Thursday, February 25, 2010

News of the Day


Ok - by request, we will start a posting place to add the news of the day as it pours in! List whatever you hear in the comments below.

Today's news from the AJC is about the search of Crawford Lewis' home, the Sam Moss Center and the school administrative offices.

192 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well the fan is finally getting hit.

Anonymous said...

While we don't yet know what the search warrants were issues for, a caption under one of the pictures in the AJC on-line article may give us a hint.

It reads:

"Police and DA officials approach the residence of DeKalb County Schools Superintendent, Crawford Lewis Thursday. The district attorney was interested in reports of gifts from contractors involved with county construction projects possibly being on premise"

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the emergency called BOE meeting tomorrow is to discuss a "personnel" matter, and not a legal matter. I hope the BOE stays true to the Open Meetings Act and isn't using this as a way to talk amongst themselves behind closed doors. I can't think of any personnel matter that is so urgent one can't give 48 hours of public notice.

Anonymous said...

What a sorry state of affairs. Seems that folks are just pointing at the other guy.
I hope the School Board realizes and accepts that fact they share the responsibility for this.
Can anyone be trusted?

Dekalbparent said...

There is a BOE meeting scheduled at 10 or 10:30 tomorrow to discuss budget stuff - is that still on?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:22

I guarantee you this meeting is to talk about what to do about CL. It also could be to go over the proposed layoffs, but given that the announcement was at 9:03 this morning, I am thinking that this has everything to do with the raid.

Rumor is that the DA went to Sam Moss this morning as well. Anyone know?

Cerebration said...

I've heard The Service Center (SamMoss...Pope's former office), Lewis' House and the District Office.

Anonymous said...

Folks inside Finance (Marcus Turk) and HR (Jamie Wilson) were told to not get on any computers and to stay away from computers. Sounds like the money trail is starting to gear up..also sounds like there is much more going on than is reported..some insiders have leaked some very serious imnformation that can (allegedly) link all these names to misappropriation of SPLOST funds and or the rackeetering/bid rigging charges......this is rally a shame..but this is what happens when your "Friend" hires you and want you to do him a little favor....shhhh no one will ever know this happened.....however the little people know everything and should have covered spoke up before the layoffs were announced....Too many personal/hidden agendas for my taste....where are the students in all of this mess....How do we explain to our children why their Superintendent was sought like a criminal? Just go home CLewis and take your frineds with you...you have done enough damage and this is very distracting in the classrooms...especially for the high school students with technology

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has experienced rehab after an injury knows things get worse before they get better. DCSS needs some serious rehab because we've got trouble . . . trouble in DeKalb County (apologies to the Music Man).I pray this is finally the "in your face" turning point for the School Board.

Molly said...

According to the Budget Meeting Calendar, tomorrow's meeting has been postponed.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/calendar/fy2011-budget.html

Anonymous said...

A parent to the School Board:

I told you so.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if anyone from the DAs office has been reading this blog and learned anything from the postings?

Wonder if the emergency meeting is to discuss possibly reassigning Dr. Lewis? That is what happened to Pat Pope after the search warrant was executed on her house. To be consistent, one would think this must happen. I'm sure Pat Pope is sitting back waiting to see how that meeting turns out.

Anonymous said...

Wall to wall TV coverage and more on this:
http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/metro/dekalb/dekalb-search-022510/


Boy, veteran teachers and graduating college students are really going to want to come teach here in DeKalb. Someone with kids looking for a home is definitely going to chose the DK over Gwinnett. Yeesh...what a mess.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Cunningham’s business is providing pre-game meals to the Southwest Dekalb football team for a very lucrative fee."

Saw this on Maureen Downey's Get Schooled blog. Hope there's no truth to it. No BOE member should have any business dealings with DCSS, and it got Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn in trouble. Even if legal, it's not ethical.

Anonymous said...

Dale Davis, Lewis' spokesman, said he was unaware of the search or the reasons for it. "I don't know. Call the DA," he told the AJC.
Around 8:20 a.m., Davis drove up to Lewis' home. He spoke to an officer and then drove off, refusing to talk with the AJC.
About 9:15 a.m., Lewis drove out of his garage and sped off in his school-issued black Ford 500.


Dale Davis, that's a great quote from a highly paid spokesperson. I'll refrain from personal attacks, but we can do better when it comes to the DCSS spokesperson.

And Crawford has a school-issued Ford 500? What?? That is a sweet, beautiful, fast sports sedan. If he's going to have a DCSS vehicle, it needs to be something like a Taurus or mini-van, not a ride that was built for speed and looks. A work-related vehicle needs to be functional plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Lots of negative, so wanted to state something positive. School Administrators, staff, and teachers are still doing their best in teaching the kids.
I applaud them!!!

Anonymous said...

Is it really small of me to do a happy dance in the middle of my office when I see pictures of CL peering out of his front door with a deer-in-the-headlights stare?

Nope. Considering the number of times the man has patronized, dissembled, and ignored his "stakeholders" . . . I'm good.

Anonymous said...

Might as well search Legal too, although they've probably already covered their a$$es.

Anonymous said...

@11:54, I'm no lawyer, but it doesn't look in the spirit of O.C.G.A. 20-2-505 which in part states "No member of any county board of education in this state shall sell to any county board any supplies or equipment used, consumed, or necessary in the operation of any public school in this state unless there are fewer than three sources for such supplies or equipment within the county; provided, however, that any purchase pursuant to this subsection for supplies or equipment that is equal to or greater than $10,000.00 shall be approved by a majority of the members of the board in an open public meeting."

Cerebration said...

I agree with you Anon 12:20 PM. We have some great schoolhouses full of dedicated pros. They continue to ensure that the children under their wing get a good education no matter what goes on in the central office. I applaud these teachers, staff and principals - we have some terrific people in our schoolhouses in DeKalb.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Is it really small of me to do a happy dance in the middle of my office when I see pictures of CL peering out of his front door with a deer-in-the-headlights stare?

Yes - it is small of you.

"Mr. Cunningham’s business is providing pre-game meals to the Southwest Dekalb football team for a very lucrative fee."

I was not aware DCSS paid for pre-game meals - I was under the impression these were paid for by Booster Clubs - I'm sure someone could clarify that for us.

Anonymous said...

What business does Jay Cunningham own?

M G said...

February 25, 2010

REVISED NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION EMERGENCY CALLED MEETING:

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold an emergency called meeting at 4:30pm today (Thursday, February 25, 2010) at the DeKalb County School System's Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center, Building A, Superintendent's Conference Room, 3770 North Decatur Road, Decatur. The called meeting will adjourn to executive session to discuss a personnel matter and legal matter.

According to DeKalb Board of Education Board Policy BCBB, “When special circumstances occur and are so declared by the Board or committee, a meeting may be held with less than a 24-hour notice upon giving such notice as is reasonable under circumstances, including notice to the legal organ.”


Sincerely,

Thomas E. Bowen, Chair
DeKalb Board of Education

Anonymous said...

Da*n. The budget session for tomorrow has been cancelled.

Regardless of what the truth is, this is one big mess.

HUGE. We need to cut anywhere from 88 to 100 million from the budget and work seems to have ceased.

Darn it.

Anonymous said...

I believe he owns a Davido's Pizza. He had relationships with area schools before he became a board member, in fact was the business partner at a few of them. The AJC attempted to make an issue of this shortly after he was elected and it went no where.

If the booster club paid for this, is that still considered a potential conflict?

Anonymous said...

While it might be "legal" I don't really believe it passes the sniff test. His circumstances changed - he was elected to the BOE - so he should recuse himself from selling to schools - whether the school, booster, whoever is paying the tab - IMHO

Annie said...

@Is it really small of me to do a happy dance ...

Is it really small of me to do a happy dance in the middle of my office when I see pictures of CL peering out of his front door with a deer-in-the-headlights stare?

Nope. Considering the number of times the man has patronized, dissembled, and ignored his "stakeholders" . . . I'm good.


Consider the source and ignore the comment from Dunwoodymom! You're good.

