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Gainesville school system may approve new facilities plan
Dyer says city's high school is 'at capacity'
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Gainesville Board of Education meeting

When: 6 tonight
Where: Gainesville City Schools Board Office, 508 Oak St., Gainesville
Contact: 770-536-5275

The Gainesville City Schools Board of Education completed a five-year facility plan in 2010, but recent developments have the board looking at creating a new one this year.

The board plans to discuss a new plan at its meeting tonight.

Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said it was necessary to design a second facility plan for two reasons.

First, the school board acquired Bobby Gruhn Field in July and 17 acres on Mundy Mill Road in April.

Second, the board phased out the existing Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School building and added another school to the Wood's Mill Academy campus.

The new facility plan, which takes effect in 2012, will allow the school board to apply for state funding for these properties and others included in the 2010 plan, Dyer said.

"It's important because it reviews all of your existing property and how you use them," she said.

The facility plans also demonstrate where school systems have their highest need. In Gainesville's case, that's elementary and high school classrooms.

Need is also based on the number of students and permanent classrooms. Modular classrooms are not considered permanent for the facility plan.

"We're looking forward for the next five years," she said. "You've got to prepare to be able to get your state funding by developing the plan and sticking to it."

Facility plans are the state's method of keeping school districts from counting their chickens before they hatch, Dyer said.

"The plan is a way to ensure that school districts use funds in a way that has been approved by the state Board of Education."

The money Gainesville schools hope to be getting will be used to help fund a school on the Mundy Mill Road property and either a new high school or renovations to Gainesville High School. Dyer said the Wood's Mill Academy campus can assist with high school crowding.

"Our high school is at capacity. The Gainesville city board right now is committed to keeping one high school," Dyer said. "Going into this facility plan we're in an excellent position because we don't need property. We're using existing land we have now to meet the needs of growth."

Also at tonight's meeting, the board is looking to get its district Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccreditation a year early. Board members will also re-evaluate fundraising proposals from schools. Some proposals were tabled earlier this summer because board members felt schools were asking to sell too many unhealthy beverages and food.

The big-ticket item not on the agenda is redistricting.

The school board met Aug. 4 to create a map to propose instead of the one Gainesville City Council made in July. The meeting was adjourned before all the kinks could be worked out, but board members were able to show a completed map at the Aug. 11 City Council meeting.

"There's a possibility (redistricting) will be discussed, but no action will be taken tonight," Dyer said.