Monday, May 10, 2010

Budget to be approved at board meeting today



NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING:

6:00pm Business Meeting
Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center
Building A, J. David Williamson Board Room
3770 North Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30032

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124 comments:

M G said...

No citizen comments at this meeting.

Cerebration said...

Thanks MG - obviously, I didn't know that. This will be an interesting meeting - I encourage everyone to attend if possible.

Anonymous said...

"Where there is no vision, the people shall perish."

Anonymous said...

@MG--
Well it's not like they pay attention to them

Anonymous said...

Eugene Walker is such a loser! I love the way he says we need to "increase revenue". All that means is to raise taxes. Sorry Walker, until I see some significant cuts AT THE CENTRAL OFFICE, DCSS does not deserve another dime of my money.

CUT THE CENTRAL OFFICE, no the teachers or their days. By the way, if you furlough a teacher do you not have to hire a substitute to cover for the teachers furlough day? How much does that save?

Please explain how teacher furloughs helps anything. CUT THE CENTRAL OFFICE.

Anonymous said...

All the furloughs for teachers will be during Pre-Planning and on work/staff development days. No substitutes needed since no students will be present on those days.

Of course, teachers will still be expected to have their rooms ready for the first day of school and to complete all the required staff development hours, plan lessons, grade papers, input grades, and all the other tasks that occur on these days. We'll just be expected to give up more of our own time and do them without any pay.

Anonymous said...

All the money raised from increased property taxes during Dr. Lewis's tenure went for additional non-teaching personnel and expensive, ineffective learning programs. We actually lost teaching personnel. Why do we think it would be any different under the same Central Office administrators who have been in place under Lewis. The BOE approved all the budgets and non-teaching personnel added - Roberts and Wood have been with Lewis since Day 1 so they are even more responsible than the others. They should have demanded Lewis spend our taxpayer dollars on the classroom where our kids are.

People are having a hard time paying their mortgages. Others are hanging on by a thread. Before you ask us for another dime, cut outside the schoolhouse and make sure teaching personnel are not reduced.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Central Office cuts - but they too should be made to those with the least impact to students and teachers. The word is that this is not what will be presented tonight.

Word is... the proposal is to cut and restructure the elementary, middle and high school departments of instruction. How will that help our student achievement?

Anonymous said...

"All the furloughs for teachers will be during Pre-Planning and on work/staff development days."
Would that it were so. I got word this morning that there is no school May 25 because of a furlough day

Anonymous said...

So what are the Central Office cuts? Does anyone know yet?

Dunwoody Mom said...

There is no school May 25th - this is a post-planning day. The last day of school is May 21st.

Dunwoody Mom said...

According to yesterday's AJC, all Central Office departments will have a 15% cut.

Anonymous said...

No one is asking the right questions! The proposal is to move to one k-12 department of instruction (which is massive)!

Title 1 Department- untouched!
Instructional Coaches- untouched!

Anonymous said...

DM--
last day of school for 'regular' DeKalb schools is May 21. Charters have one more week, so May 25 closes them to students. You have to wonder if DCSS will make up the extra $ this takes from charters, who only get 80 cents on the dollar per kid anyway.
Actually, you don't have to wonder.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I'm confused: Which charter schools are you talking about? All DCSS schools end on May 21st.

Anonymous said...

DM--
Sorry, no they don't. ICS for one finishes the school year May 28. There may be others as well.

Anonymous said...

DM:
http://icsgeorgia.org/
The International Community School, a Dekalb County Charter School

Anonymous said...

ICS is an independent Charter School - it runs separate from DCSS.

Anonymous said...

As a 501c3 non-profit organization, ICS is governed by its elected Board of Directors. Board members are volunteers with various areas of expertise that are helpful in developing programs, exercising fiduciary oversight and maintaining an effective long-term vision for the school.

Anonymous said...

International Community School *
Located in metro Atlanta, International Community School is a K-6 public charter school.

School District:Dekalb
Address:3260 Covington Hwy
City:Decatur, GA
Zip:30032
Tel:(404) 499-8969
Fax:
Director:Dr. Laurent Ditmann
Web:http://www.intcomschool.org/
Charter Type:Independent
Grades: K-6
Students: 416
GCSA Member:Yes

Anonymous said...

ICS is indeed run by its Board, but it is also part of DCSS. See http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/schoolchoice/charter.html
While it sets its own schedule for the year, ICS also has to yield to DCSS and state requirements (think CRCT) as a public school. Unfortunately in setting May 25 as a furlough day rather than say the following Tuesday, DCSS has forced ICS to close its doors to students for a day.

Anonymous said...

Title I and Instructional Coaches are paid from Federal funds. That is why they aren't being cut. It might be helpful to see if this Federal money could be used for a different purpose

Anonymous said...

