Friday, May 28, 2010

More Questions Than Answers

We've had quite the conversation about the indictments against Crawford Lewis, Pat Reid (FKA Pat Pope), Vincent (Tony) Pope and Reid's secretary Cointa Moody.

That thread netted a list of questions that we need answers to such as:


  • Why didn't the Board of Education challenge some line items presented by Pat Pope at monthly board meetings?
  • The state even brought some issues to the BOE's attention that would have saved them millions, why was Pope never fired for wasting tax dollars or not filing proper paperwork?
  • What did board members know and when did you know there was a problem?
  • Why did you agree to allow Pope/Reid to continue to do business as usual when you red flagged some key construction problems?
  • Why did you allow Lewis/Pope/Reid to pour tax dollars into a new mega-office complex instead of repairing all the schools for our students?
  • Who is responsible for checking over and signing off on Crawford Lewis' P Card bills and why were the Bahamas hotel and the Ritz hotel bills paid? Who signed that payment?
  • Who is responsible for paying construction contracts? Who signed the checks made out to Anthony Pope's Architecture Company knowing that Pope was not supposed to be doing further business with DCSS? Who signed those checks knowing that paperwork showing board approval should be attached?
  • Why did the architect "quit" the Cross Keys project in the middle of the Pope/Lewis manipulations? Why did the board not question the lack of progress on promised SCHOOL projects such as Lakeside, Cross Keys, Dunwoody and Chamblee and instead rubber-stamp multi-millions being spent on administrative offices?
  • What exactly did the board know about allegations against Lewis when they "agreed" to separate with him, giving him a $90,000 severance package?
  • Additionally, are taxpayers REALLY saddled with $100,000 in legal fees for Lewis' defense of his actions against those same taxpayers?
  • How on earth were two people capable of manipulating multi-millions of dollars right under the noses of the elected officials charged with the fiduciary responsibility of monitoring school tax dollars and SPLOST dollars?
  • What does our board expect ordinary parents and taxpayers to think? There has been suspiciously little information coming forth from the board to the public on this catastrophe.  Why?
If you have answers, please post them in the comments.  If you (like most of us) only seem to have more questions, then post those as well. 

283 comments:

1 – 200 of 283   Newer›   Newest»
Dan Magee said...

I've had a number of conversations over the phone and e-mail with one of my two board rep's, Don McChesney. My other rep. on the board, Dr. Walker, doesn't respond to e-mail. I'm extremely impressed by Mr. McChesney's candor, dilligence, and dedication to a very tough and demanding elected office.

I've been quick to call out the BOE when warranted, and its been warranted a lot. But not every board member grandstands, not every board member secures jobs for family and friends, and some board members actually read their reports before a meeting.

It's easy to assume that we all can do a better job. I often make that assumption, and I'm probably very wrong and clueless (just ask my wife). We are lucky to have some board members that serve because they want to serve the community, not for a stipend and mileage reimbursements, not to secure internships for the favored, not to practice nepotism.

Some of our board members are aware of the systemic problems with DCSS that are years in the making. I want to thank Don for serving on the board, and taking the heat, which is sometimes deserved, but often, undeserved. Thanks again, Don for serving the community ina position that is often thankless.

Anonymous said...

Look at what wsbtv just posted about the contruction projects in the metro Atlanta area....the BOE must be retired immediately.

Metro Atlanta School Construction Costs

Posted: 3:50 pm EDT May 28, 2010
Updated: 5:57 pm EDT May 28, 2010

DeKalb County -- Tucker High School $222.00 (sq. ft.) (Opens Fall 2010)

DeKalb County -- Arabia Mt. High School $176.83 (sq. ft.) (opened 2009)

Cherokee County -- River Ridge High School $173.40 (sq. ft.) (opens 2010)

Henry County -- Locust Grove High School $157.73 (sq. ft.) (opened 2009)

Forsyth County -- Lambert High School $138.03 (sq. ft.) (opened 2009)

Fulton County -- Johns Creek High School $136.60 (sq. ft.) (August 2009)

Cobb County -- Allatoona High School $135.67 (sq. ft.) (opened 2006)

Gwinnett County -- Archer High School $115.00 (sq. ft.) (August 2009)

Fayette County -- Whitewater High School $94.82 (sq. ft.) (Opened 2005)

Average cost of 7 non-DeKalb County High Schools $135.78 (sq. ft.)

DeKalb County’s Arabia Mountain High School cost 30% more per square foot than the average cost of the non-DeKalb schools

Arabia Mountain High School cost 125% more than the least expensive school -- Whitewater H.S. of Fayette County

Metro school systems say construction costs have come down since the height of the building boom in 2004-2007

Anonymous said...

@Cerebration 6:00 PM

RE: "More Questions Than Answers"

In an earlier post, Anonymous asked,

"What would it take to force DCSS to appoint a stakeholder ombudsman to monitor this blog and respond promptly, forthrightly, completely and honestly to each question as it is asked?"

To all attorneys out there: What would it take?

Anonymous said...

Cere thaks for posting my questions...I got a little long-winded but I am glad you saw my point in asking thoses questions. Having worked in the infamous B building now the mega workplace...I have witnessed so much waste and mis-appropriation of personnel which adds up to our tax dollars that it sickens me. And now Richard Belcher and WSBTV have shared that Pope/Reid gave all her construction friends a 30% increase for building the schools...what arrogance...
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/23711906/detail.html

Dan M. said...

I believe the BOE should have a very small staff that reports to them. Just two: An auditor and an actuary. Even with the budget deficit, these positions would pay for themselves. Every single large expenditure from this point on needs a vert, very thorough review. There has to be checks and balances in place.

Anonymous said...

Let's add this one for the school board which can't make needed decisions: Why is Crawford's mistress(es?) still employed?

Anonymous said...

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/23712055/detail.html

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- A Channel 2 Action News investigation found that school construction costs in DeKalb County appear to be higher than costs in any other school district in the metro area.

The two most expensive new high schools are in DeKalb, and the cost of one of them is nearly double what some other districts have paid for brand new schools.

Channel 2 Action News investigative reporter Richard Belcher has been crunching the numbers.

The DeKalb County district attorney dropped the hammer on the DeKalb school system's construction program, indicting -- among others -- the woman who ran the program for four years until last fall.

The district attorney said millions were stolen by the defendants. Belcher went looking for comparisons to see if that affected overall construction costs.

Altogether, Channel 2 Action News surveyed the costs of nine high schools in eight school districts, and DeKalb's costs topped them all.

Archer High School in Gwinnett County was one of the schools Belcher used for comparison purposes. Gwinnett County is the state’s largest school system. Building Archer cost taxpayers $115 per square foot. Even less expensive was Fayette County's Whitewater High School, which came in at just $94.82 a square foot.

But the cost of DeKalb County's newest high school soars well beyond those costs. Still under construction, Tucker High School is going to cost taxpayers $213.72. That is 125 percent higher than the cost of Fayette County's newest high school.

DeKalb school spokesman Dale Davis told Channel 2 that the comparison is not a fair one because Tucker is being built on the site of an existing high school, which runs up the costs in ways that wouldn't happen at a brand new site.

Channel 2 Action News decided to check on Arabia Mountain in South DeKalb. That's DeKalb's newest completed high school -- with none of the complications that Tucker has.

The cost of Arabia Mountain was $176.83 a square foot. By comparison, that is 54 percent higher than the cost of Gwinnett County's Archer High School.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Jodie Fleischer was the first to report this week's indictment of former schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis, his construction boss, Pat Reid, and two other defendants that include allegations that shed new light on the costs at Arabia Mountain High.

According to the indictment, it was Reid who insisted on awarding the contract to a company whose final price was not the lowest bid.

The indictment specifically accuses Reid of forging tally sheets to make the winning company's bid look better than it should have looked.

Some of the school completion dates back to 2005. Keep in mind, costs then were actually higher than today because of the building boom.

Anonymous said...

Is it fair to compare the price per square foot of Arabia Mountain HS when AMHS is a "green" building? Aren't those projects usually more expensive than "regular" construction? I am hesitant to defend any of DCSS's decisions, but it seems to me that it may be unfair to compare AMHS to projects like Whitewater HS, which is in a suburban county where land and labor may be cheaper.

Anonymous said...

On 6-16-08, Crawford Lewis signed/approved the expense report for a business trip of Patricia Pope in California, "The Sustainable Operations Summit". Then, she signed her own expense form as her "budget unit manager", approving the form. While ALL "gourmet meals" were provided/included in the cost of attending the summit, Pat Pope also expensed the maximum per diem for the days of the conference for each meal (even though all meals were served at the conference). This appears to be what most would call "double-billing" - to put cash in one's pocket. Also, she arrived at the conference 2 days before it started, and left before it ended. And, "Anthony Pope" was listed as the driver on the SUV she rented, for $512. And, she even submitted a parking receipt for reimbursement from "Canary Row" - a tourist destination not part of the conference. And, in staying at the conference hotel 2 nights BEFORE the conference started, she exceeded DeKalb's allowable costs for lodging, but wrote that it was booked by the "hosting committee". There are more examples of what looks like fraud that the DA didn’t even go after. And, DeKalb Schools refuses to show what happened to the money it spent on HAROLD Lewis' ticket for this trip. They say he did not go, but purchased his airline ticket and conference fees. DeKalb is still hiding info, why? Board members should be seeking the answers and stop playing ignorant.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Re:Did Richard Belcher compare "like-minded" schools?

Even if he did not, DCSS had no business squandering money like that. Pope always had too much flash and no substance. Dekalb is going green logo notwithstanding, they SURE push a lot of self-serving papers to parents..

If (IF!) Arabia Mountain is "ecological", they do burn a lot of "fossil fuel" to get there!!!

Anonymous said...

Come on, ya'll...I was just a lowly school house employee and I had heard all the waste rumors, nepotism, extra-martial affairs, ....how could others not know?

Anonymous said...

.....Just read all these beautiful speeches that Dr. Lewis made in his various State of Dekalb School Addresses over the years and you clearly see a bullshit artist at work with a mesmerized audience lapping every excretion.....

Anonymous said...

Lakeside High parents: goodbye renovation?????

Cerebration said...

Um - if Arabia is LEED certified at $176 per sq ft - then how in the heck did Tucker end up at $222 per sq ft??? That place isn't even finished yet!

Re - Gwinnett County -- Archer High School $115.00 (sq. ft.) (August 2009) Has anyone seen this building? It's amazing! The cost is suspiciously low...

Anonymous said...

No one cares about affairs---only if they involved public funds and "quid pro quo"....

Anonymous said...

LEED Certified buildings are only on average 5& more than regular construction.

Anonymous said...

In the state of Georgia it really doesn't matter how you "compare" schools....take a look at he decreasing enrollment numbers for DCSS compared to other counties....we should not have been spending that money on flash and brass when our test scores are at the middle of the list. There is no real reason to doubt that they could and should have cut construction cost to fund other construction that were needed MORE than others and I can't even begin to name all the schools with severe hvac and construction problems....so please stop with the is"Is it fair to compare..." cause it's irrevelant..the facts that they did not secure proper bids says it all. And btw some of these builders have worked in our neighboring counties building schools and did not charge as much...check the records.
Also in these turbulent times people are still pretending that nothing is going on, being tight lipped and not speaking out about criminal activity. I have one tip for all of the people in the castle; you should be telling what you know and not being a protector of breaking the law. You may be named an accomplice.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? I think people care more about the affairs than the millions of dollars! It's human nature, man!

Anonymous said...

Why is it most people on this blog want the white board members to stay and the black board members to go?

I think they should all go because they all voted unanimously on every vote. Don McChesney and Dr.Walker have the same voting record. Where is Dan Magee getting his info from? Do you realize they voted for this mess the same? Are you thanking him for getting DCSS in this mess? Please clarify based on the voting records.

Anonymous said...

I thought that Arabia Mountain High School had problems because it hit underlying rock. I'm not sure why this had to be an additional cost to DCSS though. The construction company bid on it. They should have eaten the cost.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:22 pm

"Why is it most people on this blog want the white board members to stay and the black board members to go?"

I've noticed that as well with some of the posters on this blog,and it's irritated me no end. I agree with you, and BTW I'm white. I'm surprised and extremely disappointed that anyone defends any of the existing BOE members. All of them are interchangeable to me. They have all created an unbelievable mess for our students. Every BOE member should be ousted. I'm retired from DCSS and intend to spend every minute I can trying to replace this BOE. I'm sorely disappointed that my BOE representative Paul Womack is not up for re-election so I could spend my time trying to get my friends and neighbors to vote him out. When I read positive posts about him, I get nauseous.

Anonymous said...

DM:

If DCSS paid for a Mercedes (Arabia, Tucker) instead of paying for a Chevrolet ( like the other counties), there is something to be said!!

Using other plans, other locations, and other methods, they could have kept costs down...

The New DCSS would have been a perfect "temporary holding school" for all school undergoing construction giving the builder the opportunity to "speed" things up.

Maybe the "intangible" corruption was also in "dragging" things out to increase costs & pay-offs while "degrading" learning??

Cerebration said...

