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Gainesville schools superintendent expresses concern over state funding
Merrianne Dyer hopes for continued money for capital outlay programs and charter school systems
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Merrianne Dyer, superintendent of Gainesville City Schools, sees problems for school financing when the Georgia legislature goes into session in January.

“We were told that fiscal year 2012 is a financial cliff,” Dyer said at a Monday school board meeting, adding it marks the year federal stimulus money runs out.

With school funding uncertain, Dyer said the district plans to advocate  to keep funding at current levels for capital outlay programs and charter school systems.

Capital outlay money is used for construction or improvement projects. Dyer said there has been talk by legislators of cutbacks.

Gainesville receives an additional $100 per student each year to support charter system innovations, Dyer noted.

“We wanted to look at issues personal to us,” Dyer said of the Gainesville district.

The school board will discuss legislation in more depth in December and may add more advocacy priorities, she said.

In other business Monday, the school board looked at the progress of the Gainesville High School and Gainesville MiddleSchool enhancement periods, which were launched this year. Students can use the time to complete work that would have been recorded as a zero or to accelerate learning at their own pace in areas of interest.

Jamey Moore, director of standards and assessments for the school system, said since the enhancement period was introduced, the number of classes students have failed has gone from 907 in the first quarter of last year to 722. There are also 50 fewer students who are dealing with three or more class failures.

A survey at the high school showed students felt the enhancement period is the fourth “best thing in high school,” Moore added. Other top items on the survey included sports and friends.