Live Blog: Board of Education Special Meeting, June 19, 2014

Thank you for following our live blog of the June 19, 2014 Special Board of Education  Meeting for Atlanta Public Schools.

View today’s agenda here:

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The meeting will begin soon.  Due to the availability of the live stream, tonight we will only blog community comments.

7:21pm – Meeting begins

7:36pm – Public comment begins

Community Member: While I am glad to see purposeful planning in the Jackson cluster, that is not the case in the Washington cluster.  When are we going to see a plan?  What will happen to Brown Middle School? When are we going to find out what is going on with the renovation at Brown Middle School? (Speaker wants a comprehensive transition program for Washington High School and its feeder schools).

APS Teacher: (Comments submitted in writing by speaker) I have been a math teacher for Atlanta Public Schools for the past 16 years.  Since 1998, I have been compensated according to the APS salary schedule.  In 2010, step increases for employees were halted due to market projections and other factors that affected the overall budget for the school district.  At that point, my compensation level was truncated at step 12.  Similar adjustments were made in surrounding metro school districts as no one was immune to the effects of the unstable economy at the time.  In spite of this change and shock to my own financial projections, I pressed on; continuing to fulfill my charge of teaching mathematics to young people.  As the years progressed, I encountered various transfer teachers from other school districts.  On every occasion, these individuals indicated that when they joined APS, they were compensated at their current level of creditable years of service.  The compensation policy of Atlanta Public Schools states that one of their goals is to recognize employees for their equivalent and relevant experience.  Are my 16 years of service not relevant or equivalent to teachers of other districts in Georgia?  Another goal of this department is to be transparent and equitable.  This practice does not appear to be transparent or equitable.  Where is the fairness in compensating new employees to the district at a higher standard than those of us who have remained loyal and dedicated over the years regardless of the controversies and missteps endured by the district?  If I had not discussed this matter with certain colleagues, I would have been none the wiser of this practice.  Surely the board will acknowledge the points highlighted in this complaint and rectify this matter to ensure compensation equality throughout the system for all employees regardless of their classification.  In an effort to expedite this process, I would like to offer the board my Lawson Id# is ———–.  Feel free to adjust my salary accordingly at your earliest availability.

Community Member says that intensive energy has been given to the Coan King merger, but not the same level of intensity for the Washington High cluster.

Facilities employee says that her evaluation and position abolishment was illegal.  Asks that the abolishments do not move forward.

Community Member:  My reason for moving to the west end is the history and the potential for a good education system.  One thing I am a graduate of Oglethorpe University and I’m trying to do is make a difference in my community.  The educational system is lacking.  I was reading the APS website about the Coan/King merger.  Washington has a one page document.  Coan and King has an 11 page document, even speaking about school spirit.  What about the kids at Brown Middle School?  The lack of transparency, the lack of planning by the board specifically around Kennedy and Brown is sad.  There is no way these kids can make a living with such a terrible educational foundation.  Our coalition is new and we are here to form a partnership.  We are tired of being marginalized.  Please work with us so that we can help our kids have a good educational system, make a living, make a difference and be impactful.

APS Employee:  I am a warehouse technician and I have the responsibility of purchasing and managing 7 credit cards within the organization.  I meet and negotiate prices with vendors.  I ship and receive.  As of June 30 my job will be abolished.  My job is now being given to the administrative clerks where they are being trained for a job that I am trained to do.  They are already overworked and being trained to do my job that I’ve been doing for over 20 years with all positive evaluations.  What message does it send to upcoming graduates when I am a graduate of APS losing my job after 24 years of service.  I come to you this evening requesting that our jobs be rescinded so that I may continue to improve the purchasing department.

Next two speakers also ask that the abolishments on tonight’s agenda be revisited.

APS parent says that there will always be gains and losses in the district.  Says that the last few months seems like business as usual.  The district, she says, should not be reflective of politics:  “We are seeing things that are not above board.”  As we talk about that list of people who have just given to Dr. Carstarphen and say thank you to the Mayor, we should also say thank you to the parents, the tax payers and others who have given to the district for years.

–end of public comment —

Please continue to view tonight’s BOE meeting via our live stream:

This ends tonight’s live blog.






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