The Atlanta Public School’s named Robert Morales as the new Chief Financial Officer for the District. Mr. Morales currently serves as the CFO for the Fulton County Schools. Upon the ratification of his appointment by the Board of Education he will join APS on July 1.
Per his LinkedIn profile, Morales has served as CFO for the Fulton County Schools since 2009. The Fulton County District has a student population of over 93 thousand, over 12,000 employees and 100+ schools and facilities. As a comparison, APS has approximately 50 thousand students and 7 thousand employees.
Morales has a long history in public education and has served as CFO for the Cobb County School District, for the District of Columbia and for the Greenville County Schools in South Carolina. In addition, he worked at the Georgia School Superintendents Association and as Director of State Budgeting and Finance for the House Ways and Means Committee in South Carolina.
During his tenure at Fulton County, the District began its conversion to a charter system operating model and his experience will be very beneficial to APS as it now begins its transition to the charter system over the next several years.
As Superintendent Carstarphen leads the transformation of APS, I believe Morales will have a very significant impact. Over the course of the last several years I have often looked to how Morales presented budgetary and other financial information at Fulton County and used many of his presentations as a model of how it should be done. As an example, over the last several years, APS has presented budgetary information on a few PowerPoint slides and then, only one Fund at a time. In comparison, Fulton County has presented a consolidated Funds budget at the beginning of their budget process and provided extensive detail at the same time (see the initial budget book for FY16 here). If he brings this process to APS, it will be a welcome and important improvement.
In addition, Morales has led a financial team that appears to value cost effectiveness in schools operations. Per the GA Department of Education (see here), in FY14 Fulton County spent approximately $9.5 thousand per student. While this amount is higher than the average of $7.8 thousand per student for other surrounding Districts (Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Clayton), it is well below the $13.5 thousand APS expenditure per student.
Mr. Morales – your history of presenting extensive financial information and managing efficient operations will be a great asset to APS – welcome aboard!