Friday, September 10, 2010

The mad dash for the SPLOST cash


Check out item F-17 on the agenda for the board's business meeting this Monday evening, September 13:

17. William Bradley Bryant Center (WBBC) Renovation Approval
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer


Exactly what is going on here? This is a newly listed project slated to be completed using some of the "savings" from SPLOST 3 projects that Ms. Colman refers to as "contingency" funds. This is a pet project of Ms. Tyson's. She is quoted as saying that she has been trying to get this project done for years, having done "cartwheels" and "backflips" to no avail. But now - she is in charge and her favorite project has cut to the front of the line. This project was never, ever mentioned or listed anywhere on any SPLOST budget or promotional brochure before voting. I am under the impression that the school board, by law, must use the sales tax dollars as promised - am I wrong? Who keeps changing the rules?

Ms. Tyson stated at the Dunwoody-Chamblee Parent Council meeting that the newly "found" $40 million in cost savings from under-budget SPLOST 3 programs will be allocated for projects by "her and the board". After that, she joked that "the hands went up!" What?! This is not a free for all. And this is certainly no joke. We've had a lengthy list of "needs" for a very VERY long time. This is not random money suddenly available to be used for those in power's favorite projects! This money should be put back into the till to address the very next SCHOOL project waiting patiently in this very long line. Students and their teachers should remain first and foremost on the priority list when identifying how to spend this money.

Ms. Tyson actually went on to state that she hoped everyone would vote for a SPLOST 4 because we still have so much need. She reiterated that in 2006, we identified almost $2 Billion of need in our school buildings - which we have collected $533 million of SPLOST 3 dollars for thus far to add to SPLOSTs 1&2. She even ticked off a laundry list of "needs" like roofs, HVAC, paint, carpeting, computers, windows and other major areas of deterioration. Then, I must ask, how can she disengage from the fact that she is cutting in line for this money—money that voters taxed on themselves for promised school renovations—in order to fund her own special, long-desired project at her own WBBC? I hope she will at least go around to the schools with the leaking roofs, mold, mildew, broken toilets and stairs and personally explain to them how she came to decide that the money their community paid in taxes to fix their buildings is now instead, going to fund some big data storage facility - because she wanted it!

If SPLOST proves such a temptation that even Ramona Tyson has fallen victim to wielding her power in order to grab her own personal handful of cash for her own department (that she is supposed to return to after her stint as interim super) then perhaps SPLOST has been the nail in our coffin. This school board has taken an initiative that could have profoundly impacted our children and brought magnificent change to our facilities and instead, so far, they have squandered much of it, and used it to sink us faster and deeper to the bottom. This board cannot be trusted with anymore SPLOST funds and I will personally not be supporting a SPLOST 4 in the future.

Color me disappointed, but SPLOST clearly represents the "love of money" and provides an irresistible temptation to hoard, squander, misuse, and abuse the hard-earned tax dollars of the everyday, trusting people of DeKalb. We have two top dogs under indictment proving so - costing taxpayers dearly in legal fees - both at the school level and the county level.

No more SPLOST.

===

UPDATE: Ok, so I went to the trouble of reviewing the board meeting online. Here's what I found out -

The "move" of the data storage from building A to the WBBC will cost $3.5 million.

We have NO IDEA why this was not moved waaaay back when the rest of building A was moved. (I will assume here that this is how they were able to spend SO much money on the new digs at Mtn Industrial - they didn't spend any money to move the entire data dept.)

So, with apologies to Ms Tyson, I get what she said now - which she couched as "saying as delicately as possible". She pleaded with everyone when the original move was done to include moving the data system - and she was completely ignored. (That would be by Dr Lewis, Pat Pope and the Board of Education I assume.)

So now, instead of having responsibly spent their allotment for moving building A by moving ALL of building A (and instead moving their own offices to plush new digs complete with $2,000 chairs), we have no choice but to go back and spend an additional $3.5 million to complete the move that should have been completed when the rest of the building was moved. (The data department is the only department left in the building.)

And yes, this money is coming out of SPLOST 3 funds -- funds that voters approved to be used as promoted very hard before the vote -- to upgrade our school buildings, HVAC, roofs, etc, as listed. As these projects have come in under budget due to lower construction costs, the unspent money goes into a large fund called "Program Contingency" (as opposed to 'project contingencies' which exist for unexpected cost overruns on each project).

The board is supposed to go on a retreat to decide how to spend this "Program Contingency" fund of $35-40 million or more. I would sincerely hope that they take the original list of promises along and fulfill as many of those as possible first and foremost.  Amid this money grab, the Chamblee High School community is reeling from the news that their project has been put 'on hold' and that 'if' there is a SPLOST 4, they may see construction in 2015. Is that fair?

I don't think it's fair that this WBBC project was allowed to dip into the Project Contingency funds when no one else could - they all have to wait until the board decides at the retreat. (I would have encouraged the board at this retreat to consider outsourcing all of the data storage.) I would have hoped that this data department move to the WBBC should have at least been part of those retreat discussions and competed for placement right alongside the list of projects like unfinished roofs, HVAC, classroom technology, renovation and restroom projects in our many needy school buildings.

152 comments:

Cerebration said...

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

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

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

With the extension of SPLOST ...

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

OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

Facilities Affected

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

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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

..."under budget SPLOST III projects..."

Ahem.....one of the "renovations" that was "under budget" was DSA/Avondale...mostly because the work that was done was inadequate!

And how about...hmmmm....let's see....Lakeside?! Chamblee High School?

I WANT TO SCREAM!!!!

Not Buying It said...

I made up my mind long ago that if the BOE has the temerity to hold a Splost 4 election in 2012, I would lobby every DeKalb County voter I meet - even the dead ones - to vote it down. Stop the madness, folks.

Cerebration said...

From the Dunwoody Crier:

Tyson said the SPLOST III tax will run out in 2012, and said the district plans on asking for a fourth special purpose tax. Most of the construction and renovation at Dunwoody High School has been paid for by SPLOST III. Chamblee cluster parents spoke out against Tyson for yet again “lying about where the money was going,” as promises were made but not kept to repair Chamblee High School. Tyson said SPLOST IV would pay for a new Chamblee High School to be built, but that would happen by 2015 at the earliest.

Interim Superintendent: We're doing the best we can

How can she not understand their anger?

Anonymous said...

Data Center! Run by Jamal "Where's Waldo" Edwards I'm sure!

How can parents in Chamblee be assured that a new school would be built with SPLOST 4 funds?

The magnet program is moving to Avondale next year, which will leave residents, charter students and the non-technical students from Cross Keys at the school. I'm sure we can get more residents to attend Chamblee High if we can be assured a new building. But what will keep the "new Superintendent", whoever that is, from taking it away again?

Clew promised Chamblee something in SPLOST 3, he's arrested, so now Tyson is promising something in SPLOST 4, and she is an interim who will not be here when SPLOST 4 will be implemented.

DeKalb taxpayers are so angry right now, it's going to be tough to get a SPLOST 4 passed. Especially with the crooks that run DCSS.

Thanks a lot Jim Redovian, you got Dunwoody everything they wanted and all Chamblee gets are trailers at their elementary schools and their High School gets the shaft! Jim, Chamblee is part of your district! I for one will NOT vote for your re-election!

Dunwoody Mom said...

Thanks a lot Jim Redovian, you got Dunwoody everything they wanted and all Chamblee gets are trailers at their elementary schools and their High School gets the shaft

Get real. Austin, Chesnut and Vanderlyn ALL are overcrowded, old, in disrepair and have trailers - many more trailers than the Chamblee area Elementary schools. SPLOST III paid for the renovations to the high school. Chamblee HAS its SPLOST III money. It cannot be taken away from them.

Dan Magee said...

17. William Bradley Bryant Center (WBBC) Renovation Approval
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer


Please e-mail and call your BOE members and implore them to vote a very big NO on Item 17. Ms. Tyson, it is an incredible error in judgement to present this to the board when there are so many other pressing needs for our students and teachers.

With millions desperately needed for HVAC, roof repair, etc., the Bradley Bryant Center can be listed...as the last item on SPLOST IV. And SPLOST IV should not be passed until the BOE and Central Office can prove they can be trusted with our taxpayer dollars.

No superintendent, but more of the same from the DCSS Central Office. Administration pet projects first, facility needs for students and teachers last.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, it sounds like to me funds are being rerouted into Tyson's MIS Dept.

If this is a contest on the number of trailers, you win! Yet everyone loses if we need to utilize trailers. It's not a good option for anyone!

Between your new Elementary school and the building that has sit empty at Chamblee-Dunwoody and Peeler, you wouldn't need trailers if Dunwoody would be properly redistricted, utilizing the resources that we already have.

I'd like to know about the funds you speak of that Chamblee already has? All we have been given are broken promises! From Clew, Tyson and Redovian, and that doesn't build much - Especially not our trust that Tyson wants us to have in her!

Dan Magee said...

Sorry, should sat "New superintendent, but more of the same from the DCSS Central Office"

Anonymous said...

Most of Dunwoody wanted the property on Chamblee-Dunwoody used for an elementary school. It got waylaid by Chip Franzoni who was worried about the location.

Then because he had made the building sound so inhospitable, even though there were students in it at the time, it has been allowed to deteriorate to the point of no return.

Anonymous said...

Data and computer infrastructure security is critical.

I wonder though if DCSS needs to even host its own data or if it should be outsourced. There are lots of really reputable companies out there that do this for banks, hospitals, etc so I think they could manage a school system.

I am guessing it would be cheaper as well.

Anonymous said...

DCSS puts last what affects the students most!

I'm so angry there is blood spraying out my eyeballs!

VOTE NO REDOVIAN! VOTE NO SPEAKS!

The only reason they're moving Chamblee to SPLOST 4 is the hopes that we'll vote for it! I voted for SPLOST 3 for Chamblee High since it was their original intention to use the funds for CCHS.

It's time to make sure that Tyson, Turk, Moseley, Mitchell-Mayfield, Thompson, Ramsey, Berry, Beasley and the BOE 5 are placed out to pasture, so we can start 2011 with an entire new slate of leaders at DCSS!

Ms. Tyson you lost my trust, it only took you 5 months and you will never regain it!

Dunwoody Mom said...

