SUWANEE -- In a unanimous decision, officials with Gwinnett County Public Schools on Thursday voted to amend a contract with the state aimed at increasing student achievement through greater flexibility.
The measure seeks to include schools built and opened after the document went into effect.
In 2009, the Gwinnett County Board of Education received approval from the State Board of Education for the district's IE2 Partnership Contract.
Gwinnett's IE2 contract provides local schools and the district with flexibility from 13 laws and accompanying state board rules.
The flexibility is coupled with the contract's existing accountability measures, which were identified for each school to meet annual performance targets during the document's duration.
Prior to the board's approval of the contract amendment, local resident and activist Jen Falk spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting.
Falk said she was worried that the board would approve the measure without "discuss(ing) the merits and demerits of this contract."
Falk added that she is "not a fan of IE2," stating: "people don't understand it."
Prior to Thursday's vote, Wilbanks said that the contract "has been a tremendous benefit for us."
"We hope that flexibility will be turned into student achievement," he added.
According to a news release from Gwinnett County Public Schools, since the time that the contract was originally approved "a number of things have changed locally and at the state level" including the addition of new schools and changes to the state's graduation rule that call for the Georgia High School Graduation Tests to be replaced by End of Course Tests.
"As a result, Gwinnett County Public Schools has developed an amendment to the initial contract," the release states. The amendment provides achievement targets for 16 new schools that have opened since fall of 2009, "ensuring the contracts are relevant based on changes to the state graduation rule and the transition to EOCTs."
The proposed plans for the 16 schools that have opened since 2009 are available on the district's website at www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us. They are: Anderson-Livsey Elementary, Archer High School, Bay Creek Middle, Burnette Elementary, Couch Middle School, Ferguson Elementary, Grace Snell Middle, Jenkins Elementary, Lanier High, Mountain View High, North Gwinnett Middle; Roberts Elementary, Starling Elementary, Twin Rivers Middle, White Oak Elementary and Woodward Mill Elementary.