Atlanta Public Schools Seeks Public Feedback on Proposed Spending Plan for 2017-2018 School Year

The Budget Commission of the Atlanta Board of Education met on Thursday afternoon to review the tentative budget proposal for the 2017-2018 school year. Four community meetings will be held, starting April 27, to garner feedback from the public on the spending plan.

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will host a series of community meetings to receive feedback from parents and tax payers on its proposed General Fund Budget for the 2017-2018 school year (Fiscal Year 2018).

The meeting schedule is as follows:

School Location Date Time
Mays High School Auditorium April 27, 2017 6 – 7 p.m.
Burgess-Peterson Elementary School Auditorium May 2, 2017 6 – 7 p.m.
Long Middle School Auditorium May 11, 2017 6 – 7 p.m.
Sutton Middle School Auditorium May 18, 2017 6 – 7 p.m.

Proposed budget for FY2018 is $777 million
The proposed spending plan of $777 million is $15 million more than the current budget (FY2017), does not call for a tax increase and includes a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all school employees. Other key aspects of the proposed FY2018 budget include:

  • APS continues to reduce administrative costs while increasing spending in the classroom. The proposed budget includes about $8 million in cuts to central office administration while $10.5 million (an increase of $3.5 million from FY2017) is devoted to the continuation of the district’s signature programming (STEM, International Baccalaureate and College and Career Prep), a key component of the district’s cluster model and its effort to improve student achievement.
  • Principals will have even more autonomy and flexibility with their individual school budgets as APS is taking part in a pilot program – commonly referred to as Fund 150 – that allows them to combine federal Title I funds with their general fund school allotment.
  • The budget was crafted as the district continues to be financially challenged by an increasing pension fund and rising healthcare costs.

Community meetings allow for public understanding, input
The scheduled community meetings are a part of APS’ budget-building process. The first meeting (Thursday, April 27) will be held prior to the May meeting of the Atlanta Board of Education (Monday, May 1) where the spending plan will be presented to board members for tentative adoption. Final adoption will take place at the June meeting – Monday, June 5.

“The community meetings are an opportunity for our constituents to learn about our budgeting process, find out some of the key financial challenges and parameters, and provide us with feedback,” said APS Chief Financial Officer Robert Morales, who will deliver the presentation at the meetings with APS Budget Executive Director Lisa Bracken. “At the end of the day, we want to ensure that our process is transparent, professional, and efficient and provides all of our students with a world-class education.”

“When we begin any budget discussion we approach it from the standpoint of what is best for kids. This budget proposal reflects that philosophy,” APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen said. “It is balanced, equitable, and student-centered and focuses our resources in the areas of our greatest needs. We will always put students and schools first in everything we do.”

It’s Official! M.A. Jones Elementary is APS’ First Certified STEM School

M.A. Jones ES STEM celebration 1
Georgia Schools Superintendent Richard Woods (Back row, left to right), APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen and M.A. Jones Elementary School Principal Margul Woolfolk celebrate with students at a ceremony to honor M.A. Jones’ official recognition as a STEM school.

After five years of hard work, it was party time at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School on Tuesday as the school celebrated becoming the first Atlanta Public School to earn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) certification.

The school held a pep rally featuring Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen and State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods. Prior to the raM.A. Jones ES garden (carrots)lly, Dr. Carstarphen and Woods were taken on a tour of the school’s urban farm where students are growing lettuce, spinach, carrots, collards and basil. Students are also caring for the farm’s two chickens – Coco Puff and Valentine.

M.A. Jones Principal Margul Woolfolk said the five-year journey to become a certified STEM school was well worth it. Instead of teaching science, technology, engineering and math in isolation, the STEM schools feature an integrated curriculum driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory project/problem-based learning and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. It helps prepare students for success in the 21st century workforce.

M.A. Jones ES STEM celebration (Dr. C and robot)“I wanted this to be sustainable for the long term, and so it took some time for all of our teachers to be certified in STEM. Also, being a charter system gave us autonomy with our funds so that we could adequately support STEM,” Woolfolk said. “It’s having an impact on our students and the community.”




M.A. Jones ES STEM celebration 2

Mays Girls, South Atlanta Boys Honored by Fulton County Commission

South Atlanta Boys Basketball Honored by Fulton Co Commission (April 2017)Mays Girls Basketball Honored by Fulton Co Commission (April 2017)
The South Atlanta boys and Mays girls basketball teams were each honored by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners for winning state championships this season.