As had been said many times. Chamblee has $11.7 million of SPLOST III allocated to them. That money cannot be taken away from Chamblee. I'm not sure why that keeps being conveniently ignored or forgotten.

The new ES was planned before Redovian's time, so, if you feel the need to "blame" someone because Dunwoody got a new ES, go look up Chip Franzoni.

The property at Chamblee-Dunwoody could certainly be used to build a new ES. The current building is unusable. Even WHEN Dunwoody is properly redistricted, trailers will still be needed.

Anonymous said...

http://championnewspaper.com/news/articles/577under-pressure--as-school-system-struggles-with-scandals-outside-groups-look-to-influence577.html

“There’s been a raised level of anxiety...in general,” board Chair Thomas Bowen said. “But what we’ve found is that most of that is due to lack of information as to all the details of what’s going on.”



Tom Bowen, you sir, are an idiot. Your quote above basically tells parents and taxpayers: There is nothing wrong, y'all are just misinformed.

When is Bowen up for re-election? He's just as big of an embarassment as Zepora the Slugger and Sarah C-W the Mouth that Never Stops.

Anonymous said...

The presentation from the called meeting about the master plan is here

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/Vision2020_COW_20100827.pdf

Dunwoody Mom said...

I'm sure we can get more residents to attend Chamblee High if we can be assured a new building

Really? Chamblee Middle has a brand new building and only half of its enrollment are resident students. Why?

IMO, the Chamblee is to be kept open, there needs to be a concerted effort to find out why families in the Chamblee attendance zone are not sending their children to the MS and HS. Get out an canvas the neighborhoods, find out their opinions, find out why and what can be done to bring these people back into the school.

Anonymous said...

Please Dunwoody Mom, Chip Franzoni has been gone 4 four years! Since you know so much, where is the 11.7 million that Chamblee is suppose to have? Please elaborate!

I know about the talks with Chip Franzoni, but Jim Redovian has ignored Chamblee. Chip Franzoni took our calls and answered our emails. He might not have been the best for Dunwoody. However, all Jim says is, sorry you don't have the votes, however I will vote no! Jim, how about telling Tyson, no way on your data center. I believe that can be outsourced for much cheaper!

How does a new data center help the students and teachers at the schools, NOW? Tyson's MIS Dept can't operate what they have! You expect them to be able to run a new data center? Please!. I have no confidence in Tyson or her MIS Dept. especially with people that make over 50k a year, like Jamal Edwards. He couldn't fix a broken finger nail, let alone a printer!

Tyson is history! This is so maddening! Once again another Friday dump of bad news on the parents, teachers and students of DCSS!

Anonymous said...

Cece,

Please ask staff, students and parents to list problems with their buildings. When my child was dropped off the other day, there was a large yellow trash can by the principal's office to catch the water leaking from the ceiling. The principal greeted me and apologized. I know that she has attempted to get this fixed. As I went to the attendance office, there was a large can catching the water leaking from the ceiling. She comes to the school to check on week end to make certain that the floor does not flood. Because staff is not allowed overtime or comp time, she and her family come to check the building. This is totally crazy that we have conditions like this in 2010. Cece, this is not an isolated issue. Check and see.
My son's classroom hss had NO AIR THE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR. The teacher has complained, the principal has sent in work orders. The teacher has asked for help. How can we renovate the Bryant Center? This is not a classroom building. This is not a north south issue. This is a student issue. We have a new AIC Building. The air in their works great. There are nice conference rooms and a nice BOE Room. How can we expect our principals, students, staff, teachers and other school based staff members to work in buildings with no heating and air. We put these people on the front line and give them Office 2003, poor copies, wet tiles that can cause mold, large salary cuts, take their tax shelter and cut salaries. But, we expect them to remain positive and do an exceptional job.
We are going to lose our brightest, best and most experienced. Anyone with other options will leave the school system.
Please repair the schools before you repair administrative buildings.
As long as we put more money into Administrative Offices and school are not repaired, SPLOST 4 will never pass.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Since you know so much, where is the 11.7 million that Chamblee is suppose to have? Please elaborate

The $11 million allowed to Chamblee for their renovations is still there to be used. That money cannot be taken from Chamblee - that is the law.

But, you know that, you are just being obstinate.

Dunwoody Mom said...

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/Vision2020_COW_20100827.pdf

Go to Page 9.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, there are a lot of Dunwoody kids in the Chamblee Middle Magnet program, and it's a good one too!

I know you graduated from CHS, Dunwoody Mom. But why are you always picking arguments with the citizens of Chamblee. I don't get it!

My wife and I fought long and hard, were threatened by residents and we were awarded with a beautiful facility. I for one know a lot of parents who will be sending their kids to CMS in the future. I know you don't understand, but our neighborhoods are changing over from older families to new ones. We have several new developments that will be online in the next two years, which will fill our schools to capacity. I think you would agree it's good to look into the future a little, when planning for growth.

Anonymous said...

ONE FED UP INSIDER here. Could not get log in to work.

I can tell you why most parents are not sending students to Chamblee Middle School. Quite simply they are not old enough yet.

Meaning, yes, there are some that go to Marist and Pius. Some not a lot.

Remember this part of DeKalb was older families. I bought my home from my husbands parents. He loved the neighborhood and wanted his kids to live in the neighborhood that he grew up in. That happened a lot in the neighborhood that I am in now. I can name 8 - 10 families that did the same thing.

Well we know have a family, and those kids are in second grade and pre -K. Just look at Montgomery. A two years ago, it is 2 5th grades, 2 four grades, 2 third grades, 3 first grades, and so on.

What you have at CMS is just the small 5th grade and 4th grade, and 3rd grade.

The mass is coming. They are going to be there in 2 - 3 years. They are just not there yet.

Anonymous said...

"Please e-mail and call your BOE members and implore them to vote a very big NO on Item 17."

When you email BOE members to ask that they ensure student construction needs come before the non-teaching staff outside the school building, please be sure to let this blog know what BOE members did or did not respond. Please post their response(s) on this blog. If they don't respond, then post their names noting that they would not respond to taxpayers.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Why is stating facts and clearing up gross misconceptions "picking"? I'm confused, really......

This "Dunwoody got theirs, and Chamblee is being ignored" is getting older by the second. It's morphing into the "north versus south" conversations Ms. Woods likes to have.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, I hope for Chamblee area sake you are correct.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, we're frustrated in Chamblee and to me the only person continuing the argument is you! I'm upset with Redovian not Dunwoody. Big Jim seems to forget his District lies in both areas. That's all!

There is another poster here who sounds frustrated with you.. I for one, enjoy our conversations. I apologize for not introducing myself at the DCPC, but I had to get to work right after the meeting was over.

I have no problem with Dunwoody, I'm glad you have what you have. I also have not heard where that 11.7 million is going to be spent yet! Have you?

Dunwoody Mom said...

I'm not continuing any argument.

I'm done.

Anonymous said...

17. William Bradley Bryant Center (WBBC) Renovation Approval
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer


To think, if the BOE approves this, Where in the World is Jamal Edwards, who makes a handsome salary even after he was MIA for six months from his job, will have fancy new work digs while our children have mold in the HVAC, leaking roofs, 25 year old trailers, etc., etc.

Ramona Tyson has incredible nerve to even ask for such a nonsense request. The Central Office always gets what it wants from the BOE, and students and teachers are last in line.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

Anonymous 5:05 pm has a great idea.

Would it be possible to run a DeKalb Watch article that asks staff, students and parents to list problems with their buildings? This would be similar to the "Family and Friends" article. It would spotlight the "dirty little secret" of the substandard working conditions of DCSS teachers and students.

I think readers of this blog would be amazed to see how many building problems negatively impact students' learning environment.

Anonymous said...

Redovian certainly didn't forget Chamblee.

Did you know that he helped save the Montessori program? Did you forget that he voted against closing Nancy Creek? Do you realize that he and Dr. Speakes made sure that the concerns of the community were heard in the case of the AYP transfers?

Anonymous said...

If my memory is correct, earlier the
BOE said that there were tens of thousands of repair requests in schools that they were unable to get to. I think the number was 60,000, but I could be totally off.

Why aren't we addressing the needs of the children? The administrators already have a palace. Do they need a second one, too?

If the board votes for this project, there is no way that I will vote for SPLOST 4. They are misusing and abusing tax payer money.

What is transparent to me is the Ms. Tyson is no better than Lewis and we need a real superintendent as quick as possible. This administration is certainly out of control.

Anonymous said...

I love that idea 5:26 PM. For the last round of SPLOST, Pat Pope had principals do their own need's assessments. I wish I was making this up, but I am not.

As you can imagine, most principals don't have construction and engineering experience. So, even those with the best of intentions failed at this. Some did go to their parents and look for expertise and those that did this did slightly better, but still.

Then, of course, there were many principals who really did nothing. I would say with tremendous confidence that the needs a few years ago were really more than 2 billion dollars.

Ms. Colman is going to use professionals to do the needs assessments, but I think a list would be a great idea. Just for us to see!

Anonymous said...

Look at No. 2, 4 & 5. Ernest, why aren't you running for BOE???!!! We need you!!!



http://www.ernestbrown4us.com/steps.htm

Six Steps for Success

Working with fellow school board members, the superintendent, and stakeholders, we can:

1. Ensure that instructional policies and offerings with rigorous content are in place to prepare our graduates for success in this growing, global economy, either immediately after graduation or after higher education pursuits.

2. Present a budget that protects the schoolhouse and the classroom. It must minimize expenses unrelated to student achievement.

3. Make certain we actively recruit and retain highly motivated and effective teachers and administrators.

4. Make sure our facility plan addresses changes in population and our aging inventory.

5. Provide safe and healthy instructional environments enabling everyone to succeed.

6. Proactively develop partnerships with the DeKalb County Commission to share resources and services.

Cerebration said...

That is true. Principals did the needs assessments and guess what - that was during the time that Lewis fired/rehired/refired principal Wayne Chelf. So, no needs assessment was done until a last minute effort by some of the Sam Moss folks did a walk through and made a list. Can you say fiasco? Pope never should have been put in charge of $600 million of construction. IMO, she didn't have the resume for that level of management. Pritchett was even worse.

