Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Stakeholder Involvement Process

For those of you interested in the 2020 Vision over-arching results and schedule put forth by the consultants, MGT of America at last night's board meeting, the link to the facilities presentation is available online by clicking here. The detailed report and supporting data will be available on December 14, 2010. All other relevant info is available at the DCSS 2020 Vision website.

Overall, the company did a very impressive job of gathering and compiling the information from the public. The takeaways I heard at last night's presentation included the fact that most of our schools are considered either fair or poor in their ability to provide an education in a proper environment (e.g. science in a science lab, art in an art room...). The group also divided the system into five "super-clusters" consisting of three high schools each with the correlating feeders. The projected growth is definitely in north DeKalb. The majority of over-utilized (crowded) schools are in north DeKalb. Central DeKalb's growth has been flat for a very long time and will continue to be. South and southwest DeKalb (MLK Jr, Lithonia, Miller Grove, SW DeKalb, Cedar Grove) will most likely begin to grow again as the economy recovers and the "pipe villages" can be revived. High schools in these areas are currently over-utilized, but middle and elementary are not. (Could this be due to the number of transfers who attend schools in north DeKalb by choice?) Click here to read our report.

Other themes from the charrettes include:

  • North, South, East, or West, parents want the same quality education for their children.
  • The public does not believe that program offerings are equitability distributed or of the same quality.
  • The public expects the district to maximize state funding opportunities.
  • There is a conflict between focusing on neighborhood schools and providing for magnet opportunities and ESEA (NCLB) requirements.
  • There is a need for more accountability and transparency in how dollars are spent.
  • Trust in the leadership must be rekindled.


The remainder of the schedule is as follows:

December 6, 2010: Board Meeting •Present Summary Data
December 7, 2010: Publish summary data to the website
December 14, 2010: Publish detail data
December 2010: Superintendent and team develop recommendations
January 3, 2011: Board Meeting •Superintendent presents preliminary recommendations
January 10, 2011: Board Meeting •Approve Attendance Area Policy
January 11, 13, & 18, 20: Workshop and Public Input
January 31, 2011: Superintendent present redistricting & consolidation plan
February 22, 24: Public Hearings
February 28, 2011: Board votes on final redistricting and consolidation recommendations

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

For Cere or anyone who attended the Board meeting: When assessing the current and projected poplulations of the individual schools, did the consultants include the students who are currently attending schools outside their home district?

Anonymous said...

According to the DCSS 2020 Vision time lines on the web site, the Facility Condition Assessments started in Nov. Any parents been on one of these assessments yet? How did it go?

Kim Gokce said...

I went to the facility assessment walk-through of Cross Keys in November. I was impressed with the professionalism and knowledgeable resource from MGT America - he was very quick in zeroing in on what current uses and gaps exist at the facility.

It will be interesting to see where CK ends up in the ratings. I think that even after the reno it will not rank above fair. Overall, I believe the assessment is a black-eye for previous administrations and Boards. After all the focus on High Schools and after hundreds of millions of dollars spent, most of our High Schools fail to provide "good" to "excellent" facilities???

No Duh said...

Yes. Went on one. Went fine. Outside consultant. Will be interesting to see how our school was rated when details released on the 14th.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 10:54p "...did the consultants include the students who are currently attending schools outside their home district?"

I think the data reported by "super district" is strictly based on analysis population data geographically associated with the district, not enrolled populations currently in the super district schools.

I think they have to look at it this way to establish baseline planning projections. All the transfer nonsense has to be incorporated after the fact in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

@ Kim,
According to the schedule, Cross Keys is not scheduled to have their Facility Condition Assessment until January 11th, 2011. There are 2 different assessments - the one you are referring to is the Educational Adequacy Assessment, I think, which several bloggers have reported on previously. I am wondering about the Facility Condition Assessments that started Nov. 17th: looks like Stephenson Middle and High, Austin, Vanderlyn, Dunwoody Elem. and High, Chamblee Middle, Montgomery, Peachtree Middle, Avondale Middle, Nancy Creek, Redan, Fairington, Shadow Rock Elem. and several others have been done since then...anyone have a report from one of those schools on the 2nd assessment experience?

Kim Gokce said...

"Educational Adequacy Assessment"

Yep, you're right, that's the one I participated in ... looking forward to Jan. 11 ...

Anonymous said...

A friend was at one of the building assessments. He reported that it was very thorough, took lots of pictures of rusted out pipes, cracks in the wall, etc. He felt like from the way they were taking pictures, the assessment would accurately reflect that the condition of the building. I don't these result come out until late Spring, so we will have to wait and see what the reports will actually say.

SmartOne said...

I don't like that two outgoing Board members are having their say on the proposed redistricting lines. I think the schedule was made that way in case incumbents lost.