Anons - The reason most people focus on what seems to be the black board members is that 4 of the 5 up for reelection are black. I guess what we should differentiate is that ALL of them should be called out for not doing the best for the system. However, we can only really change the ones who are up for reelection - they are -

Gene Walker
Sarah Copeland Wood
Zepora Roberts
Jay Cunningham
Jim Redovian (the only white one up for reelection)

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I wannnna receiver to go in a find the money.... Madoff's victim's have a receiver (bankruptcy trustee) why can't the taxpayers get a receiver to start undoing the transactions and forcing the audit?

One reason (different subject) DCSS construction is much higher than Gwinnett is that every project starts with design and architect (this may actually also be a way to pad pockets....) --in Gwinnett each level (elementary/middle and high) I believe has a choice of 2 plans - the consitituencies choose .... it's much more efficient that way.

Dan M. said...

Gene Walker:
-Voted against a board ethics policy, freaked at Kevin Levitas' proposed ethics policy for the board
-Was the chair of the DeKalb Development Authority while recieving over $20,000k in BOE campaign funds from developer Sembler and their minions
-Sponsored Crawford Lewis' membership to the Commerce Club
-Wanted, begged for a tax increase instead of investigating needed budget cuts from bloated departments such as Central Office, MIS, School Police, Gloria Talley/Audria Berry's army

Anonymous said...

This is what happened with DeKalb County government. The inability to get reliable information from the administration. So the BOC ends up hiring its own staff to replicate the administration's work and to provide independent analysis.

The construction manager should report directly to the BOE which would have sole signatory authority. Thus any construction scams would require the cooperation of the construction manager and at least four BOE members. Five is harder to coordinate than two.

Another simple step would be to require copy of contracts be filed with the county government as part of the application process for construction projects. Thus becoming part of public records, open to review by interested parties. Surely, other construction companies would have done some sniffing, out of self-interest, which would have blown the whistle a long time ago.

The BOE should feel battered. They put their trust in C Lew, which is appropriate, but once they were surrounded by suffocating smoke, they should have known that DCSS was on fire, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

The Mercedes Chevrolet comparison is a very good one. That is a HUGE problem in DCSS. I don't know if many of you are aware that as Fulton built new schools (and they build nice new schools) they also renovated older schools. They even used some operating funds (as opposed to just SPLOST funds.)

DCSS had no business building such state of the art schools when the rest are in such disrepair.

That said, I am not sure that we are comparing apples to apples.

I think that where we have gone so wrong the last decade or so, is that we have elected board members who consistently are mostly interested in their communities and WHAT THEY CAN GET for those communities. While this board doesn't seem quite as inclinded to do so, the previous board traded votes all the time.

This is why some of the smarter board members of that time turned a blind eye. They had to know that something was fishy at Columiba -- but many had projects that they wanted to protect.

UGH!

Anonymous said...

While we may be paying Mercedes prices, the workmanship is that of a Yugo. Paying more doesn't always mean that you'll get quality.

Cerebration said...

This just in -- from Nancy Jester who is running for school board in District 1 --

I am Nancy Jester and I am running for the Dekalb Board of Education, District 1 this November 2nd. I am a concerned taxpayer and a proud, involved, public school parent. I have worked as an actuarial consultant, served on a non-profit board and was the treasurer of a professional association. I am the current Chair of the Hawthorne Elementary School Council and a founding member of the Hawthorne Elementary School Foundation. The recent financial and ethical crises our district is facing are demonstrable proof of the need for new leadership on the Board of Education (BOE). All taxpayer resources deserve to be safeguarded and used with the highest level of integrity. There is no more important public investment than education and, as such, elected officials entrusted with leading this endeavor owe a special measure of trust, transparency, accountability, accessibility, efficiency and effectiveness to their constituents. It is time for the BOE to acknowledge the broken trust that exists between the Board and the community. It is time for the board to be replenished with new representatives that understand the current physical, technological and educational challenges in our schools. As a board member, I intend to vigorously pursue my oversight responsibilities, ask critical questions, examine data firsthand and insure that proper controls and procedures are put in place to prevent fraud and mismanagement. Our district needs a fresh start with new leadership that has innovative ideas focused on the classroom and not district management. During this campaign, I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to email me at nancyjester@gmail.com or call me at 678.360.1148.


The best part - IMO --

"I have worked as an actuarial consultant, served on a non-profit board and was the treasurer of a professional association."

Sounds just like what the doctor's ordered!

Go Nancy!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:56 pm

"One reason (different subject) DCSS construction is much higher than Gwinnett is that every project starts with design and architect (this may actually also be a way to pad pockets....) --in Gwinnett each level (elementary/middle and high) I believe has a choice of 2 plans - the consitituencies choose .... it's much more efficient that way."

Where did you hear that? DCSS has "set" architectural plans for elementary, middle, high etc.

If you have any doubt about that, please go into a few of the newer middle schools and you will see the layout is almost identical - e.g. please visit Tucker Middle School and Chamblee MS. Or visit new elementary schools from the last 6 to 8 years.

If a department - science, technology, etc. asked for even the smallest change to a room, we were told the cost would be enormous because the architectural plans were standardized, paid for, off the shelf, and could not be changed.

So if the cost is higher, don't blame "custom design" for the higher DCSS construction costs. Almost all new school construction in DCSS is one size fits all. The padding of pockets is worse than you think.

Arabia Mountain was no doubt chosen to be a LEEDS school due to Public Relations, not because Lewis and Company had any real interest in the environment. They think that PR is more important than the real business of educating children.

Anonymous said...

From THETECH,
I think the BOE was lied to or should I say fully informed.
How can you make good decisions if
people you rely on, are liars or incompetent?
I think Don M. is a good Board member. He does ask business questions and tries to respectfully get the DCSS employees to operate more business like. He not only questioned Pat Pope about having more companies included in the bid comparisons and participation but he questioned Tony Hunter about comparison pricing on email systems. He asked him to compare price with other companies not just recommend an annual upgrade payment to the FirstClass folks.
Not all are BOE members bad. They are not suppose to work full time. They must have compete business and educational background people working full time. Not every business person unders the education system and not every education person understands business. We need a good mix of people with a common goal to work honestly for the BOE and all of us. I think 2 teachers should have a 1 year rotational seat on the board to offer recommendations only. What we need is this question answered on all issues. Will it benefit the classroom? The teachers know and can answer that.

Anonymous said...

Focus, people. This has nothing to do with race. It's about competence, and checks and balances. It's about oversight, especially fiscal oversight. No one cares about the color of a board member's skin. It's about them performing their duties, and not shirking off responsibility, which Tom Bowen tried to do today.

"How were we supposed to know" just isn't good enough when overseeing a billion dollar enterprise.

Anonymous said...

One or two teachers as ex-officio members of the BOE is a fantastic idea. Lord knows the Crawford Lewis/Gloria Talley administration has never listened to the teahcers of DCSS.

Anonymous said...

I just heard from a source that the 2010 diplomas and transcripts will be re-printed to omit CLewis' name. WTH....we have to take up to 15 days without pay and they are re-printing work....This is madness...just madness...what a waste of tax dollars...CLewis Jr is beginning to make a real name for herself.

Anonymous said...

From THETECH,
Correction:
I think the BOE was lied to or should I say "not" fully informed.

Anonymous said...

I heard the old Tucker High
School building needed asbestos removal and disposal.
If true, that could add costs.

*****I'm not a pope fan.******

Anonymous said...

O.K. this is just plain Dumb on the BOE.....The ajc just released an article stating how much we paid for dead weight ($300,000)in DCSS with Pope/Reid/Moody/Lewis salaries. They were doing absolutely nothing and got a check....while others were laid off who showed up everyday and gave DCSS a full day's work....throw away the key please.

Indicted school officials cost DeKalb taxpayers
http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/indicted-school-officials-cost-537478.html

Anonymous said...

Looks like the DCSS BOE will have to start answering some real questions from the BIG MAN(SACS)....Daddy's home and someone's gonna get it...just read Elgart's parting words to the ajc:

“We have made no decision yet, but significant questions need answers,” SACS’ president and CEO Mark A. Elgart told the AJC.

Elgart said it is rare to see a school employee remain on the job after being indicted, as Reid has.

Sounds like questions we all want answers to Mr Elgart.....but I soomehow think he will get the answers he's looking for or the BOE will GO BYE BYE......

beenroundtoolong said...

Back to More questions than Aswers--
1.What government entity governs the SPLOST contract voted on by taxpayers? Project priorities and funding allocations have veered away from what we originally endorsed. The board has approved changes in spending rather than oversee the original contract -- Who enforces the SPLOST contract?
2.Vice Chair Roberts said in April the board would move quickly to establish a superintendent search. What is the board's plan? Are they moving?
3.Can the board bring in a new interim superintendent? It seems every high level administrator is tainted. "What did they know and how long did they know it?" We need a new interim to start cleaning house immediately!
4.If Heery Mitchell wins the lawsuit and bankrupts the system, then what happens ?
5.Do we need a forensic audit (such as the Rubino Mageehin SPLOST II audit) to have an idea of where we are with the 300 million bond issue v.s. the Capital Improvement Plan?

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/indicted-school-officials-cost-537478.html
Despite his concerns, Lewis renewed Reid’s contract and gave her the $197,000 annual salary.


Why, why, why???

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

@ Nancy Jester or Cereb.

Please tell me that you are NOT related to Larry Jester....former principal of Clarkston H.S.

.

Anonymous said...

@ Cere

Re: Nancy Jester

Have you changed your recently announced policy about having a separate place on this blog for BOE candidates and their supporters to post information and conduct campaigning?

Anonymous said...

Tax records on Nancy Jester indicate that she owns a home with Stanley Jester.

http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/TaxCommissioner/Display.asp?pin=1411734

Dekalbparent said...

I have a student who graduated this year, and we have heard nothing about reprinting diplomas. I wonder where this info came from.

Would be an unconscionable waste of money if they did that.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

@ Dekalb Parent

I believe that we've already battled the issue of reprinting diplomas in a different thread on this blog......There are no scheduled reprints for diplomas.


Have you been hearing differently?

.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:02 PM

"Looks like the DCSS BOE will have to start answering some real questions from the BIG MAN (SACS) ..."

Before you start cheering for Mark Elgart and the SACS Calvary to the rescue, consider this:

(1) On January 14, 2010 an e-mail was sent to Mark Elgart outlining the DCSS issues and asking for assistance. Prior to this e-mail, others who had asked SACS for help concerning DCSS were told that SACS had huge files on DCSS.

(2) Despite that, SACS did nothing.

(3) Finally, after NO response from Elgart to the January 14, 2010 e-mail, the original e-mail to Elgart was re-sent to Mike Bryans, Associate State Director, on January 29, 2010. He did respond on February 2 after talking with Elgart. (Apparently Elgart does not communicate with the "little people" -- the "background noise" as described by Bob Mosely. BTW, I know Bob Mosely personally -- we were in the same Leadership DeKalb class and I have no regard at all for him.)

(4) Bryans said, "Please know that our organization is monitoring the issues with the DeKalb County Schools and communications with district officials occur on a continuous basis. We will continue to monitor the situation in DeKalb." Apparently SACS was taking their marching orders from the very people who were stealing as much as they could from DCSS.

(5) Meanwhile, as CLew-less and his cronies were running a suspected criminal operation and stealing millions of dollars from DCSS, SACS withdrew accreditation from Warren County, GA -- a 3-school, 800-student, 90% African-American school system. Why? Because -- among other things -- they do not use Roberts Rules of Order in their school board meetings and they were warned by SACS that was something they had to do. Certainly that was nothing of the magnitude of what was going on right under SACS noses in DCSS!

That kind of thing really makes the value of SACS oversight highly questionable. Losing accreditation means that any students in Warren County who had hope of getting out via college and the HOPE Scholarship could not get the HOPE Scholarship -- nor will they be able to get accepted to most colleges. Disgusting.

Yet, SACS completely ignores the egregious activities going on in DCSS. Again, that kind of thing really makes the value of SACS oversight questionable. BTW -- take a look at SACS budget sometime and see the huge amount of money DCSS pays to SACS for accreditation.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program, "As The Stomach Turns" brought to you in part by Barf SACS.

Nancy Jester said...

To Teacher at DCSS HS- I am not related to Larry Jester or any other school district employee.

To Anon 1158pm - Stanley and I do own our home in Dekalb, where we raise our children and are active in the community.

As I said in my statement, I look forward to hearing from you during this campaign. If you have any questions or comments for me, please feel free to email them to nancyjester@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

THe BOE IS part o the problem. Any elected BOE may be a problem.
http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20031130boardsmainlocal2p2.asp

We need to move away from elected boards.

Anonymous said...

@ Nancy Jester, 12:44 AM

Are you related to Sonny Jester?

Also, why, on May 1, 2008 on your Facebook page did you indicate that Cross Keys is part of the Dunwoody-Chamblee Parents Council?

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 12:58 "Also, why, on May 1, 2008 on your Facebook page did you indicate that Cross Keys is part of the Dunwoody-Chamblee Parents Council?"

Perhaps it is because the principals of the entire CK cluster attend the DCPC meetings and occasionally one loud-mouthed advocate (moi?). There was a move in previous leadership at DCPC to formally include CK but with Page Olson's departure that sentiment has cooled ... brrrr!

"Are you related to Sonny Jester"

Let's hear from her but I don't think so. He's a Dunwoody cluster parent and on the Board of the DeKalb County Public School System Foundation. Perhaps they are in-laws of some sort but I'm thinking not.