Dunwoody Mom - here's why the locals don't use Chamblee anymore. There's no sense of community and the building sucks. So, if you're going the private route, you'd better get in in 6th grade as that's when it starts. Easy. So, fix the building and they will come and it can become a community school again. But you are correct, $11+ million is "earmarked" for Chamblee HS and "should" stay in the kitty that way (unless, of course, they decide instead to close Chamblee and go on a spending spree elsewhere).

And - great idea for a thread - I'll create something for people to list the needs of their buildings. We'll send it to the board on Monday before they vote on ANYTHING for the $40 million.

Anonymous said...

Don't argue with Dunwoody Mom. True to her style, she's notorious for deleting posts that she doesn't like on her school blog. Good thing she's not the administrator here or many of us would be deleted as well since many of our opinions are not shared by her.

Yes, Chamblee could lose the SPLOST III funds allocation to another capital project. It is just that - an allocation. The law does not guarantee it to be spent at a particular location. SPLOST has to be used on capital projects, but the BOE gets to decide which ones and can change/redirect the capital projects. Nothing in the referendum wording that we voted on said the money had to go to certain named schools. The list of projects to be funded with SPLOST was how BOE intended to use it when SPLOST was marketed, but BOE can change it to other capital projects.

As for the old Shallowford school, unless you're a building engineer and have personally inspected the building, don't say "it has to be torn down before the site can be used." Don't say it just because you heard a neighbor say it or saw another blog poster write it. Don't say it just because someone believes it just from the sheer appearance of it. A major rehab of the existing building may or may not be an option if the BOE desires to use it. Until a building engineer inspects it and formally opines, one cannot call it usable under any circumstances.

Anonymous said...

And the 2010 Golden Shower Award goes to Ramona Tyson for her recommendation to renovate the Bryant Center with "found" SPLOST money.

The Golden Shower Award, named after the deluxe taxpayer funded shower installed in the superintendent's office, commemorates actions of administrators putting their needs and desires as a priority over those of the district's children.

Certainly everyone supporting this renovation is deserving of their own Golden Shower from each of us.

Anonymous said...

"The list of projects to be funded with SPLOST was how BOE intended to use it when SPLOST was marketed, but BOE can change it to other capital projects."

Are you sure?

The issue that brought down the Cobb County Apple laptop purchase for teachers, and middle and high school students was that it was not one of the specified SPLOST II projects.

"On July 29, 2005, Superior Court Judge S. Lark Ingram mandated the Board of Education to use technology funds as specified in SPLOST II and ordered a permanent injunction to halt the Power to Learn initiative. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Ingram, "The ruling had nothing to do with the merits of the program. But fair notice of such use was not given to the public when the referendum for [the sales tax] was held'"

Cerebration said...

This is an absolutely fascinating document brought to us by a blogger on the In Moms We Trust thread. A pipe dream with very little hard substance - but a fascinating one. Wow. I'm amazed that an enormous team could have multiple meetings and come up with such an Oz-like plan. No wonder she needs the money for MIS (which, BTW, I really have no idea what the money is specifically going to be used for at WBBC - that remains a mystery.)

Three-Year Technology Plan July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2012

Community

Involving the school community is also a cornerstone of this plan. The Superintendent and
Board have voiced a strong commitment to involving the community in the educational
process. By providing them access to technology in their local schools, DCSS has maximized
the benefit of the financial and intellectual investment in education. A child’s academic
achievement is predicated on the involvement of the child’s community (relatives, neighbors,
teachers, mentors, clergy, etc). By extending hours of school operation to include after school,
evening, weekends, and summers, more of the adult community can enroll in and participate in
educational and learning activities. This serves to enrich, stabilize, and strengthen any
community.

Parental Involvement

All technology initiatives that strengthen the home-to-school connection will be driven through
the Parental Involvement Framework (PIF) Initiative. The goal is to establish an information
portal in which parents and community members can receive information, participate as an
education partner, and engage in decision making opportunities for the support of teaching and
learning for student achievement. The technology component of the PIF will include a
community website to serve as an information repository for school system and services
related content.

Cerebration said...

The seven strategies are
to:
• Provide high-quality courteous service to DCSS staff, students, and community members.
• Create digital content aligned with rigorous state academic standards as part of a systemic
approach to creating resources for students to customize learning to their individual needs.
• Support e-learning and virtual schools to expand opportunities and choices for students,
parents, teachers, and staff for professional development.
• Improve teacher training to ensure that every teacher knows how to interpret student academic
data and thus effectively design and/or implement instructional interventions that result in
customize instruction for every student’s unique needs.
• Strengthen leadership to develop district and school leaders who can make technology
decisions that lead to organizational change.
• Integrate interoperable data systems that provide administrators and educators the information
they need to increase efficiency and improve
• Encourage broadband access for more effective and efficient instructional delivery,
assessment, and management.

Anonymous said...

"• Strengthen leadership to develop district and school leaders who can make technology decisions that lead to organizational change."

What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

I am so sick and tired of these incompetent and inept individuals who claim to represent the "voice of the public". The actions of the Dekalb BOE and the pathetic district level "administrators" are nothing short of criminal.

They have sytematically destroyed anything that was efficient, effective or postive within the school system.

Their egregious lack of respect towards the community, and more importantly, our children, is abhorrent. I've been exploited (pimped)long enough.

I don't expect that any of this SPLOST money will be used in a way the will enhance the quality of our children's education.

My point? I suggest and will support a recall of the entire BOE.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:31 pm

""• Strengthen leadership to develop district and school leaders who can make technology decisions that lead to organizational change."

What does that mean?"

To me that means we actually get leaders who understand the power technology has to change the learning environment for our schools and students and in addition they have the ability to incorporate those changes within our system in an effective way.

Don't forget Ernest Brown is Georgia Graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science. He is an Information Technology consultant, so he has seen that technology can be used to effect organizational changes that create monetary and productivity efficiencies, something DCSS sorely needs.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 6:27 pm

"This is an absolutely fascinating document brought to us by a blogger on the In Moms We Trust thread."

I read the post. It's amazing that no teachers, students or parents were involved in this plan that will drive the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars. I didn't even know we had some of those DCSS job titles. Everyone is a director or coordinator!

Anonymous said...

LOL
These people have never had anyone pay such close attention to how tax dollars are spent. They are like deer caught in the headlights.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 6:27
"Involving the school community is also a cornerstone of this plan. "

But not one committee member was a parent or a teacher. I guess they didn't think anyone would read it.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers of DCSS, you donot want Ernest Brown sitting our BOE. He is a trouble maker and quite frankly needs to stop putting his name out here to be ask for a position.
Trust me, guys, please donot even think about Ernest Brown. We would truly be sorry!
He is just like Zepora and probally worse.

Anonymous said...

If the conditions are that bad at most DCSS schools why not take photos and post them on Facebook or other social networking sites. This wakes up the sleeping giants of DCSS BOE and the media as well.

You have to make things obvious to the folks who continue to disrespect and distrust the teachers, students and parents. Don't back down...stabd firm and ask for what is right for your children...afterall your tax dollars are being spent on everything except better conditions in the schools.

FYI I would caution uploading photos under a pseudo-name to protect yourselves from retaliation.

Dekalbparent said...

On January 16, 2009, the technology planning team met with Dr. Jo Williamson, our State
Technology Plan liaison to discuss the Georgia State Department of Education’s expectations and
changes for the 2009 – 2012 technology plan.
Following this meeting, the technology planning team
met on February 6, 2009, to organize the draft in order to meet the February 12, 2009 E-rate
submission deadline.


Looks to me as if much of this was written because it was what the state wanted to hear. Doesn't have to bear any relation to reality, current or future.

I also notice Dr. Traci Reddish listed as one of the authors. She is at KSU Ed Tech department, and she taught and coordinated the state-required InTech classes (for teachers and administrators ) for much of the metro area schools. At KSU, they have beautiful state-of-the -art ed tech facilities, and they really know what they're talking about. The vision is much the same as I heard in the classes, and it is achievable, but only if a system is able to purchase the technology to create it, and has the professional MIS staff to install it and keep it running smoothly.

Anonymous said...

Ernest Brown is bad for DeKalb County. He is always inserting his name into problems and areas he has no business in. Plus, he continually said he fought Clew on many issues. Well, I have proof that he was ahuge Clew supporter, that's one reason why Clew chose him to be his representative on the Task Force this spring.

Anonymous said...

Correction on Ernest Brown, he is a Georgia Tech, not a Georgia grad.

And how is he a trouble maker? He's probably attempted to be a bridge builder as much as anyone else in the county. He has relationships with Commissioners, state and federal legislators, and residents throughout DeKalb. Many come to him for his opinions because they know they will get a straight answer not one that is politically popular.

I spoke to him recently and he indicated he has been promoted in his company making it impossible for him to serve on the school board at this time. Given some of the expectations many have of board members, he could not meet them.

Anonymous said...

I agree the old Shallowford Road property would have to be torn down now. I ask this, if the property has no future plans for DCSS, why not sell it?

Also, if you don't sell it then build a new school in it's place. It's ridiculous to have the overcrowding in the Dunwoody schools. I honestly think some well thought out plans using honest data could solve all the problems on the north end. I'm just saying...

In regards to Jim Redovian. My wife and I spent an hour with him regarding the Nancy Creek closing. He told us there was nothing he could do to save the school. The votes were not there, this was three weeks before the vote and he told us he would vote against the measure. We appreciated his time and his support.

A week later, when we found damaging information about the demographers report and that it was a cut and paste of Fairfax County, VA and that DCSS was using the fraud report to close our school we phoned Redovian, no return call or email.

Then when we found out that DCSS and DeKalb planning was NOT talking to each other about zoning changes coming in the next 5 years that would effect the attendance areas of Huntley Hills, Montgomery and Nancy Creek, he again refused to answer our calls or answer emails.

We were using another BOE member to pass him the info and even she said that Jim would not speak to us. This former BOE member also told us that Jim was planning to vote for other projects, in other parts of the county in exchange for votes for a couple of Dunwoody school projects. This is when my wife and I lost respect for Jim.
I'm glad you think highly of him, and we would love to support him but his recent hypocritical statements about nepotism, then voting for a plan to promote Mitchell-Mayfield's daughter, WITHOUT DISCUSSION, made us change our mind. We're voting for Nancy Jester.

Cerebration said...

I agree with Anon 8:29 PM. Ernest Brown is an upstanding guy. Straightforward. Cares about kids and education. Smart. He did support Lewis until the very bitter (obvious) end, but Lewis was very sincere and convincing. Lots of people believed in Lewis and were in denial of his many misdeeds.

