The Atlanta Independent School System exists under the authority of the district charter as authorized by state law. The Atlanta Board of Education is charged with the responsibility of the control and management of the Atlanta Independent School System, known as the Atlanta Public Schools, which is a governmental entity separate and apart from the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia.
Charter of the Atlanta Independent School System
(Senate Bill 204, 2003)
To continue the existence of the Atlanta Independent School System under the management and control of the Atlanta Board of Education; to provide for the composition, term of office, and qualifications of members of the board; to provide for continuation in office; to provide for education districts; to provide for an oath of office, officers, quorum, rules of procedure, voting requirements, abstention from voting, public meetings, public comments at meetings, and communication of minutes; to provide for the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the board; to restrict the powers of the board; to define terms; to provide for salaries and expenses of board members; to provide for vacation of office in certain circumstances; to provide for involuntary leaves of absence, suspension, and removal from office; to provide for recall; to provide for vacancies; to provide for a superintendent and appointment, powers and duties, residency, and responsibilities of such officer; to provide for a general counsel and an executive assistant; to provide for publication of performance levels and expenditures; to provide for the roles of the board and the superintendent; to prohibit certain practices by board members; to provide for disclosure of financial interests in contracts or matters pending before the board and of relatives employed by the school system; to prohibit use of school system property for personal benefit; to provide that contracts are voidable in certain circumstances; to provide for hearings; to provide for an Ethics Commission and the appointment, terms of office, qualifications, and organization of members; to provide for duties and powers of the Ethics Commission, including investigation, procedures, hearings, and actions; to provide for immunity; to provide for circumstances when a board member shall not be in violation; to provide for whistleblower protection; to provide for a code of ethics; to provide for a chief financial officer and such officer´s appointment, duties, bond, qualifications, and residency; to provide for an internal auditor and such official´s appointment, qualifications, powers, duties, and responsibilities; to provide for access to records; to provide for determination of a millage rate and publication of such rate; to provide for transmittal of taxes to the board; to provide for loans; to provide for an annual independent audit; to provide for a budget commission and its duties; to provide for a budget and its preparation, inspection by the public, review, and adoption; to provide for budgetary changes; to provide that unlawful obligations are void; to authorize a civil service system; to prohibit discrimination in personnel matters; to provide for a civil service commission and its powers and duties; to authorize a preference for residents ofthe city; to provide for continuance of officers and employees; to continue existing rules, contracts, bonds, obligations, rights, and interests; to provide for construction; to repeal a specific Act; to provide for severability; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL SYSTEM
SECTION 1-101. Independent school system.
In accordance with the laws of the State of Georgia, the Atlanta Independent School System (hereinafter at times referred to as the "Atlanta school system") shall be continued as an independent school system, created by the General Assembly and the provisions of this Act and preceding Acts, which shall be under the management and control of the Atlanta Board of
Education (hereinafter referred to as the "Board"). Except as provided herein, the school system and the Board shall be subject to the general laws of the state.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
SECTION 2-101. Composition; term of office.
(a) The Atlanta Board of Education shall be composed of nine members elected in nonpartisan
elections. Three members shall be elected city wide and six members shall be elected from districts
as provided within this Act.
(b) Members of the Board shall hold their respective offices for a term of four years and until their
respective successors are elected and qualified.
SECTION 2-102. Qualifications.
(a) To qualify for election as a Board member, a person must:
(1) Be at least 18 years of age;
(2) Be a resident of the city and, if seeking to represent a Board district, be a resident of the Board district for which he or she seeks to qualify and represent for at least one year immediately preceding the date of filing a notice of candidacy to seek office;
(3) Be a qualified elector of the city; and
(4) Not be an employee of the State Department of Education or a member of the State Board of Education.
(b) To hold office as a Board member, a person must:
(1) Continue to possess the qualifications prescribed in subsection (a) of this section;
(2) Continue to reside in the Board district from which elected;
(3) Not hold any other elective public office;
(4) Not be an employee of the Atlanta Board of Education or any other local board of education; and
(5) Not serve on the governing body of any private K-12 educational institution.
SECTION 2-103. Elections; education districts.
(a) The Board of Education of the City of Atlanta which existed on December 31, 2002, is continued in existence. The board so continued shall continue to have the powers, duties, rights, obligations, and liabilities of that board as existed immediately prior to the effective date of this Act.
(b) Those members of the board who are serving as such on the effective date of this Act and any person selected to fill a vacancy in any such office shall continue to serve as such members for terms of office which expire December 31, 2005, and upon the election and qualification of their respective successors.
(c) For purposes of electing members of the board of education, other than the three at-large members, the City of Atlanta School District is divided into six education districts. One member of the board shall be elected from each such district. The six education districts shall be composed respectively of contiguous paired council districts of the city and shall be and correspond to those six numbered districts described in Appendix I and attached to and made a part of this Act and further identified as Plan Name: atlplan11sb Plan Type: LOCAL User: Gina Administrator: ATLANTA-CITY. The three at-large positions shall be designated as Education Districts 7, 8, and 9, respectively.
(d) When used in such attachment, the terms "Tract" and "BG" (Block Group) shall mean and describe the same geographical boundaries as provided in the report of the Bureau of the Census for the United States decennial census of 2000 for the State of Georgia. The separate numeric designations in a Tract description which are underneath a "BG" heading shall mean and describe individual Blocks within a Block Group as provided in the report of the Bureau of the Census for the United States decennial census of 2000 for the State of Georgia. Any part of the geographic area served by the Atlanta Independent School System which is not included in any such district described in that attachment shall be included within that district contiguous to such part which
contains the least population according to the United States decennial census of 2000 for the State of Georgia. Any part of the geographic area served by the Atlanta Independent School System which is described in that attachment as being in a particular district shall nevertheless not be included within such district if such part is not contiguous to such district. Such noncontiguous part shall instead be included within that district contiguous to such part which contains the least population according to the United States decennial census of 2000 for the State of Georgia. Except as otherwise provided in the description of any education district, whenever the description of such district refers to a named city, it shall mean the geographical boundaries of that city as
shown on the census map for the United States decennial census of 2000 for the State of Georgia.
(e) In order to be elected as a member of the board from an education district, a person must receive the number of votes cast as required by general law for that office in that district only. Only electors who are residents of that education district may vote for a member of the board for that district. At the time of qualifying for election as a member of the board from an education district, each candidate for such office shall specify the education district for which that person is a candidate. A person elected or appointed as a member of the board from an education district must continue to reside in that district during that person´s term of office or that office shall become vacant.
(f) The member of the board who represents District 7 shall reside in District 1 or District 2; shall continue to reside in one of such districts during such member´s term of office or such office shall become vacant; and shall be elected by residents of both districts. The member of the board who represents District 8 shall reside in District 3 or District 4; shall continue to reside in one of such districts during such member´s term of office or such office shall become vacant; and shall be elected by residents of both districts. The member of the board who represents District 9 shall reside in District 5 or District 6; shall continue to reside in one of such districts during such member´s term of office or such office shall become vacant; and shall be elected by residents of
(g) Successors to members of the board whose terms of office are to expire shall be elected at the time of the general municipal election immediately preceding the expiration of such terms, shall take office the first day of January immediately following that election, and shall serve for terms of office of four years each. Members of the board shall serve for the terms of office specified therefore in this subsection and until their respective successors are elected and qualified.
(h) All members of the board who are elected thereto shall be nominated and elected in accordance
with Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the "Georgia Election Code."
SECTION 2-104. Organization; oath; officers; quorum; rules; voting requirements; meetings.
(a) Organizational meeting; oath. At the first regular meeting of the Board in January following each regular election, the Board shall organize, take, and subscribe before a judge of the Superior Court the following oath of office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of a member of the Atlanta Board of Education during my term in office. I will not knowingly permit my vote in the election and appointment of any person to a position in the Atlanta Independent School System, or on any matter related to said school system, to be influenced by fear, favor, affection, or reward, or hope thereof. In all things pertaining to my said office, I will be governed by the public good and the interests of said school system. I will observe the provisions of the Act reorganizing the Atlanta Board of Education and the rules and regulations of the Atlanta Board of Education. I further swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitutions and laws of
the State of Georgia and of the United States of America."