Federal funds - Title 1 - the Central Office "piggy bank". Didn't one fo the BOE members say he would like to see some paperwork reduction for teachers if he took away their pay. Well, moving the Instructional Coaches into Title 1 positions where they directly instruct teachers would accomplish that while providing struggling math and reading students with the small group instruction they so desperately need.

Anonymous said...

where can you watch the live streaming of the board meeting tonight???

Anonymous said...

ICS is dependent on DCSS running the buses, but it does have a waiver of the DCSS rule for setting the actual calendar of instruction days as long as the total number of days is 180. Usually the school takes a fall break and full week in Feb so that it must go one week longer in the spring to match the total days.

My understanding is that when administration went last week to try to schedule a bus for a 4th grade field trip on the 25th, they were informed. "Not only can you not have an extra bus, you won't get any buses at all. So our last day will still be Friday the 28th, but Tuesday will have to be an "emergency, we have no buses day". Typical coordination and communication.

Now before folks start whining about how unfair it is that the charter school kids are going to have to go to school one less day this year, I would remind everyone that ICS's school day runs about 50 minutes longer than the other DCSS elementary schools---so there is actually much more instruction time that the kids get even with this "oops!"

Cerebration said...

You are talking about the International Charter School - not the International Student Center run by DCSS right?

We posted a wonderful story on this school a while ago - it's quite a place!

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/10/american-story-right-here-in-dekalb.html

Cerebration said...

Looks like they are broadcasting live on Comcast 24.

Anonymous said...

PDS 24 is so much fun to watch! I am concerned that teachers will not have time to get their class rooms ready.

I see so many 6 figure salaries for people who are friends and family of current and former BOE members. Nepotism and cronyism is running rampant in DCSS. It's time for change!

I'm sorry Ms. Tyson you have been part of the problem. You can talk all you want but TRUST is very tough to gain when I see the waste in our central office.

No more families or friends. Time to make sure everyone who works at DCSS actually helps the system.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher I cringe at the thought of having no preplanning for the start of the school year. I guess I'll have to work from home to get ready for the school year. That doesn't sound like much of a furlough day to me.

Anonymous said...

SCW looks and sounds not great. I do wonder about her health.

Anonymous said...

SCW just doesn't get it.

Sacrificial said...

Teachers really need those days- they DONT get it!!!

Sacrificial said...

What about the people you are cutting- that won't have a job at all?????

Anonymous said...

What is SCW talking about? She appears so lost.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop yelling expletives at the television.

Anonymous said...

If we stop paying for transportation for Magnet programs- it will force parents to work to support and improve the school in their own community!

Anonymous said...

Each meeting for SCW is like her first one. I am worried about her.

Dekalbparent said...

Anan - ME TOO!!! Can't stop yelling - good thing I'm not there...

MESSAGE TO SCW - the $*&&^ satellite locations are ON THE DCSS WEBSITE!!!

"Do the parents know the locations?"

I freakin' hope so, or they've been dropping their kids off at a deserted parking lot for the last year and a half!

Anonymous said...

This is just gonna get worse and worse..... it's really gonna get bad in another thirty minutes! You gotta laugh to keep from cyring!

Anonymous said...

WOW, watching these idiots in action is truly eye-opening!

Anonymous said...

As a parent of Magnet students I have no problem with stoping the transportation. i made the choice to send here from her home school.So it should be my responsibility to get her there.

Anonymous said...

Listening to Jay Cunningham - WHY is it the kids on the far south end are going to KMS and Chamblee? Why are they not going to the High Achiever Magnets in the southern part of the county?

Anonymous said...

@ anon 7:15, many of the parents that are sending their kids to magnets have fought & tried to work with there local schools--at what point do we continue to keep banging our heads against the wall. I for one, and tired of fighting with DeKalb and will be pulling my child from DCSS and sending her to a private school.

Anonymous said...

This is pure comedy. I need to pop some popcorn.

Anonymous said...

What is JC talking about??? What "new administration" and why do they keep referring to Tyson as the "superintendent"....

Can we have a motion to start the search for a permanent superintendent!

Anonymous said...

Do you think Jay thinks that increasing revenue to pay for magnet transportation is appropriate? How about using that money to keep class sizes reasonable? Magnets take tremendous resources and have small class sizes -- let's keep giving them more while the other schools get less.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:20

This is a choice of parents......they choose to send them to those particular schools.. this is why it should be their responsibility to get them there.

Sacrificial said...

Here we go.... North vs South......

Anonymous said...

And what is he saying about wanting to put everything on the north end? What are "they" trying to put on the north end? I thought this was all about what they are going to CUT.

Anonymous said...

Zepora, what about the behind the scenes politics you are engaging in to protect your child?

