APS Board meeting today at 3 p.m. – time for some questions

The Atlanta Public School Board of Education will meet today starting at 3:00 p.m. at the downtown central office. Based on a review of the materials published (see agenda and attachments here) the following are some questions that should be answered by the administration:

Human Resources – Chief Human Resources Officer Ron Price will provide an update on Project Thrive. Project Thrive was a complete reorganization of the HR function and included the consolidation into HR of a number of activities that were being performed by C&I. The reorganization was justified on the basis that the total cost would be reduced over time. For the original presentation on Project Thrive, see here – go to the May 6, 2013 BOE Meeting and view item 1.02 Board Work Session Agenda where there is a link for the Project Thrive presentation.

The key slide from a financial perspective is the following (click to enlarge):Project Thrive Slide 050613

The slide indicates that the HR General Fund budget for FY14 is $5.4 million and for FY15 is $6.6 million (which includes Special Revenue Funds that had to be transferred to the GF). When the SRF are included, the FY14 budget is $6.3 million and the FY15 budget stays the same as noted above.

The questions are pretty straight forward:

  1. As noted by the slide above, the combined HR/C&I spending should be in the $6.3 million range. Are the HR/C&I functions on target to meet the FY14 budget?
  2. How many positions were eliminated or transferred from the C&I division to the HR division to achieve the $1.8 million reduction in C&I expenditures in FY14? Was the $1.8 million savings in C&I achieved in FY14?
  3. The projected HR cost for FY15 is $6.6 million. Is this the amount that HR is proposing as its budget in FY15?

Finance Division – Chief Financial Officer Burbridge – In a recent Budget Commission meeting, you indicated that current revenue projections are significantly higher than budgeted and that the deficit – including the potential for an additional $5 million in expenditures – could still be reduced to zero for FY14.

  1. The budgeted revenue for FY14 was $569 million. What is the current FY14 revenue projection for FY14 and where do the increases come from?
  2. Is the administration requesting an additional $5 million in expenditures for FY14 and, if so, how does the administration intend to use those funds?

Operations Division – Deputy Superintendent of Operations Larry Hoskins is not on the Agenda to make a presentation, however, it has been several months since he last provided an update on the multiple construction projects and the projects under development. If the new Board wants to stay on top of events (unlike the prior BOE during the NAHS fiasco), the Board should request that he give an update at the next meeting.

Other Agenda Items

2.01 – Revision of Grading Policy – no questions.

2.02 – Personnel Gains, Losses, Promotions, Appointments, Creations, Reclassifications and Abolishments – no questions.

2.03 – Authorization to abolish one Educational Telecommunication Specialist position and create one Media Production Specialist position.

  1. Will the individual filling the position that is being abolished serve in the position being created?
  2. Will there be any compensation change for the newly created position?

3.01 – Authorization to enter into and execute a contract to provide Blended Learning Consulting, Educator Workshops and Family Learning Workshops – $300,000 – The contract is with Computers for Youth and will result in the expansion of a program system-wide.

  1. Can you describe the critical success factors that were achieved to-date and what are the critical success factor objectives for the expanded program?

3.02 – Authorization to enter into and execute a contract for a Human Resource Delivery Solution – $297,660.

  1. Will this replace the existing HRIS system or be in addition to the existing system?
  2. If so, how does the cost of the new system compare to the old HRIS system?
  3. The recommendation indicates that there will be a cost savings – what is the estimate of the cost savings?
  4. Should we anticipate that this cost savings will result in a lower HR budget for FY15?

5.01 – Authorization to settle Student vs. Atlanta Independent School System (Docket Number OSAH-DOE-SE-1423098-60-Miller) – no dollar amount provided. The Student filed a due process complaint alleging APS failed to provide Student with a free and appropriate public education.

[Comment – this suit appears to strike at the heart of the APS mission. Why would they settle this? While I understand that the cost of settlement may be less than the cost of litigation, the principles that appear to be inherent in this suit should be vigorously defended by the administration. A settlement appears to invite future lawsuits.]

9.04 – School Activity Funds Report for December 2013 – no questions, but the Report provides information on the size and activity for each school and provides parents a source of useful information about additional funds that are available to the school.

In addition, this past week APS announced that there would be a number of school principals that would not be returning to those positions next year. See more information here  which at the bottom of the post includes links to various stories on the issue. While this is not on the Agenda and everyone in the administration is being very tight-lipped about which schools are included, I expect that there will be some fireworks during the Community Session.

See you there today at 3:00 p.m.

[Follow me on Twitter @Financial_Decon]

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