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Boundaries for schools to be drawn

SUWANEE - Gwinnett County Public Schools is moving forward with "The Plan," as officials presented on Thursday to the Board of Education a timeline for creating the districts for three elementary schools opening in August.

Bobby Crowson, the associate superintendent of the division of academic support, told board members during their monthly business workshop the goals are to provide the majority of students with classrooms, relieve overcrowding in schools and balance the enrollment among schools while minimizing disruptions to students and keeping neighborhoods intact.

Boundary committees, which will determine the attendance lines, met for the first time Wednesday evening to talk about redistricting criteria, Crowson said.

The three schools will be located in different clusters. Mulberry Elementary School will relieve overcrowding at Dacula Elementary School, Lovin Elementary School will relieve Cooper and Grayson elementary schools, and Patrick Elementary School will relieve Harmony and Ivy Creek elementary schools.

The school system plans to use money raised from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to fund the first part of the plan, which includes the opening of the elementary schools.

The results of Tuesday's election, in which voters unofficially approved to continue the 1-cent sales tax, will be certified by the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections today and by the school board Saturday morning.

Maps of the proposed districts and school boundary input forms will be available starting today at Dacula, Cooper, Grayson, Harmony and Ivy Creek elementary schools and on the GCPS Web site.

The forms are due Dec. 4.

The public will be able to address the board about redistricting from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14, which is the day of its monthly business meeting.

The board is scheduled to vote on the redistricting at 7 p.m. Jan. 11, which is also the time for the monthly business meeting.

At Thursday's business meeting, the board unanimously voted to deny a start-up charter school application.

Cindy Loe, the associate superintendent of the division of teaching and learning, recommended to the board during the workshop that the application be denied for four reasons.

Charter school law states charter schools should be open to the public, but the application said the Encore Arts and Leadership Academy wants to require an audition where students would demonstrate their talent and leadership, Loe said.

The school also wants to allow 10 percent of its students to live outside of Gwinnett County, which is also against charter school law, Loe said.

The school has also failed to state where it would be located, Loe said.

Lastly, the student achievement goals of the school would be lower than those required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Loe said.

The charter school can petition the state Board of Education to reconsider the Gwinnett board's decision, Loe said.

In other business, the board approved the appointment of Beverly D. Smith as the principal of Cedar Hill Elementary School. Smith has been an assistant principal there since 1994.

Susan White, the current principal, is leaving to take on a new role as the school system's executive director for special education and psychological services.

Both start their new positions Monday.