Crawford Lewis has put our children's education at risk, made Clayton County Schools look good by comparison and has damaged the economic growth and property values in DeKalb County. It will take years to recover!

I don't care how Crawford Lewis is brought down -- just so he is stopped. I hope he is charged, tried and found guilty of criminal offenses leading to jail time. I would like to see DCSS board members and DCSS upper management charged and tried as
accomplices-after-the-fact.

Anonymous said...

Is it really small of me to do a happy dance in the middle of my office when I see pictures of CL peering out of his front door with a deer-in-the-headlights stare?

Why are you so happy? Do you really think this is a good thing?

Anonymous said...

I think it is completely unbelievable that you have the "higher-ups" in such compromising positions yet it is people like my hard working husband that works for the service center that is most likely next to lose his job!!!!

Anonymous said...

You folks should back away and read the postings with an open mind...

Justice in Dekalb seems to be "guilty until proven innocent"

What are these postings teaching the kids??????

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:54 pm

I think folks in DeKalb have given up hope that the BOE will replace Lewis and give DeKalb a superintendent that will cut a very bloated support and admin staff.

The terrible conditions in DeKalb's schools and the deplorable teaching environment appears to be getting worse by all measures as evidenced by higher pupil teacher ratio, new and existing school construction mess-ups and delays, declining test scores, high teacher turnover, etc.

They're just hoping someone will replace Lewis who may be willing to make the necessary support and admin cuts and tighten oversight of the DeKalb Schools capital outlays.

DeKalb citizens have lost hope that Lewis will do this, so a by any means necessary mentality is permeating the county.

Perhaps the BOE will replace Lewis. I hope it is for the incompetence he has shown as our top school administrator rather than accusations that have never seen a courtroom.

Of course, even if Lewis goes, we still have to contend with who the BOE would choose as his replacement.

This BOE has shown poor oversight and little spending restraint, overlooking the fact that Lewis has continually added to the support and admin side while he has shrunk teacher positions (by 275 in 2009-10 alone) and increased the pupil teacher ratio. At this point, DeKalb currently has less than half its personnel teaching in classrooms. This was bound to make a negative impact on students at some point.

Nor has this BOE asked the tough questions about the efficacy of expensive learning programs Lewis has recommended and they have approved the funds for.

It's probably human nature to show some schadenfreude.

Fortunately for our kids, the teachers are doing what they always do - good or bad administration - they're in the classrooms teaching.

Annie said...

@Anonymous 1:22 PM

Do you, perhaps, think things with DCSS should continue on the way they were going?

Clearly the DCSS BOE was not going to do/say anything. Kathy Cox and her GaDOE people have done/said nothing. Mark Elgart at SACS has done/said nothing. Even DeKalb County's legislators seem frozen. Of course, DeKalb County's legislators also know that Ron Ramsey, full-time DCSS employee, head of Internal Affairs and buddy to Crawford Lewis lists in his official State Senate bio that his occupation is "attorney." No mention of full-time employment with DCSS -- yet he takes off 40 days each year to hang out with his fellow legislators.

Anonymous said...

Gosh.....my school buys pizza and wings from Davito's frequently......

Dekalbparent said...

Sarah Copeland-Woods did say (in remarks portion of Feb 8 board meeting) that she wants to scrutinize all the packages DCSS has purchased from outside vendors (as well as the vendors themselves). Questioned whether we are getting our money's worth.

I do not know if she has ever asked this question before, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear her ask it now. Keep asking!!

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, "Annie", it's nice that you can insult other posters and then arrest, try, convinct and imprison the entire school board.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom 2:42 pm

Annie is just expressing her opinion. I didn't read anything in it about trying and convicting anyone.

Most everyone on this blog and the ajc blogs as well are frustrated with the state of DeKalb Schools.

The BOE and Dr. Lewis need to take responsibility for their administrative decisions that have led to negative consequences for students.

Dunwoody Mom said...

From "Annie"....

I don't care how Crawford Lewis is brought down -- just so he is stopped. I hope he is charged, tried and found guilty of criminal offenses leading to jail time. I would like to see DCSS board members and DCSS upper management charged and tried as
accomplices-after-the-fact.

themommy said...

This creates a huge timing problem. The Board needs to make some huge decisions. Innocent or guilty, right now it doesn't matter, because every recommendation he makes will be questioned.

If he leaves, though, who will be Superintendent? There isn't much time. Until decisions are made, teachers and others can't get contracts. Can a true outsider come in and take over? When companies are restructured, the new leader takes a fair amount of time assessing the situation. We are past the point of having luxury of time.

Don't minimize how potentially disruptive this will be.

Anonymous said...

pre-game meals are paid for by the booster clubs and they will typically go to whomever supplies them the cheapest.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine did a document dump, about another fraud regarding the "demographers report" a couple of years ago, with a prominent TV station. The producers were very excited when they saw the documents, then after a couple of weeks of communications, they didn't return their calls. I even think Dale Davis, CLew spokesperson, worked for that prominent TV station. You think CLew was trying to hide something then? I am sure they are happy today, in the end the truth always comes out. Someone in the main office is saying something to authorities. Finally!

Anonymous said...

Marl Elkhart at SACS says nothing because his wife works for DCSS, doesn't she? Plus, GaDOE says nothing since I heard a quote from someone there that they were "tired" of getting nowhere since DCSS had too many friends in high places. I think an Assoc. Superintendent, like Terry Segovis should take the helm in the interim, while CLew takes a leave of absence to take care of these legal issues. Segovis is an honest man and knows enough about the operation to handle key decisions. Alice Thompson and Robert Moseley are too close to CLew to trust them.

Anonymous said...

I'm the anonymous happy dancer. Yes, it's a good thing because DCSS needs to clean house and start fresh with sound and ethical business practices. Maybe, Dunwoody Mom, it's small of me, but I'm beyond frustrated and have dealt directly with this situation for the past few years, hitting my head against road block after road block. So I do a happy dance and pray for better days ahead for all of our students and teachers.

Anonymous said...

I don't see that Lewis has any "legal" problems at this point. He has a "public perception" problem.

I don't think the BOE will jettison Lewis. But if they get enough pressure from constituents, they can pressure Lewis to make the necessary cuts he needs to make to preserve a pupil teacher ratio that is so necessary for our kids. They do control the purse strings after all.

Keep writing your BOE members letting them know that deeper cuts need in support and admin rather than impacting kids by increasing the pupil teacher ratio in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:16 pm

His name is not Elkhart, it's Mark Elgart, and unless his wife has a different last name, she does not work for DCSS. She is not listed on the state Salary and Travel Audit.

Just trying to be factual.

Anonymous said...

That's why I asked about the SACS chief. I wasn't sure. Someone had told me she did work for the system. However, she might be using her maiden name, which I do not know. I will call a friend to find out if she does or not.

The BOE should ask for Lewis to step aside while he takes care of these legal problems. Maybe an administrative leave? Terry Segovis should take over in the interim. Segovis knows the system. Robert Moseley and Alice Thompson are too close to CLew and this situation to run the system in the interim.

Do the right thing BOE and ask CLew to step aside while these tough decisions are being made.

Cerebration said...

It's good to try to be factual - thanks Anon.

And - no, I don't think Lewis will be fired - sidelined as he did to Pat Pope maybe - but not fired. We can hire a half-dozen "consultants" to cover for him like he did for Pope. Maybe the two of them can share an office and play tiddly-winks together, I don't know. This is just all very sad.

Anonymous said...

I a teacher who lives in DeKalb and just received a survey if I supported a 2 mil tax increase. I voted no! I wish that I could have written why.

Kim Gokce said...

WSB 750 reported that the BOE is going into an "Emergency" session right now ... just passing along what I heard.

Annie said...

Re: DCSS BOE Emergency Session

But nothing on PDS-24 -- the DCSS television station for which all those lights were purchased. Oh, well ... I guess the make-up artist couldn't make it on such short notice. It's always something!

Dunwoody Mom said...

"Annie", this is an Executive Session which is not a public meeting.

Anonymous said...