Anonymous said...

Let the pre-SPLOST IV excitement begin. I can hear it now, look at the pictures... a billion dollars in needs, best case $500 million from S IV. You have to approve it regardless how you feel it will be managed!

Anonymous said...

The vote isn't until the end of February on redistricting. There will be no recommendations made on redistricting until January.

The only information being released now is data.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:33
Thanks for the info. Did your friend say who conducted the tour?Was it an outside group or DCSS Facilities folks?

Anyone know the answer?

Private School Guy said...

Is there anyway that the SPLOST election can be held when some other important election is taking place? I hate to say this but with a one issue election and thousands of families whose paychecks come from DCSS voting, the game is pretty much rigged. It's like trying to win at blackjack on casino employees night.

Anonymous said...

It isn't the employees that make the difference in the SPLOST election, it is the communities where new schools or renovations are promised.

Anonymous said...

A new SPLOST vote is dependent on Fulton County and the City of Atlanta agreeing to it as well and my understanding is that there may not be agreement this time for another round.

Anonymous said...

City of Decatur too. It is any jurisdiction that overlaps with another. So in Gwinnett, Buford city schools have to agree in order for Gwinnett to have a SPLOST vote and the Buford system has been able to get a little extra by using this for leverage. You should see the school in Buford!

The other systems will never agree to have the vote on a major election.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, some legislators tried to pass a law that limited SPLOST votes to November elections. It got nowhere.

Sagamore 7 said...

The facilities condition assessment is not being done by MGT America, it is being done by Parsons Construction. The company that Barbara Coleman works for.
Sees like its not an arms length transaction but she has done good by me since she's been with DCSS.
I am currently trying to verify the information. I'll post the verified information once I get it back.

No Duh said...

I guess I misspoke as well.I did not go on a facilities assessment. I went on the adequate educational facility tour.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sagamore 7!
If MGT of America isn't doing the Facilities Condition Assessment, wouldn't a bid process be required for this assessment, just like the MGT of America contract? Can't wait to see what you find out. Would love to see the info about the bids and how Parsons landed the job if that is true!

Dunwoody Mom said...

How many of you who complain about the lack of information from DCSS even look at the BOE meeting agenda, or watch the meetings?

From the 11/8 BOE agenda:

On June 8, 2009 after a competitive RFP process Parsons Corporation and Jacobs Project Management Co. were approved by the Board of Education and awarded the Supplement Project Management Services Contract to manage the planning, design, bidding, construction and close-out of the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) through December 2012. Under State law this contract requires annual approval/renewal for fees by the Board of Education. As such, this is year two of the three year contract and the fees are based on the schedule, staff and cost for such work. In November 2009 the Board approved the annual fee amount of $6,081,407.00 through November 2010 however due to various cost savings as well as the diligent effort of the two firms managing the program; the previously approved fee will be $437,536.00 less. From December 2010 through November 2011, the staffing levels have been reduced, as anticipated in the original three-year staffing plan, and are commensurate with the management needs of the remaining SPLOST III projects. Additionally, the two firms are declining the three percent escalation of fees as stated in the contract as recognition of the current economic conditions along with the current school district’s budget cuts.

This year from December 2010-November 30, 2011 the annual fee includes the Master Plan/Facilities Condition Assessment along with the management of the planning, design, bidding and construction along with close-out of construction projects. With this complete assessment and master plan the program will be better positioned to make accurate decisions for the remainder of the program through December 2012 and assist in the redistricting and consolidation

Anonymous said...

@DM
A bit self righteous this morning, aren't you? Take a chill pill. We are all working toward the same goal of a great education for our children and all questions should be fair game.

Thanks for finding this 11/8 BOE agenda item. You have helped proved my point! Once again, DCSS has cleverly alluded the bid process and CLew and Pope aren't even here! This item is an explanation of cost adjustments on a 3 year contract. It goes on to say that this year "the annual fee includes the Master plan/Facility Condition Assessment..." In other words, the Facilities Condition Assessment was rolled into the original Parsons contract agreement. With 140+ facilities, an assessment of this type surely costs more than $50,000.

So..there was no bid process and we don't know what the bids would have been by other companies if given the chance to bid on the facility condition assessment job. Was this the best price? Guess we'll never know.

DCSS is flying under the radar again in bidding and that gives the advantage to certain groups...slippery slope could lead us back to the ways of doing business under CLew and Pope if we aren't watching out. I suspect most folks read this agenda item and thought it was just fine...but disssect it and the bid process, designed to protect the system and our tax dollars, lost out AGAIN!

For the record, I attend and listen to BOE meetings, charettes, school council meetings, DCPC and ELPC but I actually have to take care of my own family's needs and can't always be a DCSS gatekeeper. Some things get by me. However, because I do stay tuned in, I know that Ms. Tyson alluded to this bid problem at the ELPC meeting at Briarlake. Were you there?

