School board to meet Saturday on education plan

SUWANEE - The Gwinnett County Board of Education will gather at 7:30 a.m. Saturday for a special-called meeting to vote on the Investing in Educational Excellence Partnership Contract school plans.

The school board voted Wednesday to approve the partnership contract's strategic plan, with the understanding that the school plans would need to be reviewed and adopted before being sent to the state Board of Education as part of Gwinnett County Public Schools' IE2 Partnership Contract proposal.

Saturday's meeting will be held in the executive board room at the Instructional Support Center at 437 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee.

The district was waiting on state data to complete the school plans, which contain demographic information about students as well as the baseline for calculating five-year performance targets required in each plan, said Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

"This has nothing to do with the implementation," Roach said. "The implementation will happen at the local school level."

An example of the school plans is available on the school district's Web site, www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us. Each local school plan will also be posted online, Roach said.

District officials and school board members have encouraged community members to become involved as schools implement flexibilities authorized by the partnership contract, pending approval from the state.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is the first school district in Georgia to seek a partnership contract, authorized by House Bill 1209. The contract allows schools flexibility from some state mandates in exchange for increased student accountability beyond what is required to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

Barbara Wilson, co-president for the Gwinnett County Association of Educators, said the group is disappointed there was a lack of transparency as the proposal was created.

"We are, to say the least, very disappointed in the Gwinnett BOE in its refusal to allow parents (and) teachers to have input into this contract with the state BOE," Wilson said. "While we can find no legal means of delaying the submission to the state BOE, we will be appealing it in light of the Gwinnett's BOE failure to solicit that input prior to submission."

The school board held a public hearing Dec. 11 on the IE2 partnership contract, but critics say the timing wasn't appropriate to gather meaningful public input on the proposal.