Gwinnett County Public Schools asked and the voters concurred. The district’s request to issue General Obligation Bonds up to an amount of $350 million to be used for improvements for the district passed by an overwhelming 78 percent in favor Tuesday.
In August, GCPS Board of Education members passed a resolution for voters to allow the district to issue bonds that will be used for improvements such as a new school in the Mill Creek cluster and installing artificial turf to school football fields.
GCPS Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said the bonds will be used for capital improvement projects. In the district’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2019, school officials projected enrollment will increase by more than 1,000 students each year for the next five years.
The new high school in the Mill Creek cluster is a project that the district wants to get on the building project list to help alleviate the continuing growth of enrollment each year.
“While it is not urgent today, it’s going to get urgent pretty quickly,” Wilbanks said. “This allows us to plan and build the high school in a timely fashion.
Other improvements include a build out of Discovery High School, renovations to Central Gwinnett High School’s fine arts facilities, lab and instruction space renovations at middle and high schools, school bus purchases and technology improvements.
District spokeswoman Sloan Roach previously had said the school system is planning to use the debt service millage rate to pay off the debt incurred by the bonds.
“The debt service rate was decreased by .10 to 1.95 mills this year,” Roach said. “Funding from that will still be sufficient to pay for the General Obligation Bonds.”
Gwinnett County groups and organizations such as the Gwinnett Chamber and Gwinnett Kids Count 2018, backed the school district’s referendum.
“Gwinnett’s public schools are one of our most important assets for economic development,” Dan Kaufman, president and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber, said. “As our county continues to grow, it is critical that the system have the financial resources it needs to continue delivering the high-quality education that families deserve and employers expect.”