Thursday, October 7, 2010

Regarding Ella Smith's comments about Ron Ramsey

Ella Smith posted a comment about Ron Ramsey, head of DCSS Internal Affairs, stating that she had met several people, judges included, who had good things to say about Ramsey. (He has been critiqued here at this blog many times.) She also stated that she asked Ramsey point blank if he took a leave from DCSS while serving at the Capitol for 40 days per year as a state senator.  He answered, "yes". Sandy Spruill wrote the following rebuttal to Ella's comments:

Let’s set the record straight with documented research. Here are some facts about Ron Ramsey:
· First elected to the State Senate in the Georgia General Assembly in 2006, Ron Ramsey’s brief bio lists his occupation as “Attorney.” No mention of employment by the DeKalb County School System. http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/senate/ramseybio.php
· Ramsey’s “full bio”, dated January 2009, states: “Sen. Ramsey has a successful career as a federal government investigator and attorney.” Notice the current tense of the sentence phrasing. Still, no mention of employment by the DeKalb County School System. http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/senate/ramseyprintbio.pdf
· Ramsey’s “full bio” also claims that he “serves on a number of “influential” [his words] committees, including his position as secretary of the Urban Affairs Committee and as a member of the Education and Youth, Insurance and Labor, Special Judiciary and State and Local Government committees.” However, a page earlier on his Senate website, he says he serves on these committees: Insurance and Labor, Judiciary, Special Judiciary, State and Local Governmental Operations and Urban Affairs – Secretary. What happened to Judiciary? What happened to Education and Youth? Ramsey’s attention to detail for his State Senate job seems to mirror that reflected in his DCSS job.
Respected By Whom?
In this blog, Ella, you say that “[Ramsey] is really respected by the legislative body …” What is your source for this claim? Is this what Ramsey told you? If there are sources for that claim besides Ramsey, it will be interesting to cross-check those sources with the many self-serving recognitions and commendations that Ramsey brings before the Georgia General Assembly.
What Kind of Leave Is Ramsey Taking?
In this blog, you say that Ramsey claims he “takes a leave of absence” when he is gone during the 40 days the Georgia General Assembly meets each year. How is that leave defined? Does that mean a “leave without pay”? Or does that mean an “approved leave,” but Ramsey continues to be paid by DCSS though not present to do his job? Or is that “annual leave” (vacation days)?
It is not possible for Ramsey to accrue enough annual leave (vacation) to cover 40 days each year in the Georgia General Assembly. After 10 years of service, the most annual leave a state employee can accrue is 21 days per year. Since Georgia does not operate on a PTO (paid time off) basis – i.e., combining annual leave with sick leave to use as needed – it would be highly inappropriate if Ramsey was also taking sick leave to cover his Georgia General Assembly days.
Ella, did Ramsey provide you with documentation regarding his leave of absence? If so, please share. It is not a good idea to just take Ramsey’s word for it.
Regardless, DCSS is paying retiree Robert Tucker more $$$ to warm Ramsey’s seat while he is away.
Ramsey Is Being Paid How Much?
If, in fact, Ramsey is taking leave without pay, then the salary shown for him in www.open.georgia.gov is considerably less than his actual annual salary. There are an average of 260 workdays in a year. If Ramsey’s actual payment is $112,120 for only 220 days, he is earning approximately $509 per day. Multiply that daily rate by 260 (40 legislative days + 220 work days) and you see his actual salary is $132,340.
But, wait! There’s more! Add in his $17,341 salary as a state senator and Ramsey is actually being paid $149,681 per year.
Does Ramsey have a DCSS car? If so, does he use it while he is attending the Georgia General Assembly sessions and for other legislative work? This question has been asked several times on this blog, but it has never been answered. Why? It is either Yes/Yes or Yes/No or No. Pretty simple, really, but no answer has been forthcoming from Ramsey. No transparency!
Ramsey’s Legislative “Contributions”
Now, let’s take a look at Ramsey’s actual legislative “contributions” during the recent 2010 Georgia General Assembly session:
· In 2010, he was involved with 22 pieces of legislation – most were pretty much forgettable. Only four were signed by the Governor. One – the only one that related to education – was vetoed. Fortunately. It was an apparently unfunded, complicated mandate to register children for school within 30 days of moving to DeKalb County that would have required an incredible – and generally useless – amount of information to be obtained from unspecified sources and tracked.
Hey, Ramsey! How about doing your DCSS job for a change and make sure that all students in DCSS schools are, in fact, residents of DeKalb County eligible to attend DeKalb County Schools because they live with their custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s) within their assigned attendance area. Even magnet students and AYP transfers must meet eligibility requirements to attend a DCSS school. I’m just sayin’ …
· In 2010, Ramsey also wasted valuable Senate time – keep in mind we have serious problems facing us in Georgia and a 40-day limit on the legislature each year – by presenting 85 separate instances of recognitions, condolences, commendations and congratulations. These included: recognitions of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta social sororities, as well as Kappa Alpha Psi social fraternity (DCSS Friends-and-Family connections); Georgia’s African American Horse Council Community Advocates; multiple Christian church recognitions; multiple high school sports recognitions (but no high school academic recognitions); and Liberty Tire Recycling, LLC, among others.
· In 2010, Ramsey also took legislative time to urge the U.S Department of the Treasury to shred all old $100 bills when new bills are brought into circulation. I’m sure they were grateful for that reminder.
· In 2010, Race-baiting-Ramsey urged recognition of the importance of providing equal access, opportunity, and treatment of African Americans and minorities for State Awarded Contracts. Ramsey also urged the Georgia Transportation Department to provide equal access, opportunity, and treatment of African Americans.
I am happy to provide anyone with the Excel spreadsheet I created that documents Ramsey’s legislative activity. E-mail me at shspruill@gmail.com.
Ella – You seem like a well-meaning, good-hearted person, though somewhat credulous. If you are elected to the DCSS BOE, I hope you are ready for the demands of openness, transparency and documentation that will be required of the DCSS BOE – indeed, all of DCSS – from November 2 onward.

168 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sandy, totally uncalled for.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration, are you going to allow attacks on a regular contributor to this blog? This is really pathetic.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Sandy has done her homework. While you may not agree with her words, the facts appear solid.

Ella Smith said...

It is fine. I do not know Mr. Ramsey personally. I see him politically around at events. I see that is is politically like by many politicians apparently. I did indicate I would never know that from what I hear from this blog which is true. I introduced myself to him. I asked him about what he did when he went to the capitol regarding his work at school and he told me which I passed on. In fact I asked him to repeat it several times which I think upset him. I honestly wanted to make sure I got what he said correctly and did not say it incorrectly. He told me he took off on leave. I do know what he does is legal whether individuals like it or not.. Many educators through the state are administrators and teachers and do this.

This article is fine. This is a perfect example of how things are blown out of porportion and why some individuals do not take this blog very seriously at all when this blog could be a wonderful source of information if people would try to stick to discussing the facts.

I have heard so many comments about him serving both places at the same time so I asked him. I went to the source as I hear school board members say all the time they wish bloggers would ask them instead of just making things up. He told me to check on this and I would find he does take leave. I believe him. I think he was upset by my questions as he thought I was asking them to be ugly to him on this blog. That is pretty funny actually. I told him I only try to tell the truth on this blog and provide correct information.

I do believe that Mr. Ramsey does take leave when he goes down to the capitol to work. Legally he has to do so. Others all over the state do this also. The author of the article needs to check and see if she is sure he does not as he assured me he did. If he does not then I admit this is a problem.

However, because I said this I become the bad person.

I do not know Mr. Ramsey very well. I just see how many of the citizens he represents love him. He is an elected representative of this county. He does not represent my district but he does make decisions regarding this state and regarding this county. I have had no dealings with him at the school system to make a judgement so I do not judge people I do not know or I have not worked with. I do not judge them on hearsay information. This would be unfair to them.

Ella Smith said...

If elected to the school board I would not be in a position to evaluate employees anyway unless the employee was in a hearing. Evaluating employees is the job of the School Superintendent, and School Leaders. This is not the job of the School Board. The School Board evaluates the School Superintendent on how he does his job.

It also is only as an entire group that a school board can make a decision. An individual school board member has no more control than any other citizen, so the whole tone of this article is totally inappropriate and just shows how little many people truely know about what the duties and responsibilities of our school board members really are.

Sandy, I suspect you are badly misinformed on what a school board member should be doing as a school board member as evaluating school board employees is not the job of a school board member. I was just commenting on information he told me himself. I was not misinformed on what he told me. I asked him at least 3 times. There was no misinformation. I also have not seen you at all the organizational meetings I have been at in South DeKalb and Central Dekalb where they really do like him. I had three judges sitting by me Sat. morning say to me that Ramey was really was a great guy right after he spoke. I guess they are misinformed also as they have been going to political forums with him for many years. This did make me question all the information I have read on this blog. I am not saying it is true or false. However, it did make me question if it is true when judges in DeKalb County told me what a great guy he is. I am not basing my decision on any emotions. I am just indicating I make no judgement on a guy that has been trashed on this blog. I give him the benifit of a doubt as I do not know him. I have never worked with him. I currently do not have the right to judge him as a Christain and I am not going to do so. My dad is a minister and he taught me to respect individuals much more than this. I would do the same for you Sandy or anyone else. I am fair.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I think the gist of Sandy's post is fine and entirely appropriate with regards to Ron Ramsay. However, I think the pokes made to Ella are not necessary. Ella has been posting on this blog for a long time. I'm sorry, I just feel we need to leave the personal attacks out of our discussions.

Anonymous said...

I do not know why Sandy is coming from such a place of anger. Let's all be good digital citizens and show better manners.

Anonymous said...

Sandy, tht was an incredible, informative post! Thank you!!!

But you forgot the first and second biggest Ron Ramsey issues of them all:

2) He publicly called for an economic boycott of the City of Dunwoody. Yes, a state senator and head of DCSS Internal Affairs, loudly and publicly called for a boycott of Dunwoody. Despite that sales tax collected in Dunwoody funds the SPLOST that pays for capital fund for the very school system that employs him.

1) As head of Internal Affairs, he is in charge of having systems in place that identify illegal behavior. The systems's former COO is charged with multiple crimes. As is the former Superintendent.

Heck, when C lew asked Marcus Turk is he could use his P-card for an out of the country trip (with a current DCSS Dept. head he is not married too), Turk said no. But Lewis used his P-card anyway and DCSS reimbursed him for it.

I like ya Ella, but don't be impressed with Ramsey. He has been a very, very poor head of DCSS Internal Affairs and literally has not passed any legislation of note as a state senator.

And even worse, the state has reduced budget support to all public schools by BILLIONS since Ramsey has been a state senator.

We can do better. Much better.

Dan Magee said...

Sandy Spruill's post brings up some interesting points.

The head of DCSS Internal Affairs is a very important position, especially with all the various allegations and scandals over the Lewis administration.

When Ron Ramsey is on leave for the legislative session, he's away for over two full months, during the school year!

Of all the various scandals, most have been uncovered by the local media, not the Internal Affairs Office.

I was told by a BOE member that the theft of air conditioning units this summer looked like an "inside job". With a school police dept. off 200 employees, including nine detectives and two chiefs, plus Ramsey's Internal Affairs staff, I would have thought this case would have been solved by now (?).

And by all accounts, it sure seems like the Internal Affairs Office is a lot tougher on teachers than administrators, despite that there are many more administrators and staff in the school system than teachers.

And the Internal Affairs office is paying a retired DCSS administrator while Ramsey is gone and throughout the year.

I think it's more than fair for Sandy Spruill and any parents/county resident/taxpayer to ask whether the Internal Affairs Office is operating as productively as possible.


P.S. Ramsey's rants on Dunwoody were more than disturbing. It was refeshing to see Dunwoody's state rep's and state senators handle Ramsey's rants with dignity and not attacking him back.

Anonymous said...