This is heartbreaking and probably indicates a need to divide DeKalb County in at least half. Given that Ms. Copelin-Woods says that over 80 percent of the FTEs in DeKalb come from South DeKalb, S. DeKalb schools should be fine without the rest of the county.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand it... you wanna cut people's jobs and increase class size but keep transportation of magnet students- I consider that a luxary

Anonymous said...

no millage increases, you can't spend why you are already getting responsibly!!!

Anonymous said...

None of them seem to realize that TEACHERS teach students.

If any of them would argue half as passionately for compromising on the cuts to teachers, I'd think they were getting a clue.

Anonymous said...

No one has even questioned the 150 central office layoffs- who are they????

Anonymous said...

I think it is important for readers of the Blog to know that not once at any of the Budget committee meetings nor at any of the Board Committee of the Whole meetings held to discuss the budget, was the issue of transportation mentioned.

It was only when magnet parents got word of the elimination in the last few days that the board members brought it up TONIGHT. What it says to me is that most magnet parents are so comfortable that they never thought the budget challenges would impact them.

Anonymous said...

They could include any of the following folks that have no contract: CO secretaries, MIS, Special Ed Lead teachers, instructional coaches, instructional coordinators, title one coordinators and coaches, counselors, human resource, finance personnel, transportation....

Anonymous said...

she is completely out of friggin control!!! what an embarassment.

Anonymous said...

You have to forgive the BOE and Ms. Tyson. They have been brought up in a system that feels teachers are the bottom of the barrel as evidenced by the fact that almost everyone in DCSS makes more than teachers (reference the HVAC and Kitchen maintenance employees that are paid on a higher scale than a teacher with a bachelor with 3 years of teaching experience).

To these people, the school system is not about educating young people in the county. It is about "career paths" and "upper management" - buzz words you hear all the time in the non-teaching side of DCSS. This system has actually worked very well for them. Look at the hundreds of personnel who make six figure incomes and will retire with an annual salary that teachers can never hope for. Why on earth would they give this up? And the BOE members have so many friends and family in these positions. It's all about relationships and never about competence.

Anonymous said...

SCW likes to politize and polarize every issue.I do not think she has the students of DCSS best interest.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me that "She Can't Win" (SCW) and Zepora Roberts voted to keep magnet bussing but to lay off paraprofessionals in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Really Zepora. Really. You want to cut our pay but not yours. Really.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Okay, I just got home. What did I miss?

Anonymous said...

My husband made me stop watching because I was getting too mad. What happened with the 6-out-of-7 schools (line item #19)?

Anonymous said...

6 out of 7 went away, i believe

Anonymous said...

The BOE members are all now "for the children". The entire BOE - everyone of them - approved America's Choice ($8,000,000), Springboard ($1,400,000), 80 non-teaching Instructional Coaches ($8,000,000),13 non teaching Literacy Coaches ($1,000,000), swelled MIS to 291 employees ($19,000,000), 212 Security personnel ($12,000,000), and 61 Human Resources personnel ($5,000,000). In addition, DCSS funds Fernbank Science Center with 29 teachers ($7,000,000) and 36 non-teaching employees.

All this BOE had to do was cut in the non-teaching areas. Parents would have backed cuts outside the classroom to the hilt. But they chose to cut in the classroom. This BOE thinks they will slide by until the economy picks up, and everything will be business as usual - teachers and students in last place. Who know? Maybe they will.

Anonymous said...

This meeting was terrible. Just terrible. I had to get up when ZR asked that the cellular contract be defeated because a representative from AT&T is serving on Edukalb. When she asked that it be pulled off the consent agenda, I had hoped that it would be talk about rules for cell phone use by employees.

Nope -- pure politics.

If any perspective superintendents were watching, they have run out of the room screaming.

I am curious is S. DeKalb parents believe that the school system should be split into parts?

Anonymous said...

I just caught the tail end of the meeting. Was there any decision on cutting Media Center programs in schools under 450 to half time?

Anonymous said...

And who are the 150 in Central Office to be let go?

Cerebration said...

Wow - I'd better set up a DCSW Twitter account! You all have been going to town! I will write up a full post later, but for now -

- no tax increase
- 9 of the 18 transportation hubs stay in service
- only 30 media clerks cut instead of 59
- only 9 CTSS cut instead of 18
-no change to schools on 7 period day
-voluntary 10% reduction for board pay

Final budget cuts - $104,473,918
Total Gen Fund budget 2010-11 - $746,636,912
Total Consolidated budget - $1,037,292,826


And a whole lot of "politicking"... free TV campaigning! North vs South, etc... yada yada...

Anonymous said...

anon 8:54pm

The 150 central office positions are supposedly going to be 15% in each department.

Anonymous said...

Judging from the comments, the BOE members are very worried about the upcoming election.