Anonymous said...

"Are you sure?"

Yes and is why we have sometimes experienced "promises" when the SPLOST referendum is proposed, but later find the promised projects do not materialize or are reduced in scope of funding after we voted "yes" and believed the promises would be honored as marketed. It doesn't take much to keep the process within the parameters of the statutes.

Part of the problem is that our DCSS capital needs list is far larger than SPLOST alone can solve in any reasonable time.

Anonymous said...

"Part of the problem is that our DCSS capital needs list is far larger than SPLOST alone can solve in any reasonable time.'

Then why would the BOE build themselves a $30,000,000 offices?

Why would Ms. Tyson want to fund the renovations for MIS? The Bryant Center may not be as nice as "The Palace", but it's certainly a much better facility than many of the facilities our children are in every day.

The Central Office and the BOE spend SPLOST funds as if there is plenty of money to go around for all.

Anonymous said...

This SPLOST thing is just another stream for funding their fraud! Clew and Pope almost got away with it. Tyson has a lot of guts to do it again, especially after telling DCPC to trust her! She knows what's best for DCSS.

I think she knows what's best for her! Once again someone else at The Palace, thinking about themselves instead of the students, teachers and taxpayers of DeKalb.

I'm tired of the whole lot!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to trust Ernest Brown, but there is something about him that I can't trust!

I'm glad he got a promotion in his private job, I can't imagine having him on the board.

He talks a good game, but in the end he trusted Clew, and for that I can't trust him!

I trusted Tyson for a few months too, I actually thought she would do DCSS right! Instead she just wants new digs for her sleeping staff at MIS, since she is headed back there after her interim time as Super is up. Personally, she should resign her post as soon as a new Super is brought in. How can she stay on board with a new leader, whose job will be to clean up this mess the current leadership has caused for too long?

Anonymous said...

I know in the scheme of things, this is a very insignificant, and should totally be on the bottom of the list. (No throwing tomatoes!)

DCSS is short at least one football stadium. Perhaps if we reduce the number of high schools, we will be ok. But a couple of years ago, a study showed that we needed at least one more stadium.

To many DCSS teams and their opponents are either playing football on Saturday night or at 5 pm on Fridays.

Part of the reason the Sembler deal fell apart was that Sembler wouldn't pay to relocate the stadium on N. Druid Hills. (I think this is because CL was getting him to build a very expensive arts magnet school on the site.)

Again, should totally be on the bottom of the list, but just wanted to throw it out. there

Anonymous said...

The gross misrepresentations on this blog are really a little underhanded and defeats our purposes! Do some investigation in the WBBC proposal! Before you start jumping around and yelling about what you are not getting! The data center holds all of YOUR students data, personnel data, computer files, all data for the system. It is still over off of Memorial Drive and they need to move it to WBBC - but they have to a ready a space to receive the servers. Good Grief! Only part of the story
Was told in the blog post!

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with your assessment, but the question needs to be asked, is this the time to do this, it is necessary to do this, and is it prudent to do this right now.

We have leaky roofs, non-functioning HVAC units, and moldy classrooms.

The question isn't necessarily should it be done, but rather when should it be done.

Cerebration said...

Well, if part of the 'story' was told, that's because only part of the story was given. In fact, even though I mentioned that we don't even know the actual price, I simply don't care. The point is the behavior. This project was never, ever part of the promised project for SPLOST spending. Now we have a newfound extra $40 million and instead of using it for promised projects (the ones the voters thought they were voting for) the money is going to a pet project of the new person in charge.

I'm just very disappointed. She jumped on that money so fast it left my head spinning. The board hasn't even had a chance to discuss what to do with it, and here they are voting on the WBBC renovation. Judging from how the Mountain Industrial reno turned out -- I think it's fair to assume that this too will go completely overboard. So much for someone else's roof - or HVAC - or classroom technology.

Check over this list of promises -- do the count - have they completed these numbers?

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

Cerebration said...

This is a copy and paste from the SPLOST 3 needs in order of priority -- Nov 2006 - approved by the board

COPs Debt Retirement $66,000,000
Rock Chapel ES
Evans Mill ES
Dunwoody/Chamblee ES

1 Deferred SPLOST II Work $25,000,000

2 Cross Keys HS Renovation with Career Tech $16,927,348

3 Tucker Replacement HS $66,330,016

4 Roofing $9,677,168
Sky Haven ES, Murphy Candler ES, Rainbow ES, Heritage Center Woodward ES, Sequoyah MS, Stone Mountain HS, Redan HS

5 HVAC $17,168,224
Redan HS, Midvale ES, Stephenson MS - EMS, Clifton ES - EMS Cedar Grove HS, Vanderlyn ES, Stone Mountain HS

6 ADA $4,730,336

7 Local School Priority Requests $2,656,419

8 Site Improvements $8,417,986

9 Facility Improvements $9,739,800
Druid Hills HS

10 DSA Relocation $10,000,000

11 Relocation of Open Campus, Jim Cherry & DECA to Mountain Industrial Center $29,836,296

12 Buses $4,000,000*

13 Land/Property $3,000,000

14 Career Technology/Classroom/Fine Arts Additions $63,292,805
Chamblee HS, Clarkston HS, Druid Hills HS, Dunwoody HS, Lakeside HS, Redan HS

15 Technology - Refresh Cycle for All Schools & Centers $19,418,581
Initial School Model Additions (up to 2,000 capacity)

16 Lithonia High School Addition $11,447,624
(now on hold)

17 M.L. King Jr. High School Addition $10,178,779

18 Miller Grove High School Addition $5,874,487

19 Dunwoody HS Addition $4,819,395

20 Site Improvements $5,000,000

21 Facility Improvements $4,000,000
Clarkston HS

22 HVAC $10,716,737
Clifton ES, Druid Hills HS, Warren Tech, McLendon ES, Woodward ES, Sam Moss Center, Knollwood ES, Rockbridge ES, Fairington ES

23 Roofing $10,681,471
Wadsworth ES, Clarkston Center, Champion Theme, Avondale ES, Cedar Grove HS, Snapfinger ES, Sam Moss Center, Terry Mill ES, Nancy Creek ES, Coralwood Diagnostic Center, Midway ES

24 ADA $2,052,729

25 Local School Priority Requests $2,500,000

26 Buses $4,000,000*

27 Technology - Media Center Upgrade to Smart Facilities for All Schools & Centers $10,000,000

28 Buses $4,000,000*

29 HVAC $17,408,662
Freeman Building A/B, Hambrick ES, Hooper Alexander ES, Forrest Hills ES, Dunwoody HS, Montgomery ES, Indian Creek ES, Stone Mill ES, Stone Mountain ES

30 Roofing $7,125,137
Vanderlyn ES, DeKalb HS of Technology - South, Eldridge Miller ES, Allgood ES, Evansdale ES, Flat Shoals ES, Huntley Hills ES, DeKalb HS of Technology - North, Sagamore Hills ES, Midvale ES

===
*Buses are listed 3X with a $4million price tag each time, totaling $12M.

Cerebration said...

Ms. Tyson was very casual in telling the poor folks at Chamblee that their school has not only been put on hold, but not to expect any construction until 2015. Think about this logic --
basically she's saying "your building is so crappy that it's a teardown, but we don't have the money or plans for that so you have to stay in it as is and pressure the voters to vote in another SPLOST so that we can hopefully give you a decent building 5 years from now."

How can she say that and then with sheer exuberance announce that she plans to usurp those very funds for a never before mentioned project - a personal mission at that? It just looks to me like she is building a fiefdom to return to as head of MIS when this stint as interim super is over.

Cognitive dissonance. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

I am not going to "look up" anything- I am also not trying to change your thought process on anything- I just want the full story disclosed for an honest discussion that benefits ALL students. Not part of the story!

Cerebration said...

Well, if you have info on the specifics of how this proposed money for WBBC is to be spent, please bring it. It is not available anywhere for public viewing. We would love to know the details, along with the reasoning that this is more important than someone else's roof.

Anonymous said...

DCSS should store data with a professional data storage company rather than purchase the infrastructure, pay employees and renovate WBBC. Goodness! Shouldn't we contact this work out to a group of professionals that are in the server and data storage business that provides secure off-site data storage utilizing the most current industry standards? Or do we trust DCSS with this? Then again, would a sweetheart contract be given to a "friend"? This is why we need new BOE members who can watch these people.

Anonymous said...

Great reply to the earlier post Cere! I could not agree more with your assessment. Ms. Tyson comes out the Friday before, the Monday vote for a renovation that has never been discussed or never has had taxpayer input.

I would love to have a new data center, however there are plenty of private sector businesses, located right here in Atlanta, that could handle DCSS data. This would probably even save us money! Has anyone asked to look into the possibility of a private sector business handling the data? We might even save money in salaries and we'd be able to trim the Central Office staff more!

Currently, our MIS department has been a laughing stock among DCSS employees. Jamal "where's waldo" Edwards is just one small part of proof that MIS needs help! Maybe they need a new Department head!

I can't imagine in a time when every dollar spent at DCSS should have incredible scrutiny and at a time that Ms. Tyson has asked us to "trust" her, she comes out 72 hours before a meeting stating there will be a vote to skip every other project on the original SPLOST list with a pet project of her own.

I am so outraged at the arrogance of Tyson and our upper leadership staff. They must sit in their $2k chairs thinking of ways to make the stakeholders of DCSS even angrier!

-Allowing Moseley and Beasley to usurp her plans for AYP transfers, at the last minute.

-48 hours for teachers, students and parents to respond on 4 policy changes.

-Giving the public 72 hours to respond to a new renovation and reallocation of previously committed funds, never discussed before.

-Telling parents to "trust" her and "except her decisions without criticism, since she has done her homework."

THE ARROGANCE OF THIS WOMAN!

We'll be calling Mr. Redovian and Ms. Speaks, our BOE Reps, this weekend. We'll also be sending emails to the rest of the BOE as well as Ms. Tyson!

If it wasn't for Cere and this blog, we would have never known this vote was happening on Monday!

To the poster who thinks we don't discuss all aspects of a decision at this blog. The mere fact Cere allowed your comments to be posted is proof that we're looking for all sides of the discussion. Like Cere said, DCSS has not been forthcoming with all the facts, since it's obvious they are trying to sneak a huge expenditure through, without taxpayer input.

