Thursday, October 22, 2009

News Flash!


Kim Gokce just called in an important news flash. He has heard from an "extremely reliable source" that Pat Pope has been "relieved of her duties". She has a contract through June which will evidently be paid, however she is officially out of the DeKalb County School System.

64 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

Wow, I have to say I'm rather surprised at this turn of events.

fedupindcss said...

I wonder how this will affect projects in the pipeline?

Anonymous said...

I have heard the same thing from reliable sources also.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed. On Fox 5 news tonight, they reported that both an internal and external investigation has turned up nothing yet.

I think Dr. Lewis can't handle any scrutiny at all. I hope the Popes have a great lawyer. They are going to take DCSS to the cleaners.

Cerebration said...

I don't know the details, but I do know Kim's source, and it is reliable. However, apparently the board members aren't even aware of this - and one even said that she couldn't be dismissed without their approval - so the saga continues...

Anonymous said...

things are getting pretty hot around the DCSS...just checked first class and Mrs Pope has been removed....so she is gone...but the D.A.'s office is holding the cards tight so no one can see them...starting to believe there may be something to the land deals that were made in regards to SW Dekalb and Arabia Mountain

One Fed Up Insider said...

eSIS is live. Just logged my child in. Going to see how long it takes to get the ok.

Kim Gokce said...

This really floored me. After so many months, the GBI shows up and bam! I do not understand it in any way. Either the Popes are the coolest cucumbers every to defraud the public trust or they are 100% being set up. "B" is hard to believe at this point - sad.

In any case, I have the fact of the dismissal from a second very reliable source and I would call the report 100% accurate. And we all still wait for the truth behind the decision ...

Anonymous said...

The Mrs. Pope is cool as a cucumber...trust me I know...she doesn't sweat under pressure...you'd never think anything was going on the way she has been doing layoffs and conducting business as usual knowing the entire time she was deceiving the DCSS..I have seen both faces of her brand of professionalism and trust me she's ruthless...cut throat...

Anonymous said...

we parents should only be hearing positive things about DCSS not this trash....shame on Dr. Lewis and the BOE for letting things get this out of control.....I can't believe that no one knew any of the things that was posted publically on this site and the news....who's watching the store while all of this is going on..test scores are on the line..the students should be their main priority, not feeding their own selfish needs. Now we are all off course.... Time to clean house...

Anonymous said...

The school board is getting ready to make some very important decisions that will impact our school system regarding school closing. These recommendations are all coming from Ms. Pope's office which have angered many in the community and I am sure many on the school board are probable not happy either. Ella

Anonymous said...

It will be easy to blame Ms. Pope since she is not around. Ella

Dunwoody Mom said...

School closings and redrawing attendance rarely make anyone happy.

Anonymous said...

You know what == I think the layoffs were necessary and I think many unqualified people have been sent to the Pat Pope's department because Dr. Lewis (and others before him) don't want to fire anyone.

Contractors really hated the fact that Pope ended the gold pots that were change orders. they have been unhappy ever since.

The land deals for SW DeKalb and Arabia Mountain were done before Pope, right?

Cerebration said...

Yes. Arabia was a SPLOST 2 project that was begun under Pritchett's leadership. Pope had the task of getting the building built. I actually don't think many land deals have been made by Pope. She was only hired in Oct 2005 (4 years ago) - Pritchett & Co had SPLOST 2 underway and spent. Even the SPLOST 2 audit says that much of the over-spending and ineptness was due to the fact that Pritchett, a career educator was in charge. It also details the "loosey-goosey" submission of change orders that was responsible for sucking up so much of the funds.


If you would like to read the SPLOST 2 forensic audit, DeKalb Parent has shared that link with us before --

Splost II Letter and Audit

Cerebration said...

But then again, I don't think this particular investigation is about land deals. It's about "irregularities" regarding construction contracts.

We'll just have to wait and see - it may take a very long time for information to come to light.

Anonymous said...

My experience with Ms. Pope has been that she has been quite professional and true to her word. I have little doubt that projects now are being managed far more professionally, on budget and on time. But, in the process, she has made quite a few enemies who previously always operated outside the purview of public scrutiny and accountability. We do not know the facts--that is for the DA to figure out. But, we should be cautious that not everything is as events suggest--it is possible she is being thrown under the bus to cover the misdeeds of others. If we have to move on without Ms. Pope, let us all hope that DCSS does not revert to its old ways by placing someone in the job either as an accomodation or a reward while disregarding whether the appointee actually is capable. If that happens, the wheels will come off of SPLOST III just as they did with SPLOST II.

Anonymous said...

