Wednesday, June 2, 2010

DeKalb schools cut lower paid workers

For those of you who have been asking and asking for a list of the jobs that were eliminated in the central office, you can now thank Megan Matteucci at the AJC for digging up that information by filing an Open Records Request.

In her report in today's AJC, Megan tells us -

When the DeKalb County school board voted last month to eliminate 289 jobs to help meet an estimated $88-million shortfall in next year’s budget, at least 150 of those jobs were supposed to be in the district’s central office, which parents thought included mostly administrators and other high-paid staff.


But records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show that more than half of the employees laid off by DeKalb schools make less than $40,000 a year. They include nine custodians, 11 school resource officers, 12 secretaries and 19 maintenance workers.


An Open Records Act request of the 289 jobs included in the layoffs lists only 253 names. And only 12 percent of those employees make more than $100,000.

Visit the article at the AJC for the full story.

168 comments:

Fernbank volunteer said...

Great that Ms. Metteuchi is digging up this information--we have a right to know.

Please add to that list the three people who were fired from Fernbank Science Center (part of Central Office)--one teacher (a fulltime, delightful, enthusiastic young, energetic physical science person); the much-respected Curriculum Director for all FSC faculty, who also oversaw the STT program; and one other person who did mainly exhibit work. The teacher I know made less than $45,000; unlikely that either of the other two made more than $100,000.

The logic of firing a great teacher and the person who supervised and provided guidance for 27 other teachers, eludes FSC employees, who are wondering "what's next?" Particularly while leaving in place the highly-paid top dogs. DCSS parents were sold a bill of goods, that firing 150 employees would include top earners.

We as taxpayers should demand an accounting of just how much money was saved, overall, with these CO firings, as well as an explanation of the basis for decisions made about whom to fire.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Shameful, simply shameful.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't say I'm surprised, but I am disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Surely you did not expect management to fire themselves. These are their friends and colleagues. Many of these people helped the other people get where they are. They owe each other. You have no idea how close they are to each other.

Why would I fire someone who gave me my promotion, opportunity, etc.?

Why would I fire someone who has a friend or family member in a high position or is my friend or family member?

Only an independent audit like the one that showed 2,500 non-teaching employees were overpaid $14,8000 a year can help rightsize this admin and support administrative group. No wonder they don't want to have an independent audit or even hire an internal auditor.

Only when this BOE goes and a new superintendent will we see our tax money go to students in the classroom. I saw a post the other day that criticized the fact that Johnny Brown brought in some of his own people. Can't you see why he did this?

Cerebration said...

DeKalb County school employee cuts:

Coordinators: 17

Directors: 7

Paraprofessionals: 100

Library clerks: 30

Technical specialists: 9

Communications: 6

Custodians: 9

School resource officers: 11

Maintenance workers: 19*

* Includes electricians, painters, carpet cleaners, maintenance workers, roofers.

Anonymous said...

You're missing the real losers. How many teaching positions did we lose? Dr. Lewis cut 275 teaching positions in 2009-2010 simply by not filling ones from retirement or resignations. How many did Ms. Tyson cut this year - 100, 300? How many teacher positions did we actually lose? Has anyone calculated that?

Let's suppose I'm a 9 year old kid who's going to 4th grade next year. With the current number of teachers, I would have been in a class of 24, but one of the 4th grade teachers retired, and Ms. Tyson's decision is not to replace him. Now I'm going to be in a classroom of 32.

The effect on students is the same whether the teacher was not replaced or fired. Ms. Tyson should be looking at what is happening to students - not friends and family.

Anonymous said...

I nominate the acting superintendent with support from the BOE for her 1st Golden Shower Award. This commemorates her ability to secure employment for central office staff over those in the schoolhouse who actually interact with DeKalb's students.

A special and hardy congratulations is extended to the board as this is their second nomination in so little time.

Cynical? Yes!

Dan M. said...

Immoral and disgusting. How dare you, Ms. Tyson, along with the other DCSS administrators at the highest level, for only cutting the lowest paid staff, when DCSS is bloated beyond belief with overpaid, underperforming administrators. A coward action. We need a BOE who will hold administrators such as yourself accountable for such poor leadership.

Anonymous said...

I particularly like all the flap from Lewis about how his raise ($15,000 a year) didn't amount to anything in the grand scheme of things. It accounts for one person's WHOLE YEARLY PAY! And now that paraprofessional doesn't have a job. Way to go Dekalb leadership! Is it really too much to ask that teachers, paras, principals, etc. be hired and fired based on job performance? This good old boy network is crushing our schools.

Anonymous said...

I new it, i new it, they will not to any thing to hurt the people that are the friends and family. They just told another lie. They do it so well. This why we need a new super, board and new people in the central office. Send them back to the classroom with a teacher's salary.

Parent's all of you that can go by the central office and check out that mess over that. Flat screens tv's and everyone in there cute offices.

Anonymous said...

I think it is totally unacceptable for a teacher or student to have to wait 36 hours for a hard drive to be replaced. This according to Dale Davis who I thought had been terminated: "Reduced services will mean a longer wait for maintenance and technical work. It used to take 24 hours to replace a computer hard drive; it will now take 36 hours, Davis said.
If terminating 9 of the lowest paid employees in MIS results to this type of action, I think something is seriously wrong with this picture. With the new eSIS program, if the teacher is without a computer due to a hard drive failure and has to wait 36 hours to get one, he/she will not be able to post attendance or grades for a total of 36 hours. This only adds more stress on the teacher and is totally unacceptable.
My husband happens to be one of the lowest paid employees in MIS working as a CTSS who was not 1 of the 9 let go but he's looking for a new job as I type this because of the way the whole process was handled. He agrees this is unacceptable and states that all they need to do is give every CTSS 2 or 3 hard drives to have on hand in the schools and this 36 hours wait can be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

I heard the directors that lost their jobs are reapplying for newly created positions at a slightly lesser salary. That is not happening for teachers, paraprofessionals, and other positions recently "laid off." It is time for a new superintendent...one not connected with DCSS, sorority or fraternity or family members.

Anonymous said...

Bob Moseley's brother in law was just hired as a roofer this school year. Wonder if he still has his job?

Anonymous said...

My CTSS is able to replace a hard drive. I think that we need to be sure that our CTSSs have the training, tools and equipment available. If our help desk worked properly, anyone would be able to call and log a trouble call. The help desk could ask for the IP address and and look at the computer remotely. If it is something the CTSS needs fix, then refer it back. If not, pass it on to the person with the training to make the repair. There is no reason for anyone to wait 36 hours for help with a computer problem. This is even more important now that schools are sharing CTSSs.

One final thought. Many school principals use the CTSS as another pair of hands. So this individual may be running the computer lab, doing lunch duty, or watching a class while the teacher is out of the room. You can't fix a computer while you are working with 32 students.

Anonymous said...

I think that we have already established that Ms. Tyson has a track record of increasing staffing and not reducing it. We have already paid for an employment audit. I know it is a few years old, but why can't we use the information we already have? I also think that the BOE needs to put a freeze on all hiring. Especially, any hiring at the administrative offices.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that moseley's brother-in-law still has his job. They also laid-off a man with over 27 years that has work in the roofing dept. as long i can remember. How can they explain that. I tell you what's going to happen people are going to start fileing law suits and where is that money going to come from? They said that it was done fairly i don't know why they told that lie. They just keep lieing over, over again. I will be glad when that hole bunch is gone. Then maybe we can get back to educating our children.

I told my children the other day that i did not want to hear them talking about those pieces of scum anymore.

Anonymous said...

My library clerk lost her job and she was told that she could be placed on a call back list. Part of the process was to file a new job application. If any jobs open up this year, DCSS will hire from the call back list.

Anonymous said...

We need a new board and new superintendant now (not sometime in the indefinite, post-election future). This board should be recalled and replaced by an interim board composed of qualified appointees. Can the State step in? How do we make this happen?

Read the Dunwoody Crier's outrageously titled, front page article, "Dunwoody, Chamblee spared in school scandal"

http://www.thecrier.net/articles/2010/06/01/front/crawford.txt

It includes these comments by Jim Redovian:

“We knew nothing,”

“The fact is, we can’t run the day-to-day stuff. They were bypassing us. All these change orders came through without our seeing them.”

“That’s Lewis’ problem. He was the enabler for all this.”

“I’m absolutely relieved that none of our schools was involved.”

As to the search for a new superintendent, Redovian said, “I want to find the right person, however long it takes.”


ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!!


And these comments in North Dekalb Neighbor from Tom Bowen...

http://dunwoody-neighbor.com/detail/159947.html?content_source=&category_id=6&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=&town_id=&page=3

The hunt for a new DeKalb County school superintendent could take up to 18 months in part because board members and potential candidates will be wary of legal headaches the former superintendent is having, the chairman of the county school board said today.

Board members will be looking for someone who can follow ethical standards, while candidates will know what kind of environment the system operates in, board chairman Tom Bowen said.

“I believe the candidate will screen us,” Bowen said.

Bowen said DeKalb County School System, with 96,000 students and 14,000 employees, will require a top official who has had experience with comparatively large systems. DeKalb is among the 30 largest school systems in the U.S. and the pool of candidates with experience in such a system is relatively small, he said.

Again, we need a new board RIGHT NOW. How do we make this happen?

One thing is for certain, we can't make it happen by anonymous blogging alone.

Deborah Rolka

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the links to those articles.

Once again, Jim Redovian opens his mouth and removes all doubt about his incompetence.

And Tom Bowen . . . What can we say about this clown that hasn't already been said repeatedly on this blog?

This has got to be the absolute WORST school board in the United States. They're an embarrassment. No wonder our school system is so messed up!

Anonymous said...

I agree. We need a new school board and a new superintendent IMMEDIATELY.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Deborah!

I was going to leave a very similar post, including this: Jim Redovian is on record -- from the beginning of his term -- as saying that the only reason he ran for the BOE was to support Crawford Lewis. Jim Redovian has been unfailingly unavailable to his constituents.

Redovian also said the BOE can only hire and fire the superintendent, as if they do that in a vacuum. Not quite! The superintendent reports to the BOE. As such, the BOE is obligated to give direction and request detailed reports.

With a major construction program going on, why wasn't the BOE asking specific questions -- especially about whether or not there were change orders -- and receiving regular, detailed, public reports on the progress of the construction?

Further, Redovian said that when Lewis went to the DA with suspicions about Pat Pope, the BOE launched an internal investigation. Really? Using whom to investigate? That double-dipping, disgusting Ronald Ramsey? The same Ronald Ramsey whose Senate bio slyly says nothing about working for DCSS. The same Ronald Ramsey who dishonestly accepts his salary from the Georgia General Assembly AND his salary from DCSS for the same time period? The shylock Ronald Ramsey who is so ethically challenged and sleazy that he, too, should be investigated -- by both the DeKalb County DA and the Georgia Bar?

Quite frankly, ALL of these board members are as culpable as Crawford and his completely corrupt cronies. All should be investigated and indicted. I just don't know if Gwen Fleming has it in her to make that happen.