@Everyone re: "Don McChesney"

Way up there Dan Magee tried to say something positive about Don McChesney and got slapped around a bit - I think a bit unfairly.

Folks, I observed on this blog last year that McChesney regularly appeared to be the only member who read the contracts and bothered to ask questions. He is not up for re-election and I'm not campaigning for him but come on! Give credit where it is due.

I may or may not agree with Don McChesney's assessment of any particular issue. However, I have become convinced that he is working earnestly and diligently in the best interest of ALL DeKalb taxpayers and our youth. He certainly isn't involved in any of these ridiculous conspiracies that have disseminated our system.

Let me close by saying that I attended North Gwinnett High School graduation this evening at the Gwinnett Arena. As a DeKalb taxpayer and parent, I felt like a poorly dressed guest at a nice party ...

This 52 year old school somehow is graduating a class in the range of 800+ seniors; this school had 85% of its enrollment in at least one AP class; the principal anticipates being in USA Today's Top 100 schools due to performance; their local BoE member spoke at the ceremony and delivered a speech only one or two of our members could possibly deliver in a million years. Their Valedictorian is a Gates Millenium Finalist with a 10 year blank check at Harvard.

When are we going to have to do to create this type of school in DeKalb once again? Among other important efforts, I personally believe we need a larger format high school to manage it financially. We have too many and too small high schools to offer what North Gwinnett offers its families.

That said...

Kim

In fairness, DCSS has many Gates Millenium scholars, at least 12 this year. (Double what Gwinnett had.)

Gwinnett pushes almost every student into at least one AP course during their high school career. They offer AP courses like AP Human Geography and AP environmental sciences, which are among the softest introductions to AP classes.

Not so much in DeKalb. GCSS has fewer high schools than DeKalb even though they have 50 percent more students. Not only that, for better or worse, Gwinett, Fulton and Cobb work to ensure that every student in their systems have equal access to an abundance of top level courses. In DCSS, not so much. As you point out, larger schools are more efficient, but I also think DCSS lacks a vision of what a good school should look like academically.

That said...

One other thing, the board can appoint a new interim and they should. It isn't about whether Ms. Tyson is competent but rather bringing in an outsider who can smooth the path for a new permanent superintendent to be successful.

The process to find the right superintendent can't be rushed and bringing in a strong interim will allow ample time to find the right person.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Where was the link to view the indictment? I have spoken with insiders that work in building A and B. The DA and Richard Belcher should check the travel logs for Lewis and Berry.

They should also, and lets not forget Ralph Simpson and Carol Thedford. I bet Dr. Simpson's ex-wife would be very happy to share the pictures she used in their divorce.

Anonymous said...

Wasnt Audria Berry's name mentioned in the indictment papers? Some please clarify.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anon 11:02 SACS is not the only deadend. Complaints to our board of Commission fall on deaf ears as well.

I have a problem with our system. I pay local,state and federal taxes, yet I was told by Commissioners office, the state office of education, and the governers office that they do not interfer with local school boards.

You have no jurisdiction yet you are giving my taxpayer dollars to them.

New Birth and Bishop Eddie Long seem to have more influence than our local government. Maybe we should be voices our complaints to Bishop Eddie Long.

I am going higher than our state legislature. I am sure New Births internal ties with a "publc " school system infringes on some staue or doctrine. We just have to start looking.

Anonymous said...

DunwoodyMom you go blow off! You are one to try an chastise anyone as much as you imply racial presidence on the behalf of the schools on the south side of Dekalb.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the indicment..
http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Indictment-10CR2861.pdf

It is a fairly easy read -- and if you have specific areas of interest, you can go straight to the table of contents and find the page(s).

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
themommy said...

Wow. Let's all try to disagree civally. I think that you have to pay a fee to use churches or you are violating the separation of church and state clause.

DeKalb lacks any large non-religous gathering places that are easily accessible (perhaps Emory has a large auditorium but it probably isn't accessible and parking is a bear). Even in places like Fulton, schools use large churches to hold graduations. They usually have ample seating
and parking.

themommy said...

Here is another question to add to the list.

We lost tens of millions of dollars in state capital money correct. Pat Pope was responsible for this and I happen to believe that the reason papers weren't submitted was that she was hiding her questionable activities. Do you think the BOE has just forgotten about this? (Bowen's statement about it not costing taxpayers much.)

Am I correct that we did lose a bunch of money from the state. Fran Millar helped recover some, but not all, if I am recalling correctly. Can someone help make sure I have all the details correct?

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dekalbparent said...

TO ALL

As far as I know, DIPLOMAS ARE NOT BEING REPRINTED.

When I wrote about the reprinting of diplomas I was replying to Anon 10:40 5-28 post, saying they had heard it was being done.

I was trying to de-fuse that rumor, but it seems that got lost in the plethora of posts. Sorry

Cerebration said...

I posted Nancy Jester's announcement for District 1 just the same as I posted Corey Wilson's when he announced his candidacy for District 3... I always try to make the point that I am thrilled to see good people exhibit the necessary courage to toss their hat in this ring of fire. We DO have good people all around DeKalb and I just know that we can vote in several of them to represent the needs of our children on our school board. As more people jump in - I will add their announcements.

We do have a PAGE (no comments on pages though) listed on the right hand column with news about school board candidates. This is where we collect what we can on the situation. Please try to check in there regularly for updates - which I will share in our other conversations as they arise.

Here's the direct link -
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/p/news-on-candidates-for-school-board.html

Please - remember people - I am not a news reporter and this is not a newspaper. I simply moderate a blog formed by a group of parents and community members over a year ago to bring to light the issues we saw as doing harm to our schools - and our children.

This election will certainly heat up in the fall - and we'll do what we can to follow and share the reports we find - allowing as much discussion as possible. But if the comments get too testy, we'll have to put all comments into moderation for individual approval. Hope not - cause that's a lot of work.

I trust you guys to play nice...

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with DCSS renting the large hall at New Birth for functions when you need to seat thousands. It's the only large facility of that size in the county.

But...

But, DCSS better not be paying for any classroom space at New Birth. DCSS better not be having one of its system sponsored charters at New Birth.

We have many empty facilities. DCSS better not be paying for classroom or such space anywhere, to anyone. DCSS admin's connections to New Birth are troubling. It's no big deal if a large percentage of DCSS administrators are New Birth members. It is a huge deal if New Birth is receiving any kind of payments from DCSS other than the occasional hall rental. Not one taxpayer dollar to Edie Long and his Rolls Royce.

Cerebration said...

BeenAroundTooLong at 11:07 PM - you asked great questions! We once reposted the original list of projects that were promoted by the supporters of SPLOST 3 as the endorsed projects those tax dollars would fund - if the tax were to be approved. I'll share that list again - (copied and pasted directly from the brochure SPLOST 3 supporters used to push that tax on us)...

Cerebration said...

This is what was written in the brochures encouraging us to vote for SPLOST way back when - and this is what is on the website still today (except that Towers was removed, as theirs was completed first, apparently using SPLOST 2 money.)

Career Tech Instructional Additions
In the DeKalb School System the construction of Career Technology Instructional Additions in our high schools has progressed during the last year. The Career Technology Additions provide three specific learning environments consisting of approx 12,000 sq ft in which to house and implement the Career Technology program. Each high school selects three Career Technology programs from a list of 19 state sanctioned programs. Students complete a Career Technology Student Data Interest Survey which serves to rank technology programs by student interest. Data from this survey along with Regional School Choice Program data is used in developing the Career Technology programs for each school. The following high schools have been selected, in the Capital Improvements Plan, to receive Career Technology Instructional Additions:
Chamblee
Clarkston
Druid Hills
Dunwoody
Lakeside
Redan

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/progress/projects/career/

Go to the link to see Columbia's Cosmetology lab and McNair's Culinary Arts Kitchen

Cerebration said...

As for the many-years promised auditoriums, this is what the website says (as did all of the brochures before the SPLOST 3 vote) -

Auditorium & Fine Arts Additions
The Auditorium/Fine Arts Additions in our high schools serve as a gathering space for school functions and community meetings as well as a valuable teaching tool for the arts. During the preconstruction phase, local schools provide the project architect with the information describing their specific needs and requests to expand and support their instructional fine arts program.
Some of the features included in our auditoriums are a comfortable seating for 500, performance stage, dressing rooms, theatrical lighting packages, stage curtains, acoustical architecture, an electronic control booth with a full sound control board, audio visual equipment with electrical projection screen, band and orchestra practice areas and instrument storage facilities, various glass fronted display areas for student work, ticket booth and concession facilities, men and women restrooms, drama classrooms, work and storage space for performing arts projects. The following high schools have been selected in the Capital Improvement Plan to receive Auditorium/Fine Arts Additions:
Chamblee
Clarkston
Druid Hills
Dunwoody
Lakeside

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/progress/projects/auditorium/

Again, Towers was originally listed, but then removed after theirs was completed.

Cerebration said...

Below is the text of the brochure encouraging us to vote for SPLOST 3 (COPIED & PASTED)

WHAT IS SPLOST ?
Referendum: March 20, 2007
This Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is an opportunity for voters in DeKalb County to continue the onecent sales tax for school improvements. This sales tax extension is limited to 60 months or until an established cap of $645 million has been reached, whichever comes first.

If the continuation of the one cent sales tax is approved by the voters on March 20, 2007, improvements for our kids are funded by everyone who buys goods in the county, regardless of where they live.

With the extension of SPLOST ...

• Over 2,646,000 Square Feet of New Roofing
• Another 201,800 Square Feet of Roofing Repairs
• 2,535,000 Square Feet of School Renovations
• 185 New Technologically Advanced High
School Classrooms
• 183 New Innovative Elementary School Classrooms
• Over 1,206,000 Square Feet of durable Asphalt
Paving
• 7,000 Square Feet of safe Concrete Walkways
• 6 New State of the Art High School Teaching
Auditoriums
• 22 New Advanced Career Technology Instructional
Centers
• 25 HVAC Replacement, Repair, and Upgrade
Projects

OVERVIEW

In order to maintain a healthy and safe learning environment for the students of the DeKalb County School System, a Capital Improvement Plan [CIP] has been developed and approved by the Board of Education.

The CIP outlines the most pressing facility needs.
The CIP is aligned with Board /Superintendent Goals, the Facility Needs Assessment and the Demographic Study. The plan is educationally sound, philosophically based, and fiscally responsible. To that end, the focus of the plan directly addresses the High Schools That Work principles and the commitment to learning environments that are healthy and safe.

The Capital Improvement Plan will touch every facility, school and center in the DeKalb County School System.

The main areas of focus for the CIP are as follows:
􀀵 Retirement of existing COPs* financial debt
􀀵 Completion of deferred SPLOST II work
􀀵 Major Roofing, HVAC, Code & Life Safety Improvements
􀀵 High School Improvements
􀀵 Career Technology, Fine Arts, & Classroom Additions
􀀵 Renovations of Classrooms from floor to ceiling
􀀵 Technology Upgrades to ALL Facilities
􀀵 Transportation Additions of New Buses to replace
Aging Vehicles
*Certificate of Participation

Facilities Affected

􀀵 Technology Improvements & Upgrades will be completed at ALL Schools & Centers
􀀵 Other Specified Projects Elementary Schools
Allgood, Austin, Avondale, Bob Mathis, Briar Vista, Cedar Grove, Chapel Hill, Chesnut, Clifton, Evansdale, Fairington, Fernbank, Flat Shoals, Forrest Hills, Glen Haven, Hambrick, Hawthorne, Henderson Mill, Hightower, Hooper Alexander, Huntley Hills, Idlewood, Indian Creek, Kingsley, Knollwood,
Laurel Ridge, Livsey, McLendon, Meadowview, Midvale, Midway, E.L. Miller, Montgomery, Murphey Candler, Nancy Creek, Oak View, Oakcliff, Pleasantdale, Rainbow, Rockbridge, Sagamore Hills, Sky Haven, Snapfinger, Stone Mill, Stone Mountain, Terry Mill, Vanderlyn, Wadsworth, Woodward
Middle Schools Champion Theme, Henderson, McNair, Miller Grove, Salem, Sequoyah, Stephenson

High Schools
Chamblee, Clarkston, Columbia, Cross Keys, Tech-North, Tech-South, DECA, Druid Hills, DSA, Lakeside, McNair, Open Campus, Redan, Stone Mountain, SW DeKalb, Towers Centers Clarkston, Coralwood Diagnostic, Transition Academy, Doraville Driver Ed, Fernbank Science, Freeman Administrative Building, Heritage, Sam Moss, Warren Tech

􀀵 Large Model Additions
Dunwoody, Lithonia, M.L. King Jr., Miller Grove

􀀵 New Schools
COPs Retirement: Evans Mill ES, Dunwoody/Chamblee Area ES, Rock Chapel Area ES
Tucker High School

Cerebration said...

Gee - not one word about new Administrative Offices in there! The old "Bait and Switch" --

Cerebration said...

Anon -- the new Leadership Academy (headed by recently retired Frankie Callaway) most certainly will be located at New Birth. Another "bait and switch" - as the location was first announced as the "vacated property of a former charter" - that would be the Lithonia Charter that the state shut down last year due to low performance. But - we found out that now, the Leadership Academy will be located at New Birth.

