School board approves legislative program

SUWANEE -- The Gwinnett County Board of Education has approved a document that sets forth the district's goals, funding and governance strategies for 2012.

Education officials voted unanimously during Thursday's regular meeting to ratify a final draft of the 2012 legislative program.

Changes from last year's program were highlighted by Jorge Gomez, executive director for administration and policy.

Gomez went through the document with school board members, pointing out that since 2003 Gwinnett County Public Schools has lost nearly $519 million in funding using the state's Quality Basic Education formula.

Gomez said that the district is asking state legislators "to find a way to fully fund that formula."

In addition, Gomez said, the document asks the General Assembly to "not pass any legislation that would usurp our ability in levying local ad valorem taxes."

Regarding charter schools, the legislative program asks state lawmakers "to look at the Charter Schools Act of 1998 and to repeal any laws in conflict with that act."

In addition, the document declared support for a constitutional amendment "to allow school districts the flexibility to use a portion of the revenue generated from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for the operation of schools."

Each year, the school board adopts legislative priorities to let Gwinnett legislators know which issues are of the most importance to the funding and effective operation of the school system.

A breakfast is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 5, where the school board plans to meet with members of the Gwinnett County delegation to review the district's legislative agenda and present its priorities.

The document will be available on the school district's website Friday afternoon. To view a copy of the legislative program visit www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us.