(b) Officers. At its first regular meeting in January of even-numbered years, the Board shall elect a chairperson and a vice chairperson by a majority vote of its members. The chairperson and vice chairperson shall serve for a term of two years. A Board member who serves as chairperson for two consecutive two-year terms is not eligible to serve as chairperson in the two years immediately following the second two-year term. If the chairperson or vice chairperson vacates the office, the Board will elect a new chairperson to fill the unexpired term. If a chairperson serves for more than one year of a term, the chairperson will be deemed to have served a full two-year term.
(c) Quorum. Five members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, although a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and compel the attendance of its members.
(d) Rules. The Board shall adopt rules of procedure governing the transaction of its business consistent with the provisions herein and any other applicable laws. The rules of the Board shall provide for regular meetings which shall be held at least monthly and in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 20-2-58 of the O.C.G.A., as now or hereafter amended, and shall provide for any special meetings of the Board.
(e) Voting requirement.
(1) The affirmative vote of five members of the Board shall be required for the transaction of business or the passage of any resolution; provided, however, that a majority of a quorum of the Board may take official action in regards to disciplinary matters related to appointed officers or employees of the Atlanta school system.
(2) No member of the Board shall abstain from voting at any duly called Board meeting except in matters involving consideration of his or her own conduct, matters which would inure to his or her financial or personal interests, or matters which would be a conflict of interest as provided in Article 3 of this Act. Such Board member shall, prior to the vote being taken, publicly state during the meeting the nature of his or her interest in the matter from which he or she is abstaining from voting and shall within ten days of such abstention disclose the nature of his or her interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the Board secretary who shall incorporate the memorandum into the minutes of the meeting.
(f) Meetings. All meetings of the Board and any of its committees shall be public in the same manner and to the same extent as required by Chapter 14 of Title 50 of the O.C.G.A., relating to open and public meetings, as now or hereafter amended, and any citizen shall have access to the minutes and records thereof at reasonable times. Said minutes shall include a synopsis of the discussion on every question coming before the Board and any of its committees, and the names of those Board members voting for and against each question, those abstaining, and those absent.
(g) Public comment. The meetings of the Board and its committees shall provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be heard during such meetings of the Board or its committees. The Board shall prescribe rules and regulations for the receipt of such comments from the public.
(h) Public communication. The Board shall develop a procedure for reporting, within 21 days of the meeting, to the public the minutes and the votes taken at monthly meetings. These minutes shall be posted via the Internet with 21 days. Such communication may also include newspaper, television, or any other reasonable method so long as it has the capability to reach many citizens.
SECTION 2-105. Powers, duties, responsibilities, and restrictions.
(a) The Board shall:
(1) Have and exercise control and management of the Atlanta school system in accordance with the
provisions of this Act and the Constitution and general laws of the state. The Board is hereby vested with all the powers and charged with all the duties provided to local boards of education by the general laws of the state;
(2) Provide all students with textbooks and furnish educational or instructional materials, resources, and equipment adequately to such students;
(3) Adopt by resolution rules and regulations related to the manner and method of employing, disciplining, and terminating any employees of the school system;
(4) Adopt by resolution rules and procedures related to the procurement of supplies, equipment, goods, and services for the school system;
(5) Adopt by resolution rules and regulations for the governance of students, including the discipline, suspension, or expulsion of students, in accordance with due process;
(6) Hear appeals from actions of the superintendent of schools and other personnel;
(7) Approve an annual budget for the Atlanta public school system and provide for the levy of a tax for educational purposes as provided in this Act;
(8) Approve school attendance zones;
(9) Have the authority to sue and be sued as a school district in the name of the Atlanta Independent School System;
(10) Have the power to purchase, sell, rent, or lease property, both real and personal, in the name of the Atlanta Independent School System with the title to any property purchased being vested solely in the school system to the extent that such property was acquired directly by the Board through funds of the school system;
(11) Have the authority to establish and maintain retirement or pension funds on behalf of employees of the school system and their beneficiaries, to be managed by a board of trustees, subject to applicable state laws; and further, in the event social security provisions become available to employees or any group of employees, to provide for the integration of such provisions with any existing or proposed retirement or pension system;
(12) Have the authority to enter into contracts with any person, firm, corporation, or governmental unit or agency for the performance of educational services or the use of educational facilities;
(13) Adopt rules for the manner and extent the public is permitted to use buildings under its control, which rules shall make available all such buildings which may be needed or required for voting purposes on election days, including DeKalb County elections held in the City of Atlanta portion of DeKalb County;
(14) Approve the superintendent´s recommendation to hire or dismiss school system staff, provided that such recommendations can be rejected by the Board only with a three-fourths´ vote of the Board. Notwithstanding this provision, a majority vote of the Board is sufficient to reject the superintendent´s recommendation, if a majority vote is required to comply with provisions of the Fair Dismissal Act; and
(15) The Board may call an executive session as provided by law. Executive sessions shall not exclude the superintendent unless a discussion of the superintendent is the subject of the executive session.
(b) The Board shall not:
(1) Employ one of its members for any position in the school system;
(2) Do business with a partnership or corporation owned in whole or part by a Board member or a relative of a board member, unless the stock of the firm is publicly traded and there are more than 75 stockholders;
(3) Do business with a bank or financial institution where a Board member is an employee, stockholder, director, or officer when such member owns 10 percent or more stock in that institution; or
(4) Employ or promote any person who is a relative of any Board member unless a public, recorded vote is taken on such employment or promotion as a separate matter from any other personnel matter. Any Board member whose relative is being considered for employment shall not vote on such employment.
(c) For purposes of this section, the term "relative" is as defined in Section 3-101 of this Act.
SECTION 2-106. Salary and expenses of Board members.
(a) The Board is authorized to fix its salary or compensation by resolution, provided that any action to change the salary or compensation shall be subject to the following conditions and requirements:
(1) Such action shall take into consideration any recommendation made by the City of Atlanta elected officials compensation commission as provided by Article 2, Chapter 7 of the city charter. The Board may adopt by resolution rules and regulations governing the establishment of a Board Compensation Commission. If established, the Commission shall be composed of five residents of Atlanta, who shall be duly appointed by the Board. No more than one Board member may serve on the Commission. If a Board Compensation Commission is established, the Board shall take into consideration any recommendation of the Commission;
(2) Such action is taken at least six months prior to the end of the current term of office;
(3) Any such increase shall not be effective until after the taking of office of those elected at the next regular municipal election which is held following the date on which the action to increase the compensation was taken;
(4) Such action shall not be taken during the period of time between the date that candidates for election to membership on the Board may first qualify as such candidates and the date members of the Board take office following their election; and
(5) Such action shall not be taken until notice of intent to take action has been published in a newspaper of general circulation in the city at least once a week for three consecutive weeks immediately preceding the week during which the action is taken.
(b) As used in this section, the words "salary or compensation" shall include any expense allowance or any form of payment or reimbursement of expenses, except reimbursement of expenses actually and necessarily incurred by members of the Board in carrying out their official duties. The Board is authorized to provide by resolution procedures for the reimbursement of such actual and necessary expenses.
SECTION 2-107. Vacation of office; removal or suspension of Board members.
(a) Immediate vacation of office. Upon the final conviction of, or the entering of a plea of guilty for, a crime involving moral turpitude, a felony, or a crime involving malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, the office of such Board member shall be vacated immediately without further action. The unexpired term of office shall be filled as provided in this Act.
(b) Involuntary leave of absence. Any Board member who is indicted or held to answer for a felony shall immediately take an involuntary leave of absence. After a leave of absence of 60 days the Board shall appoint a qualified individual to serve in the place of the Board member who is on a leave of absence until said Board member is acquitted or the charges are dismissed. If said Board member is convicted, subsection (a) of this section shall apply.
