Box 6, Folder 1, Document 9

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Box 6, Folder 1, Document 9

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ATLANTA-FULTON COUNTY EDUCATION COMMISSION
PROVISIONS FOR CREATIHG AN ATLANTA-FULTON
COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
The General Assembly of Georgia at the request of its representatives
from Fulton and DeKalb counties created a Local Education Co1mri.ssion in 1964
and charged the Commission with responsibility:
To study the desirability and feasibility of combining the
school systems of Fulton County and the City of Atlanta, including the portion thereof lying in DeKalb County; to provide that
said Commission may draft a plan or plans for the combining of
such school systems and submit same to members of the General
Assembly from Fulton and DeKalb Counties.
The Commission was appointed and conducted the requested study, releasing
its report in February, 1966.
The report reconnnended the dissolution of the
Atlanta and Fulton County School Districts and the creation of a new district
in their stead.
A plan for creating the proposed new district was included
in the report which outlined the steps necessary for carrying out this recommendation.
The report of t he Commission was accepted by the legislative delegation
representing Fulton and DeKalb counties.
After due deliberation of the
recommendations, the legislative group secured approval for continuation of
the Commission and reque sted it to carry out the steps which it had defined
as being necessary for dissolving the present school districts and creating
the proposed new district.
This memorandum outlines the tasks involved in creating the proposed
new district and suggests how these steps may be executed.
Five distinct but
related tasks are essential in carrying out this latest charge to the
Connnission.
They are:
�1.
Legal work which is necessary in order to dissolve the two present
districts and to create the proposed new district.
2.
Educational planning necessary to assure orderly and effective
transition from the present two districts to the proposed single
district.
3.
Suggestion on the initial role of the new board of education.
4.
A program for developing public understanding of the proposed new
district and the reasons which support its creation.
S.
Allocations of responsibility fQr getting done the necessary tasks.
Each of the five steps is outlined briefly in the following pages.
The
assumption is made that the plans for the proposed district and the characteristics of the district included in the 1966 report of the Commission are
acceptable.
They are, therefore, reported in this doc1.nnent where appropriate.
LEGAL WORK
Substantial legal tasks must be undertaken and completed in order to
establish the proposed new school district.
It is not possible to define
with certainty all of these tasks at present because there is no existing
overview of legislation and court decisions affecting the present Fulton
Cot1nty and Atlanta School Districts although major task areas can be defined.
These follow:
1.
Compil e and analyze the legi slat ion and court decisi ons whi ch
curr ently affect the Atlanta and Fult on County School Districts.
Since thi s has never been done , ther e is no way of knowing at
present t he pr ecise dimensions of this t a sk.
2.
Prepare the legislation which must be adopted in order to abolish
the Atlanta and Fulton County School Districts.
Until the necessary
�research has been completed, there is no way of knowing just what
this step involves • . Whether a .single piece of. legislati on general
in nature ,rill suffice or whether specific measures repealing separate ~a~s relating to such subjects as taxation, bonding capacity,
and so forth, are required remains to be seen.
3.
Provide for meeting present a~d future unfilfilled legal and moral
commitments of the Atlanta and Fulton County School Districts.
'
.
Indebtedness, outstanding bonds, retirement provisions and tenure
rights are examples of such cormnitments.
Current welfare provisions
for personnel may be continued or provisions can be made in new
legislation to protect earned rights of present personnel through
incorporation in any new welfare provisions which might be created
for the school district.
Establishing eligibility of the new school
district for s t ate funds is an illustration of another type of protect ion, as is assurance that current salary levels ,rill not suffer
in the transition.
4.
Arr ange f or the transfer of propert ies of present school districts
to t he proposed new distr ict.
5.
Prepare a cons titutional amendment f or creati ng the new school di strict.
This is an essential st ep under Geor gi a l aw.
The amendment
should be expres sed in gener al t erms insofar a s feasible, leaving as
many of the speci f i c provisions concerning t he district a s possible
to be taken care of outside the frame,rork of constitutional mandates.
The amendment would necessarily specify the boundaries of the
district, define its basic structure, and outline its powers.
Such
would be done within the limitations of other constitutional pr ovisions affecting schools and school districts.
For example, the_
�amendment would have to be consistent with the constitutional
definition of the State's r~sponsibility for public schools.
'!
Legal provisions to be made either by constitutional amendment or statutory acts incl~de creation of a board of education of
seven members elected at large for terms of six years, one from each
.of seven subdivisions of the district of approximately the sarae
number of persons.
The amendment or enabling legislation should
prescribe how the subdivisions are to be formed and how they are
to be redivided as population changes dictate.
Provisions should
be made for the initial board to be elected as follows:
three
members to serve the full six-year term, two members to serve fouryear terms, and two members to serve two-year terms.
