Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The October 4 Board Meeting

I've been out of town on a work-related event and see that you all have been discussing last night's very long board meeting. Here are some recaps from your comments I found to be very interesting.

"So they dropped the agenda item deciding the $50K vendors tonight. What on earth could the staff need to discuss with counsel? Maybe the fact that businesses on the list are not listed with the Ga. Secretary of State?"

Thank you Cere, Sandy and those who post on the blog. I know firsthand that the BOE received a lot of feedback on the agenda item, which would have sailed through if not exposed to sunlight on this blog.

The list itself is not a bad idea according to what my BOE rep. told me, but it was so poorly done, and hopefully Marcus Turk will have his behind chewed out by Tyson for trying to present such shoddy work.

Businesses not registered with the state? 7 law firms? Businesses that have actually dissolved? Judge Moore? Callaway Gardens?

C'mon Marcus Turk and Ramona Tyson, please prove that you can be good stewards of our hard earned taxpayer dollars!

===

I applaud Pam Speaks and Don McChesney for asking the questions that need to be asked. For too long this staff got away with hiding things in agenda items and placing them onto the agenda at the last minute so no one knew what was happening. Then if Clew said it needed to pass, it would be passed. Not any more!

The ineptness of the staff almost lost that supplemental funding for Gateway at no ones fault except for Tyson's and Moseley's. This leadership has to go! It's time for change, sorry to burst your bubble, Ernest Brown, Tyson is not the Super DeKalb needs. We need a new, no ties to deKalb Super and we need the resignations of Tyson, Turk, Moseley, Beasley, Thompson, Mitchell-Mayfield, Hunter, Ramsey and the rest.

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When the attorney said that board members having no individual authority but only have authority when they act as a board, Gene Walker objected to the part where it says that board members should be focused on the entire school system. He wants to focus narrowly on his individual constituency. Apparently McChesney had the same concerns as Walker. So does Roberts, Cunningham, and Copelin-Woods. The attorney is suggesting that instead of the word narrowly the word only be used. (In other words, a school board member should not be only focused on their constituency. )

The state board is requiring these changes as they want school boards to be viewed as trustees.

Bowen made good points about school board members needing to be able to advocate for their districts.

The policies are about to be put on the table for 30 days. This is one to be commented on.

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$2,600,000 in salary and benefits for the 21 members that directly support Dr. Audria Berry at the Office of School Improvement.

Compare that to something Don McChesney seemed to have a serious problem with -

Details

The DeKalb County Board of Education approved $30,837 in 2009-2010 for the purchase of K-12 science materials and supplies to support the district’s goal to increase the academic success of students in science for the 2010–2011 school year. These funds are used to provide resources for district-wide science goals. In addition, all local schools allocate funding for the day-to-day operation of science teaching and learning. Therefore, due to combined spending across the system from our 144 sites the district may exceed $50,000.00 from bid numbers 09-73 and 09-139.


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OMG!  Are you serious?  We only spent about $30,000 on science materials and supplies last year for over 140 schools?!!! And what about the missing textbooks? The board approved over $7 million last spring for textbooks and yet to date, we are hearing of many schools that are without the much needed textbooks. We are in a crisis - our per student spending is not going to the student!

86 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I was unable to watch the BOE meeting last night.

I disagree that a BOE member should "advocate" (definition "plead in favor of) for their particular constinuency. A BOE rep must and should be able to bring to the table the needs, desires, problems, etc., of their districts. But, at the end of the day, the decisions made by the BOE must reflect what is best for the entire school system. If what is best for DCSS means that District X, does not get something, then so be it. We've spent too many years and too many dollars with reps "scratching each other's backs".

Anonymous said...

Regarding public comments at the BOE meeting last night, I thought Ernest Brown's pep rally for Tyson was pathetic! I also thought it was embarrassing that some woman in the crowd thought it was permissible to scream and cheer during and after the speech.

Folks, I know a lot of people who believe Mr. Brown is all about what is good at DCSS. Well I know first hand, he was/is a Clew friend and confidant and should not be trusted.

Does he actually thinks Ms. Tyson should stay on as Superintendent? After all the shoddy work that was exposed last night do you really think we can continue with the current DCSS leadership? Please!

Someone said right after CLew was fired that we need to bring someone in to clean the Palace guard. Well, that's what we need before we hire a new Super. We need to clean out the current Palace guard so the new Super can come in and hire the folks he/she needs to bring DCSS from the abyss of abject failure!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the fact that the system should be cleaned out before a new superintendent comes in.

I do happen to think that Tyson isn't doing a terrible job. She has an untenable task just managing the day to day operations of the system and trying to make sure that the cleaning out process is beginning and that the policies are updated. The book scandal is still ongoing I believe. There is so much going on that it is overwhelming to think about.

Should she be the permanent superintendent? Nah. Even she says that.

I would like to see the board hire an interim for the next 12 to 18 months. Have that person come in and do the heavy lifting of firings, consoldiations and closings and let the next permanent superintendent start with a clean slate.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb taxpayers pay $2,600,000 in salary and benefits for the 21 members that directly support Dr. Audria Berry at the Office of School Improvement.
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/improvement/contacts.html

Add to this Office of School improvement:
1. $9,000,000 in salary and benefits for around 90 Instructional and Literacy Coaches
2. $4,300,000 in salary and benefits for around 70 Family Services Center Coordinators and Specialists (Zepora Roberts daughter is one of these)
3. $8,000,000 a year for America's Choice scripted learning program
4. $1,400,000 a year for Springboard scripted learning program
5. $3,400,000 for 47 Graduation Coaches.

That's $25,000,000, and I'm only listing part of this department.

