Atlanta Public School Board Education meeting on Monday at 3 p.m. – some comments and questions on the agenda

September 7, 2014

The Atlanta Public School Board of Education will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting tomorrow at 3 p.m. The following is a brief review of the published agenda for the Work Session, Committee of the Whole and Legislative Session. See the full Meeting Agenda and attachments here.

There are three presentations scheduled for the Work Session as follows:

  • Board Retreat Summary – Courtney D. English, Board Chair – Board Retreat Summary – The Board spent a full day considering the districts mission and vision and drafted a new version of each – see more this topic here.
  • School System Operating Models and Flexibility Options Update – Angela Smith, Special Assistant to the Superintendent – the Advisory Task Force has now met four times (see audio and video of the meetings to date here). In addition a series of community meetings have been held. The district is scheduled to select a preliminary model by October 6th and to make a final decision by November 3rd.
  • 2013/2014 Year-End Achievement Summary – William Caritj, Chief Accountability and Information Officer – This will be the first time we hear from Mr. Caritj. His position is a new one for APS and he served in the same position with Dr. Carstarphen in Austin. Hopefully we will hear more about his job description and what his plans are for the upcoming year. The presentation should be very interesting as it represents the baseline against what the new administration will be measured as we move forward.
  • FY 2016 Budget Planning Draft Parameters and Draft Timeline – Chuck Burbridge, Chief Financial Officer – Now this is refreshing – the district is beginning the much-needed process of establishing the guidelines for developing the budget for next year. This will be the first discussion on the key guidelines that will be used for budgeting purposes. In addition, the administration has been working on revising the financial information that is presented on a regular basis and we may see the outlines of how the interim financial information will be improved in the future.

The Consent Agenda is pretty straight forward, but there are a few items that give some hints of upcoming organizational changes. In this regard, the items to watch for are:

Report No. 14/15-5103 Personnel Actions (Gains, Losses, Appointments, Creations and Reclassifications) – see detail here. Some of the interesting items in the Report are:

  • As of the last Board meeting, the Superintendent reported that all but nine teaching positions had been filled. Since then, there have been 17 new teachers hired and 16 teachers have resigned, for a net increase of one.
  • The principal at Harper-Archer Middle School Dawson Jermaine has resigned.
  • Of note, Mikkal Hart-Murunga, who has served as Executive Director of External Affairs and previously also headed up the Communications Dept., has resigned for personal reasons. The Superintendent has telegraphed in the past that this area would be reorganized and Murunga’s resignation along with the installation of Jill Strickland Luse as Executive Director of Communications and Public Engagement earlier this year, indicate the process appears to be well underway.

Report No. 14/15-1125 Authorization to Align Budgets to New Organizational Charts – The Superintendent is changing the organizational structure of APS and this resolution simply realigns the resources to be consistent with the new organizational structure – see reallocations of the budget here. While this item is on the Consent Agenda, I would hope that a Board member pulls it from the Consent Agenda and that the Superintendent takes the opportunity to present the revised organizational structure in more depth. A simple slide presentation with the revised executive level organizational strurcture and one additional slide for each senior executive’s division would suffice.

As noted above, the rest of the Consent Agenda is non-controversial and is as follows:

  • Report No. 14/15-1707 Approval of Annual Agenda Planning Calendar – see planned agenda items here.
  • Report No. 14/15-1708 Authorization to Revise Policy EEE School Nutrition and Wellness Programs (Final Approval) – see here.
  • 2.03 Report No. 14/15-1709 Authorization to Revise Policy BBBA Board Statement of Values (Final Approval) – see here.
  • 2.04 Report No. 14/15-1710 Authorization to Revise Policy GARD Employee Hiring and Compensation (First Reading) – see here.
  • Report No. 14/15-1711 Authorization to Repeal Policy GA Leadership Personnel (First Reading) – see here.
  • Report No. 14/15-1712 Authorization to Revise Policy BA Goals & Objectives (First Reading) – see here.

Note – the Board Policy Review Committee, chaired by Eshe’ Collins and supported by APS staff Rebecca Kaye, has done an excellent job in starting the process of reviewing many of the APS policies and making recommendations for consolidating and updating the policy statements. It also appears that the process will continue as the Policy Review Committee will be meeting regularly on a monthly basis (for a listing of the next series of Board Committee Meetings – see here).

