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Hall, Gainesville school boards set for retreats
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GAINESVILLE — The Gainesville City and Hall County boards of education plan to meet separately Saturday for annual retreats, a time when board members typically focus on big-picture issues.

The Gainesville board will talk about its "mission, visions and beliefs," and Hall County will conduct Georgia School Boards Association training.

Both also will have hot-
button issues to discuss.

The Gainesville school board plans to meet from 8 a.m. to noon. A discussion and possible vote on its charter system application, which is due to the state by Tuesday, is set to begin at 11 a.m.

And the county board is scheduled to meet from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

A discussion of the district’s 1-cent sales tax program is set for 10 a.m.-noon. The board has scheduled talking about school attendance boundary lines from noon to 1 p.m.

Gainesville city is one of six school districts statewide so far that is pursuing the charter system status, which would give them more freedom to reform without stiff state regulations.

Officials have said that charter status also would mean validation of changes already made, including giving parents the choice of elementary, middle school and high school "academies" built on a specific style of instruction.

The system would receive $725,000 for becoming a charter system, officials have said.

"We’ve done the work. We want the money," Merrianne Dyer, principal of Fair Street International Baccalaureate Academy, quipped at the school board’s meeting Monday night.

The state Board of Education could consider the charter system applications in April.

The Hall County school board is looking to set attendance boundaries for Friendship, Spout Springs and the new Chestnut Mountain elementary schools in South Hall by February.

The new school is set to open in the fall.

At a public hearing in December, some parents talked about their concern about boundary changes at future schools, especially the new middle/high school in South Hall slated to open in the fall of 2009.

"We aren’t even going to begin to broach that (issue) until we get the elementary (redistricting) put to bed," Superintendent Will Schofield said Thursday.

"But what we’d probably like to (do) is set up a draft time line for middle school/high school (redistricting), so people can know what’s coming and what to expect," he said.