We as parents and taxpayers have to make sure that our BOE members know it will be unaceptable for them to approve "change orders" to any new construction or renovation projects. It will be vey interesting to see if Crawford hires someone from out of the system, or if likely, he hires another DCSS flack who will revert back to the ways of Stan Pritchett, change orders, delays, etc. The BOE still nees to make sure duties like ground maintenance, HVAC, roofing, etc. are all contracted out.

Anonymous said...

The thought that there was not a #2person on boards shows how corrupt this system really is. Why was Donahue just brought in back in July if there was a need for this position since Pope's arrival in 2005. No business operates like this and expect to have work completed. O.K. maybe Madoff and some of the Wall street gangs...but I digress...Pope is gone now what?? Everyone is scrambling trying to figure out what to do next...not smart business practice. Never leave the job to one person...one reason is the accountability goes out the window when the person is gone. What ever happened to two person integrity, are we not dealing with real american dollars, our tax paying dollars...

Anonymous said...

Here's the story from the news on October 22 http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/New_Information_in_DeKalb_School_Probe_102209

Kim Gokce said...

Anonymous: "-it is possible she is being thrown under the bus to cover the misdeeds of others."

You are right to be cautious. My selfish thought this morning is that we the DeKalb tax payers cannot lose in this deal ... Ultimately, she will be vindicated or exposed. If she is vindicated, then all the bad actors responsible will eventually be outed and we can clean house - a good result after her family's pain.

Obviously, if it turns out Mrs. Pope is the bad actor, then her dismissal is necessary and just.

I supposed there is a 3rd option and that is that they ALL are bad actors and Mrs. Pope's time "on the inside" is over. Not a thought I want to dwell on ...

Kim Gokce said...

@Anonymous: "The thought that there was not a #2person on boards shows how corrupt this system really is."

Cross Keys HS was supposed to have a public meeting with Mrs. Pope etal on the SPLOST III project on October 29. This meeting was pushed a week last week. It will be interesting to see who will be the interim - surely, they will be at CKHS for this meeting so y'all come on down to my 'hood to check out the new talent.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Cross Keys is the high school DCSS will close during this first round of redistricting. Is this a reliable rumor? Not at this stage of the round robin going on in Dr. Lewis' office. But Pat Pope's departure at the same time he's redistricting certainly puts even more pressure on the administrative staff.

Kim Gokce said...

@Anonymous: "I understand that Cross Keys is the high school DCSS will close during this first round of redistricting."

I would put that one in the category of virtually impossible at this time and for at least the next few years ...

Dunwoody Mom said...

I assume tonight's BOE meeting going forward as scheduled?

Anonymous said...

The principals' meeting this week evidently included discussions about redistricting and school closures.

Cerebration said...

Well, official word from the school system is that Pat Pope is still officially COO. I assume that this means she will be at the meeting today at 2:30 - presenting the school closing plan...


E. PRESENTATION\DISCUSSION ITEM
1. Enrollment Balancing
Presented by: Ms. Patricia A. Pope, Chief Operations Officer

andi said...

Will the 2:30 meeting be on PDS 24?

Anonymous said...

The Fox 5 report says the construction records in the warrant were for Columbia High School, McNair Cluster Elementary School, Mountain Industrial Center, Arabia Mountain High School, Evans Mill Elementary School and Henderson Mill Elementary School.

That's funny; if memory serves me, what Henderson Mill Elementary got was just a cookie-cutter gym around 2004 or 2005. What about some of the other schools on Fox's list?

Dekalbparent said...

Dang - I'll miss the meeting. Will somebody post synopsis for us?

I'm mystified by the "termination", the apparent un-"termination", and the list of schools. Do any of them predate Ms. Pope's association with DCSS?

It appears that Fox5 is the only media outlet that is following the story - are any others?

Anonymous said...

They have just announced at the Sam A. Moss Service Center that Ms. Pope is no longer with the DCSS.....so I don't know who will be making those presentations at the meeting

Cerebration said...

This is almost getting to be like Twitter! At any rate - word is - Bob Moseley made the overall presentation - and some other people made presentations detailing the over-crowding. Basically, there are a few schools in South DeKalb that are crowded, but can be relieved by redrawing attendance lines with schools that have available seats. However, there are schools in the north end (Dunwoody, Cross Keys, etc) that are or soon will be over-crowded and the only way to provide relief is by building additions.

Other than that - they plan to announce specific rezoning plans in 2 weeks.

themommy said...

Cere

You are sure that Cross Keys was on that list or did they say Chamblee?

Anonymous said...

Druid Hllls and a few others were in the first warrant. I am guessing that these are the most recent non ADA projects.