(c) Grounds for removal. Pursuant to the provisions in this Act, a member of the Board shall be subject to suspension or removal from any office for any of the following causes:
(1) Incompetence, misfeasance, or malfeasance in office;
(2) Failure at any time to possess any of the qualifications of office as provided within this Act or by law;
(3) Violation of Article III of this Act, Ethics and Prohibited Practices;
(4) Violation of the oath of office provided in this Act;
(5) Abandonment of office or neglect to perform the duties of office; or
(6) Failure for any other cause to perform the duties of office as required by the provisions in this Act or by law.
(d) Procedures for removal. Removal or suspension of a Board member pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be accomplished by the following method: In the event a member of the Board is sought to be removed or suspended by the Board, the Board will refer the matter to the Ethics Commission stating the basis for removing the Board member. The Ethics Commission shall notify the Board member and conduct a hearing as specified in subsection (f) of Section 3-106 of this Act. Any Board member sought to be removed from office as provided in this subsection shall have the right of appeal from the decision of the Board to the Superior Court of Fulton County. Such appeal shall be governed by the same rules as govern appeals to the superior court from the probate court.
SECTION 2-108. Recall of a Board member.
Any member of the Board may be recalled and removed from office as provided by Chapter 4 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the "Recall Act of 1989," as now or hereafter amended.
SECTION 2-109. Vacancies; filling of vacancies.
(a) The office of a Board member shall become vacant upon the occurrence of any event specified by the Constitution of the State of Georgia, Title 45 of the O.C.G.A., or such other applicable laws as are or may be hereafter enacted.
(b) In the event of a vacancy occurring in the membership of the Board for any reason other than the expiration of term, that vacancy shall be filled as follows:
(1) If the vacancy occurs more than one year prior to the date of a general election at which a successor will be elected to a new full term of office, then such vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term of office by city electors at a special election;
(2) If the special election to fill the vacancy is scheduled to take place on the same date with a general or primary election, and said election occurs more than 90 days after the vacancy occurs, the remaining members of the Board shall, by majority vote, select a qualified person to fill the vacancy until the person elected at such special election takes office. However, such appointment shall not be made until after the period for qualifying for the special election has closed, and any individual who qualified to stand for election in the special election shall not be eligible for such appointment; and
(3) If the vacancy occurs one year or less prior to the date of the general election at which a successor will be elected to a new full term of office, the remaining members of the Board shall, by majority vote, select a qualified person to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(c) Any person elected or appointed to fill a vacancy pursuant to subsection (b) of this Act shall possess the same qualifications required for election to a full term of office as provided in this Act for any person seeking to be elected to the Board. If the office wherein the vacancy occurred is filled by election of voters from the entire city, then the special election shall be held within the entire city; but if the office wherein the vacancy occurred is filled by election of voters from a specific district, then the special election shall be held within the district.
(d) When a vacancy requires a special election, the Board shall within 15 days after the occurrence of such vacancy call a special election to fill the balance of the unexpired term of such office.
(e) When a vacancy requires an appointment by the remaining members of the Board, the Board shall appoint such person within 30 days of the date the vacancy occurs. However, if a vacancy occurs due to a resignation, the Board may appoint a successor up to 30 days prior to the effective date of the resignation subject to the appointment becoming effective on the occurrence of the vacancy.
(f) The Board shall develop procedures to be used to fill vacancies by appointment. Such policies shall be consistent with the provisions of this Act.
SECTION 2-110. Superintendent of schools.
(a) The Board shall appoint as its executive officer a school superintendent who shall have such qualifications as provided by law. The Board shall provide the superintendent with a contract for employment for a fixed term as provided for under Code Section 20-2-101 of the O.C.G.A., as amended.
(b) The superintendent shall have the power and duties assigned by the laws of the state and such other powers and duties as are assigned by this Act or by the Board.
(c) The superintendent need not be a resident of the city at the time of his or her appointment but during his or her term in office shall reside within the city.
(d) The superintendent shall be responsible for reporting to the Board any legal or financial matter that requires Board action or attention, including matters that may violate Board policy or state or federal laws, or that may subject the school system to legal liability, a loss of state or federal funds, or a loss of its eligibility to receive such funds.
SECTION 2-111.General counsel for Board and school system.
(a) A general counsel shall be appointed and, if necessary, removed by the superintendent, with the advice and consent of the Board. Such appointment of the general counsel may be by a contract authorized by the Board. The general counsel shall serve as the chief legal adviser to the Board and the school system.
(b) The general counsel shall be an active member of the State Bar of Georgia and shall have had at least ten years´ experience in the active practice of law. Within six months of the commencement of the term and during the remainder of his or her term of employment, the general counsel shall be a resident of the City of Atlanta. The number of years experience required by this subsection may be waived by the Board upon a three-fourths´ vote of its membership.
(c) A general counsel may be employed who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia but who otherwise meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, conditioned on the individual´s being eligible for admission to the Georgia Bar and being duly admitted within one year of employment.
SECTION 2-112. Executive assistant to the Board.
(a) The Board may appoint, and remove at its pleasure, an executive assistant to aid in the discharge of its official duties. It shall be the duty of the executive assistant to be present at all meetings of the Board, except those meetings concerned with his or her salary, benefits, or tenure; to keep the minutes and make a permanent record thereof; and to do any other administrative and clerical work as directed by the Board. The executive assistant shall record and countersign all official proceedings of the Board which shall be a public record open to the inspection of any person.
(b) Within six months of the commencement of the term and during the remainder of his or her
term of employment, the executive assistant shall be a resident of the City of Atlanta.
SECTION 2-113. Publication of performance levels and expenditures.
(a) Whenever comprehensive reading examinations or other performance tests are administered to students, parents and guardians may obtain reports of their child´s or ward´s performance.
(b) All such test scores and performance summaries thereof, except the names of students, shall be public records.
(c) The performance level of each school shall be measured according to a recognized method or methods of testing or evaluation on at least an annual basis and shall be a public record.
(d) The Board shall have published annually in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Atlanta the total expenditures per student in each school and the performance of each school as provided in this section.
SECTION 2-114. Roles of Board and superintendent.
(a) In addition to the other powers and obligations provided by this Act and applicable state laws, the Board is responsible for discussing and deliberating a variety of issues, and then:
(1) Hiring, evaluating, and, if necessary, dismissing the superintendent. As part of this process, the school board shall enter into a contract with a superintendent that includes explicit goals and performance standards along with the criteria to be used in evaluating the superintendent´s performance against those goals and standards;
(2) Adopting a vision for the district after participating, under the leadership of the superintendent, in a process to create the vision. The process will involve gaining input from individuals within the school system, such as administrative staff, principals, teachers, parents, and students, and individuals outside the school system, such as business people, higher education officials, social service providers, and community members. The vision includes district-wide student learning goals as well as long-range and strategic plans for meeting the goals;
(3) Adopting district-wide academic content and performance standards. These standards must meet or exceed the academic content and performance standards adopted by the state;
(4) Creating district-wide measures for the district-wide academic content and performance standards. These measures must include state-wide tests;
(5) Adopting district-wide policies that support an environment for quality improvement and progress for all decision makers in the district, as well as for students;
(6) In partnership with the superintendent, tracking progress toward and keeping attention focused on the student learning goals and the academic content and performance standards and measures. This shall be done on a district-wide basis and on a school-by-school basis;
(7) Setting financial goals, monitoring finances, ensuring that accounts are audited annually, and publishing an end-of-the-year financial report to the community;
(8) Approving an annual district budget, prior to the start of the school year, that identifies priorities and goals and that aligns the district´s resources to achieve the district-wide student learning goals and district-wide academic content and performance standards and measures and to ensure that school facilities meet health and safety code requirements;
(9) Issuing bonds and setting the millage rate;
(10) Approving a policy that determines the minimum dollar amount for contracts that require school board approval;
(11) After seeking, receiving, and deliberating upon community input, approving plans for closing, selling, renovating, and building school facilities; and
(12) Each year, developing, in concert with the superintendent, the priorities for the school system for the upcoming year.
