J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent
Gwinnett County Public Schools
Five new school facilities and over 400 new instructional spaces welcomed students in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) when classes began on August 10. So did advanced technology resources for better teaching and learning for 176,000-plus students throughout the county. As I witnessed the excitement of welcoming the new year, I was reminded how fortunate our students and teachers are in this community’s unwavering support for the school district.
Voters in Gwinnett County consistently have approved using the penny in sales tax to fund building and technology improvements in Gwinnett County and Buford City schools. On November 3, voters will have the chance once again to show their support for the special purpose local option sales tax for education, or E-SPLOST. This time, the capital improvements to be funded in Gwinnett include four new schools, nine additions/renovations, 510 classrooms, and continued advancements in instructional technology.
For many years education leaders across Georgia sought to have access to the penny in sales tax that county governments used to fund parks, roads, fire stations, libraries, and police stations. It was a great day for public education when Georgia voters agreed that school districts also should have access to revenue based on the sale of goods and services in their communities. The E-SPLOST has made a major difference in school operations, and contributed greatly to economic development in Gwinnett County by strengthening its public
Close to 60 new schools and hundreds of classroom additions have been built in GCPS since the first E-SPLOST was approved. By strong margins, voters said “yes” to giving the school district the means to address its needs in a responsible, fair way. One penny in sales tax over five years adds up to almost a billion dollars for facility and technology improvements for students.
We’ve made it a commitment to keep the public informed as to how well the penny has been used. Independent audits of our SPLOST projects repeatedly show that we have used the penny as promised, and students have benefited. I believe that is why Gwinnett voters have continued to extend the sale tax when asked to do so by the Board of Education. The Board and I, and most especially the students,