The following are the Consent Agenda contracts for approval:

  • Report No. 14/15-1126 Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide HVAC Equipment Coil Cleaning Services – $300,000.
  • Report No. 14/15-1127 Authorization to Purchase Carpeting and Floor Covering from the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) Contracts – $160,000.
  • Report No. 14/15-1128 Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide IEP Online Software, Upgrades and Customizations – $225,023.
  • Report No. 14/15-1129 Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Web-Based Literacy Support and Intervention for Students in Grades 9-12 – $270,890.
  • Report No. 14/15-1130 Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Web-Based Adaptive Mathematics Intervention to Students in Grades 9-12, Coordinate Algebra and Analytic Geometry – $137,250.
  • Report No. 14/15-1131 Authorization to Amend Report No. 12/13-1110 to Provide a GPS Vehicle Tracking and Telematics System – $275,629.
  • Report No. 14/15-1132 Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract with Gallup to Provide Strength Based Leadership Training – $300,000.

None of the contracts noted above appear to be controversial or excessive in terms of cost. However, as a Board member I would want to know the answers to the following questions on each contract to which it would apply:

  1. Have we done business with the selected vendor in the past, and is so, was the relationship and quality of services delivered satisfactory?
  2. For contracts that are renewals of services previously obtained, what was the prior cost of the services and how much of an increase is represented by the new contract?
  3. The contracts are all covered by existing budgeted resources in the current year. Do any of the contracts require increases in budgeted resources over the current baseline in future years?
  4. For contracts that have an educational outcome implication (ex. IEP Online Software, Upgrades and Customizations), what expectations does the administration have in terms of improving educational outcomes or reducing overall costs (or both) as a result of entering into the contract?
  5. For those contracts in item 4 above, when will the administration come back to the Board with an assessment of the results obtained from the contractual relationship?

Also, since the Board has adopted a process of not asking questions about Consent Agenda items during the meetings as they are supposed to have asked all the relevant questions in advance, I will assume that the Board members have asked the questions above (among others), are fully satisfied with the answers they received and they are perfectly comfortable being held accountable as they adopt the contracts.

The Board is scheduled then to go into Executive Session to discuss any personnel matters, real estate matters and litigation. When they report out of Executive Session, they will consider the Hearing Tribunal’s recommendation for the following employees – Nikki Turner; Erich Thomas; Nassar Raheem; Adrian Jackson; Ryan Furlough; and Vivian Carter-Cain.

The Board will then hear public comments and then move into the Legislative Session to formally adopt the decisions that were made during the Committee of the Whole items noted above.

See you there!

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Round-Up of APS Headlines from the Past Week [Updated]

September 6, 2014

APS News

***APS Operating Model Selection Process

*** Board of Education & Committee Meetings

  • Board of Education meeting – Monday, September 8, 2014 – 3:00 p.m. [time corrected]
  • District 3 Townhall Meeting – September 17 – 6:30-8:00 p.m. – Board Members Matt Westmoreland and Cynthia Briscoe Brown – Dr. Meria Carstarphen presenting – Inman Middle School (School Auditorium), 774 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
  • District 6 Townhall Meeting – September 18 – 6:30-8:00 p.m. – Board Members Jason Esteves and Eshe’ Collins – Dr. Meria Carstarphen presenting – Crawford Long Middle School, 3200 Latona Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30354
  • Policy Review Committee – 9:00a.m. – September 11 – Eshe’ Collins, Esq., Chair
    • (Update) Community comments  on Board Mission & Vision
    • (Review) Family Engagement Regulations
    • (Follow up) DC Operating Budget
  • Accountability Commission – 11:30a.m. – September 11 – Leslie Grant, Chair
    • (Review & Discuss) Superintendent Evaluation instrument
  • Board Development Committee – 1:00p.m. – September 11 – NancyMeister, Chair
    • (Review) Board Development Calendar
  • Audit Commission – 3:00p.m. – September 11 – Byron Amos, Chair
    • Fiscal Year 2013 Status Audit Work Plan
    • Consent Item: Fiscal Year 2014 Provisional Work Plan
    • Communication Plan

***APS Cheating Scandal

***Other APS News

Non APS News and Opinions of Interest

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