Unfortunately, SACS has shown no propensity to finally do the right thing. And, apparently the legal ramifications of a recall will drag it out past the November elections.

If Jim Redovian and the rest of the BOE had even one shred of decency, they would all resign and step aside. They don't even have the grace to be abashed and apologetic for what they have done.

If the BOE all resigned, who would have the legal authority to appoint new BOE members? Perhaps there is some loophole that would allow that person or agency the authority to remove BOE members for malfeasance?

It's hard to believe that sorry Jim Redovian actually called Lewis an "enabler." That is definitely the pot calling the kettle black!

Anonymous said...

To Jim Redovian and Tom Bowen:

As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

Too late!

Anonymous said...

Please pray for the staff working in the schools. Please pray for the entire school system. The issues that are occuring in the school system are of grave concern to many people. It is hard to escape. If a person realizes that you work for DeKalb they usually have a comment to make. All of them are not unkind. Some people really just want to offer support. Teachers, paras, custodians, principals, counselors and many others are getting ready to take a significant pay cut. It is a blessing to have a job.
The people in the schools are really in a very difficult position.
We have about two months to get over the events of this last year and be ready to serve our students.
In every case there are good and bad workers, but the para educators are very important to the school. At my school we lost some excellent paras.
I do have a great deal of compassion for Ms Tyson. This has to be a very hard role for her. So many things had already happened before she accepted her new role. I am sure it is difficult for her.
Please also pray for the people that lost their jobs. It is very difficult to find employment right now.
I am worried that we will continue to lose good people. We are losing a lot of people with experience.

Anonymous said...

The same is true about the CTSS at my child's elementary school. He is a very bright guy who in my and the teacher's opinion is over qualified for the job that he does. In addition to making sure the school is up and running daily, the principal uses him as a hall monitor, for lunch duty, to cover a classroom until a sub arrives and afternoon bus duty. I often asks myself how is he able to do all of this stuff in addition to keeping all the old technology equipment up and running.

The sad part about it is since he was not 1 of the 9 terminated, he has been assigned to another school 3 days a week and will only be at my child's school 2 days a week. The teacher's and I strongly feel that he will not be returning as a result of this because he's capable of doing much morning and earning so much more somewhere else. It will be a great loss to our school and students if he does not return.

Anonymous said...

"Also cut were 17 coordinators and four directors, who are not part of the superintendent’s cabinet but are supervisors in the central office."

... These are the Content Area Coordinators that were often confused here with the Instructional Coaches. Looks like the Instruction department took the biggest hit where the cuts were concerned! That is not 15% of every department according to my math!

Anonymous said...

We need a new interim superintendent. We are too far from having a permanent one.

We need someone who can clean up the mess objectively without any sense that the job is in jeopardy, because they know that they aren't going to be here for very long. (does that make sense?) The new interim could be a retired superintendent with a track record of cleaning up messes, or perhaps someone from outside the education community who can begin to clean up the mess.

Without defending the Board unnecessarily, Dr. Lewis and his staff have been notoriously uncooperative the last few years when board members ask for reports, information and other documents. Having attended so many meetings, I often saw board members express frustration that the ______ that they had asked for wasn't given to them. Dr. Lewis or someone would say "oh, we will get that to you," but you know it probably never happened.

An interim can come in and clean house. We can't afford to wait 18 months and I don't think an insider can get it done.

Lynn Deutsch

Anonymous said...

If you were a board member, wouldn't you have wanted to be informed immediately after the employees were notified that their positions were being eliminated?

Did these board members simply not ask, were they playing dumb for the reporter, or what?

My recollection is that a list had been passed around at either one of the Budget committees or Committee of the Whole meetings where they were discussing the budget. They weren't given a copy and it was a tentative list, but still they should have had a sense of what was on there.

Lynn Deutsch

Molly said...

Lynn, your memory is correct. There was a preliminary list those positions to be eliminated passed around at one of the meetings. (Like you, I can't remember if it was a budget committee mtg or a mtg of the whole.)

There was supposed to be a total restructuring of the Superintendent's cabinet, including the elimination of the 12 Area Assist. Superintendent positions. As it stands now, the Superintendent has 24 cabinet members, which is 2 more than the President of the United States.

Anonymous said...

Put Title 1 money back in the school house, not in the hands of administrators who've blown millions on junk like America's Choice and other admin bull#$%.

Not surprised that Ramona Tyson didn't cut back the number of department heads. She is one of them.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed to read that Mr. Redovian does not seem to be aware of his role in terms of hiring employees in the district. I wonder if other board members are equally uninformed.

ALL employees are hired by the board at the recommendation of the superintendent. That's why the board votes on employee contracts.

If the board wants to reduce costs in the central office they have 100% authority to say "No" to renewing any (or all) of those contracts the superintendent has recommended for issuance or renewal.

The board needs to stop throwing all the blame back at the super for poor decisions while telling us there's nothing they can do about it. With a simple vote they can fix this problem regardless of what the superintendent or his/her deputies had in mind.

Anonymous said...

I think Jim understands his role. The challenge is that the Board is given a list of names each year to approve. It is an up or down vote. So, voting no means sinking the whole list.

I wonder how other systems do this process -- as one list or individually on each name.

Anonymous said...

Standards for local school boards:

http://www.gsba.com/downloads/Standards/Standards.pdf

Cerebration said...

What Redovian says is true - that the board cannot meddle in anything other than the superintendent's employment. However, they can question the super (which they very rarely did) and they do have to approve or disapprove the HR list brought to them every month by Jamey Wilson. They also approved Dr Lewis' proposal to give many in his so-called "cabinet" a promotion in name-only, along with a very large raise. No one questioned that move. No one questioned change orders, even though practically the whole lawsuit with Heery Mitchell is over change orders. No one questioned a single thing Dr Lewis proposed - no wonder the man felt invincible.

Fact is - Pat Pope wrote up change orders with Tony Pope's name on them - and Lewis signed off in closed quarters and they never presented those change orders to the board. So, how could the board have known? If any of them did know that Tony was working on a project other than the ones they approved when they hired Pat, then that person will have a really big problem. A really big legal problem. But so far, it appears that no one was aware that Tony Pope was actually working on projects without their approval. This goes back to the fact that Pat Pope was totally and completely in charge of construction - she had fired the construction manager (Heery Mitchell) - and never hired another one. An outside construction manager would clearly have noticed that Tony Pope was on the job and hopefully would have reported it.

This quote shows a change in the board with the recent elections -

As to Lewis’ contract, also renewed recently, Redovian said the contract, while giving Lewis a $15,000 a year raise, gave the county far more favorable terms on severance. When Lewis was dismissed, the school board was obligated to only four months pay, far less than his predecessor received.

Say what you will about Paul Womack, but he was definitely the lead in making this change to Lewis' contract - saving taxpayers a million or more. They must have known there was a chance they would fire Lewis, and snuck in the 4 month severance clause. Lewis (and the public) were so focused on the $15,000 raise, they didn't notice the exit clause. Womack is smart - and he has a lot of lawyers for friends.

The election is not that far away - November. The budget cut damage has been done and I may eat my words, but I don't think they can do much more harm between now and November.

We need to work really hard to ensure that the 5 up for reelection are replaced. We need to plead with a few brave souls with high integrity to run for office in districts 1,3,5,7 and 9 -- so far we only have a few. I know it's a mess, but dig in your heart and find if you have a calling to step in and help.

Beyond that -- I have faith in our teachers and staff - parents - support them like never before this coming year! We need to let them know that we are on their side and we will do whatever it takes to help with the stress they will endure this fall. Our teachers can do this job no matter what is thrown at them - but they really need our support to get through.

Anonymous said...

I think Jim needs to be replaced. He's failed as a Board member. And we can no longer afford to have people like him on the Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:07 AM

RE: "I do have a great deal of compassion for Ms Tyson. This has to be a very hard role for her. So many things had already happened before she accepted her new role. I am sure it is difficult for her."

YOU, Anonymous 7:07 AM, are part of the problem.

This mealy-mouthed attitude toward wrongdoers is the reason why this has drug on forever and why the BOE and Crawford and his dancing cadre of corrupt cronies (of which Ramona Tyson was surely one) were encouraged to steal as much as they did.

Ramona Tyson is not a victim of circumstance. In her position, she had to know exactly what was going on. She never moved to report it or stop it. Further, Tyson blew an opportunity to be a real change agent for good by the way she handled lay-offs and who she laid-off.

Tyson continually demonstrates that she is part of the problem. So save your sympathy and your crocodile tears.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Our teachers can do this job no matter what is thrown at them - but they really need our support to get through.

Cere, this is certainly true in those school where parental involvement is high - I really believe they will make it. Unfortunately there are schools where parental involvement is low to non-existent - these are the schools that will be most affected by the cuts to paras and other support personnel.

Anonymous said...

The reality is that replacing Jim Redovian isn't enough.

We have heard of only one challenger to another sitting board member, Sare Copelin-Wood. Has anyone heard of people running against Gene Walker, Zepora Roberts, or Jay Cunningham.

In addition, changing the Board isn't enough if the core, fundamental dynamics of the system are not changed.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:00, I respectfully disagree.

More from the Dunwoody Crier article: "Asked why Reid (whose marriage to indicted architect Tony Pope was recently annulled) was given a new contract even while under investigation, Redovian pointed out that the board can only hire and fire the superintendent. Lewis gave the new contract to Reid."

The board could have voted to not renew Reid's contract when it was presented to them by Lewis. No buy-out, renegotiation, or nothing required. Just not renewed by the will of the board and Ms. Reid goes on her way.

Regarding "sinking the entire list"... not so. The board can be courteous and give the super a heads-up that they intend to offer an amended motion at the table to accept the entire list but with names A, B, C, D removed to be voted on separately. To save A,B,C, & D the public embarrassment he can either bring the list without their names on it in the first place, and have them on a separate list for separate vote, or even vote name-by-name. Hopefully he would have done his homework beforehand and got a sense of the board on how they feel -- if he knows it's likely a 9-0 vote against he probably won't recommend them at all.

Dunwoody Mom said...

What is really disappointing to me is that the loss of 3 or 4 Central Office $100,000+ personnel could have saved the jobs of those 100 para's.

Anonymous said...

Until we get a new school board nothing is going to change. All of these people are heavily influenced by CL and they were put there to carry out all of his idiotic decisions. They know what his plan was and they are going to see it to the end!

Anonymous said...

9:18 AM,

The Board had repeatedly been told that the Heery-Mitchell lawsuit hinged on Pat being an employee of the system. Over and over again, they were told that the "attorneys" said so. Turns out, that the latter statement might not have been true, but that is what they heard and that is how Dr. Lewis justified keeping her on the payroll.

The employees that most bother me have tremendous support from a previous board member. I don't know if the votes would have been there to prevent their contracts from being renewed.

Remember, this board hasn't voted 9 to 0 on anything of any significance in years. Most votes recently have been 5 to 4, one way or the other.