Cerebration said...

No, I'm not sure - I got it second hand - but I am pretty sure it was actually all of them - CKHS - Chamblee - Dunwoody and Lakeside.

Anonymous said...

I know Pat Pope is the big talk. I hope this is a sign that the board is really going to do something about the mess in DCSS. This is just the tip of the ice burg. Keep your eyes and ears open about Miller Grove High School. I heard through a source that the parent is going to the news media out of frustration with the school system investigation of child cruelty. Not sure if OCR has contacted school system but the district attorney's office has talked to the parent or vice versa. Principals bullying students with disabilites. Thats just too much.

Anonymous said...

Anon
Dont get your hopes up about BOE. I know the parent and the child. I teach at the school. If any parent can put it to the BOE it will be this one. She has got them by the balls cause they are trying to really shut this one down. they need to send Dunson stepping along with the principal. i sure he wishes he had transfered her out of Miller Grove. AYP saved her from being transfered and demoted last year. I dont think with the U.S Dept.of ED involved it will be enough to save her this time. She has been threatening and transfering teachers and staff for years! she crossed the line with this parent. Word is the child having a disability is really what is going to nail her. Attacks on the parents was one thing, but when she went after the child she went too far!

Anonymous said...

Can someone re-post the Fox 5 website about Pope's dismissal? I can't find it on their website.

Anonymous said...

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/New_Information_in_DeKalb_School_Probe_102209

If you google Pat Pope, Dekalb Schools and click news at the top, it'll take you to the latest bits.

Anonymous said...

confused??..I am..Channel 2 @ 6 just stated that a DCSS spokesperson said that Ms. Pope has not been terminated..Ms Pope is still the COO...It was further stated that Pope and the DCSS will discuss her position and make a determination....too much conflicting information...however if channel 2 is on the case the word that she has been released is definitely a possibility....stay tuned

Cerebration said...

Apparently, the board met in closed executive session today to discuss a "personnel" matter (Pope's) but took no action. So, it's true that Pat is still COO. The board reps can't answer questions because this is a personnel matter. I guess we're in limbo.

Cerebration said...

Actually, the word Kim received yesterday was that Pope had been "relieved of her duties"... so technically, that could be true while she still holds her title.

Anonymous said...

The news outlets reported that a search warrant was also executed on C.D. Moody Construction. Go to their website and you will see projects that they worked on including McNair, DeKalb Alternative School, Lakeside HVAC, etc.

Anonymous said...

" She has a contract through June which will evidently be paid, however she is officially out of the DeKalb County School System."

Shades of Johnny Brown. How much has DCSS paid out to fulfill such contracts? Maybe CKHS could have used some of that money. Think before you hire DCSS!

Anonymous said...

Cerebration, you may want to begin another blog with this posting. Consider me a 'friend of the blog'.

Notes from DeKalb School Board Meeting on 10/23

Bob Moseley handled the overview and closing. Dan Drake, the new director of planning, discussed the high level specifics. The detailed recommendation was not discussed though some board members asked pointed questions.

DeKalb is 3rd largest school district in GA and 27th largest in the country. The current FTE is 99,905. This number is expected to remain flat until 2016. DeKalb has more school facilities than any other district in the state.

When you look at the ratio of schools to students, Gwinnett and Cobb have over 1000 students per school. DeKalb has fewer than 700.

Elementary school population expected to go down by 3000 by 2016
Middle school expected to go up by 500 by 2016
High school expected to go up by 2500 by 2016

Operational costs are higher and under populated schools. The impact of the recommendation would be a cost savings at the administrative layer and general operational savings. Most classroom teachers would remain. Overall staff reductions would be handled through normal attrition.

There will be objective criteria to guide how decisions are made.

Elementary schools have more than 6000 empty seats. Expect to have 9000 empty seats by 2016 (this factors in scheduled additions at several high schools via SPLOST III).

Enrollment expected to be 96,366 in 2010-2011.

10 of 22 middle schools with have over 200 empty seats next year
2,952 open seats in 8 middle schools currently
924 seats over capacity in 4 high schools

3,574 open seats in 7 high schools
1,492 seats over capacity in 6 high schools

Timeline

November 2-6 – small group meeting with members of the board
December 1 – publish plan on website
December 1,2,3 – public hearings to receive feedback from community
January 4- formally present recommendation to the board
January 11 – ask for up/down vote from the board. It was clearly stated that the board would need to approve the plan in January if they wished to begin implementation in August 2010.

There were several questions from board members. The specifics of the plan were not discussed and would be reserved until the small group meetings. The objective of these meetings would be to present the recommendations to the board and solicit their feedback prior to informing the public.