I think it's sorta of silly that you are discussing pregame meals and booster clubs and who owns what pizza parlor when THE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT IS LIKELY FIXIN TO GET CHARGED WITH A PART IN A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CRIME!!!

Anon at 3:26pm : I think Lewis has a much bigger problem than public perception.

I personally believe that the DA's office would have let this die had it not been for Eberly's reporting putting pressure on them to get this Pope/Lewis thing right. The DA's office said at one time that this investigation was closed, did they not? Kudos to you and the rest of the AJC for the standout journalism.

Anonymous said...

Channel 46 4PM news reported that Clew isn't attending today's emergency meeting.

Dunwoody Mom said...

personally believe that the DA's office would have let this die had it not been for Eberly's reporting putting pressure on them to get this Pope/Lewis thing right

Eberly didn't report anything - he used testimony that the DA already had.

Anonymous said...

To add to Kim Golcke...CLewis is NOT in attendance of this meeting per CBS46......WTH
must be tele-conferencing..this is such BS....he should have been fired a long time ago...say what you want...unless you have walked a mile in the shoes of those of us working in the DCSS these pair of cheating folks should have been off the DCSS payroll...It's so easy to pass judgement on those who celebrate a shot in the arm like this but maybe it will serve as a wake-up call to the masses....stop screwing with our children and the educational funding provided by our tax dollars....The agenda has always been self serving and too much of that good old friend syndrome has corrupted the local government. So stop getting upset with folks cheering....stop whinning and get a real clue...we have been screwed for far too many years and BTW we have known we were moving to Mountain Industrial for over two years.....where the heck were the folks yelling about spending money then....there was never any open+transparency if you ask me.....just saying...get your cars out of park and drive the problems out of this school system so that our children may have a brighter future tommorow. Denial is 80% of the problem with everyone here in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Now folks, please remember we are talking about "Premier DeKalb".

Anonymous said...

Let's wait and see: we are in America where we are innocent until proven guilty....

But if they need someone to take over because of lack of confidence, they need bring an ex-high school principal out of retirement as interim super, an ex-middle school principal out of retirement as assistant interim super for middle schools, and an ex-elementary school principal out of retirement as assistant interim super for elementary schools. They can restructure from there....

All the layers of mangement in the middle sat quietly and nodded "yes" to the nonsense of the last 5 years! No one should be rewarded with any position...

I hope the board hire a superintendent for $200 000-$250 000 all benefit and perks included.

Time to bring common sense. Want to make more, go work for Toyota or Goldman-Sachs.

themommy said...

As an executive session, it isn't open to the public. I hope (given the timing of the meeting) that someone from the Board will make an official statement after it is done. Executive sessions are never shown on PDS. (by their very nature, they can't be.)

Anonymous said...

Note to BOE:

Parents don't trust him.
Teachers don't trust him.
Principals don't trust him.
Administrators don't trust him.
The DA doesn't trust him.

Just how many more clues do you need?

Tell us how he is going to be a capable leader. And how is DeKalb going to attract the best & brightest teachers for next year?

You don't have to worry about layoffs, attrition is going to take care of that problem. Wake Up! The leaving-DCSS spigot is running and you're doing NOTHING to turn it off.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the names of the consultants who were hired to replace Pope?

Anonymous said...

You mean the five consultants hired to replace her who make $1000 per day each?

Anonymous said...

Yes....those consultants

Anonymous said...

One if Barbara Coleman, the other, I don't know.

Have you guys seen this video yet?
http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22673600/index.html

Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:58 pm

Any teachers who are reading this blog and had construction work done under Pat Pope, please weigh in.

Yes. It was interesting, but he is totally wrong about the work being done correctly. Don't take Pat Pope attorney's word that the work schools had done was good. Please ask teachers in the schools that had construction work done under Pat Pope if they thought the work was satisfactory in quality and on time.

Anonymous said...

No matter who you support or don't support on this, it's an unseemly mess.

And think back, Pat Pope/Red was a consultant first brought on by Lewis, then the Lanta Group recommended her as the top COO candidate. Everyone knew her husband was a contractor.

It's self-inflicted and it's the worst PR any school system in the state has received in years except for the Clayton Co. disaster, which trumps everything else.

Anonymous said...

The best way to change all this is to replace all current board members.
They are all share responsibility for the mess.

Cerebration said...

No, Dr. Lewis is responsible. He is the superintendent. He hired Pat Pope, and in fact, pressured the board to act quickly as it was "urgent". He told the board that her husband would not work on more projects and then he signed off on a contract that clearly listed Pope Architects as a vendor. Then, as he was being grilled by the DA about Pcard charges and "mis-pumping" gas, he threw them off the scent of his own trail by telling them they needed to investigate Pat Pope.

Anonymous said...

Well, the BOE must accept responsibility for this public debacle, too. They’ve had all the information we’ve read on this blog. Face it, they’ve had even more information than what’s on this blog! But, they sat on their hands and gave him permission to continue subjecting our students and teachers to his “Reign of Error.”

Anonymous said...

I teach at the MIC. Didn't Pope's hubby do that? The walls are already cracking. The ceiling in my room is uneven. I don't know who did the electrical work but they did it wrong and had to return last week to redo it. BTW, if immigration came by they would have a field day with all the undocumented workers. How do I know they are undocumented? A fellow teacher I work with has a brother in law that worked construction there and he is undocumented.

Cerebration said...

"Reign of Error" - that's good.

Wanted to share a link to a montage of video reports from WSB

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22673600/index.html

Ella Smith said...

I am sad.

This is another sad day for Dekalb County Schools and an embarassment.

I only want the best for our school system and our students.

An emergency meeting does not look good.

Anonymous said...

The BOE meeting was to discuss putting Craylew on Double Secret Probation.

He will retire at full pension and get well wishes for dedicated service to DCSS. Ho Hum

Anonymous said...

Double secret probation.

What does this mean?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:08 Reference to a classic movie: Animal House. One of the bad frats was put on "Double Secret Probation." Funny~

Anonymous said...

I teach at a school built under the Pope Reign:
no windows open (it is cheaper)
strong sewer smell in building
cracked walls
teacher sent to hospital after she turned on classroom lights (electrical shock)
cracked walls
heating and air is a joke
beautiful but non-functional ampitheatre
major asphalt cracks
leaks with every rain
doors that open in wrong direction
no ventilation
handicap access and egress very poor
blind areas where fire alarms are constantly pulled by student pranks
dead areas for wifi.....

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lewis is a fine example of the Peter Principle:
He was a wonderful building administrator...
Those in power with their own agenda moved him up the ladder because he was a "yes" man....The Board needs to go! And all their high paid relatives!

Anonymous said...

breaking news: clew temporarily steps down, ramona tyson is will be acting super

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

She left the district because her children weren't legally enrolled in a DeKalb County MAGNET school.

Anonymous said...

Hey---Guys,

Was Ramona Tyson ever a teacher?
What has she been doing with students and teachers and for how long?

Where do they get these fellows?

Please bring some ex-administrator from outside these last 5 years...

Dunwoody Mom said...

It is best at this time for Dr. Lewis to step aside. There is too much to be done and the investigation is quite a distraction - though why it the DA a year to even move on this investigation still puzzles me.

Anyway, for Annette Jackson to even talk about this situation is quite laughable after finding her children should not have even been enrolled in DeKalb schools.

Cerebration said...

Anon, 7:18 PM - I think some of our bloggers just aren't old enough!

Another update - "DeKalb School Super Denies Wrongdoing After Home and Office Searches"

http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=141161&catid=3


Wow - this thread is starting to look like Twitter!

Cerebration said...

Here's a quote I simply don't understand -

"So far, no one has been charged in the probe, but during the Thursday searches DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming issued a written statement confirming it was "all part of an ongoing investigation which was started at the request of the school system's administration."

Who exactly would that be?

Anonymous said...

My son just called. He's a teacher. He said he just heard that the BOE meeting concluded and the Lewis is stepping down as the investigation is ongoing and that Ramona Tyson is filling in for him in the duties of a superintendent.