The concern regards the possibly mixing of money - since New Birth already hosts a private school on their property.

For more - read our post on this -

Another charter school to open doors in Lithonia this year

BTW - an "aside" to the story -- Frankie's husband is also principal of a DCSS Charter - Destiny Academy (around 100 students in total) - Some say there are ties to New Birth with this property as well.

Cerebration said...

One more thing - the famous 'PRIORITY LIST' that was also used to influence voters for SPLOST 3 - nothing here about NEW admin offices -- much less $2,000 chairs!

Capital Improvement Plan
Approved by the B.O.E. on 11/17/06

COPs Financial Debt Retirement $ 66,000,000

1. Deferred SPLOST II Work $ 25,000,000
2. Cross Keys Renovation with Career Tech
$ 16,927,348
3. Tucker Replacement High School $ 66,330,016
4. Roofing $ 9,877,168
5. HVAC $ 17,168,224
6. ADA $ 4,730,336
7. Local School Priority Requests $ 2,656,419
8. Site Improvements $ 8,417,986
9. Facility Improvements - Druid Hills High School
$ 9,739,800
10. DSA Relocation $ 10,000,000
11. Relocation of Open Campus, Jim Cherry Center & DECA to Mountain Industrial Center $ 29,836,296
12. Buses $ 4,000,000
13. Land/Property Acquisition $ 3,000,000
14. Career Tech/Classroom/Fine Arts Additions
$ 63,292,805
15. Technology – Refresh Cycle for All Schools & Centers $ 19,418,581
16. Lithonia High School Addition $ 11,447,624
17. MLK Jr. High School Addition $ 10,178,779
18. Miller Grove High School Addition $ 5,874,487
19. Dunwoody High School Addition $ 4,819,395
20. Site Improvements $ 5,000,000
21. Facility Improvements – Clarkston High School $ 4,000,000
22. HVAC $ 10,716,737
23. Roofing $ 10,681,471
24. ADA $ 2,052,729
25. Local School Priority Requests $ 2,500,000
26. Buses $ 4,000,000
27. Technology – Media Center Upgrades
$ 10,000,000
28. Buses $ 4,000,000
29. HVAC $ 17,408,662
30. Roofing $ 7,125,137

CIP TOTAL $466,000,000

Anonymous said...

I am concerned that there is no forward movement to begin a superintendent search. There is no justifiable reason to delay.

There is a "power vacuum" in this $1B+ enterprise with its top two officials under indictment, and the acting superintendent declaring no interest in a permanent role.

No leadership coupled with tons of money at stake leads to opportunities for behavior not in the best interest of the children in the district.

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to why the principal was linked to the area director when reportedly there are several others involved with him who also purchased the books. It is my understanding that this happened in 2007. The focus should be on all these incompetent over paid people who have control of the purse strings. The new superintendent needs a list of these people so that he can clean house like Dr. Brown tried to. How can you be over school improvement when you only reporteddly taught 2-3 years and then moved to the county office? Why isn't Marcus Turk held more accountable in this debacle? I greatly resent paying my hard earned tax money so that he can earn $165,000 and have staff do his work! Remember he's the young man that offended many when he basically said teachers ought to be glad that they had jobs. This was after they had concerns about no pay raise. There are programs that should be highly investigated as they use federal funds, pay the employees high salaries, yet they basically do nothing. These employees start with about 50 thousand or whatever the director wants to pay them, require no certification or advanced degree. This is where nepotism and croynism is great. Whoever from the federal government that audits should know that what is on paper is not what is really going on. Too, the arrogance that abounds is too much!

Cerebration said...

Read this article in the "Neighbor" where Dr Lewis already begins the quest for SPLOST 4 --

County to close four schools after this year

Some Lewis quotes in the article --

“We are going to have to do more with less,” he said during his annual State of the School System address this morning at Oglethorpe Power Co. in Tucker. “[And] once we become lean we must work to keep it that way.”

“We can’t continue to be all things to all people,” he said. “If we all buckle down we can do what is necessary to meet this challenge.”

Also during the address, Lewis announced a two-phase plan to close at least 12 schools across the county.

He said the school system will close four elementary schools after this school year. It will close an additional eight to 10 elementary, middle and high schools in the coming years.

Lewis said the school district has 29 elementary schools with enrollment under 300 students. The state reportedly will not reimburse the county system for school operations unless enrollments are larger.

Lewis said he would be asking DeKalb County voters to support an extension of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program to help fund capital improvement projects at school facilities.

DeKalb County shoppers pay a voter-approved 1 percent sales tax that goes to the school system.

The current tax, SPLOST III, expires in 2012. Lewis said he will ask voters to approve SPLOST IV in November 2011.

“Our needs are great and we need your support.”


In other words, "Ooops! We squandered SPLOST 3 and didn't deliver our promises - we're gonna need more of your money!"

Teacher said...

With all that's going on, and the apparent lack of regulation by SACS and other groups--why don't y'all consider a lawsuit against the Board for allowing lawbreaking under its watch? There is ample precedent for suing a school board--let's not forget Brown v Board of Education,for one. Just the fact that money meant for something else, was used to build "EduSpa" on Mountain Indusrtrial would seem like grounds for a suit. And, failing to detect and report possibly criminal behavior, should also matter.

A lot of lawsuits against school districts are frivolous and get dismissed, costing the district much money (I just did a quick check on Google). But suits against school boards may be a different matter. Most seem to have focused on either accusations of racism or exclusion from meetings (often related). What about suing them for their role in the crimes that Lewis etc are accused of? Surely they did not act alone, and they did not act without Board approval.

A related matter: we teachers believe that the 150 positions in Central Office that were "promised" to be let go, were not. None of us knows of more than a handful of people, including the 4 Fernbank Science Center positions, that were lost--maybe 25 in all. Can we not demand to know who was fired? Not names, but just position titles? We believe that the Board and DCSS have deceived us once again, and that by retaining the high-earners at Central Office, they have failed to save the $$ they promised, while letting the lower level staff go.

Anonymous said...

I am extremely concerned ewith the "DEEP" roots Bishop Eddie Long has with DCSS! Money is the root to all evil, and it appears that New Birth's money has a lot of influence with officials within our administrative office.

He (Eddie Long)endorsed Ralph Simpson's book. So it is no surprise that our complaints to Lee Mays, a member of New Birth, went on deaf ears.

Lets take a pole on how many high ranking DCSS officials are members of New Birth or have personal affiliations with Eddie Long.

Are there not laws prohibiting or separating church and state?

Somebody help me out here?

Anonymous said...

Is it legal for the Calloway schools to advertise on DCSS's site for employees while other charter schools must do the best that they can with their limited resources? Who's auditing them? I personally feel that they make far more in retirement income than the average family with two full time workers. If they are in this for "the children" why don't they volunteer their services to the schools?

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I agree with Teacher 10:12. The BOE is liable for allowing this to happen. they appointed Crawford. he did all of this under their watch.

Kaiser should sue the district for what they did with the 400,000 grant for two wellness centers in two schools that was used to build one wellness center in a building where two schools are implemented.

NO WAY CRAWFORD SWINDLED THIS WITHOUT THEM KNOWING!!!! NO WAY!!!

Bowen stated they had heard the rumors. You heard the rumors, so why did you not investigate.

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder, the only two members of the current board who hired Crawford Lewis are Roberts and Copelin-Woods, the rest of the board is just responsible for renewing his contract, though they did stick that clever "we can fire you for any reason" clause in there.

I wonder what kind of legal advice the BOE has received in the past year. I don't know if we have any attorney's lurking about on the blog, but does DCSS really have to keep paying Pat Reid (Pope) until June 30th. Her attorney says she is going to work on Tuesday! Bowen claims that if they dismiss her, her contract requires that she be allowed to have a hearing which could jeopardize the court case? Does this explanation pass the smell test?

They apparently fired the secretary yesterday, per local news outlets. Is her contract different? Do secretaries have contracts?

Anonymous said...

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS' HONOR ROLL

1. Crawford Lewis
2. Audria Berry
3. Tova Jackson Davis
4. Horace Dunson
5. Carol Thedford
6. Ralph Simpson
7. Jim Williams
8. ...

Would some of y'all like to help the Cap'n with his roll?

themommy said...

With charters, whatever you put in the charter is what the agreement is. So, if the school put that they would use DCSS' portal to recruit employees, than it is legal.

Most start up charter schools would not want to go this direction, as they generally pay less and demand more than DCSS (or other school systems) of their teachers.

Something really doesn't smell right with this particular school. Frankie's name is not in the original charter. Did the PSC ever investigate the allegations against her and was she ever cleared? Or did DCSS not formally pursue it?

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of Don M.
He has shown integrity.

To Anon May 28, 201 7:19pm
I think the issue of what is allowed on a expense report may be shocking to some people. In some corporations, you may claim up to $75 a day for meals without receipts. Yeah, I know,
that is $25 per meal 3 times a day.
But it is acceptable according to that particular corporations' employee meal expense rules.
There are other things like this that may be written in the DCSS employee expense policies. I think we need some accounting people to volunteer time to look into these issues and maybe we can put some unusual but legal concerns to rest. Also, if the accounting office paid any expense previously denied (verbally or written), then the accounting office broke policy.

This is messy. We need to categorize as we have done with the questions earlier. Each category will require a different skilled auditor. Resolving the area of concern bit by bit. This will either resolve the issue or require updated reimbursement and P card use policies to prevent wrong doing in the future.

Bloggers, stay united, it is a hurtful time, we are just peeking, a wide open look will be long suffering. I say 3 years.

Anonymous said...

After Callaway abruptly retired, I heard that it was left alone. In view of the recent occurance, I see why it was not persued. She probably knew about other skeletons in the closet. Why is Destiny listed under Dekalb Schools with board members and all if it is clarene calloway's charter school?

M G said...

Secretaries do not have contracts. They, like most of the other non-certified employees, can be fired at any time. It's probably one reason the secretary got involved in the whole mess, fear that if she didn't follow Pat Reid's directives she would immediately lose her job.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy Jester said...

@Anon 1258am,

I am not related to Sonny Jester. I have never met him. My husband is from Texas.

Additionally, the reason I mention the parent council with the inclusion of CK is that it was listed that way in more than one source. On the Dunwoody School Daze blog you'll find a post that begins: "I attended my first ever Dunwoody-Chamblee-Cross Keys Parent Council Meeting today - yea for me!!" It is also listed with CK on the county website http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/public/parentcouncils/. If I was incorrect to include CK, my apologies.

Food For Thought said...

This mess is bigger than the DA or the media realizes. And even some of the bloggers on this website are missing the 'big picture' of big a mess DCSS is in.

What do you think is going to happen when Pope's attorney calls former BoE member Cassandra Little-John to the witness stand and asks her

"WHAT did the Board know about these alleged improprieties?"

and

"WHEN did the Board know about these alleged improprieties?"

Here's a prediction. When she answers these two questions truthfully (under oath) the following will occur:

The entire school board, the entire school system and the DA's prosecution will go right down the drain. Game over. End of story.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

@ Teacher 10:12...

While I understand the desire to hold those accountable who were at least passively complicit in the action of the indictees, I don't see the wisdom in initiating any lawsuit against the BOE.

.....Who would pay for the litigation? .......Why can't we just VOTE them (5 members) out of office in November?.....


As for the list of 150 employees that have been let go....I don't think that the firings have been finalized nor will be until the end of June. ........DCSS is terrible about informing the public as well as its employees unless it feels forced to by the media or pressure from the community.

...... PLEASE , please, please, please, please, please help find someone in our communities to promote, support, and successfully run against ZR and SCW.(and the other three BoE members, too)

.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dunwoody mom. Have not read the charter info yet but it is suspect that we lease space when there are numerous schools sitting vacant that our tax money must maintain. McGiboney, former DCSS employee, who is over Ga. charter schools must be more watchful over what is approved. This is totally disgusting!

Anonymous said...

Today's AJC article quotes school officials saying "Don't know where Reid will sit at work or what she'll do, since conditions of her bond prohibit her from having any contact with witnesses, including many school administrators."

I have an idea where she can sit. How about Cross Keys or better yet set her up a desk in one of the ladies rooms at Lakeside.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Little-john did not have clean hands either. Remember the sports wear and athletic equipment that she was reportedly trying to get principals to purchase? I agree that this is greater than we can imagine and Ramona Tyson who was appointed by Clewis is NOT the one to lead us out of this MESS!

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

DCSS employs the services of an attorney. I am wondering why Dr. Lewis and Ms. Reid (Pope) were not required to to have these change orders and other contracts reviewed by our attorney before signing them. IMHO our BOE should have been asking for this step as a part of the approval process.

I don't know anyone who would purchase a home without paying an attorney to look over the paperwork. These expenditures were considerably larger. I read the indictment. This is clearly a case where the fox was allowed to guard the hen house.

Cerebration said...

Dunwoody Mom - you are correct. Cross Keys is listed as part of the Dunwoody-Chamblee-Cross Keys Parent Council at the DCSS website --

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/public/parentcouncils/

It just appears as though the community has been shut out a bit by it's own parent council. Maybe your blog can serve to repair that relationship and extend an olive branch...??(!) I trust you to do that...

Anonymous said...