Thereafter,
the board members would be elected as existing terms of members expire.
Vacancies should be filled by appointment of the board until
the next election at which time unexpired terms will be filled by
the voters.
It will also be necessary to make provisions for a referendum
to determine whether or not the amendment is to be approved (approval
of voters of both districts is thought to be necessary).
Provisions should be made in the event the constitutional amendment is approved for the board members of the Atlanta and Fulton
County Districts to serve as the board of education for the new district until the new board is elected and can talce office.
A schedule
should be worked out, if needed, for shifting to the seven-man board
elected as herein prescribed.
�Board members should serve without compensation, receiving
pay only for necessary expenses incurred in carrying out their
duties as members of the Board of Education
The proposed new district should consist of the present At lanta
District, including the part which is in DeKalb County, and the
present Fulton County District.
A fundamental task is providing for a sound fiscal base for the
proposed school dist rict.
Establishing eligibility for St ate funds,
I
establishing eligibilit y for Federal funds, and providing for sound
local support are necessary considerations.
f
The school board should
be authorized to determine ~he property tax for supporting the school
i
syst em, as the Atlanta Schopl Board does at present.
Furthermore , a
uniform property assessmen~ plan for the entire district should be
adopted and homestead exemptions eliminated.
Sources of local school
suppor t i n addition to the pr operty tax should be found.
6.
If the pr oposed new school district is ·approved by t he voters , a
transition committee should be es t ablished immediatel y to work out
the many plans and details essential t o an or derly transition from
two districts t o one.
The transition committee should include the
two superintendent s of school s , the chairman of each board of education, the fiscal officer of each s chool system, the assistant superintendent for instruction of each school system, and such other individuals as may seem appropriate.
This committee should be r esponsible
for the detailed transition plan to be appr oved by each board of
education.
7.
If the single school district is approved, the two present school
systems should continue as at present for the balance of the s chool
�year in which approval occurs and an additional full year in order
to allow time for completion of needed transition plans.
8.
The board of education for the new district should be elected as
soon as possible after the approval of the constitutional amendment
and should formally organize itself without delay and proceed at
once with the selection of a superintendent.
A superintendent
should be employed and he should .begin his work as far in advance
of the creation of the new school district as is possible .
9.
EKecute any other legal assignments which are appropriate in the
light of the analysis of pertinent legislation and court decisions
and necessary provisions to assure creation of a school district
conforming to recommendations of the Commission in its 1966 report.
EDUCATIONAL PLANNING
An enormous volume of work must be completed before the proposed school
district can go into operation.
I1any policies must be decided upon and much
specific and detailed planning completed in order to assure the proper functioning of the new district.
Hajor categories of policy development and needed
provisions for operational guides under each are listed below.
As is true
of legal aspects described above , a precise definition of all of the steps
necessary in this stage of planning is not possible presently and must await
further exploration of current policies and practices of the tlro school systEIIIS.
Finance
1.
Develop guides and procedures for making the annual school budget.
2.
Develop plans and procedures for purchasing.
�r
3.
Develop plans for necessary and appropriate financial accounting.
4.
Develop a budget for the new school district.
Personnel
1.
Develop a system of personnel records for professional and other
school personnel.
2.
Develop salary schedules for professional and other personnel.
3.
Develop a retirement system or systems.
4.
Develop policies concerning employment practices for both professional and non-professional personnel.
S.
Develop policies regarding tenure, sick leave, vacations, leaves
of absence for prof essi onal growth, and others as needed.
6.
Propose a method of combining the two central office staffs.
1.
Develop a system of r ecords f or pupil accounting.
2.
Make r ecommendations concer ning the visiting teacher pr ogram.
Pupils
Administrative Structures and Regulations
1.
Develop a plan for the internal organization and administration of
the new school district incl uding appropriat e policies and definitions of responsibility.
2.
Reach decisions on administ rative and supervisory services to be
provided.
3.
Develop policies regarding the size of schools.
4.
Develop general school regulations such as length of the school day,
ntm1ber of days in the school year, and designate holidays.
�5.
Develop a school calendar for the first year of the new system.
6.
Reconnnend the future of the Metropolitan School Development
Council.
Curriculum
1.
Determine the curricula to be offered.
2.
Develop plans for kindergartens 'in schools now in the Fulton County
District.
3.
Develop policies for selection and distribution of instructional
materials.
4.
Determine the special professional personnel to be provided such as
librarians, school psychologists, counselors, and reading specialists.
5.
Ascertain the curriculum adjusnnents which are necessary in the
transition period and suggest how they are to be made.
6.
Recorrnnend policies regarding expansion of school programs with
special reference to junior colleges, vocational and technical
education, and adult education.
7.