The Mays girls and South Atlanta boys basketball teams, winners of state championship titles this season, were honored at the Fulton County Government Center on Wednesday by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, at the request of District 5 Commissioner Marvin S. Arrington and District 6 Commissioner Emma I. Darnell.

The Mays girls became the Georgia High Schools Association (GHSA) Class AAAAAA champs by way of a hard-fought 52-21 win over Harrison (Cobb County), back on March 9. It was the second state championship for the program, which won the Class AAAA title in 2003. The Raiders began the season with a record of 5-7, but rallied to a final record of 22-9, under the leadership of head coach Chantay Frost.

The South Atlanta boys won the GHSA Class AA championship after dismantling Swainsboro (Emanuel County) 68-33, on March 11. The Hornets finished with a record of 29-1 and were the No. 1 team in the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Class AA Top 10 poll from the beginning of the season until the end. South Atlanta’s boys last won a state championship in 2009 (Class AAA).

The wins were sweet redemption for both programs. This year’s seniors on Mays’ team were sophomores when the Raiders lost the Class AAAAA championship game to Stephenson (DeKalb County). South Atlanta advanced to the semifinals last season, but lost to eventual champion Morgan County.

To view a mini-documentary on both championship teams, click here.

Mays 2016-17 Roster: Seniors Brandi Heard, Kamiyah Street, Kendall Pack and Sierra Loving; juniors Denea Evan, Demeesha Wallace and Meesha Wallace; and sophomores Kyra McWhorter, Jade Bell, Chardae Bell and Natoria Hill. The team is coached by Chantay Frost.

South Atlanta 2016-17 Roster: Seniors Frank Bailey, Acey Brown, Antonio Gay, Freeman Jordan, Devonta Pullins, Demontay Roberts and Tyler Thornton; juniors Dondre Barnes and Jalen Stegall; and freshman Ja’Quavian Florence. The team is coached by Michael Reddick.




Bunche Middle Sweeps Track and Field Titles, Sutton Middle Takes Both Soccer Championships

The boys and girls soccer teams at Sutton Middle School won the Atlanta Public Schools Middle School Soccer Championships. The boys defeated Inman Middle School while the girls beat Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School.

Sutton Middle School swept the girls and boys titles in the Atlanta Public Schools Middle School Soccer Championships.

The girls blanked Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, 2-0. Kate Jackson and Josie Bird scored for Sutton. Katie was named Player of the Year.

The boys’ team defeated Inman on penalty kicks (5-3) after the teams finished the game in a scoreless tie. In the penalty kick session, Sutton converted on all five of its attempts with goals scored by Alexi Cesbello, Jesus Moreno, Emi Mendoza, Fernando Nina and Ceasar Montez. Sutton’s goalkeeper, Aidan Moore, was named Player of the Year.

In track and field, Bunche Middle School swept the girls and boys titles in the APS Track and Field Championships. The Bunche girls (68 points) edged Inman Middle (65) for the team championship, while the Charger boys (95) won by a comfortable margin over second place Martin Luther King Middle (75 ½).

Among several outstanding performances in the meet were:

KIPP Metro’s girls 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams took first in both events, posting times of 52.84 seconds and 4:24.58, respectively.

Dequan Tate of KIPP Metro won the 400 meters in a time of 52.95.

Bunche’s 400-meter relay team took first in a time of 45.36.

KIPP Metro’s 1,600-meter relay team edged Bunche’s squad – 3:46.16 to 3:46.30 – for first place in the event

Twelve APS Basketball Players, Two Coaches Named to AJC’s All-State and All-Metro Atlanta Squads

Kamiyah Street - Mays girls basketball 2017
Mays senior Kamiyah Street was named the Georgia High Schools Association Class AAAAAA Girls Player of the Year and the Atlanta/South Fulton Girls Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A dozen Atlanta Public Schools (APS) student athletes were named to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) All-State and All-Metro basketball teams on Friday.

Mays senior guard Kamiyah Street was named the Class AAAAAA All-State Girls Player of the Year, as well as the Atlanta/South Fulton Girls Player of the Year. Street led the Raiders to the Georgia High Schools Association (GHSA) Class AAAAAA state championship, under the leadership of head coach Chantay Frost who was named All-State Class AAAAAA Coach of the Year and Atlanta/South Fulton Coach of the Year. Mays finished with a record of 22-9 and won the program’s second state championship (2003).

