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I arrived about 45 minutes early and planned to leave and come back, but there were so many people already there that I decided to stay. Mary Kay Murphy was to start the meeting with a "State of the Schools" address. She simply introduced 3 speakers from the Norcross area (Online school, Norcross High School, and Life Academy). No mention was made about how the Peachtree Corners schools were fairing. Maybe because Norcross HS (-8) and Duluth HS (-13) had both learned of drops in SAT scores more than the GCPS average rise in scores? Or that PTC constituents want information about Norcross High School being a Priority (formerly "Does Not Meet Expectations" Title I school? Anyway, this portion seemed rushed and out of place. Gay Shook was the "MC" and her personal opinion seemed obvious along with other PTC "leaders". Before the meeting started there was a man standing beside me with a stack of Murphy campaign brochures, but I didn't see anyone take one. Personally, I was "put-off" by how political this was on both sides of the issue. Also, to not allow live Q & A? We had the option to get 1 green index card to address a question to the speaker of our choice and turn in at the end of the meeting with our name and contact information. With today's technology, why not an on-line forum where questions could be posted and answered by both sides?
Jan Jones was a wonderful speaker and I felt she would have welcomed a live Q & A session. The majority of the audience was Ivy Prep students, parents, and supporters. I must admit it was hard to not be supportive of the amendment when sitting surrounded by these girls that will be directly and almost immediately affected by the amendment vote. The statement that made most impact on me was when Ms. Jones said, (paraphrased) the most control/impact an individual has in GCPS decision making is their vote once every 4 years for 1 of 5 school board members.
Then GCPS "CEO" spoke against the amendment. He seemed "out of place" and was not engaging. As I said, the audience was probably 75%+ Ivy Prep supporters and he acted like they did not even exist. He looked only at his supporters and the camera while making comments that came across to me sounding like, "I support Charter schools . . . just not yours." It came across as a superintendent not being in touch with our REAL communities and needs. He didn't lend much credence to the "local support" GCPS can offer.
Maybe ssilover meant Estuate: 1. To boil up; to swell and rage; to be agitated.[Websters]?
GCPS principals are easily "irked" these days. With the cuts to teachers and other educational resources coupled with increased performance expectations, it's tough. However, I expect better, more compassionate, and more timely, response from our school board. They tend to be very off-putting and when emotions are high it's tougher. I agree about following the rules, but the least GCPS could do is provide a knowledgeable contact to help navigate the legal requirements.
This is the same school board that is trying to demonstrate how wonderful "local" control of our schools is. Want to see how responsive the school board is and prove to yourself this is not an isolated instance? Pick a local school issue or general GCPS gripe and try to get a written response from your elected school board member. You can write them, fax them, e-mail them, and/or address them personally at a school board meeting. Now, call GDOE with the same concern. You will get a response and be given any information and resources applicable to your concern including GCPS "local control" contacts.
The chemistry teacher Mr. Edgar is the one that presented the DHS teachers' petition of concerns (to an unresponsive GCPS school board) a year and a half ago. The Duluth and Berkeley Lake Mayors (both formerly employed by GCPS) also made statements with no affect on the school board's actions. Since that time, the teachers and community have really stepped up to create a positive collaborative environment and it shows. Eddie Owens and Jen Falk have assisted with bringing anti-bullying workshops and awareness to our community and schools. Thanks for showing LOCAL leadership Duluth. Get educated school board!
Superintendent's response to the passage of ESPLOST:
"In celebrating the positive outcome on November 8th, we extend special thanks to the citizens committee, headed by Sean Murphy and Mike Levengood, for leading the successful campaign for the sales tax extension. Thanks go as well to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, and the numerous community leaders and Gwinnett residents who helped promote passage of the education SPLOST."
Different SPLOST, but still taxpayer dollars being used for the promotion of taxes. The difference? ESPLOST passed last year so we will be paying that penny tax even though complaints abounded that the projects proposed were not appropriate and would each increase the GCPS annual operating budget. First thing they did (well, I guess it was second to paying the Chamber) was to take out a loan so they could start spending before it the money started coming in. Now that SPLOST revenue is so much lower than projections, what will happen now?
Correct. I apologize for confusing punctuation. I look forward to hearing more from Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government!
I would love to see an article with input from an Ivy Prep family. Ivy Prep opened too late for her daughter but she was a huge proponent of an all girls school. She showed me the graduation statistics for African American and Hispanic students in GCPS and she said that as a mother, she could not take that risk with her child. A young woman I worked with, said when she started school in GCPS her school was predominately Hispanic, her high school had over 100 Hispanic students in her graduating class. She said less than 10, maybe less than 5 of those students graduated with her. GMST is a great option, but dealing with Gifted students is not a problem for GCPS. My children were fine at GCPS. But, meeting the needs of students that need a little more, or something different is the problem. Ivy Prep has shown phenomenal success with students that GCPS was failing.
Superintendent Wilbanks, Mike Levengood, Sean Murphy are all on the Gwinnett Chamber Executive Committee and Board, right? Hmmm.....
Please show me the last time a school board member cast a dissenting vote. Our school board votes on an average of about 200 motions a year and I have yet to see or here an abstention, a dissenting vote, a request for reconsideration. I've heard that it has happened at some point in the past but I've never seen or heard it. When the annual salary of a school board member is less than the superintendents car allowance, it must be an easier job if you just yes to every motion.
Last login: Sunday, January 20, 2013