Sunday, October 31, 2010

Things to remember at the polls

As we near November 2, I wanted to highlight some actual statements made by our our current board members up for re-election so I cobbled together old quotes and reports from this blog, other blogs and news sources.  Please keep these in mind when you enter the voting booth - recent political "changes of heart" may be simply stated to garner votes.  But older quotes, stated outside of the window of a campaign, in my opinion, along with voting records, show the speaker's true character. A simple rule of thumb for this election, in my opinion, is just don't vote for anyone with the letter "I" next to their name. It's simply time for a change.

Re: Jim Redovian -

According to the AJC, "Board members Eugene Walker, Zepora Roberts, Sarah Copelin-Wood and Jim Redovian said they are looking at raising the millage rate by amounts varying between half a mill and 2 mills." At two recent forums, Redovian would not publicly agree to holding the millage rate.

Redovian voted to take away teachers’ Board of Education TSAs (the retirement legs that replaced their Social Security), increase their class sizes and furlough them.

He was the swing vote (Cunningham, Walker, Copelin-Wood, Roberts, Redovian) to give a contract for legal service to Alexander & Associates - in addition to the contract given to the very diverse Sutherland firm. This was a blatant waste of taxpayers’ money - nearly a gift to Alexander. With the special projects, outside the scope of their contractual fees, Alexander bills DeKalb along with our lawyers from Sutherland; so we are essentially charged twice for the same work.

In response to questions at Tuesday night’s DHA Candidate Forum, he stated that “Things aren’t that bad in DeKalb. We’re doing pretty well.” At the Thursday DCPC Forum, upon being presented with the AYP data again, he stated, “He didn’t believe it.” The data was pulled from the Georgia DOE website!

When asked if he favored moving the magnet programs to a “central” location (meaning Avondale in all likelihood) he said “YES!”  He said this with no knowledge of a mapping of the location of those students within the county.

Redovian gave a TV interview and decried nepotism in the same week he voted (the board voted unanimously) to approve the new promotion of a cabinet member’s daughter to principal at a struggling high school in need of strong, experienced leadership.

Redovian stated at a DHA Board meeting that you could visit his website at, “I suck dot com.”

Re: Gene Walker -

(Regarding State Rep. Kevin Lavitas' ethics bill) "There’s much more important things [Levitas] should be working on."

“I am a very, very race-conscious person,” Walker said in October 2009. “I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color. But judge me by my actions.” 

One of his actions, while on the Development Authority, was to accept $20,000 from a developer, Sembler Corp, for his school board campaign. We later find out that he is pushing for a tax break for the Sembler Corp's development near Brookhaven Marta. This involves sacrificing the collection over $50 million - in school tax! And then of course, there are those ethical conflicts regarding the Sembler Company's campaign contributions and sexual harassment complaints (one resulting in a $190,000 settlement by the state.)

Re: Jay Cunningham -

As reported in the AJC - Documents show that Cunningham’s restaurants collected $3,077 from schools in the five years before he joined the school board, compared to at least $22,655 in the three and a half years after. That doesn't seem as important to me as the fact that Jay has a previously undisclosed criminal history for theft from McDonald's, where he worked as manager and more recently for three alleged accusations of violence.

Additionally, he led the insistence to retain the Alexander law firm - costing the school system an additional million and he led the charge to continue to spend millions on the magnet transportation hubs while voting to cut school staff such as parapros, media clerks and CTSS technicians at regular schools. Jay continues to carve and support a racial divide on the school board.

Re: Sarah Copelin-Wood -

The second board member to be reprimanded in less than a month (for insulting comments she made about the interim superintendent and another school employee), earlier, Sarah oddly interfered in the Citizen's Task Force, committed to studying attendance and recommending school consolidations.

According to the AJC, Wood made phone calls and pitted one school against the other in her own district. I think that’s very wrong,” Coward said Saturday. “She’s supposed to represent all of the schools in her district.”

Reached at her home on Saturday, Copelin-Wood denied the allegations and refused to answer some questions.

“This is a lie,” said Copelin-Wood, who represents District 3. “The person who would do that was mad they didn’t get their way. I don’t have to answer to them.”

“As a board member, she [Copelin-Wood] has the responsibility to stay neutral and not make this a racial issue because it was not a racial issue,” Coward said. “But she kept making comments about black and white task force members.”

Re: Zepora Roberts - (in her own words)

“I will not vote in favor of this item, not only AT&T – but for any other businesses that’s doing business with AT&T and is part of this eduKalb to erase the board.”

“I don’t trust the people that’s going to be drawing the school board members,” Roberts said (referring to the state). “If we approve this, we’re doomed.”

“Now the only thing that he [David Schutten - president of ODE] does is fly all over the country, spending your hard-earned dues trying to be a high roller, hobnobbing with important people.”

“Your president [David Schutten] keeps getting bolder and bolder with his nasty antics and disrespect.”

In response to a parent's question regarding SPLOST spending:

"You once again missed the whole thing! As a matter of fact, you added points to your lopsided way of thinking that were not even said by me nor Ms. Copelin Wood. You once again used this opportunity to spread your poison."

"Although I am an elected official, I am not obligated to respond to you in any form or fashion."

"Even though you have access to a lot of data, you still have it all wrong."

"I feel sorry for you, so take your lopsided, twisted thoughts where they belong, to the trash bin. Thank you."

And finally, to a news reporter asking Zepora about her family members employed by the school system: "I have no more comments to say to you and don't you come near me or I am going to slug you."


Below is my never-ending, over-arching comment for us all to keep in mind during our discussions and decisions:

DCSS maintains a "scarcity" mentality, meaning there isn't enough basic supply of ANYTHING to go around, so everyone ends up pitting against each other to demand morsels and crumbs - while noticing that many of the favorites seem never to want for anything. I will make a personal pledge not to fall into the trap. I will look beyond the petty squabbles, and only focus on the big budgets, the big bloat and the big waste - which by and large is found in the Central Office and not really in schools.

We have to stick together and not let them divide us or we'll look like third world people lined up at the back of the truck fighting over the free rice delivery, while the leaders feast on fine food and wine. It's a trap to throw attention away from the real problem -- waste and bloat - and I'm not biting anymore.

Please consider this when voting for the person you will entrust with our annual billion dollar budget.

This is a very important decision. Character counts!


Anonymous said...

Cere, Thanks for your post! It very simply explains why we need to vote the incumbents out! A vote for an incumbent means more of the same, higher taxes, lower efficiency and no transparency! The choices are simple.


Anonymous said...

Nancy Jester wants to keep the magnet schools up in the North end of the county - in her potential district...wonder why?

Any candidate who does not believe that the magnet schools, ALL of them, should be in a central location so that these schools can be accessible to ALL students is a person I do not want on the Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

You know the magnet program is part of the charter at Chamblee. How can the district violate the charter? And I think Jester's point is that if you move the magnet, it won't be the same program anymore. She said we should grow successful programs not move them. Many teachers and kids will not follow the program to a "central" location. You'll lose high achievers to private school and property values will decline. Move the magnet program from the north and there are no other magnets for these kids in this area. There are several in the south.

Anonymous said...


My concern is that at the end of the day most incumbents will be reelected. And then what -- for those of us who share your sentimentality but have seen these behaviors for decades -- what becomes of our communities and our schools.

I believe that an opportunity was missed when SACs decided not to put the system on probation which would have allowed the governor to replace the entire board at once.

Now our only hope for real reform in DCSS lies with the legislative delegation. The size of the must be shrunk and districts must be drawn in such a a way that every candidate represents such a large area that no matter what their constituents are demanding they have to think system wide. This is part of what works so well in Gwinnett.

By the way, for all his faults, we owe a debt of gratitude to Jay Cunningham. He was brave enough to run a tough campaign and run- off campaign against Frances Edwards and defeat her. It was very courageous, because she was very powerful. If she was on the board still, I can't even imagine where the system might be.

Paula Caldarella said...

The magnet program is not part of the charter at Chamblee. All the Chamblee Charter indicates is that Chamblee has "hosted" the magnet program and will preserve and expand it.

This is one area where Nancy and I disagree.....

The magnet program at Chamblee has hurt the resident students in that the magnet students get the majority of the attention, best teachers, etc. Before the "usual suspects" attack me, I have heard this from more than one teacher inside of Chamblee. That is one of the reasons why I want it moved out. Let's rebuild the "real" Chamblee HS with students from the Chamblee attendance zone. Let's rebuild Chamblee as a real community school, like it was when I was a student! As it is now for most of the Chamblee attendance area , if students don't get into the magnet program they do go private.

Many teachers and kids will not follow the program to a "central" location

Teachers go where the county assigns them - they don't work for a particular school You mean the white kids won't follow to a central location. #1- I don't believe that. The DSA students followed from N. Druid Hills to Avondale. #2 - What about the magnet kids from the central and south part of the county. Should they not be allowed a shorter traveling distance each day?

Cerebration said...

You all do realize that there are probably more magnets in south DeKalb than north, right? Southwest DeKalb High School has a magnet for high achievers just like Chamblee's (only in a much nicer facility). And only a few miles away, there's Arabia High School with several magnet programs found only there - programs that students must apply for, write an essay, have and maintain a certain GPA and wear uniforms. ALL of these magnets (well, maybe not Arabia) would go away and be combined (if as proposed) at Avondale High School where the DeKalb School of the Arts already has moved. (Not sure where the Avondale students would go...)

Paula Caldarella said...

Yes, SWD has a HS magnet, but why is it that we never here "talk" about it? This is the 2nd year SWD failed to make AYP. Is that a concern for parents looking at choice schools? Do the magnet students at SWD have the same opportunities academically as those at Chamblee with regards to course levels, AP courses, etc.?

Maybe if DCSS were to break down the magnet scores vs resident score at these "schools within a school" we could get the "real" picture.

Cerebration said...

My point about Jim approving the move of all of the magnets is that he has this desire, without waiting for the data. Unfortunately, many decisions over the years have been made by this board as horse-trading behind the scenes rather than by examining the data and making informed, logical decisions. At this point, we have no idea yet where the magnet students actually live and whether or not they would all be interested in moving and consolidating. That's a big, BIG decision to simply call out Yes!

