“Tonight, your school is being born.”
And with those words, Gainesville Superintendent Merrianne Dyer welcomed a small group of parents to the inaugural community meeting of the future Mundy Mill school.
The purpose of the Thursday meeting was to share the timeline of the proposed new city school, along with beginning to establish a planning group to determine the magnet theme and name of the school.
“We have programs of choice,” Dyer said. “We don’t have school zones, so you can go to school in any part of the city. To give variety and to make our schools a little different from one another, we have magnet programs. That magnet is to pull students there because of a special interest.”
She gave some examples of magnet themes, including areas in technology, science and the arts.
“There are a lot of ideas, and certainly that is going to be a fun part of planning the school,” Dyer added.
The land for the new school is in the Mundy Mill community, near Oakwood. Dyer said the plan is to have the land “shovel ready” by March 2016, with an opening date of August 2017.
“There is a real need for (the new school),” said Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Delores Diaz. “All of our schools are suffering because they’re overcrowded, so we have a real need for this school.”
Parent Jessica Wilson was at the meeting with her 2-year-old daughter, Collins
“We actually live in the Mundy Mill subdivision, so we decided to come to the meeting and see what kind of future is going to be for our daughter,” she said. Wilson said she had signed up to be on the planning committee.
The next step is for that planning group to be established. Those members will first meet in January 2014 to discuss potential magnet programs and the organization of the school.
The application for funding from the state will be submitted by June 2014. Dyer said the system anticipates the total cost of the new school to be around $12 million, with approximately $5.5 million expected to be funded by the state.
“We will call for a sales tax referendum to help fund the school,” Dyer said. “That will allow us to fund it without having to raise the property tax. That is an option that we’ve used for (Gainesville Exploration Academy) and for other schools we’ve built. However, the board will plan other ways of funding it as well should that vote not pass.”