(b) Subject to the limitations contained in this Act, the superintendent, either directly or through a designee, is responsible for:
(1) Leading a process, in cooperation with the Board, to create the vision for the district that involves gaining input from individuals within the school system, such as administrative staff, principals, teachers, parents, and students, and individuals outside the school system, such as business people, higher education officials, social service providers, and community members. The vision includes district-wide student learning goals as well as long-range and strategic plans for meeting the goals. The vision must be formally adopted by the Board;
(2) Developing and implementing a process which engages not more than two members of the budget commission to be designated by the Board chairperson in the preparation of an annual budget that aligns the district´s resources to achieve the district-wide student learning goals and district-wide academic content and performance standards and measures and to ensure that school facilities meet health and safety code requirements, and submitting it to the school board for its adoption;
(3) Deciding which instructional areas will receive priority attention, and maintaining the focus, and keeping school-site decisions focused, on these areas;
(4) Working with each school´s staff to define instructional objectives, design the curriculum, and engage in professional development, using student performance data as the basis for these decisions;
(5) In partnership with the Board, tracking progress toward and keeping attention focused on the standards and measures that are adopted by the Board. This shall be done on a district-wide basis and on a school-by-school basis;
(6) After adoption of policies by the Board, providing a supportive environment for quality improvement and progress for all decision makers in the district, as well as for students;
(7) Tailoring and leading the provision of assistance to the district´s low-performing schools;
(8) Hiring, evaluating, and, if necessary, dismissing school system employees;
(9) Completing reports on district spending and student achievement on a variety of indicators, disaggregating the data by race, ethnicity, income, gender, special education, and bilingual status, as appropriate. Disseminating these reports to the Board and community, with special attention given to distributing information in a variety of ways to parents in low-performing schools;
(10) Implementing strategies to involve parents and community members in the district and to create partnerships between the district and public and private organizations;
(11) Each year, developing, in concert with the Board, the priorities for the school system for the upcoming year; and
(12) Submitting to the Board, as soon as practical after the end of the fiscal year, an annual report that discusses the relationship between expenditures and the annual priorities and goals of the system.
ETHICS AND PROHIBITED PRACTICES
SECTION 3-101. Conflict of interest.
(a) Except as otherwise provided by general law, no elected official, appointed officer, or employee of the Atlanta school system or of any office, department, or agency thereof shall knowingly:
(1) Engage in any business or transaction with or have a financial or other personal interest, direct or indirect, in the affairs of the Atlanta school system which would result in a financial benefit, except for a financial benefit of a nominal or incidental amount, to the official, appointed officer, employee, or relative of such person or which would tend to impair the independence of judgment or action in the performance of official duties;
(2) Engage in or accept private employment from or render services for private interests when such employment or service is incompatible with the proper discharge of that person´s official duties or would tend to impair his or her independence of judgment or action in the performance of his or her official duties;
(3) Disclose information or use information, including information obtained at meetings which are closed pursuant to Chapter 14 of Title 50 of the O.C.G.A., concerning the property, government, or affairs of the Atlanta school system or any office, department, or agency thereof that is not available to members of the general public and gained by reason of his or her official position for his or her personal gain or benefit, to advance his or her financial or other private interest, or to advance the financial or private interest of any other person or business entity;
(4) Represent private interests in any action or proceeding against the school system or any office, department, or agency thereof;
(5) Vote or otherwise participate in the negotiation or the making of any contract with any business or entity in which he or she, or his or her relative, has a financial interest;
(6) Solicit, accept, or agree to accept gifts, loans, gratuities, entertainment, transportation, lodging, meals, any ticket of admission, discounts, payment, or service, except those of nominal value (less than $50.00), from any employee, student, parent, person, firm, or corporation which to his or her knowledge is interested directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever in business dealings with the school system or any office, department, or agency thereof; provided, however, that an elected official who is a candidate for public office may accept campaign contributions and services in connection with any campaign;
(7) Advertise business and professional services to the school system or its employees for personal gain;
(8) Use district resources for personal or commercial enterprise;
(9) Vote or otherwise participate in an appointment, employment, or promotion decision related to a relative;
(10) Vote or otherwise participate in an appointment, employment, or promotion decision of a person when the public official knows or should know that such vote or participation would create a direct or indirect monetary benefit or economic opportunity;
(11) Have a personal interest, directly or indirectly, in school real estate, school textbooks, or school materials and supplies of any kind whatsoever;
(12) Sell, solicit, or offer for sale to the Board or to any official or employee of the Board, directly or indirectly, any kind of school real estate, textbooks, or school materials and supplies, or receive any salary, bonus, or commission on any such sale;
(13) Have a financial interest in school buses, bus equipment or supplies, provide services for buses owned by the Board, or sell gasoline to the Board from a corporation in which the Board member is a shareholder; and
(14) Vote or participate in discussions or deliberations at any meeting of the Board or any committee of the Board of any issue before the board in which the Board member or a relative of the Board member has matters involving consideration of his or her conduct, matters which would inure to his or her financial or personal interests, or matters which would be a conflict of interest as provided in Article 3 of this Act.
(b)(1) No Board member, superintendent, or general counsel may, within one year after retirement or termination from such position or employment:
(A) Act as agent or attorney for an employee or Board member before a tribunal or Board hearing; or
(B) Knowingly attempt to influence, on behalf of any other person, the school system, including its employees and Board members, in connection with any matter in which the school system has a direct interest.
(2) No Board member as a consequence of his or her Board position may accept any honoraria. As used in this paragraph, the term "honoraria" means a payment of money or anything of value for any appearance, discussion, speech, or article by such Board member, or for travel and subsistence expenses in excess of any actual and necessary expenses in connection with such appearance, discussion, or speech.
(c) As used in this Act, the word "relative" shall mean an individual who is related to the elected official, appointed officer, or employee as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law; any other relative living in the household of the elected official, appointed officer, or employee; a person who is engaged to be married to the elected official, appointed officer, or employee or who otherwise holds himself or herself out as or is generally known as the person whom the elected official, appointed officer, or employee intends to marry or with whom the elected official, appointed officer, or employee intends to form a household, or any other natural person having the same legal residence as the elected official, appointed officer, or employee.
SECTION 3-102. Disclosures.
(a) Any elected official, appointed officer, or employee of the school system who has any financial interest, directly or indirectly, in any contract or matter pending before or within any office, department, or agency of the school system shall disclose such interest in writing to the Board. Any Board member who has a financial interest in any contract or matter pending before the Board shall disclose such interest, in writing, and such disclosure shall be entered on the records of the Board. The disclosure of any salary received by a board member from the school system or any entity doing business with the school system may be accomplished by naming the entity and position held by the Board member with such entity. Interest and dividends from entities doing business with the school system which are listed on a national stock exchange or have more than 100
stockholders do not have to be disclosed. Likewise, the disclosure of any salary received by an immediate relative of the Board member may be accomplished by naming the relative and the position held. The Board member also shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any decision or vote relating thereto.
(b) Prior to January 31 of each year, each elected official shall disclose publicly the identity of any relative employed by the Atlanta school system to the executive assistant to the Board on such form as prescribed by the Board.
SECTION 3-103. Use of public property.
No elected official, appointed officer, or employee of the school system shall use property of the school system for personal benefit or profit except in accordance with policies and procedures promulgated by the Board.
SECTION 3-104. Contracts voidable and rescindable.
Any contract between the Atlanta school system and another party shall be voidable or rescindable at the discretion of the Board at any time if any elected official, appointed officer, or employee has any interest in such contract and does not disclose such interest in accordance with the provisions within this article.
SECTION 3-105. Hearings and determinations; penalties for violations.
Elected officials, appointed officers, and employees of the school system may be punished for violation of the provisions within this article as follows:
(1) The members of the Board shall be subject to removal from office as provided in this Act;
(2)(A) Appointed officers and employees not subject to civil service or covered by the provisions of O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-940, et seq., shall have the right to request a hearing before the Board upon written charges being provided to such officer. At such hearing, the officer shall have the right to be heard, to be represented by counsel, and to require the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant books and papers. If, after the hearing, the accused is found guilty as charged, he or she may be suspended or dismissed from the service of the school system by a majority vote of the members of the Board.