In fact, if we pull the magnet students out of Chamblee, that will take fully one-third of the school. Southwest DeKalb is very over-crowded, and I'm not certain what percentage of their school is comprised of magnet students. Arabia is a majority magnet - however, they are not officially named a "magnet" - they are named a "choice" school, which may allow their students to stay in the building - which is inaccessible to MOST of DeKalb, since it it located in the furthest south corner - less than two miles from each of Rockdale and Henry counties.

BTW - does anyone know if this plan includes moving/combining Kittredge and Wadsworth? If so, - where?

Cerebration said...

ps - People in Dunwoody need to be very aware that if their taxes really do go up as many feared when they incorporated - it will be due to a rise in school tax millage - not due to the fact that they became a city.

School taxes are about 70% of your property tax bill.

Overall - including state taxes - school taxes account for about 60% of the total tax you pay.

Cerebration said...

one more - you all may have missed this important comment Ella left on another thread where we were discussing the at-large districts -

Actually the county site that indicates representative does show what at-large district you are in.

I have copied it below. If you check this site it will tell you what district you are in.

However, district 9 starts at Cross Keys and then follows district 2 down and then cuts across and covers the bottom of the county. It is like a fat L. However, the top of the L on the left side is actually dictrict 8.

If you will look on my blog you also will see a letter from (Emmuel Jones) one of our representatives. The representatives going to look at doing away with district 8 and 9 in the future. They feel there are too many school board members. Because of this I had not put a great deal of money into this campaign as the position may be done away with shortly.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody--Who are these "best" teachers? If you mean the teachers with longevity, yes, it is often the case that they are chosen for magnet programs. But longevity does not by default make someone a better teacher. I teach regular kids--no magnet, no special programs--and I work alongside some of DCSS's best.

Second, while it's true that we work for the county,and yes, they could move us at their whim, teachers do have a say in where we work. The number of teachers needed at each school is "guesstimated," and based on that, principals "hire" teachers for whatever openings exist. Veteran teachers can and do move when openings are available.

Sorry this doesn't advance the conversation, but just hate misinformation.

Paula Caldarella said...

The "best" teachers are not always the ones that have taught the longest. Longevity of career does not define a "good" teacher, sorry.

Paula Caldarella said...

As far as this magnet conversation, I will go on record that I think these "high-achieving" magnets should be done away with or at least "re-tooled" so that they are true "gifted" offerings. I have read several articles in the last few months that indicated that in our race to bring up our students at the bottom of the academic barrel, we have forgotten our truly "gifted" students. IMO, these are the ones we are losing to private schools. There needs to be a way to address both our academically challenged and our academically gifted students. We are not doing a very good job at either end.

Paula Caldarella said...

Also, we need to keep the Southwest DeKalb High School community in our thoughts and prayers. You may know, 4 of their band members were in a car accident Friday and one young woman lost her life.....

Kim Gokce said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no matter the outcome of Tuesday elections, there will be no dramatic change to the attendance areas at the high school level and no revolutionary change to the location of magnets. We can't get out of our own way long enough to accomplish anything like informed, long-term planning.

Realistically, those of us who claim to be concerned about public education should be debating about the end-state, not the next-year state, of the system. Not where High Achievers will be next year but what plant and what programs need to be in five or ten years. Sorry, I don't think the election is the answer to any other question than "what will you do for my kid's school if elected?"

Over two years ago I asked the community and the candidates at that time to articulate an actionable and comprehensive vision for public education in DeKalb ... crickets to date ...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Cere. The SACS investigation would have been beneficial to the county. It is time for a clean sweep of the several incumbents. They still have some valuable members on the board. Sadly I have to disagree with you point on Cunningham. He represents the faction of DeKalb's shady past. His victory over Edwards was a valiant feat. Being an employee of the county allows me to see his dealings. Several of his decisions have been poor. Now it is time to let someone else cast a new light on that shade. I do not want to bash Cunningham, but offer a brighter alternative. Kirk Nooks is the bright spot of District 5. His ideas can bring DeKalb out of its current doldrums. SACS may be watching to see how the citizens of DeKalb will vote. Casting a vote for people like Cunningham may put us on their investigation list. Voting for Kirk Nooks can be one of the best ideas that DeKalb has had in years.

Cerebration said...

In answer to Dunwoody Mom's question -

Do the magnet students at SWD have the same opportunities academically as those at Chamblee with regards to course levels, AP courses, etc.?

Yes! SW DeKalb is an excellent high school with excellent teachers, many AP courses and a band that rocks anything Chamblee could hope for.

Sadly, some of those band members, on the way home from practice, were in a terrible car crash, and the driver, trying to avoid hitting a dog, ended up losing control of the car and horribly also lost his own sister and seriously injured two others. This is certainly heart-breaking for this family and this community. They are all in our prayers today.

Paula Caldarella said...

Yes, Cere, I know all question was rather trying to find out why we never hear about the
SWD Magnet program on the same level we hear about Chamblee....

And yes, SWD is very overcrowded. Depending on how many magnet students are in the SWD program, moving the magnet would help alleviate the overcrowding there?

Anonymous said...

@Kim said "Realistically, those of us who claim to be concerned about public education should be debating about the end-state, not the next-year state, of the system. Not where High Achievers will be next year but what plant and what programs need to be in five or ten years."

Agree with you Kim. But we need trigger-pullers on the board. As you're aware, the leadership in the district changes every few years. One or two replacement board members can make a dramatic difference on the direction of the board as a whole. Compounding this, the average tenure of a school superintendent is just a bit over 3 years, so focus of day-to-day operational priorities are in flux too .

It's tough to implement a 5-10 year plan over a period of 5-10 years for these reasons. So I say, develop a vision and tactical plan, then start pulling the trigger on every part of that plan the then-sitting board reasonably is in a position to do so... before the new leadership, and potential new vision(s) comes into play.

We just can't keep doing what we're doing.

Paula Caldarella said...

Realistically, those of us who claim to be concerned about public education should be debating about the end-state, not the next-year state, of the system. Not where High Achievers will be next year but what plant and what programs need to be in five or ten years.

Disagree.. A discussion of the magnet programs, where they are, what they offer, do we really still need them is totally relevant to along-term discussion.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody 10:12,

Mine was the 10:04 post.

Not sure why you rebutted my comment by repeating exactly what I said, which was, "Longevity does not by default make someone a better teacher."

Cerebration said...

Looking at the latest enrollment report from the planning department, I can't tell how many SW DeKalb students are magnet students. However, in total, they have 1683 students with capacity for only 1312. Thus they are over-capacity by 371 students. (So, it very well could be that the magnet students are putting the school over-capacity.)

FWIW - Chamblee is over-capacity by 227 (again not certain how many students there are magnet, but estimates are that it's 1/3 or about 400.)

Lakeside is over-capacity by 649, MLK over by 407, Redan by 190, Druid Hills is over by 350 and Dunwoody is over by 213.

Arabia has 376 empty seats. Cross Keys has 235, Stephenson has 284, Towers, 257 and McNair has a whopping 634 empty seats.

Paula Caldarella said...

My apologies anonymous...Not having a great day...You and I do agree.

Anonymous said...

"As far as this magnet conversation, I will go on record that I think these "high-achieving" magnets should be done away with or at least "re-tooled" so that they are true "gifted" offerings"

Oh, my. There are other kids besides the "bottom of the barrel" and the Gifted. Those are the ones that magnet programs are meant for. The bright, motivated kids who want more than the standard offerings but who do not meet the testing criteria for Gifted.

Gifted kids do have the advantage of 10 fewer classmates than those bottom dwellers and are taught by teachers with specialized training. That has not changed.

As for those at the bottom--they will someday be part of our community also. Warehousing them in classes of 35 is going to come back to bite us in the long run.

Paula Caldarella said...

Oh, my. There are other kids besides the "bottom of the barrel" and the Gifted. Those are the ones that magnet programs are meant for

Oh, please, don't insult my intelligence with that statement.

No, those are the students all of our schools are meant for. The magnet programs serve very, very little of our student population.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody--no biggie. I am having a not-so-great day as well because I believe that all of our very perceptive analysis here will be for naught when Tuesday rolls around. Our online community is not representative of Dekalb at large.

Gosh, I hope I am wrong, but there are so few informed voters out there, and I am afraid that the incumbents will remain simply because their names are familiar.

Paula Caldarella said...

I agree anonymous. I wish more people who aware of what is going on, but sadly, not so much from I see and hear.

We'll see.......

Kim Gokce said...

@Dunwoody Mom: "Disagree.. A discussion of the magnet programs, where they are, what they offer, do we really still need them is totally relevant to along-term discussion."

I consider High Achievers a "program" and agree it should be a key part of the long-term planning discussion. But that is not the level of the debate as it is being framed by almost everyone (you are an exception).

The debate barely rises above "The Lord of the Flies" level in my experience to date. I think it is irresponsible NOT to have a detailed debate about if, how, and where this type of program belongs in our public system.

As for SW DeKalb, I have only hearsay that they have "struggled" ... what that means exactly I don't know but I took it to mean that it is not enrolling as many students as anyone would like. I have no other info or insight on that one.

As far as the general question of accessibility goes, I don't think the geographical location is quite as important. Parents with students who want and value these programs go to great lengths to ensure their access to them.

I've also had CCHS Magnet parents tell me they thought the program was illegitimate and patently unfair. In one case, a parent told me this month that they've put multiple kids through the program and brutally admitted that one of them was not "High Achiever" material and other kids should have been in the child's place.

In the absence of data, all we have to go on is hearsay and rumor and propaganda. For the most lauded program we have in DeKalb (with the possible exception of DSA), this is an absurd situation in which we find ourselves.

Cerebration said...

Personally, wherever a magnet program exists, I think it should be near a Marta train station. Not buses. There are kids who attend the Open Campus (Eliz AndrewsHS) that spend over 2 hours riding buses and trains and buses again to get to it's new location out at the Stone Mt facility. When all along, the Druid Hills location was an easy train ride to Brookhaven with a short bus over to the school. In fact - if you put the magnet at Cross Keys - kids could ride the train and walk from there --- it's only about a 10 minute stroll. This may also be true for Avondale - I'm not sure how far the school is from the train station.

