School takeover language favors supporters, Gwinnett official says

Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said Wednesday the ballot language for this November’s statewide referendum on a proposal that allows the state to takeover some low-performing schools is written to favor the plan.

“As with many such ballot issues, the preamble and the question that will appear on the ballot are written in a way that someone who’s not well-informed about it would be inclined to vote in support of it,” Wilbanks said at his annual state of the school district address, sponsored by the county’s Chamber of Commerce. “Obviously, if I was writing the preamble and the ballot question, I would probably do the same thing.”

Some groups, such as the Georgia PTA, have been extremely critical of the ballot language, describing it as “intentionally misleading.”

Wilbanks said he has his own opinion about the referendum, but didn’t discuss it. He said his goal is to make sure no Gwinnett schools are on the takeover list. Gwinnett school board members have not taken a public position on the referendum.

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