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Box 6, Folder 1, Document 13

http://allenarchive.iac.gatech.edu/originals/ahc_CAR_015_006_001_013.pdf

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LOCAL EDUCATION COMMISSION OF ATLANTA AND FULTON COUNTY

PROVISIONS FOR CREATING AN ATIANTA-FULTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Appr oved September 22, 1966

�ATLANTA-FULTON COUNTY EDUCATION COMMISSION PROVISIONS FOR CREATING AN ATLANTA-FULTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

The General Assembly of Georgia at the request of its r epresenta tives from Fulton and DeKalb counties created a Local Education Commission in 1964 and charged the Commission with responsibility: To study the desirabili ty and feasib ility of combining the school systems of Fulton County and the City of Atl anta, 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 Febr uary , 1966 .

The report reconnnended the dis s olution of the

Atlanta and Fulton County School Districts and the creation of a new dis trict in their stead.

A plan for creating the pr oposed new district was included

in the -report which outlined the steps necessary for carrying out this recom~ mendation. The report of the Connnission was a ccepted by the l egislative delegation representing Fulton and DeKa lb counties.

After due deliberation of the

recommendations , the legisla tive group secured approval for continuation

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the Commission and requested it to carry out t he steps which it had defined as being necessary for dissolving the present school districts and creating . the proposed new district. This memorandum out lines the tasks involved in crea ting the proposed new district and suggests how thes e s t eps may be executed .

Five distinct but

related t a sks are essential in carr ying out this l a t est charge to t he Commission.

They are :

�l 1.

Legal work which is necessary in order to dis solve the two pr esent 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 propos ed new district and the reasons which support its creation.

5.

Allocations of responsibility for getting done the necessary ta sks .

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 ar e, therefore, reported in this document where appropria te . LEGAL WORK

Substantial lega l 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 County and Atlanta School Districts although major task areas can be defined . These follow : 1.

Compile and analyze the legislation and court decisions which currently affect the Atlanta and Fulton County School Districts . Since this has never been done , there i s no way of knowing at present the precise dimensions of this task .

2.

Prepare the legislation which must be a dopted i n order t o abol ish the Atlanta and Fulton County School Districts .

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Unt il the nece ssary

�research has been completed, there is no way of knowing j ust what thi s step involves .

Whether a single piece of -legislation general

in nature will suffice or whether specific mea sures repealing s ep~ arate laws relating to such subjects as taxation , bonding capa ci ty, and so forth, are required remains to be seen. 3.

Provide for meeting present -and future· unfulfilled legal and moral commitments of the Atlanta and Fulton County School Districts. Indebtednes s , outstanding borids , retirement provisions and tenure rights are examples of such commitments .

Curr ent welfar e pr ovisi ons

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 cr ea ted for the school district.

Establishing eligibility of the new school

district for state funds is an illustration of another type of protection , as is assurance that current salary levels will not suffer in the transition. 4.

Arrange for the t r ansfer of properties of present school dis tri cts to the pr oposed new district.

S.

Pr epare a constitutional amendment fo r cr ea ting the new school di s= t r ict .

This is an essential step under Georgia l aw.

The amendment

should be expr es s ed in gener al terms insofar as feas ible, l eaving as many of t he specif i c pr ovisions concer ning the dis tri ct as pos s ible to be t aken care of outside the framewor k of constitutional manda tes , The amendment would neces saril y specify the boundarie s of the district, defi ne i t s bas i c struc ture, and outl ine its powers.

Such

would be done within t he limitati ons of other constitutional provisions affecting schools and school distr icts . - 3 -

For example, the

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amendment would have t o be cons istent with the constitutional definition of the Stat e 1 s r esponsibility for public schools. Legal provisions t o be made either by constitutional amendment or statutory acts include creation of a board of education of nine member s elected at l arge by the qualified voters of the district in a non-partisan election for terms of six years, one from each of nine subdivisions of the district of approximately the same number of persons.

The amendment or enabling legislation

should prescrib e how the subdivisions ar e t o be fo r med and how they ar e to be redivided as popula tion changes dictate.

Pro-

visions should be made for terms of members of the initial board as follows :

thr ee members to serve the full-six year term, three

members to serve four -year terms , and three members to serve twoyear terms ,

Thereafter, the board members would be elected in

regular school board elections as existing terms of members expire .