How apropo that the person who gave the teachers eSis is the person they chose to fill in for Lewis. What were they thinking?

Anonymous said...

from ajc: "The board also voted to pay Lewis' legal expense and allow him to maintain his salary during his leave."

Pay his legal expense?!?!?!? Are you serious?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:25

"Ramona Tyson"- That's just great! She's behind the ESIS disaster! This former head of MIS was just promoted to her current position this school year. Will we ever see the light????

Anonymous said...

Yes. Ramona Tyson was a teacher. She taught Business Ed for a few years (2 or 3) in the early 80s.

DeKalb Schools sent her to work at IBM on an exchange program (remember when we had the Writing to Read program with IBM and a few other technology programs as well).

I believe she stayed 3 or 4 years at IBM.

When she came back to DeKalb she was placed in MIS. She's been there until she was recently promoted.

I'm sure she's kept up her teaching certificate.

Anonymous said...

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/22675741/detail.html
Bob Mosley will be interim Superintendent

Anonymous said...

I think Ms. Tyson taught in the mid 80s, but you are right about the length of her teaching tenure - 2 or 3 years of Business Ed.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lewis started all this when he was being interviewed about his car, remember Cere?

He was deflecting-- and mentioned something questionable about Pat Pope. Then, he wouldn't cooperate with the DA a few months ago, when he wouldn't turn over the documents.

I always tell me children that deflecting doesn't work -- guess no one had told Dr. Lewis that.

Anonymous said...

Just in on ajc.com: DCSS BOE decided to let CLew get his full salary while taking a temporary hiatus during this investigation... DCSS is suffering...now SACS is watching...good thing our schools are continuing to do a great job during this crisis

Anonymous said...

I just read in the ajc online that the interim superintendent is Ramona Tyson.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:41 #1: Bob Mosley? Where do you get that? The article you cite names Ramona Tyson.

Anonymous said...

Is qualified to be a caretaker superintendent? She has been a assistant superintendent of process and things---not of people!

She has not been NEAR a classroom in almost 25 years?

Come on Board of Education, hear the cries of your students and teachers!

Anonymous said...

New addition to DCSS school - three of six downspouts drain directly onto slanted ground and then onto sidewalk used by students all day.

Changing classes involves walking outside with no cover.

Vent hood in Chemistry lab not wired into power - cannot turn on. Will need to open up wall to fix this.

One of the two doors from addition opens onto a chain link fence - there are no other entrances to the building on that side, so door is not used. This means one door is used by all students exiting and entering the building.

Large opening (approx. 3 inches wide) floor to ceiling where addition attaches to older part of building. Will be fixed "when they tell us what color caulk to use".

Crack in wall that appeared within one week of opening of building.

Anonymous said...

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Moseley has been named interim superintendent.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/22675741/detail.html

Anonymous said...

Maybe they'll put another letter in his permanent file. This board is such a joke. That's what they said they did when he tried to buy the car on the cheap. That was one hell of a reprimand.

Do you think the superintendent gives his "permanent file" to his next prospective employer?

Anonymous said...

No increase of salary for interims, please. $165 000 /year is plenty..

Anonymous said...

Um - two posters have erroneously reported Mosely as interim superintendent. What gives?

Anonymous said...

O.K. which is right...Tyson or Mosley.....

The board voted to appoint Ramona
Tyson, the district’s deputy chief superintendent of business operations, as interim superintendent. The board also voted to pay Lewis' legal expense and allow him to maintain his $255,000 annual salary during his leave.
http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-superintendent-temporarily-steps-328667.html

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with leadership that hasn't been in a classroom in years. The skill sets of being a superlative teacher and being a superlative administrator are leagues apart. Haven't we just learned that from Lewis? I don't know anything about Tyson beyond her ill-considered foray into eSis. But the fact that she hasn't taught in a while is NOT a negative.

Cerebration said...

That doesn't sound like quality construction...

And - you're right Anon - it all goes back to those cars doesn't it?

This is from the 11Alive report - citing the list of items the DA wanted -

"Also, "any and all records pertaining to purchase of DCSS vehicles for personal use by Pat Pope and Dr. Crawford Lewis"."

Anonymous said...

Mosely makes more sense than Tyson! At least he has been an administrator in a school before.

Anonymous said...

It actually wasn't those cars -- it was that car, as Pope's purchase wasn't ever completed.

Anonymous said...

Tyson's 3 years of teaching 25 years ago IS a problem. If you have no understanding of what is going on in today's classroom, you are unqualified to make decisions that effect students and teachers.

Anonymous said...

I just read that Lewis has temporarily stepped down and the school board voted to continue to pay his salary as well as his legal fees. Are you kidding me?

Anonymous said...

How about 2 real principals with experience in all aspects of DCSS?

J. Williams-West and/or Randy Lee?

Who knows who might be tainted/touched by the investigation---other heads might/will roll.....

Cerebration said...

So, now we really do have over $500,000 in annual compensation - PLUS benefits - sitting in a big empty space together, biding their time.

Get out those Tiddly Winks!

Anonymous said...

Nope. If you look at the top administrators in school systems across the country, many enter the upper ranks long after they've left the classroom. Some even come from college/business backgrounds. Stepping from the classroom into the superintendent's role is NOT the best guarantee of understanding what's happening in the classroom OR knowing how to run a major operation like DCSS.

But that's a "whole 'nother" thing. Right now, we need a School Board that's focused, ready to cut the top heavy and expensive bureaucracy this "teacher-leader" has surrounded himself with, and put our limited dollars where they count . . . IN THE CLASSROOM.

Nepotism, cronyism, whatever you want to call it: time to cut the strings.

Anonymous said...

The problem with classroom experience that is so scant and occurred so many years ago is the understanding of the pupil teacher ratio in the success of students.

In addition, it is easy to be swayed to the idea that there is a quick fix (America's Choice, Springboard, data crunching from the Student database that integrates with eSIS, HSTW, benchmark testing every 6 weeks, Instructional Coaches, etc.) that can be purchased to "fix" our educational system in DeKalb.

A low pupil teacher ratio coupled with motivated teachers is the real proven formula for student success (look at the Ron Clark Academy).

We'll see if Ms. Tyson has the where with all to make the necessary cuts in the support and admin side.

Since she's interim superintendent, Dr. Lewis will probably be very influential. You seldom get that high up unless you make your supervisor's ideas your ideas or you have the same ideas to begin with.

If the investigation doesn't turn up anything substantial then Dr. Lewis will step back into his position and Ms. Tyson will once again report to him. I'm certain she's aware of that.

Anonymous said...

"Nepotism, cronyism, whatever you want to call it: time to cut the strings."

.... and you think Tyson doesnt fall into this category? She was rapidly promoted by Lewis!

Anonymous said...

The best person for the job is Pam Speaks on an Interim basis. I think that P. Womack had this planned out with a 45 day notice provision in CLew's contract. The DA would not have secured a search warrant without really strong evidence against CLew in the first place. Something is definitely brewing. She and CLew are (were?) pretty tight.

Anonymous said...

Mark Elgart's wife works as business director for a large real estate law firm.

themommy said...

I do think the DA got frustrated with CL wouldn't authorize the release of the documents she wanted. I think that bridge burned very fast.

Anonymous said...

At Columbia High School, the last part of the renovation that was "under budget and on time" has not been completed from what I have been told. Parents tell me the athletic fields that were torn up to provide a staging area for the construction are still not anywhere near ready. Work has not started on the baseball field (they probably won't play any home games this year on a field that should have been finished months ago). The new track that was promised apparently isn't coming and the quality of sod laid down on the soccer field (I think football also uses it) is very poor. As far as I can tell, no work has been done (ex. fertilizing) on the awful sod that was put down. I've been told that some sports teams are being bussed off-site to practice because none of the fields are playable. I know that the county is in trouble and there are greater concerns than athletic fields, but this is a job that was supposedly "on time and under budget" . . .and it still isn't done!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, it's more important to write all BOE members and ask that substantial cuts come from the support and admin side or we will end up with an enormous pupil teacher ratio and even lower teacher morale than we have now.

