LIVE BLOG: Board of Education Meeting, August 13, 2012

Welcome to our first live blog of the 2012-2013 school year!

Board of Education meeting will begin shortly.  Refresh your browser often for updates.

There will be 5 presentations today from the 2pm meeting.

View the meeting agenda for the 2pm Committee of the Whole meeting here:

SPLOST IV Presentation by Larry Hoskins

Online reporting tool for transportation issues now available:

2:20pm Meeting has been called to order. Board will begin with an approval of the work session agenda.

3 board members have asked that transportation be added to the committee of the whole agenda, but those issues will be answered during the Day One presentation by superintendent.  If not answered to the satisfaction of the board members, BOE will be revisited during work session and added as an agenda item.

Work session agenda has been approved.  5 presentations during work session: Human Resources, Day One APS, Finance, Curriculum and Instruction, SPLOST Projected Projects.

Davis:  These are projected projects (i.e. SPLOST) and they reflect our current thinking.  We seem to have had some problems with the last SPLOST surrounding commitments.  We are not making any commitments at this point.

BOE Butler-Burks: We are looking a little confused on the splost comment

Davis: There was some confusion during the last splost about money being “left over” for certain projects and I wanted to start 5 years in advance to dispel that notion.  If we say the project will cost $100k and it costs $90k we are not committing to spending the additional $10k.

McDaniel:  We sill save those comments for later.

Hirsch-Kinnane: Our splost 3 was modified and we didn’t do it undercover, it was a very open process.

Davis:  My comments were not directed at all to this Board. I’m referring to the comments I go out to the public regarding these projects.

Presentation by Steve Smith: Human Resources Process

Smith:  We have 2 individuals, Michael Gray (retired HR executive) and Rick White (retired HR executive) and they have been working with us about processes.  Mike is serving as our Interim Chief HR Executive.  They will improve that division as it relates to customer satisfaction and examine other areas.  We are making sure that we build a culture in terms of our new operating model in order to sustain our efforts across the district.  Mike is leading that effort.  We hope to improve the way we hire, recruit and on-board our employees.

Smith:  The development of a process as it relates to recruiting and selecting principals in a timely manner, is also a part of their work.  That process will be well executed.  The new process we are developing will be performance based going forward.  2 specific notes, at M. Jackson and N. Atlanta that process has begun.  That process with postings and screenings has begun.  Interview panels that include parents and community members are beginning.  We have great confidence that this will have outcomes that we are quite comfortable with.

Smith:  We will start the interview process this Friday to name a permanent head of HR.

Meister:  What percentage of teachers remain to be hired?

Gray:  We have 56 total vacancies within the district as of Friday.  Only 3 of these are classroom teachers at the elementary level.

Meister:  Anticipated date for being filled?

Gray:  Numbers are actually decreasing.

Meister:  As we are going thru the process of hiring, how are we planning for leveling, which was frankly a nightmare last year?

Gray:  Leveling process began about 2 weeks ago and they meet weekly to design a process for that.  That process and discussion began 2 weeks ago.  We are out in front of it.

Meister: As it relates to 2 vacant principals, what will process be for interview panels?  Time frame?

Smith:  We are aware that our processes need to be better and will include community engagement as we move through the selection process.  We are certain the development of the process will be completed this week and we will share it with the public.  It will include community involvement with proper notification.

Gray: We are aware that those 2 principals are on a 90 day time frame.  Our target is no later than the October board meeting to recommend those two positions.

English: What about the other principals?

Gray:  We have to focus our attention on those two positions first because those persons are retirees and can only be in those positions for 2-3 months.

English:  So HR is responsible for…well, what does that look like?

Gray:  HR is responsible for developing with Curriculum and Instruction to develop a process that involves performance tasks and competencies as well as community input into the interview process.  As far as the roles are concerned, HR is a facilitator to support the C&I department whereby a selection can be made.

English:  Can you elaborate?  Who actually does the hiring?

Gray:  We (HR) actually do all of the designing, contacting of candidates, identifying panel members and then C&I will make the recommendation for that position at the end of the process.

