Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Underground Associations"? Tangled and Non-Transparent "Inner Workings"?

When I hear attempts to justify the re-election of any incumbent to the DeKalb County Board of Education, I am reminded of the title of a book written by Bob Hope, former public relations person – back in the day – for the always-losing Atlanta Braves.

Title of the book: We Could’ve Finished Last Without You.

Yes – incumbent Board of Education members – including Jim Redovian – DCSS could have finished last without you.

CLew-less – Right or Wrong

Jim Redovian ran for election to the DeKalb County Board of Education with a single publicly stated mission: To support Crawford Lewis, no matter what. Redovian certainly made good on his promise – following Lewis right over the cliff, in spite of numerous warnings from taxpayers. In 2003 – 2004, only 14% of DeKalb County School System’s (DCSS) schools did not make AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). By 2009 – 2010, that number had skyrocketed to 44.4% of DeKalb’s public schools unable to make AYP. That is the highest number in the metro area.

E-mail me for the spreadsheet that supports the above chart:

Meanwhile, during the intervening years between 2003 – 2004 and 2009 – 2010, the DCSS Office of School Improvement grew exponentially in number of employees and size of salary and benefits. While teachers and their families were absorbing the body-blows of salary cuts, no raises, furlough days and a complete stop to the promised DCSS BOE contribution to the TSA account that is supposed to replace Social Security, Audria Berry, executive director, and other Office of School Improvement personnel received significant raises. For doing what? Are our schools improved? Where was Jim Redovian’s leadership?

In fact, we now have more central office and “support” personnel than classroom teachers. When serious budget cuts had to be made, Interim Superintendent Tyson’s cuts were to the low-level personnel who keep things running and to the classroom, by raising class sizes and eliminating teachers and parapros who have direct contact with students. Tyson protected the Friends-and-Family employees, at the expense of our students and teachers. Tyson, you may remember, presided over huge salary and staff increases in the largely ineffective, inept and inefficient MIS department. What has Jim Redovian done to make our classrooms centers of learning instead of the afterthoughts they now are?

When poor planning and general ineptness on the part of Morcease Beasley and Bob Moseley threatened to send 200 9th grade AYP transfers to an already overcrowded Chamblee Charter High School, only quick, determined action by parents and community members (the people who pay the bills) – not by Jim Redovian – enabled temporarily sidestepping that disaster-in-the-making. Yet, there has still been no action on Jim Redovian’s part.

Tangled and Non-transparent

In her October 6, 2010 letter to the editor of the Dunwoody Crier, retired DCSS employee, Bette Swilley, alleges that Jim Redovian has “fought” for District I schools. Ask the Chamblee Charter High School parents how Redovian’s “fight” is working out for CCHS.

Further, Bette Swilley notes: “DeKalb Schools has a network that is not easily unraveled or transparent. It is better for us to have someone in the position who has discovered the underground associations administrators have with one another, current and past.” Really? Swilley continues, “there are inner workings that must always be considered when approaching school system issues.” Really?? Clearly, Swilley is expecting Redovian to be re-elected to continue enabling “business as usual.”

[Full disclosure: This post was offered to The Dunwoody Crier on Friday, October 8, 2010, long before The Crier's Monday deadline. It was unpublished as of Wednesday, October 13, 2010.]

Transparency – the lack of – is a huge issue with DCSS. Lack of transparency has allowed bad things to happen in DCSS. Lack of transparency and tiptoeing around “inner workings” has enabled the “well-connected” with “underground associations” in DCSS to line their pockets and get away with it. I definitely do not want a board member who has “discovered the underground associations,” accepts non-transparency as the modus operandi (MO) and is willing to tiptoe around “inner workings.” Do you?

Note to Jim Redovian: You had your chance and you blew it – big time.

I want a well-informed board member who has the will and the courage to:

(1) demand and get complete transparency;

(2) render the “underground associations” ineffective by

(3) directing the new superintendent to clean house and get rid of the “Palace Guard”;

(4) right-size the budget and the central office staff; and

(5) put students and teachers first.

How about you?

Nancy Jester will be that board member. VOTE on November 2!


