I am a product of Atlanta Public Schools (APS), a graduate of Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, and the father of a daughter who attended Atlanta Public Schools, so I know the value of our public education institutions.
I have consistently used my platform on the Atlanta City Council to bring city government and public schools closer together. I led the charge to return ownership of APS property deeds from the City to the school system. I was also the Council lead on brokering the APS/Beltline dispute over TADs and voted against the BeltLine budget that reduced tax revenue for APS. And I created the City of Atlanta/Atlanta Board of Education Joint Commission – the first joint commission of its kind.
I know from my own upbringing in Adamsville that providing Atlanta’s youth the best education is key to helping them achieve their true potential. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a leader who could credibly claim to ‘The Education Mayor. My background in workforce training and development and professional experience working for Georgia Tech have prepared me to take on that role.
While campaigning across the city, I’ve heard many voters ask how Atlanta can help APS students and teachers, and because I’ve done this throughout my career, I wanted to put forward a plan (acknowledging that APS is independent from the City of Atlanta government).
As Atlanta’s 61st Mayor, I will be a champion of APS and education.
- Foster a spirit of partnership between the City and APS. For too long, APS and the City have been at odds. I will hire a Chief Education Officer who will address youth and education issues from cradle to career, including pre-k, student internships and job training, and coordination with technical colleges.
- Convene an APS/Mayor’s Office Task Force with key constituents to ensure that the City does all it can to support our schools.
- Build on the connections I have made with business leaders through my work at TechBridge and as a member of City Council and the Invest Atlanta Board to create meaningful internship and mentoring opportunities for our youth.
- Strengthen coordination between APS and the Atlanta Department of Transportation to ensure that the City provides traffic safety improvements (cross walks, stop signs, flashing beacons, etc.) in school zones, including prioritizing sidewalks within a ½ mile of schools.
- Implement a phased approach to Free MARTA by providing students, seniors, disabled persons and city employees with MARTA subsidies first followed by free MARTA access.
- Create affordable housing in school zones and provide housing subsidies for teachers and public safety employees so that they can live in the communities where they work.
My achievements on the Atlanta City Council have prepared me to tackle the issues facing Atlanta’s youth:
- Added two youth-focused positions to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board for police accountability.
- Successfully created the City of Atlanta/Atlanta Board of Education Joint Commission – the first joint commission of its kind.
- Led the charge to return ownership of APS property deeds from the City to the school system.
- Primary Councilmember to help broker the APS/Beltline dispute. Voted against the BeltLine budget that reduced tax revenue for APS.
- Hosted the Scholarship Academy and Fair at City Hall every November for more than 500 high school seniors and juniors.
- Revived the City’s Youth Commission to give youth a voice in government.
- Sponsored the Teen “Midnight” Basketball League which started summer 2017 with more than 120 youth participants.
- Required new school zone light beacons as a part of Renew Atlanta Bond projects.
- Hosted Back 2 School Bash, where more than 1,000 book bags with school supplies have been provided to APS students leading into the school year.
- Sponsored APS Get Our Kids Connected campaign supporting thousands of students attending APS who do not have internet connection and/or appropriate equipment for distance learning, by partnering with Comcast to provide free laptops and 12 months of free internet.
“Andre fully supports better collaboration between the city and the school system, and is committed to make that collaboration truly work for the public good.”
Michelle Olympiadis, Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education District 3 Representative