, as our legislators make decisions, our board wants them to know they feel like are important.”

The first item is support of the Georgia Common Core Standards, and Creel said the board is in full support of the standards.

“As far the revisions that have been recommended by the state, we are in support of those changes as long as we continue to maintain the utilization of Common Core,” she said.

The board also hopes for legislation to ensure future education special purpose local option sales tax collections are allocated among participating systems on a per-student basis.

Creel said last year’s 1 percent E-SPLOST helped pay for construction of the new Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School. It also funded other projects, including roofing and repairs for multiple schools in the system.

Funding for student growth through midterms is another major priority for a growing system such as Gainesville, which annually sees additional students enroll throughout the first several weeks of school.

The board asked legislators to consider changes to capital outlay fund requirements, and to continue funding charter systems.

Creel said the changes to capital outlay could provide flexibility and better efficiencies for school districts.

“These are items we discussed in our other meetings about including as our legislative priorities,” Creel said.

The board’s final concern for state legislators asks them to keep school boards in mind during the session.

“Prior to any legislative action regarding public schools, consider the fiscal impact to the local boards of education,” Creel said.

The list of items is short, but board Chairwoman Maria Calkins said she’s glad the list is brief and to the point.

“They will definitely see what is important to us,” Calkins said.

The 2015 General Assembly begins Jan. 12. 

In other business, the board canceled the Dec. 15 meeting, approving all necessary items Monday at the meeting.