English:  So that sounds like logistics and C&I develops the actual job description, roles, profile, quality of candidate…feeds that to you guys and you all…

Gray:  We move the process forward.  Recommendation comes out of C&I and we do the on boarding of the successful candidate.

Smith:  The superintendent provides a final recommendation to the Board.

English:  There seems to be a large number of special education vacancies.  What risk is the system at for being out of compliance with federal law?

Gray:  We do have candidates in our pool and they have been made available to principals and in addition we have candidates who were displaced by closing of schools.  We are prepared to move on any recommendation made by a principal, but we depend on principals to make those recommendations.

Kinnane:  Are we putting substitutes in there for vacancies we don’t see filled soon?

Gray: Those teachers displaced because of closings, but have signed contracts, are currently serving as assigned substitutes in schools and are available to fill vacancies.  We have a number of them who are special education teachers.

Kinnane:  I understand that we have a new substitute rule and my understanding is that many of our seasoned substitutes are not willing to commit to a 50 day….

Gray:  We will take a look at this impact, but it is my understanding that APS has had this in place for a number of years.

Kinnane: I was speaking to one that went into effect last year.

Butler-Burks: One of the places we saw the biggest challenge in the past was figuring out who actually reviews resumes and decides who gets an interview.

Gray: Dual role.  HR will be the initial screener for minimal qualifications.  Paper screening then takes place with Executive Directors.  And then we will, before anyone moves to an interview, we will do a background check and work history checks.

Butler-Burks: Can we get some timeframe around interims at other schools?

Gray:  We will move with NAHS and MJackson, then we will design a plan to move forward with other principal positions.  I would expect by the end of Nov./Dec. to have completed our decisions.  It takes some time.

Davis:  I also want to make a distinction between naming someone and having someone appear at a school.  When they will appear will be situational and on a case by case basis.  We would expect our interim principals to act as principals.  They could be there indefinitely and we don’t want to put restraints on them.  We are sensitive to them and the ED’s will be sensitive as well in regards to hiring.  I don’t want them to feel as if they can’t run their schools.

Muhammad:  You raise an interesting point that those individuals may be the individuals chosen.  With Jackson and NAHS is that possible?

Davis:  Not with the temporary principals.

English:  What are we doing through policy, regulations, professional development to attract bright minds to come and stay in APS.

Davis:  When we get to gains and losses I will try and suggest that that is in fact happening.  I don’t know every reason why someone takes a job…and again we have a lot of work to do in the way we recruit…

Presentation by A. Kirijan: Day One APS

Note: Power point presentation that begins with the origins of the Day One APS (back to school district wide process).

Kirijan:  Departments across the district worked to make sure that principals had everything they needed to make the first day of school a success.  School closures, redistricting, Common Core and the cluster model all required greater efforts by the Day One team.  One project manager managed school closings as well as Day One.  Resources were combined for a more efficient execution.  40,000 students are registered with projected enrollment at over 45,000.  103 learning sites exist this year.  In anticipation for the changes, the communications staff has been busy disseminating district wide information in both print and electronically.

Kirijan:  All school websites were refreshed prior to the start of school.  guidebooks were distributed to all schools and easy mobile access is now available to all schools.  Social media messaging also was used to inform parents and community members.

Note:  We will post this FULL powerpoint presentation before the end of the week.

Kirijan:  There were changes to transportation eligibility and bus routes. Extensive transportation changes were made for the 2012-2013 school year following the rezoning of many APS schools this spring.  View a complete list of transporation changes and visit the APS Transportation website for bus routes, walk zones and transportation safety information.  In response to large call volumes received on the first day of school, the transportation department extended work days to address concerns, made adjustments and set up a call center.

Kirijan:  This year, HR extended their work day prior to Day One in order to process new hires.  288 new teachers were hired over the summer and 717 transfers were processed.  Crossing guards have been trained in increased numbers.  The nutrition department has launched the APS Salad Bowl providing more nutritious choices for students.

McDaniel:  It is easy to focus on the few things that don’t go right on Day One, but we forget about the thousands and thousands of things that go right, and we commend you and your team.

Kinnane:  In regards to the changes and impact of changes to bus routes, was the timeframe for communicating held up in any way?

