The Atlanta Public School Board of Education will meet today for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. This will be the first meeting for new Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen. The following are the agenda items with a few questions and comments. The Work Session and the Legislative sessions will be live-streamed. See the full agenda here.
First, let me say that I believe this is the first time in a long time that the attachments to the agenda were finalized prior to their release last Thursday. Typically, all of the items that might be considered controversial were not released until several hours prior to the start of the meeting. This is a great first step in improving the transparency of the Board’s and administrations activities – in other words, no surprises held back until the last-minute. Bravo!
There are three presentations scheduled, including:
- Board norms – presented by Courtney D. English, Board Chair – this will be a review of items discussed at a previous offsite planning meeting between the Board and the new superintendent. The list of items discussed can be seen here.
- District Flexibility Options Update – presented by Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen, Superintendent – the district will have to select the operating model and needs to make a decision by November 1st to be able to being implementing the selected structure next year. The three alternative operating models available to the district are: Investing in Educational Excellence School System (IE2), a Charter System and a Status Quo School System. Each model provides some variation on the level of flexibility regarding the state regulations that will cover the district. See the summary presentation here.
- Financial Update – Chuck Burbridge, Chief Financial Officer – see the presentation here. Nothing has changed from the previous month and the district is still projecting that it will balance the revenues and expenditures for FY14.
Except for the first item below, most items on the agenda matters appear to be fairly routine.
Approval of General Counsel Contract – Pursuant the board’s vote on June 19, 2014, Report 13/14-0121 entitled, RESOLUTION APPOINTING AN ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS GENERAL COUNSEL, Glenn Brock was appointed as General Counsel. The Superintendent and General Counsel have negotiated the terms of the attached agreement and bring it forward for action. See the agreement here.
[Comment – I had previously expressed some concerns regarding this relationship. The agreement appears to address my main concern of a conflict of interest and, given the structures established, the agreement appears reasonable. A key component of the relationship are the prior assessments that there would be a cost savings for legal services. I will track the costs closely to see if in fact the savings are realized.]
Authorization to Revise Policy BBBC Board Member Development Opportunities – At the June 19, 2014 meeting of the board’s Policy Review Committee, the committee recommended a revision to policy BBBC. This revision removes a specific list of organizations that may be included on the “allowable” providers of board member development as well as a dollar amount for the maximum limit for board member travel reimbursements. Both the list of approved providers and the annual cap for travel expenditures will be determined annually in the board’s plan for board development.
Personnel Actions Gains, Losses, Promotions, Appointments, Creations, Reclassifications and Abolishments – see the complete list here and a detailed summary of in-school leaders and administrative personnel changes here. The following items are authorizations to enter into contracts for third parties to administer various employee benefit plans and are normal course of business:
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide a 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Cancer Insurance
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Dental Insurance
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Long-Term Care Insurance
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Long-Term Disability Insurance
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Short-Term Disability Insurance
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Term Life Insurance
- Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Vision Insurance
Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide Digital Learning Content – $654,000 – That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute contracts with Achieve 3000, Edgenuity and Scholastic, Inc. to provide digital learning content.
Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide Hazardous and Universal Waste Disposal and Transfer Services – $100,000 – That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute contracts with Advanced Environmental Options, Inc., Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., EQ Industrial Services, Inc. and Tradebe Treatment and Recycling, LLC to provide hazardous and universal waste disposal and transfer services.
Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide Instructional Materials and Supplies – $1,700,000 – That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute contracts with the vendors listed on the next page to provide instructional materials and supplies.
Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide K-2 Reading Foundation Instructional Materials and Training – $530,000 – That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute contracts with Compass Learning, Inc., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Imagination Station, dba Istation and McGraw Hill Education (Open Court) to provide k-2 reading foundation instructional materials and training.
Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide Professional Learning Services for Instructional Staff – $219,000 – That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute a contracts with the vendors listed on the next page [27 different vendors listed] to provide professional learning services for instructional staff.
Authorization to Accept the Perkins IV- Program Improvement Grant and Annual Plan – $604,303 – The funds allocated by the Perkins IV-Program Improvement Grant must be budgeted for activities to improve Career and Technical Education programs as provided for in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. These limited funds must be targeted for new or improved activities. The Georgia Department of Education’s Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education Division completes the Perkins formula calculations to provide the available grant amount for Atlanta Public Schools.
Authorization to Transfer Funds from the General Fund to the Lottery Fund – $350,000 – the transfer of up to $350,000 from the general fund balance to the Lottery fund for fiscal year 2014 is needed as the State funding for the pre-K programs are insufficient to cover the entire cost of the programs.
Approval of the FY2015 Budget for BuildSmart Capital Projects to be Funded from the Proceeds from SPLOST – This SPLOST budget reflects any proposed expenditure adjustments that result from project activity, project close-out, scope adjustments, closed schools, district initiatives, etc. The following updated budget is being proposed for the estimated SPLOST revenues associated with this project budget cycle. – See attachment here.
Authorization to Negotiate and Complete the Sale of the Carter Facility– The Atlanta Board of Education declared the Carter facility, located at 80 Joseph Lowery Blvd., as surplus property and no longer needed for school purposes. The property contains 2.19 acres. The property was marketed using a solicitation for sale. The process did not result in an acceptable offer. The Atlanta Board of Education has received an offer to purchase the facility from Families First, Inc. The proposed use of the property is to provide office space for Families First, Inc. and to provide spaces to offer community programs to the neighborhood. The contract closing is contingent on Families First, Inc. receiving a required “Special Use” permit from the City of Atlanta.
Authorization to Revise Policy BC Board Meetings (First Reading) – At the June 19, 2014 meeting of the board’s Policy Review Committee, the committee recommended a revision to policy BC. This revision restricts public comments at the monthly Community Meeting to items on the Committee of the Whole agenda. It also clarifies that the superintendent shares the agenda including supporting documentation three (3) business days prior to a regular meeting except in cases of emergency. In addition, there are several attachments for information purposes, as follows:
- Board Travel Report – there is nothing new in the report.
- Senior Cabinet Travel Report – again, limited additional information in the report.
- Revenues and Expenditures for the Period Ending May 31, 2014 – information supports CFO Burbridge’s financial presentation at the beginning of the meeting.
- Construction Status Report July 1, 2014
The Board is then schedule to go into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters, student discipline matters, real estate matters and litigation.