DULUTH, Ga. -- For the past five years, the Gwinnett County School system has paid for two full-time employees at the Chamber of Commerce with an annual cost, according to invoices obtained by 11Alive News, of roughly $150,000 a year.
According to the school system, the two employees work in economic development, trying to attract new business to the county.
A school spokesperson says new businesses broaden the tax base, and the increased tax revenue ultimately helps to fund schools.
"Our mission is to educate students," said district spokesperson Sloan Roach. "But to do that, we need money."
However, with the school system facing an estimated $89 million budget shortfall, some have begun to question the practice.
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Roach says Partnership Gwinnett, a business development initiative of the Chamber of Commerce, has generated roughly $1 million of additional revenue for the district each year.
The school system has already funded the positions for another year -- an ongoing experiment in economic development at taxpayers' expense.