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Making up snow days among school boards agenda items
Officials taking parent, staff input after losing a week of classes
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School board meetings

Gainesville City Schools
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: 508 Oak St. NW, Gainesville

Hall County Schools
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: 711 Green St., Gainesville

A few big topics await local school board members tonight, including options for making up snow days.

Both the Gainesville and Hall County school systems lost a week's worth of classes because of snowfall and icy roadways last week. School officials are taking parent and staff input this week and expect to announce a finalized plan later this month.

The Hall County school board meeting was a casualty of the snowstorm, as it was originally planned for Jan. 11. School board members instead will be sworn in tonight, including existing board members Brian Sloan and Sam Chapman and new member Bill Thompson.

Thompson is anticipated to be an "excellent addition" to the board, Hall County spokesman Gordon Higgins said. He cited Thompson's 30 years of experience as a Hall County educator and principal.

He retired in 2009 as principal at Chestatee High School.

"He'll come well informed about the culture of the school system and the culture of the community," Higgins said.

A new board chairman also will be selected at tonight's meeting. After 12-years on the school board, former chairman Richard Higgins lost a bid last summer for another term.

At tonight's Gainesville meeting, the system will be recognized for its work with students with disabilities.

This year, the district met several state targets for that group of students, including reducing dropout rates and boosting achievement on graduation tests in math and English.

"It's the most challenging group to improve because of the disabilities they have," Gainesville Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said. "Our overall achievement is highly dependent on that group doing well."

Hall County's board meets at 5 p.m. and Gainesville's at 7 p.m. Public comment is taken at the beginning of each meeting.

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