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Wednesday July 29th, 2015 11:59AM

Gainesville School Board restores three teacher furlough days

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - Following final adoption of a millage rate for FY 2013 at Monday night's regular board meeting, the Gainesville City School Board restored three furlough days for teachers.

The Board decided last month to roll up the millage rate to 7.59 from 7.39 with the hope of restoring some of the 10 furlough days for Gainesville teachers.

Board members had talked in recent weeks about the possibility of adding back five paid days to teacher calendars, but they decided on three based on a projected fund balance of $4.48 million by the end of the fiscal year.

The restoration of the three days will mean dipping into the fund balance for about $600,000, according to Finance Director Janet Allison.

The three days that will be added back to the calendar will be December 20 and 21 of this year and May 21, 2013.

Board members may be able to reduce the number of furlough days if tax collections come in at a better rate than projected. The board plans to revisit the idea at its November work session.

CENTENNIAL PARENTS CONCERNED ABOUT OVERCROWDING

Three parents with children attending Centennial Arts Academy spoke to the Gainesville School Board Monday night about their concerns on overcrowding at the school.

Blair Hickerson, Laura Sumner and Shirley Columbini all approached the issue from different perspectives, but all three women said they wanted to know what plans are being made to correct overcrowding at the school.

Hickerson, in addition to have children at the school, also is a substitute teachers. She said she can see many students falling behind academically as they jam into classrooms. She told the board she understands that money and space are limited.

"But if we could find some extra help, some money somewhere to bring in some floaters, some people to pull those kids out that need a little bit of extra attention, and teach them in the hallway, teach them outside...," said Hickerson.

Laura Sumner came to the board as a representative of Centennial's PTA. She said money that has been raised through the PTA for Arts in Education programs cannot be used effectively because it's so difficult to juggle a large number of students in a limited space.

"We are restricted by the amount of kids that we can put in the gym for an assembly," said Sumner.

Columbini echoed concerns of the other two women and asked school board members when parents can expect to see a change in the crowded conditions.

Board Chair Willie Mitchell told the parents he had visited Centennial last week and he, and other board members, are well aware of the overcrowding. He assuted the parents the board is looking for solutions to the issue not just at Centennial, but also at other city schools experiencing similar problems.

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