Anonymous said...

The expansion project for Lithonia high school was cancelled because it did not make sense at the time due to dwindling enrollment and the opening of Arabia Mountain. Lakeside and Southwest DeKalb benefited from this with additional money for project work to add more classrooms. Now the data shows that Lithonia has one of the largest resident attendance areas, with about 2/3 of their students going to other schools.

If the AYP transfers slow down because every high school misses making AYP and students have to remain at their home school, how will Lithonia get its promised work?

Cerebration said...

Ok, so I went to the trouble of reviewing the board meeting online. Here's what I found out -

The "move" of the data storage from building A to the WBBC will cost $3.5 million.

We have NO IDEA why this was not moved waaaay back when the rest of building A was moved. (I will assume here that this is how they were able to spend SO much money on the new digs at Mtn Industrial - they didn't spend any money to move the entire data dept.)

So - my sincere apologies to Ms Tyson. I get what she said now - which she couched as "saying as delicately as possible" - she pleaded with everyone when the original move was done to include moving the data system - and she was completely ignored. (That would be by Dr Lewis, Pat Pope and the Board of Education I assume.)

So now, instead of having responsibly spent their allotment for moving building A by moving ALL of building A (and instead moving their own offices to plush new digs complete with $2,000 chairs), we have no choice but to go back and spend an additional $3.5 million to complete the move that should have been completed when the rest of the building was moved.

And yes, this money is coming out of SPLOST 3 funds. Funds that voters approved to be used as promoted very hard before the vote -- to upgrade our school buildings, HVAC, roofs, etc, as listed. As these projects have come in under budget due to lower construction costs, the unspent money goes into a large fund called "Program Contingency" (as opposed to 'project contingencies' which exist for unexpected cost overruns on every project).

The board is supposed to go on a retreat to decide how to spend this "Program Contingency" fund of $35-40 million or more. I would sincerely hope that they take the original list of promises along and fulfill as many of those as possible first and foremost.

(I'll add this info to the original post.)

Cerebration said...

Anon, 10:29 I agree. I have long stated that Lakeside is composed of hundreds of students who are out of district (fake addresses, admin children, whatever) and an assortment of transfers (admin and AYP). This school should not need that major classroom addition. It will bump up the capacity to almost 2,000 from our calculations. That's too big a school to tuck into an older neighborhood without the necessary traffic infrastructure, etc.

Anonymous said...

Turn the page on Lewis/Pope and now let's begin our conversations witht the current Interim Super. and present BOE.

The reason I say this is because there are decisions that should be made based on the needs of the students...not my schools this and my schools that....all children should attend schools with suitable conditiions.

Let's not make this a p*ssing contest over who has the bigger issues at their respective schools.

Take pictures and let them speak for themselves and put them up on Facebook or Youtube. By the time Tyson and the BOE finish getting hammered by the media they will have to answer the call of the immediate needs.

This approach has worked for other districts nationwide so give it a try here in the south. Think big and do things differently because what you are presently doing....just ain't working.

The BOE hears you but they are ignoring you...because all you are doing is talking, emailing and whinning..stop playing the victim and make things better by being the whistleblowers for righteous sake.

Think outside of your box and think about all the children in DCSS not just your own. This situation is bigger than the little I's and my's..just saying

Anonymous said...

I agree if your kids are in classrooms with inadequate conditions, no textbooks, desk, etc have them take pix with their cellphones and email them to you and get on it. Afterall they see the real problems that parents only hear about

Anonymous said...

cere 11:13 I believe the data files are stored in the basement of Building B. Pope and Lewis only wanted the move to bolster their resumes without doing a real move.

The new palace plans did not include a room for storage of those files...shameful and wasteful

pscexb said...

Cerebration, good post at 11:13. It has been discussed here before but it bears repeating, there has been approximately $80 million dollars in savings from SPLOST3 thus far. Anon 10:29 reminded me of the first $40 million of savings that was reallocated for more classrooms at Lakeside and a 'McNair style' auditorium for SWD. Jay Cunningham and Paul Womack came to a Citizens Advisory Committee meeting advocating for both with these savings. Both additions along with a few other projects were approved by the full Board shortly after this meeting.

I use the term savings loosely. Actually, the savings were made up of matching project dollars from the state, postponed projects that were no longer needed or deferred (Clarkston Center, Hooper Alexander, Freeman Building, Lithonia expansion, etc.). Some of the savings came from interest generated from the bond purchased when SPLOST 3 began.

Recall the district got a $300 million dollar bond up front so that they could begin work sooner with the plan to pay this back with SPLOST revenues generated. This along with the lower than expected labor costs (30-40% lower than original estimates in some cases) allowed the district to realize more savings. Given the soft labor market, it is fair to expect more savings in the projects currently in progress.

Someone mentioned outsourcing either the data storage or perhaps the data center. My private companies use this to save money on the recurring labor costs. In many cases, the outsourcers hire back the existing employees to continue working in the data center. This could make sense however there will not be an immediate ROI due to startup costs.

Anonymous said...

psc

Could DCSS not simply host its data offsite and simply pay the monthly charges? There would be no infrastructure costs just the annual fees.

Cerebration said...

Thanks psc. It's good to get clarification. The public is really privy to very little of the details when it comes to how hundreds of millions of SPLOST dollars are being spent. This is how Pope and Lewis were so easily able to hide their deceit.

My point remains, this WBBC project should have to compete in the discussions at the board retreat regarding how the total packet of money should be spent. This still looks like an end game runaround to me. Sadly, our needy schools do not have this kind of power. We have to rely on the board to think through the best ways to spend this tax money. So far, they have had huge tufts of wool pulled over their eyes - and thus we are skeptical that they have their eyes wide open now.

Why can't this wait until the retreat to be discussed?Outsourcing would be a viable discussion to have regarding data storage. However, if they slide in this $3.5 million vote to go ahead and move the facility, then discussions are closed.

pscexb said...

Anon 11:35, the answer to your question is yes. In a fairness, I don't know what if any requirements exist for hosting data like this offsite. Not knowing, I would check to see if there are any precedents for this with any other school district around the country.

Food for thought, when you consider disaster recovery scenarios, usually a backup of the data is stored offsite. We wouldn't know about this as a protection to that offsite location.

pscexb said...

Cerebration, you have a good point! This is in hindsight but perhaps the appropriate thing would have been for a Board member to request that item be pulled from the agenda and handled as you mentioned, in the pot with the other needed projects. I will speculate that Board members were privy to more information about the need for the move and expenses associated with it thus approved it.

They may have also recalled Ms. Tyson requested it be factored into to move and perhaps they did not have enough insight to understand the business or financial impact of not doing it at that time. Again, this is my speculation.

No Duh said...

"The technology component of the PIF will include a
community website to serve as an information repository for school system and services
related content."

Could this be the website that Ms. Tyson unveiled at the ELPC meeting last year? Remember the website that no one could understand why we needed it. And she had the consultant there going on and on about Web 2.0.

Wonder how much that "make work" project cost us...

Anonymous said...

Cere, you're the greatest! Thanks for the clarifying! However, this should not get Tyson off the hook. It still seems like she is trying to sneak something by the stakeholders. This agenda item should be tabled and discussed at the retreat.

I move that we drop this agenda item and discuss at retreat. So moved! Is there a second? Second! See you at the retreat! Seems simple to me.

Sandy Spruill said...

Waiting for Superman

I know this is last-minute for most of you. However, I finally just got confirmation regarding the screening time for Waiting for Superman. It is 7:30 PM on Monday, September 13 at the Regal Tara theater, 2345 Cheshire Bridge Road. Read all about it -- plus reviews -- on the Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1566648/

Immediately following the FREE screening, please stay and join the film's director, Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), for a social action discussion. Please plan to stay for the whole event.

If you have not already RSVP'd, I think you can still do so -- either on Sunday or first thing Monday morning. Send your first name, last name and number of seats wanted to screeningRSVP@gmail.com.

Feel free to share this with others who would be interested.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the blog copied and pasted below:
C'mon now. Seriously, does any of this really surprise us? It's more of the same. We take the bait when ONE board meeting is a little more the way we want it to be ... we get hope. It's human nature to jump at hope and look for something good. Then the real truth knocks us for a loop ... again. Something drastic needs to happen to get these people out of here .... I'm hoping the D.A., the election and a new superintendent from somewhere far away will do it. Yes, I'm hoping.

Copied and pasted from Cere:
Ms. Tyson was very casual in telling the poor folks at Chamblee that their school has not only been put on hold, but not to expect any construction until 2015. Think about this logic --
basically she's saying "your building is so crappy that it's a teardown, but we don't have the money or plans for that so you have to stay in it as is and pressure the voters to vote in another SPLOST so that we can hopefully give you a decent building 5 years from now."

How can she say that and then with sheer exuberance announce that she plans to usurp those very funds for a never before mentioned project - a personal mission at that? It just looks to me like she is building a fiefdom to return to as head of MIS when this stint as interim super is over.

Cognitive dissonance. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

Sandy

I can't go on Monday -- really disappointed,. On the website, it says it opens in select theatres week after next. Do you have any idea if it is opening here?

Anonymous said...

Check out the latest issue of TIME magazine (September 20) on newsstands now. Cover is "What Make a School Great" and it talks about the movie ... Waiting for Superman. Can a movie change education? Pick up a copy or find it on line ... it's worth a read.

Anonymous said...

Check out the latest issue of TIME magazine (September 20) on newsstands now. Cover is "What Make a School Great" and it talks about the movie ... Waiting for Superman. Can a movie change education? Pick up a copy or find it on line ... it's worth a read.

Anonymous said...

WAITING FOR SUPERMAN... (Can a movie change education?) ... OPENING TO THE PUBLIC ON OCTOBER 8TH AT THE LOWE'S TARA THEATRE AT CHESHIRE BRIDGE AND LAVISTA. (404/634-5661)

If you cannot go to the premiere showing on Monday, Sept. 13, at 7:30pm (requires an RSVP).

It promises to be enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Ernest Brown, thanks for promoting yourself and giving yourself kudos.
People on the south end of Dekalb knows that he is a trouble maker and tries hard to align himself with the people on the BOE and other high end places.
In reality, he lost the election and people were happy. He harasses teachers and administrators for no reason and is always butting into other people business except his own personal business.
Good if he received a promotion on his real job. Stay there, and leave people on the south end of the county alone. We know your motives, which are not good. Only want political gain and recognition. Trust me!