We must send a clear message that the most important people are the ones that spend all day every day in a classroom - that would be the students and their teacher.

Anonymous said...

Good time to be out there promoting SPLOST IV board. Well done, again.

Cynical? Yes.

Cerebration said...

Pam Speaks!! Awesome idea!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't about time to start a recall of the BOE?

Anonymous said...

This is only the tip of the iceberg the real problem is the rampant cronyism in administration and management. I hope the state steps in.

Anonymous said...

Yes, recall of the four who are not up this year is, I believe, an appropriate step -- if not for replacement, then for scrutiny/pressure that would influence them toward more responsiveness and accountability. I plan on going to the elections office next week to find out what the #s are for registered and eligible voters in each of the even-numbered districts. Don't have the statute in front of me, but my recollection is that we would need the signatures of 30% of the "registered and eligible voters" in each of the districts to start the process. We would have 45 days to collect those signatures.

Question to all: For those that are looking toward specific goals -- for instance, recall petitions -- how can we best start communicating in a forum that facilitates coordination, organization, and action? We're all fairly anon here. Facebook? Other forum? Please let us know your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Lewis and pope won't be getting much sleep tonight. I am very, very, glad that hopefully things will be coming to light.

When the people at sam moss were told that they would no longer have jobs as of june 30, 2009, we were treated like we had done something wrong. We got no support from either one. So tonight i am glad. The shoe is on the other foot, don't feel so good do it?

Anonymous said...

I hope that ms. keys also look at the board members because i think they know what is going on. And if they did not know then they have not done there jobs. At this point we as tax payers need to clean house. This a mess and i wish i could take my children out of the county.

Anonymous said...

Cere, or anyone else--Is there a synopsis on this site or elsewhere of this investigation--in other words, how did we get to this point?

Is there a synopsis of the various other compaints--bullying investigation, etc.?

Thanks
Al

Ella Smith said...

I do want to say in Ms. Jackson's defense that freedom of speech is a first amendment right and maybe some board members did not like to hear from her adorable children or her but freedom of speech is a right.

The other thing is that the school board made a policy I believe several years ago letting school teachers bring their children into the county if they teach in the county to feeder schools. Ms. Jackson's Husband was at Cross Keys and her children went to the Art's school. I am not supporting this situation. However this situation goes on all over the county with teachers children and if it goes on for some there should not be any discrimination because of freedom of speech. Because of the freedom of speech the children were pulled out of the schools.

I do know for a fact this will be looked into heavily since many teachers who live outside the county children come inside the county and go to school. You know Ms. Jackson will push this issue and I honestly do not blame her. Equal rights is equal rights for all. You should not pick and chose what teachers children can come and which cannot.

Anonymous said...

Ella

DCSS removed many non-residents from schools this past year, including those whose parents worked for the system but didn't work at the school.

Beginning next year, parents/employees may only bring their children with them to their school, not any in the feeder pattern.

Anonymous said...

His school-issued car is a Ford 500?! The hubris!

Anonymous said...

Great point about the recall. Let's get organized.

Ella Smith said...

Is this going to be inforced?

Why would they enforced this on the Jackson before they enforced this on other employees of employees in Dekalb County?

I just want to see everyone treated fairly.

I for one was always a little bothered that students were allowed to go to school in Dekalb and lived in other counties just because their parents taught at a neighbor school. I understand the school you teach at however. This is state law.

On the other hand the legislature is looking to change the situation entirely so children can go across state lines.

Fairness means everything to me.

Ella Smith said...

across county lines.

Anonymous said...

My god here we go again paying his legal bill and his salary, let him pay his on legal bill. Are you going to let him keep his p-card also?

And since Ms. Roberts did not want to be a part of this as she said I don't want Dr. Lewis to step down , let her pay his legal bill if she thinks so much of him. I will remember this when she runs for office again. What about this she don't beleave? Come on Ms. Roberts the hand writing is on the wall and you need to be concerned about our children. Do you realize what our children are going to be face with tomorrow? My kids talked about this at dinner this evening and they had many question as to what was going on. As a board member i expect more from you. What member of your family works for the system?

Anonymous said...

10:40 Is this really going to be enforced? I will believe this when I see it. DeKalb won't get it's act together to have this happen. I have a problem paying for taxes for educating children who do not live in the county. This is a state law that needs to change.

Ella Smith said...

Ms. Jackson has family that works in the DA office. She knows what is going on. It may not have been so smart to have been so mean to her. Sometimes you never know what might turn around and bite you when you are so mean to certain people.

Anonymous said...

Of course you realize that the Central Office personnel are not assigned schools so they can put their children wherever they want. They can pick and choose. They discuss the choice of schools like they were picking a private school for their child. With so few really top notch schools in DeKalb, that's quite a perk. Maybe that's one reason Central Office personnel don't really relate to the average parent in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Does Lewis get to keep his DeKalb owned car? The car and the P card should be returned to the district. Paying his salary and legal expenses, is more than enough compensation.

Do Pat Pope or Lewis have to give back their salary if they are convicted? How about legal fees? If not, in future contracts, this should be written in, as this is taking money that could be spent on the children's education.

Ella Smith said...

Actually this state law came allow years ago for a very good reason. Teachers who were very involved in school activites after school had many conflicts with their childrens' schedules. The law is not bad if it is not misused.

However it has to be used just to take your children to the school you teacher. This is the law. It does not say anything about feeder schools. Administrators have allowed teachers to abuse the law. The blame is on administrators for allowing this to happen.

giftedkids said...

Thank you Ella. Let's focus on the issues at hand & let Annette say what she feels to needs to say, just as we can. Please do not single out people who've done nothing wrong but speak their mind. BTW her daughter LIKED attending the meetings, she was not dragged. She may grow up to be in education because of her experience. She, like all of our children are watching & listening to us very closely right now. Let's remember that too...

Anonymous said...

Nice choice BOE.

I won't be voting for you again.

Isn't Ms. Tyson (the new interim-superintendent) the one who lauded "fairness" in decisions regarding cutting central office staff instead of thinking about cuts as they relate to dismissing those who aren't contributing to our childrens' education, and keeping those who are?

Megan Matteucci of the AJC reported:

'The 148 positions -- which are all filled -- represent about 15 percent of the district’s 982 employees in the central office. "It does not target one particular group, said Ramona Tyson, the district’s deputy chief superintendent of business operations. “This is to be fair.”'

Cynical? Yes.

Kate Goodhart said...

Superintendent Lewis requested a temporary leave, and the Board approved. Apparently, the Board spent this evening meeting with attorneys. They appointed Ramona Tyson as the interim superintendent. AJC has the full article:

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-superintendent-takes-temporary-328667.html

Cerebration said...

Al at 10:20 PM - we have over 250 posts at this blog - all of them riveting! Some of the best, however, can be accessed by clicking on some of the pictures on the right hand column of the home page. Click the Lego Construction Men to read some of the Heery/Mitchell lawsuit - or click Mr PotatoHead for an article about the bloat in the system. Then scroll through the listing of Previous Posts to see if there's another post that interests you. You can also perform a Search on the home page, using keywords of the topics you seek. Have fun!

Cerebration said...

This sounds pretty scary.

"According to search warrants obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, investigators were looking for Lewis' personal finance records, along with documents concerning him, Pope, Pope's husband and the couple's associates. Investigators also searched for records of gifts Lewis, Pope and school employees received from contractors, car purchases and information on seven school construction projects.

The investigators were looking for documents and computer files in connection with 10 different potential criminal charges, ranging from theft of federal funds and mail fraud, to bid-rigging and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, according to the search warrants."

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:51 here - forgot this - the addition described and all renovation to existing building were to be finished by 8/09. Current estimated finish date: 6/10. So much for "on time".

Dekalbparent said...

The full warrant is available as a pdf on the CBS Atlanta website, Click on the news story.