Here is Dr. Berry's Office of School Improvement's Mission, Vision and Goal:

Mission
"The mission of the DeKalb County School System is to form collaborative efforts between home and school that maximize students' social and academic potential preparing them to compete in a global society."

"Vision Statement
"Premier DeKalb Schools - Setting the Standard for Excellence through Unity and Purpose"

Goal
"Our goal in the Department of School Improvement is to design and implement a coherent and sustained system of support and process for improvement, providing local schools and centers in the DeKalb County School System with the tools and resources as well as intensive support for schools not making Adequate Yearly Progress."

Here is what we have gotten for our $25,000,000+ from Dr. Berry and the Office of School Improvement. No accountability:

MADE AYP rate for DeKalb over time (source Georgia DOE):
2003 - 2004 86%
2004 - 2005 77%
2005 - 2006 71%
2006 - 2007 79%
2008 – 2009 71%
2008 - 2009 78%
2009 - 2010 56%

Our SAT scores (source Georgia DOE):
2004 – Verbal 464 Math 459 No data
2005 – Verbal 465 Math 457 No data
2006 – Verbal 462 Math 451 Writing 452
2007 - Verbal 457 Math 443 Writing 446
2008 - Verbal 452 Math 443 Writing 444
2009 - Verbal 451 Math 441 Writing 442
2010 - Verbal 449 Math 442 Writing 437

If you want figures for the BOE to consider since they want data in order to make changes, give them these figures. A change needs to come in the Office of School Improvement. We should expect improvement in our schools, not steady declines. The Office of School Improvement is not meeting its mission and goal.

(sources: State Salary and Travel audit, DCSS website, Georgia DOE website)

Anonymous said...

I found Beasley's non-plussed reaction to the lowly $30,000 spent on science equipment disturbing. He more or less shrugged his shoulders and stating that the teachers have to work within their budgets.

Come on! $30,000 for science teachers to SHARE when we spend MILLIONS on people to supervise them and tell them how to IMPROVE?

Cerebration said...

Barbara Colman was apparently not happy about this one, but her hands were tied. This was a contract executed way back when by Stan Pritchett for a straight 6.5% commission to the architect. No one does that anymore, we pay a flat fee for architects. But we are stuck with this contract so now, we have to PAY.

Summary
Approval of Change Order Number 3 will provide final closeout of the Architect’s Contract for the New Peachtree Middle School project.

Details
On July 16,2004 Addendum #001 per the letter from then Associate Superintendent, Dr. Pritchett authorized an adjustment of Cooper Carry’s fee to 6.5% of the final construction cost as accepted by DeKalb County School System. Therefore, the following Change Order is the remaining open items to complete the close-out for the Peachtree Middle School project.

Financial Impact
The original Construction Value of $19,437,155 x 6.5% = $1,263,415.08. Therefore, the final Construction value including base bid and Change Order Requests 1 through 26 $20,780,418.22 x 6.5% = $1,350,727.19.

Supporting Documents
Peachtree MS School Final Architect Change Order

Requested Action
It is recommended that the Board of Education approve Change Order Number 3 to the Architect Cooper Cary,Inc. in the amount of $68,961.15 in order to make final payment and close out the project. Funding is available within the Construction Budget.

See the supporting document at this link;

New Peachtree MS

How frustrating for Colman. I think she is trying very hard to be as transparent as possible but she is finding some really dirty laundry.

Anonymous said...

2004 -- Totally different board -- same problems.

Public education,especially large school systems are dysfunctional everywhere.

We need to split DCSS up.

Anonymous said...

Office of School Improvement is really on a roll now and boosting that graduation rate! You no longer have to make a 69 in a class to be eligible for "Credit Recovery" - a student can make as low as a 50 and still be eligible! Sadly only 15% of those taking advantage of credit recovery were able to pass and that % is about to drop! Lot of money/salaries being spent on credit recovery but not much return on investment!

Anonymous said...

"MADE AYP rate for DeKalb over time (source Georgia DOE):
2003 - 2004 86%
2004 - 2005 77%
2005 - 2006 71%
2006 - 2007 79%
2008 – 2009 71%
2008 - 2009 78%
2009 - 2010 56%"


Haven't you figured out that the number and percentage of students passing the tests required to make AYP goes up every year by 5% until it reaches 100% (all students passing)? The we will all be in Lake Woebegone with all our students will be above average.

The Republican administration responsible knew that this was unlikely but it is a good way to dismantle and discredit public schools. Already the private sector for profit charter school companies are building the Enron of education outsourcing. For profit colleges have the highest dedfault rate on student loans (over half of all the defaults) because they are a sham. Nationwide more than half of charter schools have failed for financial reasons. In Texas it is closer to 75%. Nationwide studies show that most charter schools do no better than their public coounterparts. The exceptions are the schools that can cherry pick their students and families or that have greater latitude to expell unsuccessful students.

In the meanwhile public schools who make modest increase in student achievement do not make AYP because of the ever increasing percentage required. Use test scores if yo like, but forget about AYP as a measure. The truth is that we face an ever increasing divide. If you are middle class and come from a family that believes that a good education is important then you will do fine in school. It will also help if you are white ( I won't say minority because that is about to change in the next 10 years). Standards in Georgia are abysimal. We have lower SAT scores because we have a high percentage of disadvantaged minoirty youth. Over 60% of DeKalb County students are on free and reduced lunch. Their families do not own homes (in fact over 2000 DeKalb students are HOMELESS) and probably couldn't even afford an apartment in Dunwoody.

As for Springboard it is a product put out by the Colllege Board to help more students be ready for AP classes. I thought we discontinued it in the funding cuts-but if not great~!

