The AJC posted a good article in today's paper outlining some of the work yet to be done - all before we can focus on the classroom. One quote caught my eye:
Lewis, who appeared relieved to walk away after 33 years of working for DeKalb schools, said the district needs someone focused on the school system and not the ongoing criminal investigation.
“I believe the board needs a sitting superintendent that will be on site every day,” he said. “My attention is devoted to the other action going on with the district attorney’s office and of course, we are cooperating.”
Even without him at the helm, the results of the criminal investigation still could have a huge impact on the 101,000-student school system.
I have to ask, "Why - oh why - did it come down to Lewis basically excusing himself? Is our board so very weak that they could not come to this conclusion, dismiss him and make the above statement themselves? It is shocking to me that they allowed this situation to fester and stew until the very person causing the discordance basically was the one to say, "Gee guys, I'd better leave - you know, my being under a criminal investigation and on "paid leave" probably isn't the best thing for the system." My oh my - why didn't anyone on the board think of that?
Beyond that head-shaking disappointment, we now have to trust our board to turn their attention to the rest of the big items on their "to-do" list: budget cuts (at least $115 million in cuts!), the continuance of our major construction projects, the multi-million dollar lawsuit against Heery-Mitchell which continues to be delayed, the criminal investigation into Pat Pope, as well as the one into Dr. Lewis (which apparently taxpayers have already paid our limit of $100,000 for his defense!), and the statewide investigation into cheating.
Tom Bowen is quoted in the article as saying, "“We have some big issues out there with the DA’s investigation and the Heery litigation,” Bowen said. “As for day-to-day operations, we’ve done an excellent job and we want to continue that way.”"
I disagree with Tom. The board has done very little that would be deemed an "exellent job in day-to-day operations"—teachers, principals, bus drivers, librarians, custodians, cafeteria and other staff, working under incredible, unyielding stress and distraction are the ones struggling to maintain as normal environment as possible for our children—even as their own jobs hang in the balance. Tom should have given credit where credit was due.
We are really going to have to watch carefully in the next few months.
BTW - we do not have 101,000 students. The number reported to the state on the October 2009 Official FTE count for DeKalb was 97,958, however, the State website currently shows DeKalb with 96,907 students.
Check out these numbers yourselves - at the DOE Reporting Site and the DOE system description site. However, if we suddenly increased by 3042 students, and they are not aware of this at the state, we are losing some serious state funding.