The Atlanta Public School Board of Education’s Policy Review Committee met yesterday and considered a series of policy changes. In addition, the most important action taken was to agree that the Committee would review all policies on a regularly scheduled basis and that, to do so, the Committee would meet on a monthly basis prior to the regularly scheduled Board Meeting.
The following is a brief recap of the Committee proceedings:
BC – Board Meetings Policy – this policy had its first reading on July 14th (see proposed changes here) and incorporated a number of changes to the conduct of the Community Meeting. Many community members objected to the proposed limitations and the Committee decided to remove the limitations imposed. In addition there was a clarifying change to establish that the Board agenda and final attachments would be publicly disclosed at least three business days in advance of the meeting except in the case of emergency.
[Comment – the initial proposed changes were developed to further streamline the lengthy Board Meetings. However, the proposed restrictions would have limited the community viewpoints that could be presented to the Board during the Community Meeting. Additionally, the proposal to limit community member’s statements to agenda items only would have further restricted input from the community. In my view, leaving the Community Meeting rules as they are now makes sense.]
BBBA Board Statement of Policy (see unrevised policy here) – this policy will be amended to incorporate the Board Norms statement as presented in the July 14th Board meeting. The first draft was presented to the Committee and the administration indicated that it would reformat the Policy to aggregate items under subheadings. The revised draft will likely be reviewed at the next Committee meeting in advance of the next regularly scheduled Board meeting in August.
DC Annual Operating Budget Policy – at the last-minute, the administration proposed amending the budget policy by removing the limitations on the superintendent’s authority to move funds between departments and divisions without Board approval. In the June regular Board meeting, Superintendent Davis had complained that the provision in the policy was too limiting and was a burden on the administration. While the Committee did not disagree with the retired superintendent’s assessment, the Committee was not in favor of removing the limitation without implementing a different mechanism that could achieve the intended result of the current policy.
Family Engagement Policy – the administration indicated that it was still researching alternatives prior to presenting a recommendation and believed that a policy draft could be brought to the Committee in August.
New Items – the administration recommended that the policy on use of the APS or school name by related organizations (PTA’s, Foundations, Alumni, etc.) be reviewed.
Quite honestly, it was refreshing to see this Committee in action. It is taking its work very seriously and is being responsive to community input. And the decision to hold a monthly meeting to review all policies on a regular basis is a great step forward in not only updating old policies, but making the policies relevant to the existing needs of the organization.