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Road closings change 2 school bus stops
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Gainesville and Hall County schools will commence as usual, although some neighboring school districts canceled classes today,

Forsyth and Gwinnett county schools are closed today due to recent rains.

As of Monday evening, only two local bus routes will be changed this morning.

Hall County students typically picked up on Brown Street will meet the bus a few blocks away from their normal stop at the intersection of Brown Street and Garden Boulevard, said Hall County schools transportation director Jewel Armour.

The temporary bus stop change was first used Monday afternoon when dropping off about a dozen students after school.

Brown Street was washed out and remains unusable, according to local officials.

Only the Gainesville bus stop on Lakeshore Circle changed this morning, said Gainesville schools transportation director Jerry Castleberry.

He said a handful of students were dropped off at a temporary bus stop nearby Monday afternoon because of a fallen tree that damaged two power poles.

Those students will be picked up today at the intersection of Lakeshore Place and Lakeshore Circle, he said.

While roads are expected to be clear enough for buses to run this morning, the heavy rain has seeped into five Gainesville schools.

Gainesville schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the roofs of Fair Street IB World School, Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy and Wood’s Mill Academy have "significant leaking." Leaky roofs also are a problem in modular units at Centennial Arts Academy and the old gym at Gainesville High, she said.

Dyer said at Fair Street, a maintenance crew spent the night keeping a close watch on standing water approaching an electrical panel. She said electrical experts were brought in Monday to advise the crew on how to safely proceed. The crew used a dry vacuum to soak up water to keep the electrical room dry and students safe.

Dyer said the five schools are in need of major roof repairs or replacements, but funds for all of the costly repairs will not be available until 2012 if voters approve a special 1 cent sales tax in 2011. She said an upcoming meeting of the system’s charter school governing council aims to devise a plan to patch the roofs using available resources until major repairs can be funded in 2012.

"The rain has really caused us some unexpected expenses, and we’re going to have to get with parents and set some priorities," Dyer said.

She estimated roof repairs will cost $700,000 at Enota, $500,000 at Fair Street and $964,000 at Wood’s Mill Academy. Repairs are estimated to cost $400,000 at Centennial and $130,000 at the high school’s old gym.

Keith Vincent, maintenance manager for the school system, said Fair Street has the most leaks, but depending on rainfall, other schools may have more serious damage.

When school board member Sammy Smith asked Vincent at the school board meeting Monday how the leaks have grown to such a big problem, Vincent told the board during his two years working for the system, he’s informed the board of the problems, but the board has not allocated the funding for repairs.

"The money that’s being spent, has to be spent in the right spot," Vincent told the board. "We bring these issues to you, and we try our best to keep these kids in a dry comfortable spot."

The roof issues will be discussed at the system’s next charter school governance council meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 6 at the central office board room located at 508 Oak St.

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