Pat Reid should not be sitting in a DCSS office for the next month. She should be on leave without pay. IF, and it is a big if, she is found innocent of all charges, then DCSS can pay her for the month of June. There is absolutely no reason for her to be in DCSS offices, have access to the DCSS computer network, school email, etc. There is too much potential for her to do damage to the school system.

Anonymous said...

Food for thought 10:52 please elaborate! What could she say regarding what and when the board knew? How could that shut down the DA's case against Lewis, Pope, Reid and Moody. Can see how the board knowing changes what they did. I could see it incorporating more people for indictment.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom, Cerebration and Nancy Jester:

I am a former co-president of the Dunwoody-Chamblee Parents Council. In fact, I am the one responsible for the name change from Dunwoody Parents Council. I am unaware that Cross Keys has been officially included in the DCPC. And I would certainly be reluctant to believe anything that appears on the DCSS website.

Maybe this is just a wannabe? It seems like an unwieldy number of schools for such an organization.

Would one of you please provide official documentation that Cross Keys and its feeder schools were voted into the DCPC membership?

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@anon 12:19 PM Really, do you have to be so snippy about it? No reason to turn on each other about issues like that.... Discuss it, look at the information and offer up an opinion,

Anonymous said...

Pat Reid needs to be scrubbing classroom floors and walls. I think that the bathrooms in any school would be an excellent place for her to start.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:02 PM, Friday, May 28, 2010

"Looks like the DCSS BOE will have to start answering some real questions from the BIG MAN (SACS) ..."

Before you start cheering for Mark Elgart and the SACS Calvary to the rescue, consider this:

(1) On January 14, 2010 an e-mail was sent to Mark Elgart outlining the DCSS issues and asking for assistance. Prior to this e-mail, others who had asked SACS for help concerning DCSS were told that SACS had huge files on DCSS.

(2) Despite that, SACS did nothing.

(3) Finally, after NO response from Elgart to the January 14, 2010 e-mail, the original e-mail to Elgart was re-sent to Mike Bryans, Associate State Director, on January 29, 2010. He did respond on February 2 after talking with Elgart. (Apparently Elgart does not communicate with the "little people" -- the "background noise" as described by Bob Mosely. BTW, I know Bob Mosely personally -- we were in the same Leadership DeKalb class and I have no regard at all for him.)

(4) Bryans said, "Please know that our organization is monitoring the issues with the DeKalb County Schools and communications with district officials occur on a continuous basis. We will continue to monitor the situation in DeKalb." Apparently SACS was taking their marching orders from the very people who were stealing as much as they could from DCSS.

(5) Meanwhile, as CLew-less and his cronies were running a suspected criminal operation and stealing millions of dollars from DCSS, SACS withdrew accreditation from Warren County, GA -- a 3-school, 800-student, 90% African-American school system. Why? Because -- among other things -- they do not use Roberts Rules of Order in their school board meetings and they were warned by SACS that was something they had to do. Certainly the Warren County issue was nothing of the magnitude of what was going on right under SACS noses in DCSS!

That kind of thing really makes the value of SACS oversight highly questionable. Losing accreditation means that any students in Warren County who had hope of getting out via college and the HOPE Scholarship could not get the HOPE Scholarship -- nor will they be able to get accepted to most colleges. Disgusting.

Yet, SACS completely ignores the egregious, probably criminal and certainly indictable activities going on in DCSS. Again, that kind of thing really makes the value of SACS oversight questionable. BTW -- take a look at the DCSS and SACS budgets sometime and see the huge amount of money DCSS pays to SACS for accreditation.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program, "As The Stomach Turns" brought to you in part by Barf SACS.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom 8:01 am

"As far as AP offerings, every high school in DeKalb offers AP courses - some schools more than others, but they are available. They are also available on-line via the virtual school provided by the GADOE. "

They are also offered by DOLA (DeKalb Online Academy)

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

AP classes are also available at the State's Virtual School (which, IMO is much better than DOLA - as well as redundant. We could eliminate DOLA and have students take the online courses with the state - it's seamless and costs students the same amount.)

Anon 12:49 PM - you are correct. I've been very disappointed in SAC's lack of support or intervention on our behalf and in behalf of our nearly 100,000 children. The same goes for the State of Georgia. We have been left flapping in the breeze by pretty much everyone who has any power whatsoever to step in and effect change.

Thank God for the District Attorney.

Cerebration said...

I'm not sure how we could provide "documentation" that Cross Keys is part of DCPC other than the fact that it is listed as such at DCSS's website. Obviously, the Anon above thinks this was a mistake.

FWIW - maybe Cross Keys should opt out - after all, they are their own "selves" and should not have to live under the label Dunwoody "wannabes".

Wow. What a statement.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cerebration said...

The original incorporation doc for Leadership Prep states that the initial registered office is located at 829 Masters Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30087

The registered agent is Dr. Melvin Johnson
(of the above address)

The board of directors is from all around -

Lonnie Hall - Stone Mt
Dr Dee Taylor - Stone Mt
Michael Cook - Conyers
Harris Price - Loganville
Andrew Momon - Covington

The notary is from Henry County

DCSS Teacher said...

How do you reconcile the "Lawsuits do nothing but make lawyers rich" view (Dunwoody Mom @ 10:18 AM) with the "Thank God for the District Attorney.." view (Cerebration @ 1:33)?

Legal action, whether via civil/criminal lawsuit or the enforcement of existing laws, does involve lawyers. I don't have any in my family, but I can see that people who violate laws need to be brought to justice, a process that involves law enforcement.

Lawsuits do a lot more than make lawyers rich--they are part of an apparatus that enforces laws, which form the foundation for our community. Despite all the excellently expressed viewpoints on this blog, unless action is taken beyond writing the BOE members and threatening not to re-elect them (and who in their right mind would do so?), I don't think much will change. Talk is not only cheap,it is ineffective in changing how institutions like DCSS function. They are supposed to operate within the framework of laws that they have apparently egregiously ignored. Now legal penalties should be enforced.

The blog provides lots of material for future prosecutions, if anyone wants to go that way, though. Look at all this great information! I hope that someone in a position to go beyond venting, will make these sleazebags accountable!

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Re DCPC and Cross Keys

I want to try and clear up a bit of the confusion surrounding this issue.

First there was a Dunwooy Council and then a Dunwoody/Chamblee Parents Council. Both were parent initiatives (along with Emory-LaVista) and rarely had school system personnel there unless they were the invited speakers. In the olden days, DCPC was very political, mostly focusing on advocacy and current hot issues.

Then Dr. Brown arrived. I believe he was threatened by the existence of these organizations and suddenly many central office personnel were attending and DCPC seemed to become a command performance for principals, regardless of the topic of the meeting.

When Dr. Lewis became superintendent, the old policy seemed to stay in place. Two years ago, after yet another change in how schools were organized under associate superintendents, Dunwoody, Chamblee and Cross Keys became Region 1. Marilyn Steele asked the leadership of DCPC to include Cross Keys. I happen to think Ms. Steele was out of line, simply because this was a parent based organization, not an official school system one, but given the recent history that may have been forgotten. I personally have no problem with CK participating, but believed that a vote should have been taken to formalize it.

DCPC meetings can be very valuable, but sometimes they seem much more like a PTA meeting than a meeting appropriate for an advocacy based group. It kills me that principals are using 2 plus hours a month listening to speakers that may not be particularly relevant to them doing their jobs.

At some DCPC meetings in the last few years, there are more DCSS employees than parents.

I say all this reluctantly because while I have served on numerous nominating committees for DCPC, I have never volunteered to be an officer. I generally don't level criticism without stepping forward to help. I did speak with the incoming president and offer to meet with her this summer to talk about programming.

I hope that more and more CK parents will attend. Depending on the topic, it can be a great way to learn about the system, state politics and what other schools are doing.

Lynn Deutsch

Teacher said...

Dunwoody Mom: calling me a "troll" doesn't really live up to the Internet ethics standards that we teach the kids. Surely disagreeing with you, in a polite way as I did, doesn't merit this?

To encourage input from DCSS teachers, as it seems most bloggers on this site want, it would be better to be respectful. Or, kind, even.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

RE: DCPC and Cross Keys

Thanks, Lynn! I know you personally, have worked with you, and what you say about DCPC and Cross Keys is correct.

When I was co-president of DCPC, my recollection is that the PTA president and a DCPC representative from each school were usually in attendance at each meeting. DCPC co-presidents were usually one from the Dunwoody Cluster and one from the Chamblee cluster -- often high school parents who were longtime, active volunteers. They served staggered 2-year terms.

Usually BOE members who represented the area were at DCPC meetings. Traditionally, the opening meeting of the year was at Dunwoody High School; the closing meeting was at Chamblee High School. Usually, the only principal present was the principal of the host school, who welcomed everyone in attendance to the school.

I have known Crawford Lewis and Marilyn Steele since Montgomery School days. It was typical of them -- because they were both promoted so far above their competence level -- to co-opt DCPC in an attempt to rein in free discourse. That would explain Marilyn Steele's completely out-of-line and inappropriate request to include Cross Keys without a vote and by-laws change, and also the fact that the DCPC name was changed on the DCSS website.

That would also explain why so many DCSS central office people began attending. It was another ham-handed attempt on the part of Lewis and Steele to make sure that people who spoke in opposition (real or imagined)to DCSS would be identified, shut down and punished.

You were exactly right, Lynn. In the pre-Johnny Brown/Crawford Lewis days, DCPC focused on advocacy and current hot issues. DCPC performed a valuable community service, speaking with one voice to the DCSS administration on behalf of 14 schols located within the same geographic area.

I wonder what would have happened if DCPC had managed to maintain its independence from DCSS and, thus, its integrity? I always wondered why DCPC did not take a strong stand against closing Nancy Creek School -- at least, insist that Nancy Creek and Kittredge be accommodated in the same building in the same manner as the magnet programs at Chamblee High School and Chamblee Middle School -- especially when the demographic "study" was proven to be a costly, fake cut-and-paste job.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dunwoody Mom, for self-selecting. I have often thought that about you (Internet Troll), but it seemed unkind to say so -- and unfair to have a battle of wits against an unarmed person.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@Dunwoody Mom: DCPC By-laws?

Wow! DCPC has by-laws?

I doubt if I still have them, but I don't mind taking a look in my files. If I do still have them they may be outdated.

Why don't you request them from the current DCPC co-presidents?

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cerebration said...

You two will have to explain how adding Cross Keys to the Parent Council makes it any less able to advocate. I'm totally not following and I'm a bit disturbed by your aversion to include the Cross Keys community. If the bylaws of DCPC show that it only includes Dunwoody and Chamblee clusters, then let's ask the school system to correct the website. I think CK has enough community support these days to start one of their own. Tucker HS has their own Parent Council which has become a very powerful force.

People - we all need to stick together. Creating factions will not help the cause overall. I would hope that some residents of Dunwoody would feel kindly enough to advocate for those in the system with little power or voice. I think that's what the discussion about the renovations and auditorium were about on another thread. It's hard to watch so many resources go to a few powerful schools, while others are left with crumbling buildings and toilets that don't flush. I hope that when Dunwoody sees the completion of their construction, they will extend a hand of hope to other schools still pleading for basic attention.

Isn't that what public systems should do?

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am sure the bylaws are somewhere. Since the organization was created long before computers were common place, I am quite sure they are paper only. I know we used them when each time I was on the nominating committee.

I am not against adding CK. I actually said quite the opposite. Adding them doesn't make DCPC less able to advocate. DCPC has steered so far from that path on their own, in my opinion.

I think I can recall only once in the last 13 years that the by-laws of DCPC have even been referred to, outside of the nominating committee.

I was only trying to clarify the history of the organization.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. I think no one objects to CK participating in DCPC. I think that it should be formalized so that they are fully participating and I will suggest that this happen. I think, for many old timers, because it just happened without any discussion what so ever, it just isn't widely known.

Lynn Deutsch

Anonymous said...

...new superintendent...new BOE...clean house...central office, MIS, EDC, International Center, Federal Programs, etc. ...we don't have time to waste...let's go

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I do have to disagree about adding Cross Keys to the DCPC. Actually, I would feel the same way about, say, adding the Lakeside cluster -- or any other cluster -- for example.

My big concern is that adding Cross Keys adds another 7 schools to the DCPC. That seems to be an unwieldy number for effective communication and action. IMO, that is a big reason for the lack of effectiveness of the PTAs -- too big, too bureaucratic, too brainwashed to parrot the "party line", whether that is DCSS's "party line" or the GaDOE's "party line."

On the other hand, I think it would be really good to ask for DCPC volunteers to form a mentoring and coaching subcommittee to work with Cross Keys and their feeder school parent volunteers to establish their own strong parents council.

The other thing is that, quite frankly, DCPC may have outlived its usefulness since it seems to have become a heavily watched tool of DCSS. The current DCPC model has become ineffective in much the same way that the state-mandated school councils are ineffective, at best.

A grassroots action is almost always best. Perhaps a significant reorganization of DCPC is needed. Perhaps an organization that is "invitation only" to DCSS since we know they intimidate people from participating in an open discussion. Even though Lewis is gone, there is no reason to believe that things will be any different until there has been a complete changeover of and significant reduction in central office staff. The current BOE has to go, too.

I have no concrete ideas at this point. But, I would love to be part of a brainstorming group to figure it out!