Kirijan:  There were 2 sets of communications that went out.  One prior to Day One and one following Day One when we realized there were several issues that were not resolved.  We had a communication plan executed in July prior to Day One.

Kinnane:  So that was within keeping with the time frame.  But we see now that was not adequate time for checking of the routes….

Larry Hoskins:  There could have been additional communications, and there were communications that went out prior to July alerting parents to the changes.  This year we had quite a few letters returned to transportation and those parents did not receive written communication.  There were several contributors that led to what we call the perfect storm. There are a large number of 1st year staff members and we understand how that contributed, our high reliance on computerized routing is something that we could have done better.  I want to dispel the rumor however that the edulog computerized system is flawed in some way.  This is  a system used by thousands of other districts and organizations and this is not the first time we used this system, we used it as well for summer school and we were very successful in using this software pkg this summer.  Going forward not only should we rely on the software pkg that we are using but we must do a much better job of folding in the humanistic overlay into our process.  There is no software that will tell you about streets with high speeding, high numbers of vacant houses, etc.  Certainly the redistricting and closures presented challenges, as did parents/guardians waiting till the start of school to register students.  We had already completed our routing prior to Day One and that certainly contributed to some of our issues.  I mentioned the outdated addresses and phone numbers.  The accepting and embracing of the policy by the community, i.e. transportation for magnets, nclb and the enforcement of the walk zones…

Hoskins:  Inherent in that 1mile and 1.5 mile radius is known as the parent/guardian responsibility zone. Elimination of courtesy stops vs hazard stops…last year over 1,000 were courtesy stops within the walk zone.  20% of our bus stops last year were courtesy stops.  This year on Day One, 285 were hazard stops.  The courtesy stops were the bulk of our stops last year within the walk zone and we eliminated those this year.  The only stops within the walk zone this year were documented hazard stops.

Hoskins:  We had several hundred bus stops last year and the years before that were providing students with door to door service, many within walk zone, this year we moved into best practices for bus stops which says bus stops could be 1/4 of a mile away and a student could be expected to walk up to 1/4 of a mile to reach a bus stop.

Hoskins:  Another question is what safety hazards should a school district provide buses for….no sidewalks, crossing multiple lanes of traffic…we provide buses in those hazard areas.  There are some areas such as vacant houses, vacant lot, overgrown lot, walking past homes of sex offenders, speeding traffic….certainly as a parent I understand that these are valid parental issues.  What we must decide as a organizaiton is whether these are issues we assume responsibility for.  75% of the incidents were are dealing with at the start of school fall into this category.

Hoskins:  Definition of a late bus….students should not expect buses to arrive at bus stops at the published time.  Certainly we all need to understand that our bus drivers travel on the same roads and are caught up in the same traffic that we are caught in when we are driving to work.  We do the best job we can to get to bus stops in a timely manner but there is that variability that is inherent to transportation and our infrastructure.

Hoskins:  Aligning the community with the reality of our fiscal status is another issue.  As a community we can’t fix this problem by ourselves, there has to be a meeting of the minds around several of these issues.

Kinnane:  My concern is surrounding stops that were eliminated that we previously defined as needing stops due to hazards.  Are conversations with principals still going on?

Hoskins:  Those conversations are still going on.  We are adding 25 additional crossing guards, we’ve added additional bus stops where we believe the situation is beyond a crossing guard.  You mentioned doing away with the “safety stops” in place prior to this year.  When we implemented our new software, there was no documentation form previous administrations as to where those stops were and why they were declared hazardous stops.  Now with our new system with each of the stops moving forward, if they are hazard stops, we are taking the time to document those sites within our system so that as an organization we have that history and as we turn over staff members that institutional knowledge is still with the system.

English:  What are the cost savings?

Hoskins:  Last year we had roughly 400 buses on the road.  With all of the policy changes, we were able to take 50 buses off the road.  Certainly, a few of those buses will be put back on the road to elevate safety issues.  Students who have to cross multilane streets, no sidewalks..those issue are clear to us.  But vacant lots, sexual offenders..these are valid safety concerns…but as an organization we must decide if we must assume responsibility for these issues.