You all can say all the negatives you want about eduKALB but they have these BOE members rattled. Wood seemed more interested in what eduKALB and DOE David Shutten (a member of eduKALB) might do to defeat her in November than this budget that is going to hurt the education of the kids in her community.

Anonymous said...

I missed the fourlough days for 2010- 2011 school year... How many days......

Anonymous said...

They sure do hate for parents to call and email them. LOL

Fernbank Volunteer said...

15% in each CO department (Fernbank Sci Cntr is Central Office)...so, let's have 15% fewer kids in STT, 15% less AP Physics and Chemistry, 15% fewer Advanced Studies classes, 15% less of Fernbank Forest for the community to enjoy, 15% less in supplies that FSC gives out to schools, let's close up 15% of the exhibits at FSC that so entertain visitors, only have one plant sale each year, close the planetariuim 15% of the time, and so on...plus let's lay off 5-6 teachers at Fernbank, thus treating them differently than any other teachers in the County just because they happen to be at Fernbank.

But what really counts, of course, is cellphone contracts...which will SO impact the kids of DCSS.

Anonymous said...

15 furlough days for 12 month employees, 10 furlough days for 11 month employees, 7 furlough days for 10 month employees.

Anonymous said...

So really, how much money do you save having 9 satellite pick-up locations instead of 18?

Nice big fat cost savings BOE. You now just have to have the same number of buses to transport the kids, it's just that they (the buses) and the parents have to drive further to get to the drop-off location.

Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Thanks...did they happen to say when the 7 days would be taken for the 10 month employee......

Anonymous said...

Fernbank Volunteer

Next school year students across DCSS are facing huge class sizes. FERNBANK IS A LUXURY AS IS MAGNET TRANSPORTATION.

Across this country, magnet students get themselves to schools of choice. Why does DeKalb need to be different? Oh yeah, because mostly middle class African-Americans don't want their children to go to school with poor African Americans.

Anonymous said...

@anon 8:29, as a SDek parent, I don't think the system should be split. What I don't think a lot of the parents in SDek realize is that the parent groups on the Northside fight for what they want & when they get together, it is pretty much no stopping them.
Jay was right when he said the parents on the southside need to get it together. Many scream & holler about disparities--but don't want to do what it takes to get what is truly needed. Until there is a serious group of like minded parents willing to fight for what is truly needed: discipline, a willingness to get rid of the troublemakers; increased expectations of their children; strong administrators that backup the good teachers and get rid of the bad ones, and more parental involvement--nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

What a joke Cunningham and Copelin-Wood are. They say they are not talking about the "North South" issue and then in the very next sentence they talk about how the schools in the north are so much better than the south.

First of all, what's wrong with the schools in the south? If they are so bad and they need additional transportation to get the kids into schools where the education is better, like in the north, it seems to me we need some leadership changes to make those schools in the south better.

Well DUH!

They talk about the Magnet programs and charter schools popping up all over the north.. Well hey BOE, the parents in the north are clearly plugged into the schools more than the south.

Please! Parents you need to take a better roll in your local schools. If you can't and the system clearly won't, then you better elect better leadership. The schools up here in the north are packed! We can't take too many more kids from the south.. You south DeKalb folks need to take a hands on approach. We all work up here too, but we make time for our kids education. The Clinton administration made sure we could get time off to help our kids, that's what I'm doing with my personal time.

Just today I pressured washed, in the rain, our outdoor classroom. Our 5th graders, who are graduating next week, can actually sit down without getting their clothes dirty during their ceremony. Don't expect the county to help you, they will not since there's no money available.

Last week, I spent several hours at the school reading to the kids and helping out the kids at lunch.. Simply put it's called getting involved! You can do it too in the south, just like we are in the north.

We have grandparents of students who come in and help our librarians, excuse me, media clerks in our library. They spend time reading to the younger kids, which gives our teachers time for planning, since DCSS won't.

We're willing to help fill in the cracks. Please folks this is not about North or South, it's about involvement! I know it's tough right now, DCSS does not have the money, well actually they do, but they want to keep programs that are clearly a waste of time, energy, personnel and money.

Ms. Tyson, I do not think enough Central Office Staff are making a sacrifice. How about asking for Robert Moseley's and Alice Thompson's resignation? Those two salaries will account for at least a dozen Para Pros. How about contracting out PDS 24? You can get rid of at least 2 six figure salaried people, who happen to be from a former BOE members family.

DCSS needs to make serious cuts and not in the classroom. Our school's PTA paid for every class to have a Promethean Board with working light bulbs. Plus, this year we are adding HDTV's to every classroom to enhance instruction.

We're doing what we can to make life easier on our teachers since they are the ones getting hurt, working in our school system. We're doing all we can to keep our good teachers. Heck, we even pay to have our bathrooms clean and work properly as well as have air fresheners in them.