I checked into the procedure for recalls and reported on another blog thread. Check the state regulations before you get too far into it. http://sos.georgia.gov/elections/elections/candidate_information/conduct_of_elections.pdf

Getting the signatures of the correct percentage of voters who voted in the last election for the district may not be terribly hard (especially now), but the reasons an elected official may be recalled are very few and pretty stringent:

Every elected public official is subject to being recalled. O.C.G.A. § 21-4-4(a).
Grounds for such a recall are:
1. The official has, while holding office, conducted himself or
herself in a manner which relates to and adversely affects
the administration of his or her office and adversely affects
the rights and interests of the public; and,
2. That official has also:
(a) Committed an act or acts of malfeasance while in office;
(b) Violated his or her oath of office;
(c) Committed an act of misconduct in office;
(d) Failed to perform duties prescribed by law; or
(e) Willfully misused, converted or misappropriated, without
authority, public property or public funds entrusted to or
associated with the elective office to which the official
has been elected or appointed.
O.C.G.A. § 21-4-3(7).
A separate petition must be made for each person to be recalled:
A recall petition can only demand the
recall of one official, so separate petitions meeting these requirements must be
circulated for each official. O.C.G.A. § 21-4-4(b).

Finally, the official being recalled can challenge the recall petition:
In the meantime, within four business days of the filing of the application, the
subject official can file with the superior court for a review of the sufficiency of the
grounds of the recall in the application. O.C.G.A. § 21-4-6(a).

I found three that were overturned by the courts because they did not prove the reason they gave for recall. The recall petition must be VERY solidly thought out.

Anonymous said...

Ramona Tyson is a terrible choice. I found her attitude was that MIS concerns would trump educational concerns. This was my personal experience working in a school and being told this by several people who worked as Tech Support specialists and other positions.
I actually like Lewis, I think his heart is in the right place, but maybe his fingers in the cookie jar, not so good. Moseley is very good, not big on drama and rhetoric but good at getting things done. Pam Speaks, good choice, but as a BOE member that means a) possible conflict of interest and b) special election during a recession. I'll take Lewis over Tyson...in both boxing and education.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing! Here we are at the most critical time in future of our children's education and the Superintendent decides it is best to step aside.
Just let someone else cleanup the mess he and Board made. I suppose when all is said and done he will just move back in as nothing has happened, having had to have someone else due the dirty work.
We teach our children better than that. You are responsible for your actions and must stay to deal with the consequences.
If reading comments from various Board members does not show the urgency of replacing every one of them, I do not know what does.

Anonymous said...

Ella, Annette Jackson's children were illegally enrolled in DeKalb County Schools. Why whould she be given any credence in this situation?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Why would they enforced this on the Jackson before they enforced this on other employees of employees in Dekalb County?

This was quite the discussion last summer on this blog. DCSS now allows children to attend a school their parents teach at and not any feeder schools.

Anonymous said...

I’m not pleased by the choice of Ms. Tyson, but then DeKalb Schools has such a dearth of leadership I’m not sure who could do this job (Bob Mosley perhaps?)

Ms. Tyson gave DeKalb Schools the eSIS online gradebook, a decision she possibly regrets since it has been an enormous headache for teachers. Ms. Tyson was head of MIS when the decison was made – most probably on her recommendation. The BOE has long deferred to her judgment for any technology services or equipment purchases. She ran the department with an iron hand so there is absolutely no doubt she made the decision when and how to roll it out.

The Central Office personnel wanted a data crunching system to run reports, and she was trying to get them what they wanted (eSis integrates with a new comprehensive Student Data Management System that the Central Office insisted they had to have).

DeKalb Schools Central Office personnel (and the BOE) are notoriously un-technical for want of a better word. eSis was implemented immediately rather than rolling it out over time so the problems all hit at once and the teachers were going berserk over lost grades, a system that took minutes to move from one window to another, etc.

Ms. Tyson ran the MIS Department for the last 5 years until her recent promotion. DeKalb has little technology for students – 2 computers per classroom of 25 to 30 students, 1500 ACTIVboards for 7,000 teachers, no teacher laptops (some teachers still have the old clunker desktops from 6 or 7 years ago), one computer lab that all teachers vie for, etc.


Every other Metro school system uses a 3-tier system to purchase technology equipment in a rollout (e.eg. new computers for the schools, ACTIVoboards, etc.) for their schools:
1. Title 1 funds
2. General Operations funds (also called per pupil money)
3. SPLOST money

DeKalb only uses SPLOST money which is the main reason our students are starved for technology in the classroom.

In addition, the little technology that is available is often broken or not installed correctly.

On the other hand, DeKalb has an enormous number of personnel in Information Systems to support so little technology ($24,000,000 in salary and benefits to support the MIS Department - almost 300 employees in MIS).

Please ask any teacher you know in DeKalb if they have gotten good service from the technology department Ms. Tyson headed until recently, and I think you’ll get an idea of how this department was run.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Don't go bonkers over the choice of Ramona Tyson - the Board had to make a quick choice and it's not permanent.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw the salaries of DeKalb county top administrators posted on this website or maybe it could have been in the AJC. If anyone could direct me to that info I would appreciate it.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The salaries for all DCSS employees can be found here:

http://www.open.ga.gov/sta/search.aud

Cerebration said...

To be fair, the implementation of many of the frustrating failures in our school systems like America's Choice and eSis came about due to pressure from the federal government. First, NCLB and now the Race to the Top both required a data collection component in order to secure federal funding. Obviously, NCLB has done little to help move the needle much for Georgia schools and I wouldn't expect much from RTTT either.

In fact, studies done in several states have found that it is actually costing states and schools more money to implement requirements for federal programs than is returned in funding. As usual, it would most likely be at least the same or better without the federal government trying to wrestle control.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bowen, please give SPECIFIC EXAMPLES to back up your statement (about Lewis' voluntary temporary leave) quoted in the AJC yesterday -

“He has made the offer because, as always, he is putting the best interest of the district and students above his personal interest,” board chairman Tom Bowen said.

Why are you defending this man? If he is so wonderful, why is it not obvious to anyone but you and the rest of the BOE.

To be honest, I can't think of one single example of Lewis putting the district and the children above his own needs, and since I am not expecting a response from you, I am inviting fellow bloggers to submit their thoughts.

IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO CAN THINK OF A SINGLE INCIDENT THAT PROVES MR. BOWEN'S STATEMENT???

Anonymous said...

We've all been scammed again by this politically savvy but gutless BOE.

Reflecting on the outcries from Johnny Brown buyout the BOE knew in an election year that buying out Lewis would be disastrous to their reelection efforts.

So how do they give him half a million dollars to go away? Put him on indefinite leave.

If the guy is so distraught from having his home searched that he doesn't know when he'll ever recover, he should be dismissed. Immediately. Without pay. For cause -- his own admission that he can't do it.

Instead the gutless BOE puts him on the sideline along with Pope, stalling for two years any possibility of doing a national search for a real superintendent. One that doesn't chickensh*#! out when the hard decisions need to be made. One that is capable of firing friends and family.

Shame on you BOE for giving him this disguised buyout -- Your unwillingness to come forward and tell the truth has put the system and our children in limbo for two more years. You may think you're politically crafty but we see right through your sneakiness.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Honestly, the drama here is just sometimes over the top. Anonymous, do you think the name-calling is helpful? Will the name-calling help educate our children? Is the name-calling setting a good example?

Cerebration said...

Talk about drama - Dr. Lewis is front page AJC - above the fold.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I used to subscribe to the AJC daily (now only on Sunday so hubby can get his college football fix), but there was not nearly the coverage of Clayton County losing their accreditation as there is of this ongoing DCSS saga. Oh, well, I guess with the AJC struggling so mightily, anything for headlines.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the Board and Dr. Lewis have brought us to where we are now, and it is not a good situation.
Name calling, etc, does not get the job done. Just think how you react when someone calls you a name.
We need to make our points firmly,professionally, and yes -respectfully. Now is the time to offer concrete ideas to Board members on what we expect them to do.
If Board members do not respond to requests to do things right, then they need to be replaced.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that my child's teacher has her son at a school outside of their district. The HS he attends is over crowded and there are talks of redistricting but there are plenty of kids at the school who don't even live in our area.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at this link:
http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22673600/index.html
Video of Pat Popes Attorney. Presents some interesting arguments. How come this is not playing on the TV for all to see??

