Monday January 21st, 2019 11:18PM

Gainesville City Schools approves updated zoning and clusters

By Alyson Shields Reporter

The Gainesville City School system approved new attendance zoning, an adjustment for about 12 percent of the families in the school system.
"Maximum was 12 percent, but that also included families who were already transporting their child from one school to the next. By the time we back those numbers out, you're looking between six and eight percent of kindergarten through eighth grade families," Superintendent Jeremy Williams said.

Williams said the public feedback meetings last month resulted in about 250 people sharing information with the school system. "The whole purpose of attendance zones and looking at clusters is so we're built not just for now, but for the future."
Williams said at the Monday night meeting that the Catalina neighborhood would see the biggest shift, moving from Gainesville Exploration Academy to Mundy Mill. Right now, choice forms will go out and staff will confirm residency for families in the school system and confirm or put them in the correct cluster. As for the zones, the new plan will remain indefinitely but will be reviewed at the end of each year to see if any changes have been made.
The board also agreed to have a joint meeting with the Gainesville City Council at the Monday night meeting.

Board Chair John Filson said the last time they met with city council was about two years ago, when he first joined the board. "We had a sit down meeting, I believe it was a meeting, and it was very productive. A great opportunity to just share concerns and looking at strategic planning in the future and fostering that partnership with the city." 
"This is obviously the first time for me to do it," said Williams. "But we're looking forward to meeting with the city council, just from what they see from their standpoint and moving forward, and us talking about how it impacts us from the school system, making sure we're all on the same page."

Both Williams and Filson agreed the meeting's goal was to touch base with the city council and maintain a working relationship. The meeting will be held on February 28 at 6 p.m. at Gainesville City Hall in suite 303.
Before the official meeting began, the board also recognized district science fair finalists, the Teachers of the Year for each school and the district, and recognized new community member Barry Stinson for his "mini-grant" donations to five teachers.
And, the honorary diploma of Marvin Orenstein was ceremonially returned to the school system. Orenstein received the first honorary diploma from Gainesville High School in the early 2000s and it was displayed in his store, Gem Jewelry on the square, after his death in 2012 and until the store closed at the end of 2017. His daughters decided to return the diploma to the school system for display.

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