GCPS Board Meeting Summary for October 11, 2001

          The following are highlights of the October 11, 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 members commend national achievement of students and thank Credit Union for its support
          • The Board recognized Brandon Luders, a senior at Duluth HS, for earning a 36 composite score, the highest score possible, on the American College Test (ACT) college entrance exam. He is the only student in Georgia and one of 31 in the nation to achieve this distinction.
          • Also honored were Grayson HS freshmen Carrie Dagenharad and Gregory Hestor, who were recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) for outstanding achievement in writing as eighth graders at McConnell MS. They are two of the state's nine winners of the Promising Young Writer Award. This is the fifth year in a row that McConnell MS has had state winners in this national competition.
          • The Gwinnett County Board of Education thanked the Gwinnett Federal Credit Union (GFCU) and its CEO Marshall Boutwell for the credit union's 40 years of service and commitment to the employees and students of Gwinnett County. Annually, the credit union supports a number of school system initiatives including Teacher of the Year, New Teacher Induction, and a number of scholarships for students and teachers. As part of its 40th anniversary, the GFCU has expanded its scholarship program. The credit union's Career Advancement Scholarships will be awarded to adult credit union members who are pursuing additional studies to further their careers. The $1,000 awards are named in honor of the individuals who founded GFCU 40 years ago: Henry H. Boddie, Lyle M. Coker, B.B. Harris, Irving Levy, Crawford Puckett, James Shewmake, and Adrin C. Staton. In addition, eight student scholarships, each in the amount of $1,500, will be awarded to high school seniors who plan to pursue degrees in education and return to Georgia to teach. These scholarships honor past and present members of the credit union board of directors who served for 20 or more years. The Board members being recognized with these scholarships are former members Marion Brantley, Sandy Lawton, Howard Maxwell, Nathan Smelley, and Adrin C. Staton; and current members Brooks Coleman, Richard Johnson, and Elizabeth McElhanon.

          School Board hears update on 2002 Education SPLOST
          In August, the School Board unanimously called for a referendum on renewing the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for schools. If approved by voters on November 6, the penny in sales tax would continue being collected July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2007. Executive Director for Community and Media Relations Berney Kirkland provided the Board with a review of the school system's efforts to inform the public about the proposed SPLOST. The intent of the communication plan is to raise awareness of the school system's needs and the plan for addressing those needs.
          In reviewing the efforts, Ms. Kirkland commended the citizens' committee that is spearheading the renewal effort. Leading the committee is former GCPS superintendent J.W. Benefield, assisted by steering committee members Mike Levengood, Susan Wood, Bill Broucek, Terry Evans, David Crews, and Richard Tucker. In all, the 2002 education SPLOST renewal effort involves almost 200 parents, PTA members, and business and community leaders representing all school system clusters. The committee's promotional efforts include a speakers' bureau, campaign materials (bumper stickers, yard signs, etc.), cable advertisements, a web site, and a number of get-out-the vote activities.
          Ms. Kirkland also outlined a number of school system activities designed to meet GCPS' obligation to inform citizens about the results of the 1997 SPLOST and its plans for the 2002 education SPLOST. These include information meetings at schools, and information provided in flyers and the school system's community newsletter, on the GCPS web site, and in a program produced by GCPS Television.
          The school system has planned an election watch on November 6 at 7 p.m. at Central Gwinnett HS.

          Board extends strategic technology integration agreement with IBM
          Gwinnett County Public Schools has a continuing need for a strategic technology integration partner that has the depth, breadth, and quality of resources necessary to continue a broad variety of technology and service projects. Board members approved an extension of the school system's current agreement with International Business Machines (IBM), allowing the school system to continue its partnership through August 2007. The partnership has provided assistance in computer applications, infrastructure services, and the rollout of system technology initiatives.

          Gwinnett Retirement System Annual Report provided to Board
          Each year, the Gwinnett Retirement System issues an annual report to employees and retirees which shows the status of the retirement program. This year's report reflects that the GRS is in sound financial condition and is positioned to provide the benefits outlined to its members.

          School system outlines 2002 legislative priorities
          The Board approved the GCPS legislative priorities for 2002, outlining a number of issues it wishes to bring to the attention of the local legislative delegation. The list includes a number of state funding improvement requests including: increasing funding for instructional costs for consumable materials and supplies, textbooks, and replacement of instructional equipment; providing a mid-term salary adjustment to reflect teachers' actual training and experience; increasing state funding for facility maintenance and operations; increasing the amount of state funding per teacher to pay for substitutes so it is commensurate with actual school system costs; revising current state funding for transportation to include students who live outside a one-mile radius of school, rather than the current mile-and-a-half; increasing Teacher Retirement System benefits to employees who choose to continue to work beyond 30 years; allowing retirees to return to work after a one-year waiting period without a salary penalty or penalty to TRS benefits; increasing state funding to supplement the full cost of teacher salary increases including benefits, and funding additional salary steps for teachers. The list also includes the school system's continuing positions on several issues: maintaining local control of public education, the curriculum, and student discipline; resisting efforts to provide contracts for classified employees, and opposing collective bargaining.
          These priorities will be presented to the Gwinnett Delegation of the General Assembly in December for consideration in the next legislative session.

          BOE members recognized for completion of training
          Gwinnett County School Board members were recognized for completing the School Board member training sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. Certificates were presented acknowledging each member's completion of the state-mandated School Board member training.

          Board tables proposed policy changes
          • In policy action, the Board tabled proposed changes to seven policies to bring them into compliance with state law or current practice: Policy IB Instructional Goals and Objectives, Policy IFCB Field Trips, Policy ICC Educational Research, Policy IBD School Health and PE, Policy IDCA Summer School, Policy IHC Gateway Assessment Policy, Policy IHF Graduation Requirements, and Policy II Systemwide Standardized Testing.
          • Two policies were recommended to be rescinded: Policy IC Curriculum Development and Policy IDE Extracurricular Activities.
          • In addition, staff is recommending changes to Policy IHE Promotion and Retention to include language stating that promotion for social or other non-academic reasons is not permissible in the school system.

          Citizens address the Board
          During the visitors' portion of the meeting, the Board heard from the following citizens: Eugene M. Rowan, Cindy Wilson, and Gene Dewey.