07/01/2013 – Work/Business

Meeting Summary – 07/01/2013 DeKalb Schools Board Meeting Post

CliffsNotes and Clip Highlights

Dual Accreditation
Dual Accreditation Initiative
Sponsored by Coleman, Orson, Carter, Erwin
Changes Since June – Review happens in March after SACS review and retro active to the beginning of the school year.
Move to add to Business Agenda Action Items – Passes 9-0
Coleman – Wants to move it to the consent agenda. Schools now have a waiver if they need more time.
Morley – If we are going to do this next year, then let’s approve it next year. We don’t know what’s going to happen between now and then. This has been fast tracked, let’s slow down now that it doesn’t have to be done until January.
Coleman – We have given enough consideration. Why delay? If we wait we could cause more tumult.
Orson – This is not an emergency action. Nominal cost. Delay causes more uncertainty.
Morley – Why give ourselves more work? Why not wait? It will be here in January. We haven’t given anybody enough time to recover from everything else.
Orson – Point of order. This discussion is whether or not it should be in the consent agenda. Clearly, we won’t have a unanimous vote, so let’s keep it as an action item and continue discussing at the board meeting.
Business Meeting – Debate Continues
Coleman – this is dual accreditation, not a substitute accreditation. More accountability. Minimal cost ($15K over 5 years). I move we accept this proposal.
Johnson – I’m not sure about the board asking the schools. Only the Superintendent can ask the schools.
Coleman – OK. We can introduce a friendly amendment that would strike the first 2 sentences from Mutual Assistance. The Superintendent can informally ask the schools to provide assistance to each other. I move the adapted amendment be accepted.
Morley – The board is doing the research here and making recommendations when the administration should be doing this work. This should all be part of the strategic plan where everybody has input.
[glossary slug=’interim-superintendent’]Interim Superintendent[/glossary] – The policy says “during the summer of 2013”
Coleman – I accept the Friendly Amendment suggestion
Interim Superintendent – I support what you’re trying to do. I have questions with the how. You need to direct the Superintendent to direct the schools. The board can’t direct schools. The structure of this policy has problems.
Orson – Would it be OK if the policy says “The Superintendent shall have the DCSD Hish Schools commence the process”.
Interim Superintendent – These are SACS concerns. You don’t want principals seeking accreditation that maybe the regional superintendent or the superintendent doesn’t support. So, you’re creating a dichotomy.
Orson – Seeking accreditation is already at the board level. You can have whatever structural language you want in there.
Morley – The board should have asked the Superintendent to research this and come up with a recommendation. There’s currently no input from anybody for such a sweeping reform. I don’t have a problem with dual accreditation, just the process and protocol used here. Instead of constantly rewording this, let’s take our time and get it right.
Interim Superintendent – We really don’t need a policy. I work for the board and the board can direct me to do any ethical job.
Orson – It’s not a policy. It’s tied to a policy.
Interim Superintendent – Just like I was directed to do whatever was necessary to regain accreditation, you can direct me to do this.
Orson – That’s the intent of this legislation.
Mayfield – I suggest in the second paragraph we say “The Superintendent shall enable all DCS High Schools to commence the process by January and February 2014”
Coleman – I accept the friendly amendment that Thad just mentioned. I [glossary slug=’calling-the-question’]call the question[/glossary]. We should vote on the amendment.
Johnson – All those in favor of the question. Passed. Then Johnson says “All those in favor of approving the amendment, as stated, last by Mr. Coleman, all in favor let me know by a show of hands.” Passes 7-2
The last amendment passes, but they never voted on the action item itself.

After School Money
After School Funds Proposed Policy
Campbell – Is there an existing policy or procedure?
Orson – There are a variety of procedures but no formal policy.
Campbell – Has Dr. Bell looked at this? Are we doing the work of the staff?
Bell – We haven’t looked at this policy, but we are aware of the existing procedures.
Orson – This policy is consistent with current procedures and state policy.
Mayfield – I’m concerned with having oversight of funds in local banks.
Orson – We can keep the money wherever you want.
Mayfield – Does this policy cover all programs outside of school?
Orson – Just specifically “After School Programs”
Mayfield – Is this part of existing processes?
Orson – Some of these parts come from existing policies.
Carter – Concerned about accountability, reporting and management when funds are kept at a local level.
Orson – We can keep the money with the system if you like.
Carter – Did we get Mr. Bell’s feedback on this policy?
Orson – Mr. Bell has been giving us details of the amount of money and not the policy itself.
Carter – I like this policy, but would like the administration to look at it.
Morley – The Superintendent and admin should have done this and not the board.
Orson – I’m confused, because this policy has been sitting out there for 30 days and we created this at the request of the Interim Superintendent. The Interim Superintendent said he didn’t know what to do without a policy in place.
Johnson – Just because we have 30 days, doesn’t mean we completely understand what we are voting on. The administration has not reviewed this. Can we give the administration more time?
Orson – I don’t understand where Dr. Bell’s confusion lies.
Bell – This is the first time I’ve seen this. This policy has a lot of specifics I’m not sure about.
Interim Superintendent – I support this, but we need to look at it.
McMahan – Have the school been notified of their balances?
Bell – Yes
Orson – What’s the remidiation for schools with negative fund balances?
Bell – The administration will work with those schools.
Johnson – All in favor of postponing this until the August meeting.
[vote passes]