(B) Employees covered by the provisions of O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-940, et seq., shall be subject to suspension, dismissal, or nonrenewal in accordance with the provisions of that general law; and
(3) Employees subject to civil service rules, upon a violation of this article, shall be subject to suspension or dismissal in accordance with the provisions in Article V of this Act and the personnel rules and regulations adopted by the Board.
SECTION 3-106. Ethics Commission.
(a) Creation of Ethics Commission. The Board shall establish a seven-member Ethics Commission. Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Board for staggered five-year terms. When the Commission is first established, two persons will be appointed to serve five-year terms, one person will be appointed to serve a four-year term, two persons will be appointed to serve three year terms, one person will be appointed to serve a two-year term, and one person will be appointed to serve a one-year term. Each member of the Commission shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which he or she was appointed or until his or her successor qualifies for office. Members of the Commission shall not be eligible for reappointment. If a vacancy occurs on the Commission, the Board shall within 90 days appoint a person to fill the unexpired term.
(b) Qualifications. A person is eligible to serve as a member of the Ethics Commission if that person, while serving:
(1) Resides in the City of Atlanta and is a registered voter;
(2) Is not an employee of the Atlanta Board of Education or a relative, as defined in Section 3-101 of this Act, or a business associate of any member of the Board;
(3) Does not hold any elected or appointed office and is not a candidate for any office in the governments of the United States, the State of Georgia, DeKalb County, Fulton County, or the City of Atlanta;
(4) Has not provided a financial contribution of more than $100.00 to, or worked significantly in, the political campaign of any current member of the Board; and
(5) Is not a relative, as defined in Section 3-101 of this Act, of a person who provided a financial contribution of more than $100.00 to, or worked significantly in, the political campaign of any current member of the Board.
(c) Duties and powers. The Ethics Commission shall have the following duties and powers:
(1) To receive and hear complaints of violations by Board members of standards established by this Act or applicable state or federal law;
(2) Upon receipt of a complaint, to conduct investigations as it deems necessary to determine whether any Board member has violated any standards established by this Act or applicable state or federal law. An affirmative vote of three members is required to initiate an investigation. For the purpose of conducting a meeting or hearing, five members shall constitute a quorum and five affirmative votes are required to issue any finding;
(3) To take appropriate action as a result of a violation of the standards established by this Act and applicable state or federal law;
(4) To request funding from the Board in order to conduct a hearing and to use any funds provided to conduct hearings;
(5) To establish policies and procedures for conducting meetings and hearings of the Commission; and
(6) To perform any other function authorized by this Act.
(d) Organization of the Ethics Commission.
(1) Members of the Ethics Commission shall be compensated on a per meeting basis at a rate determined by the Board.
(2) The Ethics Commission shall elect one member to act as chairperson for a term of two years, or until a successor is duly elected. The chairperson shall have the same voting rights as the other Commission members. The Commission shall also elect one member to act as vice chairperson for the same term. If the office of chairperson or vice chairperson is vacated in any manner before the expiration of the term, the Commission shall elect a member to fill the unexpired term.
(3) The Board may remove a Commission member for neglect of duty, misconduct in office, a disability rendering the member unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office as specified in this Act, for no longer qualifying for the position as specified in this Act, or for any reason that would justify the removal of a member of a board of education.
(4) There shall be no scheduled regular monthly or bimonthly meetings of the Commission. The chairperson shall call meetings as the chairperson deems necessary. A meeting can also be called by written notice signed by at least four members of the Commission. All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public. The purpose of the public meetings shall be to hear and dispose of complaints or to render advisory opinions as set forth in this section.
(5) The Board office will provide staff support to the Ethics Commission.
(6) The Ethics Commission shall be governed by and subject to the provisions of this section. No official action, except as outlined in this section, shall be taken by the Commission. If a Commission member has a conflict of interest involving any matter before the Commission or must otherwise disqualify himself or herself under the conditions of this Act or by law, the remaining Commission members shall choose by majority vote an alternative person who meets all qualifications set out above to hear the complaint.
(e) Complaint and investigation procedures.
(1) Any citizen eligible to vote in the City of Atlanta or any employee of the Atlanta Public School System may file a complaint alleging a violation of the standards established by this Act or other applicable state or federal law by filing it with the executive assistant to the Board. The complaint shall be in writing and verified under oath.
(2) The executive assistant to the Board shall immediately deliver the complaint to the chairperson of the Ethics Commission or a designee and shall also immediately forward a copy of the complaint by certified and regular mail to the Board member against whom the complaint was filed, along with a copy to the superintendent and general counsel. A complaint must be filed within six months of the date of the alleged violation or, in the case of concealment or nondisclosure, within six months of the date the alleged violation should have been discovered after due diligence.
(3) Within 60 days of receipt of a complaint, the Ethics Commission shall conduct and conclude an investigation to determine whether good and sufficient cause exists concerning the complaint. During the investigation, the commission has the power to secure necessary documents. The superintendent shall ensure that school system employees cooperate with any Commission investigation. The investigation shall not be open to the public. The Commission shall not receive live testimony as part of the investigation. If, after conducting an investigation, the Commission by majority vote determines that no good and sufficient cause exists for a determination that a
violation exists, the Commission may dismiss the complaint and shall report said dismissal to the Board.
(f) Ethics Commission hearings. If the Commission determines that good and sufficient cause exists for a determination that a violation has occurred, or if the Board refers a case against a Board member as provided in Section 2-107 of this Act, a formal public hearing shall be conducted. The Commission shall notify the Board member charged with a violation of the date, time, and place for the hearing by certified and regular mail. At the hearing, the Commission shall hear sworn testimony from all witnesses it deems relevant. The hearing shall be recorded by a certified court reporter. The Commission is authorized to issue subpoenas on behalf of any party and for the appearance of any party or documents as provided by law. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the Commission shall issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law and take, but shall not be limited to taking, one or more of the following actions:
(1) Find that the Board member did not violate any of the standards established by this Act or other applicable state or federal law; upon a finding that an initial complaint was filed without justification or was supported by erroneous information or evidence, the Commission may recommend that the Board reimburse the accused Board member up to $2,500.00 in actual attorneys´ fees and costs;
(2) Censure or reprimand of the member of the Board;
(3) To the extent applicable, file criminal charges against the Board member; or
(4) Recommend removal of the Board member.
Formal hearings shall be open to the public and shall comply with all state and federal open meetings and open records laws.
(g) Actions of the Commission. If the Ethics Commission finds the Board member has:
(1) Violated local, state, and federal laws, policies, rules, and regulations regarding fraud and fraudulent activities;
(2) Breached the confidentiality of privileged information, including statements made in an executive session of the Board;
(3) Engaged in conflicts of interest;
(4) Used school system contacts and privileges to promote partisan politics or sectarian religious views;
(5) Voted on or influenced in any way a decision or action by the Board or a school system employee that directly affects the Board member or any of his or her relatives;
(6) Discussed or otherwise communicated with vendors, individuals, or groups who are soliciting business from the school system regarding the subject of the solicitation or any matter related to the solicitation once the solicitation is issued by the school system and until such time as the Board has rendered a decision on the solicitation; or
(7) Consistently, intentionally, and willfully violated the procedures, norms, rules, or regulations regarding the prohibition against involvement in the day-to-day operation of the school system, then the Ethics Commission must find that the Board member should be removed from office.
(h) Notice; rejection or modification of the Commission´s action. The Ethics Commission will notify the Board and Board member of its action by sending a certified letter to the chairperson of the Board and the Board member who is the subject of the investigation. Within 30 days of receipt of the notice from the Commission, the Board may reject or modify the action of the Commission, but only by a three-fourths´ vote of the Board.