Anonymous said...

Arabia Mt. has hurt and will continue to hurt enrollment in the SW DeKalb magnet program unless Arabia Mt. is converted to a neighborhood school.

Anonymous said...

Cere--I never thought of Marta proximity as a deciding issue, but you are so right. BTW Avondale would be an easy 5-10 minute bus ride from the station--definitely something to consider.

Paula Caldarella said...

I consider High Achievers a "program" and agree it should be a key part of the long-term planning discussion. But that is not the level of the debate as it is being framed by almost everyone (you are an exception).

Thank you for making that comment, Kim. There are times I feel like a lone-wolf in my discussions with regards to the magnet programs. I have actually had emails sent to me accusing me of trying to undermine Chamblee High School by advocating the magnet program be moved. That could not be further from the truth. As you advocate so well for the Cross Keys students, I feel someone needs to step up for the "real" Chamblee High School - those 700 resident students not in the magnet program.

Paula Caldarella said...

In looking at the Sending/Receiving schools data provided on 9/15, there are 1308 students from other schools at Arabia Mountain - 203 of them are from Stephenson HS, 240 from Lithonia, 307 from MLK. Now both MLK and Lithonia are over-crowded, but Stephenson has 300 or so seats available and Arabia itself has 374 seats available...

Something ain't right here...

Cerebration said...

uh huh! And where are the other 558 from? I'm so glad that you have noticed that something's not right at Arabia! Once you really take a look at the numbers, you will see that this school - in all it's specialty - has sucked up the best and brightest from area schools - and from "elsewhere"... not sure where exactly.

Can you imagine the outcry if a similar school had been built up in Dunwoody on the edge of Fulton and Gwinnett?

Paula Caldarella said...

Here's the link to that data:

When you have many schools that are underenrolled and over-enrolled within the same geographical area, opening up a "special" school limiting enrollment is just well, nuts.

Anonymous said...

The reality is that we put a lot of extra money and resources into our magnet and choice programs. This takes away from the kids in regular schools. Not everyone can go to a magnet. Why do some of our children deserve more resources and instructional experiences than others? Why is it OK for some children to sit in small classes when the majority of children sit in large classes?

I raised a gifted child. It can be very challenging and I can see why parents seek out special programs for their gifted children. I also raised a bright average child. She is a very capable student who didn't qualify for any extras. The sad reality is that she would have benefited from the same enrichment program that my gifted child was eligible for.

I would like to see DCSS move toward providing the same instructional program at every school. We need to decide what those programs should look like. I really think that music and art are important and should be offered in all of our elementary schools. As a teacher, I can tell you that every child benefits from sitting in a small class. Gifted students excel and struggling students succeed when the teacher has time to plan for and work with every student.

While there may still be a need for a few magnet programs that are centrally located, the large majority of our children should be attending a school within easy communing distance of their home.

Cerebration said...

So - basically, the much promoted myth that Arabia is pulling from "all over" is just not true. The majority of their students come from south DeKalb - many less than 6 miles away from Arabia - MLK (307), Lithonia (240), Cedar Grove (96), Miller Grove (71), SW DeKalb (77), Stephenson (203). Those are followed by a few a bit further away, but still south/central - Redan (104), Towers (56), Clarkston (52), Stone Mt (42) and Columbia (18).

Predictably, students in the north don't choose Arabia as it is a minimum 25 mile trip each way. There are 6 from Tucker, 3 from Cross Keys, 2 from Druid Hills, 2 from Dunwoody and 1 from Lakeside. Heck, there are 9 students attending Arabia from "outside of DCSS"... as "outside" is often more convenient.

The enrollment numbers for sending schools for Arabia's "annex" are similar. The total students attending Arabia's annex at Lithonia is 168. (Seems they would have had room for these students, with over 350 empty seats - what's up with that?)

Anonymous said...

Please everyone remember that there is a very important race for State school superintendent. While Mr. Barge seems like a great person to have on your local board of education, he does not have the vast depth of experience that Joe Martin has. Joe has decades of experience in the complexities of school funding and has served on numerous state-wide task forces thus understands the state-wide needs of our crumbling public school system.

Why are local school board races non-partisan but our state superintendent race is political? I fear Joe Martin will lose ONLY because he has a "D" next to his name on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

@Anon. 4:27 p.m.

One of the major benefits of consolidating/redistricting the tiny elementary schools is that with a larger student population the county can provide separate art and music teachers. They get more FTEs (positions) the more students they have.

For some reason, I have meant many, many parents who still do not understand this.

Paula Caldarella said...

For some reason, I have meant many, many parents who still do not understand this

IMO, their BOE members have done a poor job in getting this information out there. Some of their are too busy trying to appear to be a hero in saving these smaller schools.

Anonymous said...

The issue here is not where the magnet is, but what the Dekalb magnet programs deliver in the long term. Chamblee (with the magnet and the charter) has built a reputation of good scores and that attracts students. Southwest Dekalb will develop a "following" and become an attractive option for students across the county (given that the scores are top notch). That will balance the student population among the existing magnets.

Why is it we have to always pull down programs? I would say that we should focus on making existing programs better. In this case, CCHS is reported as 212th in the nation (US News), why not go for top 100? Imagine that, a Dekalb school in the top 100! Then focus on cross-pollinating what works!

Anonymous said...

AMEN. Let's identify the successful aspects of both the magnet at CCHS and DSA and expand and replicate the model!

I have never understood why the administration has allowed DSA to remain so small. While clearly successful, it must be one of the MOST expensive programs we have.

Anonymous said...

The current system does not know what to do. There are low performing schools and high performing schools - so we are pursuing Beasley's ghastly 70/70 program. How ridiculous is that! Please create programs that help the bottom and get out of the way of the top!

Paula Caldarella said...

Why is it we have to always pull down programs?

Having a serious discussion about the magnet programs is not "pulling" down, but how we can make sure all of students have the same type of education the magnet students are receiving.

I would say that we should focus on making existing programs better

How about we focus on making ALL of DCSS schools better?

Last winter/spring, DCSS and the BOE started to have a serious discussion about the magnet programs and whether they are taking away monies/opportunities from other DCSS students. But, as in everything else, the BOE punted and just removed some points from the magnet programs.

Ella Smith said...

Dunnwoody Mom I could not agree more.

I understand that many parents who live in certain districts who paid a great deal of money for their homes are concerned about moving out of there school district and losing property value. This is a legitimate concern and is data the school system must take in consideration when making decisions.

However, it is very sad to see some schools so overcrowed and other schools undercrowded by such a small number of students. It would make sense to look at trying to provide the best services for all the students. However there is no simple solution and the school board members in the next year will make some extremely important decisions that will affect the county for years to come and not just next year.

School board members are already making promises formally regarding not touching the boundaries of schools like Fernbank. Dr. Walker has already assured the PTA at Fernbank that he will vote to keep everything the same at Fernbank. I also can understand why Fernbank wants things to remain the same. However, promises like this before seeing the data from the experts is dangerous and premature. If all school board members running for elections are making the same promises that all the studies and work the School System is doing is for nothing. This is really sad and why we have problems on the board now and why SACs had to get involved and the same thing continues to be happening.

Paula Caldarella said...

Ella, as far as I am concerned, no board member should be making promises about new buildings, no redistricting etc., until the Demographic data has been gathered and released. They make themselves look foolish and pandering for votes. BOE memebers should stay out of any discussion until whatever DCSS has put together as far as redistricting/closing, etc., is presented to the BOE.

I am very concerned that the decision on how to spend the bond money is being made prior to the Facilities report being completed.

Kim Gokce said...

Dunwoody Mom: "I am very concerned that the decision on how to spend the bond money is being made prior to the Facilities report being completed."

My understanding is that the BoE is in a catch-22 here - the vote HAS to be had within a week or two or the opportunity goes away. I get that and don't blame them for taking action. However, it appears that they are not going to do ANY level of ethical planning for projects to be funded from these funds. Rather, they will bequeath two very large political gifts to two well organized groups.

Paula Caldarella said...

However, it appears that they are not going to do ANY level of ethical planning for projects to be funded from these funds.

Lynn Jackson made the statement at the Budget meeting that the projects to be covered by the bond money should be "in plan". DCSS already has a construction priority list in the hands of the GADOE. That they are not going to use this priority list as their guide to using this money...well business as usual with DCSS.

Kim Gokce said...

You pretty much nailed it there ...

Kim Gokce said...

Basically, the fact you mention means either the Board feels previously defined priorities are invalid or they are simply going to pay some political debts or make political deposits.

Anonymous said...

Please take a look at Kira Willis. She is a teacher in a classroom and is determined to take the money from administration and support and put it back into the classroom. I've never voted for a Libertarian candidate in my life (proud Democrat), but she has the right idea. I will be voting for her.


Paula Caldarella said...

Basically, the fact you mention means either the Board feels previously defined priorities are invalid or they are simply going to pay some political debts or make political deposits.

Now, Kim, you know that everything this board does has a political motive - either to make a certain group happy or keep a certain group from whining too loudly. When have they ever put the needs of the children first?

That this $58 million is going to be spent one 1 project when this district has $144 million in construction needs is just unacceptable.

Kim Gokce said...

I realize that but, remember, I'm only two years into the "game" and still harbor hope that members' better angels will haunt them from time to time :)

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is this BOE never saw an administrative position or program they would not fund, they were poor stewards of taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, they utterly failed to advance student achievement.

Every BOE member is responsible for our student achievement declining. This is not the "students' and parents' fault and the teachers' fault". They run the school system. They hire the superintendent. They decide how every penny is spent. They vote on every hiring and promotion decision. Increasing student achievement is their MAIN JOB. The fact that student achievement has decreased so dramatically reflects on their governance of our school system. They have not done their job. We need to elect officials who will get the job done.

Paula Caldarella said...

I keep hoping that as well Kim. I am a glass half-full kind of gal, so I keep hoping this board is going to "man/woman" up and make decisions based on what is good for the entire system and quit allowing "loud groups" to make their decisions for them. But, I have to say, I am just so frustrated now. We can tell where all of this is going and it isn't going in the way that's best for the student of this district. Even after all the commotion over the last year and the SACS inquiry, the BOE just still does not "get it". It's just business as usual.

