AL-8 Reuben R. McDaniel, III (I)

Contact Information

Email – rrmcdaniel@atlanta.k12.ga.us or ReubenMcDanielAPS8@gmail.com

Phone – 404-805-4674

Reuben R. McDaniel, III Campaign Website

Compliance with Candidate Filing Requirements

McDaniel skipped campaign filings, omitted debts

Background

In May 1999, Reuben R. McDaniel, III was named President/CEO of Jackson Securities, LLC an Atlanta based investment banking firm.  With over 25 years of investment banking experience in finance management, capital markets and municipal finance, McDaniel relies on his proven financial insights, exceptional talents in building relationships, strong analytical background and consummate corporate management skills. Selected as one of Black Enterprises’ “75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street,” Mr. McDaniel was responsible for transforming the firm from a regional public finance boutique into a national institutional investment bank. Under his leadership, Jackson Securities has sustained double-digit revenue growth and diversified revenue streams by establishing a Corporate Finance Group, Wealth Management Group and an Institutional Sales & Trading Group.

Education Priorities

[July 29, 2013] “Class size makes a difference, but class size is one of the reasons children don’t know how to read… The issue is, we’ve got a very challenging population, we have to work on our early education, we have to make sure they have an effective teacher,” McDaniel said. 

If I am elected to a second term of office, this will be one of the key areas of focus for me from a Board Leadership position.  Helping students get have the resources and support they need to graduate is job #1.

Position on Revenues and Taxes

FY14 Property TaxesMillage rates will remain unchanged in the 2013-2014 school year, but property taxes are projected to increase by 1.2 percent. The Atlanta Board of Education voted June 17 for its property tax rate within the city to stay at 21.64 mills, with a 0.1 mill for bond payments.

Property Tax Revenues – “While the economy seems to be stabilizing and property values seem to have hit bottom, the tax digest is a lagging measure so APS revenues continue to be strained.

AIS Property Sale Atlanta’s school system is reconsidering whether to sell Buckhead property to Atlanta International School that the private school currently leases. … Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel said Tuesday that the sale is complicated by high property values in the area and potential future needs of the school system.

Position on Deficit Spending and General Fund Reserves

[Claim on Campaign Website] – “During my time on the Board, we have had balanced budgets year after year …” [Note – see below and my review of budget deficit spending over the last four years at APS – Deficit Spending – Background Info & Questions for BOE Candidates – RFS]

FY14 Budget The Atlanta Board of Education voted 6-3 to pass the $595 million spending plan for the 2013-2014 school year... The school board decided against making another $1.3 million in personnel cuts because tax collections have come in about $1.5 million higher than projections, McDaniel said. [Note – McDaniel voted with the majority – the FY14 budget includes $24.9 million of deficit spending – RFS]

Loss of $8 million in Beltline Payments“We’re scrambling a little bit. … There’s no obvious place to make cuts,” said Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel. “Both sides will have to sit down and work through a reasonable renegotiation.”

FY13 Budget – The Atlanta Board of Education unanimously approved (9-0) the school system’s  fiscal 2013 budget of $574.70 million. [Note – the approved budget included deficit spending of $18.4 million – RFS]

Position on Allocation of Resources

[The FY14 budget] continues to focus on driving costs down centrally and maintaining schoolhouse budgets.

Reduction in Central Administration CostFrustrated Atlanta school board members met Wednesday and called for a bloated central office to start shedding unproductive administrators so that more money can go toward reducing class sizes. In a school district with the highest administration costs in Georgia, parents and board members want to direct more money to students in the proposed budget for the next school year. Board Chairman Reuben McDaniel asked the administration to identify 18 non-teacher positions — worth about $1.5 million — that can be cut, especially if those workers are not doing their jobs. [Note – the BOE never further addressed the $1.5 million in cuts and they were not included in the final budget passed. McDaniel voted FOR passage of the budget – RFS]

[In response to an AJC article titled “Big share of Atlanta education money never reaches classroom”, McDaniel said. “I don’t think Atlanta is bloated per se, but I don’t think there’s any organization where you can’t become more efficient.”

Position on Class Size Waivers and Average Class Size

[July 29, 2013] I advocated having enough teachers to have similar class sizes as last year.  It would be nice to have smaller class sizes,” McDaniel said.

This [FY14] budget keeps the teacher/student ratios at about the same level they were in 12-13.

[FY14 budget discussions] … the board voted 7-2 late Monday night to dedicate 40 teachers it’s hiring to academic  improvement instead of smaller classrooms. [Note – Mr. McDaniel voted with the majority – RFS]

[FY14 budget discussions] The board had voted last week to distribute the teachers so that average class sizes would be no higher than 30 students in middle and high schools and 24 students in middle schools. The board on Monday changed those class-size guidelines from hard limits to flexible goals.

[FY14 budget discussions] Board Chairman Reuben McDaniel said tinier class sizes can help improve students’ academic performance. “Having a smaller, more intense class size is part of the answer,” McDaniel said.

[After initial vote on FY14 budget] “Unfortunately, we’re just not in an economic climate where we can add teachers,” said board Chairman Reuben McDaniel. “We’re glad we didn’t have to raise class sizes.”

[May 20, 2013 during budget discussions] Atlanta Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel proposed keeping class sizes at current levels, which in some cases are larger than Georgia guidelines.

Position on the Budget Process

Frustrated Atlanta school board members met Wednesday and called for a bloated central office to start shedding unproductive administrators so that more money can go toward reducing class sizes. In a school district with the highest administration costs in Georgia, parents and board members want to direct more money to students in the proposed budget for the next school year.

Position on Overcapacity Issues and School Closings

Position on Board’s Oversight

Responsibilities Position on Charter Schools

Atlanta Classical Academy Charter Petition: AJCAtlanta’s school board unanimously approved a new charter school Monday, overriding the superintendent’s recommendation against starting new charters. Board of Education members gave the go-ahead for Atlanta Classical Academy, a K-8 charter school in Buckhead, to launch in the 2014-2015 school year.

[July 29, 2013] “Using charter schools for what they were originally designed for… innovation… I fully support– they feed into our thinking at APS,” McDaniel said. However, he said that some charter schools “have been formed as alternatives to the public schools as opposed to innovation,” adding that he has opposed several specific charter school proposals within APS. 

Funds Withheld from Charter Schools LitigationAtlanta’s charter schools are increasing class sizes, reducing staff and trimming budgets because nearly $3 million is being withheld from them in a legal dispute with the city school district. One judge has ruled the charters should have the money. Because Atlanta Public Schools appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, the money is tied up until the case, which involves APS’ pension cost, is decided. The state’s highest court may not rule until next spring, meaning the charters have to do without until then even if they ultimately prevail. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wendy Shoob ruled in December in favor of the charter schools, whose lawyers argued that their employees don’t benefit from the pension system and their funding can’t be altered. [Note – BOE voted unanimously to appeal Judge Shoob’s decision – RFS]

Position on Other Issues that Have Financial Implications

Nearly $150 million Cost of new North Atlanta High SchoolBelcher tried to get an APS representative to defend the cost, but no administrators or board members agreed to speak with him.

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