It takes some involvement and it can happen. SHOW your kids what it's like to help. You know our President will be expecting big things from your kids in the future. Kids will expected to give hours of service to be able to graduate. As a parent I'm showing my kids what I can do to help right now. It's easy and a lot of fun!

So stop crying about the inequities of the south vs. the north. YOU CAN CHANGE the schools of the south for the better. GET INVOLVED! Stop expecting everything to be handed out to you. Make a commitment right now to give 5 hours of time each semester next year. If every parent did that at every school we would not have to worry about our slobbering, pathetic BOE members, from the south, who are screaming racism and politics North vs. South!

Anonymous said...

SCW commented that parents may opt to send their children to State approved charter schools. She said: "What are we going to do when they [the students] leave the system? That is my argument."

WTF Sara. You get on your soapbox and say that Magnets are important, we should fund transportation to them, etc. to give parents a choice. If parents need "choice" isn't the State approved charter a good thing?! Come clean Ms. Wood -- what's your real agenda? It's certainly not about offering educational choices for the children if your main concern is "what if they leave the system". What if they do Sara? Who's the one who'll suffer? You or them?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson said none of them can be student days and that based on the teacher's forum, she would involve teachers in the decision.

Some decision.... when do we want to have 70% of our planning/word days taken away.

Let's see, if we have 3 pre-planning days, that leaves 0 for the rest of the year.

Have 2 pre-planning days, 1 post-planning, 0 the rest of the year.

1 Pre-planning day, 1 day at beginning of 2nd semester, 1 post-planning day.

None of the options are going to promote planning for instruction.

Anonymous said...

I'm a magnet parent and truly think the transportation should be stopped for magnets. Carpools can be set up and it would work out one way or another.

But did they take away the activity buses? I was wondering about that. I was expecting people all over the county to be making a lot more calls about that but I didn't really hear much.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8:59
Unlike Magnet programs, Fernbank Science Center reaches all kids in all parts of the county. Not a fair comparison. STT is not available to all 9th graders, but all schools do benefit for services from the Science Center. And unlike Chamblee or Kittredge, FSC is actualy located pretty close to the center of the county and is thus more accessible to all.

As for the 15% across the board cuts, laying off a PhD level science teacher from Fernbank is not equivalent to laying off an administator in Building A/B (who has gotten a job because he/she is related to someone else in the system).

Anonymous said...

I think there won't be activity buses and I think parents don't know about this yet. There was no email sent to those parents like there was the magnet parents.

Anonymous said...

How about we cut all the buses to athletic practices and events? Aren't sports an "extra"? Let parents whose kids are in sports raise the money though the booster clubs. Why maintain sports programs while increasing class size?

Anonymous said...

the money raised by charging admission to sporting events pays for the busses to carry the teams. Booster clubs already pay for any busses needed during the off season.

Anonymous said...

Who ever decided that the Promethean boards were a good idea? For an excellent teacher, a whiteboard works perfectly well. Here we are stuck with a technology that is super expensive to maintain while we can't even keep the school bathrooms clean. Sell them on Ebay and put the money into something that truly enhances learning!

Anonymous said...

sorry, too many ssss in buses.

Anonymous said...

@ Fernbank Volunteer

I don't think all the science teachers in DCSS that have no supplies or equipment and won't be doing labs since they'll have 35 students in their classrooms would agree with your comments while FSC takes up $7,000,000 of the DCSS budget.

Why don't you contact the BOE to see if they can lay off some of those 36 FSC admin and support personnel instead of the 29 FSC teachers? There's plenty of "fat" there.

Anonymous said...

ZR was the ONLY one who objected to the 10% voluntary decrease. Why, if it's VOLUNTARY? If I remember correctly, she objected to it when it started at 5%, before they upped it to 10. I know she won't volunteer.

Greed. Pure, unabated greed.

When a vote took place, ZR said the vote was partisan and racially based. Before that, at one point, she went off on a tangent about racism and partisanship and had to be quieted as she wasn't discussing the budget. Shameful.

This is if I remember everything correctly. I might have mistaken ZR for SCW at some point. I was too floored at the comments. SCW kept the N vs S debate alive.

I don't know a lot about the N vs S or all the DCSS politics, but I do know a MORON when I see one.

Why go to any other circus when you can see one for free?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I already know the answer to this, but will the teachers be getting any increase for experience this year? I know that they did not receive their step increases last year.

Anonymous said...

Requiring board members to have a college education would eliminate much of the insanity we viewed tonight. Our representatives for the education of our children should be educated and be able to speak coherently and logically.

Anonymous said...

No step increases for the third year. We will have teachers in their sixth year in DeKalb who have NEVER gotten a step increase.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:18 pm
"Who ever decided that the Promethean boards were a good idea?"