(i) Suspension and removal of member. If the Ethics Commission finds that the Board member should be removed from office, then the Board member is automatically and immediately suspended from the Board. If the Board accepts, by majority vote, the findings of the Ethics Commission or if, after the 30 day period specified in subsection (h) of this section, the Board has not rejected the findings of the Ethics Commission that the Board member should be removed from office, the Board member is automatically and immediately removed from the Board.
(j) Civil recovery. The Board of Education shall take appropriate legal action to recover the value of anything received by any person or persons in violation of the standards established by this Act or applicable state or federal law, as determined by the Ethics Commission. A taxpayer, pursuant to applicable law, may take such legal action after a written demand to the Board to bring such action and failure of the Board to initiate the action within 60 days after receipt of the demand.
(k) Official´s liability. No member of the Ethics Commission or any person acting on behalf of the Ethics Commission, operating within the course and scope of this section, shall be liable to any person for any damages arising out of such action.
(l) Safe harbor. Notwithstanding anything in this Act to the contrary, a Board member may not be found in violation of the provisions of this Act if:
(1) The Board member, prior to engaging in the conduct, completely disclosed the existence of the issue or matter to the Board at a public meeting;
(2) The Board member sought and received a public legal opinion from the legal department; and
(3) The Board member acted in reliance on that legal opinion. However, a Board member shall nonetheless be subject to an adverse finding upon a determination that the disclosure to the Board was not sufficiently complete or was materially false or misleading. Additionally, citizens who report alleged violations in good faith will not be subject to any reprisal by the individual Board member or the Board as a whole.
SECTION 3-107. Whistleblower protection.
(a) The Board or school system shall not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against a complainant or an employee or official acting on behalf of a complainant regarding compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because:
(1) The complainant or employee or official acting on behalf of the complainant reports or is about to report, verbally or in writing, a violation or a suspected violation of this Act or other applicable state or federal law; or
(2) A complainant or employee or official acting on behalf of the complainant is requested by the Ethics Commission to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry held by the Ethics Commission or any related court action; provided, however, that this section shall not apply to a complainant or an employee or official
acting on behalf of a complainant who knowingly makes a false report.
(b) Nothing in this section shall limit or prohibit the school system from taking disciplinary action against a whistleblower as a result of the whistleblower´s misconduct that may be revealed, discovered, or uncovered as a result of a report or an attempted report of an ethics violation.
SECTION 3-108. Code of ethics oath.
At the first regular meeting of the Board in January following each regular election, each Board member will read and sign the following code of ethics: "As a Member of the Atlanta Board of Education, I will strive to improve public education, and to that end I will:
(1) Make decisions based on what is best for students in all cases;
(2) Recognize that authority rests with the Board as a whole and make no personal promises or take any independent action that might compromise the Board as a whole;
(3) Maintain honest, equitable, and professional relationships with fellow Board members;
(4) Observe local, state, and federal laws, policies, rules, and regulations;
(5) Base my decisions upon all available facts, vote my convictions in every case, remain unswayed by bias of any kind, and uphold the majority decision of the Board once a decision is made;
(6) Vote in accordance with what is best for the district as a whole;
(7) Maintain the confidentiality of privileged information, including statements made in any executive session of the Board;
(8) Focus on the Board´s role of policymaking and evaluation and not become involved in the day-to-day operations of the school system;
(9) Support cooperation between the school system and the community;
(10) Refer complaints, comments, and criticism to the superintendent and not to other staff unless otherwise provided by law;
(11) Support school system staff in the proper performance of their duties;
(12) Communicate the reaction of the community and other key stakeholders to Board policies to other Board members and the superintendent;
(13) Disclose by December 31 of each year through a written report to be maintained by the executive assistant for public inspection the source, nature, and amount of any income or other item of value received by me or any immediate relative, directly or indirectly, from the school system itself, any employee of the school system, or any entity doing or seeking to do business with the school system; and
(14) Provide full documentation in the form of receipts or other evidence of payment in accordance with accepted accounting practices or a daily mileage log for any expense for which reimbursement is requested from the school system.
Furthermore, I understand that I will be removed from the Board if the Ethics Commission finds that I have:
(1) Breached the confidentiality of privileged information, including statements made in an executive session of the Board;
(2) Violated local, state, and federal laws, policies, rules, and regulations regarding fraud and fraudulent activities;
(3) Become engaged in conflicts of interest;
(4) Used school system contacts and privileges to promote partisan politics or sectarian religious views;
(5) Voted on or influenced in any way a decision or action by the Board or school system employee that directly affects me or any of my relatives;
(6) Discussed or otherwise communicated with vendors, individuals, or groups who are soliciting business from the school system regarding the subject of the solicitation or any matter related to the solicitation once the solicitation is issued by the school system until such time as the Board has rendered a decision on the solicitation; and
(7) Consistently, intentionally, and willfully violated the procedures, norms, rules, or regulations regarding the prohibition against involvement in the day-to-day operation of the school system.
For the purposes of this statement, the term 'relative' is as defined in Section 3-101 of the Act reorganizing the Atlanta Board of Education.
Member signature: ______________________
REVENUE AND FINANCE
SECTION 4-101. Chief financial officer.
(a) A chief financial officer for the system shall be appointed and, if necessary, removed by the superintendent with the advice and consent of the Board. Such appointment of the chief financial officer may be by a contract authorized by the Board.
(b) The chief financial officer shall immediately report to the superintendent and to the Board any financial irregularities or other financial matters that may violate Board policy or state or federal laws, or that may subject the school system to a loss of state or federal funds or a loss of its eligibility to receive such funds. The chief financial officer shall cooperate with the internal auditor, providing requested information in a timely manner.
(c) Any person appointed chief financial officer shall give bond in an amount fixed and paid by the Board. The bond shall be made payable to the school system and shall be conditioned upon faithful and true accounting for all public and other funds and all property coming into such chief financial officer´s custody, control, care, or possession.
(d) The chief financial officer shall have at least ten years´ progressive experience in the management of fiscal operations or public finances, with demonstrated administrative or managerial experience in a public agency or the private sector. The number of years´ experience required in this subsection may be waived by the Board upon a three-fourths´ vote of its membership.
(e) Within six months of the commencement of the term and during the remainder of his or her term of employment, the chief financial officer shall be a resident of the City of Atlanta.
(f) The chief financial officer shall audit and approve all demands or claims presented to him or her for payment. Prior to the approval of any demand or claim, the chief financial officer shall be entitled to require evidence that the amount of the demand or claim is justly due. For such purposes, the chief financial officer may summon before him or her any officer or employee of the school system or other person or make an inspection of any service, labor, material, supplies, or equipment related to a demand or claim. If, in his or her opinion, any demand or claim is not a legal demand or claim, he or she shall withhold approval of the same and file such demand, together with his or her action thereon and the reasons therefore, with the Board for instructions
SECTION 4-102. Internal audit function.
(a) The Board shall establish an internal audit function that falls under the supervision of an internal auditor. The internal auditor may be either an individual employed by the Board or the account manager of a firm hired by the Board. Such appointment of the internal auditor may be bya contract authorized by the Board.
(b) The internal auditor shall be a certified internal auditor or a certified public accountant, demonstrating at least ten years´ experience in public financial and fiscal practices, performance and financial auditing, and municipal accounting.
(c) The internal auditor need not be a resident of the city at the time of his or her appointment, but he or she shall reside in the city within six months of such appointment and continue to reside therein throughout such appointment.
(d) The internal auditor shall not be involved in partisan political activities or the political affairs of the school system.
(e) Within the budget approval process and established personnel policies for all departments, the internal auditor shall, with Board approval, have the power to appoint, employ, and remove such assistants, employees, and personnel as he or she may deem necessary for the efficient and effective administration of the office.