Davis:  No one, no one wants their child to walk past a crack house.  No one.  But we should be very careful about making any policy change that shifts the responsibility from parents to the district.  If I can organize someone to come here and protest the lack of a bus, then why can’t I organize someone to protest those responsible for those problem areas?  I am very concerned that APS must resolve every problem.  I won’t put a price on a child’s safety, but there are other solutions.  The community can engage around this issue and this issue should involve a lot more people than APS.

English:  I know we can’t do everything for everybody, but how are we talking to the city, state about code violations?  How are we pointing that out to them and helping them reach resolutions?  How is that process?

Hoskins:  We are cataloguing the issues as they come in and at the end of this week we will pull those together and hand those off to the city.  When you talk to residents that have these concerns, the first thing you hear is that they have already communicated these issues to public works or whatever organization is responsible and haven’t gotten any movement.

English:  How does a person apply for an exemption?

Hoskins:  We are putting an online form on the website and of course emails and phone calls are how we are getting feedback from the community.

Davis:  I think we should say there is no formal, well defined operating process.  We have to figure out how to learn about these problems and how to best solve them with the community.  I don’t want people assuming that APS is the best and only way to serve these problems.  City and Board has said we want neighborhood schools.  We have to get out in the community and talk to community planning groups, we want to be part of the solution but not the only solution.

Muhammad:  I will be the first to admit that we did not give the kind of attention it deserved (during redistricting) that we would not have these bus stops. Yes we revisited this and supported the regulation, but if we have the buses, there are not enough savings to trump the life of a child…not one.  I hope that we can reconsider this and to at least allow some buses back.

Hoskins:  There were communities that had courtesy stops, stops within the radius, with no identifiable safety hazard.

Muhammad:  What dictates a safety hazard?

Hoskins:  Based on board policy, we don’t pick up within 1 mile and 1.5 for middle and high school, unless there is a documented safety hazard.  What we are clear on with respect to safety hazards are areas without sidewalks, crossing multiple lanes of traffic…etc.  What we are not clear on is whether or not this Board constitutes a vacant house, overgrown lots, a child having to walk past a sexual predator or areas that are known for speeding traffic.  Because those are the issues that for the most part, 95% of what we are hearing about, is pertaining to.  As an organization we have to decide how much of that is our responsibility that we are going to assume.

Muhammad:  Those may not have been safety hazards 31 years ago, but they may be now.  Someone in that department should have known that this policy would not have been applicable in some areas.  I don’t know if we’ve had any conversations with APD about safety in those communities but those are conversations that need to be had and prior to would have been helpful as well.

Davis:  I winced when Mr. Hoskins talked about roads without sidewalks because some communities do not want sidewalks.  Do we bear the burden for communities such as this?  We must be careful about blanket statements.

View the online transportation issue submission form here:

Amos:  My question is around re-registration.  Is there a policty or regulation that makes us do this?  I’m hearing about a $10,000 copy bill.  Why are we constantly doing this every year?

Davis:  We obviously have concern about residences and administrative transfers and we can address those from negative check offs as opposed to what we have now….

E. Johnson:  There are some responsibilities that parents have to take on.

Muhammad: We had a lot of routes that changed drivers?

Hoskins:  Bus drivers are allowed to bid on their routes.

Muhammad:  It appears that with all of the changes…do you see that as a good idea with individuals not being familiar with the routes?

Hoskins:  Training was done in the communities where the drivers would be working.  Based on the information we had this summer, those were the routes they were navigating.  Once the school year started and we realized there were many students who were still registering, basically those routes….routes are only as good as the information that is in the system.  We are accepting of our responsibility but we must ensure that the data in our system is current.

Muhammad:  It was clear that there was a major oversight by someone.  When I looked at schedules for 3 schools they are backwards.

Davis:  One thing we have to remember is that we give bus drivers the routes then tell them to drive the routes and we can query where a bus is at any time with gps, but I’m not sure if we have the capability to find out if the bus actually took that route.  We don’t have 400 supervisors for 400 routes.  We don’t have the assurance capability at this time.