Great job on Ramsey. Hopefully, he will not be with the county much longer. Taxpayers really need to pay the reporters who uncovered bookgate and Lewis's mess instead of Ramsey.
He sits high but does nothing but protect members of his family and friends plans. Or, what administrators suggest he do instead of being fair. People donot respect him and personally hate to see him give his annual speech on ethics. He needs to start investigating the palace first. Perhaps, had he been in office working and not on leave, maybe he could have uncovered some of the inside and outside corruption that has been on television about DCSS leaders.
By, the way, I think he is a member of Newbirth or the 100 Black Men or some frat club.

Anonymous said...

Cere, wasn't there a blog post a few months back about all the businesses that Ramsey and his family own and operate? My was it eye opening.

Not sure how he the time to be a full time school system department head, a state senator, and owner of a number of businesses???

Anonymous said...

When I think of Ron Ramsey, I think of this:

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-schools-chief-used-289403.html

Dunwoody Mom said...

P.S. Ramsey's rants on Dunwoody were more than disturbing. It was refeshing to see Dunwoody's state rep's and state senators handle Ramsey's rants with dignity and not attacking him back

Well, it's easy to ignore stupid, though I cannot invision Fran Millar every lowering himself to Ramsey's level. I mean, yes, let's boycott Perimeter Mall which provides a heck of a lot of money to DeKalb County in sales tax revenue.

Anonymous said...

Interesting from January 2000, read the last sentance!!:

http://161.58.19.96/jan00/index.htm

Bishop Eddie Long embraces a young parishioner during festivities celebrating the opening of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church's new Family Life Center in Lithonia, the first phase of its $50 million project off Evans Mill Road.
Long also announced an era of renewed activism for New Birth, including areas of economic independence and traffic. He also put the school system on notice -- the status quo will no longer be acceptable.

Anonymous said...

More on Ron:

http://161.58.19.96/jan00/index.htm#kingkastle

Kingdom Kastle, which hosts birthday parties, team outings and youth sports banquets, is South DeKalb's answer to Discovery Zone and Chuck E Cheese. With private party rooms, pizza, hot dogs, cakes, tokens and goodie bags, parents can have kiddie birthday parties that are worry-free and economical.
That's just what the owners, Ronald and Doris Ramsey and Bruce and Linda Nelson, intended. The Lithonia couples, who have been close friends for 17 years and have four children among them, said they have wanted to open a day-care facility ever since they started having children and realized how little existed in the area for them.
With corporate careers that none initially wanted to give up, the discussions languished nine years ago. But in the spring of 1998, they revisited the subject and decided the time was right.
They incorporated The Kingdom Group in August 1998, and set about creating a facility that would care for, educate and entertain children under 13 years old.
"Our commitment is to provide quality academic instruction in a Christian-based environment, and wholesome, nonviolent play for kids," said Ronald Ramsey.
Last October, after a $2 million investment, the partners opened Kingdom Kare, a childcare center; Kingdom Academy, a Christian school; and Kingdom Kastle, a fun and entertainment center, in a 25,000-square-foot building in the Snapfinger Woods Business Park.
The wives quit their corporate jobs to run the day-to-day operations. Linda Nelson, who was an MCI corporate manager, is CEO. Doris Ramsey left a financial manager's job at BellSouth to be chief financial officer. Ronald Ramsey is a labor lawyer in private practice in Lithonia. Bruce Nelson, the group's operations director, is an industrial engineer.
Kingdom Kare accepts children 6 weeks to 2 years old. Weekly rates range from $95 to $110. At Kingdom Academy, children in pre-K through second grade learn via the A BEKA curriculum. Plans are to go up to the sixth grade this fall.
Students get Spanish twice a week and visit the school's computer lab several times a week. There is an after-school program that offers pickups from several public schools.

Anonymous said...

Ron Ramsey made this comment that was posted on the old GoDeKalb website:

http://godekalb.com/archives/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7100&Itemid=2800

"During the public comment portion of the meeting, Sen. Ronald Ramsey said, “I serve notice on the citizens of Dunwoody and businesses in the PCID, the consequences [of incorporation] will be dire, will be green. We will have an economic boycott against all the Dunwoody business community."

Here's Ronnie on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmovTZGrSv8

Anonymous said...

Wow is this interesting, and written by Ernest Brown!!

http://www.crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/1459390/article-Downsizing-necessary-as-school-system-grapples-with-revenue-shortfalls?

Anonymous said...

We will never forget this. Lewis said Ron Ramsey and his office were investigating Pat Pope. But they never went to the proper authorities. Only when C Lew was questioned by the DA about Gasgate did Lewis spill the beans on Pat Pope. Hey Ron, when were you going to tell anyone about your investigation?



http://www.ajc.com/news/no-bid-deal-costs-281460.html

Lewis’ interview with the District Attorney’s Office initially focused on his purchase of a county vehicle and questionable gas purchases on his county credit card.

But midway through the interview, he veered off topic to discuss Pat Pope and what he had recently learned about her.

Lewis said the school district’s internal affairs office had been investigating Pope for several weeks, after one of Pope’s employees “made lots of allegations about Ms. Pope and other things that she had seen in the office that are not right, about contracts.”

Lewis also said that internal affairs had been investigating allegations that Pope had tampered with the competitive bidding process on construction projects.

Anonymous said...

“The bottom line is we know that Ms. Pope should have re-bid the third phase of the Columbia High School project,” Lewis told the investigator. “She was told to do that by our construction attorney and by Lynn Jackson, who is the director of capital outlay for the state. I’ve talked to these people. They all tell me they told Pat to do it. Lynn said that Pat is very stubborn. She does things her way.”

In the interview, Lewis said he confronted Pope about the Columbia project.

“So I called Pat the next day and said, ‘Pat, were you told to re-bid that project by Greg Morgan [the school district’s former construction attorney] or by Lynn Jackson?’ And she said no. Now I’d already talked to them, so I know that they told her to do it.”

Less than two weeks after Lewis’ interview, school system police officers and information system employees examined records from Pope’s office, and school officials began interviewing Pope’s employees.

But, three months later in February, while the investigation into Pope was under way, Superintendent Lewis chose to continue Pope’s employment and gave her a new contract making nearly $200,000 a year.

Lewis declined an interview through school district spokesman Dale Davis, but released a brief statement by e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I think the taxpayers of DCSS should stop helping Ramsey to continue rich off others who are struggling. This man is taking leave, not solving one corruption problem that has made the news, and earning how much? Are we stupid or what? The info about his nursery school is generating a lot of money plus, he is using the school system and laughing all the way to the Wachovia or Georgia Federal Bank. Is he friends with the Calloways?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Ron a member of New Birth???
And Eddie Long was meeting with the BOE back in 2000?


http://161.58.19.96/jan00/index.htm#newbirth

The DeKalb school system has also been put on notice.
"The quality of instruction is not up to par and we want to work to change that," (Eddie) Long said, adding that meetings are already under way with the Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

Some people estimate there are a thousand or two non-county residents sneaking into our schools because DeKalb is the most slack of all area school systems with checking residency. Gwinnett and Decatur do regular checks on residency, and have always found parents trying to game the system.

Ron Ramsey should be leading this cause as Director if Internal Affairs, but he's too busy being a state senator (and he should be a 10 month employee). It is simple not acceptable to have non-county resident students in our school system. Their parents are committing a crime. 1000 times $10,000 equals 10,000,000. Our Board of Education seems to have no issues with having out of county students sneak into our DeKalb property taxpayer funded schools.

Cerebration said...

Well, Sandy - this is a fab post. I'm not worried about my good friend, Ella - she can take the heat! She spoke her mind on another post and defended Ron Ramsey after running into him at an event - this is a response.

Ella is running against Gene Walker and this is an example of the heat the new board reps will most likely have to take while they sort through the rubble... Ella definitely is a very good hearted person who wants to think the best of people, but she's no pansy! She's tough and she has a good gut.

But - I must say, the meat of this post is right on. I have had a problem with Ramsey for a very long time. In fact, I have posted here many times regarding my concerns as to how he called for a boycott of Dunwoody businesses on the floor of the Capitol, when the city incorporated - which would directly harm the school system's SPLOST collections (we're talking Perimeter Mall people!)

He has not introduced any legislation in my opinion that is of any consequence. Sandy is correct, he pontificates on awards, recognition and African-American rights, however, he has not sponsored any meaningful laws. He also does not mention anywhere on his bios that he is in charge of Internal Affairs for DCSS. (Is he embarrassed that he never quite "caught" anyone doing anything?) And he does step away from his DCSS duties for the 40 days/year the legislature is in session. We don't need that - we need DEDICATED staff - 100%. Perhaps if Ramsey HAD been dedicated, he would have noticed that the cat had swallowed the canary a long time ago and saved us all a whole lotta grief.

Ella is my friend. I have great faith in Ella and I would trust her with all my bones to make good decisions for the children of DCSS. She is also correct - board reps cannot meddle in employee's business so it's a moot issue whether or not she thinks Ramsey is respectable. The opinion of our next superintendent is what will count where Ramsey and others are concerned.

I, for one, will fight to place a strong board comprised of ethical persons of good character to select our next school system leader. Ella can do that job no problem.

Dunwoody Mom said...

FYI, the new set of 10 pending policies is now the BOE website. Several about BOE - this ought to be fun reading....

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/index.aspx?S=4054

Kim Gokce said...

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"

Just thought the site mission was worth re-posting at this time ...

Anonymous said...

Kim what is the web site?

Cerebration said...

That's the mission statement of this blog - it's at the top of the home page. And yes, I hope I'm understanding you to say, Kim that no matter what, this place is a place for dialogue. I think we're all in this with the same goal in mind. Although we may disagree on methods and opinions, all of our bloggers want to see our schools improve for ALL of our children.

Cerebration said...

Don't know where to put this -- looks like a good event -

Lakeside High School Health Fair-Open to the Community

Lakeside Health Fair—Free Tests

You are invited to the 2nd Annual Lakeside High School Health Fair:
October 19th
5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Lakeside High School
3801 Briarcliff Road, N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30345

Sports medicine, nutrition experts, sports fitness, counseling services, chiropractic evaluations, orthodontic information, vision screenings, refractive surgery experts, blood pressure & BMI checks, women's health, flu shots, "ask a pharmacist", are amongst our experts to answer your health care questions.

This is a great way to learn more about your health, our community services, sign-up for a free class, receive a local discount, and get a low cost ($20) flu shot to protect yourself this season. This free event is open to the public and as an added bonus, special give-a-ways while supplies last.

For more information or to volunteer your services, please contact Marisa Bergstrom at lakesidehealthfair@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

At $509 a day, that works out to be a little less than $64 an hour for an 8 hour day. I don't know what the average attorney earns per hour in Atlanta, but this doesn't seem excessive to me.

Keep in mind that attorneys don't talk about their clients. That is confidential information. If DCSS is considered a client, then he would be right not to mention the school system in his bio. That said, he is well-known in the school system. Is he an employee of DCSS or an attorney providing a service for his client?

I think the more important question is, what are we getting from him in terms of service? While we all desperately want someone to help us clean up this mess the school system is in, an attorney will tell you that not every bad decision, misstep, or questionable action is illegal.

We have a better chance of fixing this school system by electing effective school board representatives. IMHO we need a highly qualified superintendent before any meaningful change is going to happen. If your school board representative is up for election, please make sure that you investigate all of the candidates and vote.

Be True to your School said...

@ Anonymous 9:57 PM

Are you new to this blog?

If so, you might want to bring yourself up to date before posting.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Wow, Sandy, totally uncalled for.
October 7, 2010 5:04 PM

Why is it totally uncalled for? He holds a public position. The research Sandy blogged is a matter of public record. I call it "the transparency we need" rather than "totally uncalled for."

Unless this information is not factual, the public has a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent (or wasted). Why would anyone have a problem with this ... unless one is trying to hide something.