Kim Gokce said...

That interview is very disturbing ... obviously, he has a personal stake in his client's situation but he comes across as sincere in his personal assessments of the investigation. Very, very disturbing to contemplate the entire investigation as political theater ... and, he makes an excellent point about how all of this (assuming it is not ultimately criminal) should have been handled in the administrative process of BOE and DCSS. This may be the biggest lesson learned in the end - the system's lack of ability to police its operations.

This makes me think back to an Emory LaVista Parents Council meeting where the Board seemed unconcerned about having an enforceable ethics process for its own governance.

If ultimately this was all a snipe hunt created by unsubstantiated allegations or innuendos by Dr. Lewis, then the entire justice system and populace of DeKalb has been wronged. Aggregious ...

For my part, I am making sure that video circulates via CommunityRadar.com so more than us DCSS wonks have a chance to see it. Thanks for sharing it ...

Dunwoody Mom said...

The HS he attends is over crowded and there are talks of redistricting but there are plenty of kids at the school who don't even live in our area

NCLB transfers?

In Ms. Jackson's case, her children were in a Magnet school. The Magnet requirements clearly state that the students must live in the DeKalb County school district. Her children live with her in Gwinnett County.

Anonymous said...

I hope that all the people involved in the demise of DeKalb County School System learn a lesson about greed, misuse of power and loss of focus. I think that many started with good intentions but were blinded by the bling of power and money. Fortunately it all boils down to nothing lasts forever, thank goodness.

Dunwoody Mom said...

What demise? As has been stated, the classrooms are full, the teachers are still teaching, the students still learning, the coaches still coaching. This school system will still produce many thousands of college students, millions of dollars will be given scholarships, academic or athletic, to our students.

Anonymous said...

@: Video of Pat Popes Attorney

The lawyer says near the end of the interview, "find something wrong with the project or the work that was done...it doesn't exist".

It does exist! There are numerous problems at Arabia Mountain that should be under warranty, things that should have been caught while building it, however, the contractors that built the building cannot be reached to fix them so DCSS employees have to fix it.

This guy doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to construction! Things may look pretty on the outside, but start looking at the details and it looks pretty messy.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ Dunwoody Mom, the southside section of the AJC had a ton of Clayton County coverage. The AJC I sometimes picked up at work on the southside was different from the one I got on the north side. The AJC is distributed in zones, so not every edition is the same. The local TV news stations and AJC all covered the Clayton County/ SAC's story even more than they are covering this DeKalb situation. They also covered in depth the Cobb County school system scandal with the company in charge of school construction. This is a major story, but the AJC definitely covered the Clayton Co./SAC's situation even more than this.

Anonymous said...

Tom Bowen:“He has made the offer because, as always, he is putting the best interest of the district and students above his personal interest,” board chairman Tom Bowen said.


Crawford didn't put the interest of students first when he bought he DCSS vehicle for one third the value, or used his DCSS credit card for more gas fill-ups than was physically possible for one vehicle.

I like Tom Bowen as a person, but he is out of touch sometimes. Tom Bowen appointed David Moody to the chair of the citizen's school construction committee (the most powerful citizen committee DCSS has), despite that Moody owns a school construction company that bids on DCSS projects!!! That is a indefensible conflict of interest!!! Talk about chiken in the hen house! C'mon Tom, you have to be more aware of conflicts of interest. Always remember you represent taxpayers and parents first.


http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/ethics-101-our-boe-and-superintendent.html

Anonymous said...

"Tom Bowen appointed David Moody to the chair of the citizen's school construction committee (the most powerful citizen committee DCSS has), despite that Moody owns a school construction company that bids on DCSS projects!!!"

Tom Bowen simply appointed a 'construction knowledgeable' resident to the committee. The committee elected him as the chair.

Ginger said...

Anonymous said...

Tom Bowen simply appointed a 'construction knowledgeable' resident to the committee. The committee elected him as the chair.


The thing is, Tom Bowen's appointment of David Moody -- and David Moody's acceptance -- was unethical. David Moody is not the only "construction knowledgeable" resident of DeKalb County. Millard Choate of Choate Construction comes immediately to mind. Millard does not bid on school projects. An added benefit is that Millard does outstanding, high quality work. I'm not sure Moody would recognize high quality work if he fell over it!

Anonymous said...

Columbia High School is not completed. The project completion was delayed due to weather. The grassing and track will be completed once the weather breaks. You cannot install a new track and sod on rain soaked base. Project once completed will still be under budget though delayed due to weather. The contractor has done an excellent job.

Open + Transparent said...

Anon 8:31 PM, are you kidding??! The appointment of David Moody to the CAC by Tom Bowen was either one of the most naive appointments, or one of the most unethical, you'll ever see. Moody accepting it says much about his ethics and character.

Moody has been clear he will still bid on DCSS construction projects. His chairmanship of the CAC brings a huge advantage on how DCSS operates and awards contracts, along with much contact with DCSS staff. I've heard directly from Bowen's confidants that Bowen didn't really know Moody well before the appointment.
Then why appoint him?

The chairperson of the DeKalb County School System Board of Education, a billion dollar operation, needs to be smarter, and much more aware of ethical conflicts.

As Anon 9:46 said, they are many, many people knowledgeable of construction in DeKalb. If Bowen wanted someone with that background, he should have demanded his appointee agree to never bid on any DCSS projects, which run into the tens of millions ($70 mil for Tucker High alone). This is worse than Bowen dropping the ball. It is fair game to question his judgement, at least when it comes to appointees.

Anonymous said...

"Moody has been clear he will still bid on DCSS construction projects. His chairmanship of the CAC brings a huge advantage on how DCSS operates and awards contracts, along with much contact with DCSS staff."

What??? This points to the problem, many posters don't know what they are talking about. It has been reported on this blog that David Moody announced at the first meeting that he would not bid on any projects while serving on the committee. Do you have any proof that he did? If so, please name the project as it would be listed on the school system website.

According to Robert's Rules of Order, a committee chairman simply helps prepare the agenda, runs the meeting, and makes recommendations to the Board on behalf of the committee. He had no additional powers over any other member as he was one vote of 20.

Add to that, this committee had NOTHING to do with contract awards. They simply asked questions of the regarding the status of projects and where they were according to plan. Their objective was to make sure projects were done in accordance to the CIP and communicate whether that was the case to the public.

This committee had NO operational responsibilities. The name of the committee is really misleading as it is more of a review than advisory committee. While it is good that citizens volunteered their time to be a part of this process, they should not be subjected to false accusations of their roles.

Open + Transparent said...

Anon 10:44 PM, David Moody doesn't need an apologist. There are members of the CAC who are angry that Moody is on the CAC, because it discredits the CAC. It is a major advantage for him to be on the CAC versus those others competing with him for projects. Seriously, go to one of the fine colleges in the metro area and take a class on ethics. Unseemly. Unethical. Unfair. Inexcusable. Ya can't defend the indefensible.

Anonymous said...

Board of Ed members and other high ranking DCSS administrators, along with some of the Sam Moss staffers who make recommendation on contracts, attend CAC meetings. If you don't think its advantageous for Moody to be chair of the CAC, you've never operated in the business world.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 10:44 PM, David Moody doesn't need an apologist. There are members of the CAC who are angry that Moody is on the CAC, because it discredits the CAC."

Nothing to be an apologist for as you made several inaccurate statements.

If that is true that members are angry he is on the committee, all they would have to do is request a new vote for a chair. That is what we call in this country the democratic process.

BTW, I spoke to a friend on the committee and they indicated a few Board members expressed concern with this appointment. This was discussed at their first meeting when Mr. Moody allegedly made the statement about not accepting contracts while on this committee.

Just because you disagree with a decision, it does not make it an ethical issue. We are waiting for your proof that he will still bid on contracts as FACTS are how most people make judgments not false allegations.

Anonymous said...

