A message from CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks (April 1, 2011)

A message from CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks (April 1, 2011)

Update on the AJC's Focus on Gwinnett County Public Schools

As promised I am updating you on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s focus on Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Over the past month, we have continued to answer the reporter's questions in writing and in interviews, and have provided him with all requested documents. As I noted in my first communication we continue to feel confident that our processes and practices for locating and purchasing school sites are sound. Additionally, I said that if further review of those processes showed that improvements were needed to ensure that our built-in checks and balances were still effective, we would make those changes. Today I want to share with you a change the Board and I believe is indeed warranted.

A review of the Board's current "Site Acquisition Policy" led us to determine that the language is vague. Therefore, I am working with the Board and staff now on proposed improvements that will clarify and strengthen the policy by making the language more specific. I remain convinced that staff members have conducted their work fully within the parameters of the current Board policy, which has not been updated in six years. Changes we are proposing will more specifically clarify the steps we take to secure sites or vacant buildings for future schools.

I anticipate taking the revised policy to the Board for a first reading at its April 21 meeting. As is customary, the policy will be tabled for a month to allow the Board time to consider it fully and for the public to provide input. I invite you to review this policy and be a part of the revision process. You will be able to view the proposed changes on the school district's web site (www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us) beginning April 18. It will be posted on the April 21 Board meeting agenda found under the Board of Education link on the web site.

The Board and I appreciate the support so many of you have expressed for the school district. We thank you for your trust and confidence in us and your continued support of Gwinnett County Public Schools. We will continue to communicate with you on this topic as appropriate.

J. Alvin Wilbanks,