(f) The internal auditor will be charged with, but not be limited to, the following duties and responsibilities:
(1) To conduct performance and financial audits of the school system and its departments, offices, and activities in order to determine independently whether:
(A) Activities and programs being implemented have been authorized by the Board, state law, or applicable federal law or regulations and the activities and programs are being conducted and funds expended in compliance with applicable laws;
(B) The department, office, or agency is acquiring, managing, protecting, and using its resources, including public funds, personnel, property, equipment, and space, economically, efficiently, and effectively and in a manner consistent with the objectives intended by the authorizing entity or enabling legislation;
(C) The organization, programs, activities, functions, or policies are effective, including the identification of any causes of inefficiencies or uneconomical practices, such as inadequacies in management information systems, internal and administrative procedures, organization structure, use of resources, allocation of personnel, purchasing policies, and equipment;
(D) The desired results or benefits are being achieved;
(E) Financial and other reports are being provided that disclose fairly, accurately, and fully all information that is required by law, that is necessary to ascertain the nature and scope of programs and activities, and that is necessary to establish a proper basis for evaluating the results of programs and activities including the collection of, accounting for, and depositing of revenues and other resources;
(F) Management has established adequate operating and administrative procedures and practices, systems, or accounting internal control systems and internal management controls; and
(G) Indications of fraud or abuse or illegal acts are present. If fraud or abuse by a Board member is present, the matter shall be put before the Ethics Commission;
(2) To submit an annual report to the Board indicating audits completed, major findings, corrective actions taken by administrative managers, and significant findings which have not been fully addressed by management; and
(3) To perform such other duties and responsibilities as provided for by this Act or directed by the Board.
(g) All officers and employees shall allow the internal auditor immediate access to any and all books, records, documents, and other requested information, including automated data, pertaining to the business of the school system and within their custody regarding powers, duties, activities, organization, property, financial transactions, contracts, and methods of business required to conduct an audit or other official duties. In addition, such officers and employees shall provide access for the auditor to inspect all property, equipment, and facilities within their custody. Further, all contracts with outside contractors and subcontractors shall provide for the auditor´s access to all financial and performance related records, property, and equipment purchased in whole or in part with system funds and facilities.
(h) The internal auditor shall present any confidential information to the Board during regularly scheduled closed executive sessions.
(i) The internal auditor shall not publicly disclose any information received during an audit that is confidential in accordance with any local, state, or federal law or regulation.
(j) Any reports issued by the internal auditor shall be made available for public inspection or copying at a reasonable cost.
SECTION 4-103. Taxation for educational purposes.
(a) Each year the Board shall certify in writing to the Atlanta City Council a school tax, in the amount of a millage rate as determined by the Board, for the support and maintenance of the school system. In addition, the Board shall provide the council with a certified copy of its approved budget related to the requested school tax and minutes of any Board meeting approving or establishing the millage rate signed by the chairperson and executive assistant. Upon the filing of the request and budget, the council shall assess, levy, and cause to be collected a school tax at the millage rate as determined by the Board upon the assessed value of all taxable property with the city.
(b) A summary of the millage rate determined by the Board in the current and each of the four preceding years, including any clarifications that may be needed for full disclosure, shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the city and sent to the grand juries of Fulton County and DeKalb County then in session, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and the state auditor.
SECTION 4-104. Transmittal of taxes and other funds to the Board.
(a) Tax commissioner. In accordance with state law, the applicable tax commissioner shall transmit to the Board any and all ad valorem taxes assessed and collected on behalf of the city for the support and maintenance of public education, less any costs related to the tax assessment and collection and the amount of any interest and sinking fund charges on outstanding general obligation bonds.
(b) City of Atlanta. The City of Atlanta shall remit to the Board any funds received for the school system; such funds shall be used to maintain and expand the public school system.
SECTION 4-105. Loans for operating expenses.
(a) The Board may obtain loans for operating expenses in accordance with the laws of the state.
(b) The Board may request the Atlanta City Council to negotiate loans to supply deficiencies in yearly operating expenses of the school system, during any year, in such amounts as may be determined by the Board. However, any such loan requested by the Board and negotiated by the city shall not exceed 50 percent of the anticipated tax revenue for the year levied for educational purposes. In lieu of borrowing money on behalf of the Board, the city may advance to the Board such amounts as may be required for such purposes.
(c) The Board shall provide for a sum sufficient to repay the loans or advances of moneys made by the city, together with the interest thereon, to be deducted from ad valorem taxes levied and collected for educational purposes during the year in which the loan was negotiated or an advance of moneys was made by the city.
(d) In order for the Board to obtain a loan or an advance as provided in this section, the Board shall pass a resolution authorizing the money to be borrowed or advanced by the city, in which resolution shall be stated the amount of money to be borrowed or advanced, the length of time it is to be used, for what purpose borrowed, and from whom it is to be borrowed, which resolution shall be recorded on the minutes of the meetings of the Board.
SECTION 4-106. Independent audit.
(a) The Board shall cause an annual independent audit to be conducted of the books, accounts, records, fiscal procedures, and other evidences of financial transactions of the City of Atlanta school system, including its offices, departments, and other agencies. The audit shall be made by a certified public accountant or certified public accounting firm whose members have no pecuniary, financial, or personal interest, directly or indirectly, in the fiscal affairs of the school system or any other governmental agency of the city.
(b) The audit may be conducted on a quarterly or continuing basis and shall be completed no later than six months after the close of the fiscal year.
(c) The audit, and the opinions and recommendations of those conducting such audit, shall be available to the public at actual printing cost, provided a copy shall be kept available in the offices of the Board and the superintendent for inspection by any citizen upon request.
(d) A special audit or examination of any office, department, or other agency of the school system may be ordered by the Board at any time.
(e) A summary of the financial statement from the audit or audits shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the city and sent to the grand juries of Fulton County and DeKalb County then in session, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and the state auditor.
SECTION 4-107. Additional sources of revenue.
In the event any additional sources of revenue shall be authorized by law for educational purposes, the Board shall have the power, as the case may be, to recommend or provide for the lawful collection and appropriation of such revenues for use by the school system.
SECTION 4-201. Budget commission; duties; fiscal year; preparation of budget.
(a) Budget commission. There shall be a budget commission of the Board consisting of the chairperson of the Board, a member of the Board appointed by the chairperson of the Board to serve as the chairperson of the commission, and two other members of the Board. Every year, the chairperson and other members of the Board shall be nominated by the Board chairperson and confirmed by the members of the Board. The chief financial officer and superintendent shall serve as ex officio members of the budget commission.
(b) Duties of budget commission. The budget commission shall:
(1) Annually prepare and file with the Board for submission to the superintendent the anticipated revenues for the school system, provided that such anticipated revenue shall not include more than 99 percent of the normal revenues collected during the previous fiscal or calendar year, with appropriate adjustments for changes in the property digest, the millage rate, and any contractual agreement with the city. The anticipated revenues shall include also the amount of funds reasonably expected from the state, taking into consideration any projected changes in student enrollment, as well as any other definable and expected sources of general revenue. However, the budget shall reflect all anticipated revenues from each source, shall designate all of such
anticipated revenues among the several funds or accounts of the system, and shall not leave any anticipated revenues undesignated. The term "normal revenues" shall include recurring income but not proceeds from the sale of real estate or from insurance thereon or from other nonrecurring sources of revenue. When such anticipated revenues have been filed, they shall be binding upon the Board without any further action;
(2) Allocate a sum sufficient to provide for debt service, including a sinking fund and interest on bond indebtedness, and any other appropriations required by law, which sum shall not be diverted to any other purpose;
(3) Immediately adjust the anticipated revenues to account for decreased revenues in the event the income of the school system should be decreased by law, either by an Act of the General Assembly or action of the Board. In the event of a change in the millage rate or other changes in state or local law, the budget commission may revise the budgeted anticipated revenues accordingly; and
(4) Before appropriating any other sum for any purpose other than the interest and sinking fund on bonded indebtedness, to lower its estimate of anticipated revenues to immediately discharge any deficit which has accrued during the preceding year if, at any time during any year, the expenditures exceed the revenues collected and a deficit results.
(c) Powers of budget commission. In the event the Board receives more money, income, or revenue from any extraordinary source, either by the sale of real property, gift, grant, or otherwise, which has not been considered in the preparation of the anticipated revenues or other normal revenue in excess of appropriations, the Board may immediately allocate such increased revenue for lawful purposes. However, during the preparation of the budget for the next year, no such extraordinary revenue shall be considered as part of the normal revenue of the Board.