Finally, do other school systems give central office employees contracts?

Anonymous said...

RE: A public charter school housed at and paying rent to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

We already know, I think, how stupid and gullible DCSS, the BOE and people like Frankie Callaway think we all are. The following just confirms it:

On July 1, 2009, HB 555 took effect. This bill, which was passed by both the Georgia House and the Georgia Senate in March 2009 and signed by the Governor in May 2009, enables charter schools to use school system surplus facilities rent-free. Further, it says that school systems must maintain charter school facilities in the same manner as they maintain their traditional school facilities.

Read passages from the bill below:
http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/versions/hb555_HB_555_AP_7.htm

“Each local board of education shall make its unused facilities available to local charter schools. The terms of the use of such a facility by the charter school shall be subject to negotiation between the board and the local charter school and shall be memorialized as a separate agreement. A local charter school that is allowed to use such a facility under such an agreement shall not sell or dispose of any interest in such property without the written permission of the local board. A local charter school may not be charged a rental or leasing fee for the existing facility or for property normally used by the public school which became the local charter school. A local charter school that receives property from a local board may not sell or dispose of such property without the written permission of the local board."

“Local boards are required to renovate, repair, and maintain the school facilities of charter schools in the district to the same extent as other public schools in the district if the local board owns the charter school facility, unless otherwise agreed upon by the petitioner and the local board in the charter.”


HB 555
Passed by the House on 3/10/2009
Passed by the Senate on 3/26/2009 (that sorry Ronald Ramsey did not vote)
Signed by the Governor on 5/5/2009
Effective 7/1/2009

Dunwoody Mom said...

I disagree with The Crier's headine "Dunwoody Chamblee spared in School Scandal".

Chamblee certainly has not been spared in all of this. They were promised a renovation and auditorium form SPLOST III funds and now nothing will be done at CHS unless SPLOST IV happens. What happened?

Anonymous said...

The teachers can only do what their principal and assistant principal allow them to do. If the principal is towing the school board and superintendent line, then the teachers will keep teaching crappy programs, and teaching to the CRCT test. Teachers have very little power about what they teach. We have some power of how we teach.

Too many principals in DCSS, especially those in failing schools are friends and family members. They tow the bottom, line because they do not know any better and/or they have to support those that got them their job.

The only way that things will change in DCSS is through a total clearing of all jobs, contracts for products and people, and beginning anew. The people in charge do not have the children's best interest at stake and they are not smart enough to understand what a solid education looks like. Another thing that I would change is to not higher any more people with online degrees. Online degrees from dubious schools is part of the problem, as many of those in charge have earned their degree online. Some of these programs are okay, but many are just out to make a buck.

The teachers can't do much to keep the education up to snuff, unless they are willing to buck the system and risk their jobs. Very few are willing to take that risk, as they have families to feed. Others have left or will leave as soon as a job becomes available for them elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I am shaking my head in amazement that anyone expected the powers that be to do anything less than what they have done for years....Tyson lied to all the workers at Sam Moss saying it would be based on seniority, and then people with many years were let go, while the newer "related" hire kept their job. She is a liar. Look at your schools, buildings, yards, etc...nothing will get done as those workers are GONE! When the toilets back up, or the refrigerator quits, pray for a miracle, because help will not be coming from the DCSS. They all need to go..if they cannot show how they are adding value to the school system everyday, they need to be gone! Hold the board accountable...ask the hardzookerne questions until you get an answer. This is business as usual..and it has to change!

Anonymous said...

Cere--I disagree that it was "smart" of Womack and the Board to get Lewis to sign that contract. It would have been smart if they had not even offered him a contract. They knew they would soon fire him, but offered him a new contract?

Anonymous said...

DM -- When was it announced that Chamblee wouldn't be getting anything unless there's a SPLOST IV? If that's the case, watch for yet another lawsuit.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I heard about it from someone connected to Chamblee and I found it in the Citizens Advisory Meeting minutes:

Q: Didn’t hear anything about Chamblee HS is there anything going to happen there?
A: Hopefully that will be done in SPLOST 4 if the voters above SPLOST 4 in November.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/operations/files/cac/CAC%20Meeting%20Minutes.pdf

Anonymous said...

You are right, some of the jobs that were cut belonged to common people with no ties or greek connections. So they had to go. Let us see who the up coming administrators (principals) positions are going to be filled with. They have not posted the opening as of yet.
I bet each new administrator will be a greek person, or from the family and friends frat or sorority connection. (pink and green, or purple and gold.) Last, let us see how much money these people will make as a new administrator. Remember, in order for your job not to be cut, you have to be in the loop. Or wear a key chain around your neck or waist advertising that you belong to a certain organization.(greek that is) maybe, then you can keep your job.Oh, let us see if the official that is starting up her charter school will employ some of these people since most of her family members are secured by the DCSS. Let keep watching for the replacement and see who's coming in. i bet they were promised a principal position or assistant principal's position even if they donot know anything abouta school house and it's operation.

Anonymous said...

"Reduced services will mean a longer wait for maintenance and technical work. It used to take 24 hours to replace a computer hard drive; it will now take 36 hours, Davis said.

I was one of the 9 CTSSes let go. Dale Davis has no idea what is happening in MIS. I usually waited WEEKS before a replacement drive showed up. Once, I waited a whole MONTH.

Anonymous said...

If you are not greek or related to anyone in the county office, then you will be in the layoff. DCSS is only interested in friends, sorority members, fraternity members moving ahead. In the weeks, PAT's is going to post several principal job and assistant principal jobs. Sit back and watch who will be hired. These positions will be replaced with friends, churchmembers, greeks, and cousins, who have no connection to how run a school. if you think this is a fluke, sit back and time will show you once the positions are filled.

Anonymous said...

We need a whole new school system from top to bottom. Current principals are not doing their jobs because if they replaced anyone, the people that helped them to get their jobs would oust them.
Assistant principals are just spies with no backbones who run and tell the principal everything and are just sitting and praying for a job as a principal or in the county office.
See who gets the new job that will be on PAT's.

Anonymous said...

Cut yvonee butler sanders position.
her job is a waste of taxpayers money.

Anonymous said...

Yvonne Butler saw the writing on the wall and retired. Shannon Williams is too smart for DCSS, so she's taken a position at GSU. Thus, DCSS is left with no one to coordinate Health and Physical Education instruction K-12.

Cerebration said...

Anon 10:29 AM - all I'm saying is that without the 4 month severance clause, the board would have to have paid out Lewis' entire contract until Oct 2011. That would have pushed a half million or more... plus the $100,000 we had to kick in for his legal fees. Although, now that it's a criminal charge - do we still have to pay for his defense?

Add to this - the fact that Lewis himself chose to keep Pat Pope employed - costing us at least another half-mil - AND the ridiculous fake promotions for his "cabinet" increasing each of their pay scales by $30-50 k for no reason (endorsed by the board, BTW) - Lewis has personally cost taxpayers plenty enough.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 9:37: your point is well taken--no more of these online degree people! We now have a where you can have 3 (academic) generations of "PhD"'s who have never seen the inside of a library.

I'd like to see this blog work toward identifying some characteristics for the next Super and his/her staff (let's get rid of the term "Cabinet" right now, this is not a governmental agency!), that are absolute sine qua nons. Like:

-a PhD in a real field from a good academic institution that contains books and professors they have met in person, and done research with.

-experience turning around failing URBAN school districts, with clear results that they can demonstrate.

-excellent communication skills.

-no ties to obvious interest groups (construction, union, fraternities/sororities.

-willing to meet with representatives of teacher groups to discuss issues related to curriculum.

-willing to suggest possible curriculum directors he/she would try to recruit. Although we've all forgotten this lately, a school system is, first and foremost, for teaching kids. We don't need any more Talley-esque requirements for silly programs and portfolios that don't promote learning and just tie up teachers' time.

-able to articulate an educational/pedagogic philosophy that DCSS BOE, parents, and teachers can live with.

That's just for starters--but the real challenge may be, after all this bad publicity, and especially if we get disaccredited, to entice someone good to come here. Good Superintendents who want to work in difficult settings have many job offers to pick from, and let's not forget that the average tenure is less than 3 years.

Browsing on http://www.aasa.org/, the American Association of School Administrators, is both illuminating and sobering. You see a lot of the same blah blah about educating kids, but you also get a perspective on what this job means to some people.

If you do a Google search on "school superintendent average tenure", you learn that they last fewer than 3 years in urban districts. By that standard, Dr. Lewis was a real keeper. See, for example, http://ww.examiner.com/x-12193-Seattle-Public-Education-Examiner~y2010m5d26-The-life-expectancy-of-the-average-superintendent.

So we'd better figure out how we can attract, and keep, a top person. That will probably mean paying a big salary, which I for one would support IF we get some input into the performance standards that would show he/she's doing a good job.

Dan M. said...

“We hope the board understands the harsh economic times for staff,” said Robert Moseley, deputy chief superintendent of operations. “Last year, it was to do more with less. This year, it’s to do something with nothing.”

Bob, you are so full of ____, it's painful. "Do something with nothing"? We're paying hundreds of thousands for fancy lights and a new parking lot at the Mountain industrial mega-complex, millions for America's Choice and eSIS, and millions more for administrators who are overpaid by at least $15 million as shown by a DCSS issued audit, and you're whining about doing "something with nothing"??? Shameful and painful.

Anonymous said...

“We can’t get rid of the cabinet,” she (Zepora Roberts) said. “Those are critical positions.”

Shut up already Z Roberts. Can't wait until you lose your re-election. And hopefully your family members and friends working for DCSS will be booted too. And you won't be able to hand every summer intern either. It will be a happy day when you lose.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:56

As far as I know, no one is running against ZR. Have you heard differently?I hope you have.

Cerebration said...

Dan at 12:53 PM - I couldn't agree more. $1.1 BILLION should be more than enough - and in fact is certainly not "nothing"! How insulting! My household personally contibuted $6200 in DeKalb property taxes last year - over 70% of which went to the school system. The board has the fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to spend this money wisely - to educate the children of the populace. Moseley - time to "mosey" on... I'm so tired of your insane comments.

And yes - we need someone to run against Zepora in District 7. Also - against Jay in District 5. We have candidates in Districts 1 and 3 - and possibly Ella in 9 (against Gene Walker). Decisions need to be made this month. The deadline to submit your paperwork is early July - 2nd I believe. Surely there are a few good people of high integrity willing to make a commitment to right this ship.

Cerebration said...

Personally - I do not trust the current board to choose the next superintendent. And from the news reports - finding a new super will take 18 months - so we need to ensure that we elect trustworthy people of high integrity to make this decision.

From the North DeKalb Neighbor

School superintendent search could take 18 months

The hunt for a new DeKalb County school superintendent could take up to 18 months in part because board members and potential candidates will be wary of legal headaches the former superintendent is having, the chairman of the county school board said today.

Board members will be looking for someone who can follow ethical standards, while candidates will know what kind of environment the system operates in, board chairman Tom Bowen said.

“I believe the candidate will screen us,” Bowen said.