Cerebration said...

Ok - end of story about DCPC.

One thing I do wonder is -- way back when Cross Keys construction was finally getting under way the first time (after having waited so long and being bumped over and over) - Pat Pope insisted that the "architect just quit" the project. I called BS on that then - and I do now.

I truly believe this is something for the DA to look into. I've never heard of an architect "quitting" - as Pope claimed - due to the difficult "committee"... Nah! Architects are tough - they deal with neighborhood associations and city governments all the time. A few teachers and parents wouldn't bother them in the least. Nope - I say that architect was forced to quit - and Pope was probably gunning to put in her own team. But then the trouble started to brew and Cross Keys was bumped. And Lakeside was bumped. And now apparently Chamblee is tabled completely.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

@ Dunwoody Mom, Teacher, Anon(s):

For those of us who share no opinion over the inclusion/exclusion of CK in DCPC..... could you guys share personal email addresses with each other and fight in private so that the rest of us don't have to witness a rather snippy war of words.I venture to guess that some of the deleted entries may have been a bit too coarse for the general tenor of this blog.

.........Does anyone have any thoughts or information on personnel changes within the CubMart Complex (Mountain Ind. facility) at each school that may take place during the summer. Perhaps someone has a source on the "inside" that would be willing to share that knid of info.

.

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

All of this waste makes me crazy because it cost the county one of the finest educators it has ever had. The middle school Language Arts coordinator was laid off (along with others, of course) and that proves to me that the people at the top have no clue about the nitty gritty of educating children. Ms. Brown was the most energetic, hard working, boots on the ground, there for the kiddos (her word) person that I have ever had the privilege to work with. When she was needed, she was there, when she could help, she did. The Language Arts department thrived under her leadership and I shudder to think what the future will bring for the teachers and "kiddos". DCSS let an amazing woman go while keeping some who only know where to get their morning Starbucks and where to go to lunch. Oh, and let's not forget creating more forms for overworked teachers to keep up with.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teaching Science in DCSS said...

Thank you for some kind words, Anonymous @ 8:00. Many teachers fear this blog because of its sometimes-unkind tone and the sense that's projected, that contributors "know best" what makes for good and bad teachers. We teachers certainly don't feel that we have a handle on that!--esp in the current climate of tension and chaos. We've spent so much time in recent months fearing for our jobs, wondering where our next ream of paper will come from, and how our students will do in the many hours of standardized testing. Plus, there's eSIS--completely unhelpful.

Best would be if teachers and parents could identify common goals as members of one community, and help each other reach them. Dunwoody Mom is often a cynical, caustic presence, but not without merit in her/his arguments. But teachers fear her/him.

To get somewhere, we all have to swallow a lot of personal viewpoints, and keep their eyes on the prize--which, here, is a quality education for these vulnerable children. Don't scare away teachers from writing on this blog, by making us think that our contributions are not relevant--we already get enough of that at work!

Anonymous said...

Teaching Science in DCSS, this blog has always been very, very supportive of our DCSS teachers!!! We who post on here regularly have brought attention to the madness of the Lewis administration, such as eSIS and America's Choice, the horrible conditions at some schools, like leaks and moldy HVAC, millions spent on Gloria Talley/Audria Berry's army of instructional coaches who assign teachers meaningless busy work, etc.

We constantly advocate for Title 1 funds being spent in the classroom, not the Central Office.
We advocate for the inclusion of teachers for decisions large and small.

We want more teachers to post here. Yes, sometimes there's animosity, but education is a touch stone subject. A billion dollar entity with questionable spending habits and a whole lotta internal politics is going to cause some strong beliefs and arguments, so everyone, put on your big boy and big girl pants. We can disagree on issues without making it personal.

Trust me, this blog is making a major difference, and bringing attention to issues that were ignored before its inception. I've heard about it from multiple BOE members, and on the record they say its harmful and misinformed, but off the record, they are glad its brought up certain topics.

Dekalbparent said...

@themommy -

Yes, you are correct. DCSS failed to file papers to get the state money, and a previous post said it was because Pat Reid failed to have the it done, even though she said she had done it (I may be mis-remembering, but I thought CLew said this, in an effort to distance himself from the blame for losing the money).

And I wonder, too, whether something in those forms might have revealed something about what was going on, therefore, no filing.

Anonymous said...

@ Teaching at a DCSS High School, 7:14 PM

No.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:11 pm

You're right in that this blog is not for the thin skinned. That's because the moderator has a policy of allowing an very diverse set of posters. But this policy has attracted a lot of readers and presented many varying points of view. That's its greatest strength. If you change that, you change the impact it has on the educational community, and please don't doubt that it has a big impact.

I'm a frequent poster and the author of some articles. I'm retired from DCSS, but I literally taught students at every grade level. When I first began to read this blog, I realized that many of the posts were from parents, but few from teachers. Unless you are "behind the scenes", it's next to impossible to filter through the "spin" that the DCSS administration puts out for public consumption.

Understanding the functioning (or all too often the non-functioning) of various departments and the intensity of the classroom experience is difficult if you have never been a position of direct instruction in a public school system. Teachers with two years of experience have a different perspective than teachers with twenty years of experience. Teachers who are in regular education have a different experience than teachers who are categorized as specialists - art, music, gifted, special ed, etc. Being in the schoolhouse versus outside the schoolhouse provides another perspective.

Teachers instructing every day in the classroom have much to offer the parents and other interested parties who read this blog. A common concern for children resonates with parents when teachers post. Most parents understand that teachers hold a unique position that no other employees in the school system hold. Most parents do understand that without teachers, the entire system falls apart.

The break in the covenant between the school system and parents has been enormously upsetting to the parents. Their fears cannot and will not be alleviated because DCSS top level administrators have so little classroom experience. The goals of the DCSS administration and the BOE have diverged so far from the goals of CSS parents/taxpayers/teachers that there seems no way to reconcile the two if the current administration is retained.

The underlying problems of growing admin and support to the detriment of teacher numbers, overpayment of non-teaching personnel, poor customer service to the classroom members (e.g. eSIS, HVAC, new construction), contracting services without competitive bidding, promotions based on relationships, increasing class sizes, not providing adequate access to technology, etc. have been with DCSS for quite some time. The "Great Recession" laid the problems open to the public and exposed the flaw of admin and support being more important than the actual instruction of students.

Keep posting and reading what other posters have to say. Often parents are relying on Central Office "spin" because they have no other information. They are eager to hear from teachers, and a teacher's voice is always valued over an administrators (even the superintendent's). I know teachers are disrespected so often in DCSS that it's hard to believe this, but it is true on this blog. This may be the only place you have a real voice. So keep analyzing the posts on this blog. If you see an inaccuracy, post the truth. That's the only way many parents understand what's causing the problems we have in DCSS.

Dekalbparent said...

I’ve tried to put together a list of the concerns and questions we have come up with on this thread that are additional to the list of questions posted in the blog entry. They are in no particular order, and I don’t know what information the writer of each has that precipitated them.

1) Waste and fraud at the International Center Did the last director of the IC "misplace" a large amount of money? Is there too little oversight of the Title I money there?

2) Were 150 Central Office positions actually eliminated (may be hard to determine, because some positions they define as Central Office may not appear to us to be)?

3) Why can’t Pat Reid be put on unpaid leave – would a hearing be needed for that?

4) Could DCSS be compelled to appoint a stakeholder ombudsman to monitor this blog and respond promptly, forthrightly, completely and honestly to each que

5) What about Pat Reid/Pope’s trip to California in 2008 for "The Sustainable Operations Summit". The stuff described is pretty egregious. Can Anon 7:19 (5-28) produce any verification of the malfeasance described, or can anyone else? Does the DA know about it?

6) What do you all think of having 1 or 2 teachers as ex-officio on the Board? How could we make sure the Board would listen?
7) (these are the questions posted by BeenRoundTooLong 11:07 on 5-280
1.What government entity governs the SPLOST contract voted on by taxpayers? Project priorities and funding allocations have veered away from what we originally endorsed. The board has approved changes in spending rather than oversee the original contract -- Who enforces the SPLOST contract?
2.Vice Chair Roberts said in April the board would move quickly to establish a superintendent search. What is the board's plan? Are they moving?
3.Can the board bring in a new interim superintendent? It seems every high level administrator is tainted. "What did they know and how long did they know it?" We need a new interim to start cleaning house immediately!
4.If Heery Mitchell wins the lawsuit and bankrupts the system, then what happens ?
5.Do we need a forensic audit (such as the Rubino Mageehin SPLOST II audit) to have an idea of where we are with the 300 million bond issue v.s. the Capital Improvement Plan?
8) Why could Leadership Prep not be opened in a DCSS-owned building? Is it at New Birth because
they couldn’t use Academy of Lithonia’s building (which as I noted before, may well be owned by the Michigan-based company that ran Academy of Lithonia). Does the school have to be situated in Lithonia?
9) What really happened with the Cross Keys construction that just stopped? Did the architect "quit" - as Pope claimed - due to the difficult "committee"... Why?

10) How about a) comparing what was supposed to be done on each of the completed SPLOST-3-funded projects and what was actually done and b) comparing the original list (posted above by Cere) to what has actually been done.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 9:24

Thank you for posting. Thank you for staying with us. I can only speak for myself, but I always believe the teachers and other school-based people over what I hear from Central Office or my Board member. (I know others feel differently, but they all seem to eagerly drink the CO koolaid).

Please school-based folks, keep posting, and tell others to do the same. I know you have to stay anonymous, and to do so, you have to keep your comments somewhat vague and general, but I, for one, count on you all for the TRUTH. I really can't get it anywhere else.

Cerebration said...

Anon 9:24 PM - I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comment. I hope teachers agree and continue to use this forum to express their concerns. If parents are made aware of the concerns, they will fight like dogs for change. We're all in this together.

And DeKalb Parent - You are the bomb! Let's package your last comment up and ship it off to the board. Will you or shall I?

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

OK, so maybe I'm out of the "inside" loop on issues in DCSS. I get a lot of information regarding what's goin on via blogs like this one and the news media. Of course I can't believe it all, but a large portion of material has seemed to ring as true as I've read this blog over the past school year.

While I do not agree with one of my colleagues that many teachers are scared to post on this blog, I do believe that fear is a great motivator to NOT ACT. This might be why it seems that information regarding administrative improprieties in DCSS has been known by so many people who failed to "spill the beans" to the right people or agencies.

Now, all of a sudden EVERYBODY has information about: Lewis, Pope, Reid, Thedford, Berry, Callaway, Talley, Simpson, Jackson-Davis, BOE (et, al.), Moseley, Tyson, SPLOST, DCPC, eduKalb, New Birth, Long, sororities, fraternities, etc. All this vague info, not verifiable or even identified by a known source. Yep, there is a lot of fear here.

No, I'm not afraid of posting. I'm just wary of getting caught up in the madness that has come to my employer - DCSS. By default, I am part of it. I can only hope that the coming school year won't be as chaotic as I currently project it to be. I fear chaos at my school. (unfocused, ununified, ineffective leadership). I fear chaos in the school system.(NO LEADERSHIP). I fear curriculum changes & unwanted programs(GPS, America's Choice). I fear that after 180 days of instruction, the 120-180 students that I teach will not fully be prepared to move on to the next level, but I won't have the integrity to hold them back for fear that no matter what their ability or grade says, if I haven't generated the paper trail to justify the F, the pressure will be there to pass students who don't deserve it. (very wordy, I know).

I fear that in all these things, it is the CHILDREN of DCSS, that have suffered and will continue to suffer the most.

I FEAR that DCSS won't change even after all of this madness......


We are in for a long summer. Thank God I'm going out of town on vacation starting Monday(no computer). I can't help think about all the great postings I'll miss during the week.

(ok, I'm nosy and still want to know who was with Dr. Lewis on those trips....)

.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent blog.
Please continue to participate.
I am two years into the system,
this is the best source of current
information and concerns.

Dunwoody mom don't leave us.

To All,
What should we expect the board
to do this summer? Redistricting
plans, what are the furlough days, school closures, departmental changes,......
What's to come by the 1st day of school. Should we attend the next Board meeting and stand united on
our concerns.

I am here...neighbors, teachers,
parents, all.

Anonymous said...

The memo sent from DCSS Friday: "To: DeKalb County Parents and Members of the Public
From: Board of Education
Interim Superintendent
Subject: Communications ‐ Recent News
Date: May 27, 2010
The DeKalb County District Attorney notified the Board of Education on May 26, 2010, that
former Superintendent Crawford Lewis, Patricia A. Reid, the former Chief Operations Officer,
and Cointa Moody, Executive Administrative Assistant to Ms. Reid, had been indicted on
criminal charges. The DeKalb County Board of Education takes these charges very seriously,
and will continue to fully cooperate with legal authorities as this process moves forward.
Dr. Lewis’ last day of employment with the school system was April 16, 2010. As of July 1, 2010,
Ms. Reid will not be returning to the DeKalb County School System. The employment status of
Ms. Moody is being reviewed by the Interim Superintendent and the Board of Education. The
school system will continue to cooperate with legal authorities, to await the outcome of the
judicial process, and to respect the rights of the accused.
As parents in our school system and members of the public, you deserve to learn of major
developments affecting the DeKalb County School District from the DeKalb County School
System. Therefore, it is our intent to communicate and keep you apprised of major
developments as appropriate and in a timely manner.
We are committed to remaining focused on the important job of educating the children of
DeKalb County and to performing our work with the highest ethical and professional standards.
We know that you, our stakeholders, deserve and will accept nothing less.
In less than eight weeks, we will open our doors and accept nearly 100,000 precious children
into our schools. We don’t take that civic responsibility or parental trust lightly, but we need
your support and involvement in order to be most effective; so that together we will provide
our students with the best education possible."