Interesting discussion about Wadsworth. There are less than 200 students at this school and the rumor was that there was consideration of moving this program to another school. It seems that due to an outstanding lawsuit against Kittredge at Nancy Creek, this school will remain open for the current time. This needs to be confirmed but it seems the lawsuit was filed by parents suggesting they were ‘harmed’ with the relocation to the Nancy Creek site with respect to access.

Cerebration said...

Wonderful! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Moody's included? Not surprised, if the work they did on the HVAC at Lakeside is any indication. What a disaster. Not worth the $2 million.

Anonymous said...

So Ms. Pope is currently suspended with pay. This is real different than fired or gone. If found innocent she can come back. Also the school board may continue paying her salary until the court case in case she is innocent as she is being suspended based on the information from the investigation. The school system are covering their butt by not firing her. This way she can come back if she is innocent of charges or the suspicions of the investigation.

Anonymous said...

Currently there are no charges.

Kim Gokce said...

Suspension is more in line with how I was interpreting "relieved of her duties" ... I would hope we'll see an interim named by Monday.

Cerebration said...

Maybe the stress of it all finally got to her and she herself decided to "work from home" or take some kind of medical leave. I had been wondering for quite a while how she was able to get a thing done with such a cloud over her head for so long. If I were her, I'd go lay on a beach somewhere for a couple of months.

Cerebration said...

Hey - wait a minute - aren't you supposed to be walking? I checked your path online - are you done? It says you burned 943 calories!

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration re:walking ... Yep! We finished with a better pace than I expected - 6.6 mi in under 2 hours. No knee probs and smooth sailing! We've picked up the kid and are heading back for the lift up the mtn.

Anonymous said...

The getting worse by the day AJC still hasn't covered the Pat Pope dismissal yet.

Kim Gokce said...

Yes. We're 1 week away from a long awaited public meeting to present the plans for Cross Keys HS SPOST III and no one can tell me who will be the lead in meeting from DCSS Construction - I just get sheepish looks and shrugs ...

Anonymous said...

Not surprising AJC hasn't covered the Pope story. They have to make sure all the right people have been contacted and won't get any toes stepped on. Considering the tangled web of power connections that have to be queried, they need a reverse 911.
Onc ethey get their stories straight, they'll report an "investigative" piece that will look like it took the requisite time period.

Anonymous said...

It's not what Pope did that is frying her, it's what she knows. The construction contracts were definitely not done under her. That is a diversion.
She knows something about something else--can you say South River?

Anonymous said...

But isn't it convenient when you have your husbands office right across the street from the Sam Moss Center.

If she is suspended with pay, please take her Ford Explorer away. That is just an insult for many of us who work hard for the school system and get the shaft.

If you do not know what I am talking about go and watch Richard Belcher (I think) at the 6pm news cast on Channel 2 this past Monday. He states that it was taped that day and Ms. Pope is getting out of her county owned Explorer.

Anonymous said...

Hey BOE, how about a list of every single DCSS employee who gets a take home car? There better not be many. Actually, other than the superintendent and head of Sam Moss, no other DCSS employee needs or deserves a take home vehicle.

Dunwoody Mom said...

anonymous 8:20 - it's not unusual at all for employees who spend considerable amounts of time at constructions sites to have their employers give them a sturdier vehicle to drive.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom said...
anonymous 8:20 - it's not unusual at all for employees who spend considerable amounts of time at constructions sites to have their employers give them a sturdier vehicle to drive.

---

Actually DM, you are incorrect. Most construction related employers allow their project managers and other such employees to drive company vehicles, but very, very few give their employees take home vehicles.

There are very, very few DCSS employees who need a take home car. Maybe there's a decednt number who should receive mileage for meeting travel, etc., but really, other than Lewis and the Sam Moss director, no one from DCSS needs a take home vehicle.

Cerebration said...

ok - official word (from Fox 5 news) Pope is still in --

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The DeKalb County School System is implementing new oversight of its construction program.

This comes in the midst of an investigation of the system's chief operations officer, Patricia Pope.

Pope remains the county's chief operating officer, but a new manager will oversee capitol improvement projects on an interim basis.

Pope has been the subject of an investigation by the DeKalb DA's office focusing on school construction contracts.


DeKalb Schools Implements Program Change

Anonymous said...

HR is not over staff at the lower level, but at the top. About 8 or 9 people were laid off in HR.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, June 30, 2010, the last day for employees who were laid off from DeKalb County School System, was a sad day for good and hardworking employees with several years of experience in the school system. We need to pray for them. No one would think that people with 10 years and over would be laid off and people with less years are still employed.