Bowen said DeKalb County School System, with 96,000 students and 14,000 employees, will require a top official who has had experience with comparatively large systems. DeKalb is among the 30 largest school systems in the U.S. and the pool of candidates with experience in such a system is relatively small, he said.

District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming announced Wednesday that former DeKalb school superintendent Crawford Lewis had been indicted on six counts including charges of racketeering, theft by a government employee and bribery.

Former school system construction chief Pat Reid, the school system's former chief operating office, was indicted on seven counts, including charges of racketeering, theft by a government employee, bribery, and false public document.

Ms. Reid's former husband, Tony Pope, received $2.39 million in fraudulent school funds -- with all contracts signed by Lewis and Ms. Reid, Ms. Fleming reportedly stated.

Pope and Ms. Reid's secretary, Cointa Moody, reportedly were indicted on four counts each on racketeering charges.

Ms. Fleming made the announcements as she revealed the results of a months-long investigation into the school system's construction bid process.

Lewis resigned in April after DA investigators searched his home in relation to the construction probe.

Anonymous said...

Cere, I agree. Having this school board make any decisions is very frightening to me. I am very worried about the future of DCSS, as I do not see any significant improvements in the area of education being made, especially with who and what was cut.

Thank you for this form, so that we can get a better understanding of what is taking place. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.

Cerebration said...

Thanks Anon!

Anon 12:41 - we did have a post here discussing our "wish list" for a new super - you all may want to read it over - lots of good ideas:

What are we looking for in a superintendent?

Anonymous said...

Fact -- The average tenure of an urban school superintendent is 3 years.

This means that an any given time there are countless urban school superintendents out of work and looking for a new job. DeKalb pays well, the region is an attractive place to live, work and raise a family. The District is high profile which makes it even higher in demand, despite the "issues", it's a perfect stepping-stone to the big-time for an eager superintendent.

Any current superintendent looking for work is leaving a system with "issues" as well, or they'd still be there. Don't fool yourselves that we need to wait 18 months to begin a search so the dust will have settled. Any candidate worth considering would be aware of our issues now, or 18 months from now.

The delay to start a superintendent search is foolery and yet another example of this board unable to get anything done. All superintendents currently looking for work will have secured jobs 18 months from now, why is the BOE refusing to consider any of them as candidates?
Are they thinking a better pool will be available later -- and all of DeKalb's "issues" will be swept permanently out of sight by then?

This is maddening!!!!

Anonymous said...

The ranks of media specialists have been reduced. All high schools and middle schools that had two now only have one. There was talk to make all media specialists at elementary schools with under 450 students split their time between two schools. The Media staff have less pull than the classroom teachers since they are a smaller voting block. Keep in mind that in 2002 DeKalb was named by the American Library Association as having the best library program in the nation. Those were different times.
As for boards, as long as the elections are controlled by big box churches and professional organizations we are not going to see any improvement. The boards need to be appointed. They should be made up of individuals who have had experience in making multi million dollar decisions not political wannabees.

Anonymous said...

As for cutting the exhibits person at Fernbank. I can honestly say that my students have learned a lot more from the dead animals sent from Fernbank than they have from anything that Crawford Lewis has done.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:27 -

Good Research - we need this in front of us. Is this happening in other districts? AJC? Calling AJC...

I think the Leadership Academy Charter is located at New Birth rather than at a vacant DCSS property because the Academy of Lithonia building was not available (property of the company that ran the school) and they wanted the school to be THERE. Couldn't consider putting it anywhere else. And the DCSS admin was happy to oblige, regardless of whether it was against state statute to do so.

Using the same statute, the Museum School should have been able to have Forrest Hills (or, actually the International Charter School should have been given it), but DCSS wanted to show their displeasure, regardless of legality.

No solid prrof. Just sayin"

Anonymous said...

Cerebration said...
Dan at 12:53 PM - I couldn't agree more. $1.1 BILLION should be more than enough - and in fact is certainly not "nothing"! How insulting! My household personally contibuted $6200 in DeKalb property taxes last year - over 70% of which went to the school system.


Cere, don't forget you pay a penny sales tax that goes to the school system, which provided hundreds of millions for the likes of Pat Pope and Booty Call C lew to spend without any oversight from the BOE.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration in your post "DeKalb County school employee cuts:" I do not see any of the 18 positons that were cut that made over $120,000? What were they? We cut 31 positons paying over $100,000.
This does not include Ms Reid nee Pope's position.

A note about costs-The benefit package without the board pension is 25% of salary (with board pension it's 30%). So anyone with a salary of $80,000 costs the county $100,000 this year and $104,000 normally.

Fernbank also lost an unfilled postion vacated by the demise of Dr. Ralph Buice.

Anonymous said...

Cere and Molly,

Last year when they did the layoffs the areas that were to be hit actually wre not cut they went the opposite direction. The Graphic Arts Dept was not on any list. Ms Pope decided to do this because of her dislike for the Supervisor..pure and simple. She wanted the budget to use as she saw fit and for this reason she axed the entire department except for one devoted employee who emailed and fabricated stories to keep himself employed. The department was closed and all work was to be outsourced which is happening but why is there still a sign in the new building saying printshop?
The BOE lied to employees face and said "We had no idea they were closing the printshop." New equipment had just been purchased with tax payers dollars...it is still sitting at the old building on N. Decatur RD. More waste and abuse....The BOE is a big joke and are very good actors all of them...they can lie to your face so convincingly. Most bought the act until the truth began to unravel. No one knows what happened to the Printshop budget. All I know is that the infamous copy project for all the schools was a part of that budget...which explains why none of the copiers are getting repaired...and don't try and ask the idiot over the printshop he is clueless as well...Maybe the BOE can figure out where the budget is and how to get my copier fixed at school and while you're at it maybe we can get someone to print our work for cheap.

Cerebration said...

Anon 3:13 - this list is from the AJC article. The article also stated An Open Records Act request of the 289 jobs included in the layoffs lists only 253 names. And only 12 percent of those employees make more than $100,000.

Maybe those were the missing names - the ones in the over $120k category... (the AJC is missing 36 names in total)

DeKalb County school employee cuts:

Coordinators: 17

Directors: 7

Paraprofessionals: 100

Library clerks: 30

Technical specialists: 9

Communications: 6

Custodians: 9

School resource officers: 11

Maintenance workers: 19*

* Includes electricians, painters, carpet cleaners, maintenance workers, roofers.

Source: DeKalb County School System

===

DeKalb County school employee cuts by salary:

Under $20,000: 2 employees

$20,000-$30,000: 113

$30,000-$40,000: 28

$40,000-$50,000: 11

$50,000-$60,000: 22

$60,000-$70,000: 16

$70,000-$80,000: 16

$80,000-$90,000: 10

$90,000-$100,000: 4

$100,000-$110,000: 8

$110,000-$120,000: 5

More than $120,000*: 18

* Does not include Patricia Reid's contract non-renewal

Source: DeKalb County School System

Cerebration said...

And yes, it's a problem that the system has virtually decimated anyone involved in communications. First, they destroyed the print shop even though they had just purchased new equipment - and now they've destroyed their PR/media department (although, I think Ms. Guillory survived).

Now, it's even getting hard to hear the crickets...

themommy said...

As far as I know, no charter school in GA has attempted to enforce HB 555. When that happens, most charter advocates expect that it will take a lawsuit to force the school system to comply. Most charters interested in school facilities would rather negotiate with the school systems and come to an agreement than fight in court. Numerous charters in the City of Atlanta are located in former schools.

Anonymous said...

Please explain to me how 9 CTSS cut from MIS will make that much of a difference. These people were part of the schoolhouse and dealt with the students and staff on a daily basis. CTSS is the lowest paid staff member in MIS. Why didn't they terminate others in MIS with the bloated salaries and they have no contact with the teachers and students. I just don't understand this move.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County school employee cuts by salary:
$20,000-$30,000: 113


The gall of the Tyson/Talley/Moseley/Turk/Audria Berry/Senator Ramsey administration is mind numbing.

They just don't get it: It's not about them, it's about providing resources to the school house. I can't wait for a new super to come in and totally clean house.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant Bahamas Berry.

Anonymous said...

@ themommy

RE: HB 555

Tech High Charter School in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is in an old school building for which it previously paid rent to APS. Following the enactment of HB 555, Tech High no longer pays rent to APS.

I think the point of the earlier post about HB 555 is that it is very strange that Frankie Callaway's school chooses to located inside New Birth and pay rent. Per pupil funding just does not go that far -- unless the plan is to effectively merge the present school at New Birth with Callaway's school.

Callaway's school would not be at New Birth unless money was in it for both Callaway and New Birth.

Anonymous said...

Folks, I have been saying it for weeks. Until every single person that had anything to do with cLew-less have resigned, nothing will change.

This is just more of the same. These morons, who think the taxpayers are not watching, continue to slip down a very slippery slope. It's sad that the AJC had to file an Opens record request to get the info.

Hey Ms. Tyson, want to regain the trust of the DeKalb taxpayer?
Transparency is the only salve to heal this sick school district. Please begin to fire the excessive salaries and friends and family of every single BOE member, former and current.

WE ARE DEMANDING CHANGE. WE HAVE NOT SEEN ANY JUST YET. PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS. Folks it's getting very close to torches and pitchforks plus some well written signs to protest this corrupt public entity. Now the question, which facility do we protest? I think the more standing at the gates of the "palace" is the better picture. Time to scare these folks, obviously the DA hasn't been enough.

I'll mention these names again...
Tyson, Moseley, Mitchell, Thompson, Ramsey, any Guilroy, or Edwards. Your time of making a salary off the back of a DeKalb taxpayer is over!

Cerebration said...

Here's an idea for transparency -- apparently a lot of school systems are signing on to this service. It's called "Check Register Online" and it's basically a public display of the school system's checkbook. Simple genious, IMO -

http://www.peytonwolcott.com/CheckRegisters_Alaska_Louisiana.html

Cerebration said...

Here's a good example of an open check register -

Colorado Springs School System -

http://www.d11.org/transparency/AccountsPayable.htm

Anonymous said...

In regards to Chamblee HS. I have heard from a former BOE member that it was Clew-less' intention of closing Chamblee High. Clew-less considered it a "brain-drain". Clew-less had a plan to open the new Tucker, get Cross Keys improved to a more Technical school during Splost 4 and redraw lines to move Chamblee students into Dunwoody High, Lakeside, Cross Keys and Tucker High.

The Charter for Chamblee delayed his plans. However if DCSS lets the condition of CHS get any worse the EPA's hand might be forced and they could close the building due to health concerns.

Nothing about this is being discussed and like true DCSS fashion it could be a done deal before parents can react.

We better start asking questions now. SPLOST 4 is going to be tough to pass thanks to the CURRENT CORRUPT DCSS cabinet. That's one of the many reasons why I continue to ask for the resignations of Tyson, Moseley, Mitchell, Thompson, Turk, Ramsey and any Guilroy or Edwards still on the payroll.