Anonymous said...

so let me get this straight: THESE FOOLS ACTUALLY THINK THEY SHOULD "ONLY" BE CONCERNED WITH THEIR CONSITUENTCY. That is the biggest crock of #$%@ I have ever heard. They are to act as one board, period. This is the entire problem. Of course the needs of one area are different than those of another. But they are supposed to be working for the common goal, overseeing the financial needs of educating our children.
Where the "only" comes in is advocating for an issue or problem in a specific district.
But ultimately they are one body.

AS to Tyson, NO Way, she shouldn't stay. How easy it would be for them not to have to deal with the search. Tyson is not the answer.

The current board including, Mr. Don Mchesitateny, needs to go. Hopefully, we have found some new blood to come in and help get some of this CLEANED UP.

Anonymous said...

They will continue to favor their particular constituencies over the entire county as long as they are elected by a particular constituency and not the entire county.

If we want to change how they act once they are on the board, we need to change how they get on the board in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. They should be elected individually to the school board, not as a representative to a certain area. A true election where all the candidates are voted on county wide not just me voting on our district representative.

If I had a say in re-electing Copelin-Wood, she would be long gone.But she is beloved by her constituency and they want her there. Even if her concerns are only for her area and not the good of the whole county.

These folks have to take the personal out of it, it's just the business of finances and keeping the doors open. It's not personal, don't take it that way. It's for all the children, not just those in S.Dekalb.

Anonymous said...

In at least one or two places, school board members are elected system wide, but must live in a certain district. But these are small systems.

Quenterious B. Tolen Does anyone know what school he is from. He spoke very eloquently last night. I was impressed.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the fact that our school system is large enough to have all of these board members from different regions is a clear sign that our school system is too large. Most school boards consist of people who are from the same town, so there is no need to have "regions".

Cerebration said...

Like I said before, this "over the $50,000 limit removal" involves a long list of attorneys. They want carte blanche to bill, bill, bill - feeding from the trough that is DCSS. I have serious concerns that these very same lawyers are "advising" the school board on a policy that directly effects the lawyers themselves!

Anonymous said...

Folks, be careful about having an election county wide for all board members. This could be a very slippery slope.

The needs in North DeKalb are very different to the needs of South DeKalb, according to the constituents. If there were county wide elections for all BOE member,s the minority that exists in the north would be swallowed up by reps who would most likely live in the south.

Be careful!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps--and this would justify the absurd size of the board--6 from regions and 3 FULLY at large members would work.

As it is, I have no vote for the Board this year, as it looks like anyone I could vote for is an "even" and therefore not up for relection.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:52 said "In at least one or two places, school board members are elected system wide, but must live in a certain district. But these are small systems." This is how some municipalities handle their at-large town/city council posts. It provides for geographic diversity while promoting accountability to the all of the county taxpayers.

I'm all for not letting Board members hide in the security of their adoring District constituents. The DeKalb County Board of Education doesn't need to be a district pork factory like the United States Congress. This taxpayer can't afford this foolishness.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind the same set-up as the county commission: 5 district representatives, a 2 super district rep's (one on the east side, and one on the west side).

Smaller board. Less push than we have now for their own specific schools. The super district rep's would be east-west instead of north-south.


And wow, Sarah Copelin-Wood babbles, rants, is always unprepared, asks ridiculous questions, and is just a mess. I don't know how any resident from the district she represents can say: Out of the tens of thousands of residents in our district, she is the best to represent us and the educational needs of our children.

Anonymous said...

I say the board members should be appointed by the governor. While there would be some drawbacks, it would likely put an end to career board members, and would provide an easy way to take one out if need be.

Anonymous said...

Yes to a smaller school board.

Gwinnett has only 5 school board members. Don't you think that most of what they do is done on what is best for the system?

I am sure that they can't be as responsive to parents either. Do you think DeKalb parents are ready for that?

Anonymous said...

Unable to watch meeting. Did the issue of missing textbooks come up? What was the response, if so?

Anonymous said...

The textbooks issue, not sure if it was mentioned in the REPS comments section. I for one am very angry that this board approved 7 million dollars for books in the Spring and yet we still don't have enough books for the classroom. Whose job is this?

The outrage of the night for Dr. B was when he was asked about the $30K for Science Classes across the district. He shrugged and said teachers should stay within the budget. This from a guy that is part of leadership that is costing us millions of dollars yet we only have $30K across 144 schools which amounts to $208.33 per school. What does a science teacher do with $208.33? CCHS doesn't even have a working lab right now! Beasley you are one of the many reasons our children are failing in DCSS! This leadership has got to go sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

During the item about the American History grant, Dr. Walker brought up the fact that some of his constituents are raising concerns about America's choice and they ahve the data to back up their concerns.

Then Ms. Tyson said that she would ask Bowen to call a called meeting to talk about academics.

Cunningham then mentioned the textbook issue but instead of pushing for an answer now, he said he could wait for the called meeting.

Spanish I was specifically mentioned.

Then, bless Copelin-Woods' heart, she had a lucid moment and said we were told that all students had text books! Unfortunately, she didn't have the fire in her belly at that moment and didn't make a scene. If there was ever a time....

Anonymous said...

$30,000 for K-12 science? Are you kidding? Dare I ask what DCSS spends on athletics?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:11 pm

"During the item about the American History grant, Dr. Walker brought up the fact that some of his constituents are raising concerns about America's choice and they ahve the data to back up their concerns."

$8,000,000 for America's Choice every year, $21,000,000 for the salary and benefits for 21 employees of the Office of School Improvement who hang their jobs on America's Choice and $9,000,000 in salary and benefits for the 90 Instructional Coaches that support America's Choice.

