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Date Posted: 14:15:17 09/19/09 Sat
Author: Donald F. Valtman
Subject: GCPSS-Ivy Prep Lawsuit

Very soon we should get a real fix on whether the BoE's lawsuit against the State is actually about providing the best possible public education for Gwinnett kids or who controls school tax money and what schools Gwinnett kids must go to.

Concurrently, next Tuesday -- September 22nd -- the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District (CID) will be asking the BoC to approve the boundaries for the Jimmy Carter Boulevard Tax Improvement District (TAD). The odds are our current tax-and-spend BoC will approve this request. But the game-changer will be the eventual BoE decision TO PARTICIPATE or NOT PARTICIPATE in this TAD.

The crux of the BoE's lawsuit against the State is the supposed diversion of around $850,000 to the Norcross based Ivy Prep charter school. $850,000 is chump-change -- it's only about .05% of GCPSS's $2+ Billion annual budget, but apparently the BoE wants to convey the message that every penny counts in providing Gwinnett kids with a quality public education. So, if the BoE truly believes that every penny counts, then why would it even consider participating in the proposed Jimmy Carter Boulevard TAD?
The current County taxable property value in this TAD is $257,592,000; and -- if you believe the Gwinnett Village CID numbers -- the "potential" taxable value of the redeveloped/revitalized Norcross TAD properties will be $618,296,100 at build-out (up to 25 years). So, if GCPSS continues to receive 2/3rds of County property taxes and agrees to a 'freeze' on its property tax revenues, it voluntarily could be foregoing an average of around $9-1/2 Million per annum for up to 25 years on the gamble that the built-out TAD will generate incremental revenues in net new school taxes of $240,469,500! Based on what informed residents know about the decling trend in GCPSS student enrollments, the inaccuracies of past forecasts by County organizations such as PartnershipGwinnett and future County economic conditions, betting on a 25 year come is a sucker bet!

What the BoE does re: the Jimmy Carter Boulevard TAD will go a long way in letting residents know what they consider important. Is it the best possible public education for all Gwinnett kids or County development? If it comes down to more tax money, my SWAG is that the odds are 1 in 10 that the BoE ever wins $850,000 from the State; and 1 in 100 that the BoE ever gets an additional $9-1/2 Million per year in school tax revenue out of the Jimmy Carter Boulevard TAD.

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