Kim Gokce said...

We'll see - I haven't given up either. I think those on the Board with a conscience are really trying. I also think we underestimate how much pressure from all sides they get - including internally from admin resources. Also, at one level we demand they stay out of the DCSS "kitchen" when it comes to operations and personnel and on the other hand we rail at them for not being involved enough to prevent some of these disasters. A fine line they must walk! I admit some of them haven't seen the line in years, though ...

Paula Caldarella said...

You're right, Kim. They are under a lot of pressure from many sides, I don't doubt that. Hopefully, common sense will be brought forward from all involved.

Anonymous said...

I recall reading a blog topic a while back that suggested consolidating the magnet programs then consolidating several schools. Given it is public knowledge that DeKalb has too many empty seats throughout the county, that idea seemed to make sense because there would also be savings on building additions, some of which could go back to the classrooms.

If the magnet programs were relocated to ANY school in DeKalb, that school would then become a top school in GA. Research what happened when the program at Browns Mill moved to Wadsworth. The academic success of the magnets is due to the students not the building. If centralizing and consolidating them will allow more dollars to classrooms, it should be on the table for discussion.

Anonymous said...

Political gifts or not.. Seems to me Redovian has scared the Chamblee folks. Vote for me or I might take my vote back in favor of a new school at Chamblee.

I understand the deadlines these QSCB bonds have, that's they way the legislation was written, However it's put DCSS in a bind as well as the voters. Work session to discuss the bonds on Monday, election day on Tuesday and Vote next Monday how the bonds will be used. Plus, these projects must be completed within 3 years.

I'm voting for Nancy Jester, we need new blood and a new direction. Business as usual must end! The friends, families, sororities and fraternities brothers and sisters of our former Super and leadership must be reviewed and dealt with.

Also, the libertarian Willis for State Super has an impressive resume'. She's a teacher, I'd like to see a teacher in that spot. Taking serious look at her too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dunwoody Mom:

"Having a serious discussion about the magnet programs is not "pulling" down, but how we can make sure all of students have the same type of education the magnet students are receiving"

You hit the nail on the head. It is sad, though, that the envy of the county is a magnet program that is not the best school in all of GA. All of the students in the county should have the same level of education as the current magnet at a minimum! Lets do that by raising the other programs.

The magnet program is not handing out laptops, or putting kids in real science labs, or providing students with access to better resources. (Take a tour of the school) The only difference I see at CCHS is talented, dedicated teachers with high expectations. If the county didn't spend so much money on the fad of the day we could have this kind of program everywhere.

Cerebration said...

Anon, October 31, 2010 5:30 PM - Actually, Lakeside HS (a non-magnet) was in the top 100 US News list for several years! (Sadly, in the last few years, their ranking has dropped exponentially.)

Anonymous said...

Amen! Anon 10:03.

It's amazing what teachers can do with and without the fancy tools. No doubt there needs to be a new building at CCHS, where else would you put those 700 resident kids and the 200+ charter kids?

Kim and I have rolled around the ideas of a larger school of 2500 for the area and long term that might have been a better solution, but once again government and legislation takes the precedence since the bonds have certain hurdles and dates that DCSS must jump through and meet.

Charettes and Dan Drake will be the next steps after QSCB gets rolling. We must keep our attention on the schools through the holidays. There is a lot that will happen with the current BOE before the new one (hopefully) will be sworn in.

Anonymous said...

The discussion about moving the magnet program is a distraction. Of course it should remain because there is no such thing as "central" for a county as big as DeKalb. We need several high-achiever programs scattered throughout the county. There are several in the south; not so many in the north. When "they" bring up moving the program it fans the politics of race, magnet vs. nonmagnet - it's a x vs. y scenario set up to see us scatter for the scraps at the table. I'd rather fix the systemic problems and get to eat at the table.

Of course the magnet should stay at Chamblee. That's a good location all of north DeKalb. Of course, Chamblee's resident population should grow with a better, more common sense approach to their attendance area. Build a new school that can house all of these things.

To address the issue of money being spent on "high-achievers" versus other kids - We spend "extra" money on children when our system "labels" them with any number of descriptions. We have many special needs that cover a large spectrum of issues from serious physical challenges, to cognitive delays, to dyslexia, to anxiety, etc. Being "gifted" is a type of "special need". Why shouldn't we be as protective about their special services as any other child?

We need redistricting. There is no doubt about it. But it seems like we are discussiong the philosophical matter of even having magnet programs. Does anyone really believe that magnet programs are all going to go away? I've heard arguments that for the "collective" we should eliminate them. I don't agree with that from a philosophical standpoint. I think we need more differentiation, not less. That would benefit each "type" of child because they'd get just what they need. But even if I agreed with the "no magnet" idea; having no magnet access convenient to the northern end is a bad idea given the reality of all the other magnets being in the south (or "central").

I think the orginal post was on the poor record of the incumbents. Voting for any incumbent is also a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

The red herring magnet ! Once again, So, perhaps it is not in line with the original post. However, if you notice, it surfaces again and again. I think it emerges on this post because it is yet another example of high dollar programming that benefits a very small percentage but is a powerful chip in dealing with the parents.

I am always surprised that no one addresses the fact that there are NO FOLLOW UP STUDIES to see that the magnet environment of DCSS makes any difference whatsoever. Let's get away from emotions and make information based decisions. But each time, someone tries, the poster is accused of " bringing down a good thing ".....

I , frankly, am sick to death of the disproportionate utilization of shrinking DCSS resources but no one has the ( you know whats ) to do anything about it. We should focus on getting what ALL schools need and deserve, not running for cover and hoping for a lottery chance.

Anonymous said...


You're partly correct. The whole magnet discussion is a "red herring". It's the ultimate distraction. But you are wrong about "sucking resources", etc. There are enough resources to provide the kids what they need - special, average, high-achiever, gifted. But if the powers-that-be can pit us against one another, then we'll assume that we can only argue of a few scraps left over from destroying a magnet program. Don't accept this!

The other problem is that if you have an average kid you somehow think they're getting less because the magnet "gets more". Not true. You're getting less because the system is sucking up all the resources in the top levels of the admin.

I also think there is an air of "who cares about the gifted" kids in all this. Everyone seems to think that they'll be fine. That's not true.

As far as studies to prove the effectiveness of the magnet program - absolutely! Then when we find the techniques that are generating some of their achievements, let's share them. I would say we already have some data on the success of the program based on college acceptances and various scores. That would be easy to look at.

Now could we please get back to the point of the post? Vote out the incumbents!

Anonymous said...

A few years ago the supporters of DSA were asking for a new performing arts school. Dr. Lewis even got on that band wagon. Many people in the county spoke out about this because it did not make sense to invest 30-40 million dollars in a school that would only serve a small number of students. There were greater needs in schools that served far more students so DSA was relocated back to its original home, Avondale. It did not seem to affect the number of students attending the program with the move.

If the QCSB bonds are used to build a new school, that school should be able to hold at least 2000 students. Anything less would only exacerbate the problem with excess seats and losing out on state dollars.

It does not matter whether a board member is an incumbent or new candidate, we need people who can make smart decisions regarding the use of dwindling school funds.

Paula Caldarella said...

It does not matter whether a board member is an incumbent or new candidate, we need people who can make smart decisions regarding the use of dwindling school funds


Being "gifted" is a type of "special need". Why shouldn't we be as protective about their special services as any other child?

I'm not sure why some assume the magnet programs are for "gifted" students - maybe it makes them feel better about their sense of entitlement. I would agree with your statement if DCSS really did serve the gifted. The magnet programs in DCSS are for "high-achieving" students. Every school in DCSS has many students that fit this critieria. Why should not they have access to the same opportunities as those in the magnet programs?

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, When you talk about doing away with magnet programs I presume you are including DSA, a very small but extremely high cost specialty magnet?

Anonymous said...

The "dwindling funds" line is also a distraction. Look at how they are spending the money.

Chamblee is the fast growing area in the region according to the census. It needs a new school. It should hold 2000+ kids.

DM - You're right. We need to do much better serving all of our gifted kids. Arguing against the program at CCHS doesn't do that. We need to reform the entry requirements for the magnet program. We should have more gifted magnet-like programs witin more schools.

Paula Caldarella said...

Yep. A home school should be offer dance,music, etc.,

Paula Caldarella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula Caldarella said...

Dwindling funds IS a real concern. Lynn Jackson at the GADOE made that statement as well.

Paula Caldarella said...

We need to do much better serving all of our gifted kids. Arguing against the program at CCHS doesn't do that

Sure it does...the magnet program at Chamblee is not a gifted program, despite what you all want to present - but housing the magnet program at Chamblee has done the resident students no favors

Paula Caldarella said...

LOL, I promised I wouldn't talk about Chamblee anymore and there I go...I will shutup now.

Anonymous said...

Chamblee is the fast growing area in the region according to the census. It needs a new school. It should hold 2000+ kids.

This statement is the REAL distraction. Chambleee may be a fast growing area but the fact is that most of the students in that area do not go to Chamblee High School. History has shown that to be true for the past 30 years. The data is very clear on this.

Anonymous said...

I think that the county has made it clear they don't care about gifted kids outside of the magnet programs. Didn't they do away with the gifted coordinator position and fold it into the magnet coordinator's job. The only kids at the elementary level who get state required services are those at the magnet schools, and they are not even all gifted qualified. I have a child at an elementary where I've been told the high achievers can be served at the same level with a gifted ct. teacher who is in a room with 30 kids as a result. I cannot see how any differentiated curriculum is in place. When I spoke to the county office the comment was made that there was such a small number of kids qualified as gifted we didn't qualify for the points to hire a dedicated Discovery teacher. The school admins. decided to spend points on a special that would serve all kids. So, as a result, the few gifted kids we have at the school are completely underserved. All kids qualified as gifted should have access to the options available to 'high achievers' at the magnets, but I suspect you'll find the kids qualified as gifted at many elementary schools aren't getting even what the state mandates.

Anonymous said...

@Cere, I think you mean the Newsweek list. Looking at the data, I believe Lakeside was erroneously omitted in 2010.