Ms. Tyson, head of MIS. She was very proud of DCSS being one of the largest purchasers of Interactive boards (Promethean boards). That purchase and installation along with the eSis system she located and recommended convinced Lewis to promote her to Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations.

Anonymous said...

Requiring board members to have a college education would eliminate much of the insanity we viewed tonight. Our representatives for the education of our children should be educated and be able to speak coherently and logically.

While I totally agree with you on the second half of your comment, I have to disagree, to a degree, with the first half. While it does show the tenacity to go through higher learning, college can't teach common sense. There are also some professions that have to be experienced to be learned, rather than just being in a class about it.

Anonymous said...

School board members need to represent education, and should therefore, be educated people themselves.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:32 pm

I agree. College degrees are not necessary for a BOE member. A number of them have college degrees - look at Walker - he has a PhD. Do you think he is concerned about students as he approved all those non-teaching positions and raises for them? He also was one of Lewis's greatest supporters. What BOE members need is dedication to our children and common sense. Not one of these BOE members have either one.

Anonymous said...

Oh, oh, I almost forgot:

Jay's most excellent political speech moment: He made mention that the governer doesn't like education (or something to that effect).

Really? In the middle of a budget meeting?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:37 pm, I am definitely not a Gene Walker fan but I found that he truly seemed to dislike Dr. Lewis and often challenged him at a time when few board members were. He voted against the raise as well (though he is a nearly perfect politician, so that didn't surprise me.)

He is as smooth as water.

Anonymous said...

This BOE knew from the Ernst and Young audit in 2004 that 2,500 non-teaching employees are being overpaid by close to $15,00,000 a year while teachers were not being overpaid. They chose to ignore that fact - in particular the two BOe members who were BOE members at that time - Roberts and Wood.

$15,000,000 a year for 6 years means overpaying DCSS non-teaching employees' has cost us $90,000,000.

Non-teaching personnel are still being overpaid, and Lewis added even more of them while he cut teachers (and every member of this BOE supported and continues to support this).

That's why we're cutting teachers and packing students into filthy conditions.

Ella Smith said...

I went to the board meeting tonight and was turned away by three school police officers outside. They said their was not room for many and turned them away. They told me I would have to leave and I told them I was not leaving. I was staying until the news media came out and asked others to stay also. We stayed and made a line. Not long after that they started letting us in to hear.

It was crowded and I stold up. It was horrible and hot. This meeting should have been moved to a more appropriate location. This was not an appropriate location for a meeting of this magnitude.

I was floored at the racial and political comments made tonight.

First of all school board positions are not party affiliated and for Sara Woods to indicate that they were is inappropriate. Right after that a republican voted with her and totally showed that what she said was false.

I for one do not think raising taxes was the answer. We have people in this county about to lose their homes already. They cannot afford that extra money a month. All the tax money gets sent to the state anyway and we get a portion of it back based on the formula. Does this mean that they would actually take more from us if we raise taxes? I would be curious to know the answer to this.

The North/South issue is embarassing. We are in the 21st century and the thing I love the most about the school my son goes to is the diversity. It has always been important to me that my children go to extremely diverse schools. Our society is a diverse society and I want my children to be exposed to a diversed society.

I agree that schools need quality teachers throughout the school system and equal opportunities. However, in some situation I feel the north side of the county has come up short regarding new equipment and schools. However, this does not in itself make a good school.

I do feel that we need to go to longer days, after-school programs, and even year-round schools in school that are not performing. We have got to try different strategies. The same strategies may not work at every school.

I was shocked at the attitude toward ATT because they are a business partner in the new group to support quality school board members. To come out and vote against a company because of them being on a group and to take business away from them publically like this was interesting. However, I do think it will backfire.

This may only give people reason to run against these candidates and also give AT&T reason to pour tons of money into the campaign that they might not have spent otherwise. These decisions were made for personal reasons and not for the children of Dekalb or what may be best for the school system. These decisions were made due to anger at AT&T. With all the important decisions to be made tonight. This apparently was weighing heavy on some school board members minds tonight.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, sounds like I missed a classic showing of the DCSS BOE. Please please tell me I am incorrect in my understanding that these idiots preserved magnet transportation, and expect us regular folk to pay our teachers less, have them work less days to do the same amount or more work, accept more taxes to pay for things that the majority do not agree with and accept larger classroom sizes.
I am appalled.... What a joke these people are.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, sounds like I missed a classic showing of the DCSS BOE. Please please tell me I am incorrect in my understanding that these idiots preserved magnet transportation, and expect us regular folk to pay our teachers less, have them work less days to do the same amount or more work, accept more taxes to pay for things that the majority do not agree with and accept larger classroom sizes.
I am appalled.... What a joke these people are.

Ella Smith said...

