Recap of Atlanta Public School Board of Education meeting held Monday, June 2nd

The Atlanta Public School Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting yesterday and the following is a recap of the discussions and actions taken. More detail on the proceedings can be seen at the Talk Up APS blog and at the live-stream broadcast here.

During the work session, the following presentations were made:

Public Broadcasting Atlanta Presentation– the Board was updated on the new digital technology capabilities for the station based on centralizing the broadcasting operations for 16 stations around the country.

Career Academy Status – Dr. Alexis Kirijan, Chief Strategy & Development Officer – see the oral presentation here (scroll down) and the PowerPoint presentation here. In brief, the following summarizes the presentation:

  • Opening a Career Academy was defined as a strategic imitative
  • The project team continued the district alignment discussions with C&I as well as other divisions.
  • The team is planning on engaging the community and possible partners, beginning the grassroots effort to develop a governance board and commencement of the funding strategy.
  • 2015 will be dedicated to detailed program design with the Governance Board and the individual Career Pathway Advisory committees.
  • The Career Academy is scheduled to open fall 2017 for a projected cohort of 500 students. 

Update on $19 million Beltline Debt – Superintendent Erroll Davis & CFO Chuck Burbridge – The Beltline is delinquent on paying APS over $8 million plus interest and $10 million plus land for a recreation center. APS is in negotiations to resolve this with the City of Atlanta and the Invest Atlanta, who are the signatories to the contract. For more detail on the outstanding debt and the history of the contracts, see here.

Financial Update – CFO Chuck Burbridge confirmed that projected revenues and expenditures will be balanced for FY14 and there will not be any use of General Fund reserves.

Board Committee Updates:

Accountability Committee – Leslie Grant – the final performance review for outgoing Superintendent Davis is being completed and will be reviewed with Davis in June in executive session. Additionally, modifications to the performance evaluation process are under consideration and will be reviewed with new Superintendent Carstarphen.

Audit Committee – Byron Amos – the Committee anticipates naming the three non-voting citizens that will sit on the Committee in June.

Charter School Task Force – Byron Amos – the Task Force has determined that it will need additional time to establish a full list of recommendations to the Board and has established a working group to set a schedule.

Budget Commission – Matt Westmoreland – the Commission will consider various alternatives to more equitably fund charter schools.

Policy Review Committee – Eshe’ Collins – the Committee is reviewing the Board Travel Policy and will provide the Board with a recommendation at the next Board meeting. The Committee is also considering a recommendation to split the monthly Board meeting – with the Work Session and Community Meeting on the first Monday of the month and then holding the Legislative Session the following Monday. This would allow for the community to have greater input prior to final decisions being voted on by the Board.

Pension Liability Task Force – Jason Esteves – see below.

Board Action Items:

Personnel Gains, Losses, Promotions, Appointments, Creations, Reclassification and Abolishments – it was interesting to note that this item was removed from the consent agenda during the Work Session, but when the item was brought up in the Legislative Session there was no discussion. Meister was the sole vote against, but she did not provide any reasons for her vote.

  • See here for list of new principals.
  • See here for waiver request to allow Shelly Powell to take on responsibilities for leadership over all three Therrell High School education units.
  • See here for new school officials selected by new Superintendent Carstarphen.
  • See here for more on $104 thousand consulting contract granted to outgoing Associate Superintendent Steve Smith.

Atlanta Board of Education General Employees Pension Plan Amended Amortization Calculation Resolution (see revised amortization table here) – Jason Esteves presented the Resolution and provided comments in advance of the vote. He noted that the pension liability was an obligation that had developed over 30+ years and had been left for “our children” to bear even though it was “not their own”. He stated that the Task Force would continue its deliberations to find a long-term solution to the problem. The vote on the Resolution was unanimous.

Items that were approved under the consent agenda with limited or no discussion:

  • Authorization to Revise Policy GAMA Safe and Drug-free Workplace (Final Approval)
  • Authorization to Revise Policy KM Visitors to School (Final Approval)
  • Authorization to Abolish and Create Positions within the Procurement Department and Execute a Transition Plan
  • Report No. 13/14-1729 – Recommendation to Deny the Start-up Charter School Petition for Hinds Feet Montessori School – Superintendent Davis noted that an external and independent evaluator had assisted in the assessment process and had concurred with previous determinations by the APS Office of Innovation.
  • Report No. 13/14-5130 – Workers’ Compensation Settlements – $95 thousand
  • Final Approval of the Debt Service Budget for FY 2015 – $2.0 million
  • Report No. 13/14-1159 – Adoption of the Capital Projects Budget for FY 2015 – $11.1 million
  • Adoption of FY 2015 Special Revenue Budget – $122.6 million – for more detail on this, see here.
  • Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide a Bank of Standards-based Assessment Items – $900,000 – Davis stated that the authorization was needed in advance of June 30th, however, the actual expenditure would have to be subsequently approved by the new superintendent.
  • Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Curriculum and Assessment Design for D.M. Therrell School of Health Science & Research – $180,000 – Davis stated that the authorization was needed in advance of June 30th, however, the actual expenditure would have to be subsequently approved by the new superintendent.
  • Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Single Source Contract to Develop Additional Analytical Dashboards in the Enterprise Data Warehouse System – $145,000
  • Authorization to Merge Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sammye E. Coan Middle Schools and Modify the School Attendance Zone Boundaries
  • In Re: Carolyn Broughton – the Hearing Tribunal’s recommendation that her demotion be upheld was ratified by the Board.
  • In Re: Juanessa Booker – the Hearing Tribunal’s recommendation that Bookers teacher contract not be renewed was ratified by the Board.
  • Report No. 13/14-1157 – Authorization to Continue Contract Agreement with Project Grad Atlanta – $391,170 Report No. 13/14-1161
  • Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts for Asbestos and Lead Based Paint Abatement and Mold Remediation Services, Re-bid – $2.35 million – the prior contracts had expired and this was simply a vote to reauthorize the spending.

[Follow me on Twitter @Financial_Decon]

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