Hake recommendations concer ning t eacher loads, including pupilteacher ratios.
Services
1.
Reach decisions on services to be provided by the school districts
such as transportation, food, and health services and how they
should be provided.
2.
Determine the non-professional personnel to be provided such as
�.,.
lunchroom workers, custodians, and secretaries.
3.
Reconnnend plans for st oring and handling textbooks and other instructional supplies.
· Maintenance
i!:m! Operation
1. · Develop policies regarding kinds, numbers, types, and levels of
competence needed by personnel ~n Maintenance and Operation.
2.
Develop policies and procedures on the maintenance and operation
programs.
3.
Develop policies and procedures concerning work assignments and
responsibilities of personnel.
Other
1.
Make reconnnendations concerning organizations which should exist i n
the new s chool districts such as Parent -Teacher Associ ati ons, local
t eacher s associations, and the various student organizations .
INITIAL ROLE OF THE PROPOSED N:Bv BOARD OF EDUCATION
Just how specifi c a bluepri nt f or transit i on should be is t o a considerable extent a matter of def inition.
At one extreme is a plan which provides
only the basic legal provisions necessary for bringing the new district into
being.
At the other extreme is a plan which includes the multitude of basic
policies, operational procedures and allocations of responsibility essential
to the effective functioning of a school district.
The plan presented in this document embraces the first extreme and also
the second to the extent that the Connnission accepts responsibility for the
essential educational planning which must precede the operational phase of a
�new ~istrict.
As already indicated, this planning consists largely of
d~yeloping reconnnended policies and procedures consistent with the basic
charter of the proposed new district as outlined above and decisions of the
, Connnission with respect to the nature and quality of programs and services
it thinks the new district should provide.
However, only that which is man-
dated by law will be binding on the new Board of Education.
In a sense, the Commission is acting in these matters as an agent of a
school district which is yet to be created and what it proposes in the realm
of educational planning is for study and action by the ne,v Board of Education
unless areas are involved where decisions have been made already.
PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROPOSED NEW DISTRICT
Since public schools are the business of the public, every opportunity
should be seized upon to help the public keep as fully informed as possible on
school problems, issues, needs, and the nature of good schools.
A well informed
public is essential to successful decision making on educational policies and
plans.
Therefore, a major task in considering the proposed basic shift in the
educational structure of Atlanta and Fulton County is developing and distributing among all citizens adequate information on the proposed change and the
reasons which lead to the proposal.
The report of the Corranission with its
treatment of both sides of the issue of a single school district should be
made available to all citizens and its contents should be widely publicized.
Therefore, if the proposed constitutional amendment is adopted and a referendum
is held, the referendtun should be preceded by a systematic and well organized
public information program.
�11Ia.ss
media of commu..,ication should be employed to develop interest and
public understanding.
Newspaper coverage should be stressed.
and television should be used extensively.
30th radio
The pros and cons of the pro-
, posed district reorganization plan should be presented through all three
media.
In addition, presentations to civic clubs, Parent-Teachers Associa-
tions, and other formal groups should be stimulated.
should be used in this program.
Uany informed citizens
Among such citizens should be leaders from
all walks of life, especially school leaders, including Joard of Education
members.
Dy the time the election is held, all citizens should be fully
informed on the issues at stake.
In no other ,ray is it possible to reach an
adequate decision on the school organization issue.
GETI'ING THE JOB DONE
It is the responsibility of the coordinator appointed by the Commission
to prepare and submit to the Commission the transition plan as outlined
above.
An adequate plan requires bringing into play an array of specialized
competence beyond the ken of any single individual; therefore, extensive use
should be made of carefully selected consultants.
The legal work should be entrusted to Mr. Pete La.timer, Attorney for the
Atlanta Doard of Education, and Hr. Jaraes Groton, Attorney for the Fulton
County 3oard of :Education.
Dr.
n.
L. Johns, University of Florida, or some one of comparable
stature in school finance , should be sucured as a consultant on all planning
involving finance, purchasing, and accounting.
Dr. Willard Elsbree, Emeritus Professor of Education, Teachers College,
Columbia University, or some other authority in personnel, should be secured
�as a consultant on policies and procedures concerning all categories of
personnel.
This assignment would include proposed salary schedules and wel-
fare provisions.
Curriculum authorities should be consulted as needed.
A committee of leading citizens should be appointed and given responsibility for conducting an adequate public information program.
The Commission
should appoint this committee upon recommendation of personnel by the Atlanta
and Fulton County school superintendents and approval by the two boards of
education.
Appropriate professional personnel should be available to the
committee.
Appropr iate personnel from the two school systems should be involved i n
t he development of proposed policies and procedures, especially in infor mation
and eval uation r oles.
THP:jp
8/12/66

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