Vacancies for any reason should be filled by appointment of

the board until the next r egular school board election at which time unexpired terms will be filled by the voters. It will a lso be necessary to make provisions for a referendum to determine whether or not the amendment is to be approved (approval of voters of both di stricts 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 t o serve as the board of education for the new dis trict until the new boar d is elected and can take office .

A schedule

should be worked out, if needed , for shifting to the nine-man board elec t ed as her ein prescr ibed . - 4 -

�Board members should be paid three hundred dolla rs per month , with the chairman being paid an additional fifty _dollars per month . The proposed new district should consist of the present Atlant a 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 district .

Establishing eligibility for State funds ,

establishing eligibility for Federal funds , and providing for sound local support are necessary considerations .

The school board should

be authorized to determine the property tax for supporting the school system, as the Atlanta School Board does at present .

Furthermor e , a

uniform property assessment plan for the entire district should be adopted and homestead exemptions eliminated.

Sources of loca l school

support in addition to the property tax should be found. 6.

If the proposed new school district is approved by the voters, a transition committee should be established immediately t o work out the many plans and details essential to an orderly trans i tion fr om two distr icts to one.

The transition committee should include t he

two superintendents of schools , the chairman of each board of education , the fiscal officer of each school system, the a s sis tant super i ntendent for instr uction of each school system, and s uch other i ndividuals as may s eem appropriate .

This committ ee should be res pons i ble

for the detailed t ransition plan to be approved by each boar d of education . 7.

If t he singl e s chool distri ct is appr oved , the two pre s ent school systems should continue as at pre s ent for the balance of the s chool

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�year in which a pproval occurs and an additional full year in order to allow time for completion of needed transitien 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.

Execute any other legal assignments which are appropriate in the ligqt 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 .

Many policies must be decided upon and much

specific and detailed planning completed in order to as sure the proper functioning of the new distr ict.

Major categories of policy development and needed

provisions fo r operational guides under ea ch are listed below .

As i s true

of legal aspects de scribed above, a precise definition of all of the s teps necessary in this stage of planning is not possible pres ently and must await further explorati on of curr ent policies and practices of the two school systems . Finance 1.

Develop guides and procedures fo r making the annual school budget.

2.

Develop plans and procedures for purchasing.

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3,

Develop pla ns f or necessar y and a ppropr i a te financia l a ccounting ,

4,

Develop a budge t for the new school distr ict ,

Personnel l,

Develop a system of per sonnel records for professional and other school personnel ,

2,

Develop sal ary schedules for profes sional and other personnel .

3,

Develop a retirement syst em or systems ,

4.

Develop policies concerning employment practices for both profes sional and non-professional personnel .

5,

Develgp policies rega rding tenure , sick leave, vacations, leaves of absence for profess i onal growth , and others as needed.

6.

Propose a method of combining the two centra l office staffs.

l,

Develop a system of records f or pupil accounting .

2,

Make r econunenda tions concerning the visiting teacher program.

Pupils

Administrative Structur es and Regula tions 1.

Develop a plan f or the internal organiza t i on and administration of the new school distr ict including a ppropr iate policies and definitions of re spons ib ility.

2.

Rea ch decis ions on a dminis t rative and super vis ory services to be provided .

3.

Develop policies regarding th

si z

of schools ,

4,

Develop general school r egula tions such as length of the school day , number of da ys in the school year, and designate holidays.

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�S.

Develop a school ca lendar for the first year of the new system.

6.

Recommend the future of the Metropolitan School Development Council .

Curriculum 1.

Determine the curricula t o 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 specia l professional per s onnel to be provided such as librarians, school psychologis ts, counselors , and reading specialists,

S.

Ascertain the curriculum adjustments which are necessary in the transition period and suggest how they are to be made ,

6.

Recommend policies regar ding expansion of school programs with specia l r efer ence to j uni or colleges, vocational and technical education, and adult education,

7.

Make recommenda tions concerning tea cher loa ds, including pupilt eacher ratios ,

Services 1.

Rea ch deci sions on s ervices to be provided by the s chool dis trict s such as transporta tion, f ood , and health services and how they should be pr ovided ,

2.

Determine the non=professi onal personnel to be provided such a s

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�lunchroom workers , custodians, and secre t ar ies . 3.

