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Gainesville school officials will propose another education sales tax. Here are 6 things they want to know first
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Students and parents line up outside Gainesville Middle School Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 for open house and resource fair at the school. - photo by Scott Rogers

Officials with Gainesville City Schools want answers from the community to six questions about the future of the district.

They’ll seek that input during four sessions this month on a proposed new round of a one-penny sales tax to fund school renovation and building projects.

Superintendent Jeremy Williams said Monday, Oct. 1, that the intent of the sessions is to receive feedback from students, parents and the community about the future they envision for Gainesville elementary, middle and high schools as enrollment continues to grow.

School leaders plan to address six main questions.

  1. Sixth grade academy: With six elementary schools feeding one sixth grade at Gainesville Middle School, student identity and relationships are important. Would a sixth-grade academy strengthen, weaken or make no difference in student academics and behavior?

  2. New middle school: Discuss the educational advantages and disadvantages to maintaining one middle school or moving to two middle schools.

  3. New high school: Discuss the educational advantages and disadvantages to maintaining one high school or moving to two high schools.

  4. New sixth-12th school: Discuss the educational advantages and disadvantages to maintaining all students together in grades sixth through 12th vs. an additional, separate sixth-12th campus.

  5. Eighth/ninth grades and new Gainesville High School: Discuss the educational advantages and disadvantages to transition the current Gainesville High School campus to an eighth-ninth grade academy and a new, state-of-the-art Gainesville High campus.

  6. Career academy: Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to a standalone career academy vs. embedding workforce development in a traditional setting. What skills do you want our graduates to have when they receive their diploma?


Education sales tax listening sessions

What: Gainesville City Schools takes public comment on E-SPLOST

When and where:

  • 10 a.m. Oct. 10, Mundy Mill Knowledge Academy community room, 4260 Millside Parkway

  • 6 p.m. Oct. 16, Gainesville Middle School cafeteria, 1581 Community Way

  • 10 a.m. Oct. 24, Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St.

  • 6 p.m. Oct. 30, Gainesville High School cafeteria, 830 Century Place

More info: Visit www.gcssk12.net

The questions are designed to be open-ended to solicit input and ideas through small breakout groups at each session, with students, parents, teachers and community members helping to identify spending priorities.

The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education will go before voters in 2020.

The current E-SPLOST, which was approved in 2015 with 74 percent of voter support, is projected to bring in $6 million to $7 million annually for Gainesville City Schools over the five-year life of the tax (until 2022). The first collections began last fall.

The school system has allocated this revenue to pay off construction of the Mundy Mill Academy and new Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy, among other things.

Gainesville City Schools received more than $29 million total during the previous round of E-SPLOST that ended last year, which rebuilt the Fair Street School and paid for re-roofing work at three schools and emergency systems upgrades.

With just one high school and middle school, school board officials said the focus of the next round of E-SPLOST would likely be on facilitating growth in grades sixth through 12th.

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