2009 AP tests: 825
2009 seniors (spring semester): 317
Selection index: 825/317 = 2.602

Lakeside should have been on that list, in the 300s. Next year Lakeside's index will be significantly higher because the number of AP exams taken rose to 847 in 2010. I also noticed SW DeKalb was missing from the list, which tries to include all schools with an index greater than 1.000. I wonder if somebody isn't sending the data to Newsweek.

Please let's not get into the argument again over whether the Newsweek index is meaningful. I'm only responding to Cere's comment about Lakeside dropping off the list.

"1. How does the Challenge Index work?
We take the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge (AICE) tests given at a school each year and divide by the number of seniors graduating in May or June... Each list is based on the previous year's data, so the 2010 list has each school's numbers for 2009."

AP exams:

Senior class size:

Anonymous said...

I have a different perspective on your so called magnet program. It is the only reason that my neighbors don't send their bright, serious, good performing kids to a private school. It is a great way to attract kids who bring up the averages.

Anonymous said...

Attention Chamblee area residents, school decisions shouldn't be made on the basis of property values.

If I get one more email saying that if this happens or that happens, our property values will drop, I am going to scream.

You sound just like the people in Dunwoody that you criticized two years ago and continue to criticize now.

Vent over.

Anonymous said...

All kids qualified as gifted should have access to the options available to 'high achievers' at the magnets, but I suspect you'll find the kids qualified as gifted at many elementary schools aren't getting even what the state mandates.

This is why we have special progams such as the magnets. It's great to want instructional equity as a goal for all schools but the fact remains that each school needs different offerings based on the needs of their students. Without naming schools, we know of some that need to spend more instructional time on the basics. What do you do for the students at that school that need enrichment because they started school ahead of their peers? Do we tell them to be the teachers assistant and help the other students instead of providing them the instruction they need?

Should a principal use a point on a Discovery Teacher that may only serve 20-25 students or use it on an additional Reading Specialist that may serve 200-250? Tough decisions our principals must make regarding resources for their students.

There is no easy answer to this. There are going to be students at all schools that don't get what they need because of the needs of the majority in that school. If we can determine how to provide for the needs of all students within each school within our exisitng budget, you won't have as many parents looking for options outside of their neighborhood school.

Anonymous said...

All of you who have written on this thread seem to have one thing in common. You are not happy with the DCSS or the BOE. The power to begin to change things here is with you.

GO VOTE tomorrow and put NANCY JESTER to work. One person can start to make a difference, and she is that person.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:24 said, "Chamblee may be a fast growing area but the fact is that most of the students in that area do not go to Chamblee High School. History has shown that to be true for the past 30 years. The data is very clear on this."

I understand your point, but that is why Dan Drake and Vision 2020 is about to redraw the lines to make sure all the schools are balanced. Even Redovian said last week that the Dunwoody folks that live close to 285 could be drawn into CCHS to lighten the load at DHS. Plus, the CCHS lines that border Tucker's and Lakeside's areas could be expanded the same way.

Folks, get ready for the redrawn lines! That's why these Charettes are so important. This will be your only chance to weigh in on how you feel that DCSS should proceed.

The districts MUST be balanced, we've needed this for years. Parents in the Chamblee area have been screaming for this for years. We see schools packed OTP to the North, to the East and to the South, yet our BOE and DCSS leadership can't begin to redraw the lines. Other counties do this constantly to maintain a balance.

Get out and vote tomorrow and decide if you want business as usual or do you seek real change at DCSS.

Cerebration said...

Right Anon, Newsweek does the best high schools using the AYP classes per student formula. But US News and World Report also ranks high schools. Lakeside used to make their list too so it's confusing... especially since they both have the word "News" in the name...

At any rate - the very awesome Thomas Jefferson High School in Virigina was #1 in US News in 2009. Of course, this is a magnet school - but still, we can learn from how they conduct studies in their building.

Cerebration said...

But to me - this is most interesting regarding the Best High Schools in US News -

A closer look at U.S.News & World Report's rankings of America's Best High Schools indicates that the best public high schools in the country not only vary by region, but by the ethnicity of the students that fill their hallways, too. The best schools are not populated by a homogeneous segment of this increasingly diverse nation; instead, they are attended by students hailing from an array of backgrounds.

In fact, 30 of the 100 schools that comprise this year's Gold Medal List have minority populations that exceed 40 percent, with seven schools boasting minority populations higher than 95 percent.

African-American population density is highest in the Southern states and five of the 10 schools on the top 100 list with the highest percentage of African-American students are located there. The John S. Davdison Fine Arts School located in Augusta, Ga., has the third highest ratio of African-American students among the top 100 schools . Its principal, Vicky Addison, cites the school's commitment to teaching the arts—which in turn piques students' interest in other subject areas—with the school's success across its diverse student body. "We have a culture of excellence that permeates our school, which students get caught up in when they come here, regardless of their race," she says. "We believe in challenging our students to do their best, whether in academics or in the fine arts."

The Hispanic-American population, now the largest minority in the country according to Census data, is concentrated in the Southwest and West Coast, so it's no surprise that nine of the top 10 most highly Hispanic populated schools can be found in Texas and California. At Hidalgo Early College High School in Hidalgo, Texas, No. 97 on our list of Best High Schools, 99.8 percent of the student body is of Hispanic origin. At Hidalgo, 79 percent of students participate in the Advanced Placement program, which is designed to challenge students more than traditional classes and better prepares them for college. Such a high ratio is indicative that Hidalgo students, no matter their background, are primed for success after they receive their diplomas.

Now - how can we elect representatives who focus on pushing for this level of achievement instead of aggrandizing about perceived "inequity" just to garner votes?

Anonymous said...

Over the weekend, I heard some talk with regards to overcrowing of Dunwoody elementary schools is the possiblity of utilizing Nancy Creek (if KMS is moved out) for the overflow. There was no discussion that students would be zoned into the CCHS attendance area. Dunwoody is set to have a serious discussion about charter clusters and the talk about joining a possible Milton County is heating up.

There are a lot of rumors floating around. We will just have to wait for the official report.

Anon 8:57 said...

Ah, sorry for confusing the lists. We should be proud that Redan made the US News list.

What is really interesting is that there is very little overlap between the two lists. There are 61 Georgia schools on one list and 29 on the other, but only 6 made it onto both lists:

Central Gwinnett High School
US News: Silver
Newsweek: #794

Clarke Central High School
US News: Silver
Newsweek: #1138

Columbus High School
US News: Silver
Newsweek: #625

Heritage High School
US News: Silver
Newsweek: #1445

Marietta High School
US News: Bronze
Newsweek: #835

Norcross High School
US News: Silver
Newsweek: #427

Anon 8:57 said...

Sorry, make that 7 schools. Because of alphabetization I missed

(John S.) Davidson Fine Arts Magnet
US News: Gold
Newsweek: #247

Very impressive that they're high on both lists, but Newsweek says they're a magnet school.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 10:02

Well, how about that! The Nancy Creek parents, while trying to save their school, were screaming to include some of Dunwoody into their attendance zones. But apparently Dunwoody parents, according to DCSS leadership, didn't want to send their kids to a school ITP. Now there is talk to use Nancy Creek as an overflow school? I spit coffee all over my screen when I read that!

This is too funny! Plus, will DCSS sell that expensive property where the old Shallowford ES sits? Seems to me that building is a glorified warehouse. Hey DHA, is that zoned for that?


Paula Caldarella said...

Actually, anonymous, as usual, you have it all wrong. There was a plan to send children over I-285 to help keep Nancy Creek open. It was the parents ITP that squashed that idea.

Your continued barbs at Dunwoody and your continued attempts to try and paint Dunwoody as the villain in all of this is old and boring.

And I have real good idea who you are....

Anon 8:57 said...

One of the 7 Georgia schools which made both the Newsweek and US News top schools lists did not make AYP and is in Needs Improvement Year 4. It is in Corrective Action and must offer tutoring and school choice.

Moral of the story: there are many different and even contradictory ways to measure school performance.

Cerebration said...

Oh, if you think that's bad DM - check out what a supporter of Sarah Copelin-Wood sent out via email -

In reference to eduDeKalb, DeKalb Organization of Teachers and DeKalb Chamber of Commerce's endorsement of Corey Wilson - the writer says:

Do not be so "gullible" to allow these groups, mostly comprised by Dunwoody, "to tell you how to think," "what to think" and "what to do." You just try to attempt to go to Dunwoody and tell them "how to think" or who to "vote for" - Dunwoody would object your presence and reject your opinion. If the people in Dunwoody wanted to be a part of you, they would not have created their own city.

This is the north/south political divide that we continue to have to deal with. I'm not so sure we will ever be able to get past it in DeKalb...

Paula Caldarella said...

Cere, are you serious? Oh, good grief. I'm not sure you can do anything about this type of thinking. It is ingrained in them.
We just have to hope and pray that we can move on from this thinking.

Anonymous said...

I need to share with you an email that is floating around that is encouraging people to vote for a certain candidate and attend all the charrettes to keep the magnet program in Chamblee.

I am a South DeKalb parent who has a child at Chamblee Middle School. A parent forwarded this email to all the magnet parents she knew. I did call her about it and she admitted she had not read the entire email. I found the comments very hurtful, but not surprising.

The more I thought about this the more I am concerned. That could mean our children become minorities in a newly combined magnet program from this otherwise nicely diverse school (combining a magnet program drawing from the entire county and another program drawing really only from the south).

I know the writer of this quote and by the way, her children have yet to reach the high school which might explain how it is that she doesn't realize that "our children" are already minorities. CCHS was only 22 percent Caucasian last year and fifty-five percent African American. Fully one-third of the students came from S. DeKalb, though I don't know the exact percentage in the magnet program.

I think it is important to note that it isn't just S. DeKalb politicians who use the politics of race to advocate for their cause, it is N. DeKalb parents as well.

On a personal note, it doesn't matter to me whether the magnet program is at CCHS or at Avondale high, my child can get there. I don't have a strong opinion either way, though I think that a stand alone program with higher admission standards would result in a stronger program. That does have some appeal to me.

Anonymous said...