"Recent news" they call it. Pat Reid will leave -- but not 'til July. No decision yet on the allegedly thieving secretary. Yes. That's a hard one. Hmmm. Where to put an indicted secretary? Would you want her in your office? Answering your phone? She might take your wallet. And who would want to have lunch with her? Oh, I know. She and Pat can share an office, go to lunch together and file for meal reimbursement. ARE THEY SERIOUS? Even if you manage to get past the punctuation errors, incorrect word usage and muddy sentence construction offered by DCSS' crack Communications Team, one message is clear: there are no grownups in charge in DeKalb. Odds of this crew being able to pull this system out of its tailspin? Nil.

Anonymous said...

@ Dekalbparent 9:42 PM and Anonymous 9:24 PM

I fully second this comment! Thank you, Dekalbparent!

I am a 20+ year volunteer with DCSS, an active parent who has been deeply involved on the local level and, for a few years (more than 10 years ago), a DCSS employee. That was an eye-opening experience!

I always believe the front-line teachers over any spin coming from DCSS. The quality high-level administrators long ago packed up and moved on, leaving only hacks and flacks like Tyson, Ramsey, Wilson, Callaway, Talley, the Guillory/Edwards clan, Turk, Moody, Heckman and others willing to price themselves low and shill for the crooks at the top such as Lewis, Pope/Reid, Steele and Mitchell.

Tyson, Ramsey, Wilson, Callaway, Talley, the Guillory/Edwards clan, Turk, Heckman, Moody et al had to have known what they were/are doing and they had to have benefited in some way. Except for possibly Tyson. She has never been the brightest bulb in the chandelier. However, in no way does Tyson's lack of intelligence absolve her from responsibility for the ruin she has helped heap upon DCSS.

"Follow the money" said Cassandra Anderson Littlejohn before she left, referring to the corruption rampant at DCSS. That would include names you have not heard of yet, but will: Larry Hammel, Susan Hurst, Gail Sewell, Carla Smith and her Performing "Auditors." All are culpable. They knew what was going on, but they did not go to the authorities.

Teachers, please, please keep telling what you think, what you suspect and what you know through this blog. I hope that the DeKalb DA is on the level and that the DA's office, along with the GBI, the U.S. Attorney and the FBI are reading this blog daily for the bits and pieces of information it provides. Each piece of information you provide -- whether or not you see how it relates to any other piece of information -- is like a puzzle piece for investigators, gradually exposing a picture of raw corruption and greed, as well as a corporate culture of incompetence.

InTheOG said...

I think that Dunwoody Mom is one of the few fully rational posters on this blog. She excels at seeing the big picture and discouraging those who obsess about insignificant details.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:33 PM

You are kidding ... right?

Should we attend the next Board meeting and stand united on our concerns? It is the best laugh I have had all evening!

Thank you!

No Duh said...

How long has BOE member Pam Speaks been out of DCSS as head of Title I? Why is she so quiet in board meetings? Why doesn't she question the use of Title One funds to purchase (again) America's Choice, etc.? Exactly what was her title when she was with DCSS? Did she retire? You would think her fellow BOE members would use her as a resource for all Title One questions they may have... What is her value-add to this BOE?

These are just curiosity questions. By asking them I am not implying anything negative about Ms. Speaks, I just wanted to get all my questions out at once...

Anonymous said...

The blog has been great for employees to let the tax payers and parents know about all the waste in the system. I do think that many employees are afraid to talk as they know that if the system find out they will either loose there job or put in a small room somewhere.

I can tell you this until you get a new board, super, and get some new people in the central office things will not change. Reid, lewis and moody is just the tip of the problems. Know this there are others in the central office that knew what was going on they all should be question. The central office is all about who can make the money and who has the largest office. You will get the same waste with tyson and her crew.I know that it will take time to clean house but this is the only way to clean this up. They must all be removed. The friends and family runs very deep in the central office. I will bet that not one friends and family were in the lay-offs. The good people that came to work and gave it 100% are the people that got laid-off. The saying is if you want to move up find someone in a power positions and sleep with them and away you go.

Check out how many people who have the same last names and that will give you some ideas about the friends and family. It would be great if someone could get a list of all the people who are members of the friends and family. It will be very large.

At any rate don't be fool that the current staff will make things better. I just pray that we will get a person for super who will come in and clean house. I wish they had been able to keep dr. brown he was on his way. He didn't owe any favors. You can thank lewis for him leaveing. When you think about it is kind of funny since lewis will be going to jail.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

@ Anon 11:55

Forgive me if I am ignorant of laws regarding posting to this blog. However.......as a 20 yr veteran to teaching I defy anyone to fire me based on commetaries (not accusations) and questions directed towards my employer.
As for being put in a small room somewhere, well if you can pay me like Pat and I still keep my job then ok fine by me.......but again my students will suffer.

I've always taken great joy in being able to speak my mind in this forum without fear of retribution. I don't name names, nor impune anyone's reputation or character.( I don't have access to that kind of info.) I just know that this is a much better source of info. than anything DCSS has put out so far.

Maybe I should reread my contract. I don't remember seeing anything about keeping my mouth shut or else. (I DO remember seeing a decrease in salary of 6.25% - in reality this will be approx. 3.78% with the 7 furlough days coming for next year.)

....Hmmm, maybe this small room will actually be my classroom since class sizes may go up. The room will seem smaller with so many students. I'll have to borrow chairs from the cafeteria (like that year when there were 51 students on my roll for about 2 weeks).

.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

Sorry, Anon. 12:18....

I get a little loopy at this time of night. Forgive me please, what was I thinking....

I meant to say Celtics in 4 !

Bring a broom to the room and lay it front of your TV so you can easily pick it up when the sweep comes to pass.

(P.S. don't drink the purple and gold Kobe flavored Kool-Aid - it's not all that it's hyped up to be!)

.

Anonymous said...

@ Teaching at a DCSS High School, 12:38 AM

Hey -- we have talked about this before. Remember? You have really got to cut back. Please. You are embarrassing yourself. Now in public.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

@ Anon 1:16 ....
Surely you don't get out of your windowless cave of a classroom often enough to realize that how overhyped the black mamba is. In reality, any dangerous snake out of its natural habitat is a threat and therefore should be eliminated.


....... do you prefer the push style broom or the regular (ride like witchy-poo) style ????

.

Anonymous said...

According to the 2004 state Salary and Travel audit, Pam Speaks was the DCSS Title I Director making $122,260 (with benefits - $152,825). She was one of the highest paid members of the DCSS, even more than Crawford Lewis who as a Deputy Superintendent. I only mention her salary to say how high up she was in the DCSS administration so she must know all of the top level administrators very well. Maybe someone else knows when she retired.

Anonymous said...

DCSS employees should not be transported to any large auditorium since we purchased elluminate live. Ms. Tyson used this website to deliver her "morale booster" after hours on a Thursday right before the bottom fell out of the budget meeting the next Monday. I find it interesting that for years the Title I principal's summit has been held at Evergreen Conference Center with Title I monies...great facilities...great food! This summer, it is being held at Miller Grove High School...no Title I monies from the local schoolhouse allocation funds being used. We could hear the same information via elluminate live. DCSS spent a fortune on going green. Only place going green is the central office. Since progress reports at the elementary school are going home every 4.5 weeks instead of 6 without preprinted forms...and we ran GKIDS reports too...every 4.5 weeks we used 3 reams of paper. 24 reams of paper for just one copy to go home plus toner. Way to go green! The print shop needs to come back---cost is much cheaper to use. Plus we no longer have envelopes to use. We have to get them printed. We pay DCSS staff 6 figures to work on advanced degrees during the school day while we use local funds for paper and toner instead of materials needed in classrooms, i.e. extra Storytown materials not ordered by county. These decisions are poor ones. It is time for a new BOE, new superintendent, new DCSS!

That said...

DeKalb Parent

Another question for the list.

The Board of Education knew about Dr. Lewis' multiple charges of gas on his P-Card. Was the Board of Education also aware of the hotel stays?

Anonymous said...

Going green in Dekalb County School has always been a "dog & poney" show! Hell, everything in Dekalb County Schools has always been a "dog & poney" show.

This year they paid about $300 per teacher to attend "Ron Clark School" seminar AS IF Oprah Winfrey/Bill Gates were sponsoring the elementary schools!

Anonymous said...

A reminder -- anyone with hard evidence of fraud -- please forward it to the DA to assist her with her investigation and prosecution. She needs help. She is prosecuting people who have been helping her over the years to get elected and have been part of her close network of friends. The further she gets into this, the more of her network is likely to be exposed. She is going to need everything you can get to her in order to piece the puzzle together and to have the wherewithall to see it through. Help her out. Cere was going to try and post a link to make it easy -- but please, get the DA what you know as a "thank you" for going down this path and in an effort to make sure the effort is complete. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I saw a parent in stonecrest mall yesterday. He was wearing a t-shirt with the 3 wise monkeys on it. SEE NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL AND HEAR NO EVIL on it. In the belly of the monkies was a letter. B, O, and E! I LOVED IT!! He said his neighbor was making them for the people in their neighbor to wear at the next board meeting. I gave him my name and number. I also gave him this blog page and asked him to share it with you guys. This is great! Lets get as many stakeholder to show up at the next board meeting wearing one of these shirts or you own version of the 3 wise monkeys. They wont let you bring signs in the meetings, but they can not stop you from wearing a t-shirt. GREAT IDEA!!!!

Anonymous said...

BP in the Gulf of Mexico has been looking all over for Crawford Lewis. Why? They need an expert at "syphoning".

Crawford, you can marry your two passions here: "going green & syphoning"!

BP has a VIP booth for any play-offs you want!

Anonymous said...

Cere how can I send a picture of the t-shirt to you for you to post. You will love it. It really gets the point across.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:40 are you being sarcastic, or are you commending her for doing what is right even if it means prosecuting the same people who helped her get into office?

Anonymous said...

I have more questions to add based on a conversation I overheard between two high level administrators sitting in front of me at a public meeting. Has the athletics department overspent its budget and if so, by how much? If the athletics department has gone over budget, are funds being transferred from another department to cover the over-spending?

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget Carol Thedford at Miller Grove high school. The DA's office is on her fowl scent and they are investigation her. The department of Public Integrity is conducting its investigation regarding the shady book purchases.

And no the request did not come from the district or Internal Affairs.

WATCH THE NEWS!! Richard Belcher is staying on this one for it is going to be the next to blow. She is not as big as Crawford and reid so it hopefully will not take as long. I just hope they indict her butt before school starts back. Teachers at Miller Grove dont give up hope...her day is coming.

Mr. Ambler you are in our prayers for a speedy recovery. And please know that we (the staff) did not find her jokes about your recent heart attack funny at all, nor did we agree with her calling you at the hospital after having surgery to get a freaking "text book code"!

Cerebration said...

Anon 8:43 AM - or anyone who wants to send something to this blog - here's the email address (it's also on the home page on the right panel)

reparteeforfun@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Why did most of Dunwoody Mom comments get removed? A different opinion,rude and crude or incorrect info? I am just curious.......

Cerebration said...

She removed her own comments. You can do that when you log in with an identity... I don't ever remove her comments - I think she brings a lot of interesting truths to the conversation. Then again - I'm over 50 - and have pretty thick skin.

I really only remove comments that blatantly accuse people by name of improprieties. (That's just not nice.) Or if they call other bloggers horrible names or curse (also not nice). If you see any I miss, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

What is the status of the others that reportedly bought the books? What's being done to the seller? When I heard about the Miller Grove principal and the fact that it happened in 2007, I felt that maybe this was more of a personal vindetta since only she was named. There are so many instances that people talk about where more money than this was misused. Nothing was done to them.
What happened to the other schools where test erasures were found? One of the schools has a principal that is reportedly a personal friend of CL. If that is true, it's no wonder that nothing was done such as with the Atherton admin.
I also hope that when the new superintendent comes, he/she has someone that can objectively look at the salaries. They will see gross inequities with many of them based on friendships. Many were moved into higher positions just before retirement so that they could reap benefits of higher pensions. Of course this was a select few who were friends of.....? It sickens me to see the teachers, most who do good jobs, given pennies compared to other personnel who actually do far less work. As with Cointa Moody, there are other salaries that are based on their committment or friendship with their supervisors.

Cerebration said...

BTW - if the sport-related comments actually are something that need removed, let me know. I am sports illiterate - I have NO idea what you are referring to - other than I am pretty sure it has to do with basketball...

Anonymous said...

Cere,

The sports-related comments are meaningless and inappropriate in this blog. They denigrate the purpose of this blog. It is offensive that the writer of such frivolous comments is identified as a teacher.

Anonymous said...