Anonymous said...

Sandy, there is a separate thread for endorsements. Why did you feel the need to start a new one just to push your hatred of Jim Redovian on the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

Well said sandy. have you called Dock or Cobbs at The Crier to get your letter/column in next week's issue?

Anonymous said...

It's doubtful the Crier will run Sandy's letter, the editor Dick Williams and Jim are good friends. We could start a phone call and email campaign to see if Dick would include Sandy's letter in next week's Crier.

The deadline process of the Crier is a bit odd. When we have submitted pieces about our swim team, well before the deadline, it's been several weeks before it would get into an issue. I'm sure there are also space issues involved too.

Sandy great article, once again with facts and figures. Hard to argue with them. I'm sure some parents from CCHS, who are trying to be respectful in their bid for a new building and who are also supporting the re-election of Jim Redovian, will be commenting as soon as they see the piece.

Folks, it's time that the old guard is let go. There are too many things going on under the table at the Palace and the only way to get those stopped is by voting out all incumbents and have a Palace cleansing of sorts.

Anonymous said...


Sandy is not the only citizen aware of these facts. And I appreciate this post for what it is: THE TRUTH.

The voters should know all of this BEFORE they cast their ballots on November 2nd.

Our school system cannot survive another term for Jim Redovian.

Re-elect Jim Redovian and kiss your (what's left of your) schools good bye.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 2:29 - hatred? It is clear that there are many who post to this blog in the comments section who find the daylight of facts to be "maligning" or "hatred".

The facts are the facts and sitting board members have to live by what they have or haven't done.

If Board Member Redovian has done so much for his schools he should have no problem articulating these accomplishments so all can see and admire. If, on the other hand, he has shown up for board meeting and admitted he hasn't read the material but still vote YES - well then I think we all can see how he is "helping" the schools in his district.

Anonymous said...

Dear Redovian Apologists and Enablers (I'm talking to YOU anonymous at 2:29pm):

There is no "hate" for Jim Redovian in this post. But there is plenty of "dislike" for job he did not do while on the Board.

Facts are facts. Reality is reality. The truth is the truth.

Our DCSS is in shambles thanks to Jim Redovian and his fellow school board members. They presided over this train wreck. They own it. It's on them.

That's not "hate". That's "accountability".

On November 2nd the voters will have the opportunity to hold Jim Redovian and four other incumbent school board members accountable for their actions (and inaction).

As a homeowner with children attending DCSS schools, I hope all five incumbent board members are voted out. They've done nothing to deserve reelection and everything to deserve a landslide rebuke at the ballot box.

If the voters return any of the five incumbents to office we all know what will happen. Our schools will continue there downward death spiral. And our property values will follow close behind.

Anonymous said...

Superintendent Search Presentations/Interviews and discussion with the two search groups who were picked by the BOE.

GSBA and Ray & Associates

9am Tomorrow at The Palace

I wonder if this is open to the public?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it will be televised on PDS 24?

Why does the DCSS BOE insist on holding critically important meetings like this one when the majority of the DCSS stakeholders cannot attend due to job commitments?

Multiple choice answers below. Select a. or b.



Anonymous said...

While I agree that this BOE election is critical, I don't think the outcome of the District 1 competetion will have much if any real impact on the education our kids will receive in DCSS. I hate to be cynical but the problems are way bigger than Redovian vs. Jester. We cannot let his one race sap our energies and divert our attention from the bigger issues at hand.

Anonymous said...

I guess everyone is aware that Bette Swilley was the Technology Director is MIS when she retired, reporting to the head of MIS (at that time Dr. Bouie) and over Ms. Ramona Tyson. A former teacher, Ms. Swilley spent most of her career in MIS.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Sandy. Many think she's overaggressive (and Sandy, you sure come close).

But she should be outraged. As should every student, teacher, parent and taxpayer who lives in DeKalb County, GA.

We overspend on admin salaries by $15 mil. We overspend on Morcease Beaseley's/Audria Berry's army of instructional coaches. We overspend millions on an underperforming, no return on investment MIS Dept., which loves buying fancy software that not only doesn't help eductaion, it wastes teachers' valuable time (eSIS, School Net).