Ella Smith said...

I am not at all offended by the post. I really do not know Ron Ramsey. I just asked him a question several times. I also know he can legally take leave of his job to serve at the legislature with the permission of the school board. I am assuming they had given him permission.

I am pretty sure he is not being paid while working at the State Capitol. IF he is then there is truely a tremendous issue at the county office. Ron Ramsey's salary might be one thing. However his take home pay may be something else due to the number of leave days he takes. I am not for sure how the state works all that out. I do know we have other teachers who are also state representative. I am sure they take leave of absence also which means they do not get paid. Someone needs to get this information and check. He told me to ask for it and I would see that he did take leave when I asked him.

I just repeated what I was told. However, if what Mr. Ramsey said is not true please actually request the information from the county and see if he takes leave or not and stop assuming things one way or another. If he has done something wrong I would agree that he is incorrect. However, if he is taking leave of absence this is legal for him to do.

I have seen him speak several times and the people in his district do seem to like him. I understand the issues regarding Dunwoody. However, just happen not to be campaigning in Dunwoody lately. I have been campaigning in areas where the citizens like him. This is exactly what I was saying.

He did discuss last Saturday a bill he was inspirational in passing that will enable individuals with Tramatic Stress Syndrome to have a symbol on their lincense so when police officers stop them that the police officer would know why the citizen was under so much stress because they were stopped by the police officer. I did think this was a wonderful idea being an advocate for individuals who are disabled.

If he has done illegal things he needs to be turned over to the district attorney. However, I do think we need to be careful of just disliking people because they have a difference of opinion.

I have a difference of opinion because I will not judge Ramsey and look what happen to me. I was lucky enough to have an article written about me. At least my name is getting advertised on the blog whether it is good or bad. I hear politics is all about name recognition. Maybe someone else wants to write an article about me also right now. (Just kidding).

Anonymous said...

Ella said, "In fact I asked him to repeat it several times which I think upset him."
And, no wonder. He knows his goose is cooked. The key being IF anyone with authority to fire cares enough to look into what kind of job he's doing at DCSS.

At least one other person has witnessed this arrogant behavior from him when trying to file a grievance in his office on a timely basis. And, his cohort, the retired but still drawing a salary Robert Tucker, acts the same way.

It's a poor poor excuse for a department that is suppose to be there for the common good. A travesty, that's what it is. And many many innocent people suffer and have suffered because of it.

Anonymous said...

Ella, you said, "I had three judges sitting by me Sat. morning say to me that Ramey was really was a great guy right after he spoke. I guess they are misinformed also as they have been going to political forums with him for many years. This did make me question all the information I have read on this blog. I am not saying it is true or false. However, it did make me question if it is true when judges in DeKalb County told me what a great guy he is.
DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY ARE GOING TO SHARE ANYTHING OF VALUE, OF SUBSTANCE, WITH A PERSON MERELY SITTING NEXT TO THEM, A PERFECT STRANGER?? NO, THEY ARE GONG TO CHIT CHAT AND SPEAK NICETIES. IF THEY DISLIKED HIM IMMENSELY, A SPECTATOR SITTING NEXT TO THEM WHOM THEY DO NOT KNOW IS NOT GOING TO BE PRIVY TO THAT KIND OF INFORMATION.

OK, so now I'm really worried.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I do not know why Sandy is coming from such a place of anger. Let's all be good digital citizens and show better manners.

October 7, 2010 6:19 PM

We ALL have a right to be angry with what's been going on in our school system, right behind our very eyes. We should, in fact do, have total and complete righteous anger at the way our money has been stolen, our teachers have been slighted, and our children have been getting the short end of the stick. Have you looked at our ratings lately? In fact, I think there would be something wrong if we weren't angry. A true injustice has occurred.

Anonymous said...

Again, Ella, you say "However, I do think we need to be careful of just disliking people because they have a difference of opinion." ... assuming people feel so strongly about Ron Ramsey because he has a different opinion. No intelligent person would do that. I feel strongly negative toward him because he heads up a department that botches investigations, and has no interest in protecting the innocent. People's very livelihoods are forever affected by the lack of interest in protecting the innocent. Forever affected. That's much more than simply a difference of opinion.

Ella Smith said...

10:36 You do not know me or what me family connections in this county at all. Actually most of the judges in this county know me and my family. My father-in-law was the senior state judge in DeKalb County for over 30 years so we were talking about my father-in-law and how he is doing right now. That is a little more that CHIT CHAT and they actually might talk to me about things they might not talk to others about due to my family connections with the courts in Dekalb. I know these judges. I do take in consideration what they say. They have been family friends of my family for many years. They get paid to make decisions without biases.

I think Ramsey probable was very opposed to Dunwoody becoming a city and really made many people mad in the Dunwoody area. This is understandable. However, the southside and middle of the county appears to feel differently about him. This was all I was indicating here. This is what I observed traveling through the county.

Ella Smith said...

I do not like that investigations have been done poorly.

You could really get me going on that one.

I really feel strongly everyone should have a right to fair investigations. So you could get me going there. I am such a civil rights activists. I would have a hard time if I knew any office was not doing a good job with this.

However, I sincerely try not to do too much judging on a blog. I leave the judging up to God and Judges. I am not qualified in this area.

Ella Smith said...

Annoynomous 11:02 you could talk to me as you might convince me otherwise. I want everyone treated fairly. I believe that every person should always be treated fairly and get fair investigations. I would be extremely bothered if this did not happen for someone.

Anonymous said...

I live in the 4th Congressal District which Mr. Ramsey represents. He isa great Congressman and represents HIS District very well.
there are other employees in the public schools of Georgia who also by LAW are not paid for the 40 days they are away nor any days they are called back for Special Sessions.
I am more concerned with Mr. Robert Tucker, who retired 8 0r 9 years ago and comes to DeKalb to work every day in Mr. Ramsey's Office. Now, that is where the waste is. Mr. Tucker is not an attorney. He was a physical education teacher, Asst. Principal and Principal prior to coming to Personnel and coming up through the ranks. No wonder, there are so many employee suits and settlements!

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that what you or I want from our Internal Affairs Dept. at DCSS may be very different from what Dr. Lewis wanted out of it... the mission that was placed on its chair may have been defined by Dr. Lewis (or someone who was ultimately controlling Dr. Lewis) very differently that what we would ordinarialy expect to be done by such a department....

Anonymous said...

Anyone with legitimate lawyer complaints can always file a bar complaint against lawyers with the State Bar of Georgia.

Anonymous said...

I'm very interested in the ties between Ramsey, Lewis and New Birth (as well as others). Makes a story more inteersting than Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

I know Sandy and she is a very talented writer. Everyone that visits on this blog, should check out the information for themselves. If you find something that is not true or might not be true, state your case and show your sources of the information. To just come out here and say, "Wow, Sandy, totally uncalled for." tells me that poster is most likely Ramsey himself or a DCSS staffer. The second poster asking if Cere will allow attacks like this? Really shows their true colors.

Folks, if it wasn't for Sandy we would not have known that the staff was trying to pass something like the +$50k vendor list. That got so much scrutiny by this blog Tyson heard from us resulting in them pulling it from the agenda. Folks, again none of us would have known about this if it wasn't for Sandy.

I for one would never want to cross Sandy.. however I respect Cere for backing up Ella. Ella has said some things on this blog that I agree with and disagree with, and like Sandy she says it and puts her name to it. I wish I could do that now! Sandy is here with good information, links and information about OUR DCSS internal internal investigator who slept while the foxes played in the hen house. It's time for Ramsey to answer these questions. He is a public servant and should address our concerns, if he doesn't then the voters should decide and more importantly I hope the new Super lets him know it's time for him to go back into private practice.

Thanks Sandy for the sunshine! Folks, sunshine is the best disinfectant and DCSS needs a lot of it to clean up the mess that we have right now at our Palace!

insidedive22 said...

Jwilson HR will not do anything to get rid of RTucker because Tucker helped him get his job. HR is a joke and Jwilsons many "internal affairs" will come out. By the way, who investigates the investigators?

Anonymous said...

It was not Sandy's post about Ron Ramsey that I found disturbing - it was her attack on Ella - that is what was uncalled for.

And, no, Mr. Spruill, I am not Ron Ramsey nor employed by DCSS, just a parent.

Anonymous said...

I bet not more than 3 of Ramsey's constituents read this blog or even care.

I have spoken to my state representative multiple times about the situation and they seem unwilling to take this issue on.

Sandy's style is abrasive and frankly, unpleasant and I think generally unhelpful to her beloved Chamblee's cause. However, I was shocked when I read what Ella wrote and she did put herself out there.

The biggest problem with Ramsey is that he has blocked any effort the DeKalb delegation might make to reform the school system.

I hope that a new superintendent brings in his/her own people.

Anonymous said...

Sandy is known as rather a bully - the reason she is persona non grata at CCHS. I guess she's found a new bully pulpit. First, it was Ms. Lowrey, principal of CCHS, now Ella. And, yes, you are right - she makes it difficult for the issues at CCHS to really be heard.

Anonymous said...

Agree 100% that Ms. Spruill's attack style is not conducive to fostering change.

I think what many of us are uncomfortable about is criticizing one of our blog contributors by name, especially in the heading.

I appreciate hard facts and intellectual debate, but I abhor rudeness.

I am a parent who has long been in involved in my child's school and in trying to foster change in the administration.

Anonymous said...

THIS BEARS REPEATING ...
Sandy is here with good information, links and information about OUR DCSS internal internal investigator who slept while the foxes played in the hen house. It's time for Ramsey to answer these questions. He is a public servant and should address our concerns, if he doesn't then the voters should decide and more importantly I hope the new Super lets him know it's time for him to go back into private practice.

Thanks Sandy for the sunshine! Folks, sunshine is the best disinfectant and DCSS needs a lot of it to clean up the mess that we have right now at our Palace!

Anonymous said...

Sandy actually did NOT attack the person of Ella ... she complimented her goodness in fact, and her desire to want to see the best. Sandy said she was misinformed and then went on to defend her position.

If Sandy is a bully, then I am thankful for bullies. She doesn't mind speaking the truth, BACKING IT UP WITH FACTS, and we have gotten MUCH MORE good from Sandy's research than bad.

There are some things that CANNOT be said by putting a nice twist on it. DCSS and the Ron Ramseys and the Robert Tuckers and all the "friends and family" who are intertwined with each other making it impossible to do the right thing without hurting themselves ARE THE VERY THINGS THAT HAVE PUT OUR SYSTEM AND OUR CHILDREN AT RISK.

Those of you who have a better idea, besides attacking Sandy, please step forward. Step forward and speak up with facts of your own. Simply working hard for your child's school, and caring enough to volunteer countless hours for your child's school to hopefully make a difference DOES NOT WORK TO INFLUENCE THE CORRUPT PRACTICES AT THE TOP. And, yes, these kind of things DO filter down to the principals in your children's sweet schools who "fall in line" with the county to protect their own jobs, to protect their own years of service with the BIG COUNTY.

Why can't you see this? It makes for a lot of "spinning our wheels" at the our level and we get nowhere, and our efforts (however long and hard we work for the good) do not have a lasting impact.

I hope I've said this in a way that makes sense. Please ... I welcome your comments, good or bad.

We all want to see positive change, permanent change, in any way we can get there. It often takes a lot of scorching light to pull the darkness out from under the rock. And, it can't always "sound" pleasant.

Anonymous said...

Please don't forget it was Sandy Spruill that started the rumor about CCHS closing - starting panic within the CCHS community. I think calm has prevailed now that we realize that this talk did not come from DCSS, but from Sandy herself.

Anonymous said...

Actually that rumor has been around for awhile, and when Redovian actually said in an email that was printed on this blog that the magnet program was being moved to "a more centralized location" (most likely Avondale), we all put two and two together and realized that would make CCHS population small enough to do what they did to Nancy Creek ... move the resident students to another school. AND, with the building in its current disrepair with no plans on the calendar to repair it except with band-aids, even puts more fear that "they" are trying to close the school. It was not Sandy that started this rumor. I've been hearing it for some time now.