So now we're in for $38,000,000 a year, and not one of those 111 employees directly instruct children (and that's not counting the $400,000 Hollywood trip last fall for America's Choice training for around 180 DCSS employees - only 45 were even teachers - http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-school-employees-at-291275.html).

There's something basically wrong when we are spending this amount of money and have absolutely NO Return on Investment - in fact, less and less of our schools are making AYP.

What would $38,000,00 a year spent on direct instruction in the classroom do for our students? In mathematical terms we could pay for the salaries and benefits of 678 additional highly qualified teachers with Masters degrees and 3 years of teaching experience for $38,000,000 a year.

A former highly placed DCSS administrator is a Project Manager at America's Choice. She was promoted to Assistant Superintendent under Lewis. Read the link below to hear her remarks about the program being implemented in DeKalb. Did she have any influence on DCSS choosing this system?

DCSS press release:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/newsroom/press/pdf/2009-07-30.2009-09-11.DCSS_Joins_with_Americas_Choice.pdf

Anonymous said...

DeKalb used America's Choice several years ago before they had to stop because they could no longer afford it.

So, DeKalb isn't a newcomer to the program. Just took a hiatus.

What I thought was a good sign was that Dr. Walker was listening to whomever is talking to him. For all his myriad of faults, I do believe that he is concerned about student achievement or the lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

The revelation that DCSS only spends $30,000 for science equipment for 97,000 students was the most shocking factoid of the evening. Where are the science teachers? Have you requested microscopes, slides, chemicals, test tubes, scales, etc. and been turned down? What do you need to teach biology, chemistry and physics in 2011? I know my son's lab rooms are ancient, too small for the large classes and look almost exactly like something ftom the 70s.

I also thought Ernest Brown's grandiose compliments about Ms. Tyson and how she is so underpaid were inappropriate. I think she is doing a good job under very trying circumstances. But Brown lost all credibility with his adoring comments. It was very weird.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:12 pm
"DeKalb used America's Choice several years ago before they had to stop because they could no longer afford it.

So, DeKalb isn't a newcomer to the program. Just took a hiatus."

DCSS used America's Choice for a number of years when they received state money for it, and we saw no improvement in student achievement.

When the state money ran out, the America's Choice program in schools in DCSS was discontinued. I remember the words of an AP I worked with who was at an America's Choice school. She said, "We don't need any more coaches telling teachers what to do (referring to the Literacy Coaches Lewis had instituted in addition to the America's Choice Coaches). We need teachers in the classroom working with the students".

Science and Social studies were virtually suspended in lieu of reading and math most of the day for America's Choice (as if science and social studies are mutually exclusive with respect to reading and math.)

America's Choice was brought back with the federal Stimulus money. Now there is no Stimulus money. We are paying for this multi-million dollar program and paying for the tens of millions in non-teaching personnel costs to support this program with Title 1 and general operations funds money.

Student achievement is lower, not higher.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:34

"The revelation that DCSS only spends $30,000 for science equipment for 97,000 students was the most shocking factoid of the evening. Where are the science teachers? Have you requested microscopes, slides, chemicals, test tubes, scales, etc. and been turned down? What do you need to teach biology, chemistry and physics in 2011? "

I know no one wants to hear this, but please hold the pitchforks.

DCSS spends almost $7,000,000 for salary, benefits, maintenance and transportation for Fernbank Science Center. Except for the 180 SST students that attend classes every day, most students are lucky if they get one trip a year to Fernbank Science Center.

Mastery of science principals takes day after day of direct instruction by competent science teachers with access to science tools and materials.

Where are the science teachers? There are 28 science teachers at Fernbank Science Center. The rest of the 62 employees are administration and support services personnel.

You asked where the science money is. I'm just telling you where $7,000,000 of it is. $7,000,000 would buy a lot of science equipment. Ms. Tyson and the BOE made its choice (with a little help from the Fernbank Community).

Please take another look at the article I wrote a few months back:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/are-proposed-dcss-budget-cuts-going-to.html

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to note that no other system in GA is spending the kind of monies we are spending at Fernbank and almost all of them have better results than DCSS on science standardized tests.

Anonymous said...

Would this be a good place to respond to Mr. Beasley's comment about "no 'i' in 'team' but a 'u' in 'unemployment'" by pointing out there's two "ss" and an "a" in "Morcease Beasley"?

No Duh said...

Left field question. Agenda included approval of a committee to rename Shamrock. Why are they renaming Shamrock?

Ella Smith said...

I foresee there being 7 school board members. I see the at large districts gone real soon.

I feel strongly that every school board members votes should be based on what is best for the entire school district. The voters in a district must vote for candidate based on what is best for the entire district. This is where all the micro-management comes in and all the problems come into play.

The new state law is the state law and the school board needs to abide by it and set their policies accordingly. I think this was what their attorney was trying to indiciate last night.

Anonymous said...

No Duh

This was discussed extensively on another post.

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-are-they-up-to-now.html

Anonymous said...

From the called agenda for tomorrow:

E. PRESENTATION\DISCUSSION
1. SPLOST 3 Surlus Funds ($35-4..
2. QSCB Stimulus Funds ($58mil)
3. Facilities Need Assessment

I am not an expert but I don't think they are voting tomorrow. I just got an email indicating that we should attend because they are voting? I am confused. Anyone want to clarify?

Anonymous said...

