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Thursday February 11th, 2016 2:15PM

State money allows Hall Co. School District to restore full calendar

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - With the promise of additional funding from the state of Georgia, the Hall County School Board voted Monday afternoon to restore the full instructional calendar for the upcoming school year.

The vote means Hall County public school students will attend classes for 180 days and teachers will be paid for a 190-day calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

Board Member Brian Sloan made the motion, reminding his fellow board members of the day several years ago when budget cuts forced principals to lay off dozens of teachers across the district. He called it Black Friday.

"It was the day several years ago when we saw the heavy, heavy budget cuts coming," said Sloan. "It was the day when over 100 teachers were non-renewed and most everybody in the school system remembers it."

In his state of the budget address earlier this month, Governor Nathan Deal proposed an increase of $547 million dollars in education funding for the coming year, and with that proposal, Sloan said the Hall County Board immediately moved toward restoration of a full instructional calendar.

"I didn't think we should sit on it one bit. I think we needed to make the motion in a hurry [and] get the information out to the teachers."

Sloan said he was not certain of the dollar amount that would be coming to the Hall County School District, but he said both he and Superintendent Will Schofield had spoken with the governor and were assured that increased education funding would be approved by the legislature.

"He [Governor Deal] is very confident and it seems like those around him are very confident that the kinks have been ironed out," said Sloan.

The days that were added back to the 2014-15 calendar were one day in October and two days in December of 2014, as well as one day in March of 2015.

Here are the changes that were made to the calendar Monday:

Two Teacher Work Days Added: December 22 and February 16
Two Teacher Works Days Changed: From May 26&27 to May 21&22
One Student Instruction Day added: March 13
Last Day for Students Changed: From May 20 to May 22

Hall School Board moves closer to becoming universal system of choice

The Hall County School District is one step closer to becoming a system of universal choice. Right now, 22 schools out of 33 are considered schools of choice.

Superintendent Will Schofield said the board has been working toward the designation for nine years.

"I think what is transformationally different for our district is that for the first time in 35 years, students from outside of the Hall County School District can apply, pay tuition and come into our school district if we have space," said Schofield.

With schools of choice, parents in the Hall County District are allowed to apply to any school of choice in the system and have their child attend that school as long as there is room.

While all board members favored the idea of moving forward with making the entire district one of universal choice, Board Chairman Nath Morris asked that the board have more details on the logistics of such a move before making a final vote.

Schofield promised to provide that information for the board before the February 10 work session.
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