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Gainesville Schools aims to fix last years graduation problems
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Gainesville City Schools officials are taking an early look at ways to resolve issues that hampered last May’s graduation ceremony at Gainesville High School.

The ceremony saw a record number of graduates, about 250, and a record number of school faculty in attendance, which led to overcrowding in the high school gym, Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

A large number of tickets were distributed to students last year, but tickets will be limited this year, Dyer said.

Another issue that led to some discord was the low sound from the PA system, the result of an electrical problem. And to quiet the sound of fans, the air conditioning was cut back, which heated up the gym, Dyer said.

“It was not as comfortable as we would like,” Dyer said.

High school staff are giving thought to an earlier start time for graduation this year, Dyer said. For a lower turnout, faculty will be encouraged to attend baccalaureate on Thursday, and to form a reception line outside of the gym on graduation day.

Dyer said last year, about 25 faculty members were asked to give up their seats to parents due to overcrowding.

Dyer said an additional plan is to expand the graduation stage, to give the ceremony a better flow.

School board member Maria Calkins agreed with the changes, but wanted to make sure the board didn’t take too much control of graduation.

“We want to make sure this comes from the high school,” Calkins said.

The high school will introduce a formal plan for graduation this November.

The school board also gave final approval Monday of its new millage rate. The 7.39 rate is 0.02 mills lower than last year, which equates to $2 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

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