Atlanta Board of Education 2017 Legislative Priorities
The Atlanta Board of Education advocates for the following priorities for legislative action in the 2017 session of the 154th Georgia General Assembly as well as for policy action by the Georgia Board of Education and Department of Education. The board also affirms guiding principles to assist our legislative representatives in responding to other issues that arise during the session.
- Provide adequate, stable education funding
- Appropriate to school systems adequate funding including full funding of the Charter Systems supplement ($100 per FTE up to $4.5 million per Charter System).
- Eliminate the current statewide Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) annual maximum “local target collection amount” to ensure that school systems receive the percentage of TAVT collections stated in O.C.G.A. §48-5C-1.
- Require local fiscal impact statements on all legislation creating new mandates or programs for school systems and all legislation impacting education funding such as tax exemptions.
- Delay the implementation of any legislation impacting funding or creating new mandates/programs to provide schools and districts with at least one (1) year to adjust budgets, reduce costs and implement.
- Protect the Atlanta Public Schools property tax base to support quality instruction for all students
- Promote the responsibility of all citizens for funding public schools, which provide a common good for our community.
- Support APS’s ability to raise funds to support its school turnaround strategy and educational equity among its schools.
- Support Education Reform Commission recommendations that strengthen quality instruction and equity in public schools
- For future years, use a funding formula that provides equitable, sufficient support to students from low-income families, students learning English, and students with disabilities, and that provides systems with flexibility in how and when students receive services.
- Focus policy choices on student outcomes and provide districts with the autonomy to tailor solutions regarding human capital, compensation, instructional programs, and expenditures to the needs of schools and communities.
- Limit the redirection of public funds to for-profit entities, private schools, and home study.
- Expand the Education Reform Commission conversation by providing state support for a consortium of local school districts voluntarily collaborating to pilot innovative work.
- Consider school system transitions in all plans for annexations
- Notify affected school systems of all potential annexations and give systems an opportunity to provide impact statements prior to any public hearings.
- Provide for smooth transitions of students between schools by including a school transition plan in all approved annexations that allows changes with adequate notice to families and only between academic years.
- Prioritize early childhood education to provide aligned, quality programs to all students
- Identify permanent, stable funding sources to expand Georgia prekindergarten to all eligible four-year-olds.
- Provide for weights in pre-kindergarten lotteries for educationally disadvantaged students, at the discretion of the program operator.
- Support birth-to-three programs that are aligned with Pre-k to 3rd grade literacy goals, such as the Atlanta Public Schools-Sheltering Arms partnership at Dunbar ES.
- Increase access to high-quality early childhood education opportunities for low-income families.
- Provide for a consistent, high-quality statewide evaluation system for pre-k and early childhood educators.
- Clear barriers to sharing data across public and private providers who serve children birth to 3 and to districts receiving data such as birth, income, and foster care records.
- Provide equitable access to a quality college and career opportunities
- Support districts with College and Career Academies to expand apprenticeship and internship opportunities that provide work-ready experiences for students through flexibility in scheduling and assessment.
- Ensure that any changes to the HOPE scholarship program reduce student benefits based upon need in order to avoid increasing barriers to college for low-income students.
Adequate Support for Schools and Teachers
Effective teachers and leaders are the most critical factor in achieving the Atlanta Public Schools’ mission to graduate students ready for college and career. The Atlanta Board of Education supports measures to attract, retain, and develop effective teachers and leaders. Additionally, in order to improve student performance, the Atlanta Board of Education supports an accountability system that ensures that all students are ready for college and careers. Accountability should be balanced with appropriate support for schools and teachers and should be focused on student academic growth and graduation rates rather than on punitive actions toward schools, teachers and students. Accountability systems should also balance the need for timely data with the imperative to give teachers the maximum amount of instructional time for teaching and learning. Mandated assessments should be fewer and smarter, exemplifying the following principles: worth taking, high quality, time-limited, fair—and supportive of fairness—in equity in educational opportunity, fully transparent to students and parents, one of multiple measures, and tied to improved learning.
Strong Public School Options
The Atlanta Board of Education believes in strong, high quality public school choices for families and opposes legislation and mandates that divert public resources to for-profit entities, private schools and home study. Providing strong choice options and investing in innovation requires that districts have stability in the policy framework to support quality planning. The Atlanta Board of Education requests that the General Assembly and the state limit unnecessary mid-stream changes to state initiatives.
Local Control & Flexibility
The unique challenges of educating urban students require solutions tailored to the Atlanta context. The Atlanta Board of Education believes that the school district is in the best position to make decisions that affect our schools and communities such as resource allocation, the school calendar, curriculum development, the use of school facilities, and conditions of employment for personnel. The Atlanta Board of Education opposes actions that limit the constitutional authority and autonomy of local school boards and supports actions that provide flexibility in local decision making. The board also opposes actions that limit the flexibility provided to Georgia charter systems and charter schools.