To Anon. 8:50 AM -- I'm just pointing out political reality and commending Gwen for going forward and doing what she was elected to do. I am also noting for all of you that it must have been a little hard for her to get there (at least intially) because she has been pretty friendly with this group (note prior threads about Leadership DeKalb--I think CL was "banking" on this friendship in shielding him from prosecution so the evidence must be pretty compelling). I am urging everyone to get what you have to the DA so that she can do this with as much ease as possible because it is not going to the simplest case to prove in the long run and we all know it involves many more people that she should be looking at. In order to get convictions she needs hard evidence that proves the cases "beyond reasonable doubt" which means that it leaves not once ounce of room for suspicion. She needs you to share with her what you know. That's the reality of the situation but she doesn't have the ability to ask each and every one of you who might have something to offer up (and, no, no one asked me to make this plea).

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:40 pm

"We pay DCSS staff 6 figures to work on advanced degrees during the school day while we use local funds for paper and toner instead of materials needed in classrooms, i.e. extra Storytown materials not ordered by county. These decisions are poor ones. It is time for a new BOE, new superintendent, new DCSS!'

I had someone in my office that worked on their degree for 2 years during working hours and rarely anything else. Their rationale was that the knowledge they were getting from the degree would help DeKalb County. I suspect this is the rationale many of them use. Meanwhile, everyone else took up the slack.

No Duh said...

I will tell you that when I asked McChesney, Womack and Speaks what they thought about the superintendent's truthfulness and character after reading his insulting testimony about syphoning the gas, all of them berated me (in that really condesending way of their's) saying, "that was two years ago, we have more important things to concentrate on now." They dismissed me and my request for their opinions as to Lewis' character as trivial.

For some reason, this BOE does the exact opposite of what most human beings to. Most people judge others by their actions, our BOE ignores actions and judges people on what they say! Strangest group of "leaders" I've ever encountered.

I could have sworn we all went to the polls to elect BOE members to represent US. They seem to represent DCSS's administrators.

The biggest cookie jar seems to be the Title One funds. Still our money as we pay federal taxes. It is insulting when we ask questions about funding and we are waved off with "well that's title one funds," as if it's "Free" money.

Regarding BP and Lewis' ability to help out. How about they try shoving all those millions of dollars Lewis/Reid/Pope/Moody, et al. stole into the well? Should be stopped up in a couple of minutes.

Anonymous said...

"I also hope that when the new superintendent comes, he/she has someone that can objectively look at the salaries. They will see gross inequities with many of them based on friendships."

Yes. The last Compensation and Classification audit proposed by Dr. Brown and commissioned by the BOE found $14,800,000 a year in salary overpayments to non-teaching personnel. It was very comprehensive and took only 7 months from stat to finish. Dr. Lewis took over and then told the BOE it would not be fair to adjust any of these salaries. We need another one as soon as possible, but in my opinion, we need it under a new superintendent.

Ms. Tyson has shown absolutely no will to curb the growth of non-teaching employee numbers or salaries. Quite the opposite - under Ms. Tyosn, MIS, a notoriously ineffective and department, grew to 291 non-teaching personnel and costs DCSS around $19,000,000 a year in salaries and benefits. In addition, Dell is subcontracted to do all of the installations and maintenance of DCSS computers and Activboards. Millions of SPLOST III dollars are built into the installation and maintenance of technology in DCSS.

I'm beginning to think the posters who want a new interim superintendent just to "clean house" are right. He/she needs to be put in place as soon as possible. Ms. Tyson will be fine. One thing I'm certain of is that she will not end back up overseeing MIS. She'll take a State Department job like Kathy Cox or maybe she'll migrate to a lucrative job in a testing company or educational program company.

No Duh said...

Earlier in the school year, at an ELPC meeting (like the Dunwoody cluster, the ELPC has become a dog and pony show for DCSS topics and mandatory attendance for principals and administrators) Ms. Tyson presented (actually the paid consultant presented) some new website -- 2.0 -- that she had paid this consultant to develop. We all asked why it was necessary as DCSS already had a website -- and it wasn't particularly well-maintained. She insisted (though I couldn't tell if she understood what she was talking about) that an internet 2.0 website was absolutely necessary. Where is this website? How much money have we paid this consultant? In a budget crisis why was the MIS department pursuing this "nice to have" project? Etc., etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

It's not on ajc.com just yet, but today's lead story in the Sunday paper Metro section is of course, DCSS. The article infers that Pat Pope/Reid/whatever was the mastermind, and may have used juicy personal info. on Crawford Lewis to get her way. There is also a story abput all the drama in DeKalb (Burrell Ellis vs. Terrell Bolton), and the Chamber of Commerce director said that the DCSS drama affects recruiting business to our tax base more than anything else.

With his wife battling cancer, Lewis took trips with female DCSS staff to the Bahamas and Ritz Carlton Reynolds Plantation. His personal choices may have cost students, parents and taxpayers millions of dollars.

Still, the overarching point is the Board of Education, and the DCSS Office of Internal Affairs, had no checks and balances, no internal controls in place.

Not only are we going to have five new BOE members elected this fall (hoping and praying), the current Board of Education has to, just has to fire Ron Ramsey. His Office of Internal Affairs cost us millions. We can no longer have a Director of Internal Affairs who spend much of the year at the Gold Dome as a state senator.

Ron Ramsey, you ether were aware of the nonsense, and did nothing to act on it, or you didn't know about it, and clearly should have. You especially had a duty to check all school construction contracts with teh spectre of the Heery Mitchel lawsuit looming. Your failure as Director of Internal Affairs, Senator ramsey, has cost us millions, and cost us untold damage to the public trust of DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of thoughts.

@DCSS High School teacher- I am also a teacher and I encounter many teachers in this county that are scared to speak truths about our employers. Especially if they seek future promotions in the county. I find more comfort in speaking out because I am an ODE member and I speak as a citizen of Dekalb County, rather than an employee. The book, The Law of Schools, Students and Teachers in a Nutshell, suggests that employees can be fired if their comments are detrimental to the operation of the system. They even cite a case that a teacher won after being fired because she wrote a letter to the editor in the local paper disagreeing with the Board of Education. More teachers should be armed with the knowledge of what their rights are, and what lines cross into possible termination. For example, I am sure if we do not follow "proper protocol" before speaking to the media, that could be grounds for termination. We have to look beyond our contracts and into what DCSS lists as our responsibilities as teachers.

On another note, my question would be: Why has Marcus Turk's pay doubled in the last five years. He does not seem to have paid close attention to money matters in this system. How is a $20,000 per year raise justified?

Anonymous said...

"Lewis took trips with female DCSS staff to the Bahamas and Ritz Carlton Reynolds Plantation. His personal choices may have cost students, parents and taxpayers millions of dollars."

I'm not interested in the names of any of these women (if indeed the allegations turn out to be true).

However, if it turns out that Dr. Lewis had improper relationships with DCSS female employees, would we really want those employees to stay here in DCSS, particularly if any of them received promotions?

Their credibility as far as qualification to do the position they were promoted to would be called into question. If it is true, surely they knew that their actions would compromise their integrity and beg the question - were they the most qualified candidates?


What kind of message would we be sending to the children and citizens of DeKalb?

Anonymous said...

"On another note, my question would be: Why has Marcus Turk's pay doubled in the last five years. He does not seem to have paid close attention to money matters in this system. How is a $20,000 per year raise justified? "

Marcus Turk is the son of Catherine Turk, former DCSS Area Director. Again, relationships are always present in DCSS. I'm beginning to think a stronger policy needs to be in place regarding "friends and family" in DCSS. Some poster said "it's always about relationships, never about competence."

As the current Ronald M. Simon Family Foundation Atlanta branch program coordinator, Dr. Catherine Turk still has connections with DCSS through this foundation. The foundation gives scholarships to DCSS students.

Anonymous said...

From a headline article on CNNMoney.com Three U.S. cities on the brink of broke

Detroit . . .

In early 2009 the state [Michigan] took over the Detroit Public School System, which was facing a budget deficit of more than $300 million. Now a governor-appointed "emergency financial manager" oversees every penny spent.

Maybe we should start sending copies of this to our Governor and signing off as "DeKalb Taxpayer."

beenroundtoolong said...

Ok - Since no one answered my questions I've started to dig & I'm getting into the weeds with this but - Wikipedia has a good definition of SPLOST and the Cobb County SPLOST computer debacle.

Thurbert Baker issued an Official Opinion in 2001 concerning the State Constitution & Code on SPLOST...

"First, proceeds of the tax must be used by the county exclusively for the purpose or purposes specified in the resolution or ordinance calling for the imposition of the tax. Second, the county is required to keep the proceeds in an account separate from other county funds, and such proceeds must not in any manner be commingled with other funds of the county."

I think the the board** is guilty of not upholding the first rule of SPLOST law.

The second rule of law is interesting because it includes interest on SPLOST monies but does it include state reimbursements?
I was troubled when Pat Pope shifted state reimbursements to 410 funds from the SPLOST fund pot. I always believed it to be an effort to avoid the CIP plan... little did I suspect such brazen avoidance!

** Please don't forget that there are past and present board members to consider -- not just these 9.

The Athletic Department faced an accounting and oversight scandal several years ago. I am comfortable in asking if the lack of checks and balances has been corrected. I'd like to ask the same question concerning the Music Department.

Also want to add Ron Ramsey to Captain Underpants list.

And we need an internal investigation of Lewis' special arrangements including those mentioned here and 100 Black Men's offices at McNair.

beenroundtoolong said...

Ideas for the future:
I feel lost as to how to rebuild; who to go to; who will lead.

EduKalb may be an option. Leonardo McClarty of the Chamber of Commerce and several business leaders see the need for change and have taken the step of wanting to educate and challenge new board candidates (under heavy board fire)

If all of us -- frustrated, heart-broken and sickened bloggers would get behind EDUKALB, it could get be an effective vehicle for change (we can believe in.)

We should ask the Chamber of Commerce, our business leaders, to hold a Town Hall with SACS Reps, Lawyers, and State Officials to answer many of our questions.

We should ask for a workshop to get more of our leaders - outside of the school system - up to speed on the many levels of business within the school system and their weaknesses. Educating taxpayers & particularly county leaders is necessary if we are ever to get the quality of leadership & transparency we need.

If we worked on all the different areas of blogger expertise, we could come up with really good overview of the business of DCSS:
Capital Improvement & Construction
HR and business operations
Instruction -- with numerous sub-headings
Sam Moss Operations
Board operations

If we did much of it via blog it could in a sense be color-blind.

Whew I'm getting carried away but I do feel this is an opportunity to set up a damn good lemonade stand. And we've got the lemons to do it!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, 10:42 AM

"Just pointing out political reality ..."

I am a Leadership DeKalb member and I do not trust Gwen Keyes Fleming to do the right thing because of her political connections.

(1)I thought it was very strange that Fleming did not call in a DA from another county, where there would be no conflict of interest, to investigate this hot mess that extends through layers of DCSS administrators.

(2) In the middle of all this -- missing deadline after deadline -- Fleming took off to handle a DA's job in another county because of a conflict of interest in that county. Why? GA has more than 150 counties (and DAs) to choose from.

(3) The raids seemed timed for maximum press coverage (no problem with this) -- and advance information on the raids appeared to have been given to people way out of law enforcement -- like Annette Jackson (big problem with this).

(4) If Fleming truly wants hard evidence, there are several things she could do:
(a) Publicize a confidential and SAFE place to provide hard evidence or partial evidence with an assurance that it will be investigated.
(b) Legally obtain the IP addresses of the posters on this blog and others who write about first-hand knowledge of DCSS wrongdoing -- then make direct contact with those people. Subpeona them if necessary. (Surely someone on Fleming's staff is reading this blog daily. If not, well, then ...)

(5) The bail for Crawford Lewis was set incredibly low compared to the initial bail set for Pope and Reid. It was still half of the final bail for Pope and Reid. Lewis spent NO time in jail, either. As far as I know he also was not required to turn over his passport. That suggests to me that Fleming has a plan to save her buddy, allow him to work with the prosecution and get off scot-free.

Really -- I think the place for hard evidence is to hand it over to the FBI. Neither the FBI (who investigates for the US Attorney) nor Sally Yates, the U.S. Attorney, is beholden to the many small-time politicians and big-time crooks who populate DeKalb County and DCSS -- and have helped Fleming win elections.

Dekalbparent said...

Cere - It's OK with me to send my comment of. I'm flattered. I'm not sure what you mean by "package", though - I do know it's not quite right in its current form. If you know what would be good, go ahead, or if you want me to do it, let me know how you think it should be massaged.

We're in it for the CHILDREN! (sorry, couldn't residt)

Anonymous said...

fyi - a friend of mine told me that CLew told her 15 or 20 years ago that he was "being groomed" for bigger things -- this is when they were either both teachers or he was her Assistant Principal... how could he have known that? Who is really the "mastermind" -- I do not in any way, shape or form believe it to be Pope/Reid. And, yes, I do believe in the FBI thought that was just posted outlining the DA's actions -- it does ring true somehow.

Anonymous said...

"fyi - a friend of mine told me that CLew told her 15 or 20 years ago that he was "being groomed" for bigger things -- this is when they were either both teachers or he was her Assistant Principal... "

Hogwash! Young and ambitious (or dreaming) people always have that feeling.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 283   Newer› Newest»