- Fulton County Schools
FCS celebrates School Board Appreciation Week
March 15 marks the first day of “Georgia School Board Appreciation Week,” a celebration to show Fulton County Board of Education members how much they are valued for their service and dedication to students, their families, and the employees of Fulton County Schools.
The current school board is comprised of President Julia Bernath, Vice President Kimberly Dove, and members Gail Dean, Linda McCain, Katie Reeves, Katha Stuart and Franchesca Warren.
As constitutional officers of Georgia, school board members are responsible for setting educational and personnel policies providing buildings and equipment, operating a transportation system and approving the school system budget. As community leaders, board members serve as advocates for the children in local public schools, and must study, evaluate and decide what actions are in the best interest of all students.
Fulton County Schools is proud of the support, guidance and commitment demonstrated by its school board, and is pleased for the opportunity to recognize board members and show their gratitude. In particular, we recognize our Board of Education by providing solid leadership through:
- Commitment and Dedication. This has been a most unusual time for our Fulton’s school board, since for many months they were unable to meet in-person and business was conducted virtually. Nonetheless, they have continued to work tirelessly for the community and advocate for the education, safety and wellbeing of all children and employees.
- Good Stewardship of Taxpayers’ Dollars. The school board has led the school system during some of its most difficult economic years. Critical decisions made by the board years ago have resulted in the district’s sound financial health today. As a result, the school system is in a better financial situation than many neighboring school systems.
In addition, Fulton County Schools continues to have one of the highest credit ratings nationwide. Moody’s Investment Service has given Fulton a Triple A rating (AAA), the highest credit rating available for a government entity. The AAA rating indicates the school system’s skill and experience with regard to financial operations including budgeting and forecasting, cash management, financial reporting, accounting, and financial management. Similarly, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has assigned Fulton County Schools a AA+ rating, one of its highest ratings.
- Innovation. The board is committed to providing every student with the same opportunity to receive a quality education in a safe environment. Over the years, the board has invested heavily in technology by improving networks and purchasing student learning devices. This prepared the school district for an unexpected move to universal remote learning last spring and for many remote learning situations this current year.
In addition, the board’s decision to open a fully virtual school next fall – called the Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence – also shows their commitment to flexibility and innovation. In that same vein, their vision for STEM magnet high schools will become a reality next year when Global Impact Academy and Innovation Academy open their doors.
- SPLOST. Fulton school board members have been strong community leaders through past and current SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) educational campaigns. Because of SPLOST, Fulton County Schools is now free of bond debt and maintains the lowest property tax and millage rate in the Metro Atlanta area.
Using SPLOST funds, the board has funded a host of safety improvements in schools, such as: buzzer entry systems, new video surveillance systems, police patrol vehicles, improved background checks, and a CrisisGo app that converts school emergency response plans and safety checklists to smartphones, tablets and computers. The school board also supports enhanced health and safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
- Charter System. In 2012, Fulton County Schools became the first large school system in Georgia to receive charter system status and become a model for other school systems, largely due to the support of the school board. The district has since renewed its charter status several times since then and this has led to greater flexibility and innovation for schools.
- Community Engagement. Board members strongly believe that the public must be involved in public education, and board members go above and beyond to encourage community participation in decision-making activities. Time is set aside at each school board meeting to hear from the community, and public hearings are held to receive feedback on various issues. The board also requests that school system committees include parent and community representatives. Although in-person community meetings have been temporarily halted, some board members engage their community through virtual meetings.