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Gainesville school board updates policies
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Gainesville City Schools Board of Education took the opportunity Monday to hear an update on the system’s finances and update several of its policies.

According to system chief financial officer Janet Allison, the city system has received about 8 percent less than what it should have, based on the state’s funding formula. Instead of the $27.8 million the system expected to receive this fiscal year, it has only received about $25.5 million.

“These cuts are astounding,” system Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

The state’s funding cuts have more than tripled since fiscal year 2008. That year, the system lost about $355,000. In fiscal 2009, the system lost more than $1.8 million, and by fiscal 2011, officials project the coffers will be down another $4 million.

“We’ve been forewarned that there could be more (state funding) cuts around the end of September or beginning of October, if (tax revenue doesn’t) start to pick up,” Dyer said.

“So we’re considering that also as we budget for next school year.”

System staff also reviewed a few policy changes.

Board Chairman David Syfan suggested the system’s policy on students’ use of electronic devices be amended to prohibit a user from video recording or photographing another individual without the party’s consent.

During the meeting, the group also was brought up to speed on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test being administered this week in area elementary and middle schools. Dyer said someone from the system’s central office will be at each school to supervise the testing.

Staff also discussed changing wording of certain policies.

“(The instructional program philosophy) seems very male centric in the way that it is stated,” board Chairman David Syfan said. “I would like to see us take a shot at rewriting it in a more inclusive (gender-neutral) manner.”