Same anonymous as above. I work in Dunwoody and find that most people don't think nearly as much about S. DeKalb as some S. DeKalb folks do about Dunwoody.

It is hard to change the victim mentality that exists in many of these communities.

Cerebration said...

Thanks for sharing that Anon. You are correct - the divisive politics live on both ends of the county. It uses fear-mongering to build a political base. The only way to stop it is to continue to stay aware of it - and by sharing and discussing this nonsense. It does our school system no good. Stay above it.

Anonymous said...

North / South...

I dont care if its eastside/westside.

The Kids, Parents , and Teachers are all getting screwed.

Adults need to act like adults and stop acting like kids.

I dont hear little black and white kids screaming racism as much as I hear grown folks doing it.

Cerebration said...

This is true. Gifted students bring additional funding to the school just the same as special education students do. This are called their "FTE" credit. It's a very complicated system of assigning "value" to a student (which principals then use to hire staff). An average high school student (I think) is worth 1.0 FTE. A student with special needs can range from 2.4 to 5.6 or more. Gifted students are "valued" at 1.6 I believe.

Now - you can see the irresponsibility in using FTE credits earned by special education students to hire art or PE extras for the entire school. It's exactly the same with gifted. You can't just collect the extra points and use them for the "greater good". That's illegal. Any principal doing this should be reported. However, it's highly unlikely that a principal can juggle points any which way, as they have to use a very complex system at the GA DOE website of balancing teachers to FTE credits.

Anonymous said...

"Attention Chamblee area residents, school decisions shouldn't be made on the basis of property values.

If I get one more email saying that if this happens or that happens, our property values will drop, I am going to scream."

But this is a problem that highlights the disservice the current BOE has done to us all. Since our property taxes fund the schools, any depletion in property value translates into lost tax revenue. This is why school performance must be taken into account when redrawing lines/closing schools. If all schools were equitable this would be a non-issue, but we all know they are not.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:17 - you have hit on the reason the magnet parents at CCHS are fighting so hard to keep the magnet from being centrally located and accessible to all areas of the county.

It's race...pure and simple.

Cerebration said...

I disagree. As I said before, there are more magnet (and theme and choice and charter) schools in south DeKalb than in north. In fact, the magnet at SW DeKalb is practically the same as Chamblee. In fact, the "choice" (which is essentially a magnet, as it requires an application and a lottery) program at Arabia (just a few miles from SW DeKalb) is an excellent program focused on engineering and the environment. This school is so far down in the south end of DeKalb that it is actually closer to Henry and Rockdale county residents. It's a 26 mile trip from Lakeside each way. Talk about inaccessible!

Nope - I'm sorry - I'm not buying the argument that Chamblee must be moved because it's the only magnet and must be "accessible" -- unless ALL magnets move together in one central location - that includes Arabia, SW DeKalb and DSA (which has already moved to the sort of central Avondale HS).

Anonymous said...

Cere, I thought that was the suggestion, to consolidate the magnets is a central location such as Avondale. It would not make sense to move Chamblee in isolation unless there was a concerted effort to consolidate everything. Doing so would make it easier to see where the neighborhood schools with empty seats really exist so that a comprehensive plan can be put forth. If we continue to artificially inflate the school numbers with programs, it makes it hard to make any changes.

Paula Caldarella said...

Cere, I think, could be wrong though, that the discussions are around moving all of the HA magnet programs to a central facility.

I don't think this decision is in isolation, but is in the broader conversation with regards to the whole Redistricting, Consolidating and Closure project - in which DCSS must rid itself of over 12,000 surplus seats.

Anonymous said...

I think that DCSS needs to go the way of Gwinett and do away with the Magnet, Theme and other choice schools, so that all schools are able to offer the children a quality education. Right now, just a handful of children get what all children in the county should be getting. Make the playing field fair, so that everyone is offered a quality education.

If I were superintendent, that is the first thing that I would do, as all children deserve to have their intelligences sparked with the arts and other extras at the magnet, theme, and other special schools.

Cerebration said...

Hopefully, that is the case, however, it still leaves Arabia - we can't really move an entire magnet school like that now can we?

I was really responding to Anon's comment above -

Anonymous 11:17 - you have hit on the reason the magnet parents at CCHS are fighting so hard to keep the magnet from being centrally located and accessible to all areas of the county.

It's race...pure and simple.

It is not race. There is equity in the system. The "north" is not keeping anything "away" from anyone in the "south". So - please knock off the "accessible to everyone" request to move Chamblee. Even if we do consolidate the high achiever magnets at Chamblee and SW DeKalb and DSA into one central location, the south will still have the "magnet" advantage in Arabia. We don't have a sparkling, new, "choice" school such as that anywhere in the north - and for students in the north to access Arabia - it would require a 25-30 mile commute each way. I just get very defensive when accused of "race" issues when this very obvious advantage exists in the farthest corner of South DeKalb - never really mentioned by anyone claiming some kind of "inequity"...

Anonymous said...

i still have a problem with the fact tha gifted identified kids have to enter a lottery with high achievers (is that the 75 score that people talk about) to receive state ordered services. Many of these kids lose out...

Honestly, none of these locations are easy for two parent, multiple child families to get to. Take a good look at magnet acceptance letters, if you lived in south dekalb, after school programs were available at drop off sites, after school is provided at kitteridge, and if you live in central, you'd have to use the latter, pray that there would be no traffic on 285 and that you'd be able to pick up your other kids before closing...

Yeah, accessable choice for gifted kids with working parents...NOT. Why is it acceptable that education for gifted kids is a ' choice ' not a mandate. Aren't we mandating appropriate education for other groups? Why do you think
"choice" rather than required is okfor this group? Are you ok with giving special education kids a choice to enter a lottery to get into an appropriate educational setting where their needs can be met. By the way, provide their own transportation, and recognize your odds of getting in are low because other kids can benefit from the setting as well, so there is not a guaranteed slot. Good luck!

Paula Caldarella said...

Well, Cere, as we talked about yesterday, that whole Arabia Mountain situation is just ridiculous. It was built with the promise that it would be a traditional school and then OOPS,,,no, we're going to make it a magnet school.

Cerebration said...

Yes, and on top of that, they are still planning to build additions to area high schools to relieve over-crowding - go figure.

Good points about the gifted vs special education dollars, anon. You are correct in thinking that the funding is similar and should be treated as such. It's no more fair to dilute gifted dollars than it would be to dilute dollars allocated for special education.

FWIW - pre-k gets ZERO FTE credits. Therefore, even though Coralwood focuses on special education, they serve 3-4 and 5 year olds, most of whom do not bring FTE dollars to the system. That's why they require so much more funding from the general operations budget.

In fact, below is a listing of situations which do not generate FTE credit. Some are surprising -

FTE is not earned in these situations:
• Students whose GRADE LEVEL is Pre-kindergarten (PK), underage kindergarten
(UK), or underage first grade (UI)
• Students who are overage or underage
• Students who are not present for at least 1 of the 10 days prior to the FTE count day
• Students who have a RESIDENT STATUS CODE = ‘5’ (out-of-state student)
• Any segment reported with one of the following:
PROGRAM CODE = ‘O’ segment supported by non-state funds OR for any Pre-K
PROGRAM CODE = ‘4’ student receiving GNETS Program services
PROGRAM CODE = ‘N’ student is in study hall that segment
PROGRAM CODE = ‘5’ – Funding goes to the Georgia Virtual Schools Program

Tuition – Students that pay tuition for class enrollment do not earn FTE funding for that class.

Resident Status – FTE funding is earned for students that are residents of a Georgia public school district. Out of state students do not earn FTE funding.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom said!
Actually, anonymous, as usual, you have it all wrong. There was a plan to send children over I-285 to help keep Nancy Creek open. It was the parents ITP that squashed that idea.Your continued barbs at Dunwoody and your continued attempts to try and paint Dunwoody as the villain in all of this is old and boring.And I have real good idea who you are....
November 1, 2010 10:33 AM

Dunwoody Mom, YOU ARE SO WRONG!
Maybe there was an attempt before 2004, but from 2004 to 2007, Nancy Creek PTA and parents screamed to have the lines redrawn to increase attendance at NCTS, but Crawford Lewis and later Jim Redovian, told our PTA board that the folks in Dunwoody, did not want to have to cross 285. Jim was against closing Nancy Creek too. Not sure why you think I am painting Dunwoody as the villain. Dunwoody is not the villain, however your voting bloc up there is powerful! When was the last time a person, not from Dunwoody, win the District 1 school board post?

We, the Nancy Creek PTA, fought like hell to include the folks in the neighborhood behind Georgetown, into the Nancy Creek Attendance Zone. I was on the PTA Board then. I don't think you know who I am, but I am so tired of arguing, I'm not the only person that knows the truth about the closing of Nancy Creek.

DCSS tried for years to close the school, former principal Dr. Alice Thompson brought in a man to replace her who did everything he could to make sure neighbors would not attend the school. The parents had the principal replaced, after we exposed a BOE members son, who had received a $15K raise and a new job with Ms. Tyson, but didn't report to his new job for 6 months. The principal did nothing about removing Mr. Jamal Edwards and letting his superiors know that he had not reported to his new job.

I hear there is talk about Dunwoody moving into Milton. I find that interesting, just like the rumor that the City of Dunwoody wants to buy Murphey Candler Park and include that into their city limits. Good luck with that!

Look I have nothing against Dunwoody, like you want to assume, but we tried like hell to keep Nancy Creek opened and this is after the years of Chip Franzoni and his antics!

If you have such a good idea, who I am, let me know sometime I'm in the phone book!

Since this post was hijacked about magnet worries, race relations and North vs. South, can we get back to the issue at hand? Making sure the 5 incumbents on the DCSS BOE do not get re-elected!

Anonymous said...

The school enrollment lines will be drawn in such a way so that SPLOST IV will be needed to construct or more new schools. DCSS needs $500 million more to waste/play with to keep th ejob bank intact.

Cerebration said...

I happen to agree. I think a lot of this sudden interest in "charrettes" and 2020 Vision (which focuses on buildings and not educational vision) is really about the strong desire to get a SPLOST 4 passed - as well as keep SACS accreditation.