But, go ahead, Sandy's an easy target to blame. She can handle it.

BTW, who at CCHS is speaking up AND BEING HEARD that is getting the county to help our school? Maybe I missed it.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is speaking up at CCHS, because the community does not care.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, I read this today in the Brookhaven reporter:

Not everyone is buying that a secret plan exists to shutter Chamblee. Linda Podger-Williams, a parent of a student at the school, said she has stopped reading the ubiquitous school-related blogs and e-mail notices that make the rounds with such gloom-and-doom scenarios.

“Nobody on the board or at the county is saying that,” she said. “They are just putting that out there.”


http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2010/10/07/revamped-facility-brandnew-high-school/

Anonymous said...

I think Ella is taking the heat for her comments when her opinion should be respected. This is supposed to be a discussion. I wouldn't expect everyone to agree.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anonymous, 9:24 AM ...

Before you post a comment as a fact, be prepared to document it. Please document when and where Sandy Spruill started a rumor about CCHS closing -- otherwise, your post needs to be removed as the untruth it is.

Sandy Spruill is all about supporting CCHS. She has no interested in starting unfounded rumors (such as you are doing in your faux-fact comment.)

Sandy Spruill wrote the application that was submitted when Chamblee High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. If you were around then and owned a home in the CHS attendance area, you may have noticed a spike in your home value.

Sandy Spruill chaired the committee that converted CHS to Chamblee Charter High School, looking ahead to the time when the protection of a charter would be needed. For example, protecting CCHS from being further overcrowded with 200 9th grade AYP transfers. Sandy Spruill pointed out to DCSS that the NCLB Non-regulatory Guidance did not allow DCSS to foirce a change to the lottery admissions process.

Among many other things, Sandy Spruill also chaired the committee that created and established Chamblee Middle School.

What have you done lately for your community and your local schools?

Please document your unfounded claim about Sandy Spruill.

Cerebration said...

FWIW, this blog did not start rumors about CCHS - Jim Redovian did in his emails and conversations. Several board members as well as knowledgable community leaders have stated that there are definitely discussions about consolidating the magnet programs to a more central location. Doing that would leave CCHS with less that 700 students - not sustainable for a single facility.

Anonymous said...

No, Redovian never said anything about closing CCHS - only about moving the magnet program.

Actually, there are only about 350 students in the magnet program. The remainder of the students are made up of resident, NCLB and Charter students - enough to keep the high school open.

Cerebration said...

No, he didn't say specifically to close CCHS you are correct. I should have been more clear - but there is talk of consolidating the magnets.

Anonymous said...

if the magnet pulls out of Chamblee I doubt it would make AYP, thus no more NCLB transfers. Could be a good thing in disguise for the charter school to move out

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes ... let's take the ONE school that's top notch in spite of leadership and building problems and change it. That's true DCSS style.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon, 11:22, THANKS for setting the record straight regarding Sandy Spruill. In the history of Chamblee, I venture to say she's done more individually than all of us collectively put together. She's blunt, yes. But she's also smart and a visionary and an expert researcher. She doesn't stop with "no" ... she doesn't say "I would get involved, but I don't have the time." She does what it takes to make things right and doesn't mind putting her name out there. Thanks, Anon, for letting these unappreciative bloggers know her background ... if it were not for Martha Reichrath and, I dare say, Sandy Spruill, we wouldn't even have a Chamblee High School to talk about. That is a fact.

Anonymous said...

Take the Magnet Program out and let's see how "Top Notch" CCHS is.

It isn't.........

Martha Reichrath was just as much as part of the old DCSS establishment as those that you all complain about now.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did you know that it was Sandy Spruill who discovered the bogus study from Virginia that was cut and pasted to "fit" DCSS in order to close Nancy Creek? It was Sandy who met with Crawford Lewis and Debbie Loeb to share the information that she had "discovered" ... not knowing at the time that her "friend" CLew pretend to be "shocked" at the news, but knew it all along and would do nothing about it. Yes, it was Sandy who uncovered this piece of information. If anyone has a heart for Chamblee and DCSS, it is Sandy ... who worked alongside her then friend, Crawford Lewis, back in the Montgomery ES days as PTSA president to bring about positive change. Crawford Lewis himself praised her efforts and valued her friendship ... until he decided to leave the path of right and pursue wrong. Sandy has worked TIRELESSLY for the good of DCSS and Chamblee HS and continues to do so. It really pains me to hear all the negative comments about her. We / you don't know how lucky you are to have her in your corner. She's not against people like Ella ... she's not against anyone who wants to do right by DCSS. She is just a stickler for backing up opinions with facts, and no one does that better than Sandy.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes ... let's take the ONE school that's top notch in spite of leadership and building problems and change it. That's true DCSS style.

Is that a diss to the other schools in DCSS? You know the ones who don't get to choose 300+ students with high test scores?

Anonymous said...

Where do you get 350 magnet students?

There should be at least 700 as each grade at KMS is 140 but it expands in 6th grade.

At least 50 percent of each grade at CCHS is magnet students.

This has had a tremendous impact on their test scores.

Anonymous said...

Annoynomous 11:02 you could talk to me as you might convince me otherwise. I want everyone treated fairly. I believe that every person should always be treated fairly and get fair investigations. I would be extremely bothered if this did not happen for someone.

Oh, I would most definitely be able to convince you otherwise. I might just take you up on your invitation one day. Thanks for the offer. :) AND thanks for caring so much. It shows.

Anonymous said...

Sorry ... the last post was to Ella in response to her response reprinted in the first paragraph.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes ... let's take the ONE school that's top notch in spite of leadership and building problems and change it. That's true DCSS style.

Is that a diss to the other schools in DCSS? You know the ones who don't get to choose 300+ students with high test scores


It's also has to be Sandy posting...notice the dig at the CCHS administration - she never stops.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not Sandy. Sandy would be brave enough to sign her name. I'm not that brave.

Do you honestly think Sandy is the only one who feels this way? How is the morale at Chamblee these days?

Anonymous said...

http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2010/10/07/revamped-facility-brandnew-high-school/


However, at Chamblee Charter High School, a $19 million cut from the tax serves merely as an uncertain promise that the 93-year-old school with chronically overcrowded hallways, a rat infestation and a now-eradicated mold problem will be rebuilt anew.

“What we’re facing is that it could be a gamble whether a new school will be built at all,” said Jim Redovian, who represents District 1 on the DeKalb County Board of Education. “Everything could change [in the future].”

Redovian says that the Chamblee facility – one of the best-performing high schools in the district – needs to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch.

The sentiment is enthusiastically backed by parents of students attending the high school and members of the Chamblee High Parent-Teacher-Student Association.

The rub is that constructing a new facility would require an additional $20 million to $25 million, according to district estimates.

The necessary cash could be delivered to the district via a local sales tax that could be put before voters in 2012. However, an uncertain economic climate casts doubt on whether that measure, if floated by the board, would gain acceptance by voters.

In effect, Chamblee has deferred spending its tax money in order to wait on additional money to build a new high school, but no guarantee exists that will happen anytime in the next several years, if at all.

Dunwoody Mom said...

LOL - the current Chamblee building is not 93 years old. If it is, then, I'm a heck of a lot older than I think I am.

In fact the old 1942 building was not completely torn down until the 1972-1973 school year.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Okay, I'm having a reading comprehension problem today - yes, Chamblee was founded in 1917 - 93 years ago.

Cerebration said...

According to the latest data (from the DCSS planning website) CHHS has 1439 students with a capacity for only 1212 (227 over) - and these numbers were collected before the AYP transfers were started this year (they held them up 3 weeks). The October count will tell us more.

In addition, the School Enrollment data recently posted shows Chamblee has 1439 total, 6 with an unknown residence, 752 non-residents, 681 residents of the attendance zone plus 25 area residents who have chosen to attend elsewhere in the system.

As far as the resident attendees are concerned, this number indicates the number of students attending public school. We all know there are many more high school aged students living in the CCHS attendance area. Many of them attend area private schools - but I would wage a guess that given a solid public school with decent facilities, many would return.

Anonymous said...

"Many of them attend area private schools - but I would wage a guess that given a solid public school with decent facilities, many would return."

The system should use the same exact plan for the LEED ceritied Arabia Mountain High for a new CCHS, saving a million on architect fees alone. You build that same building with some minor modifications on the CCHS site, and scores of area families who are now struggling to pay private school tuition would come running back to DCSS.

I like Redovian, but he got the money he wanted for new and renovated Dunwoody schools, but has never advocated for CCHS, which is in desperate need of a new facility (a renovation would cost almost as much as a new facility).

With the fast growing CDC campus right there, the partnership opportunities are endless.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Many of them attend area private schools - but I would wage a guess that given a solid public school with decent facilities, many would return.

I really don't think so Cere.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Redovian had nothing to do with the Dunwoody renovation or the new Dunwoody ES. Both were in the planning stages long before he took office.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 2:05. Do you have proof that if you take the Magnet students out that the test scores would be poor?

There are a lot of us who have been asking for this data separated out and still have not seen it. if you have it, please share it.

Plus, there are four groups;
Resident students
Magnet students
Charter students
AYP & Executive transfer students

I think folks would be surprised at the scores of each individual group. I hope that we get the separated data someday soon!

Anonymous said...

Umm, Dunwoody Mom, I know personally he pushed for the Dunwoody school renovations to happen in a timely manner. There are a ton of other school renovations in the planning stages. Cross Keys and Lakeside have been waiting forever.

Some get done. Some don't. Some get passed over so the BOE and Central Office can spend millionss on the Mountain Industrial mega-complex. if you don't think BOE'ers push for some projects more than others behind the scenes, then you're not talking personally to BOE'ers.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I think the better question is why DCSS decided to cease reporting scores separate for Chamblee. At one time the scores were aggregated Magnet v Resident. I also have requested a breakdown of the scores - with no luck. That alone makes me suspicious.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The Dunwoody renovations were put on hold and put on hold for 3 years - just like Lakeside.

If you have a beef with Redovian - that's fine and your right, just be factual in what you accuse him of.

Anonymous said...

Ella said "If elected to the school board I would not be in a position to evaluate employees anyway unless the employee was in a hearing. Evaluating employees is the job of the School Superintendent, and School Leaders. This is not the job of the School Board. The School Board evaluates the School Superintendent on how he does his job."

Which means same-o same-o unless the BOE will hire a totally independent super who will clean out the infestation. I am sure that Zephora, SCW, Dr Walker and Mr Bowen are all in favor of that. lol Look what happened to Dr Brown when he tried. but at least he got $450K

Dunwoody Mom said...

Cross Keys renovation is more or less complete, I believe - maybe wrapping up in December?

Anonymous said...

"Many of them attend area private schools - but I would wage a guess that given a solid public school with decent facilities, many would return."


I agree Cere! I personally know middle class parents in the Chamblee/Doraville area struggling to pay tuition for St. Pius, who would absolutely re-consider sending their children to CCHS with a better facility.

Upper middle class and upper class parents in the area are always going to first consider Marist, Galloway, Lovett, Yeshiva, etc.

But for middle class parents in the area, a new CCHS facility would not be the only consideration to come back to DCSS, but it is an important one.

Anonymous said...

"If you have a beef with Redovian - that's fine and your right, just be factual in what you accuse him of."


I know Redovian well, and let's just say, he was very, very involved with the various Dunwoody school construction projects. He was on the phone with Pat Pope all the time. We've had a number of DCSS related conversations among others, and before the last few months, CCHS was not on his radar. I like the guy a lot personally, and I think he's finally aware of the fact that he needs to better represent all of the schools in his district. He knows there needs to be major changes at the Central Office.

Unfortunately, he's not above trading votes with Zepora and Cere if there's another vote that's really important to him. But he is a good person.