You are correct not to trust Ernest Brown. He is using the podium to run for a seat on the BOE again. Hopefully the voters will not buy into his game plan.
He desperately wants to be important and spend all of his time keeping up confusion under close doors. In the school system, he tries to intimidate teachers and is a bon a fide trouble maker.Again, he is looking for acceptance for Ms.Tyson and hanging around for support while he tries to put his name out here. Taxpayers beware of Ernest Brown and the smile. TROUBLEMAKER!! NOt a problem solver.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what was his point last night? He is always trying to be seen and heard at meetings. His main agenda taxpayers, is to win approval from the community since he lost to Mr. Walker.
This man is always lurking around looking for information to take back to BOE members or others in the system who he feels may have some clout.Move fast whenever he comes around. His intentions are always fake and undercover. Very few people in Dekalb is impressed with Ernest Brown. You can see that when they failed to elect this clown.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago the county purchased a new science curriculum on the elementary level. Each year we receive a box of consummable materials to replace items that have been consumed from the previous year. Maybe that is what the $30,000 is for. Rachel Fiore is the science coordiantor for the county and does an awesome job.

Anonymous said...

Most troubling in the discussion about only $30,000 for science was Beasley's nonchalant response. HE IS THE HEAD OF INSTRUCTION, yet seems to have little understanding of what instruction entails.

Anonymous said...

If this $30,000 was for a special curriculum that uses consumable goods in K-5, then it is very troubling that Beasley is clueless about what this money is for. He was so non-chalent about this. He literally just shrugged his shoulders and stated that teachers have to watch their budgets when Don asked if that is all we spent on science materials. Amazing!

Cerebration said...

The Southwest DeKalb High School PTSA
Presents
“Board of Education Candidate Forum”
FOR
DeKalb County School Districts 5 & 9

DISTRICT 5 CANDIDATES:
Jesse “Jay” Cunningham (Incumbent)
Jacques Hall Jr.
Dr. Kirk A. Nooks

DISTRICT 9 CANDIDATES:
Dr. Eugene P. “Gene” Walker (Incumbent)
Ella Smith (Coach Ella)

A hands-on community event designed to allow the TAX-PAYING parents of DeKalb County the opportunity to be heard in the political process of the choosing of a Board of Education representative forour local school districts.

WHERE: Southwest DeKalb High School Cafeteria
WHEN: Tuesday, October 12th
TIME: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Please join your neighbors in participating in the question and answer forum for the candidates for the DeKalb County Board of Education. This is YOUR opportunity to be heard before the Board of Education elections are held on November 2nd. The Forum will be moderated by the CrossRoadsNews
Editor/Publisher Jennifer Parker. It will consist of a panel of local media, Southwest DeKalb High School
Local School Council members and Southwest DeKalb High School PTSA Executive Board member
There will also be a question and answer session for YOU the taxpayer!!!

Come make your voice be heard!!

SPONSORED BY: CrossRoadsNews, Southwest DeKalb High School PTSA and the Southwest
DeKalb High School Local School Council

Anonymous said...

No Duh, regarding the Shamrock name change, some Shamrock parent named Lisa Gordon came up with the idea. She has done some kind of research that has impressed a BOE member. No one from the neighborhood was invited to be on the huge committee.

If anyone knows Lisa Gordon, would love to see her post her reasoning on the blog, and answer some questions.

Anonymous said...

Yeah!!


From: Nancy Jester
Subject: Online check register - YES!

I heard that you were asking candidates what they think of the online check register for the DeKalb County School System. I am FOR this! I’ve blogged about this and made it part of my LASSO plan: http://blog.nancyjester.com/ . The “O” is for Open Governance and I specifically call for the online register. I also call for an objective scoring system to rank facility needs and projects and post this list online.



I am happy to discuss this issue with you further if you have any questions for me.

Thanks for your work to keep voters informed and your commitment to open and competent governance in DCSS.

--Nancy Jester

Anonymous said...

The BOE was told that the $30,000 is for K-12 materials, not just K-5. So this is a woefully inadequate amount of money. Chamblee parents have asked that the science labs be repaired (not replaced) for three years but nothing has been done.

When I asked "where are the science teachers" I meant could the high school science teachers who are required to teach labs, please let us know what they need in the way of science equipment.

Anonymous said...

The 30K for science materials must be clarified. I think there's a lot of misinformation, but no specifics. For that I fault the staff who threw this line item out there with no explanation.

The science budgets are pitiful, but I know when I taught a few years back there were several budgets for materials, and those budgets, back then, came from the principal's instructional budget. That number was upwards of 100K for a high school, to be divided among all the departments. I think from that our science dept. received $6,000 for supplies, and there was a separate budget for equipment. Not enough, about $3 per child for a year to perform science experiments.

So the 30K it seems would be something special - maybe microscope purchases or maintenance, maybe software, etc. Something extra. One year, every science teacher got a digital microscope to hook up to a computer. They weren't quality, but they worked somewhat. Probably in the range of $25K to $30K to equip every science teacher with that.

So the $30K more than likely is coming from one vendor as a line item, and not the entire science budget for the entire district. So, until someone gets the facts, please don't spew this kind of nonsense again.

Anonymous said...

Stop blaming Beasley for the state of poor performance in Instructional Leadership. It was Gloria Tally who drove instruction in the ditch, who brought in America's Chioce, Coaches etc. The Board not anyone on this blog ever critized this dumb lady, who had never been a Principal nor Instructional Coordinator. Dr. Lewis hired her because she is related to Lynn Cherry Grant.
As for Ernest Brown---he has always been very active in the school community. He supported Dr. Halford, Dr. Brown and Dr. Lewis. When he disagreed with them, I believe he handled it in a professional manner going directly to the source and not the blog!
I can't wait for him to run again. He will certainly get my vote and financial support. He is one of few who will look at the system neesds in addition to his district needs. He has always been very active in education in several schools. RamonaTyson said from the beginning that she didnot want this job. So give her credit for trying to save our SACS accreditation.

