Atlanta Public School Board of Education meeting today – agenda & time for some questions

The Atlanta Public School Board of Education will be meeting today beginning at 2 p.m. Time for some questions based on the information provided for the meeting at BoardDocs. 

Financial update – Some expenditures are not recorded during the current month, including payroll, and so this will be the first financial report that shows the first full quarter of operation through September and CFO Burbridge should be able to assess if APS is meeting its budgeting target for both revenues and expenditures. The following are some questions for Mr. Burbridge:

  1. A significant component of the cost savings in the FY14 budget is the $5.9 million in Vacancy Management. Are the targets on this cost savings being met?
  2. The FY14 budget calls for significant savings from a reduction in cost for substitute teachers. What is the status of the anticipated cost savings for substitute teachers?
  3. Last year shortly after a FY13 budget was approved, the budget had to be amended to add approximately $6 in additional appropriations from the previous year. Are any similar amendments anticipated this year?
  4. It appears that the Payroll Department restructuring is complete. Did the restructuring, in which the staff was reduced by one, result in any cost savings? If so, how much?

Construction Status Update – while this is not on the agenda for today, it should be given the changes that have occurred to the cost of the projects over the last several months. The chart below shows changes to budgets for each construction project underway or in the planning phase (click to enlarge).

Const Status 110113 v1

The chart above raises the following questions:

  1. The Bunche project budget changed from $24 million last month to $32.9 million this month. In addition, the Board is being asked to approve the GMP of $29.9 million today. What changes have occurred in the project to increase the budget by 37% since last month?
  2. The Mary Lin budget has increase by $3.1 million since last month. Why?
  3. The Rivers budget has increased by $8 million since last month. Why?
  4. The Sylvan project budget has increased by $10.7 million since last month. Why?

Policy on Use of School Facilities – the policy on the use of school facilities by outside organizations is set for final approval. In essence, Operations has the authority to approve the use of facilities that are for a term of less than 1 year. All other agreements for the use of facilities greater than one year would be brought to the public for comment and then to the BoE for approval.

Resolution to Revise Student Safety Policy – the GA General Assembly requires the Board to adopt a policy on concussion management for youth athletes. This resolution modifies policy JFG to conform with state law.

Resolution to Revise the Staff Calendar – a staff furlough day originally set for January 6, 2014 is being pushed back to dates in May and June. The administration wants more time and financial information in advance of the furlough days to asses if they will be needed.

Resolution to Approve the Centennial Place Conversion Charter – this resolution was on last month’s agenda, but had to be pulled as the teachers did not provide 50%+ approval of the conversion. A subsequent vote was taken and the teachers have joined the parents in approving the conversion charter. APS has been working with Integral New Schools Atlanta and the community to develop the plans for the conversion. If approved by the Board and subsequently by the GA DOE, the school will open with 585 students in K-6 and add a grade level each year until it reaches full capacity of 775 students, K-8.

Resolution to Approve the Drew Charter School Enrollment Preferences – based on certain changes in state laws, (HB-283), Drew is requesting that they be allowed to give the Cox Pre-K Program (associated with Drew) and the East Lake Sheltering Arms Earl Education and Family Center Program preference on admissions into the Drew kindergarten program. By allowing this change to the existing Charter, Drew will be able to begin their instructional program at the Pre-K level.

Personnel Gains, Losses, Promotions, Appointments, Creations, Reclassifications and Abolishments Report – a couple of observations and questions:

  1. The teaching staff appears to be stabilizing with the hiring of 17 teachers and only six teachers resigning for a net addition of 11.
    1. How many teachers are now on staff in comparison to the budgeted levels?
    2. How many EIP teachers or “EIP like” teachers are on staff and how does it compare to the budgeted levels?
    3. A new Chief of Human Resources Officer – Ronnie Price – will start today if the appointment is approved by the BoE.

Contract for Computer Hardware & Installation Services – this resolution awards the annual contract worth $4 million to Prosis Information Systems. A couple of questions:

  1. Who held this contract and what amount was spent on it last year?
  2. For what items was the expenditure made last year and what items are anticipated to be purchased in the current year?
  3. What is the anticipated breakdown between hardware and installation services?
  4. Are there any other similar contracts with other vendors to purchase computer hardware and installation services?

Contracts for Plumbing Supplies – this resolution awards the annual contract for plumbing supplies, worth $600 thousand, to Ferguson, Inc., HD Supply Facilities Maintenance and Noland Company.

  1. Who held this contract and what amount was spent on it last year?

Resolution to Transfer Funds between Divisions for BoE Elections and Superintendent Search – the amount of the transfer is $600 thousand. A couple of questions

  1. Both of these items were well-known as required expenditures at the time the budget was prepared. Why are they not already itemized in the budget in a manner that would not require transfers of budget funds between Divisions?
  2. The transfer amount should be itemized by Division and by the Object account so that the BoE can see where the funds are coming from.

Resolution to Settle Certain Worker’s Compensation Claims – Three employees have submitted claims and APS is offering $42.5 thousand to settle the claims. [Comment – based on the net present value analysis, the settlements make sense.]

Approval of a Lease Transfer for Latin Academy Charter School – Latin Academy leases the Anderson Park Elementary School facility. However, due to the amount of repair work required to maintain the property, Latin Academy is requesting a transfer of the lease t the former Capital View Elementary School property with an option to purchase the property at a future date. The charter school will be responsible for utilities, maintenance, capital improvements, operating expenses and insurance for the facility. Pursuant to state law, no lease payments can be charged to charter schools.

Resolution to Enter into a Construction Management Agreement for the Bunche Middle School Additions – the contract is with J. E. Dunn Construction Company for a guaranteed maximum price of $29.9 million. The original budget for the entire project is $32.9 million.

Appointment of APS BoE Representatives to the Beltline Affordable Housing Advisory Board (BAHAB) – the Board is responsible for appointing six members to the BAHAB. The recommended appointments are Chantel D. Mullen, ESQ., Amon Martin, Justin Babino, ESQ., and Elke Davidson for a term of two years expiring in 2015.

See you at the meeting.

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