Anonymous said...

@7:39, you forgot the most important step. 1) Moved. 2) Seconded. (which opens the item for discussion) Then 3) Vote. Vote goes in favor of Superintendent's recommendation, as usual. Agenda item passes.

Sorry, not as easy to table it as you suggest.

Anonymous said...

This is very frustrating to listen to....Chamblee HS is in such bad shape that the alocated funding will not begin to touch the needs. The addition slated under SPLOST III is NOT what the school needs. The population count indicates that classrooms are needed. SPLOST rules will not allow funds to be transfered between projects. Chamblee HS will always have the SPLOST III funding. The remaining balance per project moves to Program Contingency. A replacement high school facility is needed for Chamblee similar to Tucker HS.

WBBC is vital to the operations of DeKalb County School System. It is not a luxury ... it is a need. No question, there are certainly lots of needs and with the economic circumstances, more work is being done and more needs being met at each facility.

The needs will always be there until addressed, whether SPLOST funding is available or not. SPLOST funding for construction is meeting the needs. It just can't meet all the needs at once....

Everyone seems to be acutely aware of how to watch the Board actions. Hold the Board members accountable and allow SPLOST spending to address the needs for the students and teachers.

Anonymous said...

@11:25 PM, BS. ! Bye now.

Anonymous said...

Another boondoggle by the leadership and the BOE!

Tyson, Turk, Moseley, Mitchell-Mayfield, Thompson, Berry, Beasley, Ramsey, any Guilroy or Edwards family member, any fraternity brother, any sorority sister, or New Birth member who is working in the Central Office, there is a pick slip waiting for you at the security desk, of the Palace. Take it and GET OUT!

I'm tired of the way DCSS is doing business! Friday, Tyson announces the ethics policy and investigation on BOOKGATE, the one Clew refused to do, and then we find out there is an agenda item on Monday's Meeting docket where Tyson is asking for some extra SPLOST funds to get her data center moved and renovated.

Folks, it's not what their left hand is doing, you also need to watch their right hand. Jeff Dickerson has provided the leadership with some devious and clever ways to get away with sneaking through a process without any public input.

How's that Hope and Trust, Ms. Tyson promised you, working out for the DCSS taxpayers and stakeholders?

Anonymous said...

If Chamblee only had its own students, then it wouldn't need more classrooms.

That is the issue that DCSS is going to struggle mightily as it moves towards preparing its master plan.

Anonymous said...

Which is not to say that Chamblee doesn't need new classrooms. Of course, the building is in horrible shape. I posted to quickly.

Cerebration said...

Anon 11:25 PM, that's not true. Think about Lithonia. They were on the list for a very long time with millions slated for an addition. The project got canned (decided it was unnecessary due to lower enrollment). Money can be voted to be moved, stopped or reallocated for any reason.

I had heard small whisperings of moving the magnet program to Avondale (near Marta) but I really can't see how that could happen in the near future. There's not room to take in hundreds more students at Avondale. But I will say, that there was a study a couple of years ago showing that of non-alternative schools, Avondale was the most violent school in the state. Now that DSA has merged, surely those numbers will be diluted. Adding high achievers will dilute it more. So see, it seems - they don't really look to fix or address actual problems, just seems they seek ways to dilute them and remove the bad press.

Additionally, I think there is a strong movement to build a super nice comprehensive HS on the Druid Hills property. This school is more central than Chamblee, but not as central as Avondale. However, a brand new facility could house all the magnets, DSA included. This stems from Lewis' original plan that he had renderings done for (wonder who provided those and at what cost?) The rough price tag of this uber arts school with a performing arts center was $100 million. He was focused on this to the detriment of fixing our regular schools, IMO.

I think comprehensive magnets, and unlimited school choice is a good idea. HOWEVER, in DeKalb, this idea would end up pleasing only those who have the knowledge, means and wherewithal to exercise that choice (and provide the transportation). Historically, DeKalb has proven to provide opportunity and transfers to those who complain or seek a different school, while leaving the regular schools with far less resources comparatively.

Unless you get ALL schools up to snuff first, then you can't elevate alternatives. Choices should be for those who seek something different - not to escape a bad school.

Cerebration said...

To clarify - you shouldn't have to choose to escape a bad school -- because we shouldn't have bad schools. That's the issue to me.

Anonymous said...

Avondale is surely going to be recommended to be closed as neighborhood high school next year. Look at its enrollment, around 600.

pscexb said...

Since we are talking about the High Achievers Magnet program, if I had the magic eight ball, I would consider....

Centralize this magnet program to the center of the county. I would:

1. Close Avondale as a neighborhood cluster. There are just over 700 students in the Avondale HS attendance area. I would split them between Clarkston, Columbia, and Towers HSs. The same goes for Avondale MS.

2. Close Avondale ES as a neighborhood school. Move those students between Dunaire, Midway, Knollwood, and possibly Robert Shaw. Yes Robert Shaw is a Theme School but perhaps seats could be made available for those that live close to Avondale ES.

3. Relocate Wadsworth and Kittredge to Forrest Hills. It may have to be brought up to current code since it has been closed for several years.

4. Move DESA to Avondale. They will have more parking space with the church next door.

5. Move MS programs from Chamblee and Chapel Hill to Avondale MS.

6. Move HS programs from Chamblee and Southwest DeKalb to Avondale. Avondale will now house DSA and the Magnet program, using the school within a school model. Both programs would have separate school codes.

7. Nancy Creek can be reopened as a neighborhood school to address the growing need in that area.

8. The existing Math & Technology magnets can remain in their existing schools (Evansdale & Clifton ES).

The new Avondale magnet cluster now consists of two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school that houses two programs. Two schools are closed, Wadsworth and Terry Mill. Several schools are now up to their building capacity with students, specifically Columbia and Towers HS.

Cerebration, feel free to copy this to another blog if you feel it has merit as a discussion topic.

Dunwoody Mom said...

pscexb, I must say, an intelligent and thought out plan. It is certainly a legitimate starting point for discussion.

Anonymous said...

I agree Pscexb that your plan is an excellent starting point. You put a great deal of thought into it. Thanks for sharing. I hope that someone with the ability can use it, as it makes sense.

pscexb said...

Thanks for the feedback, Dunwoody Mom! As you can see, this is only a piece of the puzzle. I believe this would address the concerns of some in the county regarding equity and access. Centralizing the programs should make this program accessible to more students and hopefully save costs by not having two programs.

Cerebration said...

Doesn't the new Museum Charter school also serve the Avondale community?

Good plan brainstorm, psc. One caveat - no one from the north end will go to Avondale, IMO. It's too much trouble to travel to Avondale. They'll just return to their home schools of Lakeside, Dunwoody, Druid Hills... I'm just sayin'.

I like the idea of a magnet for math, science and the arts. Perhaps we should build a nice new one on the Druid HIlls property and leave Avondale as a neighborhood school.

According to the recent data, Avondale has capacity for 550 and DSA has capacity for 437. I will assume that you add the two for the building capacity = 987. Pretty dang small. Why not just go ahead and move all the Avondale high schoolers according to your plan and move DESA into the building. They currently have 528 students. And Avondale has that nice new black box theatre built for DSA.

Cerebration said...

Actually, creating a "central" magnet type program isn't all that fair to schools in the north, as the south now has the fantasmagorical Arabia Mtn (which is more or less a magnet) - we having nothing like that around here whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

If you really make it a true achievement based magnet, as opposed to a lottery drawn one, the students will come. If it remains similar to the product offered to high achievers at the schools you listed, then they won't.

KWIM?

pscexb said...

Cere, I thought about making Avondale a K-12 Performing Arts school at one time. Seeing the number of students in each attendance zone caused me to back off of that because it would not help with housing challenges throughout the district. In my suggestion, relief is provided to the Southwest DeKalb cluster which could result in construction savings.

Additional seats are also freed up in the Chamblee cluster, making it possible to close the Chamblee cluster. I would essential combine Dunwoody, Chamblee, and Cross Keys into 2 high schools. I could support either doing something on the Cross Keys site or elsewhere for a new school. Aren't there a few strip malls that could be converted to a school site? That seems to be a model that Gwinnett used for its high schools.

I have thoughts about Arabia that I'll share later.....

Cerebration said...

That's true Anon. That's a better way of stating what I meant - Chamblee isn't all that much better than some of the other area schools, so traveling through the maze you have to take to get to Avondale in the am would not be worth it to many. In fact, lots of Kittredge magnet students return to their home high schools rather than attend Chamblee as it is...

But a real, true, test-entry, top 5% of students - now that could be interesting and worth it - if done well.

Cerebration said...

More good ideas, psc. I think this is a good indication that we need to pull back and do some serious brainstorming with staff, board and communities to form a plan. (Is that the intent of the 2020 vision?)

I have thoughts about Arabia too - but I don't think you'd want me to share them here...

;-)

Anonymous said...

The problem with taking the top 5% is that it would be more difficult for those students to get into top schools. It would be easier for these kids to stay at their home school with less competition to get into top ranked schools. Too often these schools only pick a certain number of kids to go there and their odds would be better at their home school.

I love the idea of a true magnet program, but I think that we could challenge our top students in their home schools by providing top notch programs.

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

DCSS really needs to re-evaluate the magnet offerings. DSA is the only really true Magnet school. As many have often said, DCSS needs true offerings for those truly gifted students. As it is the high achiever magnet programs - all they are students who meet a certain test score and a certain GPA all located in a particular school. The AJC "Get Schooled" blog had a article about how our truly gifted children are being left behind. Let's "think outside the box" and try to find some avenues for those students who need more.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

I'm in the Lakeside area, and I see nothing wrong with parents deciding to bring their kids back to Lakeside, Dunwoody, etc. if the Chamblee magnet program is moved to Avondale.

Why do we need to provide a conveniently located magnet program for north DeKalb students? Most importantly, it is much easier for S. DeKalb parents to transport their children to Avondale than to Chamblee since Avondale is more centrally located. This would equalize opportunities for high achiever students in all parts of the county.

