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Gainesville schools to get Thanksgiving week off
Furlough extends break to 7 days for students, teachers
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The Gainesville City Schools Board of Education has made state mandated furlough days more palatable for teachers, students and parents alike.

The board voted during its meeting Monday to extend the Thanksgiving holidays to take up two of the state-required, unpaid days off for teachers. Now both teachers and students will be on vacation for the entire week of Thanksgiving, instead of just the Wednesday through Friday as previously planned.

“We conducted a survey in the community and the over-whelming response was to extend the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Merrianne Dyer, system superintendent. “We will use the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving as two of the furlough days.”

The third furlough day will take place in May, eliminating one of the post-planning days for teachers.

During the meeting, the board also received an update on how much money the system has saved by implementing an energy savings program.

“From December 2008 through May 2009, this system has saved $196,983,” said David Shumake, program manager. “That is about a 29.9 percent cost savings from what the system would have spent normally.”

Shumake attributes the program’s success to system staff helping to eliminate energy waste.

During the meeting, the group also recognized several organizations and individuals, including 2009 Pioneer RESA Young Authors winners Pramoda Karnati, William Morris and Taylor Hall.

The group also recognized the 1956 and 1957 Fairstreet Tigers football teams for winning state championship titles. Both Dyer and Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras read proclamations honoring the teams.

“In Dec. 1956, the Fairstreet Tigers won the first state (football) title in the school’s history,” Figueras said. In honor of the groups’ achievements, Figueras said that the first weekend of September 2009 would be Fairstreet Tigers weekend, which coincides with a class reunion for graduates of the school.

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