I sure would like to see more "vision" as to what kind of education we hope to provide our children in the future, rather than the square footage of the building they will sit in all day. Both are important, but I don't think we have much "educational" leadership at the moment.

Anonymous said...

The Milton rumor is more reliable than Dunwoody buying Murphy Candler park. That sounds like some one's pipe dream or something that happens from smoking something in a pipe.

Nancy Creek had hundreds of spaces and a community that was split on a solution.

The Blue Ribbon task force report which Dr. Lewis relied on very heavily to guide his decisions recommended not changing high school cluster lines. The Chamblee community was well represented on the BRTF.

Anonymous said...

Arabia Mt. may very well become a neighborhood school.


(not) Jim Redovian said...

What "spoof" post are you referring to? That's an actual quote that came straight out of Jim Redovian's mouth! And he's said many other things just as bad (or worse).

Those are Jim Redovian's words.

Why would you or anyone else want them removed?

Jim Redovian said it.

Deal with it.

Cerebration said...

True. Jim did say, “Things aren’t that bad in DeKalb. We’re doing pretty well.” But that wasn't actually Jim who posted... I'm not sure everyone "got" that..

But you are right - he really did say that.

Cerebration said...

My personal favorite was his announcing the name of his website - www-dot-I-suck-dot-com. That was sad - almost as sad as when he said, I've been on this board for 4 years, but it feels like 400.

Not really sure why he wants to stay so badly.

Anonymous said...

It was a joke - based on all the hate-filled emals he has received from a certain individual.

Anonymous said...

Cere 10:48 quoted:

"Do not be so "gullible" to allow these groups, mostly comprised by Dunwoody, "to tell you how to think,"

Her constituents must not be able to follow basic logic or recent local history. eduKalb was formed by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Which was DEAD SET AGAINST the formation of the City of Dunwoody.

So how is it that a group against formation of the city was comprised BY Dunwoody? Are her constituents really that dumb???

Cerebration said...

Well, I gotta say - as much as I chat about the school system and the school board - there's no way I would have what it takes to toss myself in the ring and serve on the board. Life is short - and that kind of stress is a big downer. It's no wonder they can't stand this blog - we all just chat about it - toss our opinions around - and then go on our merry way.

I don't understand what's going on in this county - or this country for that matter. Everything is so divisive and so hard. If you get in the middle of it - even as a blogger with an opinion - it will drain you. I have many friends who send their children to private school and enjoy life. They don't have the struggle. Sometimes, I think it's worth the price you pay for that. There's too small a pie with too many who need a slice anymore. We've hit the wall and things simply must change - significantly. That's why these documentaries are so popular - they speak to everyone's frustration - nationwide - not just here in DeKalb.

Don't know where that all came from - except that I truly wonder what anyone's motivation is to seek a seat on the board - especially after you've experienced what it really must be like. It looks just horrible.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pipe Dream Pipe Smoker!

I heard the same thing about Dunwoody looking at buying Murphey Candler Park, at a neighborhood party last night. I know the Dunwoody leadership has had discussions about acquiring more green space. But, I also think the unincorporated slice of DeKalb residents, that live around the park, will have the final say in that matter. One never knows these days.

Anonymous said...

If the park is a DeKalb County property they can sell it whenever and to whomever they want based on commissioner approval. Residents need to ask themselves that if this is the case would you rather want the City of Dunwoody, City of Chamblee, or DeKalb County Government directing the park's on-going maintenance and future. Truth-be-told volunteers from Dunwoody and Chamblee have been driving its upkeep since the beginning of time.

And let's not quickly forget the Northside Hospital $100K (?) donation for refurbishment of the park's restrooms that the County stalled for years for political reasons that were certainly not in the interest of those using the facility -- whether they're from Chamblee or Dunwoody. Hey, if Chamblee has the dough to buy it, I'm sure Dunwoody would be happy not to have to incur the expense. Just get it into local control!

Anonymous said...

@ Cere

Regarding running for the BOE:

Some people are attracted to the power and influence, and some people are attracted to the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives. Some people set low standards for their performance in office and some people set high standards for their performance in office. It's up to voters to discern the difference. I'm thankful we live in a country where we can decide.

There's nothing more important than public education. Although we have many inequities in our country, it is truly the "great leveler" and the prerequisite for a democratic way of life and economic security.

Brains and talent lie evenly within all populations, and a good public educational system ensures no one is overlooked. With the advent of the Internet and the rise of technology, never has our world been so open to the utilization of human ingenuity and creativity. We can't turn back the clock. We have to prepare our children for that future. Public education, not private education is the bedrock of that future.

That's why every vote is so important tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

@Cere 4:24

Wise words! But we've got to keep those who serve or want to serve on the feet to do what is right!

Anonymous said...

The opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.After meeting Nancy Jester and talking with her on several occasions that is the reason I believe she is seeking a seat on the BOE in District 1.

She is a true believer in Public Education, her children are there.

Her quest is to make it better for all children in Dekalb County and to make sure that our tax dollars go where they belong, to the classroom, where learning takes place, between teacher and student. She has a stake in this effort,as what we do now will effect all of us for years to come, so I say lets vote for some one who is in it to make a difference for the most important among us OUR CHILDREN.


Anonymous said...

Watching the DCSS BOE Meeting ...

Someone wake up Bob Moseley!

Anonymous said...

Please vote, but, to steal a line from someone else...I used to vote for the candidate that I liked, then I voted against the candidate I hate, now I vote for the candidate that I hate the least. So sad.....

Anonymous said...

Anon 11/1 2:20.

We all grow weary of your 20/20 hindsight. At this point, to dredge up your "heroic" past is useless. Please add some value by looking to the future of this growing, important district. We need to leave CCHS alone, short of a new facility, since the current one is falling apart from the neglect of the DCSS BOE. Otherwise, it's the best Dekalb has to offer. Resident students benefit greatly from the Magnet presence...and you know it.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that any candidate that is promising you anything or committing to a firm stance on any issue, is only one vote. In addition, once elected they can change their minds.

A recent lesson in this is in Cobb, where citizens voted for board members who would support a more traditional school calendar. Once elected, all but one changed their mind and supported a very early August start date.

Very disappointed electorate and now they have to wait 4 years to vote again.

Anonymous said...

Parents have tried to wake up Bob Moseley for many years : ) No such luck - he is terminally asleep

Anonymous said...

I believe that an opportunity was missed when SACs decided not to put the system on probation which would have allowed the governor to replace the entire board at once. ????????

Kind of makes you wonder if SACS is on the up and up, doesn't it? It's unbelievable that they would arrive at this decision re DCSS after the decision they made re Clayton Co.

Anonymous said...

RE BOB MOSELEY, he doesn't have a lot of fans. His superior surely knows this. He should be terminally out of a job with DCSS. Period.

I would love to hear some good things about him if anyone wants to blog some.

Anonymous said...

Clayton County was different in that there were multiple internal whistle blowers and board members turned on each other. My sense is that while we have had parents make complaints, there has been little to no internal whistle blowing.

The main difference between Clayton and DeKalb is that the DCSS board has been responding to SACs positively and making changes in policies, censuring each other and moving forward on the SACs action steps.

None of that happened in Clayton. The board members refused to make changes and eventually refused to resign.

Things are heating up with Atlanta and it will be interesting to see if the Atlanta Board backs down or if SACs goes after them.

Many have wondered where SACs powers come from. We might get a clearer picture if Atlanta fights them.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I think Moseley has long been the fall guy for the administration. Moseley would be sent by Lewis to be the bad guy at many a meeting.

But I generally think he is slimy.

Anonymous said...

Charter Schools myth......

BOE: Read this

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah....

You did a good job for brushing your teeth, answering SACS, tying your shoes, and wearing a pressed suit!!

Let's quit praising people for doing their basic jobs at DCSS Super & cabinet level,

Anonymous said...

Wow---where did woman learn all this?


blah blah blah

Anonymous said...

I happen to agree with you, but I am curious about the grand jury?

Anonymous said...

"I would love to hear some good things about him if anyone wants to blog some. "

Bob Moseley was a very good principal of Tucker High School. He didn't want to waste teachers' time, and he had a healthy appreciation of the inefficiencies of the Central Office and in particular MIS. He ran a tight ship and appreciated anything that was done for students. Just ask some Tucker High School teachers that taught under him.

It's been a long time since Mr. Moseley was in a schoolhouse position. He was very excited to get promoted to the Central Office. When he first got promoted, he seemed to walk a tightrope. He was not a part of the good old boys network, and that was probably part of the reason he has not been the success as an assistant superintendent as he was a principal.

My understanding is that he was offered the job of superintendent before Mr.s Tyson but turned it down. I believe that. He can retire at any time, and I think he saw the handwriting on the wall. I think he realizes how inept the current administration is, and I think he didn't want to do or thought he couldn't do the housecleaning necessary with the current BOE and literally thousands of admin and support personnel fighting for their jobs.

Am I a Bob Moseley fan? No. Although I admired him as a principal, he has been ineffective in the position he occupies no matter how well meaning he may have been. Perhaps that's why Dr. Lewis picked him. Dr. Lewis had a habit of co-opting employees' loyalties - generally with a healthy promotion. Some people Dr. Lewis promoted were impressed with the money, some with the title, and some with the perceived power and influence. Any of these reasons proved seductive to the personnel involved. Dr. Lewis handed out promotions like candy at a Halloween in an effort to secure loyalty and solidify his base.

An entirely new BOE needs to be voted into office, the current "upper management" (as they call themselves) needs to be replaced, and the schoolhouse needs to be the focus of DCSS.

Cerebration said...

Have you all been hearing stories about crimes within DCSS? First it was the AC units (copper?) and then computers - lots of computers. Here's the latest -

Henderson Laptops Stolen

Henderson Middle School was broken into this past week during the wee hours of the morning. Laptops and other electronics equipment were stolen from the Media Center. This was the 20th incident at a DeKalb County school and the matter is currently under investigation. If you have any knowledge of the incident or saw anything suspicious in the area, contact Officer Smith immediately.

Anonymous said...