Anonymous said...

"Cross Keys renovation is more or less complete, I believe - maybe wrapping up in December?"

Kim G. knows the story better than anyone: Cross Keys needed a much more thorough renovation than the one they received.

Redovian has done little with his representation of CKHS.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Sure he was on the phone - he was trying to jump start the renovation process at the high school that had been languising for several years.

The Dunwoody Elementary school? Totally a Chip Franzoni nightmare.

Dunwoody Mom said...

McChesney is the BOE rep for Cross Keys.

Anonymous said...

Everyone CCHS does have many proponents. The PTSA and others have decided to pursue it in a very respectful way. PTSA Co-President Ms. Ruffin spoke very eloquently at the Board meeting, Monday night. 40 others joined her and stood while she had her 3 minutes of comments.

No one cheered and even other speakers, who were there for other issues, added their support for CCHS.

So enough with the "no one is speaking up for CCHS" stuff. That is not true, CCHS parents and stakeholders are doing the best they can at being respectful.

As for Sandy, keep up the great work. We've been behind you since you detailed your conversations with CLew and Loeb regarding the demographers report. The sad thing is, Ms. Loeb left DCSS very suddenly and I hope one day she speaks out.

Ms. Smith can handle the heat or she would not be running for BOE, I have read Sandy's comments three times and can't quite find the bad parts others have spoken about. Telling someone they are sadly misinformed is not an attack, it was fact and Sandy backed up her comments with sources and detailed information.

By the way, I am not Mr. Spruill, I am a parent who fought hard to keep Nancy Creek open and who is behind the effort to build a new school for CCHS.

Dunwoody Mom said...

More bad news - it appears that DCSS will start near year with a $50 million shortfall.

I know that State Tax Collections were up again for the 4th month in a row. Maybe if that trend continues things won't be so bleak?

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-schools-face-more-669672.html

Anonymous said...

Re: Sandy, Ella and the anger thing:
An observation: otherwise sane and reasonable people can be pushed to blind rage by the inanities and pervasive unfairness of DeKalb Schools. Sunday school teachers and regular Temple-goers can be transformed into wild-eyed crazies because people can take just so much idiocy. So many times, wonderfully committed parents I knew when my child first started Kindergarten became angry, cynical depressives as incident was heaped on incident. There was the involved mom whose daughters were subject to some aggressively vile behavior of a 5th grade boy. He made a point of standing next to them in the lunch line, and outlining behaviors he would like them to participate in with him. One day he will probably work for a sex hotline. Anyway, the mom was outraged, police were called and somehow, it was decided the girls could be appropriately protected from the boy. Teachers would see to it. Within days, he was right back at it. The mom briefly pursued a sexual assault lawsuit before decamping to another county. And the boy? He was on special permission from another DeKalb school that had kicked him out.

Yes, I know there are some wonderful teachers in DeKalb! But there are also some WRETCHED ones. And my blood pressures rises and self-restraint erodes every time I suffer through a conversation with a DCSS employee who appears incapable of reasoned thought. You know, like “Your child didn’t turn in his Spanish homework and he may fail because of it.” Me: “He was not issued a book so how is he supposed to answer the chapter questions?” DCSS: “There are books in the media center.” Me: “There are three books for 60 students. They storm the library before and after school to fight for them. The media specialist won’t let them be checked out so if he can’t get one, he can’t answer the questions.” DCSS: “Then he could have done it at lunch.” Me: “The Library was closed for a meeting at lunch. And this problem is going to persist all year. Can’t you Xerox the homework? That would make it doable for everyone. ” DCSS: Copier’s broken.” Well shoot me now. DCSS sees its excuses as legitimate, while expecting the student to extend the space-time continuum to get a hold of a book he should have been issued. The fury over the unfairness extends to board members whose kids make mysteriously huge salaries while we spend a pittance on science education. It extends to football booster clubs who watch the gate receipts for the big county rivalries go right back to the DCSS athletic department, instead of it returning to the school communities that generated it. My patience, like that of many of these posters, is spent. Don’t let me speak at a board meeting because once I start down my tick list of issues, my voice would rise and people would point and say, “That lady is crazy.” And I’m not. I’m just frustrated and furious. And I’m in good company.

Cerebration said...

No, you make me feel as if I'm in good company!

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with Ramsey. Today we were driving to Stone Mtn. Park to enjoy our furlough day when a DCSS police vehicle (a Chevy Blazer) raced past us. It's a furlough day. Why wasn't that vehicle parked at the palace? Why was it going faster than 70mph? Who is paying for that gas?

Cerebration said...

Herman Munster voice here: "I knew it, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!"

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-schools-face-more-669672.html

YEP - those "CUTS TO GET AHEAD OF FUTURE CUTS" were mysteriously not enough! We still need more cuts! Due to this, due to that - now the total will amount to $150 million in cuts!

I told you. This was a smoke and mirrors. The board patted and patted themselves on the back for making deeper cuts than necessary last summer - and lo an behold -- it wasn't enough! (Or they've forgotten that they made them - or the administration neglected to actually implement them, or they weren't real cuts after all... ie: cuts to CTSS staff who were hired back on contracts and cuts to the entire print shop, but high costs for outsourcing that weren't included in the original balance sheet.)

Kim Gokce said...

"Cross Keys renovation is more or less complete, I believe - maybe wrapping up in December?"

The current target is end of January and still looks good. McChesney is the District 2 rep and lead for CKHS but Redovian is assigned to some of our feeders as is Walker and Speaks. In terms of scope, yes, it was far short of what the community would want and, ultimately, the total of $20m or so included new roofing at $6m and half the remainder or more went to the Tech wing to accommodate Tech North. I try to put a "glass half full" spin on it but it is far from ideal and a bit insulting to the community.

Regarding my re-post of our site's motto - yes, it was a reminder that we have to work together and I have seen more divisiveness lately and lament that. If we are to affect the type of change needed, we have to avoid turning against one another.

Anonymous said...

Different employees have different furlough days. The central office/palace was open today.

I think principals might have been working today as well.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County schools likely will start next year’s budget with a $50 million shortfall.

Cere

The board was trying to prevent cuts during the school year. They never mentioned avoiding cuts for the 11-12 school year.

If the state comes in and cuts education funding mid-year, this school year, DCSS should be ok.

Who you cast your vote for Governor matters.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I try to put a "glass half full" spin on it but it is far from ideal and a bit insulting to the community.

Well, I also believe that it were not for Kim, that much would not have been done at Cross Keys. Even with the renovation Cross Keys is far from what it should be but, yet those children still to accomplish awesome feats. It speaks volumes of the children and teachers at CKHS. They are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Ella's right about the proper role of the school board -- the school board is supposed to hire and fire and supervise the superintendant and really monitor and watch over the money. The superintendat is supposed to run the system. If a BOE member gets into hiring and firing individual employees of the system, it becomes micromangement; it crosses lines deemed inappropriate and subject to SACS review and punishment. Now, the fact that our current BOE and its members don't understand any of this and violate these principals all the time does not mean that it isn't the way it's supposed to work. If appropriate checks and balances are in place and the BOE appropriately supervises the Superintendant and the money, it would work much better than the micromangament of the little fifedoms that we currently have that have allowed the system to sink to rampant corruption , inefficiency, race baiting, lack of long term strategic planning and fighting amongst themselves and ourselves over various pots of dough (while vast quantities of it walk out the door into specified few pockets).

Anonymous said...

If the Super and staff need to cut, how about the school improvement Dept? Audria Berry abd her army should all be let go. You know, austerity cuts. Our schools failing are going up while Ms. Berry and her army continue to spend a lot of money. How about America's Choice? Can we dump that too?

Remind me again why we had to build that expensive fiber optic network?

Anonymous said...

Many of them attend area private schools - but I would wage a guess that given a solid public school with decent facilities, many would return

Then why are they not returning to Chamblee Middle School? It is a new facility and has the same issue as the high school with lack of resident students.

Anonymous said...

There are more residents coming to CMS. Get ready! The economy is forcing more folks back into public. The elementary schools feeding into CMS are over capacity and I can assure you folks everyone in these schools are NOT going private.

Let's not close a new building or school just because some of the residents are attending private schools. I would like to ask Anon. Where he would send the CMS resident kids? I guess we could draw the Chamblee kids into Peachtree Middle, that's the closest Middle School in the area.

Maybe the kids on the south side of Peachtree, like Ashford Park could be drawn into Sequoyah? I wonder how those parents would like that?

Just ideas here since Anon. 7:30 is implying that all our kids in Chamblee are attending private school. If we close CMS, what do we do with the 5 year old building?

How about we re-balance the districts and let Dan Drake do his job before we start making these arguments about the Chamblee kids not deserving their own neighborhood schools.

Be True to Your School said...

@ Anonymous 7:30 PM

I believe most parents who live in the Chamblee Cluster Attendance Area take the long view in terms of planning where their child(ren) will go to school.

So, why would they send their child(ren) to Chamblee Middle only to have to move them a few years later back into private or parochial school because CCHS is an unhealthy building?

A new CCHS building, especially following the suggestion of an earlier poster who thinks that Arabia Mountain plans should be used to build a LEED-certified green building, would be a big draw.

If the economy fails to improve significantly, parents in the Chamblee Cluster will be looking for quality education alternatives to pricey private schools.

Kim Gokce said...

Thanks for the kindness, Dunwoody Mom, but I can't take credit for that - a whole lot of folks spoke up for Cross Keys during that critical summer. I'm just one that was willing to put my name out there in spite of the opposition.

"Maybe the kids on the south side of Peachtree, like Ashford Park could be drawn into Sequoyah? I wonder how those parents would like that?"

Ashford Park was a Sequoyah school until 1998 but via aggressive parental petitioning it was successfully drawn into CCHS. This served two purposes: 1) It got those parents what they wanted, 2) It helped keep CCHS enrolled.

When I started advocating for CK, I heard from Chamblee attendance area folks telling me they were adamantly opposed to any talk about redistricting in our area. Translation: "our neighborhoods are coming back to CK over my dead body." I don't think that has changed and think the talk about a combined attendance area will be met with equal resistance.

A couple of months ago an anonymous Chamblee blogger castigated me for my support of CK's cause by saying they "hoped I'd be as vocal for Chamblee's kids." So, when a new, shiney school is built for the deserving children in Chamblee, I will be happy for them but will lament how it happens. Educating our youth should not be the political game that it is - c'est la vie in DeKalb!

And so it goes now as it has for decades ...

Anonymous said...

The Ashford Park redistricting was a disgrace and it had nothing to do with filling Chamblee.

It is another example of how a handful of parents can have way to much influence in DeKalb. It wouldn't happen in Gwinnett.

Kim Gokce said...

Dunwoody Mom: "It speaks volumes of the children and teachers at CKHS. They are an inspiration."

Here, here! Tonight one of them walked onto the YMCA Youth Soccer practice at CK to watch. As we talked, he shared with me that he'd just returned from Williamson on a recruiting visit, that he was preparing to interview with Georgetown in a week or so, and was flying to New York to interview at Hamilton - all on their dime.

Whenever I get discouraged by the politics of public education, I try to turn my thoughts to these young people who never fail to amaze me ...

Anonymous said...

I admire the optimism of the Chamblee contigent. However, I'm afraid they are not be realistic at all.

According to the 9/15 enrollment data provided by Dan Drake, the 3 Chamblee feeder elementary schools (for sake of the attendance argument I am leaving out KMS) are over capacity by a mere 147students - that is not nearly enough to even remotely warrant talk of reopening Nancy Creek as some have suggested. We'll wait and see what the Oct. FTE report indicates, but I doubt it will be much different.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, October 7, 11:29 PM

Ron Ramsey does not represent the 4th Congressional District in Georgia. He is not even in Congress. Ramsey is a state senator representing Georgia's 43rd Senate District. All or part of the 43rd State Senate District does lie within the 4th Congressional District.

