FCS Board Bulletin for May 8, 2024

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    May 8, 2024


    The Fulton County Board of Education (FCBOE) met on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, for its regularly scheduled Board meeting at the North Learning Center. The full agenda is available online. All items approved are available via BoardDocs. Meetings are streamed live on the FCS district homepage. Recordings will be available within 48 hours.

    Superintendent's Report
    In his report, Dr. Mike Looney highlighted several special recognitions happening in the month of May, noting that May 6-10 is Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8 is School Nurses Day, and May 6 was Holocaust Remembrance Day. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month.

    Chief Academic Officer Brannon Gaskins then proudly announced that Fulton County Schools (FCS) had five of the Top 30 high schools listed in the U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools rankings, the most of any district in the state. The list ranked 18,000 high schools throughout the country. Congratulations to Northview, Chattahoochee, Johns Creek, Milton, Alpharetta and Cambridge high schools. Click here for each school's rankings.

    Division Update: Information Technology
    The Information Technology (IT) division strives to facilitate student achievement and business processes by integrating safe, supported, and effective technology solutions. Chief Information Technology Officer Dr. Emily Ramsey kicked off the presentation by outlining the four consistent practices across all work-streams, which include delivering excellent customer service, building individual and project capacity, and planning for succession. During the presentation, Dr. Ramsey reviewed the three major areas of the IT division, its accomplishments and challenges. Accountability and District Applications provides a comprehensive support system for data and applications and includes six different departments. Infrastructure and Operations provides network connectivity, security, and support for staff and students and includes four departments.

    Program Management provides a standard framework and resources for business analysis, project management, and process management and includes three departments.

    Deputy Chief Information Technology Officer Kenya Williams continued the presentation highlighting these three major areas. Accountability and District Applications team members work to implement and support applications, and most have more than 90,000 end users logging into the applications to satisfy work or school objectives. A specific point of pride is the Balanced Score Card, a publicly accessible data dashboard which includes over 400 different data visualizations. Team members work to provide access for more than 100,000 devices centrally managed, allowing the team to push updates and security measures with little or no interruption to productivity and instruction. All these devices and equipment experience 99% network uptime due to IT team vigilance and engineering. The team, along with over 250 full-time and contracted IT staff, respond and resolve the more than 12,000 service desk calls and over 130,000 support desk tickets received this year.

    IT Program Management develops strategic, standardized planning for technology-related Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) initiatives, project and process management support, and maintenance of technology standards. As with all facets of Information Technology, the division also experiences many challenges including increased cyber threats. The Information Security team has been charged with executing a comprehensive security plan. Another major component of the team is device management. IT is challenged with supplying safe, ready devices to students and staff while dealing with extremely high damage and lost device rates. To mitigate this issue, the IT division is partnering with schools to include regular device checks and create a safe device campaign to educate students and their families regarding device safety and required fines. Ms. Williams also spoke about IT staffing, which she says represents a challenge due to stiff competition for skilled IT staff in the metro Atlanta area. IT is partnering with the Human Resources division to mitigate these staffing challenges. Another concern is the increased 24/7 dependency on the network. Schools and district departments constantly use the system even during holidays and breaks. Therefore, the team must create 24/7 monitoring systems to ensure uptime and timely resolution of end-user issues.

    Dr. Ramsey then discussed Atlas, the branding given to the new business solutions launched in January 2022, presenting a five-year view of the Atlas financial investment. The district is currently in Option Year 3. Total spending for the current year is approximately $5 million. She noted that during the meeting, the Board will have the opportunity to approve the final Option Year 4 for next year in the amount of $6.6 million for fiscal year 2024‐2025.

    Dr. Ramsey concluded the presentation by thanking IT staff members for their diligent work, while also thanking the Board and executive leadership for their support. Finally, she recognized the taxpayers of Fulton County for voting for SPLOST, which primarily funds FCS' technology initiatives and positions the district to deliver future-ready hardware, platforms, and solutions for the benefit of all staff and students in Fulton County Schools. See the full presentation here.

    FY2025 Proposed Tentative Budgets, Tentative Millage Rate
    Prior to the adoption of the final budgets in June, FCS held the first of two public hearings to solicit stakeholder input on the FY2025 proposed budgets. The budget details are available on our website at fultonschools.org/budgetservices. The second public hearing will be held on May 15. On that day, the superintendent will be prepared to present a tentative budget and tentative millage rate for adoption. The FY2025 Superintendent's Comprehensive General Fund budget includes a Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tentative millage rate of 17.13 for the 2024 property tax year, which is a reduction from last year's millage rate. The final millage rate adoption will depend on the availability of the tax digest.

    2024-25 Community Meetings with Board Members
    Each member of the Fulton County Board of Education sponsors a monthly meeting open to all members of the community. The sessions provide an opportunity for direct contact with community members and give Board members a chance to listen to local issues and concerns. Click here to see the meeting schedules of all Board members.

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