Promethean boards are excellent teaching tools. All the science teachers at my school have them.
They are 20 times better than a regular board.

Anonymous said...

This was a BOE running scared. All that blaming companies (AT&T in particular who by the way probably employs a lot of DeKalb County taxpayer) and people (David Shutten), and wringing their hands about the budget while they are cutting every schoolhouse job they can.

I'll tell you what I didn't hear. I didn't hear from Ms. Tyson or the BOE a single thing they are going to do to help students get an education. Nothing for students - everything to preserve the bloated programs and departments and thousands and thousands of employees that never teach a single child.

What a worthless lot this BOE is - every one of them. The ones who aren't running for re-election this fall should have the decency to resign.

Anonymous said...

Whether you like Gene Walker or not, he is a man of principles and makes his decisions based on principles and beliefs, not on emotions and insanity like ZR and SCW. He is not disrespectful of his fellow board members. Same could be said for Pamela Speaks. Her remarks are thoughtful and her decisions deliberate. These other ladies (ZR and SCW) simply have to go. They have absolutely no business serving on a board of education.

Anonymous said...

What a fiasco. Some of the board members like Cunninghand and SCW think they accomplished something by their insane motions to reduce a few proposals by half? Like reducing the number of satellite bus hubs to 9. Which 9 hubs do you want to close Jay? The ones that do not serve students in your district, I expect.

This is what lawyers call trying to split the baby in the middle. It is a ridiculous result and will not achieve any savings.

I am also a magnet parent and we have coped the last two years with a variety of car pools and private van services. Other parents have used MARTA successfully. I would rather save a couple of extra teachers in my child's school and deal with the transportation issue on my own terms.

Ella Smith said...

I understand that transportation is a tough subject to many. However, it is unfair to take away from the schoolhouse to transport students around the county. Think what we could do with the money we spent on transportation.

Dekalb has spent way too much money too many years on transportation. Let's make sure all our local schools are quality schools. Lets put the time into our communities and make a difference. Lets use proven best practices. The state needs to give bonuses to its teachers in Title I schools for proven achievement and encourage the best and brighest teachers to teach in schools that are not achieving. Lets reward teachers who go into these schools who are not achieving and bring up test scores.

Anonymous said...

Promethean Boards are only useful if you have the $550 replacement bulbs that they need to work when they go out. My school doesn't have any extra bulbs, so as the board lights go out the expensive boards are now worthless until we get bulbs.

linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I want to return to the statement JC made about "they're" wanting to put everything on the North end of the county. Did he ever elaborate? I had to step away a couple of times.

Help me here, everybody. Here's what I found that is not in the north part of the county: Wadsworth, Chapel Hill Middle and SW DeKalb High School, (all High Achievers magnet programs). Arabia Mountain, Avondale Elementary School IB program, Clifton Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education, Columbia Middle School Academy of Math, Science, and Technology, Columbia High School Academy of Math, Science, and Technology, DeKalb Early College Academy, DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts, Martin L. King Jr. High School IB, Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, Smoke Rise Charter Elementary School, Tucker High School IB, Evansdale Mathematics, Science, and World Language, Midway Montessori Elementary School, and Midvale Elementary School IB.

Anonymous said...

@ Ella 10:12 pm

I agree that the Promethean boards are great teaching tools. However, many of the boards were given to teachers who didn't want them - e.g. math in middle school and science in high school. The math and science teachers who did not want them still had to take them while other teaches were eager to get them and would have used them to the fullest.

MIS contracted with Dell to install the Promethean boards. Our $19,000,000 a year MIS group doesn't do installs and maintenance of computers and interactive boards. Dell did a poor job in many instances and no one followed up. A lot of teachers just gave up in frustration. Forget any real training on them. Training is not a priority for MIS.

MIS was warned that schools without wealthy PTAs would not have the money to replace the $500+ bulbs so they can't say they didn't know of this problem. MIS chose the short neck, short throw boards with the projectors attached so they wouldn't have to worry about rewiring classrooms. Their idea was that schools could worry about how to replace the $500+ bulbs.

The installation, implementation and continuing maintenance of the Promethean ACTIVboards has been mismanaged in DCSS. This is a shame because they took up millions of hard earned SPLOST dollars and have in many instances become a waste of a great teaching tool.

GreenMountain said...

yes, we are all frustrated and outraged by DCSS - it sickens me knowing my daughter goes to one of their schools everyday. However, how and what can we parents do to make a difference? We need to get this info out to everyone in our county. We need to come together, make a stand, and demand answers/changes. We need to do a protest/rally -something that will draw attention. Any thoughts?

Here's a thought said...

FIRE THESE FIVE IN NOVEMBER:

Jim Redovian
Sarah Copelin-Wood
Jay Cunningham
Zepora Roberts
Gene Walker

Then fire the other four when they come up for re-election

Anonymous said...

