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GCPS board to revise land policy

SUWANEE — The Gwinnett County Board of Education is working on clarifying the language in its site acquisition policy, according to an electronic memo sent Friday evening by Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.

Wilbanks said he feels “confident that our processes and practices for locating and purchasing school sites are sound,” but a review of the six-year-old policy determined 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,” Wilbanks said. “I remain convinced that staff members have conducted their work fully within the parameters of the current board policy.”

The district’s review followed an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation into the district’s processes for locating and acquiring land for new schools.

In a previous memo sent March 4, Wilbanks said he had “the highest degree of confidence in our people and in our processes for acquiring school sites,” but “if improvements are needed, we will make them.”

Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said the policy revision is part of the district’s commitment to continuous improvement.

“The current policy is very simple and could be vague,” she said. “What we’re looking to do is put in more a procedural element so it’s just very clear to everyone what our process is.”

Roach said the revised policy was not available Friday evening. It will be publicly released on April 18, three days before the school board’s regular monthly meeting on April 21.

As with any new policy revision, the school board will be asked to table the item for a month so board members can consider the revisions fully and so the public can provide input, Wilbanks said in his memo.