I'm not sure why you would compare Chamblee Magnet to Arabia Mountain. Chamblee Magnet is a high achiever program while Arabia Mountain is a science magnet. Many Chamblee Magnet students are not interested in science. I'm sure many Arabia Mtn. students are, and that is why they chose Arabia Mtn.

You may be thinking that parents in S. DeKalb are just so anxious to get their kids into a "nice" school that the "science theme" of Arabia Mtn. doesn't matter. I wouldn't jump to that conclusion. That does an injustice to many Arabia Mtn. students.

BTW - my only child went to Chamblee Magnet program so I'm not against the magnet program. I just feel that the location should be in central DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

It is also possible that at least part of Arabia Mt. may become a neighborhood school with a science magnet in it.

I don't think we need to consider Arabia Mt. as a factor.

By the way, DESA is an arts magnet but only those new to the school after third grade have to audition and show talent.

If we must keep DESA, how about making it for grades 4 through 8 only and DSA 9 through 12

Anonymous said...

Chamblee Magnet couldn't handle a science magnet since the labs are basically too old and do not even work.

As a future parent at CCHS, I just want to make sure the High Achiever program retains the great teachers. I worry when the magnet moves, the gifted certified teachers will move with it.

Anonymous said...

pscexb, great starting place for a plan. I googled Avondale and I would hate to have to travel from Chamblee in the morning. I can't imagine which way to go, 285? Ugh! Clairmont then east? Ugh.. Briarcliff through Northlake.. not sure.

It would be scary for the north end kids. I do like the 2 schools idea for Cross Keys, Chamblee and Dunwoody. I think Cross Keys needs to be the Tech School, DCSS is in dire need of one. Combine the rest in existing DHS and a new CCHS facility.

Regarding CCHS, Chamblee Plaza property could be combined with existing Chamblee High Building. Make the current CCHS property the instructional property with new Auditorium and the Chamblee Plaza site for the fields, new stadium and Gym/Pool. Plus, you could keep resident kids in the existing facility while the new building was being built. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

"pscexb, great starting place for a plan. I googled Avondale and I would hate to have to travel from Chamblee in the morning. I can't imagine which way to go, 285? Ugh! Clairmont then east? Ugh.. Briarcliff through Northlake.. not sure.'

That's what south end parents feel now so maybe you understand their desire to have Arabia Mtn. as a convenient location.

Cerebration said...

What about SW DeKalb? Don't they have a high achiever magnet along the lines of Chamblee? Seems to me that south DeKalb is getting highly concentrated with magnets, themes and choice schools. In the north end, unless you get into Chamblee or DSA (which is at Avondale now), you must attend your zoned neighborhood school. Not much choice up here.

Cerebration said...

For details on the choices available in south DeKalb, read the post below -

North vs Central vs South - what's the deal?

Anonymous said...

What's funnier? The Central Office promising MIS will post a document online in a timely manner, or referring 'questions and clarification to “our interim media representative, Jeff Dickerson.”



http://crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/9475395/article-Schools’-response-to-SACS-to-be-online?instance=lead_story

Schools’ response to SACS to be online

A 45-page executive summary of DeKalb School System’s response to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was scheduled to be up on its website by end of day Sept. 10.

In a statement Thursday, Dr. Alice Thompson, the district’s chief of staff, said the school system’s response, comprising 2,500 pages, including a 45-page report, was submitted Thursday to SACS.

She said the summary will be posted at www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/schools/ within 48 business hours.

“The document is complex and voluminous, analysis and study of which may require further clarification,” the statement said. “We want to make sure that the facts you are reporting accurately reflect the response and its purpose.”

She referred questions and clarification to “our interim media representative, Jeff Dickerson.”

Thompson said that SACS has not threatened the accreditation of the DeKalb County School System, that it routinely requests information to help school districts comply with SACS standards and procedures, and that the district will continue to work cooperatively with SACS to ensure that it is compliant with all SACS standards and procedures.

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard I think the Building A on N Decatur still contains the administrative computer systems (not just "data storage"), along with the central school system phone network, plus staff to operate the systems and some programming staff. The question is, why isn't all this moved to Mtn. Industrial, instead of now having to spend almost 4m to make an almost 55-60 year old elementary school building (the WBBC, which has is own crumbling issues, i.e. leaky roof, bad HVAC, etc) something approaching suitable and secure enough for a data center. For that matter, isn't there a glut of newer, vacant commercial buildings for sale in the county that would be cheaper to purchase and move into than fixing up (i.e. almost completely rebuilding) that old school building?

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 9:18

"Seems to me that south DeKalb is getting highly concentrated with magnets, themes and choice schools."

If you spent much time in south DeKalb schools, you would understand why parents want magnets, themes and choice schools so desperately.

Having these options has kept a lid on demands for change in south DeKalb as these involved parents' concerns are blunted. They are just as anxious as north involved north DeKalb parents to ensure their children have a top notch education.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Chamblee Magnet couldn't handle a science magnet since the labs are basically too old and do not even work.

As a future parent at CCHS, I just want to make sure the High Achiever program retains the great teachers. I worry when the magnet moves, the gifted certified teachers will move with it.
September 12, 2010 8:51 PM

EVERYONE IS ACTING LIKE THIS IS A DONE DEAL. WHY WOULD ANYONE MESS WITH SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS? WHY WOULD SOMETHING THIS MAJOR BE CHANGED ON A WHIM? DOES CHAMBLEE HIGH SCHOOL PARENTS HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT THIS? WHAT ABOUT THIS CHARTER SCHOOL'S GOVERNANCE COUNCIL ... DO THEY GET TO WEIGH IN? LIKE WE HAVE ALL BEEN SAYING ... IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL AT THE BOE IN DCSS.

Cerebration said...

You're right, it's not a done deal. So far, it's basically a rumor of quotes from Jim Redovian.

Also -- just curious, is there a reason the data people can't just stay where they are? What's so horrible about building A?

Anonymous said...

The response was posted online.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:40 What I have learned from 3 years of teaching and living in DeKalb is that nothing is done with thought towards what is best for the children. Everyone cares more about what is in it for themselves.

Too much is done behind closed doors in unethical manners. Too many benefit while our children's education suffers. This is reality in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

TO THE SCREAMING POSTER!

I couldn't agree with you more. However, this is DCSS. Everything is a done deal before they take the idea public. I have to tell you, when DCSS closed Nancy Creek, I was at the first meeting, for public input, that Clew had with Nancy Creek parents. I stood in the back of the room and the State Rep. for Dunwoody at the time, Fran Millar, stood next to me and whispered in my ear. "I don't understand why they are having this meeting, it's a done deal! Nancy Creek is going to be closed."

I was stunned! but for the last 7 years, everything the BOE or DCSS leadership does is a done deal, behind closed doors. Then they go public with it.

That's why everyone must go! Tyson, Turk, Moseley, Mitchell-Mayfield, Ramsey, Hunter, Berry, but especially, Dr. Thompson. They are only in this for their own egos and pocketbooks. To them, DCSS has nothing to do about OUR kids. NOTHING!

To the parents in South DeKalb, I agree with you, I can't imagine having to travel north to come to Chamblee! I know we had several families at Nancy Creek who lived down there, but they also worked in the Perimeter Mall area and were glad their kids got to come to Nancy Creek, since we were an AYP receiving school.

I think they need to get rid of all magnets and offer Gifted and High Achiever classes in all schools or at least in schools in EACH region. One thing about Magnet, is that the Magnet standards are lower than the Gifted and High Achiever programs.

Both my boys went through the Discovery program at Montgomery and are now in the High Achiever/Gifted classes at Chamblee Middle. It's all been great! My only concern about pulling magnet out of Chamblee High is that the Great gifted Certified teachers will follow the magnet.

Anonymous said...

Beasley's resume from First Class:
Johnny Brown and he were in Birmingham together when Brown was superintendent there.
Interim Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

Education:
Samford University, Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
Samford University, Ed.S. in Educational Leadership
Samford University, M.S. in Education with a concentration in Mathematics
University of Montevallo, B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in General Business

Career Experiences:
Principal and Chief Learning Officer, Columbia High School, DeKalb County Schools
Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and School Leadership, Port Arthur Independent School District, Port Arthur, Texas
Principal and Chief Learning Officer, Stephenson High School, DeKalb County Schools
Principal, Huffman High School, Birmingham City Schools
Associate Principal, George Washington Carver High School for Health Professions, Engineering, and Technology
Interim Principal, Phillips High School, Birmingham City Schools
Assistant Principal, Phillips High School, Birmingham City Schools
Mathematics Teacher, Phillips High School, Birmingham City Schools

Cerebration said...

What's exactly so bad about the schools in south DeKalb? And, why does everyone think that a good solution is to offer a transfer to those who complain and can figure out how to get a transfer? Does anyone at all care about the kids who are "left behind"? Or does this method of 'problem-solving' actually work as planned for the administration? Take care of the squeaky wheels and move on...

That's really sad. How can we fight for these schools? Sarah Copeland Wood at least tries, although she is unable to string together a complete thought or come up with tangible data with solutions and thus is ignored in her pleas and dismissed as a nutty old lady. But really, her basic premise is that "her" schools need help - and apparently they do - but they have been deserted, by our school leadership and their very own communities.

Anonymous said...

WHAT is wrong with the high achiever magnet program at SW DeKalb? How insulting it is to keep reading (probably the same poster) posts about the need to move the high achiever magnet to a central location when we have a great program in the southern part of the county.

Again, what about SW DeKalb? It is a respected high achiever magnet that is turning out great students.

Anonymous said...

The SACS response has been online for a couple of days...

here it is

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/sacs-casi-accreditation/dcss-response-to-sacs-casi-request-for-information-(2010-09-09).pdf

Anonymous said...

Centralizing the magnet programs at this point is just an idea.

Anonymous said...

I don't see a need moving any magnet program, if it is working. However. this is DCSS and they really don't like success.. I just can't figure out why?

I do know that there are serious discussions going on about Avondale becoming the "central location" for the magnet program.

I'm sure the stakeholders will get a few hours to read the report and have even fewer hours to contact their BOE Rep. I think you need to contact them now and tell them how you feel.

I plan to let Redovian know how I feel. But remember when that vote happens, we MIGHT have 5 new members on the BOE. Could we be so lucky?

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone have a problem with the Magnet programs moved to a Central Location? That only seems fair to all.