The question isn't why is Sandy so angry, it's why aren't you???

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with this. I am a bit frustrated that the blog has gotten bogged down with the discussion on one seat. There are 5 up for election, a huge redistricting plan coming and several state wide elections that will probably have a huge impact on what our children are taught in class.

Is this blog all about DeKalb or just district 1?

Anonymous said...

@7:56, just D1.


Anonymous said...

Off topic -- But if any of you know someone in the DeKalb Elections Office it sure would be nice if they'd update their website with the September 30 required Campaign Disclosure Reports -- especially considering how close the November election is...

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:56
"Is this blog all about DeKalb or just district 1?"

I seem to recall that there have been articles about other BOE members. Redovian has actually gotten off pretty light in this blog.

Anonymous said...

@anon 446,

You are right that our attention should be paid to many things going on in DeKalb. But this race is an important decision for the voters in District 1. The power of one person to be a vigilant watchdog for all that goes on in DCSS is extremely valuable.

To anon 754,
You are right - Sandy should make a blog or book or class to share with all citizens of DeKalb. She could teach us all a few things about how to participate in democracy and be a good citizen.

Anonymous said...

To the posters who don't think District 1 is not an issue, what district do you live in? Have issues with your BOE rep? You're welcome to let Cere know you've done some research on your race or complaint and she'll happily post it.

If you don't like this particular thread, go to another one. There is one about the Master 2020 Vision Plan, which effects all of us! There is one about Ella Smith vs. Gene Walker. There is one about the SACS response. There is one about the movie Superman! This blog has many threads, just scroll to the bottom and hit older posts. This isn't just about District 1.

However, the 5 seats up for grabs on November 2nd need to see change if we care about the education of our kids. The Palace Guard has gotten way to comfortable sitting in those $2K chairs. Please tell us what you think about the thread that interests you the most.

I'm wondering who you posters are that don't like the talk about District 1? Do you not know how this blog works and how many different threads are on here? Hmmmmm....

Anonymous said...

You know what Sandy, this isn't fair or even accurate.

"When poor planning and general ineptness on the part of Morcease Beasley and Bob Moseley threatened to send 200 9th grade AYP transfers to an already overcrowded Chamblee Charter High School, only quick, determined action by parents and community members (the people who pay the bills) – not by Jim Redovian"

This is not at all what happened. The board was told by the staff that there would be 50 or fewer transfers. Beasley did change the plan, but multiple board members did intervene on behalf of Chamblee. It was indeed parents who figured it out and let the board members know that the plan had changed. This was a major failure on Tyson's part, but it may have been a set up by senior staff to make her look bad.

Even before that, board members had been pressing the Arabia Mt. annex issue. However, if they talk about what they did, they risk SACs penalties for potentially micromanaging.

Anonymous said...

@anon 825,

Exactly - the PARENTS had to tell the board. Do you think Redovian would have known about what was going on without the parents?! Do you think he'd be as interested in helping with the situation if it weren't an election year? Or would he have continued to neglect them? He's out of touch. He doesn't seem to have the energy to do his job. He isn't reading his packets in advance of board meetings. He's part of the problem and he needs to go.

Anonymous said...

Sandy thank you for presenting the facts. People who don't want to know what is going on, must also be fine with the quality of education their children are receiving. I want a positive change for the DCSS school system and unless we get 5 new board members this is probably not going to happen.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

Anonymous said...

Sandy has her own version of the truth and it is sometimes not based on reality.

PolitiMom said...

Keep in mind there is a difference between personal attack and holding someone accountable for their poor leadership/decisions/judgement. Sandy was spot on with her assessment and in no way that could be considered spewing hatred or even a personal attack. Redovian and the rest have not done their job. They have blatantly acted opposite of what is in the best interest of DeKalb schoolchildren. It is OUR job as voters to hold them accountable and make sure everyone is aware of their poor management so we can fix it.

Jester has my vote.

On another subject--is tomorrow's meeting open? I actually have the day off so for once I might be able to attend!

Anonymous said...

Yes the meeting is open.

