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DeKalb County Schools approves tentative $1.45 billion general fund budget for Fiscal 2024

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DeKalb County Schools approves tentative $1.45 billion general fund budget for Fiscal 2024

DeKalb County School District Administration and Industrial Complex on Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain. Photo by Dean Hesse

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb County School Board tentatively approved the district’s 2024 budget during the board’s meeting on May 8.

The school board will give the budget a final approval at a date to be determined in June. The budget proposes $1.45 billion in general fund expenses, DeKalb County Schools Chief Financial Officer Byron Schueneman said. The district anticipates $1.41 billion in revenues to pay for the general fund expenses.

“The expense in excess of revenue results in a planned reduction of assigned and unassigned fund balances,” Schueneman told Decaturish. “The reduction is tolerable and affordable and will still leave us sufficient fund balance to be compliant with [school district policy].”

The general fund budget is a $115 million increase from Fiscal Year 2023.

Increased costs for the school district this year include:

— Health insurance, $51 million

— A 6% Salary Increase to eligible employees, $45.5 million

— Step Increases to eligible employees, $10.3 million

— Hourly rate increases to bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and school resource officers, $3.5 million

The budget will also include additional school-level positions supporting academic enrichment and the well-being of students, as well as additional custodians, Schueneman said.

The total expenditures in Fiscal 2024, including all funds, is $1.85 billion. The total proposed revenue for all funds is $1.8 billion.

In other business, the school board:

— Approved a $2.75 million landscaping contract with Yellowstone Landscape SE, LLC. School Board member Dr. Joyce Morley asked this item be pulled off the district’s consent agenda and discussed in the regular meeting.

Morley was the only no vote on the contract, saying she’s been against it for “years” and asking the board to find other solutions to deal with the district’s landscaping needs.

“It started at $2.4 million,” Morley said. “Now it’s $2.7 million. How much do we have to do to show the district that we’re not the money tree?” 

— Selected Loomis Armored US, LLC for district-wide armored car services for a period of one year (with four one-year extensions) for $384,000.

“The SafePoint Titan smart safe … installed at each school will improve operational efficiency and increase security,” the meeting agenda says. “The SafePoint Titan smart safe system by Loomis is proprietary technology centered around an ATM-like deposit box and the industry’s premier cash management solution. It allows individual schools to make deposits on site as often as is necessary into a secure location, tracks those deposits, and automatically calls for pick-up as is necessary.  Loomis works with its banking partners to acknowledge each deposit into the smart safes to effectively ‘advance’ that deposit to DCSD regardless of when the cash is physically collected by Loomis. This cash management ecosystem, is designed to streamline cash-handling processes, increasing efficiency, and improve cash flow with guaranteed daily deposits in DCSD bank accounts based on the individual school deposits.”

The agenda says, “The purpose of the recommendation is to ensure the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) receives full district-wide armored car and ancillary services. Current armored car services are not meeting DCSD needs and Loomis provides unique ancillary services in the form of cash deposit boxes which will provide an efficiency and deposit speed that no other armored car service can match.”

— Approved a temporary staffing services budget in an amount not to exceed $750,000.

— Approved a $64,000 independent contractor agreement with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

“This ICA is for consulting services and advice on tax abatement matters affecting or in favor of the DeKalb County School District,” the meeting agenda says. “The term [of] the ICA is May 8, 2023, through December 31, 2023.”

— Approved a $150,000 contract renewal between Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency (MRESA) and Metro East Georgia Learning Resources System (MEGLRS)

“MEGLRS provides direct support to six area school systems: DeKalb, Buford City, Decatur City, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Rockdale Counties,” the agenda says. “In these systems, Metro East GLRS provides support for parents of students with disabilities, teachers of students with disabilities, as well as students with disabilities. Metro East GLRS also provides in-kind ancillary services for the remainder of the metro area: Cobb County Schools, Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County Schools, Marietta City Schools, Douglas County Schools, and Forsyth County Schools. Metro East GLRS works directly with the Directors and Executive Directors of Special Education to design and implement the Statewide Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) and Corrective Action Plans (CAP). These services are in the form of planning, professional learning, seminars, coaching, and mentoring.

“MEGLRS has maintained a contract for services with MRESA for over 11 years. The amount for each of these previous contracts has not exceeded $50,000.  The need for professional learning in the supported districts has increased; therefore, the MEGLRS is seeking additional contracted services provided by MRESA to meet the need. The federal funds provided to MEGLRS by the Georgia Department of Education will allow the District to support the provision of services to special education staff and students.”