But let's not hold our breath since it seems to be business as usual at the DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Felicia Mitchell is now Felicia Mayfield.

themommy said...

That totally contradicts anything I have heard about Chamblee High. The reality is that Dr. Lewis was (is?) a huge proponent of choice programs. Instead of fixing what ills DCSS schools, he wanted motivated families to have options. Under his tutelage, Arabia Mt. went from a neighborhood school to a choice school, there is now a theme middle school, and he had huge plans for much more choice. Remember, the Design Teams a few years ago that were to come up with regional choice options?

Total waste of time as Dr. Lewis already had his "vision", but the economy stopped his plans. (Keep in mind that the new medical magnet that was offered at three high schools this year didn't justify enough interest to operate next year!)

My understanding of the Chamblee situation is as follows. The building was recently reevaluated by consultants who believe it is not worth renovating. The renovation money is still there. The question on the table will be does the Chamblee community risk waiting for a SPLOST 4 to get a new school or do they take the money on the table and renovate.

I have had several involved Chamblee parents and community members share this information with me in the last few weeks, so I suspect it is true. These are parents who have been saying this for years, it isn't worth fixing this building.

I got the sense from these parents that the community will have input into the final decision.

themommy said...

I think the folks at ICS will tell you that DCSS hasn't been nearly as cooperative as the City of Atlanta with charter schools.

I never said I didn't think it was suspicious. I think it stinks to high heaven -- mainly because New Birth already has a school. If by this time next year (or even the next), the school is gone, there has to be a state investigation. Private schools in GA are not allowed to convert to charters.

I (as long as many others) will be waiting and watching.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I got the sense from these parents that the community will have input into the final decision.

Ah, but there's the "rub". What is the "community" with regards to Chamblee? The magnet parents do not seem to care much about Chamblee other than the magnet program. The remainder in the "resident" program are made up of NCLB transfers, Charter students and attendance-area students. There is just a disjointed situation here. Chamblee certainly is nowhere close to being the community school it was when I was a student - and saddens me.

As a student at CHS when the current facility was completed, I have to wonder how the school fell into such deep disrepair that it has to be rebullt while other schools which opened around the same timeframe have not seen this type of deterioration.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the City of Atlanta is just about completely non-cooperative with charter schools. Pretty much the same as DCSS. APS -- like DCSS -- is threatened by any school that does well, unless that school is under their thumb.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Chamblee Middle School's school council deliver their recommendation for CCHS regarding renovate or rebuild. It seems appropriate due to the timelines.

Cerebration said...

Been hearing a totally different rumor. Certain people have an idea to build or renovate the Druid Hills (former Briarcliff HS) property into a large, comprehensive high school (which would be great - since there's a lot of land, a stadium and a county park with a pool - plus easy access). So say they do this and zone it for Druid Hills HS - and sell Druid Hills HS to Emory (Emory wants the property - and that school causes a lot of congestion in an already congested part of town). So then - Cross Keys can serve as a technical/vocational high school - and either CK or the new Druid Hills can absorb the Chamblee High Achievers Magnet.

I don't think it's a bad idea - the property is currently vacant - making construction much easier. Input?

Anonymous said...

Cere:

Have you heard anything from eduKALB? With school board qualifying in a few weeks they are unusually silent, unless this is a ruse or a flash-in-the-pan from some political wannabees.

Cerebration said...

We had a discussion about this the other day - it doesn't seem that they have vetted many interested candidates. That's disappointing. Then again, maybe they're just waiting until the 11th hour...

Dunwoody Mom said...

I would like to see Chamblee Middle School's school council deliver their recommendation for CCHS regarding renovate or rebuild. It seems appropriate due to the timelines.

I know CMS is taking an early look at possible charter status, have they been approached as to recommendation with regard to CCHS?

Anonymous said...

Cere-
The original Druid Hills HS facility is an historic and beautiful building, with a now brand new addition. It would be a real shame for DCSS to give this up. As for the old Briarcliff facility, the traffic congestion there is actually even worse (that intersection is cited every year for having an unbelievable number of accidents). Kids are able to walk to DHHS (and many do). As a resident of the surrounding neighborhood, I would personally hate to see Emory gain any more property and increase traffic all the more.

Anonymous said...

The idea of rebuilding a school on the old Briarcliff HS site is tempting. Have you considered the traffic through this area? It is a lot worse today than it was 20 years ago. Getting in and out of this area can be difficult in the morning and afternoon. As a parent, I would be very concerned about new drivers negotiating that area at rush hour. There is a traffic light and a crosswalk but, as we all know, teens are invincible until they get hurt.

Cerebration said...

Whatever the school system decides to do, I hope it comes from a thoughtful, deliberate plan for the future... Is there anyone currently on staff who can provide that?

Anonymous said...

Cere asks: "Whatever the school system decides to do, I hope it comes from a thoughtful, deliberate plan for the future... Is there anyone currently on staff who can provide that?"

Aw come on Cere, unless I've mixed up June with July... Pat Reid Pope's still on staff. She has deep experience in developing thoughtful, deliberate plans for the future.

C?Y!

Anonymous said...

I think Edukalb intentions are to wait and vet the candidates after qualifying. I don't know if they are actually recruiting. I don't get that sense from the members I have spoken to that they are recruiting.

Cerebration said...

Oh, I see that you are correct, Anon -- this is from their website -

Voter Education:

On November 2, 2010, citizens can vote to fill five school board posts for Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.

“eduKALB represents a diverse group of concerned DeKalb County citizens who believe that all voters must make an educated choice when they go to the polls in November,” said Chris Marquardt, eduKALB co-chair. “eduKALB will dedicate the months leading up to the election helping our community to understand the roles and responsibilities of school board members. The school board manages an enormous budget and provides the leadership for educating more than 100,000 children each year. No issue is more important to the future of this community than the education of our kids.,” Marquardt added.

“I respect the members of eduKALB devoting their time to making sure this County has a professional school board that will prioritize the academic well-being of our children above everything else, and I encourage everyone else to do likewise,” said Will Thomas, a DeKalb County parent /chair of the Arabia Mountain High School Council. “Our children as well as all children in this County deserve the best educational opportunities. The future of our families, our neighborhoods, and the entire community depends upon it.”

Candidate Endorsement:

Beginning this summer, eduKALB will host a School Board Leadership Forum to aid candidates in understanding the important duties and responsibilities of board members. The eduKALB board will join with community stakeholders to interview and rate candidates for the open positions. The eduKALB Board will eventually endorse a slate of candidates who they believe will provide strong leadership for the school system.

Board Training:

Following the election, eduKALB plans to be an active partner with the school board members by providing ongoing training opportunities—from general team-building activities, management techniques, and responsibilities of board members—to targeted sessions relating to effective governance and board dynamics.

Anonymous said...

As a long time observer of DeKalb County school boards (going on two decades), one of the things that we have to be careful of is how bad some candidates for these positions have been. I don't want to (and probably can't) name names, but there have some real doozies run for school board.

(Remember a while ago when Cassandra Anderson Littlejohn's ex-husband ran against her?)

Four years ago, the AJC actually endorsed one of our sitting board members, who really isn't very good, because her opposition was that much worse.

We need better board members, not just new ones!

Anonymous said...

Just as I thought, eduKalb is a sham.

Hey eduK, if you haven't noticed we have real problems here. We need an opposing candidate for each school board seat for which educated voters can choose in the upcoming election.

As a coalition of the business community if you can't put together a slate of opponents then publicly admit it and get out of the way. We're waiting on the sidelines for your move before we start promoting others.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember if I have seen the names for the members of eduKalb. Can anyone provide a list of names?

More importantly, can anyone correlate those names with any of the mega churches in DeKalb County or with any current BOE members and/or current administrators for DCSS?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have access to a church directory for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church? If so, would you be willing to share it briefly?

eduKalb = joke said...

eduKalb is a JOKE. No one in the organization (other than Ernest Brown) has any track record. I love Ernest, but he failed to make the run off in District 9 last year.

eduKalb wasted the Spring talking to a bunch of local marketing firms and then went with the lowest bid (and lowest quality). And so far it shows.

eduKalb will not be a factor in November. They'll have no influence in south DeKalb. None. And it's unlikely they'll have much effect in north DeKalb.

eduKalb probably won't even carry their 'home' precincts (Fernbank, Medlock, Shamrock, Druid Hills) much less the areas where they have no base.

So, don't think for a minute eduKalb is going to ride to the rescue and fix all our problems. They can't and they won't.

eduKalb won't have an impact in November (unless they endorse the incumbents).

Anonymous said...

Folks, I am an active CCHS parent. For several years, parents have asked when the addition would begin and CCHS kept being pushed down the SPLOST 3 list. We were told to be patient.

Then for the first time at the beginning of this past school year, Redovian and Pat Pope show up together and propose that the school wait for a new building to be constructed with splost 4 funds. Then magically the new architects claim that the school is in too poor of condition for a renovation and the building should be demolished. The school has not been given any "choice" at all. The decision was made by DCSS and meetings have been held with DCSS management to discuss alternatives to no avail.

The chances of SPLOST 4 passing were poor with the economy and are even more remote with the former superintendent and director of construction under indictment.

I have heard of rumors (only on this blog) of combining CCHS with CK or at a new location, but I do not believe that could happen because of the Charter.

And Redovian has lost many, many votes from the Chamblee community over this fiasco. We may not be as vocal as Lakeside or Dunwoody, but we are not dumb. I agree that CMS should have also been consulted and it was wrong that they were not apprised of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Cere,and molly you are very right the entire staff of people that were laid off were not on the list. Reid had it in for the staff services manager and to get rid of her she also got rid of other people. Just as she did with the print shop. Those lieing board members said that they were going to make sure that everyone got other jobs, did not happen. Reid did what she wanted and they all sit back and let her. Lewis knew what was going on and he danced to her tune. Now we know why he was on her side with his dirty little secrets. Well they will be in jail hopeful together.

Anonymous said...

You are correct if pat did not like you or you cross her path. you were gone in sixty seconds. But she met her match when she cross the person than turn her in. She made a big mistake and now we will all get to see her go down. She stole from the children, tax payers and the employees.

Anonymous said...