Y. Johnson:  It appears that this is a conversation we could have every year and I want to know what we will be different next year.

Davis:  We need to look into the training and see if a driver is trained to make a call on what is  a hazardous situation.

Y. Johnson:  I want to see these conversations outside of here before Day One.  Maybe we need to drive the conversations.

McDaniel:  Is it a couple days/weeks where we are at a steady?

Hoskins: We feel like this will be the end of the week.  I still need to look at how many areas we need to go out to and do surveys and investigations.  I’m hoping we are steady at the end of this week and by the end of next week we will have made a determination about hazard inquiries.

McDaniel:  And by the next board meeting we would want to know more about the cost savings.

YJohnson:  I would like to see the hazard list.

mcDaniel:  Think that to the extent we can continue a hotline of some type, that would be a helpful service.

Kinnane: I understand there were some glitches with the robocalls, but I think a number of people were tuning out.  If robocalls are to be used for emergencies then we must be careful with parents tuning out.

Davis:  I have to wonder how much is a communication issue and how much rests on parents/enrollment.  I was at one school on Day One where 50% of the students were being registered on the first day of school.

English:  As a system we know we have a transient population and it rears its head…but we know that…and it seems like that particular issue keeps rising up.  Now it’s affecting our registration process.  I encourage us to rethink this entire conversation.  We’ve known about our mobile population for decades.  We have to re-think how we do things.

Butler-Burks:  We have to be careful about the robocalls and I would suggest we are cautious about the length due to voicemail.  Everyone doesn’t know that you can go to Infinite Campus and then read the entire message.

5 minute break

4:56pm – Meeting has resumed.

Financial report now from Chuck Burbridge, CFO.

Burbridge:  Expenditures for FY12 suprisingly came in under budget.  Other expenses came in quite a bit under budget.  Spending was held in check for the year.

Karen Waldon, Dept. Supt. for Curriculum and Instruction now presenting.  We will post her testing data powerpoint presentation here by the end of the week.  Very interesting data.

“Districts across the country have been told to expect a performance dip with the implementation of Common Core.”  Waldon says we are not expecting this to happen in APS, but we are ready to support students if it occurs.

Butler Burks asks Waldon about the appeals process after a child does not meet on the CRCT.  Waldon explains that performance throughout the year is used when parents meet with school administrators, not only CRCT scores.

English:  As we are rolling out the various reforms, how are me making sure that what we’re doing is the actual cause of the increase in student achievement?  There are relationships that are causal and those that co-exist.

Waldon:  We have not been short on initiatives, we’ve been short on strategy.  We map progress based on what we do with that particular strategy to improve achievement.  We have to be mindful that as the work becomes more rigourous and delivery becomes more complex, we have to simply and focus on those things that deal with quality teaching and learning.

Larry Hoskins, COO, will now present on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax IV (SPLOST)

Hoskins give powerpoint presentation that speaks to the last four splost referenda receipts.  From referendum to referendum we continue to receive less money.  One of the important points here is that based on experience a realistic expectation for this organization is 80%.

Hoskins:  Board approved program from August 2011 now shown.  $520M program.  Will spend time on construction and renovation of schools category.  Note at bottom of page says that projects are subject to change pending the outcome of the demographic study.  Changes to the original SPLoST IV construction and renovation project are necessary based on the redistricting and cluster plan.

Springdale, Venetian, ennedy MS, Parks MS, Brown MS, Long MS, Young MS, Sutton MS (furniture) all included in summary of major changes.

In order to put forth a program consistent with our history we are planning at an 80% level.

Prioritization Factors/Methodology:  Current Capacity Challenges, Projected Capacity Challenges over next 3-5 years, Facility Assessment, District Initiatives (per redistricting) and Improved service delivery along with Splost IV cash flow.

Note:  Department has some schools on “enrollment watch” as they plan for future construction.

Board will hold questions until after community meeting is held.

35 speakers during community meeting tonight.  Each speaker is given 2 minutes.  Elected officials given 4 minutes.

