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Date Posted: 13:14:59 02/05/10 Fri
Author: Donald F. Valtman
Subject: What the future holds . . .

Lots of mega-changes emerging that will affect GCPSS in future years. Let's try 'forecasting' why and how some of these mega-changes will impact GCPSS and local taxpayers:

PROVISION OF A 'WORLD CLASS' ACADEMIC EDUCATION TO ALL GCPSS STUDENTS:

During the last decade, Gwinnett County registered the BIGGEST percentage increase in residents/families living below the poverty level and household food stamp usage in the 6 City/County Atlanta Metro Area. (See 01/31/10 AJ/C article entitled Poverty spreads roots rapidly in the suburbs for details)

A continuation of this trend amid declining GCPSS student enrollments will create a situation where lower socio-economic (the now description is economically disadvantaged) students will comprise an increasingly LARGER share of GCPSS's student enrollments. This situation, coupled with government incentives emphasizing student ACHIEVEMENT will result in GCPSS budgeting for/focusing on raising this growing group of economically disadvantaged students up to some arbitrary ACHIEVEMENT level. As GCPSS devotes less resources and teacher effort to economically advantaged students, their parents increasingly will turn to various alternative methods/schools to ensure that their kids receive a 'world class' academic education.

FASTEST GROWING AND 'WEALTHY' SCHOOL DISTRICT:

As surprising as it may be to some Gwinnett parents/residents, (a) GCPSS has long since relinquished its title as the fastest growing public school system in Georgia, and (b) for state grant purposes, GCPSS is a POOR public school system! (See 01/29-02/10 EDUCATION GUIDE, Atlanta Business Chronicle and 02/01/10 AJ/C article on page B3 for details)

The rate of increase in student enrollments at public school systems in Forsyth, Henry, Douglas and Cherokee Counties has EXCEEDED that in Gwinnett for the 2003-2009 period. The implications are clear -- just as Gwinnett surpassed DeKalb as the public school system of choice in the Metro Area, the above 4 Counties are surpassing Gwinnett as the public school systems of choice!

And -- believe it or not -- GCPSS is a POOR public school system under existing Georgia 'equalization' funding law. The purpose of 'equalization' funding is to put education spending at the POOREST Georgia public school systems on an equal footing with WEALTHIER Georgia public school systems. Consequently, GCPSS receives almost $36 Million in state 'equalization' funds so it can match(?) education spending at 'wealthier' Georgia public school systems.

WHAT DO THESE CHANGES MEAN TO GWINNETT RESIDENTS WHO DO PAY TAXES?

Simply put, expect to pay more school taxes -- in some form or another -- as soon as local politicians can pull this off!

Why? Because GCPSS will claim it just can't reduce future operating budgets and will attempt to justify building more classrooms/schools (E-SPLOSTs) for a declining number of students; Georgia and the feds will continue to push unfunded mandates that primarily benefit economically disadvantaged students yet plead poormouth as far as paying associated costs; which leaves ONLY solvent local taxpayers to pay the tab!

Now locals are coming up with all kinds of schemes to gin-up more revenues and/or reduce expenditures such as lawsuits; IE2; freezing school tax revenue from TAD projects in anticipation of increased school tax revenue 25 years later; appointing the same old CoC types to head-up the same old Task Forces such as the County's Engage Gwinnett and expecting them to come up with realistic ways that really solve problems; etc., etc., etc.

Open thread for Gwinnett residents to explain why I'm all wet, why school taxes will not go up and how the BoE, BoC and/or local politicians have everything under control.

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