The principal told the parents. The central office staff mislead the board at worst or at best, just forgot to tell them. Many people believe that this was done just to embarrass Tyson because they either didn't get or want her job.

Redovian voted against Beasley's appointment. That is all SACs allows. He can't fire him, in fact he isn't suppose to approach outside of certain situations.

Anonymous said...

"Many people believe that this was done just to embarrass Tyson because they either didn't get or want her job."

Talk is that Mosley was offered the job, but declined it. Tyson makes her own decisions. She may decide to keep the job.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any of what you wrote is true. Moseley wanted the job and was disappointed that he didn't get it.

Anonymous said...

@anon 855,

Redovian only voted against Beasley because it is an election year. AND he voted for so many poor choices over the years. He was a BIG supporter of C Lewis. AND within days of each other, he voted to promote a cabinet member's daughter to principal while saying we have a nepostism problem on TV. So which is it? Redovian has made poor decisions. Theft from the taxpayers happened on his watch.
I know that he can't fire Beasley. I want a board member that doesn't make so many bad calls and watches the money.

Anonymous said...

Politimom, If you do go to the Palace for the meeting can you report back here what you see and hear?

I wish I could attend but I have two job interviews tomorrow, I can't miss them

Anonymous said...

It's just so sad that when people refer to the "Palace" so many know what they're referring to.

God bless our children who's education funding is compromised and facilities deteriorating because board members and DCSS administrators prioritize pricy chairs, a workout facility, and a Palace for their own comfort over the needs of those they supposedly serve.


Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:23 pm
Since we can't name our sources, I guess it's a moot point.

Anonymous said...

Well said! Anon. 9:51pm

This is why the BOE incumbents must go first, November 2nd. Then they can hire a new Super, WITH NO CURRENT TIES TO DCSS OR DEKALB COUNTY!

Then DCSS can move forward and finally treat the students and teachers with respect, they MUST come first or the system is doomed to failure!

Tyson, Beasley, Moseley, Turk, Thompson, Mitchell-Mayfield, Ramsey, Hunter, the Guilroy's, Berry and the rest of her army need to freshen up their resumes, their day of reckoning is finally coming, as long as DeKalb taxpayers vote in 5 new BOE members. If not, the taxpayers will struggle along with business as usual. Get out an vote!

Anonymous said...

AYP is not a valid indictor of success in that as each year goes by fewer and fewere school in Georgia will make AYP. Take Clarkston-it has showed some moderate improvements in the Georgia High School Graduation test in the past few years and over 5 years as well with the exception of English Language Arts (although the pass rate remains above 80%). Clarkston did not make AYP nor will it due to the failure of one of the subgroup. Graduation rates at Clarkston have increase 16% over the past three years. Clarkston has more to improve as do all DeKlab County Schools. It seems to me that your l9ogic is faulty and the animus you bear Redovian also parallels your feeling in general about DCSS.
Perhaps Redovian does need to be defeated (he's not my board member) but I do not rust your views any more than I trust his.

PolitiMom said...

I was there--at least for the first half. I was one of about 5 people in the audience. One of the five was Nancy Jester. Just sent a note to Cere saying I'd be happy to summarize in a new thread, although they said the recording would be available. My first time at the Palace. Now I understand why everyone calls it that.

Cerebration said...

This is the most depressing statement I've heard or read in a while --

It is better for us to have someone in the position who has discovered the underground associations administrators have with one another, current and past.” Swilley continues, “there are inner workings that must always be considered when approaching school system issues.

I can't believe that anyone would not only think this is ok, but would think that we'd darn well better participate in these "underground associations" or get left in the dust. How can anyone justify sending someone back in to represent them because they "know how to work behind the scenes"? I am so very disappointed -- this statement has completely burst any bubble I may have had in thinking that there is hope for this system to work in the light of day - on the up and up.


ps -- If anyone out there would like to write up a post on the other races, please do so and send it to me at

I really mean it. We'd love your input. (I will warn you though - it takes a strong will to endure the comments about what you post - but know that I for one will respect you for putting yourself in the discussion.) I thank Sandy whole-heartedly for contributing so much valid information to this blog.

