GCPS Board Meeting Summary for October 12, 2000

          The following are highlights of the October 12, 2000, Gwinnett County Board of Education Meeting.
          The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next meeting.

          Board Honors Harmony Elementary Art Teacher,
          • Patricia Spencer of Harmony Elementary was recognized for earning the National Award of Excellence from the Council for Art Education. Ms. Spencer was honored by the council for her leadership in Georgia's "Youth Art Month" program in recent years.
          • The Board thanked retiring Director of the School Nutrition Program Lilla May Hunsley for her 16 years of service to Gwinnett County Public Schools. Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks said in honoring Ms. Hunsley, "Gwinnett is recognized throughout the state for excellence in school food service and much of the credit is due to Ms. Hunsley's efforts." Ms. Hunsley retires at the end of October.

            School System Determines Legislative Priorities for 2001
            Each year, GCPS develops a list of legislative priorities for the next General Assembly session. This is one way the school system works to keep the Georgia legislature abreast of issues and positions key to the school system. The state's new education reform law provided a number of changes to the state's Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula. Many of these changes include enhancements directed to the classroom. However, it is important to continue to communicate the need for continued funding and additional support for issues that are critical to local schools. The Board unanimously approved the following 2001 Legislative Priorities.
            Significant Issues:
            • Continue funding English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in the current way.
            • Increase funding for Maintenance and Operations.
            • Adjust Training and Experience funding to reflect current staff at each school.
            • Continue funding for 20 additional days for 10 percent of student enrollment, allowing local flexibility in determining the best way to assist low-performing students.
            • Consider improvements in the area of funding sick leave for teacher substitutes.
            • Fund planning time for teachers in all grade levels.
            • Revise current funding formula for transportation. Gwinnett currently funds 84 percent of student transportation costs.
            • Provide additional flexibility in the use of lottery funds to allow for teacher training, computer supplies and maintenance and wiring of facilities.
            • Continue Capital Outlay funding for school systems with exceptional growth.
            • Continue cost-of-living salary improvements and consider adding additional longevity steps to the state salary schedule for teachers. The state funds 19 steps and Gwinnett has 25 steps. (The additional six steps are locally funded.)
            • Increase retirement benefits for bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians.
            • Provide flexibility to hire retirees to meet shortages of teachers.
              Some of the issues on the list are standing issues, meaning they have remained on the list for a number of years. Continuing Positions include:
              • Maintain local control of public education.
              • Continue to allow decisions on curriculum matters to be made by local boards of education and the State Board of Education.
              • Resist efforts to provide contracts for classified employees.
              • Oppose collective bargaining.
                Gwinnett Technical College Priorities address funding needed for staff and equipment to support technology-based instruction, and to expand its high-end computer programs and initiate a new digital communications program.

                Board of Education Receives Update on Driver Education and Community Education Programs
                Charles Meagher, coordinator of athletics, student activities, and community schools, provided Board members with an overview of several programs with which he works. Highlights of his report included:
                • Community Schools: Almost 5,000 activities involving close to 700,000 participants were conducted in Gwinnett schools after-hours under the supervision of the Community Schools Program during the 1999-2000 school year. An additional 588 activities serving over 77,000 participants took place during the summer. In addition to coordinating the activities, the Community Schools Program offered 1,329 classes, which were attended by almost 27,000 citizens during the same time period. The Community School Program is a joint venture of the Gwinnett County Board of Education and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.
                • Driver's Education: Driver's education has been offered through the Community Schools Program in Gwinnett for the last 20 years. Annually, about one-third of the sophomore class is able to take the course. Demand for the classes is high among students, but finding and hiring qualified teachers and purchasing the vehicles make it difficult to expand the program. Fees charged for the driver's education course fund the program, not taxpayer dollars. From January 1999 to the present, 3,909 students have taken driver's education through the community schools. The course consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training.
                • Extracurricular Activities: Almost 13,000 students participated in extracurricular activities in 1999-2000, representing over half of the high school student body. Of those, 9,243 students participated in competitive activities.

                  Board Approves Leadership Appointments
                    Elizabeth Mills
                    Kenneth Johnson
                    Brian Stiltner
                    Donald Williams
                    Business & Finance
                    Berkmar HS
                    North Gwinnett HS
                    Sweetwater MS
                    Director of School Nutrition Program
                    Assistant Principal
                    Assistant Principal/Administrative Assistant
                    Assistant Principal
                  Board Approves Policies on Records Management and School Nurses
                  The Board of Education approved the following policies that had been tabled since its September 14, 2000, meeting:
                  • Records Management Policy, CN-- The revised policy states the retention period for each type of record series is identified in the "Common Records Retention Schedules for School Systems" adopted by the Board in October 1999.
                  • School Health Nurse Program Policy, JGC-- The policy states that GCPS will provide appropriate levels of service to address student health issues; procedures and specific responsibilities are contained in GCPS' School Health Resource Guide.