Senator Vincent Fort: We’ve talked so much about whose responsibility to protect children. We’ve had 3 children raped in the Pittsburgh community.  I called City Hall and asked them to board it up…at the risk of being rude, I don’t want to hear whose responsibility it is.  With all due respect Mr. Hoskins, to say that the only danger is sidewalks and traffic…there are many mean streets in this city.  We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.  I think you need to restore all of the service.  I sat here and one of the first persons on Day One said this was a success.  You already admitted late communication, electronic software without “humanistic overlay,” ya’ll ought to be real concerned.  Mr. Davis, you said we ought to be protesting at City Hall.  I implore you to put those buses back on those mean streets.  In Pittsburg, Adair Park and all those surrounding neighborhoods.  Folks got to cross over Lee St., Metropolitan, Sylvan Rd.  This is our responsibility zone.  All of us.  We haven’t done you a service for you at the state so we’re at fault too.  When I come to Atlanta, my home city, I expect more than at the State Capitol.

Ms. K. Green: Just to piggyback a little regarding the children that were raped in Pittsburgh, I’m the parent of a child who was robbed in Pittsburgh.  Just as we got things stable in our home, this is another slap in the face.  I chose to live in Pittsburgh, I know what the crime rate looks like, and I will stand in the gap and continue the fight, but why set kids up to fail?  He called me at 9:15 Friday.  Bus was crowded.  Told half to get off and walk, the other half catch Marta.  We will not accept that.  I stand proudly representing families of the NPU-V that these buses be restored tomorrow morning.

Ms. S. Harper: I am 10 years old and I have a problem this school board needs to solve.  Ya’ll are saying you do not care about us.

Ms. Gallynshaw:  Ms. Brown, you said you are sending buses for special needs children but what about special needs grandparents.  We need these buses restored.  You guys say, no child left behind, but the kids at Stanton, Gideons are one mile behind.  This is not neglect from the parents, we are all working together.  We are all lining up.

Speaker:  Parent has pulled the pedophile lists from her area.  Over 100 names.  The school board, why are you here if you can’t make a decision.  We need to have our school board members restored.

Speaker:  You are hearing people say things from the bottom of their heart. 3 of their schools in the community had the worst records in the cheating schedule.  When others were superintendent we didn’t have to come to beg for a bus.  We keep dumping and dumping and dumping on our kids and we expect them to be successful.

Speaker:  Speaking on behalf of AAE members, we have several members, professional teachers who are certified and sitting in offices instead of clasroom.  There is confusion in the language of the letter as it relates to a dismissal hearing.  There is concern with equity with the types of teachers and those that were not placed into the schools.

Speaker:  If the children in the north side of town can get bus service seems like the kids in the inner city should be able to get bus service.

Speaker: Hello, my name is Tiffany from Perkerson Elementary School.  I am hurt that the comfort of our transportation has been taken away.  It’s really too far to walk.  Do you even care? Thank you.

Speaker:  I have better things to do than to come out here with kids in tow.  Consider this, we spend millions of tax dollars on things related to school achievement, but none of this means anything if the kids don’t make it to school.  We are only a week into the school year, so its too early to access the impact of tardiness.  It’s still light out and the weather is still good, but what will happen in December when its pitch dark and raining.  And how much are we saving anyway?  If one child gets hit by a car, the ensuing lawsuit will wipe out the savings.

Don Grant:  Speaking on behalf of the Jackson Cluster.  I believe the leaders in the Jackson cluster has the ability to take us forward.  Registration should not take up the first week of school.  Students need to be in class from day one.  Secondly, transportation.  Third, communications – it is improving, but there are parents who still were not aware of school changes.

Joydanna Adams:  I wanted to say that I have a son that is 5 years old.  He’s had 8 surgeries on his foot.  If he continues to walk on it he’s going to have to have more surgeries.

Speaker:  We cross four streets with no crosswalks.  We cross traffic.  There is rain.  My child calls the hill we climb a mountain.  Why does it have to take something serious when we could solve the problem now.

Joy Smith:  I am a grandparent and a community leader.  On Monday a parent called me and said Ms. Smith you’ve got to do something, the bus is not here.