The Magnet programs will "work" whatever type of building they are in. Putting students together who have the similar GPA's and ITBS scores into the same building and calling it something special is confusing to me.

Anonymous said...

If the magnet programs were run on the same budget as every other school in the system, then it wouldn't matter to me one iota where they were located.

However, as of this year, they get somewhere around 50 extra teachers and about 4 million dollars in transportation funding.

Centralizing will allow for efficiencies of scale and should allow for the ending of all transportation.

Anonymous said...

All,
Thank you for your concern and comments. The
renovation of the WBBC is the moving of the data center from the vacant building on N. Decatur Rd. to the WBBC. This data center is considered the "nerve center" critical to the operations of the school system. This renovation affects each and every student, parent and employee in the system. This is not a "make-over" to the building as many seem to believe. Ms. Colman will be asked to explain this renovation in more detail tomorrow at the meeting.

Thank you,
Pam Speaks
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

******

I feel that this should have been included in the move to the Palace. Sell some of the expensive furniture or return it and use that money to pay for the move. Enough has been spent on the palace and the unnecessary new digs for our highly paid administrators.

This is another example of the poor planning of our administration.

Cerebration said...

I wonder - are they discussing moving ALL of the high achievers to one location? SW DeKalb AND Chamblee - as well as DSA? I know SW DeKalb is very over-crowded, moving the magnet portion could provide some relief. Besides, the school is only a few miles from Arabia - which has a "pseudo" magnet program as well.

Anonymous said...

^^^

As I understand it yes.

Cerebration said...

Well, then I would say one issue there would be that students would have to choose whether to move with the magnet program, or stay in order to participate in that fantastic band at SW DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Is Avondale truly a central location? DeKalb is a huge county and that's one of the disadvantages.

I agree with earlier poster regarding Arabia Mtn., Jay's personal Palace, maybe they should take the south's magnet and move it to Arabia. Then move the north magnet to facility that is a bit closer to North DeKalb students.

Equitable to all! Not just a few.

Cerebration said...

What a dismissive email from Pam Speaks. "Thank you for your concern and comments." Ugh.

Why does she have to describe the building as "empty"? Aren't there people in there managing the data? Do they have other plans for these buildings or are buildings A and B going to sit empty, causing blight in the area just like the Druid Hills property, the Heritage property, the old Chamblee MS property, Forrest Hills property, etc.

It appears we have moved into the vacant building phase of construction. As Sarah Wood pointed out, these buildings are used as storage. I can tell you from looking in the windows at the old Chamblee MS, they are storing a bunch of old junk in there. All you see are old desks, etc, piled up in there haphazardly. No one will ever be using these again. Can we donate them to some poor school in a third world country at least?

Anonymous said...

The Arabia Magnet program is much different than the High Achiever's Magnet program. The Arabia Magnet program has a specific focus Energy and Engineering. The other magnet programs, such as the High Achievers, have no specific focus.

Cerebration said...

Anon 9:10 AM, that's what I'm thinking. How is moving the one magnet program in the north area to a more central location considered an 'equitable' move? Arabia is SO far away for students in Dunwoody or Lakeside or Druid Hills that it is virtually not an option, yet it functions as a magnet (of sorts, although it's not officially one, as that would have caused a bigger uproar... this way, when we say, 'nice magnet for south DeKalb', they can respond, "oh that's not a magnet - that's a "choice" school.) Oh! Big Diff there!

Imagine - what if they had built an exact replica of Arabia - called it "Chattahoochee River" and put it on the north end of Dunwoody 2 miles from the Fulton/Gwinnett lines. Then called it a "choice" school. Feel free to fight Atlanta traffic for 25-30 miles each morning to partake of this "choice"!

Uh huh.

Anonymous said...

Magnets are suppose to be about choice and in many places across the county, parents and students both make sacrifices in attending these schools.

Whether it is providing your own transportation, getting up at 5 am to get to the magnet, not being able to play football or participate in the marching band because there isn't one or something else, many magnets across the country require some kind of sacrifice.

This generally results in students who seriously want to be there and are there for the right reasons.

Cerebration said...

I'm just saying, if the exact Arabia situation were reversed and the location was in the north area, and our pat response to those who complained was, "gee, this isn't a magnet, it's a 'math/science' "Choice" school - we'd see an enormous uproar from those in south DeKalb (rightfully so).

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, we can't assume that Arabia Mt. will stay a school of choice. It seems to me that a lot of balancing of enrollment is needed in that quadrant of the county.

Cerebration said...

No, at the real end of the day, the fact remains that there is no way the administration would have gotten away with an "Arabia" in the north. First, those in the south would rightfully claim 'inequity' and those in the north would see the true mission: elitism. It wouldn't fly - no way. All high schools in the north are just plain old district attendance high schools. In fact, the new Tucker replacement HS was denied their request to function as a charter.

Anonymous said...

The data center in building a also has the scantron for scoring answers. The roof in that part of the building also leaks. The move should have been part of the relocation but despite MIS objections it was not included in the budget. Building A can not be sold until it is vacated. The svchool system does not have a good record in contracting things out. It we just needed a server farm-contracting out might be possible. Federal law requires complete privacy of student records so DCSS would have to find out how putting student data in the hands of a contracctor could be handled. The security required would probably require extensive bonding and raise the price more than you might expect. Perhaps someone connected to the school board could bid.

Cerebration said...

??? You can't sell a building unless it's vacated?

??? You can't trust a contractor with security (how do all of the millions of healthcare providers manage?)

??? The price could go beyond the $19+ million we spend now for MIS? We have an immediate savings of $3.5 million just to not do the move!

Sounds like someone is protecting a fiefdom to me.

Anonymous said...

The main point that I’d like to make is that she wanted this as MIS head and didn’t get it. Now that she’s the Super, she’s getting it.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon September 13, 2010 9:40 AM

Welcome to the condition of many of our schools in DeKalb! Many buildings that house hundreds of students suffer from these kinds of conditions or worse. MIS can get in line and wait for their SPLOST handout with everyone else, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Why can't DCSS look at changing the Fernbank Science Center to a centralized magnet location? It's centrally located and it has lots and lots of space (65 acres). Semester long programs like SEEMA, STT, etc. could still be continued as parents would be responsible for bringing students into the center for those specialized classes.

The time is way past for thousands of buses to bring 30 students to one teacher. Not only is this costing a tremendous amount of money a year in transportation, it is a poor commentary for a science center to operate in such an ecologically unfriendly manner. Fernbank Science teachers should be going out rather than bringing students in. The problem has been for some time that if the teachers spend the majority of their time going out to the schools, the need for an expensive facility like Fernbank is undermined.

I know everyone who loves Fernbank Science Center just the way it is will be screaming. But this facility that costs DCSS $7,000,000 annually could re-employ those dollars in a more sound academic and ecologically sound manner while still keeping many of the programs that parents and the Fernbank community has lobbied for.

Anonymous said...

Federal law requires complete privacy of student records so DCSS would have to find out how putting student data in the hands of a contracctor could be handled.

-You are totally wrong and are just making up stuff. Local governments and public universities do so with their records and companies such as Iron Mountain.

The security required would probably require extensive bonding and raise the price more than you might expect.
-Again you are totally wrong and are just making up stuff. It's much more cost effective to contract out this service than to pay to do so in-house, especially when factoring in the cost of pensions and benfits.

Perhaps someone connected to the school board could bid.
-That's something we have to deal with in DeKalb with every single contract, whether a DCSS contract or DeKalb Co. gov't contract.

Anonymous said...

Cere @ 9/12 10:52. We talk all around it but we on this board feel we can't really "say it". I can. I'm qualified, as a bona fide South DeKalb resident.

The condition of the "schools" in South DeKalb has very little to do with the school or school programs, and everything to do with family and child-rearing culture. Let me be clear: the vast majority of our students in S. DeKalb are hard-working and raised by fine, caring parents who want nothing but the best for their children. But it only takes a few young people-turned predators to spoil a whole community. These people may never throw a lick -- but their mannerisms, their harsh tone toward adults (including teachers), all the while enabled by the mamas who come to school and say "My son didn't really MEAN to bring the [insert weapon here]", or "My daughter's smart mouth was the teacher's fault because the teacher wanted her to do something she didn't want to do", is creating a different kind of flight.

When I moved with my family to Georgia in the early- to mid- seventies, my S. DeKalb subdivision was stocked with whites -- and it took about a nano-second for the sale signs to crop up. One of the few who remained not long after the exodus had a teenager who tried to run over my brother with his car in my front yard -- yelling "n" ephitets all the way up the street.

Now fast forward. Different kind of flight, I argue? Yes. Only this time, it's not from homes. It's in the schools, in the form of the alternates to "home-school" attendance. We universally see the value of living amongst ourselves, but when it comes to different family values and how that extends to the schoolhouse -- wwweeelllllll, that's another story. We're "fleeing" from us! And based on behaviors of some of our children, those who flee are quite unapologetic about it. Themes, magnets, choice, administrative transfers, etc. are all examples of this. In some cases, those students NEEDED to leave their home school on a safety or bullying issue. In others, it was to seek more academic rigor -- since rigor and lockdown is innately oxymoronic.

Please don't think I'm foolish enough to believe that the central and north-end schools are so wonderful on the discipline front -- I've seen the warts there too. Plenty of them. And believe me, some of the problems kids have in that part of the county are those I wouldn't wish on anyone else. That grass isn't greener. But parents in S. DeKalb are prioritizing - and that's how it ended up. Also, keep in mind that this thinking was ENABLED by a school system offering M-M, etc. The lawsuit said to tell us it was better if it was whiter. And we bought it.

Cerebration said...

Thanks for your honesty Anon. I appreciate it. I have come to realize that the long racial history in this county has caused deep, hurtful wounds that won't be healing anytime soon. First, we have to acknowledge the wounds are there, then we can begin to think about ways to start to heal.

I think a new board will be able to begin that healing. There are some very smart, forward-thinking people on the ballot who really do have education of children first and foremost in their minds. We need to try our best to put them in leadership positions.

Anonymous said...

http://www.buildings.com/ArticleDetails/tabid/3321/ArticleID/10417/Default.aspx


Maybe one day every DCSS school will be energey efficient with natural light, and we'll use only two or three plans for elem., middle and high schools, like Gwinnett, to save on payng uge architect fees like Pat Pope liked to do.