The other four should resign and save us the trouble.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about eduKALB. Sarah Copelin-Wood gave them a boost tonight when she blasted them for wanting to unseat them. They seen to worry her more than anyone else.

What's up with a BOE meeting having to do with slamming your political opponents? Why weren't they concentrating on students?

Is it my imagination, or were students the people "missing in action" tonight?

Anonymous said...

Green Mountain (and everyone else)

The first thing to do, once this meeting is available in the archives to watch -- in the next week or so, please, please send the link to as many people in DeKalb that you know and don't know.

Unless you have seen it yourself, it is hard to believe the level our Board has sunk to.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:24 pm
"Promethean Boards are only useful if you have the $550 replacement bulbs that they need to work when they go out. My school doesn't have any extra bulbs, so as the board lights go out the expensive boards are now worthless until we get bulbs."

I surprised to hear that the Promethean Board light bulbs cost $550. Are you sure this is the correct figure. Here is the actual figures presented to the BOE copied from BOE meeting 4/14/2008:

"Ms. Ramona Tyson, Associate Superintendent, Management Information System, 678.676.1134

Supporting Documents
Executive Summary
RFP8-16 Bid Abstract IAB.xls
IAB Deployment Strategy

Requested Action
It is recommended that the Board of Education award RFP 8-16 Interactive Board Solution (IAB) to Dell Marketing as the lowest responsible responsive bidder for the purchase of up to 1,500 interactive boards at a cost not to exceed $6,000,000.00.

Unit Costs are as follows:

Solution #1 (Ceiling Mounted) $ 3,692.97
Solution #2 (Short Throw) $ 4,286.89
Solution #3 (Mobile/Stand) $ 3,582.38
Student Response System (32 per set) $ 1,838.00

Optional Items:
* Interactive LCD Panel $ 1,420.00
* Document Camera $ 596.99
* VGA/Splitter Amplifier $ 92.69
* Bulb replacement for solution #1 $ 92.96
* Bulb replacement for solution #2 $ 92.96
* Bulb replacement for solution #3 $ 275.00

* These items were listed in the RFP as optional items and were not included in the evaluation criteria; although they may be purchased as needed at the costs listed above."

Since each board was $4,000, it would be a shame for them not to work. Why don't you go back and check to see why you're not getting the price the BOE was presented.

Anonymous said...

$4,000 per ACTIVboard. Ouch. That's pretty high. Vanderlyn and Austin PTAs have been buying these boards. Vanderly and Austin parents involved with purchasing these boards - is this a good price for those boards?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Yes, $4,000 is about what the boards cost. I know that there is also a fund-raising effort at Chesnut Charter ES to equip each classroom with a Promethean Board. I can't help but think if the bulbs cost $500/each, that would be a little tough maintenance cost for the schools to handle.

Anonymous said...

My biggest complaint about the active boards is that, at our school at least, we had no say on where the boards were placed. In most cases they bolted them right in the middle of our white board, making it useless. The best choice would have been to go with the either the mobile or ceiling units (and cheaper too), but once again no one asked the teachers.
We found out the replacement pens cost around $70.
In a lot of the high schools the boards are mounted so low that students in the back of the classroom cannot see them.
One last gripe... a friend teaches at a ES where the projectors were stolen off most of the active boards. They were sure that it was an inside job, but the DeKalb police were never called - instead it was "handled" by DCSS in-house security.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 5/10 10:34PM
Not to nitpick, but I would definitely consider Smokerise, Tucker, Midvale and Evansdale to be in the North side of the county. This just shows that the North/South issue is a matter of individual interpretation.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

Not necessarily. That's what Chesnut gets the ACTIVboards through DCSS for. Part of the deal is for schools to purchase ACTIVboards through DCSS bid agreement.

It plainly states in Ms. Tyson's presentation the cost of projector bulbs. Most of DCSS units are Solution #2 - short throw. Short throw projector bulbs for Solution #2 are supposed to be $92.96 per the bid:

"Unit Costs are as follows:

Solution #1 (Ceiling Mounted) $ 3,692.97
Solution #2 (Short Throw) $ 4,286.89
Solution #3 (Mobile/Stand) $ 3,582.38
Student Response System (32 per set) $ 1,838.00

Optional Items:
* Interactive LCD Panel $ 1,420.00
* Document Camera $ 596.99
* VGA/Splitter Amplifier $ 92.69
* Bulb replacement for solution #1 $ 92.96
* Bulb replacement for solution #2 $ 92.96
* Bulb replacement for solution #3 $ 275.00"

Why are schools paying $500? That's an insurmountable cost for schools. that was supposed to be one of the benefits of the ACTIVboards over Smartboards, etc. - the bulb replacement cost. Does anyone in MIS monitor this?