Anonymous said...

Final eduKALB School Board Candidates Forum

eduKALB, a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization seeking to improve the performance and leadership on the DeKalb County Board of Education will hold its third in a series of school board candidate forums on Thursday, October 7, from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the DeKalb Medical Center, Main Campus, in the Hospital Theater Auditorium on the ground floor.

The League of Women Voters of DeKalb County, Leadership DeKalb, Junior League of DeKalb and the Champion and Free Press are co-sponsors of the forum, along with eduKALB. Political commentator and analyst Bill Crane will serve as moderator for the forum.

All 15 candidates seeking election to District seats 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 have been invited to participate. The forum is free and open to the public. Questions for the candidates will come from the audience, as well as the moderator.

Time will be allowed towards the end of the program for members of the audience to meet and chat with candidates in attendance. After all participating candidates have been introduced, candidates will be grouped by district, and alloted time for opening statements, responses to questions and closing statements.

Advance and absentee voting is also already underway in DeKalb County at the following locations:

You can click on this link on the DeKalb Board of Elections website to determine which Board of Education District you currently reside in. District # 9 is a county-wide seat, and will appear on all precinct ballots. Board of Education races are non-partisan, and appear near the end of your ballot, just prior to proposed state Constitutional amendments.

eduKALB will announce its slate of preferred candidates for District seats 1, 3, 5, 7 & 9 next Tuesday, October 12.


You can view candidates in action at last week's forum at Dunwoody City Hall by clicking on these YouTube links. There were no candidates from District #3 in attendance at this forum.


For brevity, you can visit: http://dekalbchamberofcommerce.org/dekalbchamber/workforcedevelopment.asp

District 1 Candidates

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGfPa_h_mEk

District 5 Candidates
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHp8KdGQMCw

District 7 Candidates
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wmPw-kXvt4

District 9 Candidates
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Iv-qx9EINM

Anonymous said...

Lisa Gordon has so much energy to change the name of Shamrock. Wish she and her committee had the same amount of energy to look at millions wasted by the BOE and Central Office on America's Choice, SchoolNet, eSIS, why the BOE and Central Office wastes millions on Audria Berry's army, a broken MIS Dept., a bloated school police dept, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:47

"Stop blaming Beasley for the state of poor performance in Instructional Leadership. It was Gloria Tally who drove instruction in the ditch, who brought in America's Chioce, Coaches etc."

But Dr. Beasley has continued driving in the same direction. He's been supportive of Ms. Talley's poor educational decisions including America's Choice, Instructional Coaches, etc. He also has a lot in common with Ms. Talley in that neither of them were/are certified to teach students and both of them are short on teaching experience.

"The Board not anyone on this blog ever critized this dumb lady, who had never been a Principal nor Instructional Coordinator."

Not true. Many (most) bloggers were extremely critical of Ms. Talley.
Please use the Search button on this blog, search for Talley and read the comments.

"Dr. Lewis hired her because she is related to Lynn Cherry Grant. "
Ms. Talley is not related to Ms. Grant. Lewis hired Gloria Talley to get DeKalb Schools through the SACS review. Gloria Talley was a Director in the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta, Georgia. SACS and the Southern Regional Education Board are both accrediting agencies. They overlap in so many ways. In addition, these two organizations have common social ties since they interface in so many ways.

I don't know Ernest Brown, but he seems very smart and I would vote for him too. If we excluded everyone who supported Lewis, we would have a had time finding anyone to run for the BOE.

Anonymous said...

Save SACS accreditation? All SACS asked for was for answers to questions. SACS said the accreditation was never at risk.

We needed an interim to clean the Palace out of these so called leaders who proved last night they are not up to the task of presenting information to the BOE in an honest and forthcoming manner. My BOE Rep told me today that the work that Turk had done on the +$50K vendor list was a cut and paste job and had no value to anyone, that was why it was taken off the agenda.

Gateway almost lost it's supplemental funding because of the shoddy work by Moseley and Company. I loved it when McChesney told him we weren't doing things the same way that the past administration did. This reason alone is why we need a complete Palace cleaning!

Beasley is just more of the same, ties to DeKalb County and the only interest he has is in himself and how this job will help his resume. His explanation about the 30K in science funds being spread out over the entire district was awful and uninformed, "the teachers must follow their budgets." What kind of explanation is that?

If America's Choice was Talley's idea then why have we kept it funded? She's gone and there is NO return in investment in that program. It's Time we defund it and move the funds back into the Title 1 schools where it is needed.

Where are the 7 million dollars in textbooks, that the BOE approved in the Spring?

"As for Ernest Brown---he has always been very active in the school community. He supported Dr. Halford, Dr. Brown and Dr. Lewis."

I lost respect for Ernest Brown last night, his cheer leading was pathetic. The taxpayers want action not cheer leading. Lewis picked Tyson to be the interim, that's my problem with her. She never handled MIS well, so how can I expect her to handle her new position any better?

Maybe that's Ernest's problem, he has always supported mediocrity and NOT success! Hey if he wants to be involved GREAT! How about asking the staff and the leadership to be accountable for their work and decisions!

Anonymous said...

PATS popsting:
Instructional HS Math Coach (Title I):
$47,397.60 to $88,192.80

Part time Special Ed Instructional Change Coach (Stimulus Money):
$29.02 to $52.99 per hour

Title I Language Arts Coach:
$47,397.60 to $88,192.80

The top pay is almost $10,000 more than a teacher with a doctorate with 30 years of experience.

T"he Office of School Improvement is seeking an extremely talented self-motivated educator with a minimum of five (5) years teaching experience in the middle school setting, with a concentration in English/Language Arts (High School Math)."