And Now For My Rant --

This is a public blog. This is NOT a news organization. We are NOT paid reporters - or reporters at all for that matter. So please, as much as you would all like us to run around the county bringing you reports from every corner -- we simply cannot. YOU must participate if you wish to expand the information on this blog. Please, we really would appreciate more writing participation and less criticizing what you think we should be posting for you to sit back and read.

Anonymous said...


Prepare for future announcement

After a far reaching search exploring every available candidate in the U.S. of all ages and ethnicities, the detailed knowledge of the workings of the complex inter-relationship of DCSS of Mr. Beasely have been found to far outweigh the capabilities of all other applicants and he is appointed the new super of DCSS. All of the members of the administration and the BOE are pleased to have someone brought on board by the eminent educator C Lewis who will be able to carry on the established policies of DCSS in its unrelenting and sole job of working for the benefit of educating our precious children.

Can I get some of Jeff's pay?

Anonymous said...

I wish we knew who each other was in real life. I would wager money that Beasley won't get the job.

Anonymous said...

Members of the Board have already indicted they want a PROVEN superintendent that has successfully run a large school system with similar demographics to DCSS. They have also indicated they want someone without ties to DeKalb. Citizens throughout the county have made similar comments. Why does anyone think Beasley falls into either of those categories?

Anonymous said...

@ cere

"It is better for us to have someone in the position who has discovered the underground associations administrators have with one another, current and past.” Swilley continues, “there are inner workings that must always be considered when approaching school system issues.'

Bette Swilley does understand what being an insider means. She taught a few years and then spent 20+ years at MIS working her way up to second in command under Dr. Bouie. Like most other administrators that spent/spend little time in the classroom, she's convinced that the "DeKalb Way" holds more sway than the students. I guess this election will find out if she's correct.

Ella Smith said...

However, this to me is part of the problem with the DeKalb County School Board. It is you vote for me on this and I will vote for you on that.

If I support you in this election will you do this for us? The support is given and our students suffer. Decisions should be about our students and the taxpayers as a whole and not about all the special interest groups. This is why we are being visited by SACs.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I don't have much confidence in this bunch that decides to advertise for the Super position in The Champion, with a circulation of 20,000 in DeKalb County only. I know it also advertised it on the DCSS website. However, if you didn't know to look for it how would one find it?

There are many national education publications that DCSS needed to advertise in.

I look forward to hearing what went on a the meeting today, where the two search firms presented and the BOE asked questions.

Right now, confidence is very low on an outsider being hired. I hope I am wrong.

Cerebration said...

To clarify - they were advertising (posting an RFP) for search firms to submit bids to conduct a search for a superintendent.

PolitiMom said...

Anon 11:43pm: From the notes I took the meeting, this is where they posted it:
-Posted two ads in the Champion News (legal organ of DeKalb Co.) on 8/19 and 8/26
-Posted RFP on DCSS website from 8/19 to 9/15
-Posted it to the Georgia Procurement Registry which sends it to the 142 district vendors registered in the state of Georgia
-Sent it to 14 vendors from the DCSS vendor registry
-Sent it to 3 Superintendent trade associations (AASA, GSBA, and one more I couldn’t get)
-Notifications were sent to national firms who have had successful placements at the most populated school districts, including McPherson & Jacobsen (Nebraska); Heidrick & Struggles (Atlanta) and 2 others I didn’t get
Notification sent to Georgia Department of Education

They are probably required by law to post it to the legal organ of the county, although that is just a guess. I think they should have googled "educational search firms" and sent it to all of them, but whats done is done.

Anonymous said...

Any chance you (Cere) could start a new thread about Special Education? Lots of our students who are under IEPs are not being serviced as their IEPs require that they be. This could cost DCSS federal money, and it needs to be a focus for the new Super. If parents decided to sue, then DCSS could be in big trouble. Many parents are not proactive, but it only takes one.

Cerebration said...

I can, but I need some more info... could you write something up and send it to


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Sandy has her own version of the truth and it is sometimes not based on reality.

October 14, 2010 8:46 PM