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Tax distribution tops Gainesville schools legislative wish list
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-- The next superintendent for Gainesville City Schools is expected to be announced Jan. 8.

“The (search) produced 26 applicants from five states,” said school board member Sammy Smith. “Most were Georgians.” 

As the school board is currently in the process of conducting interviews, further information could not be provided.

The next superintendent will replace Merrianne Dyer, who has announced she will retire at the end of this current school year.

-- A new cross-country trail at Gainesville High School is one step closer to becoming a reality, with the Gainesville board of education voting to move forward with construction.

The Gainesville Athletic Club will pay the estimated $6,900 for construction, along with $1,420 for fencing in certain areas. Services will be provided by Hulsey Tree Service and Harrison Fence Co.

Dyer said construction will begin “as soon as possible” — plans are to have the trail in place by the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.

Carly Sharec

A better way to distribute tax dollars is at the top of the Gainesville City Schools wish list for the upcoming state legislative session.

“What we’re asking the legislature to do ... is to require that local option sales tax for education would be divided by (full-time equivalent), or enrollment (numbers),” Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

Currently, Gainesville Schools, the Hall County School District and Buford City Schools must agree on when the tax should come up for a vote and how the money will be divided.

According to Dyer, Buford has asked to receive a set amount of money rather than divide tax monies by number of students.

“Buford has made a proposal of how much they would accept, or how much they would need to have in order to participate, and if we did not agree with that, then they would not agree to have a referendum (on the ballot),” Dyer said. “They do this with Gwinnett County as well.”

Gainesville school board members think it’s more fair to divide the money by number of students.

“I feel as if that’s a lot of money for us, especially because we are still needing to build new schools,” Chairwoman Maria Calkins said at Monday’s work session. “We need to (bring this up) every year until we get equal, fair dollars for each of our children.”

The Georgia legislative session convenes Jan. 13, 2014. Gainesville school leaders have the opportunity to present their thoughts on this issue to the local legislative delegation at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues Breakfast on Dec. 12.

Dyer said this issue passed the state Senate last year, but never made it to a vote in the Georgia House of Representatives.

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