Revenue Shortfall & Millage Rate Hearing
Bell – Tax assessors office communicated earlier that day there was a flag in their software misplaced. The DeKalb Development Authority value at its full value and not its net assessed value. Best estimate now is that revenue will be $2M less than originally projected. Best case scenario is $385M – $390M. It’s also possible that we could get $2M more than anticipated.
Mayfield – What are the factors that drive the millage rate?
Bell – If we are getting more money than we need for the current budget, we can reduce the millage rate. If you reduce the budget, you can reduce the millage rate.
Mayfield – Are there any leading indicators that would help us forecast if we need to adjust the millage rate?
Bell – The tax assessors office in the county gives us their projections.
Mayfield – Do we have an internal process that monitors these forecast adjustments?
Bell – Our staff is in constant contact with the tax assessors. It’s a group effort. If the tax assessor forecasts a 3% decline, we can still adjust that as we see fit. The senior administration builds a consensus of what those numbers should be.
Campbell – I come from an industry that does a lot of forecasting. How accurate are we with forecasting?
Bell – On the revenue side, we are over 90% accurate. Historically we have way over spent the budget.
Campbell – Knowing that revenue estimates are a guestimate, are we going to implement any spending safe guards. If revenues don’t come in as expected, do we have a lower secondary budget we can use?
Bell – I wouldn’t call it a guesstimate. It’s a well informed trend analysis. I’ve discussed with the Superintendent that I would like to keep the brakes on processing expenditures for a quarter or so to see how revenues are coming in.
Erwin – Your conservative estimates should give us a cushion right?
Bell – Yeah. You need to be conservative on your revenue estimates and aggressive on your expenditure estimates. If both come true, then we’ll have an addition to the fund balance.
—— End of Work Session —— Start Business Meeting ——–
Bell – Tax assessor is reworking some values owned by the DeKalb Development Authority. We will be impacted by $2M.
No questions

School Attendance Lines
The purpose of this policy adjustment is to allow the staff to make minor adjustments to attendance lines without board approval.

Tribute to Gregory Davis

Ashford Park Parent Paid Renovation

The Ashford Park School Education Foundation is requesting approval to upgrade the school’s carpool site to include expanding the existing sidewalk and adding a cantilevered canopy; redoing the plaza area with new pavers and upgrading the existing outdoor amphitheater at the school. This completion of this project will help facilitate student pick up and drop off during the morning and afternoon carpools as well as create a usable space for an additional outdoor classroom. The Ashford Park Elementary School Foundation has developed a rough estimate of approximately $106,000 for this project. The Foundation will donate the necessary funds for this project.

Charter Schools Presentation
PowerPoint Presentation
This is the orientation for new state school board members.
The state board no longer wants charters in name only. It will only approve charter applications where the school is truly autonomous.
DeKalb Schools is a big district that asks for few waivers
The state board realizes the need for more money. Instead of giving more money, they are providing waivers for ways school districts can save money. These options may or may not be a good idea for your district, but they are ways in which a school district can save money. The state board has granted waivers for class size over the last couple of years. They are not likely to do that for FY 2015.
Flexibility – June 30th, 2015 (Slides 61 – 67)
Local boards are required by law to chose a flexibility option or status quo. Status quo will keep things as they are, but you will not be granted any waivers. The flexibility options are Investing in Educational Excellence (IE2), Charter System, Strategic School System or System of Charter Clusters. All waivers will be lost by July 1st, 2015 so you need to start figuring out where you’re going now.
District has a performance contract with the state. You lose governance over any school that fails to meet its targets. IE2 schools will have all waivers available to them. Not much interest in this route yet. Gwinnett, Forsyth and Raven are the only 3 systems using IE2.
DeKalb has a 5 year performance contract.
Charter System
All schools are converted into charter schools. If DeKalb chooses to be a charter system, the current charter schools can chose to be in or out of the charter system. You get $87/student more in QBE funding capped at $4.2M. You must give the schools autonomy. Each school must have a board governance team.
Strategic School System
A school with a performance contract, but waivers not allowed. Some flexibility is given.
System of Charter Schools
3rd party contract with each school. Not viable for large school districts.
Centralized or Decentralized options – IE2 and Strategic School System
Decentralized options – Charter System, System of Charter Schools
Examples of Autonomy (slide 59)
School governing boards need to make personnel decisions. The school gets a budget and the school governance team prioritizes that budget and can contract services.
Interim Superintendent – There was a recent report covered extensively in the media showing that charter outcomes were not better than traditional schools.
Answer – That was the creedo report out of Stanford. Georgia was 1 of 29 states in the report. It doesn’t compare states on an even footing because there is no single indicator by which to do so.
Charter school petitions and renewals on going in DeKalb (slides 97+)
Accreditation – how do charter schools effect accreditation? SACS only looks at board governance. Charter Schools push some of the Superintendents roles down to the schools and not the local board’s roles. SACS accreditation will not be effected as long as the school board isn’t doing the Superintendent’s job.
Closing Charters – what does that look like. There have been 8 – 10 charter schools that are no longer charter schools. Often times the school itself says they don’t want the autonomy. Either way, the local school district takes over governance of the school.