GCPS Board Meeting Summary for June 21, 2001
The following are highlights of the June 21, 2001, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education.
The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.
Board Recognizes Students and Staff
- Joanie Arcement was recognized and thanked for her service for the past two school years as Gwinnett PTA Council Co-President. A former principal who has worked with Ms. Arcement as a parent and PTA leader described her as "one of the hardest-working parents she has ever known." Through her work in PTA and the PTA Council, Ms. Arcement has put her creativity, her dedication, and her passion for helping children to work. The Board members commended Ms. Arcement for her servant leadership and her commitment to Gwinnett's students and schools.
- Martha "Elizabeth" Wiggins, a 2001 graduate of Dacula High School, is the 2001 recipient of the Alton C. Crews Scholarship Award. The $1,500 scholarship, named in memory of the former Gwinnett superintendent, is given to a Gwinnett high school student who plans to major in education and return to Georgia to teach. Ms. Wiggins will be attending Clemson University this fall.
- William "Will" M. Gifford, a 2001 graduate of Parkview High School, is the 2001 recipient of the Sandra L. Lawton Scholarship Award. The $1,500 scholarship, given in memory of Sandra Lawton, who served as a teacher and media specialist for 24 years, is given to a student who plans to become a teacher. Mr. Gifford is the first recipient of this scholarship. He plans to attend Presbyterian College, where he will play soccer. The honoree was introduced by principal Dr. Robert Clark. The Board also commended Dr. Clark, who will retire at the end of the month to join the Georgia Department of Education, for his years of service to Gwinnett County Public Schools.
- A Creekland MS team placed second in the Georgia Math League Contest. Team members Abigail Palmer, Chris Prosser, and Neil Kulkarni were recognized. Assistant Principal Linda Calhoun introduced Abigail and Neil and their teachers, Elaine Crowell and Jamie Fewell, to the School Board.
Citizens Address the Board
- Carl Finder expressed concerns about the rising cost of the diesel fuel that powers the buses operated by most school systems. His company is working with several school systems to try a new technology that he says will improve the performance of diesel engines. He expressed an interest in piloting the product in Gwinnett and was referred to Chief Operations Officer Jim Steele.
- Lawrence Major addressed the Board about his son's experience in fourth and fifth grades. He feels the school system's promotion policy, which requires students to pass the Gateway test, negatively impacted his son's overall study and homework habits.
To provide the necessary funding to support the school system's $972.6 million budget adopted in May, the Board set its total millage rate for FY2002 at 20.42 mills. The property tax rate consists of 18.62 mills for maintenance and operations, plus 1.80 mills for bond debt service. The new millage rate reflects a 1.25 mill increase from the total millage rate for FY2001. Explosive growth and the demands of providing a quality and effective education for a changing student population led the Gwinnett County Board of Education to increase the millage rate, action it had been able to avoid since FY95. The increase will add about $69 to the tax bill on a $150,000 home.
2002-2003 School Calendar Presented to Board
The 2002-03 school year calendar was presented to the School Board. The calendar calls for a starting day of August 12, first semester ending before winter break, and an ending day of May 28. Attached is Gwinnett County Public Schools' calendar for the 2002-03 school year. In addition, citizens may receive a copy of the calendar by calling the school system's Department of Community and Media Relations at 770-822-6508.
School Board Receives Update on Gateway and Acts on Review Procedure Recommendations
Of the 14,658 Gwinnett fourth and seventh graders required to pass the 2001 Gateway test administered in April, the vast majority earned passing scores on the first try and were promoted to the next grade level. Forty-eight students, however, did not do as well on the Gateway as would be expected, based on their classroom grades. For them, the school system’s Assessment Review Procedure was immediately initiated and acted upon by the Gwinnett County Board of Education.
In the review process based on the preliminary multiple choice results, it was determined that 16 of the 48 students qualifying for the Assessment Review must retake and pass one or more portions of the test in order to be promoted to the next grade. So ruled the Gwinnett County School Board in accepting Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks’ recommendation to approve the actions proposed for the 48 students.
According to the Assessment Review Procedure, any student whose report cards in 2000-01 included no grade below a “C” in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies qualified for an automatic review if he or she failed any part of the Gateway test. Each review was conducted by an impartial committee of teachers, principals, and central office administrators. Two such committees operated simultaneously in order to complete the reviews before the June 21 School Board meeting.
In addition to reviewing each student’s preliminary Gateway scores, the committee examined each student’s classroom performance as documented by the child’s teacher(s). Members also studied each student’s standardized test data, other assessment information, and evidence provided by the parents of extenuating circumstances (illness, death in the family, etc.) that could have caused the student to perform poorly on the test. The committee then recommended one of the following four actions for each student:
waive passage of this year’s Gateway and promote to the next grade
waive passage of this year’s Gateway, promote to the next grade, but recommend summer school
do not waive passage of this year’s Gateway, recommend summer school, and require Gateway retake and passage for promotion
delay action until the complete Gateway results are received at the end of June, and reschedule the review prior to the start of summer school.