(d) Fiscal year. The fiscal year shall begin and end as provided by law.
(e) Preparation of budget. The superintendent shall prepare a proposed budget for review by the Board and the public. In doing so, the superintendent shall obtain or cause to be obtained from the chief financial officer and the various subordinate officers of the school system estimates of expenditures for matters within their jurisdiction in sufficient detail to prepare a program budget based on performance standards and other supporting data as may be necessary and proper. The proposed budget shall provide a complete financial plan for all operations of the school system and shall be based on performance standards.
SECTION 4-202. Distribution, filing, and publication of budget.
The proposed budget and all supporting data shall be filed in the offices of the superintendent and the chief financial officer, and shall be open to inspection by the public. Copies of the proposed budget and supporting data shall be made available to the public at the actual cost of duplication.
SECTION 4-203. Budget hearings; adoption; publication; certification.
The Board shall hold at least one public hearing to receive public input on the proposed budget. Following such hearing, the Board may review and revise the proposed budget and shall tentatively adopt a budget for the fiscal year. After its tentative adoption, a budget summary shall be advertised for two consecutive weeks prior to its final adoption in a newspaper of general circulation in the city, and a copy of the tentatively adopted budget as certified by the budget commission shall be filed in the offices of the superintendent and chief financial officer. At its next regular meeting or special meeting, the Board shall review the tentatively adopted budget, make any necessary changes, and adopt a final budget. A copy of the budget as finally adopted shall be
submitted to the grand juries of Fulton County and DeKalb County then in session, the council of the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and the state auditor.
SECTION 4-204. Budgetary changes.
After the final adoption of a budget for a fiscal year by the Board, the budget shall not be changed except in the manner provided in this Act. Any action to revise the budget shall be taken at a regular meeting. The Board shall not transfer or reallocate outstanding obligations for any other purpose or purposes until such obligations are paid, but it may transfer and reallocate all other funds lawfully anticipated. Should anticipated revenue be changed by law or by a change in the millage rate or in the assessed value of property subject to taxation or by increased or decreased receipts from the state or other revenue sources, the budget commission shall, within a period of 15 days after receipt of such information, certify to the Board the revised amount of the anticipated
revenues for the balance of the fiscal year. At its next regular meeting after receiving the revised amount, the Board shall adjust the anticipated revenues accordingly and revise the budget in accordance with the recommended changes.
SECTION 4-205. Unlawful obligations void.
The Board shall incur no obligation in excess of the annual budget and such other special appropriations as may be lawfully made and shall incur no liability except as authorized by such budget or appropriation. Any such liabilities attempted to be incurred shall be void in law and equity.
SECTION 5-101. Civil service.
(a) The Board may establish a system of civil service. If such a system is established, the system shall cover all full-time noncertificated employees of the school system except administrators at or above the pay level of coordinators, confidential employees within the law department, and other personnel as determined by the Board.
(b) The Board may adopt by resolution civil service rules and regulations to govern the classification of positions; the duration of eligibility lists; the manner and method of publicizing vacancies and employing, appointing, and dismissing personnel; the terms, conditions, and benefits of employment; retirement policies; disciplinary actions and grievance procedures; layoffs; and any other measures that promote the hiring and retaining of capable, diligent, honest career employees, provided that said rules and regulations shall be uniform throughout the system.
SECTION 5-102. Discrimination prohibited.
It shall be the policy of the school system that all personnel matters shall be determined solely on the basis of merit and qualification, without respect to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or political affiliation.
SECTION 5-103. Civil service commission.
(a) Established; appointment; removal. The Board may establish a civil service commission. If such a civil service commission is established, it shall consist of five members appointed by the Board. Each member of the commission shall be a resident of the city at the time, and during the term, of appointment. The term of office of members shall be for four years and shall be staggered by the Board. Vacancies on the commission for whatever cause shall be filled by the Board for the unexpired term. Any member may be removed from office for cause by a majority vote of Board members. The Board may provide by resolution for the reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses incurred by members.
(b) Powers and duties. The civil service commission shall:
(1) Make such rules and regulations as necessary for the proper conduct of its business;
(2) Hear and determine appeals initiated by employees charged with violations of the civil service rules and regulations adopted by the Board, provided that the Board may review and overrule a decision of the commission in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board;
(3) Hear and determine the grievance of any person covered by the civil service rules and regulations of the school system concerning any action taken in the administration of such rules and regulations which pertains to his or her employment or employment rights, provided the Board may review and overrule a decision of the commission in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board;
(4) Review and recommend amendments to the civil service rules and regulations of the school system;
(5) Conduct investigations on its own motion or as requested by the Board or superintendent and report any findings to the Board and superintendent;
(6) Keep minutes of its meetings and such other records as necessary;
(7) Hear any matter referred by the Board;
(8) Perform such other duties and responsibilities as shall be authorized by the Board or by law; and
(9) Subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, or other evidence pertinent to the appeal, hearing, or investigation and administer oaths to such witnesses.
(c) Meetings. The commission shall hold meetings as needed to perform its duties but shall not meet less than once quarterly. Any meetings of the commission shall be held in the central offices of the school system.
(d) Adjunct members. The Board may appoint up to five persons to serve as adjunct members of the commission and perform such duties of the commission in the absence of a member or the lack of a quorum of the regularly appointed members.
(e) Board´s review of commission action. The Board may establish further procedures whereby a decision of the commission may be reviewed by the Board before the same shall be deemed final and binding.
SECTION 5-104. Credit preference for employment purposes.
The Board may adopt by resolution a credit preference for residents of the city on their examination scores for employment as noncertificated employees with the school system.
SECTION 6-101. Continuance of officers and employees.
The current terms of office of all elected and appointed officials and officers of the Atlanta school system and its agencies, serving on the effective date of this Act, shall not be diminished and shall continue in full force and effect.
SECTION 6-102.Existing rules and regulations continued in effect.
Existing rules and regulations of the Atlanta Board of Education and the Atlanta Independent School System, and departments and agencies thereof, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, shall be effective until they have been repealed, modified, or amended.
SECTION 6-103. Pending matters.
All contracts, orders, leases, bonds, and other obligations or instruments entered into by the Atlanta Board of Education for the benefit of the Atlanta Independent School System prior to the effective date of this Act shall continue in effect according to the terms thereof.
SECTION 6-104. Existing rights and interests.
(a) Any rights or interests, public or private, vested in whole or in part on the effective date of this Act, whose validity might be sustained or preserved by reference to any provisions of law repealed by this Act, shall not be affected by this Act. This subsection shall not apply to any right or interest in any elective public office not conferred by this Act.
(b) Any rights or interests, public or private, derived from, or which might be sustained or preserved in reliance upon, action taken pursuant to or within the scope of any provision of law repealed by this Act, shall not be affected by this Act.
(c) Members of the Atlanta Board of Education shall receive as their annual salaries such amounts being received as of the effective date of this Act, until such amounts are changed in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
SECTION 6-105. Construction.
(a) The captions to the several sections of this Act are informative only and are not to be construed as a part thereof.
(b) The word "shall" is mandatory and the word "may" is permissive.
(c) The singular shall include the plural, the masculine shall include the feminine, and vice versa.
SECTION 6-106. Specific repealer.
An Act to reorganize the Board of Education of the City of Atlanta, approved April 9, 1996 (Ga. Laws 1996, p. 4371), and any amendatory Acts thereto are hereby repealed in their entirety.
SECTION 6-107. Severability.
If any article, section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, or part thereof of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, should be declared invalid for any reason whatsoever, such decision shall not affect or impair the remaining portions of this Act, unless it clearly appears that such other parts are wholly and necessarily dependent upon the part held invalid, and to this end, the provisions of this Act and the applications thereof are hereby declared to be severable.
SECTION 6-108. Effective date.
This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.
SECTION 6-109. General repealer.
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.