Dunwoody Mom said...

So..there was no bid process and we don't know what the bids would have been by other companies if given the chance to bid on the facility condition assessment job.

What part of this did you not understand?

On June 8, 2009 after a competitive RFP process Parsons Corporation and Jacobs Project Management Co. were approved by the Board of Education and awarded the Supplement Project Management Services Contract to manage the planning, design, bidding, construction and close-out of the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) through December 2012

Dunwoody Mom said...

So, you want to spend MORE money and time to rebid something that is already part of the current contract with Parsons?

Wow, and quite, frankly, I don't care for your rude comments, either.

Sagamore 7 said...

Take it easy!
Can't we all get along?
Thanks for the information from both sides of the aisle.

Sagamore 7

Anonymous said...

@ DM 9:30
According to what you posted, Parsons was hired to oversee the SPLOST III projects through the end of Dec. 2012. I think what Anon 9:19 is saying is that the Facilities Condition Assessment is not a part of SPLOST III and he/she is correct about that. The Facilities Condition Assessment is in preparation for the 2020 Vision and a SPLOST IV appeal.

DM, I am confused about your later post - the bid process is not an expense incurred by the school. It is actually designed to get the best product for the best price, if done above board, again what I think the previous poster is trying to say.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Parsons was not hired just to oversee the SPLOST projects. Please read what I posted:

On June 8, 2009 after a competitive RFP process Parsons Corporation and Jacobs Project Management Co. were approved by the Board of Education and awarded the Supplement Project Management Services Contract to manage the planning, design, bidding, construction and close-out of the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) through December 2012. Under State law this contract requires annual approval/renewal for fees by the Board of Education. As such, this is year two of the three year contract and the fees are based on the schedule, staff and cost for such work. In November 2009 the Board approved the annual fee amount of $6,081,407.00 through November 2010 however due to various cost savings as well as the diligent effort of the two firms managing the program; the previously approved fee will be $437,536.00 less. From December 2010 through November 2011, the staffing levels have been reduced, as anticipated in the original three-year staffing plan, and are commensurate with the management needs of the remaining SPLOST III projects. Additionally, the two firms are declining the three percent escalation of fees as stated in the contract as recognition of the current economic conditions along with the current school district’s budget cuts. This year from December 2010-November 30, 2011 the annual fee includes the Master Plan/Facilities Condition Assessment along with the management of the planning, design, bidding and construction along with close-out of construction projects. With this complete assessment and master plan the program will be better positioned to make accurate decisions for the remainder of the program through December 2012 and assist in the redistricting and consolidation.

The Facilities assessment is being done as part of the 3 year agreement with Parsons. Why would you rebid this if it part of an already awarded contract?

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom, 9:38 AM

"Wow, and quite, frankly, I don't care for your rude comments, either."

Hmmmm ... definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

I would be hard-pressed to identify any comment from you that wasn't at least tinged with rudeness -- if not out-and-out rude and adversarial.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom,
I have to disagree with you on this one. The CIP is SPLOST. CIP is Capitol Improvement Plan...it is funded by SPLOST...Parson's was hired to oversee the completion of the SPLOST III construction projects, aka the CIP. Here's what you posted: "to manage the planning, design, bidding, construction and close-out of the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) through December 2012." I might ask the same question you asked Anon in your 9:30 post: "What part of this did you not understand?" The CIP info on the DCSS site might help clarify this for you.

Parson's was not hired in the original contract to do a Facility Condition Assessment - that was added this year - thus the need to bring it back to the BOE. But they brought it back without other bids for the project like Anon said..

Are you saying that Ms. Tyson was wrong at ELPC when she commented on the bid process and that it was under review?

Taken from the CIP page: "The CIP is aligned with Board/Superintendent Goals, the Facility Needs Assessment and the Demographic Study. The plan is educationally sound, philosophically based, and fiscally responsible.

To that end, the focus of the plan directly addresses the High Schools That Work principle and the commitment to learning environments that are healthy and safe. The CIP could only be accomplished through a renewal of the SPLOST tax referendum."

And on "The Roadmap to CIP" page, also on the DCSS web site: "In the spring of 2006, Former Superintendent, Dr. Crawford Lewis, formed a committee to develop the five year Capital Improvements Plan (CIP)." hello...in preparation for the vote for SPLOST III later that year...

Now check out the community brochure found here:
http://www.dekalb.
k12.ga.us/progress/files/
4B038D340A174983999463C142
F93EF2.pdf.

CIP projects = SPLOST $. Barbara Colman (employee of Parsons) was hired as the interim CIP Operations Officer (also on the web site) to oversee remaining SPLOST III projects.

