The following Resolution is expected to be on the agenda, for the next City Council - Monday, July 27th, 2020.
It is written by Councilmembers Stephanie Endres & Chris Coughlin.
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WHEREAS, it is the duty and obligation of the Mayor and City Council of the City of Johns Creek, Georgia to represent the interests of the residents to all parties;
WHEREAS, the President of the United States declared a National Health Emergency on March 13, 2020 which resulted in the State of Georgia Governor declared a State of Emergency on March 14, 2020, which resulted in the Fulton County Superintendent ending in-person education on Monday, March 16, 2020 ; and
WHEREAS, the City of Johns Creek, Georgia considers that the foundation and value of our community lies in the quality of our local public education institutions;
WHERES, Fulton County Schools receive funding for educational services through a millage rate applied to property owners (commercial and residential) annually regardless of utilization and receives proceeds from a 1% SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) with ballot referendum required every five (5) years as well as receives funding from Georgia and United States government sources per child in attendance;
WHEREAS, the entire tax structure for funding the public-school system is predicated on in-person learning including large physical buildings, bus transportation, after school programs/daycare for working parents, therapeutic instruction and more;
WHEREAS, educators are on the front-line for identification of child abuse and child neglect with the children being engaged and in direct care of individuals outside of the household;
WHEREAS, it is well documented many children throughout Fulton County depend on the public school system for food as the school is the only place they are being fed regularly and as a result, effective June 3, 2020, Fulton County Schools started a Summer FoodStop Program where food can be picked up by families once a week;
WHEREAS, the National Center of Exploited and Missing Children has released statistics that report from January 1 – June 30, 2019 to 2020 an increase of 93.33% of reported Online Child Enticements (6.9K to 13.3K, respectively) and an increase of 90.46% of CyberTipLine Reports for sexually explicit material online (6.3M to 12.1M, respectively);
WHEREAS, with so many Americans are home without direct access to professional assistance and/or support, Police Departments throughout Georgia have reported significant increases in 911 calls related to drug/alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, suicides, online bullying and other mental health related domestic situations involving minor children during time when the children would otherwise be in school;
WHEREAS, on July 15, 2020, the Fulton County School Superintendent’s announced the decision for 2020-2021 school year to move from a Hybrid Learning Model (students/families’ choice of virtual or in-person learning) to a Universal Remote Learning Model (all students are remote learning);
WHEREAS, the virtual learning experience in Spring 2020 was not ideal for our educational standards and related to many negative outcomes (e.g., increased rate of malnourishment, exacerbated achievement gap, increase of childhood mental health concerns, increase in child abuse incidents, missing educational standards, missing support for groups that require extra enrichment like special needs, forcing economic hardships for families and more);
WHEREAS, for Individuals with Disabilities that have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), virtual instruction is detrimental to their development because these Individuals must have hands on engagement for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, day to day socialization, immersion in to the community, critical Life Skills learning as well as providing much needed respite for the families;
WHEREAS, due to the COVID state of emergency, the United States reported record unemployment rates of 25%+ and the state of Georgia currently reports 7% unemployment and school provides much needed educational care as well as childcare to enable single family parent households as well as dual working parent households to earn enough money to support their children and families;
WHEREAS, for low income family households in Fulton County, being able to provide effective homeschool environments for their children while being able to live and survive financially are at odds and is in direct opposition to public school model established in Fulton County and the state of Georgia;
WHEREAS, in consensus with the American Academy of Pediatrics, we believe that educational attainment and for the mental and physical health and welfare of the children in Johns Creek (and in Fulton County), it is best achieved while being present in the classroom, and, at a minimum, we believe that families should have the choice to pursue an option that meets their individual needs;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and City Council of the City of Johns Creek ask that Fulton County Schools release a detailed plan with contingencies including other programs to address neglect, abuse, hunger, daycare, respite, determination of success (grading plans), outreach to children at risk, much needed instruction materials (i.e.
laptops/computers, internet access) (e.g., “if this, then this” planning), backed with sound rationale and guided by empiricism, to inform the families of the Johns Creek community (and Fulton County as a whole) the detailed plans and processes to get students back to an inperson classroom so the students, families, and teachers can prepare, plan and set clear expectations for their children and families, accordingly.