My recollection is that under no child left behind, any school system not meeting AYP for 3 years in a row was to be "sanctioned" by being taken over by the state. My further recollection is that DCSS has never made AYP as a system in all the years that we have had the pleasure of opperating under it. Solution: petition the state to reuire it to take DCSS over as the federally mandated sanction for failing AYP for so many years running, which has culminated in what has just happened. And yes, I know there are issues with the state, but many of the better former members of DCSS are currently there and I think they would do a much better job of running DCSS on an interim basis than what's going on right now. Further, the person who is crying out as someone to really consider for DCSS superintendant (and she's not perfect) is Ms. Rhee in DC .... just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Jim very definitely sees the school board member's role as one of evaluating the superintendant (as in hire/fire). And, if you don't support what the superintendant wants to do, then it's difficult to get to the end of the year and review him (or her) and criticize him (or her) for not doing this or that when they could then respond "but you wouldn't let me do x, y or z". This may ignore the role of the board to really supervise the money and where the money goes and other comments raised. But it does help show why they were somewhat frustrated by Ms. Littljohn's efforts to get at the p-card abuse a few years ago. It turns out that she was right (which she knew she was because she had information to have a good idea about where she was headed with the line of questioning) but a lot of it has to do with helping the individual board members really understand what their roles are and also really putting into place checks and balances within the system so that the abuse can't occur within the system (of course everyone is innocent until actually proven guilty). Further, the DCSS "house of cards" has most of the board members "beholden" to the "higher ups" in administration for one thing or another (e.g. Paul Womack for putting Mr. Reed at Lakeside and Ziporrah Roberts for the employment of her children etc.) such that there is an inability to fully critique things that should be critiqued because the one doing the questioning has something to lose that is important to him or her. I think this is how most of the "inner workings" of the system have been built up over the years and why no one has been able to come forward and say anything about what has been going on. This is why it is imperative that we get outsiders elected onto the board (we currently have 1 or 2 already there) and into leadership roles within the system (starting with superintendant) as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb is top heavy. They need to get rid of some of those superindents. Like Audria Berry. I am told she accompanied Crawford Lewis on that trip to the Bahamas.

Anonymous said...

In light of the recent problems, I think that Ms. Colman ought to have new professionals out to access the situation at Chamblee. However, the right conclusion is probably that it needs to be torn down and rebuilt.

That said, if the community wants to go ahead with the renovation instead, that is within their rights to demand it. If you ask the elementary school parents, I suspect that they will support a tear down, believing that even in SPLOST 4 doesn't pass the first time, it will pass eventually. If you ask the middle school parents, they might want the renovations because the new construction won't happen before their kids are done and out.

Passionate... said...

Our thoughts, our words, need to become actions! We need a plan that can be implemented! A plan with recognizable steps of accomplishments towards our ultimate goal! A goal that will turn our focus back to the students. Our students can achieve! They are capable of mastering standards! They are capable of exceeding standards! Give teachers the freedom to reach students! Give students the opportunity to express their thought processes, to complete projects, to write their own goals. I stand amongst just a few employees in DeKalb that not only have years of experience in different school systems, but also understand the "need for passion". Passion for children...passion for content. I have been successful over the years in analyzing the big picture and seeing the details. I am a problem solver! I do not have an "online degree". I have not taken the time to earn an advanced degree above my masters because I spend my time devoted to the education of students and working with the staff in meeting their needs. I would welcome an opportunity to sit on a "task force" with others that are problem solvers! Time well spent would be wasted if solutions not implemented. My staff tells me on a daily basis that they are better because of my insight, encouragement, and visibility in classrooms. As a side note, I believe I could make a difference as Director of Curriculum and Instruction. I would not need to be Executive Director, Assistant Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, or Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. I am qualified and certified. However, I cannot apply because I do not have a specialist or doctorate. My qualifications include actual classroom experience in both regular education and special education. I have started programs that are still effective. I am an assistant principal. I teach on the weekends. I am "tooting my horn" to let the readers of this blog know that there are educators in DCSS just like me. Passionate about children...about content...about lifelong learners! We are in the trenches everyday and are willing to make a difference! We would put in the hours...because we already do! But instead of putting in late night hours at home with a frustrating eSIS, we could help make a difference for our currently failing system.

Cerebration said...

Well, in rechecking, eduKALB's original press release did say that they would "identify" candidates, as well as train, support, educate and host forums.

The stated mission of eduKALB is to facilitate improved school board leadership through civic engagement, community awareness and enhanced professional training. eduKALB plans to host community forums around the county to identify, support and train candidates for school board this November. Five of the nine school board seats are up for reelection this fall. They will endorse a slate on candidates and create voter awareness surrounding this election. Beyond the election, eduKALB plans to continue to offer training to the board of education.

Here's our original post written just after their press conference -

eduKALB Announces Intent to Guide School Board Advancement

Anonymous said...

Let's give eduKalb a break. They just got organized, and it's going to take some time for them to get organized. With the county Chamber of Commerce as its originator, if the CoC can get some heavy hitters from the major employers in the county involved (Emory, Perimeter Center, Stonecrest, DeKalb Medical, etc.), eduKalb has a chance to help.

Can't get any worse than it is now.

Anonymous said...

Emory already owns the land that DHHS is on. They lease it to DCSS for $1/year, under the agreement that DCSS will use the land for nothing other than DHHS. Google Maps clearly shows that the school is on Emory's land.

Furthermore, Harold Lewis still has his $120,000+ no-show job even after being caught up in a sex scandal. Odd...

Cerebration said...

Right Anon, about eduKALB - as well as others... I am hoping this month is the month that candidates will decide to plunk down their $540 and commit to a solid run for a school board seat. I hope community groups as well as eduKALB are right now vetting out their very best candidates...we'll find out who they are by July 2 at least! (Hopefully sooner...)

Anonymous said...

According to DeKalb County Tax Records, DHHS is owned by the DeKalb Board of Education.

http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/TaxCommissioner/Display.asp

Kim Gokce said...

The DHHS property tax record URL is:

1798 Haygood

Kim Gokce said...

Regarding the fate of the building at Chamblee, whether a reno or a tear down make sense is almost immaterial to me. If a reno is chosen, that is fine as long as it includes all we'd expect from a modern high school. The trouble is, it likely would not.

I know I sound like a broken record on this point but ... we need fewer, larger, modernized high schools. Build new at Chamblee? Sure. Build new at Briarcliff? Sure. Build new at Doraville/GM? Sure.

But for the love of tax payer money built it so it can house a minimum of 3,000 students please. I would wager that the attendance area zone kids from CCHS, DHHS, LHS and CKHS would fill this building nicely minus magnet, transfers, etc.

We have to provide a modern facility for all of our area kids. The way of the past few years has provided none for all.

Anonymous said...

@Kim Gokce, 4:15 PM

Actually, Kim, I must disagree with you. What we do NOT need is a high school holding 3,000+ students. You will understand better when you have students middle-school and/or high school age.

In middle school to some extent and especially in high school there should be opportunities for students to try out a lot of different activities and interests. It is perhaps the one time in their lives when they will have the freedom and the opportunity.

In a high school of 3,000+ students, there just aren't that many band and orchestra seats, cheerleading slots, basketball, baseball and football slots, debate team spaces, robotics team spaces, chorus and thespian spaces, newspaper and yearbook jobs -- and so on. Students who are late bloomers will be shut out of many activities in a school that size. They will be lost in the crowd.

Public schools with populations of 2000-3000 students were built on the premise that their large size allowed economies of all kinds. They were theoretically more efficient at delivering the educational product. The problem is that these large schools are too big. Their students become numbers, not individuals. Children fall through the cracks and their needs, both academic and personal, fail to be addressed. They feel even more isolated, frustrated and hopeless. Discipline problems escalate. Security becomes a serious issue. Teachers end up becoming nothing more than traffic cops. Quality of instruction deteriorates. The vast majority of these students simply do not have a chance to achieve their fullest potential.

DCSS has the money to build right-size, technology-rich, state-of-the-art schools. But, DCSS cannot do that and continue wasting money on a bloated and mostly unnecessary central office staff; on frivolous, costly law suits; and on the current friends and family jobs program for losers.

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 7:40pm "... high school there should be opportunities for students to try out a lot of different activities and interests"

This is a "two sides of the same coin" problem. At small schools, there aren't enough kids to support a broad spectrum of clubs or sports. Which is worse? How many lacrosse teams are there in DeKalb, for example? Does your swim team have a pool? Does your tennis team have tennis courts?

While I personally would like to see our public high schools equipped and funded like Marist or St. Pius with like enrollment, that is not in the cards.

Big school vs Small School is a reasonable debate. I have concluded that the only size that matters is the size of the classroom, not the school. Whether we have 1,000 or 3,000 enrolled at a school, they will have the best chance at succeeding and enjoying high school if there is a small teacher / student ratio and modern facilities.

We can debate whether larger schools turn "kids into numbers" or not. I saw 800+ graduate from North Gwinnett and there wasn't a number in the group.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:40. Bingo! You are a winner. Only a few weeks left to qualify for a board seat. Hurry on in, and we'll support you in whatever District you live.

Cerebration said...

Regarding the large scale school model (DeKalb defines this as a capacity of about 2,100- 2,200 for high school) - I think it's a good idea. There actually are more opportunities for extra-curricular and more resources to share. Gwinnett is doing a terrific job with their schools (they continue to make AYP, while DCSS has never made AYP). Check out the new Archer High School - especially the science labs. Also, Atlanta Public Schools has done an exemplary job of creating small school communities within large schools. You could have a school of the arts, an engineering academy, an automotive/industrial academy, etc...

I'd rather have the building, the materials and the staffing for a school of 2,200 than the current situation at Lakeside: over 1700 students crammed in a building built for 1300 - back in 1968 and never updated since.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Gwinnett is doing a terrific job with their schools (they continue to make AYP, while DCSS has never made AYP

2 things about Gwinnett. They make AYP BECAUSE they have large schools. When you have 3,000 to 4,000 students, GCSS can "hide" the percentage of students not making AYP easier than smaller schools can. Also look at how they district those schools as well.

Another issue, and it was touched on earlier, with larger schools, many, many students that have opportunities for extracurriculars, such as sports, band, drama, etc., in DCSS would not have those same opportunities in GCSS. When you have large schools, the "best" students in these categories take up most of the spots, leaving the remainder of the students on the outside looking in. I vote a big NO for the type of schools that exist in Gwinnett.

Anonymous said...

3000 students in a high school? Way too many. 800-1000? Not nearly enough.

1150-1400, maybe 1500 at the max, is plenty for a DCSS school.

Cerebration said...

Problem is, we have schools with a capacity of 1300-1500, but we're cramming 1700-1800 students into them - thus the trailers.

Cerebration said...

There's more -- it appears to be Christmas in June for Arabia HS --

Arabia Mountain High School Language Laboratory System

Rationale
The Renaissance 2200 System technology will support all aspects of the curriculum and textbook media. Renaissance 2200 technology supports classroom instruction by providing students with practical experiences. The system allows the teacher to use a teacher-defined scoring rubric to evaluate the students’ recordings.

Quick Summary / Abstract
Presented by: Ms. Stacy Stepney, Director, High School Teaching and Learning

Summary
Following the state adoption cycle, World Language teachers and students will receive a new textbook series which is fully aligned to the Georgia Performance Standards and will serve as an instructional resource for at least five years. The language laboratory system will enhance the teachers’ instructional delivery by providing simultaneous student practice which will improve the students’ overall verbal proficiency rate. The selected vendor is Stevens Learning Systems, Incorporated.