Nathaniel Dyer: It starts at the top. *recites a poem called the Magic Schoolbus*

Ms. Floyd:  I am on the Campbellton Rd. area and realized on Monday that there was no bus.  I am 70 years old and I am raising a child who attends Venetian Hills.  I will not accept this.  I won’t take it.

Ron Allen:  Maybe you consulted the bus drivers that actually drive the routes they would have been able to tell you that these routes were impossible.

Speaker:  My children are in K, 1st and 2nd from Shamrock Gardens and they are walking 2 miles crossing over Campbellton Rd, a 4 lane highway with no lights.  Bus driver told the children that they cannot ride the bus.

Ms. Turner:  We want the BOE to inform the public about what will be done with vacant buildings.  When will you inform the public about what will be done with the buildings? Please individually inform us to help fight the proposed constitutional amendment to take school board rights away.

Sharon Just:  APS informed parents that they need to be available for a 1.5 hour window to wait for a bus.  I am a parent of a special needs child.  I had an email from a parent whose child is experiencing 4 hours on the bus.  During redistricting APS requested that special needs children will be serviced at their neighborhood schools.

Sandy Buford:  I am here representing E. L. Connally ES.  I’ve printed out a 13 page document of sex offenders.  This should have been taken into consideration.  In our area, there are no police and even when you call them it takes 10 minutes for them to get to your home.  We have boarded up homes, drug use, prostitution.  Are we going back to the 1960’s?  We have gone through so much to get on the bus.

Speaker:   I have 2 children at Bethune Elementary.  My main concern is about the safety of them walking.  We have a major Wal-Mart being built and there will be a lot of traffic.

Ms. Jones: The bus problem that we have now is really bad.  Where the bus stop is to pick these kids up is the same place where a person was shot.  The apartments are boarded up and were supposed to be torn down 3 years ago.  The bulk of our kids are coming from Shamrock.  They are passing by the homes of two predators.  We need help.

Public comment has ended.

Work session will now continue.

BOE members asking questions about project ranking for SPLOST IV

Butler-Burks:  I’m not sure West Manor falls into the low enrollment category.  We have people fighting to get into that school who can’t get in.  It’s a small school.  The parking there is a mess.  I’m hoping that we will look at that.  At some point I’m hoping that we will get a break down of the other budget items outside of construction and renovation.

Hoskins:  We can email that to the board tonight.

Meister:  With the furniture for Sutton, is that the purchasing of furniture?

Hoskins:  Yes, once we move NAHS students to new campus, we will move Sutton students into the current NAHS and we will need  additional furniture.

Meister:  Just curious if we are monitoring the capacity at Garden Hills.  They could have a pretty substantial growth coming up.

Hoskins:  We will continue to monitor all the schools.

Work session has ended.  Committee of the Whole meeting will now begin.

Muhammad asks for waiver of ED-R1 policy for 30 days.  This is the 1 mile, 1.5 mile walk zone enforcement.  That would be a waiver for 30 days so that the Board can come back together at some point during that time.  2nd from the BOE.

English:  I agree with this in spirit, but if you waive the entire policy you would have to be ready to provide a way for every child in APS to get bus service.

Davis:  I’m not sure if it does mean that.  If some guidance is supplied in discussion and action…my counsel would be that they discussion and action is coming forward and that proposal can be a part of that discussion.  Waiving it now doesn’t mean you go back to where you are.

Sharron Pitts:  Where we are now is making amendments to the actual agenda.  Only appropriate action at this time would be to move to add items to the agenda and not to discuss them.

Butler Burks:  Can this come up under what Amos has already added to the agenda…transportation?

Muhammad agrees to bring up issue again during transportation discussion.  Board approves agenda with amendment by Amos to add transportation discussion to the agenda.

Butler-Burks:  45 appointments under C&I, only 5 are re-hires and only 4 are re-hires from the restructuring.  I find it interesting that under 45 positions that we could only find technically 4 to do this work.  And even some that are coming from the outside have not served in as high positions.  It deeply disturbs me that we are moving all of our institutional knowledge out of the district.

Davis:  I’m not sure how to remedy this.  These are the people we want to do this work.

