FCS Board Bulletin for March 24, 2023
The Fulton County Board of Education met on Thursday, February 23, 2023, for its regularly-scheduled Board meeting at the South Learning Center. Following are highlights of some of the more highly discussed topics, with the full agenda available online. Other topics discussed or approved are available via BoardDocs. Summaries of Board actions can be found here and Board policy updates can be found here.
Superintendent Mike Looney began his report by thanking district employees for their hard work, particularly addressing the district's police officers for their role in making sure our schools, students and staff stay safe. Dr. Looney also reminded the community of the district's Text4Help hotline, should anyone need help over the upcoming spring break.
As Board members continued the formal process for reviewing budget data, Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef kicked off a series of presentations covering all funds except the General Fund and Capital Programs, called Budget Markup #1. Presenters covered funding related to various programs including Title I, CARES Act, Title VI-B, pre-kindergarten, school nutrition, and retirement services/pension, reviewing their proposed FY24 budgets and discussing highlights and challenges from this past year.
Executive Director of Budget and Grant Services Tracy Watson summarized FY24 revenue sources, indicating that special revenue is forecasted to be $340.1 million, including a General Fund contribution of $181.8 million.
Director of Federal Programs Catherine Harper highlighted that seven schools exited the TSI (Targeted Support and Intervention) and Promise School lists. She also described a new program called "Family Matters," the first ever district-wide celebration of National Family Engagement month. The event was held in November at four locations across Fulton County.
Coordinator of Early Childhood Pam Weiser highlighted department initiatives focused on school readiness involving monthly programs for teachers, instructional leaders, parents, and community members while Director of Services for Exceptional Children (SEC) Patricia Gilland relayed that the graduation rate for students with disabilities increased for the fifth year in a row and the department has a 95 percent retention rate for SEC teachers.
School Nutrition Program Executive Director Alyssia Wright presented on school meal pricing, reporting that even with increased operational costs and supply chain issues, the School Nutrition FY24 budget does not include a student meal price increase. Ms. Wright indicated the district will implement a one-year plan for additional changes and communicate during the 2023-2024 school year to prepare parents for a potential meal price increase in the 2024-2025 school year. Additionally, to comply with federal regulations for adult meal pricing, the adult meal price will increase this school year to $4.75 for lunch and $2.75 for breakfast.
Director of Federal Programs, CARES/ARP Montreal Bell provided an overview of the projected FY24 budget for ESSER funding for FCS. The district has branded the support from this funding as the Bridge to Success plan. It details the district's response to support areas with the greatest need and the academic and non-academic components impacted by COVID-19. Ms. Bell updated the Board on the allocation of ESSER III funds, a part of what is commonly known as the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. She indicated the remaining budget for ESSER II is $23.4 million and includes funding for the current FOCUS initiatives including summer learning, extended learning, and high dosage small group instruction. The projected budget for the American Rescue Plan is $61.2 million. Ms. Bell also reminded the Board that the community can provide feedback on the Bridge to Success plan in a survey located on the district's website.
Concluding the presentation, Coordinator of Retirement Services Charles Robinson shared that FCS stabilized in-house pension payment processing last year and has re-established pre-retirement training seminars for current employees.
The next budget presentation is scheduled for April 13 with public hearings held in May. The Board's final budget adoption vote is scheduled for June. See the full presentation here.
Textbooks on Display for Math Resources
FCS has created Mathematics Textbook Adoption Selection Committees to review and recommend new textbooks to the district. The committees have selected publisher materials for Mathematics in grades K-12. The books will be available for review by all teachers and the public from March 27-May 5, 2023. Digital resources are posted online on the FCS website. Print and digital resources will be displayed for public review at the locations listed on the website.
K-5 ESOL Textbook Adoption
FCS is currently in the process of adopting new K-5 ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) textbook resources. The ESOL department hosted an extensive Teacher and Public Review Process which allowed stakeholders to give feedback on proposed materials. Reach Higher by National Geographic Cengage is the resource pending Board approval. Reach Higher is a language-rich, cross-curricular series that supports both WIDA and Georgia Standards of Excellence for English language learners.
New Hires and Promotions
The following individuals were approved for new positions at the March 23 meeting:
Lamarr Glenn | Director, Athletics
Tarika Peeks | Executive Director, Operational Planning
Jason Stamper | Principal, FCS Middle College
Board Community Meetings
Each member of the Fulton County Board of Education sponsors a monthly meeting that is open to the public. These meetings provide an opportunity for community members to have direct conversations with their elected Board representative about local issues and concerns. Find your Board member and view the Community Meeting Calendar.
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