I am curious to know what 2 or 3 accomplishments by Ramsey you could point to as examples of him representing his district very well.

Ramsey has been in office since 2006, so, given your ringing endorsement, there must be something of note that he has done to benefit all of his constituents. I am not talking about "personal services." I am talking about significant, useful legislation that leads to community improvement, safety and attracting new businesses.

Anonymous said...

Another piece of Chamblee trivia from about the time of the Ashford Park change. The elementayr schools on the Buford Highway area were exploding. There should have been massive redistricting back then. Relieving Cary Reynolds, Dresden etc.

Didn't happen. Anyone want to guess why?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Whenever I get discouraged by the politics of public education, I try to turn my thoughts to these young people who never fail to amaze me

Amen...

I could have given up on Public Education and sent my kids private, but I refuse to give in. I owe my own education to this school system and by damn (excuse the language) will I let these clowns taken it down any further without a fight.

Kim Gokce said...

"The elementary schools on the Buford Highway area were exploding"

... and they still are. I don't believe we have a school under 700 among the 5. Perhaps Oakcliff ...

In any case, it is a moot point. Our system is organized to benefit the most politically savvy. Recently, the wind blew towards districts south. Perhaps winds are blowing northerly now, then easterly later.

Who knows what schools the political winds will favor? It is all so exciting!

Sandy Spruill said...

Hear! Hear!

Good one, Dunwoody Mom!

Like you, I, too, am committed to public education.

Together, we shall prevail over the vultures who are now feeding -- without the slightest tug of conscience -- off of our children and our teachers.

Kim Gokce said...

To try and get back on topic here, the ultimate issues with DCSS are structural - we've recounted this fact on this blog for, what, two years now?

So the best we've come up with so far is to "throw the bums out" in an election year. Let me know you folks, I don't think it is the panacea we think it is ...

How about this, how about an elected Superintendent? The Board should be an appointment by a State or Regional using strict guidelines about their qualifications. Their job then would be to keep a sharp eye on whatever bumpkin we the people elect. Just throwing out ideas at random because I'm convinced the system IS the problem - changing a few names is no fix.

Anonymous said...

The problem might just be that large bureaucracies are easy targets for corruption. On a different entry, I just posted about the latest scandal at the DeKalb Housing authority.

It is much harder, though certainly not impossible, to have as much corruption as we are seeing in governments across Metro Atlanta, when they are smaller and more community based.

Ella Smith said...

Sandy may be excellent on writing articles. However, I do believe she is not totally knowledgeable on the political meetings I attended in central and south DeKalb. I did not see her at any of these meetings.

Besides I am neutral regarding Ramsey. I just asked a question and do believe he has a legal right to take leave to do what he does or what he told me he does. This does not make me misinformed at all. This is where Sally is wrong. I am a very educated individual and am capable of scanning an evironment and determining that a group of people appear to like Ramsey. This is not misinformation either. However, Sandy was not at these political activities that I was at so the person who was not present to scan the environment and make an educated decision was Sandy so in fact she is the one misinformed by decided to write an article on me be misinformed on a situation in which she was not present to make a judgement on at political events and situation. The person misinformed regarding my comments here is Sandy. Now she may know about the other issues. I have no knowledge of any of these things. I just choice not to judge people.

Ella Smith said...

I just choose not to judge people.

Anonymous said...

I figured something out. 10 years ago, Ron Ramsey was just a lawyer with some side businesses. He had no background in education, internal affairs, etc.

But he was a member of New Birth. As was Crawford Lewis.

Things have worked out well for Ron. State Senator. Owner/Co-owner of many businesses. And somehow he finds the time to also be the head of DCSS Internal Affairs (thanks to the double-dipping help of Robert Tucker).

Even though it was the local media who brought attention to the many scandals of DCSS and not the DCSS Internal Afairs Office, Ron Ramsey is sitting pretty. Even though he was aware of Pat Pope misdeeds for at least three weeks and did not bring them to the proper authorities.

Yep, even with all the scandals (like Yvonne Butler and Bookgate), Ron Ramsey is still on top.

Anonymous said...

"Yep, even with all the scandals (like Yvonne Butler and Bookgate), Ron Ramsey is still on top."

Will someone in the know please tell me why and for how long?

When he does go, please have him take Robert Tucker with him.

Anonymous said...

Kim I couldn't agree more. The system should change, ut we need the state to intervene to make that happen. I don't think our state legislators are too excited about helping on this one. Have we heard from Mary Margaret Oliver or that other legislator that was going to get involved?

I also agree an elected Super might be the way to go. However, I'm not sure if that would change anything. DeKalb elected officials have a powerful constituency and we all know why Dunwoody succeeded from County rule.

I think right now the charter clusters are the way to go and let's get the decision making on a true local level.

We have so much work to do and currently electing the bums out November 2nd is a good start.

Anonymous said...

In regards to Chamblee. I have been an advocate for redrawing the lines and balancing attendance zones for years. This has NOT been done in DCSS properly for 30 years.

Reopening Nancy Creek is not an option any longer, however a choice that some, I said some parents were asking back when they decided to close it was to keep a residents program at the school, like the other magnets in the area. They do have room to do this.

For too long 285, on the north end, has been a wall for DCSS zones. Huntley Hills, Nancy Creek and Montgomery could have helped Dunwoody with their overcrowded schools. But you know the parents in Dunwoody would have fought that hard.

Gwinnett redraws lines every 4 to 6 years, DCSS has not really done it in 30. Once again let's get Dan Drake to do the tough job develop a program and let's get moving and balance our zones. There is no need to have as many trailers as we have with 140+ properties in the DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Ten years ago, Dunwoody schools weren't overcrowded, but the Buford corridor schools were. Redistricting should have happened then, but it was Chamblee area parents who fought it. Dr. Hallford supported them.

More than 15 years ago, there was a committee called the North Corridor and it was Chamblee parents who resisted sharing facilities with Dunwoody.

You are right, Dan Drake needs to be allowed to do his job, but let's try and keep the history as straight as possible.

Anonymous said...

The Montgomery parents also early on resisted any attempts to have a discussion regarding the apartments/condos along I-285 possibley being redistricted from Dunwoody to Chamblee attendance areas.

Facts, people....

Anonymous said...

I forgot about that. Very true. And Dr. Lewis had a soft spot in his heart for Montgomery because of his years there. Those parents were heard and different solutions were found.

Ella Smith said...

I did asked two school board members today if Ron Ramsey took leave of absence and both of them assured me it had been investigated and he does take leave of absence when he is at the State Capitol. I told both school board members I had faith enough in them that I did feel this was the case.This is why I made the judgement I did.

I feel very comfortable in the statement I made. I was at the forums to see the reactions to Mr. Ramsey. I did do see Sandy there. The whole point here is that people from different parts of the county have different prospectives which is not a bad thing. People from different parts of the county have different needs. This is not a bad thing. However, when emotions get involved and we start throughing mud at each other and judgements are made because someone sees things slightly different from you there is a problem and people cannot made rational decisions like this.

I personally have no idea how bad things are in Ron Ramsey's department. I am not a board member or an administrator at the county office so I do not have access to this imformation formally. I could speculate but I will not.

I also respect the decision that Dunwoody made to become a city. This was their right. However, as a citizen of incorporated DeKalb it affected me in a negative way when this happen. I can see how both sides feel. I see myself as neutral on the issue as I can understand why both sides would feel the way they do. It has not impacted me significantly to take sides one way or another. However, I have been attacked for making scientific observations which I do think is interesting as a science teacher. I am extremely neutral on the Dunwoody situation as it does not significantly rock my world one way or another.

Ella Smith said...

throwing mud-forgive me-I need to proof and not be so impulsive when writing

Ella Smith said...

I was very touched that Ramsey was advocating for individuals who suffer for Tramatic Stress Symdrome. Unless you suffer from such a horrible symdrome you would have no idea of how tramatic being stopped by a police officer could be. I want to formally go on the record of saying I appreciate his work in this area. I really do not care if Sandy appreciates his work in this area or not. She may not have family members who suffer from Tramatic Stress Symdrome. I do.

Ella Smith said...

Kim, I agree.

I think we have too many school board members first of all.

The whole idea of having school board members represent districts is a problem also as then the school board members feel they have to do what is best for their district and not the entire county school system.

An elected school superintendent is the same problem. I have lived in areas like this. This in itself is not the answer.

I would be supportive of having 7 school board members elected throughout the county as then the school board members would represent the whole county. They may come from a certain district but they would represent the citizens of DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

OK. I accept that Mr Ramsey has taken DCSS non-paid leaves of absence. (Of course I would like to see documentary proof, but I know that that will not happen) The real point is that he does not seem to be performing his job function. But who really cares? Surely not Ms Tyson or the BOE. Status quo is the order of the day.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The Ashford Park redistricting was a disgrace and it had nothing to do with filling Chamblee.

It is another example of how a handful of parents can have way to much influence in DeKalb. It wouldn't happen in Gwinnett.

In response to the comment above:
I was one of those parents. The only reason Ashford Park was not zoned Chamblee was because the buses would have to cross the "then" railroad tracks at 8th Street and Clairmont a couple of times a day, and the County said it was a safety issue ... therefore Ashford Park was zoned Cross Keys. Ashford Park is actually closer in proximity to Chamblee. When the parents went before the Board way back then (my child who was at Ashford Park then is 21 now), the railroad tracks were no longer an issue because 8th street access was closed and the bridge was built over Clairmont, both for MARTA reasons. SO, those are the facts. I was there. Brad Bryant was on the board then and can also confirm this ... as you know, he is now the State Superintendent of Ed.

Anonymous said...

The real point is that he does not seem to be performing his job function. But who really cares? Surely not Ms Tyson or the BOE. Status quo is the order of the day. -------

EXACTLY THE POINT. IS ANYONE LOOKING AT THIS? WHO GIVES HIM HIS ANNUAL EVALUATION? I REALLY DO WANT TO AN ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION (I'M NOT JUST BLOGGING), SO WHO DO I CALL AND ASK?

Anonymous said...

THE ABOVE POST IS ABOUT RON RAMSEY ... FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE NAME.

Ella Smith said...

This is the school superintendent's responsibility. Then it is the school boards responsibility to make sure the school superintendent is doing what she/he is suppose to do. The school board cannot micro-manage the day-to-day operations of the school system. That is why SAC is knocking at our doors now.

This is why having a good school superintendent is so vital in running our school system. The school board sets policies, evaluates the superintendent, sets the budget, hires the school superintendent and approves all the decisions of the school superintendent in a check and balancing act. However, they do not run the day-to-day operations of the school system. They do not superivise the employees. They do not go into schools and micromanage the situation. This is why we are under a microscope now.

The School Superintendent is responsible if a problem exist with a central office staff. If something is not being done it is the acting school superintendent's fault. The school board evaluates the school superintendent and sets standards and expectations for the school superintendent.

Anonymous said...

TO ELLA ...
You said in a comment that you are neutral about Ramsey. Now if you were me, that would be fine ... I'm not running for school board. BUT, since you are running for school board, HOW CAN YOU BE NEUTRAL ABOUT A MAN WHO DOESN'T PERFORM HIS JOB AT DCSS ADEQUATELY? In fact, very very poorly? In fact, not at all? Again, he supports or looks the other way for "friends and family" and if it helps the "palace people" actually destroys the innocent. How can you be neutral about something this serious? Please tell me this.

Anonymous said...

"I think Ella is taking the heat for her comments when her opinion should be respected. This is supposed to be a discussion. I wouldn't expect everyone to agree."

Oh, yes ... and ditto for Sandy. Did you forget to add her?

Cerebration said...

Guys, she is neutral because she does not have access to personnel files. She has no way of knowing the facts about how Ramsey performs in his job. She would appear foolish to publicly criticize someone when she simply has no way of knowing any facts.