— Approved a contract renewal for the Incident IQ Ticketing System at a cost not to exceed $157,717.72.

“Incident IQ facilitates and organizes service delivery support for all student Chromebooks, staff devices, and other technology assets,” the agenda says.

— Approved the renewal of an agreement with BrainPOP and BrainPOP, Jr., with BrainPOP, Inc. at a cost not to exceed $186,637.42.

— Approved the purchase of the Lightspeed Content Filter platform from CDW-G at a cost not to exceed $903,550.

The purchase will allow the district “to purchase content filtering to protect all student Chromebooks and maintain the District’s Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance, AUP adherence, and network security. This renewal will also incorporate an analytics platform to provide more visibility for stakeholders.”

— Purchased an annual renewal agreement for the Infinite Campus Student Information System with K-12 Solutions Group at a cost not to exceed $1,274,733.19.

“DCSD transitioned to Infinite Campus as our student information system during the 2014-15 school year,” the agenda says. “The transition has successfully enabled DCSD to efficiently register, enroll, and schedule students; effectively support end users in various departments and program areas (e.g., CTAE, Counseling, EL/ESOL, Homeless, Hospital/Homebound, RTI, Social Worker, 504, and SPED); successfully complete state reporting tasks to acquire and maximize funding for the school district; and better communicate with parents via the Campus Parent Portal as well as the Infinite Campus mobile application. For the 2022-2023 school year, there were 70,886 active Parent Portal accounts (a 2.3% increase over 21-22 year) with a 5.5% increase in average weekly parent logins during 22-23 compared to the prior school year.”

— Purchased the Canvas Learning Management System with Instructure, Incorporated, at a cost not to exceed $978,630.

Per the agreement, Canvas will support teaching and learning in a virtual environment, support access to approved curriculum, deliver professional learning to staff, facilitate collecting student assignments, integrate with legacy systems, analyze engagement data and promote parental engagement, according to the agenda.

— Approved an annual subscription for the wireless maintenance agreement from Integrated Communications Networks (ICN) at a cost not to exceed $335,055

— Approved the purchase of physical security equipment and services from Convergint Technologies, LLC in an amount not to exceed $17 million to support the District-Wide Physical Security Refresh Initiative.

“A significant percentage of the district’s facilities have aged physical security equipment that needs to be replaced,” the agenda says. “This initiative will replace our legacy infrastructure with state-of-the-art physical security components.  The transformational integration of these components will allow for better end-user access, monitoring, and operations experiences.”

— Approved an award of $2.5 million to PlayPower Inc, on an as-needed basis during 2023 for playground equipment repairs, replacements, and outdoor equipment installation services.

— Approved a $500,000 contract for gym floor maintenance, repair, and refinishing to Fuller Sport Floors.

— Approved a $3.5 million agreement with American Facility Services, Inc. through Marietta City Schools.

“Pursuant to Board Policy DJE III(D)(3)(d), Exceptions to Competitive Selection, the Purchasing Department is authorized to make purchases through contracts formally solicited and obtained by the State of Georgia or any other political subdivision of the State of Georgia,” the agenda says. “Marietta City Schools is a political subdivision of the State of Georgia.”

The agreement is for custodial services and goods, the agenda says.

— Approved a $1.1 million contract for district-wide furniture and fixtures. The contractors are Corporate Environments of Georgia, Ernie Morris Enterprises, Georgia Specialty Equipment, LLC., HCONE International Implex LLC., Lakeshore Learning Materials LLC., and School Specialty LLC.

— Approved the purchase of an annual license for using Kahua Project Management Information System for $397,000. This is the project management system for the district.

— Purchased uniforms from Cintas Corporation for $235,400.

“The goal of School Nutrition Services is to maintain a professional appearance at all times and promote a positive image of a quality program,” the agenda says. “School Nutrition employees are among the lowest paid employees in the District. Therefore, a uniform program will increase morale and will be provided to Central Office and School-level employees at no cost. There are currently 41 Central Office employees and 720 School-level employees.”

— Approved the extension of bids to Brookwood Farms, Inc., Gold Creek Foods, LLC, Goodman Food Products dba Don Lee Farms, Jennie O Turkey Store Sales, LLC dba Hormel Foods, JTM Provisions Co. Inc., Land O’ Lakes, Inc., Out of the Shell, LLC dba Yangs 5th Taste and Tyson Prepared Foods in the amount not to exceed $4.6 million. This agreement covers July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.

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