Board Summary for July 15, 2021

  • Work Session 2nd Public Hearing of FY2022 Millage Rate 3rd Public Hearing of FY2022 Millage Rate Business Meeting
    July 15, 2021, School Board Work Session Stream
    To view the recorded Work Session, please click on the meeting link. 
    July 15, 2021, School Board 2nd Public Hearing of FY2022 Millage Rate Stream
    To view the recorded Public Hearing, please click on the meeting link. 
    July 15, 2021, School Board 3rd Public Hearing of FY2022 Millage Rate Stream:  
    To view the recorded Public Hearing, please click on the meeting link.
    July 15, 2021, School Board Business Meeting Stream:  
    To view the recorded Business Meeting, please click on the meeting link.

    The following are highlights of the July 15, 2021, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE). Board members present included Chairman Everton Blair, Jr., Vice Chairman Karen Watkins, Steven B. Knudsen, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Dr. Tarece Johnson. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

    Board approves millage rate to support the FY2022 budget
    Prior to its monthly business meeting, the Gwinnett County Board of Education held, as required by law, a second and third public hearing on the millage rate to support the adopted FY2022 budget. Due to growth in the property tax digest, the school district changed its initial recommended millage rate during the first public hearing held on July 9. Staff recommended and the Board approved a decrease in its debt service millage rate from 1.90 to 1.65. The maintenance and operations (M&O) millage rate remains at 19.70 mills. Combined, and as approved, the debt service millage and M&O millage sit at 21.35, a decrease from last year’s rate of 21.60. The school system’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) budget of $2.4 billion was adopted June 17, 2021. The lower millage rate of 21.35 mills will support the FY2022 budget, with the decrease in the debt service portion still providing the funds necessary to support the principal interest payments on the district’s long-term bond obligations. 

    Board amends FY2022 budget to cost-of-living increase for teachers
    The Gwinnett County Board of Education voted to amend its Fiscal Year 2022 budget, bumping up the cost-of-living salary increase for all employees paid on the teacher salary scale from $1,000 to $2,000. This change will be reflected on the FY2022 Teacher Salary Scale, with every step on the scale increasing by $2,000. This brings the starting salary for a new teacher in Gwinnett who holds a bachelor’s degree to $48,646. Last year, starting teachers in Gwinnett County Public Schools made $46,646. This salary improvement adjusts the salaries for all teachers, including veteran Gwinnett teachers, by $2,000 over what they earned last year. This change will be reflected in teachers’ first check for the contract year in August. The 2% cost-of-living increase for all employees not paid on the teacher salary scale remains in the budget and is unchanged. Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks recommended the increase after reviewing updated budget figures that included unexpected growth in the property tax digest.

    Board selects Dr. Calvin Watts as finalist for Gwinnett County Public Schools superintendent

    The members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education voted 5-0 to approve Dr. Calvin Watts—a former GCPS school leader and assistant superintendent who has most recently served as Superintendent of Kent School District in Washington—as its sole finalist for superintendent. After the announcement, Dr. Watts joined the meeting virtually. In his remarks, Dr. Watts said he considered his tenure as a leader in Gwinnett as a highlight of his career, touting many things he learned during his 13 years in GCPS. He spoke of the great legacy retiring superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks is leaving and said he looks forward to leading GCPS into its next chapter. In saying how humbled and honored he is to be named as the district’s next leader, he shared his motto, which is to “reach and teach all students as if they had his last name.”


    Bio for Dr. Calvin Watts—Dr. Watts serves as superintendent of Kent School District (KSD), the 5th largest and 2nd most diverse school district in Washington State. With more than 26,500 students, KSD also employs 3,600 staff members and operates a $450 million budget. During the past six years, Dr. Watts developed a bold strategic planning process; maintained an intentional focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; and improved organizational effectiveness so that all students may thrive. KSD’s four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates have risen to record levels for all students as a result. Dr. Watts is member of The Broad Academy Fellowship (2018-2019), and he has demonstrated a strong track record of success as an instructional, operational and community leader. Dr. Watts also served in Gwinnett County Public Schools for 13 years in varied leadership roles with increasing levels of responsibility.  Even more, Dr. Watts is thrilled to re-establish residency in Georgia, and for his family to become rooted in the Gwinnett County community.


    Muslims of USA thank GCPS for partnership
    Rahim Shah Akhunkhail, Chair of Muslims of USA,  provided Board members with information on the partnership between Gwinnett County Public Schools and the Gwinnett Muslim Delegation. 

    Board approves appointment to GRS Administrative Committee
    The Board of Education approved the appointment of Michael McIntyre to fill a vacant teacher position on the Gwinnett Retirement System (GRS) Administrative Committee. GRS is directed by a nine-person committee. The committee consists of three teachers, one local school administrator, one classified employee, one retiree, and one position of any classification covered by the GRS plan. (Chief Financial Officer Joe Heffron and Dr. Monica Batiste, GCPS associate superintendent of Human Resources and Talent Management, serve as the chair and vice-chair, respectively, for the committee.)

    Citizens addressing the Board

    • Richard Zeger
    • Anthony Downer
    • Derrick Allen
    • Amy Cook
    • Debbie McCreary
    • Rachel Ash
    • Mandy Mrozek
    • Sheri Mitchell
    • Marlyn Tillman
    • Claire Smith
    • Karen Lewis
    • Exquisitive Hundley
    • Madeline Mitchell
    • Shantell Witter
    • Jack Lin
    • Terri Stalker
    • Penny Poole
    • Lori Ciminelli
    • Deborah Daniell
    • Steve Gasper
    • Michael Tweedy
    • Kelly Willyard
    • Jacquelyn Denick
    • Terianne Wong