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Sunday February 14th, 2016 12:06PM

More students enroll in Gainesville

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Gainesville School Board members learned Monday night that school system enrollment is increasing according to Chief Achievement and Accountability Officer Priscilla Collins.<br /> <br /> "As you can see we've increased about 373 students overall," Collins said.<br /> <br /> Collins added the biggest part of that growth was at Gainesville High School and Gainesville Exploration Academy.<br /> <br /> Superintendent Wanda Creel said she and the system staff plan to keep class sizes as small as possible.<br /> <br /> "We've been trying to monitor that closely," Dr. Creel said.<br /> <br /> TEST SCORES CHANGING<br /> <br /> Coming changes in student testing are going to change how students score on those tests next year in Gainesville Schools.<br /> <br /> Board member Brett Mercer said he wants to make sure parents understand that when they see possible lower test scores.<br /> <br /> "We've taught our children to do the right thing in multiple choice but now these are open ended questions," Mercer said. "The testing's going to be different and the state believes the scores will be a lot less."<br /> <br /> Chief Academic Officer Sarah Bell said the system plans to work with parents and teachers to help understand what testing expectations are.<br /> <br /> "We've been receiving more information from the Department of Education and we knew there would be changes but were not certain on what those changes would be," Bell said. "Certainly we don't want to incite fear; we are working with our teachers and families to help them understand more about what the expectations are. We feel confident that even though our teachers and students have a learning curve we will do well."<br /> <br /> MILLAGE RATE GETS FINAL YES<br /> <br /> Gainesville School Board members gave final unanimous approval to a lower tax mill rate that means a no tax increase budget for FY 2015 for city school tax payers. Chief Financial Officer Janet Allison added that it also means taxes are dropping on assessed property.<br /> <br /> Allison said the millage rate dropped from 7.59 to 7.48 mills because of a tight budget and an improving economy that expanded the tax digest.<br /> <br /> By law City Council must also approve the lower millage rate as a formality to permit issuance of tax bills.
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