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FCS Community Update for November 10, 2021

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November 9, 2021 Post-Meeting Update  

The Fulton County School Board met on Tuesday, November 9, for its regularly scheduled Work session meeting 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.


Superintendent's Report

COVID Update  
Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade presented an update on the district’s COVID-19 management efforts. He began by outlining that data extracted from the most recent Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) Epidemiology report indicates COVID-19 cases continue trending downward. Most municipalities are now under 100 cases per 100,000. He also provided an update on the distribution of thousands of free At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits to FCS students/families in partnership with the FCBOH. The goal of this initiative is aimed at reducing community spread by allowing more flexibility and access to testing.  Families at schools falling within one of the zip codes targeted by the FCBOH are eligible for these free tests. FCS distributed 5,000 kits in one day and is on track to distribute more than 16,700 tests by December. Until November 15, eligible parents can reserve a Test Kit Bundle. Parents will pick up the kits November 17 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Click here to see the full presentation

FY2022 Mid-Year Budget Adjustment
Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef presented a mid-year assessment of the FY2022 budget, which included major expenditure adjustments proposed for employee compensation. According to Dereef, revenue is trending better than initially anticipated, allowing the district to invest more in its employees. Expected local revenue is projected to increase by 1.83 percent. The district is simultaneously approaching the annual budget cycle and Dereef also discussed the long-term forecast for FY21-26. The Board reviewed the budget parameters for the district to follow in development of next year’s budget as they consider the state’s proposed budget, school allotment guidelines, and seek public and staff input in the coming months.

FY2022 Mid-Year Compensation Adjustment

During the presentation, Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade referenced the rigorous competition metro Atlanta counties are facing for top K-12 talent. Pointing to a map of the region, he showed Fulton County is surrounded by 11 school districts, who are all competing for the same talent in this tough job market. Wade then announced a new, more competitive recruitment strategy, stating the minimum starting pay for all FCS jobs will increase to $16 per hour per hour as of January 2022.  This ambitious salary increase helps FCS compete with these districts, as well as private companies. In recognition of the competition in the Atlanta metro area, the labor shortages and the hard work employees have put in to fill the void, additional compensation measures will also be put in place. These include one-time stipends for all employees and retention stipends for select positions. Additionally, all eligible employees will receive a mid-year step increase. On average, this additional step will result in a 2.3 percent increase in pay. The starting wage augmentation and compensation adjustment will begin in January. Click here to see the full presentation.

The Board also took action to extend Superintendent Looney’s employment contract one additional year, noting his decisive leadership during the pandemic, investment in reading and literacy, recent record-breaking ACT and graduation rates, and maintaining steady leadership as key reasons for the extension.  Dr. Looney expressed his gratitude, “The reality of it is, I don’t see myself as leading from the front. I see myself as walking with the troops. I am absolutely committed and resolute in making sure that all of our students — all of our students — have every opportunity to learn to their maximum potential.”

Atlas Project Update
Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade delivered an update on the Atlas Project and its implementation. Atlas is the next evolution in our districtwide automated internal employee business system. These improvements not only make work easier for employees, but they translate to more efficiency for the school district. The Atlas Project has five business functions that are powered by the nation’s leading information technology, financial and data management solutions. The district is already in the process of transitioning over to the Atlas system. See the full presentation here. 

Veterans Day
On November 11, 2021, we celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Special thanks to staff, students and current employees who have selflessly served our country. 

News & Notes
Several other presentations were made about topics including textbook adoption for English Language Arts in grades K-12, the district’s legislative priorities, and various policy changes, which are available on the website.