Details
The Renaissance 2200 Language Laboratory System includes 36 student stations. The components of each system are as follows:

Quantity Part No. Description
1 ea. 70503 Renaissance 2200 System Controller & SLSI Software
1 ea. 71606 Dell “E” Series Laptop Computer
1 ea. 71607 Dell Docking Station for Laptop
1 ea. 70031 DVD Player/CD-RW External Drive
1 ea. 70405 Renaissance Full-Class Digital Recorder & Software
1 ea. 71622 Flat-Screen 15-Inch Monitor
1 ea. 71605 VCR/DVD Player Assembly
1 ea. 90087 Audiocassette Recorder Program Source
2 ea. 70030 CD Audio Program Source
1 ea. 70503 Renaissance Console Desk
3 ea. 76312 Motorized Overhead Tray for Twelve (12) Students
40 ea. 70010 Teacher/Student Headset with Call

Financial Impact
Total cost is $51,140.00. Arabia Mountain High School will use the following grant to pay for the installation of two language labs: Fund for the Improvement of Education program; Title V, Part D, Subpart 1, Sections 5411-5413 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act.


I mean, really, what is Cross Keys and others supposed to think? The over-spending at Arabia is ridiculous.

Cerebration said...

And - back to the subject of trailers -- there's this item -

Rationale
The District currently leases 13 modular classrooms under Bid # 05-9. If the modular classrooms are re-bid and the current vendor is not awarded the new lease contract, then the cost of the current vendor to disassemble and remove these units would be approximately $11,000 per modular unit.

Quick Summary / Abstract
Presented by: Mr. Steve Donahue, Executive Director, Plant Services

Summary
The District currently leases 13 modular classrooms under Bid #05-9 from Modular Space Corporation (formerly GE Capital Modular).

Details
This will allow the District to continue leasing with Modular Space Corporation (formerly GE Capital Modular).

Financial Impact
General Operations Budget 2010-2011: $1,391,414 Budget Code: 101.38.96.00.016101.752.0000


I have to ask -- how are we to reconcile the news that we have thousands of "empty seats" and need to close and consolidate schools - yet, we also have to spend a grand total of nearly $3 million on TRAILERS? That looks like bad management to me...

Cerebration said...

Dunwoody Mom - using your logic, then, if we consolidate all of our high schools into larger schools, they will make AYP because we can now "hide" the failures. Hmmmm. I wonder if that would work... I'm thinking no.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, as I have said many times, AYP is a joke anyway, so, personally, I don't much stock in whether a school system makes AUP or not.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I have to ask -- how are we to reconcile the news that we have thousands of "empty seats" and need to close and consolidate schools - yet, we also have to spend a grand total of nearly $3 million on TRAILERS? That looks like bad management to me...

Bad management, yes and BOE members refusing to make the hard decisions about closing schools and redistricting.

Anonymous said...

The awarding of DCSS trailer contracts has been incredibly political for years. It's a sordid mess with rumors of payouts. Worthy of investigation by the county DA or state Attorney General.

Kim Gokce said...

I hate to be stuck on the Large v Small format school plant but ...

In the long run, who is going to pay for all our neighborhoods to have "mini-Arabias?" ANSWER: No one.

In the long run, who is going to send their kid to our public schools (translate: buy a home in DeKalb)? ANSWER: Fewer each year in the middle .. DeKalb as the next Banana Republic.

Who is going to defend the property tax rate when we have "so little" to show for it and fewer stakeholders each year? ANSWER: Political Losers.

The small public school is going to go the way of the small retailer. The longer we wait, the more painful it will be.

Small class size, large school, lower costs ...

Kim Gokce said...

... one more ...

Who is going to vote for SPLOST IV?

ANSWER: We are and we'll hate ourselves for doing it unless we change our plant.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I refuse to vote for any more SPLOST until DCSS can show that they can spend our money wisely. I think that the county would be foolish to vote for more SPLOST funds, until a new administration is in place and shows us that they can be good stewards of our money.

Cerebration said...

Does anyone know if SPLOST funds have been used to pay for the attorneys on the Heery Mitchell case? Where is this money coming from? It's somewhere between $12 and $21 million I've heard... what a range. Also - $3.6 million for a study to tell them how much to countersue for...

Anonymous said...

The trailer lease debacle might be yet another left over from Stan Pritchett's reign.
1. As site selection person, you create schools in locations that require additional bus purchases (south Dekalb theme schools, Stone Mountain, Avondale MS, MLK HS, etc) . Presto! another contract.
2. Was Stan over the decisions on what schools suddenly needed rental trailers? If you know what's going to be closed down, what schools are to be paired as feeder or receiver schools it's pretty easy to do. The continuation of said contracts is just standard operating procecdure at DCSS.
Anyone know if Stan the man was also the trailer dude? Was his role limited to just site selection AND transportation?

Anonymous said...

For as long as I can remember the board has been told they need to keep the current vendor on the trailers because the cost to switch would be too high due to the need for removal/replacement and electrical hook-up requirements.

I don't buy it. And this automatic renewal of this no-bid hand-out needs to stop.

How about putting the thing to bid. I'd be willing to bet that there are vendors that will absorb the costs for removal/replacement to win the contract. Worst case, our current vendor wins the bid since they don't have the up-front costs... at least we bid this multi-million dollar contract to see what the market would bear.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know why the Sam Moss Service Center is being renovated as to Pat Popes wishes.It may look like a dump on the outside but when you get to the admin.area wow....

Cerebration said...

The stated cost to remove the trailers is $1200 each. It's the "modulars" that would cost about $11,000 each to remove (these things are like little buildings of their own...very different than a trailer.)

I still wonder why we need so many trailers at all - considering that the board continues to report that we have thousands of empty seats.... very weird.

Kim Gokce said...

Aren't a lot of the trailers the direct result of the unending SPLOST II and III projects? I know they are the reason for most trailers at CK and Woodward ES.

We really have created a capital maintenance nightmare that has no hope of ending for 10+ years ... there's hardy a school I know of that doesn't need significant work ... uf!

No Duh said...

Arabia Mountain parents should be asked to choose between getting the band uniforms or the language lab -- but not both.

As I recall, Lakeside's band marched for a couple of years in jeans and t-shirts. I don't recall LHS parents and admins begging the BOE for uniforms. I think they held fundraisers and washed cars and sold donuts and... I could be wrong...

The inequities are so lop-sided now throughout DCSS that I struggle to see how these BOE members can continue to pull the wool over their constituents' eyes. These voters are brainwashed by their very BOE members into being "victims of a racist system." How I would love to see Pam Speaks or Ramona Tyson stand up in a BOE meeting and tell those two old biddies to shut up and stop embarassing their entire race.

Anonymous said...

Wow - the Language Lab at Arabia Mountain - how nice for them. I know the world languages teachers at Peachtree Middle School have been advocating a Language Lab at that school. Guess what? They were told that since other schools are doing away with their labs and perhaps Peachtree could purchase those labs.

And Arabia Mountain gets a brand new system. How sweet.....

Anonymous said...

Kim, sorry but you are wrong. Every school my children have attended- elementary, middle and high- have had trailers. Some have lots of trailers and not a single one of these schools had any construction going on. They all had trailers because the schools are overcrowded due to tons of students attending schools out of their district plus the BOE and administration have delayed the much needed school closing and redistricting year after year. None of these schools would have a single trailer today if the BOE has the guts to redistrict. But they caved again this year- because it was an election year for 5 BOE members.

Cerebration said...

Exactly true, Anon 9:14 PM. Lakeside has had over 20 trailers for many years now. (Add up the rental costs - gee, I think we could have bought those trailers a few times over.) Additionally, these trailers sit on the tennis courts, rendering them unusable, even for Lakeside's champion tennis team (who practice at private courts nearby.) Now - the new Tucker HS, according to the promotional materials from the contractor, will hold 1700 students, but Tucker only has about 1250-1300. Do you think some of Lakeside will be sent to Tucker? Probably not.

Same with SW DeKalb - trailers everywhere -- and I believe same for MLK. Arabia was built as a promise to relieve over-crowding in that area, but they changed their minds and made it a "choice" school - leaving the area schools still over-crowded and in need of trailers while plenty of nice airy space abounds at Arabia.

I'd love to see an accounting of exactly where all these trailers reside, and if they are really necessary - or if we could simply redistrict some of the students to a roomier building.

Anonymous said...

In tomorrow's Sunday AJC, there is an article about the C of Atlanta school system not doing contracts correctly. It isn't on line yet, but I wonder how many similarities we will see to DCSS.

There is something fundamentally flawed with the system's relationship to Arabia Mountain, though it looks like there is some kind of grant paying for it.

Total cost is $51,140.00. Arabia Mountain High School will use the following grant to pay for the installation of two language labs: Fund for the Improvement of Education program; Title V, Part D, Subpart 1, Sections 5411-5413 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Of course, shouldn't every high school be getting this?

Finally, I have heard that part of the reason Arabia's test scores were so good this year is that there is mandatory Saturday school and teachers are required to come up with individualized learning plans and call the parents and report whether or not students showed up for it.

I hear many teachers are leaving.

In addition, this time last year, when many principals across DCSS were having displaced teachers place in their schools without an options to say no , the principal at Arabia Mountain was hiring a new staff, mostly not from DCSS. I wish the parents at my childrens' schools had that much power. JUST SAYING!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is a way to know how long teachers are staying in DCSS. This appears to be a problem, and I wonder what can be done to solve this problem.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, June 5, 4:42 PM

RE: Trailers

I completely agree! The folks who leased that stuff -- some of which is just junk -- must have had a hard time keeping a straight face. Basically, they were given a bid-free unending contract, regardless of the service and equipment they provide.

Stan Pritchett is a piece of work! I always thought it was amusing that Pritchett, of all people, was selected to be president of the failing Morris Brown College. Funny -- and, yet, pitiful somehow that Morris Brown could not attract/select a better class of candidate.

At DCSS, Stan Pritchett was just another failed principal, appointed to a central office job for which he had no training and no ability. At DC$$, $tan Pritchett'$ legacy endure$.

Dekalbparent said...

Cross - post from another thread re trailers:

Alternatives to trailers. I found this a while ago while on another magical mystery tour.

http://architecture.about.com/od/schooldesign/ig/Winning-School-Designs/Druid-Hills-High-School.htm

It appears it was designed as a contest entry, and it has never been implemented. I suspect if it had actually been done at any of our schools, it would have paid for itself. Might have also reduced the amount of construction DCSS has done.

The design is cool, and the rest of the website is fun to look at.

Dekalbparent said...

I vote. My spouse votes. My two kids vote. We will all vote against SPLOST IV. We will be campaigning for all good candidates we see.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb Parent:

I am so glad that you are voting on SPLOST IV. I will not and actually drive to Fulton or Gwinnett County to purchase items for my home. I do live very close to both counties.

I have been doing this for sometime because I am tired of all the waste in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

It's me again. My eyes are tired. Totally miss read your comment DekalbParent. Please forgive me.

Anonymous said...

