Lines drawn for new schools

SUWANEE - The Gwinnett County Board of Education on Thursday evening voted unanimously to approve a redistricting plan that determines the boundaries for three elementary schools scheduled to open in August.

A mother of five who lives in the Bradford Farms subdivision, Elena Bagger, asked the board before they voted to consider allowing the children in her neighborhood to go to Ivy Creek Elementary School instead of Harmony Elementary School, because of Ivy Creek's geographical proximity to the subdivision.

But the board chose to approve the plan, which remained largely unchanged from the proposals unveiled in December before a public hearing on the redistricting.

Board member Daniel Seckinger told Bagger he agreed with the logic but felt the redistricting process has been a good one.

"I wouldn't be inclined in the 11th hour to put a stop to the whole process," Seckinger said. "Every time we go through this (process), I'm confirmed it's so much better than it was."

The approved attendance boundaries will send 478 students from Dacula Elementary School to the new Mulberry Elementary School, 442 E. Union Grove Circle, in Auburn, said Greg Stanfield, the school system's director of planning. The new boundaries will also send nine students from Dacula Elementary to Duncan Creek Elementary School.

The new Lovin Elementary School, 1705 New Hope Road, in Lawrenceville will receive 468 students from Cooper Elementary School, Stanfield said.

Harmony Elementary School will send 529 students to the new Patrick Elementary School, 2707 Kilgore Road, in Buford, Stanfield said. Ivy Creek Elementary School will send 194 students to Patrick. Harmony will also send 174 students to Ivy Creek.

Associate Superintendent Bobby Crowson, who runs the division of academic support, told the board the school system took the county's future growth and development into account when determining the school boundaries.

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks told the board the school system looks at the numbers to balance the enrollment among the schools.

"We put (out) what we think is the best plan out there," Wilbanks said.

Legislative update

In other business, Wilbanks presented to the board a legislative update that included the highlights of Gov. Sonny Perdue's proposed budget.

Some of the governor's proposals include a 3 percent raise for teachers, bus drivers and lunchroom workers, $21 million to place graduation coaches in middle schools, an additional $8 million for graduation coaches in high schools and $417.7 million for capital outlay.

Perdue also announced Thursday as part of his budget proposal a $417 million bond package to support the construction of classrooms in Georgia.

Under the proposal, Gwinnett County Public Schools would get more than $150 million.

"Any money we can get from the state to address our classroom needs is appreciated," said Sloan Roach, the school system's spokeswoman. "This money will go toward the needs already identified in the system's long-range building plan, needs that are projected to cost more than $1 billion."

Barrow County Schools would receive almost $5.7 million if the proposal passes.

The bond would reimburse money that Barrow County has already spent, said Jake Grant, the school system's assistant superintendent of facilities.

Barrow County Schools in December spent $2.28 million on remodeling Winder-Barrow High School, $1.1 million adding 16 classrooms to Holsenbeck Elementary and $4.1 million adding 22 classrooms to Auburn Elementary.

Yearly business

At the beginning of the monthly business meeting, the board elected its 2007 officers.

Louise Radloff was voted as the 2007 board chairwoman, and Carol Boyce was voted as the 2007 vice chairwoman.

The board also voted to continue to use the Gwinnett Daily Post as the official legal organ and to reappoint the law firm of Thompson and Sweeny of Lawrenceville as the board's attorney.