Sandy has a very strong opinion about Ramsey, obviously. She has also documented why she feels as she does. It didn't appear to me that she was "attacking" Ella in any way - simply pointing out how she felt Ella was "misinformed" and then providing her own data to support her opinion.

It's just a debate - and an important one, as Ramsey holds a very powerful position in the school system and at the state.

Cerebration said...

BTW - I do believe that Ella is correct - the superintendent is in charge of Internal Investigations - which may need to be changed. Perhaps Internal Investigations should do as the new auditor and report to the board, with a dotted line to the super - as it now appears that Lewis was able to manipulate who gets investigated and what becomes of the results. That is a very bad set up - in hindsight.

Anonymous said...

Cere, you don't have to have access to personnel records to know that Ramsey and/or his team (he's responsible regardless) has botched investigations. If he had done the job he was hired to do, innocent people would still have their jobs and the CLew and Pope saga would not have risen to such huge proportions. No one has to have access to personnel records to know this.

By the way, the person who is in charge of evaluating Ron Ramsey ... wonder why aren't they doing it, especially with all the buzz out here about him. Even this shows things are not on the up and up. Just like why other people have their jobs STILL when the facts show they certainly should not. People have been reassigned or fired for much much less. Why not these?

Anonymous said...

Ella, you have stated that Mr. Ramsey is advocating for individuals who suffer with Tramatic Stress Syndrome, my question is, where is this taking place? and if Mr. Ramsey is providing his service for DCSS student?
The reason that I'm interested in knowing this information is because my child is a special need student with DCSS; my child have experience bullying, Harassment, Intimidation from a employee of DCSS last year and her neg behavior tried to start again this year. As a result of this, my child has two additional medical diagnoses; they are of Post Tramatic syndrome disorder, Phobic disorder of schools.
After taking the proper approach by informing the powers to be at my childs school,and with the upper command with no results, I attempted twice with no success to file a complaint with the, "Office of Affairs. I went twice to file against this DCSS employee. I can't seem to speak with him nor can I seem to get the complaint form to file from his office, on behalf of my child?
I'm interested in knowing where is Mr. Ramsey advocating for indiviuals with PTSD Syndrome?

Anonymous said...

"After taking the proper approach by informing the powers to be at my childs school,and with the upper command with no results, I attempted twice with no success to file a complaint with the, "Office of Affairs. I went twice to file against this DCSS employee. I can't seem to speak with him nor can I seem to get the complaint form to file from his office, on behalf of my child?"

Oh my goodness, I swear I'm having a flashback. You, too? And, this is about a child! This is scary ...
and no one above Ramsey is looking into these allegations? WHO'S INVESTIGATING THE INVESTIGATOR?

Kim Gokce said...

Anon: 2pm'ish "Ashford Park is actually closer in proximity to Chamblee"

Well, at the risk of sounding argumentative, it depends on how you mean that ... if you mean the distance between the ES building to the HS buildings, it's close.

CCHS is about 2.6m and CKHS is about 3.0m. If you are talking about the attendance areas ... way different. The majority of Ashford Park attendance area is and always has been near the heart of Brookhaven.

Areas of the APE/APS (depending on your pref) attendance area run inside of 1 mi of CKHS. While it never closer than 2mi to CCHS with the exception of the areas you mentioned over Eight Street. Let me be clear - I don't care where Ashford Park ES feeds into as long as the kids are getting fair treatment.

But the point is really moot. You were there and had your reasons. There were many others there who have told me their own stories and they are quite different. Is it possible that both are true? Of course.

I want the kids in the Chamblee feeder pattern and the kids in the CK feeder pattern to be treated as equals - that means equal respect, equal priority, and equal opportunity. As long as we isolate these kids along Buford Hwy, we are not doing any of those three things and it is not in our self-interest to do this.

Two buildings, one building, a tent city, I really don't care. Call it Chamblee, call it Brookhaven, call it East Buckhead, call it south Dunwoody, don't care.

As for the topic of this thread, yes we should be examining the role of Mr. Ramsey. Many months ago (more than a year???), I decried the fact that the audit and internal affairs function reported into the office of the supreme leader of Dekalb Schools - that is ridiculous and must change.

As for whether the tone of Sandy's post is appropriate, I have to say, 'no.' The title alone says it all - "Ella Smith -- You Are Sadly Misinformed." To me, it is reminiscent of Saturday Nigh Live of the 70's with their, "Jane, You Ignorant Slut," skit. Everyone has their opinion - that's mine!

God bless America where we have freedom of speech.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon Oct 8 8:23 "There are more residents coming to CMS. Get ready! The economy is forcing more folks back into public."

Way back up there Anon made a very important point I forget to comment on with all the excitement about Sandy v Ella here. :)

Re-read what Anon said there very, very carefully and then riddle me these questions:

1) If the economy recovers, will those same "class" of parents flock back in droves to private?

2) Should the BoE build new facilities with the current economy in mind or the future economy?

3) If you are eating at Waffle House instead of Houston's due to the economy, are you going to stick with Waffle House when things look up for your personal prospects?

Kim Gokce said...

FOOTNOTE: In my case, #3 is yes. Waffle House is a treasure.

Anonymous said...

Kim

The questions you ask about economic choices are ones that economist are thinking about as well. No one knows if people's behaviors are forever changed or if things will change as their personal economies improve.

I will say that the Waffle House analogy and school analogy are probably not the same. I know to many people who are not in public school by choice and no matter how happy they are, still long for private school. (And I am talking about people across metro Atlanta in some of the best schools around not just in DeKalb.)

I think the forecasting part of Dan Drake's job is going to be the hardest.

I also think that when the economy improves, big changes will eventually come to your area. The area is to close to downtown to stay as it is.

Higher end housing simply doesn't attract the same amount of families.

The challenge, though, is that we don't know when, or dare I say if, the economy will get stronger especially as it relates to real estate development.

Be True to Your School said...

@ Kim Gokce 6:59 PM

"Well, at the risk of sounding argumentative, it depends on how you mean that ... if you mean the distance between the ES building to the HS buildings, it's close."

Well, Kim, it seems like -- in your zeal to defend and promote Cross Keys at all costs -- you are comparing apples to oranges here. Why would the difference between Ashford Park Elementary School and CKHS or CCHS be a concern? Students go from elementary school to middle school ... remember?

The facts are that it is more than 5 miles over a somewhat convoluted route from Ashford Park to Sequoyah Middle School. It is less than half that distance (2.2 miles) between Ashford Park and Chamblee Middle School over a much more direct route.

I really hate it when people -- even you, Kim, who I would really like to respect -- use incorrect information, irrelevant facts and half-truths. It's not okay because many people are going to take what you say at face value and not bother to check it themselves.

Regular posters on this blog have a responsibility to back up opinion with fact.

Anonymous said...

Sequoyah is pretty far from most of its feeders. Montclair and Woodward and are over 5 miles away and Oakcliff is 4 miles away.

Ashford Park isn't so close to Chamblee Middle either. It is about 2.5 miles away and when CMS was in Dunwoody it was much further.

I don't fault the actions of the AP parents, in fact back then I probably admired them, but there were a host of reasons that parents desired a change and geography was just one of them.

However, I was at a meeting where the then Mayor of Chamblee spoke about her desire to see all the students that actually lived in the City of Chamblee attend Chamblee High and you should have seen the heads of the parents in the room shaking no. This was a long time ago, but it obviously made a big impression because when I was reading these posts I remembered it clear as day.

Anonymous said...

"Be True" must be related to Sandy Spruill - same rude responses to opinion/information he/she does not agree with.

Sandy Spruill said...

@ Kim Gokce 6:59 PM

"Two buildings, one building, a tent city, I really don't care. Call it Chamblee, call it Brookhaven, call it East Buckhead, call it south Dunwoody, don't care."

There are a lot of us who do care. The Chamblee tradition of excellence -- its proud history --is strong and it is real.

Chamblee is the second oldest high school in DeKalb County and the first high school in north DeKalb County.

Chamblee School was begun in 1905 as a one-room, one-teacher grammar school. High school-level courses were added in 1917, in response to community need, for the benefit of students who wanted to go on to higher education.

In 1926, Chamblee became DeKalb County’s first school to be accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission. Chamblee High School, serving only secondary students, was founded in 1928. Chamblee High School was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1934. It has been continuously accredited ever since.

Chamblee High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence early in 1996.

Making one wing of its building available by putting high school classes in trailers, in 1997 CHS birthed Chamblee Middle School. In 2000, CHS evolved into Chamblee Charter High School.

As a charter school, CCHS is open to all students across DeKalb County. So, Kim, Cross Keys students are not "isolated along Buford Highway." They can apply to attend Chamblee Charter High School simply by getting into the lottery.

On second thought, I challenge you: how about putting some of your incredible energy into helping CKHS become a charter school? A charter cluster perhaps? I feel certain there would be a lot of DeKalb students who would see CKHS as an attractive alternative to their present school. CKHS students would definitely not be "isolated along Buford Highway" then.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I arrived in Chamblee in 1996. We got involved pretty quick with the establishment of CMS and then the new building on Sexton Woods. My wife and I were even threatened by an anonymous email that we showed to everyone, including the Chamblee Police. By the time the meeting, to decide to build CMS on Sexton Woods, happened the neighbors who were against CMS were appalled by the threat and stopped the fight right there.

If Chamblee fought to keep Dunwoody folks from coming inside 285, that must have happened before we arrived in 96.

When we fought to keep Nancy Creek a neighborhood school, we were told by a former BOE member, Franzoni, that redrawing lines and balancing attendance to Nancy Creek, with students in the Georgetown and Perimeter areas, outside 285 would never work, those parents would not attend a school itp. However, we had found several families behind Georgetown that were also in agreement to redraw the lines to include their area into Nancy Creek. I for one love our friends in Dunwoody, our kids play baseball and football with them at Murphey Candler. I just hope Redovian is not re-elected.

There certainly is a lot of history up here on the north side for sure. However, we must let Dan Drake do his job. Everyone agrees that balancing attendance zones is job one, I look forward to see what he comes up with.

Anonymous said...

Sandy

It is awesome you are so proud of CCHS. Multiple times on this blog, you or other Chamblee advocates have been asked what would happen if there was no magnet program there.

The question is never answered. (Well, I think once a Chamblee parent posted that if her child wasn't in the magnet program they probably wouldn't be at CMS.)

There is absolutely no admission that the magnet program is a big part of the test scores. The magnet is a big reason that Chamblee has the reputation that it does. And the magnet belongs to the system not to Chamblee.

Your condescending note to Kim is quite typical of your tone and style. If the charter went away at Chamblee, the school would be fine. DeKalb would still fill those spaces, in fact there is a state law that defines a mechanism to do so.

Ella Smith said...

Chamblee High School is such a important part of the community history just like Cross Keys High School is an important part of its community history. No one should be indicating which school is more important. Both schools are important to their own community. Again bias comes into play here depending on your address.

Anyone who looks at the Chamblee situation knows that the school benifits form having the magnet program at Chamblee and it is absolutely true that the magnet students test scores make the school look really good. However, this has nothing to do with the quality of the overall school.

We do need a new high school in the north side of the county and eventually we might need two. There is no need to get upset on this blog about what school has the best history as both schools have excellent histories for their communities. I have campaigned for years in the Cross Key's community. Cross Key's High School also has a great deal of history. However, Chamblee is an old established community and their high school is also very established.

Sandy, I love your spirit and your passion for Chamblee. You had to be a cheerleader at one time. If you where not then you are definitely one of Chamblee's biggest cheerleaders now and I respect you for this just like I respect Kim for his passion to help Cross Keys. We need more involved citizens like you.

You can think I am misinformed. I can deal with this just fine and it has nothing to do with the respect I have for your spirit and what you believe in and stand for. I would be proud to work on a committee for change with either Kim or you anytime. We can disagree and then work for change. People have to be able to disagree and then worked together for the students in this county. Things must change and we must put the students first. Besides Sandy I really do not know Ramsey well at all other than asking him questions and seeing him speak. I just try not to judge people honestly without data or proof.

