FCS Community Update for March 10, 2021
March 9 Post-Meeting Update
The Fulton County School Board met on Tuesday, March 9, for its regularly scheduled Work Session at the North Learning Center. Following are highlights of some of the more highly-discussed topics, with the full agenda available online.
Enrollment Projection Report
Yngrid Huff, executive director of the school district's Operational Planning Department, presented the annual FCS Enrollment Projection Report. The report detailed where growth/decline occurred in each region of the district and shared data where future enrollment growth is expected to occur. Huff noted all metro districts are experiencing enrollment declines for the 2020-2021 school year due to the impact of COVID-19 global pandemic, with FCS in the mid-range of percentage decline, yet experiencing the largest enrollment drop on record. Total enrollment for the district went from 93,948 students in 2019-2020 to 90,376 in 2020-2021. Elementary school enrollment and lower grades were most significantly affected, while high school enrollment stayed largely consistent. For the 2021-2022 school year, officials project enrollment will increase by about 1.7%. See the full presentation here.
Forecasted Revenue Projections
Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef presented the FY2022 Forecasted Revenue Projections which indicated, despite the pandemic, current revenue remains stable with approximately -1% change projected for the next fiscal year. He noted that financial stress caused by the pandemic has abated from its peak level last year. In the long-term revenue forecast, the percent of total revenue for the district will continue to come increasingly from the local property tax base, while the percent from state funding continues to decline. The state budget for next year is currently being discussed at the state legislature and is anticipated to be final by the end of March. The district is also monitoring changes to federal funding. The next two budget presentations will be on March 18 (Markup #1) and April 15 (Markup #2), with public hearings held in May. The Board’s final budget adoption vote is scheduled for June 8. See the full presentation here.
State of the School Facilities Report
Every five years the school system creates a capital plan to address facility improvements as well as technology, transportation, furniture and safety upgrades that are needed to support learning. As a precursor to this work, the district contracted with the MGT Consulting-Parsons team to review every facility's condition and educational adequacy. Doug Carey, Director of Capital Planning for the district, along with representatives from MGT Consulting and Parsons, gave an update on the completed assessments.
After visiting every school and office building, consultants found that due to consistent investments provided by the Board of Education, and thanks to the generosity of taxpayers through the one-penny SPLOST, FCS facilities are overall in good condition. Carey noted, however, that significant needs still exist and many schools will require renewal of critical building systems during the next five years.
MGT will help facilitate the development of a facility plan for addressing these needs. Carey also noted that the data presented will be used for making informed decisions about how to prioritize renovation work and other improvements in the upcoming capital plan. See the full presentation here.
Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade reported that data shows COVID-19 cases in Fulton County have declined over the last 14-day period. In addition, he shared details about "FCS Project Vaccinate 2021," an opportunity where employees can be voluntarily vaccinated. In partnership with the Fulton County Board of Health, the events will take place in two phases at Mercedes-Benz Stadium: March 22-27 for the first dose and April 12-17 for the second dose. During the span of these two weeks, all students will transition to remote learning while school-based personnel rotate through the vaccination days by level/zone. The reservation system is open until March 18. FCS is also offering an education webinar series for employees: "New Year of COVID-19: What We Need to Know." Each conversation in the three-part series features a panel of medical experts who will discuss a variety of topics related to COVID-19 and the vaccine.
Remote Learning Days for Staff Vaccination Clinics
To support the district's efforts to provide vaccinations to staff, all elementary Schools will be in remote learning March 22-24 while middle schools will transition for March 24 and 25. High schools will be in remote learning March 25 and 26. All schools will be in remote learning April 12-16. Click here for more information.
Summer School 2021
As part of the FOCUS plan to address pandemic-created learning loss, FCS is using CARES Act funds to increase Summer School offerings. During the Board meeting, Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones detailed plans to expand offerings this summer. The additional resources will include offering two sessions of face-to-face Summer School this year: Session 1 is June 7-24 and Session 2 is July 1-22. Virtual summer school, which will include expanded options for high school students in particular, will be June 2-July 14. Elementary and high school students will have the choice to attend either one or both sessions, while middle school students will only be offered Session 1 due to their different learning needs. Registration will open March 12 and closes on May 28. Students with IEPs who will require special education transportation per his/her IEP should register no later than April 23 for Session 1 and Session 2 to ensure the child’s route is in place for the first day of summer school.
With a larger than typical number of students expected in summer school this year, more teachers and staff also will be required. Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade updated the Board on a staff recruitment plan that offers a one-time payment incentive to those who commit to working this summer. The Board noted the importance of this effort and approved the proposed expenditure at the March 9 meeting so that the recruitment process can begin immediately. Click here for more information.
New Social Studies and Media Arts Courses Proposed
As a result of the district’s commitment to student-focused learning, several new courses are proposed for the Board’s consideration: Greek (Classical) II, Introduction to U.S. Latinx Studies, and Media Arts/Grade 8. If approved by the School Board in April, all of the new courses will begin with the 2021-2022 school year.