For the boys, South Atlanta senior forward Tyler Thornton was named the All-State Class AA Boys Player of the Year by the AJC, while his head coach, Michael Reddick, was named Coach of the Year. South Atlanta won the GHSA Class AA State title, the school’s first since 2009, and finished the season with a record of 29-1.

Here is the list of All-State and All-Metro accolades:

Dominique Banks, Senior, Maynard Jackson
Honorable Mention All-State Class AAAAAA

Tiamya Butler, Senior, Maynard Jackson
Second Team Atlanta/South Fulton

Sabree Gallishaw, Senior, Washington
First Team All-State Class AA, First Team Atlanta/South Fulton

Shatara Goodman, Junior, Coretta Scott King
Honorable Mention Atlanta/South Fulton

Lawrencia Simon, Senior, South Atlanta
Honorable Mention All-State Class AA, Second Team

Kamiyah Street, Senior, Mays
All-State Class AAAAAA Player of the Year, Atlanta/South Fulton Player of the Year

Marquavius Carter, Junior, Maynard Jackson
Honorable Mention All-State Class AAAAA

Stavon Griggs, Senior, KIPP Atlanta Collegiate
Honorable Mention All-State Class AA, Honorable Mention Atlanta/South Fulton

JaQuavius Hayes, Senior, Maynard Jackson
First Team All-State Class AAAAA, Second Team Atlanta/South Fulton

Corey Moore, Senior, Therrell
Honorable Mention All-State Class AA, Honorable Mention Atlanta/South Fulton

Devonta Pullins, Senior, South Atlanta
Second Team All-State Class AA, Second Team All-State Atlanta/South Fulton

Tyler Thornton, Senior, South Atlanta
All-State Class AA Player of the Year, First Team Atlanta/South Fulton
Chantay Frost, Mays (Girls)
Class AAAAAA Coach of the Year, Atlanta/South Fulton Coach of the Year

Michael Reddick, South Atlanta (Boys)
Class AA Coach of the Year

Mary Lin Elementary Steppers to Compete for National Title After Winning State Championship

Mary Lin Steppers 2017 (State Champs)
The Mary Lin Elementary School step team, Psi Phi Beta, won the Georgia Steppers League Elementary Division State Championship last weekend. This weekend, the squad will compete for a national title in Memphis.

It continues to rain state championships in Atlanta Public Schools!

Earlier this month, the Mays girls, South Atlanta boys and Atlanta Wolfpack (wheelchair team) won state titles in basketball. Now you can add Mary Lin Elementary School to the list.

Last weekend at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, the school’s step team – Psi Phi Beta – won APS’ fourth state title this year when it took first place in the Georgia Steppers League Elementary Division State Championship competition. The win qualifies the team to compete in the National Stepping Alliance 2017 National Championships, which will take place this weekend in Memphis.2017 Steppers National Championship flyer - Mary Lin ES (Memphis)

At the state competition, Mary Lin’s team outperformed 14 other schools. Additionally, Psi Phi Beta coach Victor Hicks, a technology instructor at the school, was named the league’s Elementary Coach of the Year, while the team’s parents and supporters won the league’s “Fandemonium” Award, given to the fans who show the most sportsmanship during the season.

This weekend’s national competition will feature teams from New York, Illinois and Texas, as well as other states. While Psi Phi Beta is in Memphis, the members and their families will tour Lemoyne-Owens College and visit the Lorraine Motel National Civil Rights Museum.

Mary Lin Steppers 2017 - 2 (State Champs)

Members of Psi Phi Beta include (front to back) Kush Karki, Louis Daugherty, Franki Palmer, Kate Wolfe,  Ryan Milko, Lailah Stoudenmire, Gabby Witmer, Rohan Morel, Anika Karki, head coach Victor Hicks.

(Also pictured is Gavin Brown, coach of the Ultimate Stepping Machines.)


State Superintendent Richard Woods Visits Cascade Elementary for National Agriculture Literacy Day

State Super Woods at Cascade ES (National Ag Lit Day 2017)
State Superintendent Richard Woods selected Cascade Elementary to read to students for National Agricultural Literacy Day on March 23, 2017.

State Superintendent Richard Woods read to third- and fifth-grade students at Cascade Elementary School Thursday, to celebrate National Agricultural Literacy Day.

The annual observance was launched in 1973. It is designed to promote a better understanding of how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced; highlight the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; illustrate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable product; and showcase various career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.

Cascade ES gardenCascade is one of the many Atlanta Public Schools with a community garden that features various plants, flowers and foods.