"Seeking an extremely talented self-motivated educator with a minimum of five (5) years teaching experience in high school instruction, with a concentration in Mathematics. "

(No masters is required).

Anonymous said...

Ernest, you work in IT. I've heard you say how far behind the DCSS MIS Dept. is. And then you act like a cheerleader with a crush pushing for Tyson, the former head of the incredibly underperforming MIS Dept.??? You actually came out in support of C Lew a while back? What was that???

Sorry dude, you are not material to help lead a billion dollar enterprise as a member of the BOE.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:29

"Save SACS accreditation? All SACS asked for was for answers to questions. SACS said the accreditation was never at risk."

I was referring to the last formal SACS evaluation for DCSS.

Anonymous said...

SchoolNet (the Student Data Management that DCSS has not been able to obtain data from) is on the list. Will these huge expenditures not have to come in front of the BOE?

December 20, 2007 $1,600,000.00
July 1, 2008 $1,600,000.00
July 1, 2009 $1,600,000.00
July 1, 2010 $1,058,383.00
July 1, 2011 $ 927,350.00
July 1, 2012 $ 464,003.00
TOTAL $7,249,736.00

Anonymous said...

@ Anon October 5, 2010 11:34 PM

The issue about Beasley is that he seemed clueless as to exactly what this money he was requesting was for. He just shrugged and said yes, teachers need to watch their budgets when Don asked him specifically, is this $30,000 all we spent on science materials last year? He did not say, no, this is just for a special program or anything to clarify what it's for at all. No one else asked another question and the board just approved it.

Same old Same old. But props to Don for asking questions! He is the only one!

Anonymous said...

The board did not approve anything. This was a work session. The business meeting the following week is where the items are approved or not.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sorry, you are correct. They didn't actually approve it, but they moved on. They will most likely officially approve it next week.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that there will be some clarification next week.

Anonymous said...

If you think Gloria Talley wanted America's Choice, you are highly mistaken!! It was forced down her throat by C Lewis and A Berry. She just tried to make lemons out of lemonade. It's really hard to get things accomplished when your boss is sleeping with one of your subordinates and your subordinate is calling the shots.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-schools-report-31-663857.html

DeKalb schools report $31 million construction surplusBy Megan Matteucci


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

1:49 p.m. Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New financial records show DeKalb County schools have a surplus of $31 million in sales tax money to use for school construction.

On Wednesday, the school board got a list of $80 million in renovation needs at the district’s 146 schools and centers, board chairman Tom Bowen said. The money can only be used for capital improvements.

The board will make a decision by the end of the year, Bowen said. Possible options for the money include expanding the overcrowded Chamblee High School, renovating the Coralwood Diagnostic Center for special needs’ students and repairing leaky roofs.

In August, the board learned that decreased construction costs and better planning on how to allocate the school district’s $513 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds resulted in a surplus.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Chamblee Charter High School had about 15 parents and stakeholders in attendance. Let's hope someone reports in on what was discussed.

The agenda also showed they discussed the QSCB "stimulus" Bonds which total over $57 million dollars and I think there is a deadline and the decision must be made soon on the "if" and "how" the money will be used. This current board will be making a lot of decisions over the next two months, that will directly effect the future of DCSS.

Can anyone report on the meeting today?

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

Come on people - be nice. If you have an opinion about someone's actions, then feel free to express it tactfully. Otherwise, your comment will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

FYI - The DeKalb Parents Website has detailed meeting notes from the Oct 4th and Oct 6th meeting.

Anonymous said...

I thought one requirement of a superintendent was a doctorate? Correct? Ms. Tyson does not have one.

Anonymous said...

Nope.

Cobb hired a former military person a few years ago. No Phd there.

Anonymous said...

In reading the post on the DeKalb Parents website - I am outraged. Several of these board members were falling all over themselves to say that CCHS needs a new building, but yet all Cross Keys has gotten is a minor facelift to a much older, more worn out facility.

But, par for the course for this board.

Anonymous said...

http://dekalbparent.wordpress.com/meetings/oct6th2010/

When you read the meeting notes, the BOE'er really, really seem to be disorganized and forgetful.

And Zepora Roberts and Sarah Copelin-Wood have been on the board for years. There are schools from SPLOST I and II that have never been worked on.

Zepora is running on her record. Well, DCSS has such a nice record with its SPLOST projects. You can claim it on Pat Pope and Crawford Lewis, but you approved everything they brought to you with little questioning and zero accountability and follow-up.

Anonymous said...

"There are schools from SPLOST I and II that have never been worked on."

I thought every school either got technology or had ADA updates. Please name those schools. You post will have that much more credibility if we can research that for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Not the poster but...

Technology doesn't really count as it doesn't improve the physical environment.

Every school certainly hasn't had ADA. I am not sure what Henderson, Shamrock and Sequoyah have had done.

Anonymous said...

Technology improves the instructional environment however you are referring only to physical changes. Does HVAC count?

It would help if you would name the schools that have not been worked on so we could look them up and verify.

Anonymous said...

10/6 3:59pm "The board will make a decision by the end of the year, Bowen said. Possible options for the money include expanding the overcrowded Chamblee High School, renovating the Coralwood Diagnostic Center for special needs’ students and repairing leaky roofs."

Renovating Coralwood!!! You have got to be kidding me. I vote at Coralwood and that school has already ungone EXTENSIVE renovations w/in the past 10 years. It appears to me that floor to ceiling renovations have already been done, everything was touched including new windows. The building looks brand new.

Not to make light of the fabulous work they do at the school with the hearing and speech diagnotics for the county, but it is an intergrated regular (mainly neighborhood kids)/special ed. preschool. Last I heard it only went up to PreK.

