FCS Board Bulletin for June 7, 2023
The Fulton County Board of Education met on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, for its regularly-scheduled Board work session at the North 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. Meetings are streamed live on the Fulton County Schools (FCS) district homepage. Recordings will be available within 48 hours.
Dr. Mike Looney reminded the public that even though it is summer it is a busy time of year for the district. As part of Dr. Looney's report, Chief Academic Officer Clifford Jones gave an update on this year's Summer Learning program, which began this week. The program has 8,300 face-to-face student enrollments at 35 locations and an additional 5,391 students participating virtually. More than 1,100 staff members (teachers, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, principals, tech support, nutrition, safety officers, counselors, and district staff) are busy ensuring summer learning goes smoothly. Also, Mr. Jones lifted up that over 400 students have enrolled in Dual Enrollment programs to gain college credit over the summer break. This year during the summer months FCS will also host safety drills in schools and administrative buildings.
Board Approves FY 2023-24 Budget
The Board approved the FY 2023-2024 budget proposed by the Superintendent. Highlights of the budget include a 5.1% salary increase for all employees, a one-time 2% retention incentive when employees return next fall, and $5 million in additional maintenance and operations funds as requested by the Board, and a 45% increase in the safety budget.
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 $2,180,587,870. 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.
The Board strives to achieve a revenue-neutral budget and will set a millage rate later this summer balancing that goal with school system needs. More details on the approved budget can be found here.
Program Evaluation and Grading
In August 2022, all FCS teachers began using the district's revised grading and reporting policy. The goals of the new policy include ensuring grades accurately represent student learning and are implemented and interpreted consistently across schools. To help FCS understand how this new grading policy has been implemented from multiple perspectives (principals, teachers, students, and parents), a research study was conducted by the organization The New Teacher Project (TNTP). Executive Director of Governance and Strategy, Dr. Ryan Moore, presented key findings and recommendations for the district based on the feedback received from stakeholders. The study found, among other things, that parents and caregivers expressed a need for additional Infinite Campus support and more communication from the district. Prioritizing communication with this group and communicating the "why" of the grading policy to all stakeholders was recommended. See highlights from the study and more recommendations here.
Student Code of Conduct Enhancements
Student Code of Conduct operating guidelines are being adjusted to improve clarity and understanding of Code of Conduct offenses for parents, students, school leaders, and the community and to address current student discipline needs. Dr. Chris Matthews, assistant superintendent of student services, summarized the new rules, with increased tiered offense and consequence, and verbiage/title changes for the 2023-2024 school year. Revisions to the policy were made based on feedback from parents, principals, district and school administrators, behavioral specialists, and by using information gleaned from student discipline data. Some of the new code of conduct rules include making a false report to emergency services (Tier IV offense), additional honor code language (Tier I) and violating a no contact contract (Tier III). See the full presentation here.
FCS Accounting Department Awarded Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting
Fulton County Schools' accounting services department, led by Suzanne Hatfield, was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. This award, presented by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. This is the 14th consecutive year that FCS' accounting department, which includes Lav Patel, Mohamed Atwa, Tina Nguyen, Erika Sevilla, Shannon Adcock and Lauren Auw, has won this award. The report met the outstanding standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report. Congratulations!
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