It is unclear how many students and families were affected by the end of a tax-sharing agreement this month between Hall County Schools and Gainesville City Schools.
But it is known that at least several dozen students had to make tough choices about where to attend school this year, and about five students and their families chose to pay out-of-pocket tuition to remain enrolled in Hall schools.
The expiration of an agreement that kept funding and students flowing to Hall schools even when the city of Gainesville annexed unincorporated county property was estimated to affect upward of 150 students, according to Hall officials.
That would have cost Hall schools some $600,000 in tax revenue, according to officials. Actual revenue loss has not yet been determined.
Letters were sent to students and families potentially affected by the end of the agreement, which was supported by Gainesville officials but opposed by Hall officials.
“These letters detailed the fact that these students would be out-of-district and no longer eligible to attend the (Hall County School District),” Superintendent Will Schofield said. “We also told them they could apply for tuition status. Approximately five students applied and were accepted as tuition students.”
Tuition for out-of-district students costs $1,000 each academic year if the payment is made in full upfront; or $1,200 in two $600 installments paid over the course of about four months, according to information provided by Hall school officials.
Additional fees for out-of-district students taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams also apply.
“We have no way of knowing the exact number of students who ended up in Gainesville,” Schofield said.
It’s possible some moved out of both school district’s jurisdiction, now attend a private institution or even dropped out of school altogether.
But, according to Gainesville Superintendent Jeremy Williams, fewer than 60 new students enrolled in Gainesville City Schools this year as a result of the expiration of the tax-sharing agreement “when comparing the file (Hall) gave us to those that are currently enrolled.”
“The majority of the 60 are at the K-5 level,” he added.