A coalition of government watchdog groups has been attempting since February to learn why Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) has been paying the salaries of two Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce employees beginning in 2007. GCPS issued a statement in July saying the investment in the Gwinnett Chamber pays off, and in return for funding the salaries, GCPS had received $6 million which goes directly into the classrooms. They have offered no proof to support that statement, but say they plan to continue to fund these positions at the chamber.
GCPS said that there are no minutes of any school board meeting where this was discussed, no vote was ever taken, and there is no line item in the budget to account for it. We received an email saying that Superintendent Wilbanks had the authority to approve these payments without a vote of the school board. When asked where this could be found in the budget, GCPS’s CFO responded with this explanation:
Reporting department - Financial Services (300002-9990) on page 648.
Page 648, item 3000002-9990:
FY2012 FY2013 FY2013
Financial Services actual proposed Supt. Recommended
(3000002-9990-NA) $258,771 $245,687 $245,687
Description: Banking fees and services for central office and local schools (includes investment advisor)
We have asked an auditor in the Financial Review Division of the Georgia Department of Education to investigate these payments to determine if they were proper.
Please join Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government, Citizens for a Better Gwinnett, Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, CHARGE and the Founding Fathers Tea Party at the Gwinnett County Public Schools board meeting this Thursday. Gwinnett County taxpayers and school children deserve an explanation of why education funds are being used to pay chamber salaries.
You can sign a petition asking elected officials to account for the millions of taxpayer dollars given to the Gwinnett Chamber at:
Thursday, August 16th
Gwinnett County Public Schools Administration Building
Old Peachtree Rd NW
Suwanee, GA 30024-2978.