Appearance is reality. Moody is named in the Pope investigation. He stated to the AJC that he will recuse himslef from any portion of a CAC meeting when a project he is going to bid for is discussed. Awful convenient if you ask me.

Cerebration said...

Well, it looks like Dr. Lewis and Pat Pope could have another person joining them for Tiddly Winks!

Dr. Lewis will at least feel relatively vindicated when he reads the story being reported at the Dawson News

It seems old Wayne Chelf has been suspended without pay from his job as principal at Dawson County High School.

themommy said...

Wow, Cere.

Wonder what he did? I really wonder about all those parents who pushed so hard for him.

Dr. Lewis doesn't make decision easily and this was well known even back then. Obviously, Dr. Lewis was on to something.

Anonymous said...

This is from the state press release:

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission’s release states that Chelf “broke rules by failing to maintain a professional relationship with students; failing to exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice; and failed to demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards.”

Sounds like SOP with Chelf. Except in Dawson County they have rules and procedures that they follow. Lewis may have recognized Chelf's obvious failings (unlike a lot of the Lakeside community), but he did not follow procedure and he sure as heck did not report him to the state. Instead, he kept having special community meetings, put things off, retracted decisions, etc. His actions during the Chelf thing showed that he was not a decisive leader willing to do the hard thing when it was right (until he absolutely had no choice).

Anonymous said...

Compare the state of Lakeside and the attitudes of the students during Mr. Chelf's administration as compared to Ms. Moton's administration. The atmosphere of the school went downhill. Part of this was the huge influx of students that Lakeside was unprepared for, that came, I belive in her 2nd year, but Mr. Chelf at least acted like he was interested in the students, came to events, got to know the kids, didn't hide in his office. I know some people didn't like him, but he did have the support of the kids which is important.

Anonymous said...

Chelf was a very polarizing figure. You either loved him or hated him. But I will tell you this: He knew the student body well. It makes a difference when the principal knows the name of every student and doesn't hide in the office all day. Students really appreciate that and it makes for a much more pleasant atmosphere within a school.

I can't figure out Lakeside parents and the surrounding community. They are incredibly vocal, but they are quiter than you'd expect when its comes to the facility (ugh, the rest rooms and pool are the worst you'll see), and they don't have a problem with all the administrative transfers and parents/students who lie about their address. Lakeside is full of admin transfers and also students who use the address of a relative/friend/etc. They wouldn't need all those trailers if they cut down on AT's and enforced residency requirements.

Anonymous said...

My high school biology teacher was fantastic--the kids loved him, he was good at communicating the material, and he was funny and charming. But he still had an affair with a student (and he was married to boot). His being liked by the kids didn't mean the school could give him a pass. Chelf was charming, to be sure, but he was a poor administrator.

And so is Lewis. You need to have the guts to appoint people below you who can do the job, not because you knew them where or when. There is too much of that here, and it results in poor decision making down the line.

Cerebration said...

More on the Wayne Chelf situation. It appears that he asked a teacher to change a grade for a student so that the student could graduate on the honor roll. He is, of course, gone from DCSS, however, it does add a link of credibility to Dr. Lewis' stance.

http://www.dawsonnews.com/news/article/3416/

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, now we know why Chelf was so well-liked.

Anonymous said...

Annon 10:44 2/26
"Just because you disagree with a decision, it does not make it an ethical issue. We are waiting for your proof..."

...and you'll never get the "proof" on ethical issues because the new ehtics policy won't extend past the school board members."

Anonymous said...

Lewis favorite non-response to people asking for details:

"I'm can't answer that because it's (a personnel matter, comment on a legal case,....), however I know I'm doing the right thing and I can sleep at night."

Think he can use that one with these guys? Plead the 5th baby--maybe that will work.

...and I hope the school board gets a transcript of his "interviews" because they can use it for a template for all of the ethics hearings they are gonna have to hold for the rest of the crums in the admin...
(wooo...Ron Rammsey, Marcus-the-Turk...)

Dekalbparent said...

Re: the civil rights complaint.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/civil-rights-complaint-filed-345054.html

Now, when we desperately need to ALL come together to address the needs of the whole school system, when we need to present a united front to achieve NO Needs Improvement schools,
we get this inflammatory (and inaccurate) rhetoric:

Simply put, in the Dekalb County School System, High Quality Academic programs known as Magnet High Achievers and IB programs are at a current ratio of 7 on the Northside of the
County to 2 on the Southside of the county.


Inaccurate

Additionally, the way Dekalb County School System determines access to the programs are based on priority being given to the home attendance area students in the case of the IB programs,
which has a 6 to 1 ratio. Six on the North end of the County and 1 on the South end of the County.


Inaccurate

In reference to the Magnet High Achievers programs, which uses the lottery system, on the surface it may look as if equitable access is given. However, it isn't. Because of the lack of IB programs on the South end of the County and priority given to home attendees on the North end, the Kittredge and Wadsworth High Achievers' lotteries are escalated to impossible odds for Students on the South end of the County to give them a significant opportunity to access. And again, the South end of the County's students, who are overwhelmingly predominantly Black, are negatively impacted the most.

Wadsworth is not in the south end of the county?


IS YOUR CHILD VICTIM OF DISCRIMINATION?

Probably, if your child falls in one of these categories?
1. Did your child apply for an IB program?

2. Was your child planning on applying for an IB
program but the location deterred you?

3. Was your child label ineligible to participate in the lottery
program for Kittredge or Wadsworth?

4. Is your child's ITBS scores at least in the 70th percentile
or higher in reading, math and/or both?

5. Under NCLB were you eligible to choose a school,
but the choices offered did not meet your child's educational needs?

6. Did you apply for a school choice under HB 251
because the school your child is to attend is way beneath your child's needs?

7. Did you apply for a school choice under HB 251
to meet the educational needs of your child?

8. Was your child eligible to apply for school choice under NCLB,
but instead you applied under HB 251 because the choices under NCLB did not meet your child's educational needs?

9. Did your child attend a high academic school during the 2008 - 2009
school year and was forced to attend a very low academic school or school on the NI list this school year 2009-2010?

10. Is your child interested in attending the Dekalb School of the Arts, plays in the orchestra, high academic but does not have access to a orchestra program in their current school?

11. Do you believe your child is very smart based on
ITBS scores (NOT CRCT) and grades?

12. Do you believe that the educational program your
child is in is way beneath your child's ability?
13. Is your child attending home school or a private school because the educational programs are beneath way beneath your child's academic ability?


Actually, yes, my child is. She qualified for the High Achievers' Magnet Program, but was not admitted...

Inflammatory.

retirededucator said...

Dr. Fannie Tartt retired from the Dekalb County School System in 1999and has never been paid nor worked for DCSC in any capacity since Dr. Fannie Tartt does not or has never formed a consulting firm and has never been on Linked In in any capacity. She continues to be a very active community servant who volunteers in many capacities. She did serve on the Blue Ribbon Task Force(free of charge)under the direction of Dr.Johnny Brown not Dr. Crawford Lewis.Mr. Moseley was not on that committee but Jim Redovain was on the committee.

Cerebration said...

THANKS! We always appreciate clarification!

Anonymous said...

@ retired educator 10:34 pm

The demographic information for the Fannie Tartt on Linked-in is Chief Learning Officer at DeKalb Schools as one of her positions. I don't remember Dr. Tartt's DCSS title.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Frannie Tartt was former Executive Director of Elementary Educatior.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-teachers-handing-out-346791.html

DeKalb teachers handing out free
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
10:53 a.m. Thursday, March 4, 2010

DeKalb County teachers will read to children this weekend as part of Read Across America.

Stories will be read Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at North DeKalb Mall and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Stonecrest Mall.

The Organization of DeKalb Educators will provide a free book to every child that attends, said David Schutten, the group’s president.

In addition to storytelling, the events will feature face painting and crafts.

Anonymous said...

That is what DCSS aspire to when they send teachers to Ron Clark Academy workshops for $300 a head?

http://www.11alive.com/rss/rss_story.aspx?storyid=145883