McDaniel:  We can take this during the executive session

Muhammad:  What I’m concerned about Mr. Chair is that as I look at the personnel gains and losses I’m concerned as I look at the educational level you don’t know where they are going you just see that they are going to be a teacher.  Are they going to be at an elementary school, middle school….?

Davis:  I’m just wondering if you want what school?


Board is continuing with the agenda items.

Byron Amos makes a motion:

To restore the courtesy and hardship pickups which have vacant properties and where children have to cross over a thoroughfare for 2 months and board will use this time to review current policy.

Discussion taking place now

English asks for clarification of major thoroughfare

Hoskins:  There is no written definition….but Four lane thoroughfares are what we immediately consider transportation hazards.

Kinnane:  I think that the courtesy stops we give Mr. Hoskins needs to give him some freedom and not create more turmoil for the system.  We may not need to put in every stop.

Davis:  We may want to ask for some time to craft something that we can bring back to the board.  I cringe when we do too many operational things without great insight.

Amos withdraws his original motion.

YJOhnson: I’m a little concerned about the courtesy.  I think we have to give the administration some room to comply with our own policy.

In light of new definition, Amos would like to restore “hardship pick ups” for 2 months.

Kinnane:  I don’t think we should say “and.”  We could have an either or criteria.

McDaniel:  I think if we just define what the hazard zone was that may help us then.

YJohnson:  If we were clear on the definition, that would help.

Davis:  I think we can pull together and present to this board in a matter of days where we have some short term issues that need to be addressed.  We will just shoot it back to you in a couple of days.  You can agree or disagree.  We can do that fairly quickly.

YJohnson:  What would be more comfortable to me is for them (Davis) to do that and get some legal advice.  That every aspect of this has been considered and we are moving forward consciously.

Muhammad: I thought I heard the Superintendent say that he would come back to us tonight.

Davis: No I cannot re-do all the routes tonight.

McDaniel:  What we are asking is for Mr. Davis to give us a recommendation on these routes that would be considered dangerous.

Davis:  To the extent that we start adding routes, it could impact existing routes.  We may have to modify 3 routes to add a route.  You will potentially get that kind of noise.  This is not as simple a task as you might think it is.  You are empowering us to do what we are empowered to do already.  You really don’t need any motion.  We have some dangerous areas and we will look first at areas of high pedophiles and boarded up homes.  We have crime density charts and all of those things to help us.  I can’t say you will have complete happiness or restoration on the ones you want.  But, again, I think we hear and understand and we will work on this.  We are also talking about man power, bus drivers…so we have to talk about those.  New route maps…again, this is do-able, its hard work and we can tell you more Wednesday but we will not have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed by Wednesday.

Muhammad brings another motion to the floor to revisit the issue on Wednesday.


Kinnane:  Do we need the definition of hazard in there?

McDaniel: Essentially its the same policy.

Motion carries.

Executive Session now in progress.

10:18pm Board of Education members are now returning from executive session.

McDaniel:  We are now back from executive session.  We will now begin discussion on the personnel gains and losses.

YJohnson:  I move that we approve the gains and losses as recommended by the superintendent.

Butler Burks:  This is not one I can support this evening because of one particular issue.  The 45 hires and only 5 of them are rehires.  I just cannot support that.

Davis:  Of those 45, 20 are from elsewhere in the district.  The number is really about half and half.  It’s not 5 to 40.

Kinnane:  What you’re saying is that there was some repositioning.

Davis:  I can’t give you assurances that ever person will be dealt with in a way…I do want to dispel that we’ve thrown everyone out of the building and gone outside.  We have some excellent examples of cross training where people have gone from the school house to the central office and central office to the school house.

Butler Burks:  If 20 of them are employees they should be under promotions not appointments.  And I’ve looked at the resumes and perhaps we don’t have updated resumes.

Davis:  I’m not sure if these are all promotions.

Discussion *inaudible*

Committee of the Whole meeting has concluded.

10:36am Legislative meeting is now beginning.

The Legislative meeting of our ABOE meeting is taped and airs tomorrow on Comcast Cable Channel 22.  Thank  you for joining us.  Goodnight.

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