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Date Posted: 11:35:27 05/16/10 Sun
Author: Donald F. Valtman
Subject: And you thought . . .

that the BoE/Wilbanks were ALL about improving the academic education of ALL GCPSS students!

When GCPSS filed a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of a state agency approving charter schools it had previously rejected then sharing state funds supposedly dedicated exclusively to a public school district, you should have experienced several 'eye openers.' namely:

1. the BoE's/Wilbank's PRIMARY concern appears to be more about power and money than the QUALITY of academic education your child receives and your PARENTAL ABILITY to choose that school that provides the academic education YOU determine best meets the NEEDS of YOUR child,

2. the money ($850,000) in question is PEANUTS when you realize that GCPSS's annual operating budget is around $2+ BILLION - $2,000,000,000 (that's 3 TIMES the number of zeros in $850,000!!!)

3. the scare tactics that the BoE/Wilbanks most likely will employ to justify its appeal are threefold:

a) the money in question will increase as the number of
charter schools increases. So what? Using Ivy Prep as
an example: the state money transfer ($850,000 divided
300 students) = about $2,850/student. GCPSS's operating
cost per student is 4 TIMES that amount! Therefore, for
every student GCPSS 'loses' to a charter school, state
and local school taxpayers SAVE about $8,500 per year!

b) According to a BoE member, GCPSS is facing a $115
Million budget shortfall. If true, then GCPSS SHOULDN'T
be spending sizeable long-term amounts of local taxpayer
money for high-priced lawyers to get PEANUTS in return;
SHOULDN'T be VOLUNTARILY FORFEITING an estimated MILLION
dollars per year in local property taxes BETTING that
CIDs will increase the school property tax-take some 20
years LATER; and SHOULDN'T be forcing some students to
continue receiving a SUB-STANDARD academic education
when there are other available budget reduction actions
that DO NOT negatively impact student academic education,
and

c) Wilbanks has a long history of preferring money over
smaller class sizes (which most parents are convinced
would improve academic education). Around 10 years ago,
Wilbanks suggested to Gwinnett Legislators a change in
the 2000 Education Reform Law (paraphrased) "that
mandated reductions in class sizes be postponed -- a move
that would save Gwinnett $2 million to $3 million."
(Refer to 12/14/02 AJ/C article entitled LAWMAKERS
PROMISE TO PUSH SCHOOL FUNDING for details) More
recently, Wilbanks sold the BoE on approving an 'IE2
flexibility plan' which FREES GCPSS from complying with
state mandated smaller class sizes and teacher pay!

4. But the most confusing aspect of this oxymoronic appeal is the submission of amicus briefs by a teacher organization and a Superintendent's organization. It seems that these 2 organizations are more interested in the welfare of their members versus providing a quality academic education to ALL GCPSS students!

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