The queen reid/pope who ever she is had the building renovated. You must remember this was her company. It was my understanding that there was a freeze on money so where did she get this money from. It was nothing wrong with the building the people had been working in the same places for years. Your work place is paid for by tax payers and it should not look like you home. This is another tax payer waste. You should be looking into where did the money come from? you might be surprise. It is sad that money is spent on such and the kids ARE TRYING TO LEARN WITH LEAKING ROOFS AND NO A/C OR HEAT. AND PLEASE DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE ROACHES IN THE CAFETERIA AND KITCHENS.

Dekalbparent said...

Can anybody describe the renovations to Sam Moss? It's true that it looks pretty much the same from the outside... What was done to the interior? It was good (in a blood pressure-raising way) to see the pictures of the inside of Mountain Industrial - gave me a real sense of what our $$ bought the bigwigs. I would love to know what we paid for at Sam Moss.

Cerebration said...

The construction section of the DCSS website is very misleading - it only openly lists the SPLOST projects as school-related -

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

Unless you download the actual reports, you would be hard-pressed to see the amount of money and effort spent on Sam Moss and the Admin Offices at Mtn Industrial -

Oddly, the old June 09 report that I downloaded a year ago is very different from the one that is currently at the DCSS website with the same date. The original report has a photo of Sam Moss Center with this description of work -

Sam Moss Service Center: Work completed to date for Phase 1 includes interior partitions and associated mechanical and electrical work; installation fo flooring in the restrooms, electrical closet, and break room; and electrical and ADA requirements. We anticipate that all Phase 1 work will be substantially completed in the next 30 days, at which time work will begin on the second of the three phases of the project.

Additional costs for Sam Moss in the latest report include -

Sam Moss Center - Paint and Carpet 421-341-019 $67,700

Sam Moss Center- Paving Repair and Replacement 421-341-037 $470,454

Sam Moss Service Center - HVAC and Roof 421-131 $1,626,432

You can find the latest summary of Sam Moss' recent expenditures on page 97 of the new CIP report.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/operations/projects/2002-2007/files/CIP/January%202010%20-%20Complete%20Report.pdf


Page 7 of the newest report shows that we have only spent $160 million of the $240 million collected, with a projected collection of $466 million in total by August 2012.


===

I would like to add that whoever produced this latest report did a much, much better job than reports in the past. (120 SEARCHABLE pages - compared to Pat Pope's non-searchable 23 page report last time - or even her non-searchable 84 page mid-PROGRAM assessment - of which, 24 pages was the old demographer's report.) This one is much more transparent and forthcoming with information. In fact, each and every change order is listed in detail - Kudos!

Kim Gokce said...

I actually went to Sam Moss for a meeting some months ago. The little I saw was a total interior renovation. I would describe it as typical corporate office worker space - cubicle farms and small, modest side office enclosures and meeting rooms. I wasn't meeting muckity-mucks, mind you, so who knows what is in the bowels of the building reno.

I also went to the new admin offices at MIC (KEY?) and that is a bit of a different story. The common spaces are much more grand (they had plenty of space to work with!). The area supers are in cubicle farm that is, again, fairly typical of a corporate office. I did see a few very nice private office enclosures for second and third tier managers. I did not see any of the "executive" offices.

Having had the privilege of being in executive offices and meeting rooms at places like Coke and BellSouth, I have to say MIC is much nicer than I expected and I was "impressed." But then, perhaps that's what they were shooting for ...

themommy said...

Look at this announcement from Fulton County Schools -- Don't you wish we would have one of these for DCSS. Talk about transparent!

Salary hearings set for June 8 and June 15

The Fulton County School System announces two public hearings on proposed salary schedules for the 2010-11 school year.

Tuesday, June 8
6:00-6:30 p.m.
Administrative Center
786 Cleveland Avenue SW, Atlanta

Tuesday, June 15
6:00-6:30 p.m.
Dunwoody Springs Charter Elementary School
8100 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs

The school system will solicit public input on proposed salaries prior to the Board of Education adopting the FY11 Fulton County School System budget.

All Fulton County School System employees are invited to attend and/or provide feedback. The final salary schedules and FY11 budget are expected to be adopted at the June 22 school board work session at the Administrative Center.

Anonymous said...

Parents in my district are not putting up with trailers. Parents of Nancy Creek were trying to keep the school open since we saw the growth coming to our community. We were nervous that the resulting overcrowding would bring trailers. Well, there are 4 or 5 at Huntley Hills already, this is after the Clew-less mob and Robert Moooooseley promised there would be no trailers. The fraudulent demographers report said so!

Also during this time parents in Dunwoody were complaining that we had no right to complain and we should embrace the trailers. Huh?

No one should embrace trailers, most of the school systems that are run properly redraw lines constantly to support the changing needs of a community.

Parents at Montgomery Elementary, which thankfully does not have a trailer yet, told Clew-less and his mob that the first trailer brought to Montgomery would have a plaque placed on it dedicating it to Clew-less, Redovian and the other BOE members that thought it would be "equitable" to close a school in the fastest growing area inside the perimeter. Check the Atlanta Regional Commission numbers. Chamblee, Dunwoody and Brookhaven areas are the fastest growing areas of DeKalb.

It's sad that politics overrule sound decisions by BOE members especially when it effects our kids.

So please stop with the comments like the one earlier that parents don't complain about trailers. Our parents do. Just think if DCSS does bring trailers into Montgomery, Dunwoody kids will lose two soccer fields, which sit behind the school, that are currently used by Concorde. Let's hope the re-districting of the future will even out the populations of all the schools county wide. Plus, let's hope the NEW executive leadership actually have conversations with DeKalb planning and zoning unlike the Clew-less mob of, Moseley, Tyson, Turk, Mitchell, Thompson, Guilroy, Edwards and Ramsey.

By the way I haven't seen any resignations yet. Seems to me it's back to business as usual as the news stories of two weeks ago die down. Come on parents I know it's summer but this is the time we must watch DCSS closely. This is the time when most bad decisions are made and snuck through the process since parents are vacationing and sitting poolside sipping their adult beverages.

Cerebration said...

Right on - exactly true, Anon. Parents and community members need to rise up against trailers. We've been told that we have thousands of empty seats in our buildings -- there should be NO need for 300-500 trailers! Lakeside is burgeoning with over 1700 allowed to enroll (hundreds from outside the attendance zone) when the building only holds 1350. The school has to use 21 trailers - sitting on the tennis courts - to accommodate the overflow. Additionally, Oak Grove has 6 trailers - with enrollment over 600 (and a capacity for much less) - while discussions and arguments continue regarding Briarlake, about 1 mile away, with barely 400 students. So - redistrict to rebalance - this is not rocket science. Our board has no guts.

Board meeting tonight at 6 PM -- plan to attend (Cedar Grove Middle School, 2300 Wildcat Road, Decatur) or watch it live on COMCAST 24.

Anonymous said...

Gwinnett uses trailers a long-term classrooms. Grayson HS currently has ~35 trailers. South Gwinnett has a whole football field worth.

The trailers aren't going anywhere anytime soon. If DCSS tried to redraw lines, y'all would sue them back to the stone age. Many of you have expressed that you won't vote for SPLOST, so there go additions.

Get used to them. They aren't going anywhere, and there isn't a precedent on using them as temporary classrooms.

Cerebration said...

Regarding overall budget cuts - and the plea for copy paper -- teachers: Check out this article on a Vanderlyn teacher who assigned homework to be done electronically -

Congratulations to Ms. Kristen Drake and Ms. Nancy Lorenz of Vanderlyn Elementary School! Their successful grant application to Target resulted in $800 for a field trip project. Vanderlyn's third grade students visited the Seminole Landfill to see the impact we have on the environment. The grant was awarded for her paperless classroom. By having on-line homework she reduced the amount of paper used by over 12,000 copies. For more information on Ms. Drake's paperless classroom, visit her website at http://worksheetless.com.

Anonymous said...

Vanderlyn is a school where nearly 100 percent of all families have both computers and internet access. Last Fall, I worked with a group of Dunwoody high school students who had neither and had been signed up for credit recovery courses online at DOLA.

So, while online learning sounds fabulous, there are real barriers in the real world to making it work.

Lynn Deutsch

Anonymous said...

The problem is we spend $19,000,000 a year for MIS personnel, never budget any money for computers for students (only use what Lewis allocated from SPLOST), and pay double for computers so Dell will do all od theinstallation and maintenance. There is little left over for actual equipment for students.

MIS personnel costs run higher than other counties. You can't blame that on demographics or our higher than metro county number of Title I schools.

In addition to the higher MIS personnel costs, DeKalb Schools handles funding for technology for students in a very different manner than other metro and many Georgia rural systems. Most systems use a three tier system to fund technology for students.
1. General funds
2. Bond referendums
3. SPLOST

Sytems with high numbers of Title 1 schools also use a fourth leg with some Title 1 funds being used for technology access, particularly since Internet access to online learning is often scarce.

DeKalb only uses one source of funding for technology access (SPLOST) and most of our general fund dollars go to MIS personnel costs. Title I dollars are use for admin and support personnel and learning program like Springboard and America's Choice.

That's why our students have little access to technology.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Anon 3:16 PM.

DCSS MIS clearly needs both a forensic audit and personnel audit, along with new leadership!

Anonymous said...

Breaking News......Subpoena's have been handed to Marcus Turk (Chief Financial Officer), Jamie Wislon (HR Director), Roanld Ramsey (we all know he wears 2 hats and collects two checks). Things are beginning to get a little heated in the new DCSS offices.....

Cerebration said...

All a subpoena is is a demand to testify as to what you know... it certainly doesn't imply wrongdoing whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

ANNOUNCEMENT -

As you may already know, our county school system is undergoing restructuring of its personnel duties for next year. No longer will there be a county-level employee who is completely dedicated to overseeing gifted programs and services. Instead, this task will be handled by Mrs. Pat Copeland, who will also retain her responsibility for overseeing magnet programs.

In light of this development, I am exploring the formation of a grassroots, countywide group of parents and teachers who are stakeholders in DeKalb's gifted ed programs. The group would be affiliated with the Georgia Association of Gifted Children. Such groups already exist in Fulton, Cobb, Douglas and Gwinnett counties. Activities would likely include advocacy on the county and state levels, as well as support for parents and teachers.

If you believe that such a group would be useful and are willing to spend 3-5 hours per month working on advocacy activities, please contact Dori Kleber at

doritoot@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

We are glad to know that Yvonne Butler saw the writing on the wall and RETIRED. DCSS is much better off is she actually retired and went to work with Martha Stewart. The salary promotion that she was given did not match her qualifications as a wellness director. Her degrees are in education and counseling. It makes you who overlooked this when she was promoted. I donot blame Shannon for not wanting to work under such an incompetent person such as Butler. Let us pray that she took her marbles and ran. She sold enugh cookbooks on DCSS school, use enough of DCSS money to travel to other states and give speeches on sugar whwn she should have been at work. Boy, she sure used this county.! Haa

Anonymous said...
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Dunwoody Mom said...

I was not sure where to put this comment - but has anyone looked at PDS-24 in the last few days? You can really tell the PR/Media department was let go. The graphics and videos are so amateurish - might as well just save more money and do away with PDS-24 altogether.