Rec ommend plans for storing and handling textb ooks and other instructional supplies.

Maintenance and Opera tion 1.

Develop policie s regarding kinds , numbers , types , and levels of competence needed by personnel in Maintenance and Operation.

2.

Develop policies and procedures on the maintenance and operation problems ,

3.

Develop policies and procedures concerning work assignments and responsibilities of personnel .

Other 1.

Make r ecommendations concerning organizations which should exist in the new school dis tricts such as Parent-Teacher Associations, l ocal tea chers ass oc i a tions, and the various student organizations . I NITIAL ROLE OF THE PROPOSED NEW BOARD OF EDUCATION

Just how s pecific a bl uepr int f or transition should be is to a considerable extent a matter of definition .

At one extreme is a plan which provide s

only the basic lega l pr ovi s ions necessary for bringing the new district i nto being .

At the other ext reme is a plan which include s the multi tude of basic

policies , operational pr ocedures and alloca tions of r esponsibility essential to the effective functi oning of a s chool district. The pl a n pre s ented in t his document embra ces the first extreme and als o the second t o the extent that the Commis s ion accepts responsibil ity for the essential educa ti onal planning which must prec ede the operational phase of a

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�new district o As al ready indica ted , this planning consists l argely of developing rec ommended polici es and procedures consistent with the basic charter of the propos ed new district as outlined above and decisions of the Connnission with res pect t o the nature and quality of programs and services it thinks the new distr ict should provide .

However, only that which is manda ted

by law will be binding on the new Board of Educa tion o In a sens e , 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 i s for study and action by the new Board of Education unless area s are involved where decisions have been made already. PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROPOSED N"Ei DISTRICT Since public schools ar e the business of the public, every opportunity should be seized upon to help the public keep -~s fully informed as possible on school problems, is sues , needs, and the nature of good schools.

A well informed

public is es sential to successful decision making on educational policies and plans . Therefore , a ma jor t a sk in considering the proposed basic shift in the educational structur e of Atlanta and Fulton County is developing and distributing among all citizens adequate information on the proposed change and the reasons which l ead to t he proposal .

The report of the Connnission with its

trea tment of both sides of the iss ue of a single school district should be made available to al l ci tizens and its contents should be widely publicized . Therefore , if the proposed constitutional amendment is adopted and a r efer endum is held , t he r efer endum should be preceded by a systematic and well or ga nized public i nformati on program .

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�Mass media of corrnnu_n.ication should be employed to develop interest and public understanding .

Newspa per coverage should be stressed .

and television should be used extensively .

Both radio

The pros and cons of the pro-

posed district reorganization plan should be presented through all three media.

In a ddition, presentations to civic clubs, Parent-Teachers Associa-

• tions , and other formal groups should be stimulated. should be used in this program.

Many informed citizens

Among such citizens should be leaders from

all walks of life, especially school leaders, including Board of Education members.

By the time the election is held, all citizens should be fully

informed on the issues at stake.

In no other way is it possible to reach an

adequate decision on the school organization issue. GETTING THE JOB DONE It is the responsibility of the coordinator appointed by the Corrnnission to prepare and submit to the Corrnnission 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 car efully selected consultants . The legal work should be entrusted to Mr. Pete Latimer , Attorney for the Atlanta Board of Education, and Mr . James Groton, Attorney for the Fulton County Board of Education. Dr . R. L. J ohns , Uni ver s ity of Florida, or some one of comparable stature in school fi nance , should be secured 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 pers onnel , should be secured

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�as a consultant on policies and procedures concerning all ca tegories of personnel .

This assignment would include proposed salary schedules and wel-

fare provisions . Curr iculum authorities should be consulted as needed. A cormnittee of leading citizens should be appointed and given responsi'bility f or conducting an a dequate public information program.

The Cormnission

should appoint this committee upon recommendation of personnel by the Atlanta and Fulton County school superintendents and approval by the two boards of education.

Appropr iate professional personnel should be available to the

cormnittee. Appropriate pers onnel from the two school systems should be involved in the development of proposed policies and procedures, especially in information and evaluation r oles .

TMP : jp

s/12/66 Amended and appr oved September 22, 1966 by Local Educat ion Cormnis sion

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