I'd like to know who in DCSS is thinking Coralwood needs renovations. I hope the Chamblee folks are already pounding the table for these funds.

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right. According to their website, Coralwood serves PreK and Kindergarten only.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the BOE wait for the demographers report before advocating for a new building for CCHS? Is this just an election-year ploy?

If the magnet school is moved and AYP transfers could stop under the new Obama/ESEA program, the school will be woefully underenrolled.

BOE, let's see a "big picture" before we go spending this precious money.

Anonymous said...

They have to accept the federal bonds soon, but I think they don't plan on determining exactly how to spend them until later this year, after data collections and building assessments are done.

Cerebration said...

I'm a fan of the work done at Coralwood also, but according to the newest data, they only serve 209 students. They have had significant renovations (including a digital electronic marquee) as well as a privately-sponsored nature trail.

We need to try to use this money to impact as many students as possible, IMO. DSA also only serves less than 300 students.

Our leadership is unfocused and should not be making ANY decisions until they have solid enrollment numbers and data, reports as to the conditions of buildings, and a valid plan for the future (at least the next 5 years).

These folks are discussing millions of dollars and they sound utterly befuddled as to what to do with it all --I am not comfortable with the randomness of the board's discussions of late.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I thought that DCSS was to work with Lynn Jackson at the GADOE to come up with plans for closing/consolidations/redistricting? At least that was the impression I got last May at the DCPC and the reason why the closures were put off for this school year.

Cere is right - No BOE member should be advocating for use of this money until we see Dan Drake's data, the full facilities report, input from the GADOE and a real plan for the next 10 to 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Obligating the 58 million dollars BEFORE some any semblance of a long term plan is not the right thing to do. It could be perceived as pandering for votes if a decision is made before the election and the analysis.

If is is true that DCSS is considering consolidating the magnet programs, there will not be enough high school students remaining to justify a new high school in the Chamblee area. Only if it would also house students from Cross Keys should that be considered. Again, the report is needed before any plans are made.

Anonymous said...

Before any decisions on who and what get renovations, we need to have an outside company come and inspect each school (like a home inspection) and then put buildings in order of which are priorities. Picking and choosing the way the district does is not helping the children and not necessarily improving the schools that need it the most.

Until outsiders are brought in to look at how the district is being run into the ground and an outside superintendent is hired (which I become more and more unsure will happen) I do not see DCSS turning itself around and being a school district where people want to send their children to school.

Too much of the same old same old is done. Very sad. Hopefully our children will be thought of soon.

Anonymous said...

Anon October 11, 2010 10:28 AM
"They have to accept the federal bonds soon, but I think they don't plan on determining exactly how to spend them until later this year, after data collections and building assessments are done."

Wow!! some more of that there government free money. Oops! It is not really free? Do you mean that the taxpayers who fund the Premier DCSS (the second highest tax rate in the metro area by only few hundredths of a mil) will have to pay the money back? Maybe they could raise the taxes on Zephorahs house.

DCSS .... a listing ship with a dysfunctional crew, no navigator and no captain.

Anonymous said...

The decisions on how to spend the money must be made in late November or early Decmeber, during the lame duck sessions of the BOE.

I ask, what happens if the 5 get voted out on November 2nd? Then they come together for a meeting in late November or early December to decide where to spend the money? These 5 lame ducks could retaliate and vote for something that is totally against what the citizens want. I fear that these incumbents are holding their votes over their constituents.

I fear that they are saying to some, if you don't vote for me, your school will NOT get funding. Is this the the type of government we want? Is this how we want our Reps to act? Could this happen?

Anonymous said...

The lewis regime is alive and well. Any and all members should be given the boot! Every department head needs to exit left stage asap. I have a major problem with tyson submitting request for any changes to the board. All she is doing is executing crawfords previously established plans and agenda. A new supt. would not have submitted this current budget that cut from the bottom and nothing from the top! Friends and families were spared. I know that a new supt. will do what Johnny Brown did and cut from the top. Tom Bowman saved his relatives with this budget. The vote was passed through party lines and the republicans won.
People need not be impressed with Ernest Brown, ODE, or Dave Shutten. The're not concerned with the needs of the students or staff but their own limited importance. Thank God Ernest did not win for district 9, he gives educated fools a new meaning!
The title 1 program is only entitling Berry and friends in getting paid! The parent centers are the biggest joke standing. Berry prints newsletters and give schools awards to make it appear like those centers are doing something, not! If you don't believe me just pull their records for the number of people who visits the centers monthly. I wonder who lewis took on his trips funded by the county asa mentioned in his indictment?

Anonymous said...

1:54 Well said, and dead on.

DCSS will only improve if a total new administration is running the system. A new superintendent alone, will not make our children's education better.

Rhee ruffled feathers with many, including teachers, parents, and the unions, but she always had the children's best interest at heart in the decisions that she made. The same cannot be said for the administrators of DCSS. They talk the talk, but have NO clue on how to walk the walk and educate our children.

Cerebration said...

Apparently, Lynn Jackson from the state will be speaking this Thursday, October 21 at 10 am - at the Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting. Here's the agenda item:

Capital Entitlement Program

Quick Summary / Abstract
Presented by: Ms. Lynn Jackson, Associate Superintendent for Business Operations
Office of Finance & Business Operations
Georgia Department of Education


I'm told that she is a very enlightening speaker - so plan to attend.

Cerebration said...

Regarding the above referenced meeting --

At the request of the Committee Chair, be advised that the Budget, Finance & Facilities Committee Meeting scheduled Thursday, October 21, 2010, has been moved from the Cabinet Room to the Board Room. The meeting time and agenda remains unchanged.