Ella Smith said...

Regarding the Tramatic Stress Sydrome and Ramsey:

I just heard him discuss this and I was happy to see this added for these individuals as I do have family members who suffer from this condition. I do not know much about his record other than this.

I was just sharing what I heard at a forum when I heard him speak. I did think it was very interesting and different than what we hear about him on this blog. As a teacher I learned a long time ago that individuals do things you like and dislike and just because they do things we dislike does not mean that everything they do we are going to dislike. As a teacher sometimes my students do things that make me so happy and sometimes they misbehave and get on my last nerve. No person in the world is perfect and everyone makes eras in judgement and everyone one does good things. We should be looking at the whole person and not judging people for every decision they make. Some may be good and some bad. I honestly do not know Ramsey well enough to make judgement about him. However, it is not my place either. This judgement belongs to GOD.

Cerebration said...

True Ella. However, many comments in the past have focused on whether or not Ramsey is doing a good job as head of Internal Affairs - not simply whether or not we happen to like him or what we think of his character.

Ramsey had been given information about Pat Pope a long time ago, according to some of our bloggers. However it was not until Dr Lewis requested an investigation into Pat Pope that Ramsey officially conducted one. We never find out the results of this investigation, because in the interim, Lewis threw Pope under the bus while being questioned by the DA about his p-card purchases.

We have heard many stories from people who have tried to blow the whistle on corruption or who have requested an investigation to no avail. Then my personal gripe is that he called for a boycott of Dunwoody businesses on the floor of the Capitol in protest of the city's incorporation. This is a conflict of interest with his DCSS job, as a boycott would cost the school system a whole lot of money in lost sales tax revenue.

I just have to wonder if he is dedicated to protecting the school system. I also have to wonder if we wouldn't be better off if that position had to report directly to the board, with a dotted line to the super, like the new auditor. Obviously, Lewis had major control over who and what Ramsey investigated.

Anonymous said...

On second thought, I challenge you: how about putting some of your incredible energy into helping CKHS become a charter school?

Sandy, YOU challenge Kim Gocke? On anything? How dare you!!! You have absolutely no idea how big an advocate this man is for Cross Keys HS. Sandy, you whine and scream about a new building for CCHS. Kim, as well as pushing a renovation for CKHS (one that is entirely and woefully underwhelming for the age of that school) works tirelessly to make sure that the students of Cross Keys and its feeder schools have what they need INSIDE the building.

Kim Gocke is not a person you should be slinging "challenges" at.

Cerebration said...

I have to agree there. Kim Gokce is absolutely one of the very best people I have ever met, anywhere. Hands down. He has worked tirelessly for his community and the students of Cross Keys. I hardly know of anyone who has worked this hard for the benefit of others - many of whom have no voice in the system whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

But, again, Ella regarding your comment "I really do not know Ramsey well at all other than asking him questions and seeing him speak. I just try not to judge people honestly without data or proof."

You do not have to KNOW someone to see whether or not they are effective and/or corrupt on their job. It becomes obvious to everyone at some point, doesn't it?

He may be a wonderful person in other aspects of his life, but he is NOT effective at DCSS in his high position of authority. No one feels good about going to his department to get relief from dire situations. And that's what his department is suppose to be about.

Are you getting what we're saying? It's not about judgment, it's about observation and results and far reaching consequences of this department, led by Ramsey, not doing their job effectively.

Anonymous said...

Ella, you're a great person who cares about the system, but my of my do you go by emotion and first impression.

"I did asked two school board members today if Ron Ramsey took leave of absence and both of them assured me it had been investigated and he does take leave of absence when he is at the State Capitol. I told both school board members I had faith enough in them that I did feel this was the case"

Is it an unpiad leave of absence, and who is in charge of Internal Affairs in his absence? Surely, it's not Robert Tucker, a former gym teacher and retired DCSS administrator with no background or education in Internal Affairs.
Why isn't the No. 2 at Internal Affairs in charge rather than someone who gets to take two DCSS paychecks, one as a retiree, one as Internla Affairs de facto head while Ramsey is out of the office for over two months.

And I don't have faith in our BOE members to make sure Ramey is on unpaid leave of absence. Does Ramsey have a DCSS vehicle? If so, it should be taken away during his unpaid absence. Our BOE members have proven there is little oversight of upper administrative staff.

Were the BOE members aware of Ramsey owning-co-owning many businesses in addition to his DCSS and state sebtator duties? Is DCSS Internal Affairs his first commitment?


And on this, my are you way, way off:
"I also respect the decision that Dunwoody made to become a city. This was their right. However, as a citizen of incorporated DeKalb it affected me in a negative way when this happen."

Dunwoody had every right to leave DeKalb, as their residents did not believe that the county provided certain services well, and did not come close to returning the taxes paid Dunwoody tax base back to their area, but instead, substidized other parts of the county.

How did the Dunwoody incorporation hurt you? It had little to no effect on the rest of the county. Yes, it meant ONLY ONLY PERCENT less revenue for the county, but it also presented the county opportunities to save on services, such as not needing police, code enforcement, planning, etc. for Dunwoody.

Because of the incorporation, the county then had many opportunities to downsize abd save budget expenditures and even layoff some staff. If the county failed to do so, then that is not Dunwoody's fault. Taxpayers such as yourself have a duty to hold the county accountable an use the Dunwoody incorporation to downsize accordingly.

Ramsey's tirade against Dunwoody was inexcusable, and should have been reprimanded by the superintendent and BOE at the time.

Also, the simple fact that Ramsey and his staff have failed parents and taxpayers in so many situations, whether the Lewis/Pope scandal, Bookgate, the Frankie Callaway grade change, etc., etc., his leadership of the Internal Affairs Office is questionable enough to consider his dismissal.
Ramsey is well known for blasting any teacher who's frustrated enough to ask questions, but he ignored administrators and staff. Where in the world was Jamal Edwards for six months while he was supposed to be at a school as a MIS CTSS??

Ella, where are the checks & balances from Ron Ramsey??!!

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, Lewis had major control over who and what Ramsey investigated."

Yes, and I know for a fact that on at least one occasion Ramsey and "Investigators" and "Others Who Fell in Line" supporting a botched investigation received a "tongue lashing" for "taking something too far" from Lewis himself.

Not that the end result was changed, but it certainly does confirm your statement above.

Anonymous said...

Another ANON says, "who is in charge of Internal Affairs in his absence? Surely, it's not Robert Tucker, a former gym teacher and retired DCSS administrator with no background or education in Internal Affairs."

Man oh man, how I wish I could share just how badly this man handled my particular situation. I will one day share with someone who has the power to do something about it, but unfortunately this is not the forum. Let's just say, you wouldn't believe it and leave it at that. You absolutely would not believe it unless you had witnessed it yourself, as I did and as others that were interrogated did. In this case, seeing is believing. And I saw much much more than I ever wanted to see and my work life is forever changed because of it.

Anonymous said...

KIM says
As for the topic of this thread, yes we should be examining the role of Mr. Ramsey. Many months ago (more than a year???), I decried the fact that the audit and internal affairs function reported into the office of the supreme leader of Dekalb Schools - that is ridiculous and must change.

YEA!! WHERE AND WHEN DO WE START?

As for whether the tone of Sandy's post is appropriate, I have to say, 'no.' The title alone says it all - "Ella Smith -- You Are Sadly Misinformed." To me, it is reminiscent of Saturday Nigh Live of the 70's with their, "Jane, You Ignorant Slut," skit. Everyone has their opinion - that's mine!

NOW NOW, THAT'S NOT A VERY FAVORABLE ANALOGY AND MAKES YOUR TONE NOT VERY NICE AS WELL.

I'VE DECIDED, REALLY JUST TODAY ON 10-10-10, THAT I'M SPENDING WAY TOO MUCH TIME READING AND RESPONDING TO THIS BLOG WHERE MOST OF US JUST WANT TO PUSH "WHAT WE KNOW IS THE RIGHT WAY" RATHER THAN BEING OPEN TO MAYBE LEARNING FROM WHAT OTHERS ARE TAKING THE TIME TO RESEARCH AND BLOG. TO BE EFFECTIVE, WE NEED TO DO MORE THAN JUST SPOUT OUT OUR "RIGHTNESS" ... WE MUST BE WILLING TO WORK TOGETHER, IN SPITE OF OUR DIFFERENCES, COLLECTIVELY POOLING ALL OUR OUR VAST AMOUNTS OF KNOWLEDGE TO REALLY STIR THINGS UP IN A POSITIVE WAY AND BRING ABOUT REAL CHANGE AT THE SUPER AND BOE LEVELS.

SO, MAYBE IT'S TIME FOR ME TO STEP BACK AND CONSIDER THAT.

Anonymous said...

This bears repeating, and I only have one comment to add:

To all the CCHS speakers to the board (Ms. Ruffin) and all the people who stood behind you RESPECTFULLY speaking to the Board ... GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. LET'S SEE HOW FAR THAT GETS YOU WITH THIS BOARD. Maybe in the future, when Powerful People's Personal Agendas are off the table, then maybe you will be heard and speaking calmly and respectfully with no anger will work. I'm praying for time such as this.

Here's the reprint from (finally) an objective blogger:
"Everyone CCHS does have many proponents. The PTSA and others have decided to pursue it in a very respectful way. PTSA Co-President Ms. Ruffin spoke very eloquently at the Board meeting, Monday night. 40 others joined her and stood while she had her 3 minutes of comments.

No one cheered and even other speakers, who were there for other issues, added their support for CCHS.

So enough with the "no one is speaking up for CCHS" stuff. That is not true, CCHS parents and stakeholders are doing the best they can at being respectful.

As for Sandy, keep up the great work. We've been behind you since you detailed your conversations with CLew and Loeb regarding the demographers report. The sad thing is, Ms. Loeb left DCSS very suddenly and I hope one day she speaks out.

Ms. Smith can handle the heat or she would not be running for BOE, I have read Sandy's comments three times and can't quite find the bad parts others have spoken about. Telling someone they are sadly misinformed is not an attack, it was fact and Sandy backed up her comments with sources and detailed information.

By the way, I am not Mr. Spruill, I am a parent who fought hard to keep Nancy Creek open and who is behind the effort to build a new school for CCHS."

Anonymous said...

Anon says,
"Ramsey has been in office since 2006, so, given your ringing endorsement, there must be something of note that he has done to benefit all of his constituents. I am not talking about "personal services." I am talking about significant, useful legislation that leads to community improvement, safety and attracting new businesses."

Hey, Ramsey supporters, we're waiting ...

Anonymous said...

This blog has very few voices from S. DeKalb. There may be some readers but there doesn't appear to be many posters.

Cerebration said...

They are certainly welcome here. I'm not sure what your point is - but I would love to hear from more people in south DeKalb. Please encourage anyone you know from that area. I also heartily recommend the south DeKalb blog -

South DeKalb Blog - for stuff about south DeKalb

Anonymous said...

So, who's next on the chopping block? :)

Ella Smith said...

More investigations are being done by the DA. Tyson does not play.

I want to see accountability and fairness through the Internal Affairs Office like all of you. I also think there must be a check and balance and the school board members must hold the school board superintendent accountable. There are no excuses. However, currently it is the job of the school superintendent to evaluate the effectiveness of central offices staff and their offices. There does need to be an audit with a new superintendent and make sure the taxpayers are getting what they are paying for or cuts need to be made.

Anonymous said...

Ella, Do you mean to wait until we have a new Super to start an audit? I hope not, they should get that audit underway immediately so the new Super has some info to work from. Plus, every single page of that audit needs to be public information and not hidden from public scrutiny.

Ella Smith said...

We need ongoing audits in this school system in many departments to check on efficiency.

I hope this is ongoing now with the new auditor.