Board Sets Millage Rate to Support FY2002 Budget Adopted in May
The total school millage rate is made up of two portions-- the maintenance and operations (M&O) millage and the debt service millage. Funds generated by the M&O millage pay for the day-to-day operations of the school system, including employee salaries, instructional materials, student transportation, and school utility costs. The debt service millage is used to pay down the School Board's long-term debt from bond referenda passed over the years to pay for school construction.
The net increase of 1.25 mills in the total millage was achieved by increasing the M&O millage by 1.5 mills, bringing it to 18.62 mills. The increase is offset by a reduction of .25 mills in the debt service rate, which was dropped to 1.8 mills. Combining the two rates results in a total school millage rate of 20.42 mills. At 20.42 mills, the school tax rate remains lower than it was in the mid-to-late nineties. In fiscal years 1995 and 1996, the total tax rate was 21.85 mills, and it stood at 20.75 for the next three years.
Board Receives Update on the Naming of New Schools
The Board of Education approved names for 11 of the schools that will be constructed as part of its next five-year building program. Naming committees-- composed of a parent and educator from each of the new school areas-- collected input from community members and conducted research on the area and its history. Each committee then submitted the preferred name for the School Board's consideration. The names for the 11 schools are:
New School to be Built/Cluster
|Duluth Area High School/ New Duluth Area Cluster (sometimes referred to as the Sugarloaf Area Cluster)||Peachtree Ridge High School|
|New Duluth Area Elementary School/ New Duluth Area Cluster (sometimes referred to as the Sugarloaf Area Cluster)||Parsons Elementary School|
|New Hamilton Mill Area High School||Mill Creek High School|
|New Hamilton Mill Area Middle School||Frank N. Osborne Middle School|
|New Harmony Area Middle School||Glenn C. Jones Middle School|
|New Hamilton Mill Area Elementary School||Duncan Creek Elementary School|
|New Harmony Area Elementary School||Ivy Creek Elementary School|
|New Benefield/Bethesda Relief Elementary School||J. A. Alford Elementary School|
|New Grayson Area Elementary School||W. J. Cooper Elementary School|
|New Minor/Kanoheda Relief Elementary School||Corley Elementary School|
|New Sugar Hill Area Elementary School||Sycamore Elementary School|
Board Members Approve Revision to Fine Arts Education Specifications
The Board approved Education Specifications (the listings of basic equipment, furniture, and facilities needed for schools) for the school system's Fine Arts programs. Fine Arts Coordinator Robert Andrews has worked with the Department of Business Services, the Office of Procurement, and GCPS Fine Arts teachers to develop a comprehensive list of Fine Arts Education Specifications for the Board's consideration. Mr. Andrews and his team reviewed the current Fine Arts Education Specifications, deleting items which are no longer appropriate and adding items deemed to be essential.
School Board Approves Business Members to Serve on Local School Councils
In accordance with state law, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the business representatives who will serve as members of the Local School Councils at the 20 schools that will operate councils next year. The councils serve in an advisory capacity, providing advice, recommendations, and assistance to schools. The seven-member councils are made up of teachers, parents, business representatives, and the principal.
Board Continues Focus on Updating Policies
The following policies were approved after a 30-day input period:
Policy EBC, Data Access and Security-- Approved changes bring this policy into compliance with current practice.
Policy JCD, Student Conduct Behavior-- The revised policy revisions are minor, addressing possession of a pocket pager or electronic communication device by students at school.
Policy IFB, Use of Electronic Media-- The revisions to this policy include changes that will bring it into compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act.
The Board tabled the following policies for 30 days to allow for public input:
- School District Organization Policies-- Staff is recommending that a number of policies be revised to reflect current practice and to consolidate redundant policies. These revised policies include: Policy AA, School District Legal Status; Policy ABA, School Board Authority; Policy ABB, Board Powers and Duties; Policy ABCC, Board Member Terms of Office; Policy ABD, Superintendent Legal Status; and Policy AF, School Day. In this same area, the following polices are proposed to be rescinded in July: Policy AB, School Board Legal Status and Policy AFA, Double Sessions.
- School Board Operations Policies-- Staff is recommending that the following policies be revised to reflect current practice and to consolidate redundant policies: Policy BBAB, Duties of Board Officers; Policy BC, Board Meeting; Policy BCAEA, Appeals (Hearings); Policy BCBJ, Board Meeting News Coverage; Policy BDC, Policy Adoption; Policy BDF, Board Review of Administrative Rules; and Policy BH, Code of Ethics- Board Members. In this same area the following policies are proposed to be rescinded in July: Policy BBABA, Duties of the Chairman; Policy BBABB, Duties of the Vice-Chairman; Policy BBABC/E, Secretary/Treasurer; Policy BBB, Corporate Board Membership; Policy BCAA, Annual Meeting of the Board; Policy BCAC, Special Board Meetings; Policy BCAF, Work Session of the Board; Policy BCBA, School Board Meetings- Time and Place; Policy KBCC, Board News Coverage; Policy BCBF, Board Meeting Rules of Order; Policy BCBFA, Quorum for Board Meetings; Policy BCBG, Voting at Board Meetings; and Policy BCBK, Executive Sessions.
