FCS Board Bulletin for June 12, 2024

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    June 12, 2024


    The Fulton County Board of Education (FCBOE) met Tuesday, June 11, 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

    During his comments, Superintendent Dr. Looney recognized Dr. Emily Ramsey who is retiring as the Chief Information Officer for her dedication and service to the district.

    Dr. Looney then called upon Chief Academic Officer Brannon Gaskins to provide an update on Summer Learning.  Gaskins reported to the Board an increase in participation this year compared to 2023 with a total of 6,732 students engaged in face-to-face learning. Highlights included high school options such as the program Tools for College Success, Fulton Virtual Summer Learning, and Fulton Credit Recovery. Another important component of the summer programs noted by Gaskins is school nutrition providing on-site meals as well as the Seamless Summer Sites that help all families in our community.

    Board Approves Fiscal Year 2025 Budget

    The School Board unanimously approved the 2024-2025 budget as proposed by the Superintendent.

    The vote is the culmination of a nine-month long process based on guiding parameters established by the Board, including dedicating 78% of funds directly to schools. Leadership in departments and schools, in cooperation with School Governance Councils, followed a modified zero-based budgeting process to establish the resources needed for students and learning. The total appropriation amount for all funds is $2,289,664,147. The budget reflects total appropriation amounts including budgeted salary schedules, all provisos, School Allotment Guidelines, and a five-year capital program budget and cash flow.

    Highlights include a 4.5% increase and a step increase for all eligible employees valued at $56 million. The budget also includes state-mandated increases to employer contribution costs for retirement and health care benefits and $24.4 million in funding to transition some ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) initiative items. Additionally, the budget accounts for the opening of The Promise Career Institute and the closing of S. L. Lewis Elementary School.

    General Fund $ 1,422,055,825
    School Nutrition Fund 57,085,647
    Special Revenue Fund 92,314,586
    Capital Program Fund 656,853,042
    Pension Fund 42,099,757
    Student Activity Fund 19,255,290
    The total appropriation amount for all funds is $ 2,289,664,147

    The Board strives to achieve a revenue-neutral budget and will set a millage rate later this summer balancing that goal with district needs. Details of the budget can be found here.  

    Division Update: Superintendent’s Division
    Closing out the academic year, Chief of Staff Cliff Jones delivered the final divisional update by highlighting the Superintendent’s Division. This division reflects the organizational departments that report to Dr. Looney through the Chief of Staff’s office. Mr. Jones’ overview covers the work of the Zone Superintendents as well as the following departments: Strategy & Governance, School Police, Safety & Security, District Health Services, and Athletics.

    Zone Superintendents. Mr. Jones described the Zone Superintendents, whose work focuses on instruction, leadership-building, and community engagement, and how their efforts are key to increasing student achievement and graduation rates. Zone Superintendents monitor and inspect each school’s instructional and curricular delivery as well as visit each school in their zone every two weeks. They also engage with parents, partners, and stakeholders through school and community events.

    Strategy & Governance. Multiple departments fall under the Strategy & Governance department, including Program Evaluation/Continuous Improvement, which oversees School Board policy; School Governance & Flexibility, which manages Georgia’s largest district charter; and the Charter School department, which supervises six schools. This past year, the department completed 11 district program evaluations, increased participation in the Annual Perception Survey, and gained feedback through 29 ThoughtExchange engagements. Additionally, the team managed voting for School Governance Council (SGC) elections and hosted 36 Superintendent Advisory Council meetings. Looking ahead, the department is planning to launch the district’s next Strategic Pan, which embraces the newly established values of the organization (Teamwork, Integrity, and Accountability). The establishment of a new strategic plan will include the revitalization of SGC's involvement in school strategic planning as well as potential realignments of the budget and organizational chart to the Strategic Plan goals.

    School Police. The Fulton County Schools Police Department follows four tenets – response, community, collaboration, and training. This year they responded to 6,961 calls for service logged through the Fulton County 911 Dispatch Center, attended more than 20 community and district-led safety-focused events, and participated in a cumulative 4,187 training hours. The department hosted nine monthly metro Atlanta inter-agency and gang intelligence meetings and participated in First Lady of Georgia Marty Kemp’s GRACE Coalition (Georgians Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education) to end human trafficking. Next year, three non-threatening, working-class police dogs will join School Police’s K-9 unit to deter, detect, and respond to potential firearm and explosive threats throughout the district. In addition to these duties, the police dogs can be used for safety education and are approachable (“ask to pet”) by students and staff when they are not in work mode.

    Safety & Security. The next department outlined by Jones, Safety & Security, works to create a Culture of Safety in our district. The department oversees security protocols, including safety drills and monitoring, and crisis communication tools, such as the Centegix push-alert system and the SHARE Tipline, which encourage everyone to be vigilant and proactive about their own and others' safety. Also, the department manages the district’s video surveillance and monitoring program as well as the Evolv walk-through weapons detection systems, which can be deployed to schools to ensure a secure learning environment. This upcoming year, schools will be trained in a new emergency protocol called a “HOLD.” Under a “HOLD,” students remain in their current location and continue learning. The protocol may be implemented during a non-threat emergency on campus when students need to remain in their current location temporarily, such as a medical emergency or an administrative reason. This is different from the lockdown protocols, which indicate students should remain in place due to a threat.

    Health Services. The Health Services department reported that school clinics served 24,835 students and logged nearly 300,000 visits, including 422 calls to 911, by the end of March 2024. School health service personnel implemented screening programs that facilitated nearly 9,000 vision tests for first-, third- and fifth-grade students and screened more than 9,300 sixth- and eighth-graders for scoliosis. The team also delivered multiple training courses to over 1,200 staff, including AED, CPR, and first aid. For this upcoming year, the Health Services will be opening a school-based health center at Love T. Nolan Elementary School. This will be the district’s fourth school-based health center offering physical exams, well-child visits, sick visits, chronic illness management, immunizations, sports physicals, and behavioral health referrals for families.

    Athletics. The Athletics department oversees administration of the 20 Georgia High School Association (GHSA) sports that draw more than 11,000 FCS student-athletes at the varsity and sub-varsity levels. Through the dedication of our students and coaches, FCS won 19 team state championships and three individual state championships. Looking toward the future, the department wants to expand opportunities for student-athletes with athletic clubs that are working towards GHSA recognition and by allowing eighth-graders, who are in good academic and behavioral standing, to play with their feeder high school teams.

    Mr. Jones concluded his presentation by noting that all departments are working on achieving elevated levels of customer service under the leadership and direction of the superintendent. See the full presentation here.

    New Hires & Promotions
    The following individuals were approved for new positions at the Board meeting:   

    • Yalanda Bell, Principal of The Promise Career Institute
    • Dr. Amanda Gorham, Principal of Tri-Cities High School  
    • Dr. Jason Stamper, Zone 2 Superintendent 
    • Dr. Joe Phillips, Chief Information Technology Officer 
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