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FCS Community Update for May 5, 2021
May 4 Post-Meeting Update
The Fulton County School Board met on Tuesday, May 4 for its regularly scheduled Work Session at the North Learning Center. Following are highlights of the some of the more highly discussed topics, with the full agenda available online. Additional announcements, including the selection of a new Chief Operating Officer, are included below the Board report.
Superintendent Mike Looney began his report by recognizing National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3-7). He also urged students to stay motivated and committed to their studies through the end of the school year. For the Senior Class of 2021 in Fulton County Schools, the #FCSFinishStrong campaign was recently launched to help motivate all FCS Seniors to stay connected and/or catch up and graduate. Dr. Looney acknowledged students may need extra support during this time, and highlighted ‘Text4Help,’ an Emotional Support Line staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals and others who have received training in crisis counseling. Additional resources can be found at www.fultonschools.org/finishstrong2021.
Capital Plan 2027 Update: Safety & Security, Transportation, Property Control and Financing Options
Following last month’s report on technology needs, Capital Plan 2027 discussions continued with a presentation of the safety and security component. Dr. Shannon Flounnory, executive director of Safety & Security, shared that Fulton County Schools increased its emergency preparedness through the investments made in the previous five-year capital plan: advanced video surveillance systems, visitor identification systems, social media threat monitoring programs, and tools for emergency planning and communication.
In Capital Plan 2027, those investments would be enhanced by adding door keycard access controls for staff and integrating the door buzzer systems with the current video surveillance systems, which also would need some components replaced by that time. Some health and safety equipment, such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), ballistic vests and communication radios at the end of their life cycle, also are earmarked for replacement.
Executive Director of Transportation Vickie Cross shared that Capital Plan 2027 investments would increase the district’s propane-powered fleet by 282 buses, from 491 to 773, all equipped with 3-point student seat belts. This would bring the district to 82% of its school bus fleet using more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative fuels. Other transportation needs include upgrades to the automated fuel management system, shop equipment, bus cameras, and communication systems.
Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef presented the property control part of Capital Plan 2027 which includes the purchase of classroom furniture or equipment needed to support curriculum needs as well as replacement of items no longer in useable condition.
Dereef also shared that that a five-year Capital Plan needs a multiple-year funding option. The most popular financing options for capital programs are SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), the one-penny sales tax for education, and General Education (GO) bonds. SPLOST has been the primary funding choice for Fulton County Schools’ past five capital programs since it is a no-interest, pay-as-you-go financing option. SPLOST limits the impact on property owners who pay school taxes by allowing the burden to be shared by all consumers who make taxable purchases in Fulton County. By comparison, GO bonds are a type of municipal bond that require repayment with principal and interest, and can take decades to pay off as evidenced by a 1998 General Obligation bond that was finally paid off in January 2021.
In June, the final Capital Plan 2027 presentation will be given (facility plan) as well as the total estimated cost of Capital Plan 2027 and a recommendation for its financing. For the full Capital Plan 2027 presentation, click here.
Three New Schools Opening in Fall 2021
Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones kicked off a presentation about three new schools opening in Fall 2021. The schools’ principals updated the Board on the status of enrollment, staffing and curriculum.
Global Impact Academy (GIA) Principal Anthony Newbold shared the school currently has 340 students enrolled for next year. The hiring process has begun and over the summer hired teachers will engage in design thinking training that will be facilitated by the leadership team. The building is scheduled to be completed in late May. Click here for more information.
Innovation Academy (IA) Principal Tim Duncan informed the Board the school has 918 students enrolled and is on projection to make opening day targets. Seventy-nine percent of the staff has been hired with an expectation of reaching 100 percent by May 30. Innovation Academy has 45 corporate partners and is expanding weekly. More than 5,000 people have toured the school since August. Click here for more information.
Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence (FAVE) Principal Marcus Vu shared approximately 700 students have signed up to attend FAVE in the fall. The core administration has been assembled to lead the team of teachers to implement the innovative instructional model, which is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction providing flexibility in the way a student is able to achieve their educational goals. Hiring for teaching staff is on-going. Click here for more information.
Later in the meeting, the Board took action to accept seven new course proposals for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) offered at Innovation Academy and Global Impact Academy. Click here for the full presentation.
Survey for Facility Plan Input
If you missed the opportunity to participate in the Facility Plan community meetings last week, there are additional ways to provide your input. Visit www.fultonschools.org/FacilityPlan to watch an explainer video and then complete this brief survey, which closes Friday, May 7. The Facility Plan is one piece of the five-year Capital Plan that addresses improvements to all FCS-owned buildings, as well as the technology, transportation, furniture and safety upgrades needed to support learning.
Noel Maloof Selected as New Chief Operations Officer
Noel Maloof has been selected as the new Chief Operations Officer for Fulton County Schools, overseeing the non-instructional functions that support the school district, such as capital programs, facilities services, operational planning, school nutrition and transportation. Maloof currently is Deputy Chief Operations Officer in DeKalb County Schools and previously served the City Schools of Decatur as its Chief Operations Officer and Executive Director of Operations. In addition to district-level experience with operations, he brings a depth of school-based leadership experience as a former principal, assistant principal, and teacher. He will begin his new role with Fulton County Schools on May 17.
Effective July 1, 2021, the Georgia Department of Public Health has mandated children 16 years of age and older, who are entering the 11th grade (including new entrants), must have received one booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), unless their initial dose was administered on or after their 16th birthday. Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord. If your child does not have health insurance or their health plan won’t cover these vaccines, call your local health department and ask about getting no cost or low-cost vaccines. For more information, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/vaccines-children or call (800) 848-3868.
District Recognized for Excellence in Budget Presentation
The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) has recognized Fulton County Schools for excellence in budget presentation with the Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for the 2020–2021 budget year.