- General School Administration Policies-- Staff is recommending that Policy CA, Administration Goals be revised to reflect current practice and incorporate language regarding the system's vision, mission, and goals. In this area, the following policies are proposed to be rescinded in July: Policy CED, Superintendent Appointment; Policy CEE, Superintendent Compensation; and Policy CMAD, Board Review of Administrative Rules.
- Policy JHCA, Student Groups and Organization Policy-- The proposed revisions refer to student groups which meet in school facilities.
- Policy JCB, Safe Schools Discipline Policy-- Proposed changes bring this policy into compliance with current practices.
The School Board approved the following appointments at its meeting on June 21.
Name, Current Position
|Beverley Evans, teacher at Annistown ES||Administrative Assistant at Annistown ES|
|Ron Boyd, teacher at Simonton ES||Assistant Principal at Benefield ES|
|Helen Mayfield, special education teacher at Meadowcreek HS||Assistant Principal at Cedar Hill ES|
|Terrie Adkins, teacher/leader at Collins Hill HS||Administrative Assistant at Collins Hill HS|
|Mary Hensien, an assistant principal in the Clarke County School System||Assistant Principal at Creekland MS|
|Heidi Hill, teacher/leader at Norcross HS||Administrative Assistant at Creekland MS|
|Dewey "Nick" Williams, teacher/leader at Creekland MS||Assistant Principal at Creekland MS|
|Diane Wise, teacher/leader at McConnell MS||Administrative Assistant at Duluth MS|
|Bryan Long, teacher/leader at Grayson HS||Administrative Assistant at Grayson HS|
|Kristie Martin, teacher/leader at Dacula HS||Administrative Assistant at Grayson HS|
|Keith O'Carroll, teacher/leader at Grayson HS||Administrative Assistant at Grayson HS|
|Suzanne Pierce, reading teacher at R. D. Head ES||Half-time Administrative Assistant at R. D. Head ES|
|Carol Ferguson, teacher/leader at Creekland MS||Administrative Assistant at Hull MS|
|Dale Pugh, administrative assistant at Kanoheda ES||Assistant Principal at Kanoheda ES|
|Nancy Caudell, teacher/leader at Lanier MS||Assistant Principal at Lanier MS|
|Hilary Keskonis, teacher/leader at Berkeley Lake and Dyer ES||Administrative Assistant at Lilburn MS|
|Paula Cobb, teacher at Jackson ES||Administrative Assistant at Dr. M. H. Mason ES|
|Nancy Ward, teacher/leader at Maxwell HS of Technology||Assistant Principal at Maxwell HS of Technology|
|Clarissa Bradham, teacher/leader at Meadowcreek HS||Administrative Assistant at Meadowcreek HS|
|Lynne Best, teacher and administrative assistant at Norcross HS||Assistant Principal at Norcross HS|
|Lisa Lang, Reading Recovery teacher at Centerville ES||Reading Recovery Teacher Leader in the Language Arts Office|
|Melissa Campbell, reading specialist at Peachtree ES||Administrative Assistant at Peachtree ES|
|John Mitchell, an assistant principal in Illinois||Assistant Principal at Richards MS|
|Glenn George, administrative assistant at Shiloh ES||Assistant Principal at Shiloh ES|
|Barbara Martin, special education teacher at Stripling ES||Half-time Administrative Assistant at Stripling ES|
|Christopher Wells, director of client solutions for Arthur Andersen Strategic Learning Solutions||Customer Liaison Director, Division of Information Management|
|Sandra Grice, general manager of customer relationship management solutions with Verso Technologies||Director of Customer Service and Support, Division of Information Management|
The following leadership transfers were presented to the Board of Education members for their information:
- Debra Ault-Butenko is transferring from her position as assistant principal on special assignment in Educational Programs to the position of assistant principal at Harbins ES.
- Cyndi Darsch is transferring from her position as assistant principal at Camp Creek ES to the position of assistant principal at Harmony ES.
- Sigrid Fehrman is returning from leave to serve as a half-time administrative assistant at Minor ES. She previously served as a half-time administrative assistant at Minor ES and a half-time intervention teacher at Kanoheda ES.
- Nancy Innes is transferring from her position as assistant principal at Lanier MS to become an assistant principal at Central Gwinnett HS.
- Anne Marie Keskonis is transferring from her position as assistant principal at Jackson ES to become an assistant principal at Simpson ES.
- Jeanie Jones will serve as a part-time administrative assistant at Shiloh MS. Prior to her retirement in December 2000, she was an assistant principal at Meadowcreek HS.