GAINESVILLE - The Superintendent of Gainesville City Schools says the plan to adjust and realign school attendance zones across the district is ready for presentation to the Board of Education.
Dr. Jeremy Williams said following the second of two public informational meetings, “On Monday (February 5), when we go, we’ll be taking this forward, depending how these conversations go the next thirty minutes or so.
Williams was referring to the questions his staff was fielding from parents at the end of the Tuesday (second of two) meeting held at Centennial Arts Academy.
“We feel pretty comfortable right with what we have based on the numbers,” Williams said.
The attendance at Tuesday's meeting was less than half of the first meeting held last Thursday at the Gainesville Exploration Academy.
According to Williams most of the conversations he and his staff have had regarding the new attendance zones are personalized, that is, parents are confused looking at the attendance zone maps and ask what school zone their specific residence is in.
Williams added that “very few” people had taken advantage of the opportunity to post comments or questions online at the system’s website, something mentioned frequently at the first informational meeting held last week.
The chief reason for the adjustment to the attendance zones is the unequal distribution of nearly 3,000 students added to the school district over the past decade. At present some elementary schools are over capacity while others have too few students.
“We know that we need to get the message out there a little bit more to make sure people understand that they may be zoned for one school but they still get to choose within that cluster a different school,” Williams said.
Desiree Gilmore has two special needs children and was concerned that her youngest would need to adjust to a new campus, something she felt could be a challenge for her son Reece.
Gilmore said after the meeting that she understood the challenge facing administration. “They’re still trying to figure out what they are going to do with special-ed contained classes. My concern is how our kids are going to react when they get to a different environment.”
Letters detailing the schools available for each child in the system will be sent to their address on record in approximately two weeks according to school administrators.