This is comforting since we spend more than any other system on Security - over $12,000,000 in salary and benefits. BOE member Eugene Walker's son makes $65,000 in salary and benefits - more than a teacher with a Masters degree and 12 years of experience.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

RE computers stolen at Henderson ... check the cameras which I'm sure were turned on. Whatever you do, get the real police involved. Don't dare let Ron Ramsey and friends investigate, as it WILL be botched and possibly even an innocent person will be charged with theft.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your excellent summary about what the five incumbents have said in the past and their behavior. I will be voting Tuesday and will vote against my incumbent board member.

All of us in Dekalb County should be grateful to the Atlanta Public School System and its even more inept Board. They have saved us from further publicity about our own Board. I hope that we can elect five new Board members that will be racially insensitive, team-oriented, hardworking, results-oriented, will have a vision, and will be focused on building a better school system.

Again, thank you for this summary - let's all go VOTE!


Anonymous said...

Re: SACs' power.

"Schools choose to be accredited by SACS, thus agreeing to live by its rules and meet its standards. Its power is given to it by the wholesale agreement of districts to use it as their accrediting body."

This is from Maureen Downey at the AJC's Get Schooled Blog.

Anonymous said...

"I would love to hear some good things about him if anyone wants to blog some. "

Bob Moseley is a product of DeKalb Schools (Druid Hills). He loves this county and working for this school system. You can have personal disagreements with him but if you speak to him and listen, you cannot deny his passion for his job. There are 168hours in every week. He probably spends 90 - 100 of them working on behalf of the school district.

Every organization has employees that must be involved in making tough decisions and delivering news that recipients may not want to hear. He is one of those people in this school system. He has done so in communities throughout the county on behalf of school leaders during his time in the central office.

You can disagree with him on the messages he brings on behalf of the school system. Many may not represent his personal opinions but those that may be in the best interest of the school district. Many citizens have a micro view of DeKalb Schools meaning they believe their needs for their school are greater than the needs for the school district at large. Some of the discussions on this blog, especially as it relates to the upcoming consolidation and redistricting are an example of that. Bob will deliver the message without much emotion, then continue on.

It is a tough job and somebody has to do it. If not Bob, someone else would have to deliver those messages.

Anonymous said...

"Many citizens have a micro view of DeKalb Schools meaning they believe their needs for their school are greater than the needs for the school district at large."

Most citizens is a much more correct statement.

Dr. Lewis wasn't much of a leader and he didn't like criticism. He had a hard time if people disagreed with him. He could not bring himself to disappoint people. Therefore, he always sent Moseley.

Anonymous said...

Many people have this innate desire to be liked or loved. Combine this with the 'squeaky wheel syndrome' and the 'I'm a victim therefore I deserve more' atmosphere in DeKalb, an entitlement environment has been cultivated over the years. Many times, Bob Moseley has been voice of school district in saying 'no' to these constituencies.

A fair evaluation of Moseley would be to separate the man from the job. I believe you will find a good man that has a tough job. Unfortunately because he has to say no to many people who are supporting their children, he has become a villian in the eyes of many. This is not to say he is always right as he is human. One can say he is not always wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have been a resident of DeKalb and taxpayer for 16 years. I'm also a parent and teacher in DCSS. Though I sometimes read the posts here, I've never responded. This morning, however, I feel the need to voice my concern about the voting procedure as it relates to the School Board members.

I have to say that I am absolutely livid that I was not allowed to cast my vote for the school board because I reside in a district that is not up for re-election. As I explained to the person with whom I spoke at the Voter Registration Office this morning, this needs to change. Why? Each board member's vote collectively affects my child's education, me as a teacher, and as a taxpayer in DeKalb County. As such, everyone in DeKalb should be able to vote for the school board members whether or not one resides in the district that is up for re-election.

When I asked to whom do I write to get this changed, the response was "The School Board." How asinine is that?!

I went to the polls this morning ready to "vote the bums out," so I sincerely hope and pray that you all in Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 voted them out on my and my child's behalf.

Rest assured, I will be writing the school board, the Board of Elections and my state representative in regards to this. I hope you will too.

Thank you for keeping us informed in this forum.

Anonymous said...

I like Bob Moseley as a person....I worked for him when he was a principal. I didn't always agree with some things that he did, but I respected his decisions. The same can be said for my current principal (but not all that I have worked for in Dekalb). My honest view of Moseley is a decent man doing a tough job in a slimy system. All in all, I think he'd rather be fly fishing than having to clean up after folks without any integrity...and if he ever through some weird turn of fate became a principal again, I'd gladly work for him again

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the post, Anon. I do hope this blog has at least opened the eyes of the public as to how the system works and the shocking amount of tax dollars they pay into the school system.

It's an interesting idea of yours - everyone votes for all school board members - no matter the district. Hmmm - I think that will be tough to promote. We can, however, promote the push to reduce the size of the board - at nine members, ours is much too large. The Georgia Legislators are currently in the process of trying to pass a law limiting the size of school boards. Support your reps in this effort.

Until then, we will continue "watching" the board here at the blog!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:10,

Are you really a teacher? You did not know that we have a form of government called a representative democracy? Whether you agree with him or not, Dr. Walker was absolutely correct at the Board meeting last night on new Board Policy ABC that another elected body (state representatives and senators) cannot dictate to another constitutionally elected official what their form of representation should be. It should be noted that all Board members agreed with him and modified that policy.

The tool you have at your disposal for removing a Board member not up for election during this cycle is a recall. Thankfully we are not an autocracy. We are a country of laws not mob rule.

Cerebration said...

In other news -- on the topic of crime in the system - here's one that took THREE YEARS to come to justice. This lady took $40,000 from Lakeside High School - stealing from kids really. And she almost got away with it --

Ex-School Bookkeeper Accused Of Taking $40K

A former bookkeeper is accused of taking nearly $40,000 from a DeKalb County high school
Stephanie Cooper is accused of taking the money more than three years ago from Lakeside High School after an audit found the money was missing.

Cooper signed an affidavit in 2007 saying she didn’t take the money, but she admitted swapping checks for cash and paying it back later.

The district spent years investigating. Cooper was arrested in April.

School board member Paul Womack told Channel 2 Action News that the district has a new internal auditor to keep it from happening again.

“We want to send a message, if you put your hands in our till, we’re going to try to cut them off,” said Womack.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Board members were elected county wide as recent as the late 70's and early 80's. The law was changed to move to a representative form of government that we enjoy today. This was to make sure that all voices were heard, not just those of the majority.

Isn't DeKalb still under supervision by the Voting Rights Act?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:10 is right, the voting for the BoE members should not be decided by a district line. In this election my only choice is the at large vote between Ella & Walker. My children attend my neighborhood districted high school that I have no vote in.

Anonymous said...


That you have NO vote in this TIME. You will have a vote next time.

Staggering elections to the US Senate insures that change is incremental and not the result of unchecked passion.

With the demographics of Dekalb County, electing the top 5 or 7 vote-getters might yield 5 or 7 Zepporahs or 5 or 7 Womacks. By voting in districts and at-large, you can only get 2 Zepporahs and 2 Womacks at a time!

Cerebration said...

How reassuring!

Actually, as I understood the above comment, they cannot vote for the person who represents their high school. This happens in Lakeside's district quite often. It's odd. You can live in the attendance zone for Lakeside, but you do not vote for a board rep assigned to Lakeside - you vote for the rep over Druid Hills - or maybe even Tucker. Further, Lakeside has several reps that share the representation - there is no "one" rep for Lakeside.

Paula Caldarella said...

I was very moved by the comments from the Woodward ES parents at the BOE meeting last night. Bathrooms that don't work, playground that is unsafe, - same old complaints were hear about.

Anonymous said...

8:10 I totally agree with your idea of everyone voting for every board member. I believe that this is the only way that the board members will look at the effects of their decisions on all children and not just the children in the area in which they reside. This to me is one of the biggest problems with the current board of education. Board members only care about their area, and rarely make positive decisions for the entire district unless their district is getting something out of it.

Anonymous said...

If a school district is large enough to need districts, then it is too large. A school district is not a mini-state or mini-country. We should absolutely be able to vote for all of those who run the entire county, especially given the gravity of the decisions they make. They don't just choose to tax one district, after all. Rather than think we would get 2+ Roberts, why not think a powerful voting bloc could vote OUT Roberts if her own neighbors can't see her destructive ways.

Anonymous said...

This may be why we do not vote for all 9 BOE members at large.

Compare Dekalb's demographics to the State of Georgia.

Anonymous said...

“We want to send a message, if you put your hands in our till, we’re going to try to cut them off,” said Womack.

Hope this includes Lewis and Pope/Reid and all the other Friends/Family that have stolen from our students.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much respect for Moseley. He is in a position at DCSS where he had to know what CLew and Pope were up to. You can't tell me that so much went on behind his back and under his radar.

4 years ago, when our PTA asked him questions regarding attendance numbers, zones and redistricting, he was condescending and very arrogant. I was stunned how much mis-information he was giving our PTA, after a group we were involved in, did a Freedom of Information request for some documents that showed the truth that he was not sharing with us.

A person I do have respect for is Ms. Debbie Loeb, she was an Asst. Super in the early days of Clew's reign of terror on our system. Just months into it, she resigned and retired quickly to the Mountains of NC.

Our school was very engaged with Ms. Loeb, she gave us time and honored our questions with honest answers. We were stunned how sudden her resignation and retirement happened. My wife and I wish she was back in the system and we wonder to this day what the back story was regarding her swift retirement and if she could be instrumental in finding out the truth behind Clew and Pope's antics.

Anonymous said...

It's not looking good, folks. Those who haven't done their research are voting for the familiar names. It's going to be more of the same.

Now what???

Anonymous said...

Write your state legislators (e-mail them) and urge them to reduce the school board to 5 members ... asap.... if you'd like indicate that they should come from different districts but be voted on by the entire county. Perhaps if they hear from a number of everyone, it might just happen. If the BOE shrinks to 5 then the BOE would look very different. If they were representative of different regions but elected by the whole, they might have a different outlook on their jobs. Also, maybe Jay can be removed for criminal behavior -- maybe we need a requirement that our BOE members must be bonded to the $2 billion they manage... bet he (and others) couldn't be bonded (could apply to county commission too)... just a thought.