Anonymous said...

SPLOST funds can be used for Capital Improvement Projects. CIP can be also be funded from other resources as well, such as the QSCB bond sale the district will be using to fund the Chamblee Charter HS project. CIP projects can also be funded by the QZAB bonds - which I believe the school system is beginning to look at. You will notice under the Consruction Progress and Status Reports put together by the Operations Division - the projects are broken by Capital Improvement Projects and SPLOST funded projects.

Anonymous said...

How is this very different from Pat Pope increasing the scope of her husband's contracts?

Anonymous said...

Also, remember, that DCSS will be eligible for more State construction funding if DCSS is able to, via school consolidations and closings, remove those pesky extra seats within the system.

Not all construction within a school district is driven by SPLOST funds.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:50 - Thank you. That is exactly the point!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:59
Check again...you said: You will notice under the Consruction Progress and Status Reports put together by the Operations Division - the projects are broken by Capital Improvement Projects and SPLOST funded projects.

If you open that page, you will see "Capitol Improvement Plan Projects" and below it: "A. CIP Report for Sept. 2010" - open it...the heading on each page says SPLOST III Capitol Improvement Plan. Go down a bit and you see SPLOST II funded Projects and a report for 2009....

It isn't divided between Capital Improvements and SPLOST III. All SPLOST III $ go into the CIP and so does other construction funding.

An assessment, recently decided on as a part of the new Vision 2020 project, is not a construction project and was not one of the SPLOST III projects.

Anonymous said...

All SPLOST III $ go into the CIP and so does other construction funding.

That is an incorrect statement. SPLOST funds must be accounted for separately from other funding.

Anonymous said...

The QSCB funding cannot and will not be rolled into the CIP budget. This funding is specifically for the CCHS project only and these funds will be strictly audited.

Anonymous said...

Remember that SPLOST funds can only be used for those projects that were identified prior to the SPLOST vote.

The fact is that Barbara Colman, a consultant TO DCSS employed by Parsons, is in charge of all construction projects at DCSS - whether they be SPLOST, COPS, QSCB, General constructions funds.

Anonymous said...

Just watch in the next few months as Paul Womack tries to spend $10 million of the leftover SPLOST funds for an addition to Coralwood. THIS WAS NOT ON THE ORIGINAL LIST OF NEEDS FOR SPLOST III.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom:

Regarding this agenda item -

On June 8, 2009 after a competitive RFP process Parsons Corporation and Jacobs Project Management Co. were approved by the Board of Education and awarded the Supplement Project Management Services Contract to manage the planning, design, bidding, construction and close-out of the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) through December 2012

---

I work in government.

-A competitive RFP process is not the same as a low bid process. it is often done as a way to purposedly circumvent a low bid process.

-Whenever a vendor offers a discount, such as Parson is in this case, it is because the gov't entity has requested such as to provide some "cover" from the public. Or the vendor sees other opportunities with the gov't entity, so the vendor is willing to take a discount as to land further contract work down the road.

Seriously, you calling others rude is almost as funny as Crawford Lewis trying to explain why he filled up his DCSS car three times in one day on his DCSS p-card.

Cerebration said...

People, please play nicely. I reposted your last comment Anon, without the characterization.

We're all on the same team here. Please be gracious to each other.

Anonymous said...

This was in the NYT this morning re: problems at Atlanta Public Schools:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/education/12atlanta.html?hpw

Near the end of the article is this sobering comment about APS' search for a new superintendent. The atmosphere at DCSS will certainly "give them pause" also.

Mike Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of 66 of the nation’s largest urban public school systems, said, “Really good candidates will look at the atmosphere that has been created, and it will give them pause.”

Anonymous said...

A competitive RFP process is not the same as a low bid process. it is often done as a way to purposedly circumvent a low bid process.


I think not

Anonymous said...

the figures are in on the educational adequacy of our school buildings. According to the consultant they range from 20% to 98% of a 100 point scale. Seat counts are also in by the outside consultant. See the web site. Yet to come is the evaluation of all facilities from the engineers. It will include renovations needed, estimated costs and eneryg efficiency. Nice to have an outside evaluator provide some hard numbers. They also explained the process so it seems transparent. Now if the school board will only make the rational decisons needed.

Anonymous said...

These charts show what teachers have been fighting since Dr Lewis took over. Heavy handed top down management that hurts instruction.

All the eSis, benchmark tests, and emphasis on the lowest students have detracted from teacher time on teaching the majority of the students. The average teacher is spending hours on benchmark test printing(thousands of pages of paper), scanning them into the IDMS system, for data that is of no use to anyone but county level administrators.

Now Peachtree Middle is abandoning their gifted teams(30% of the students) in favor of concentrating on the lowest performing 3% in the building.

Dekalb Teacher

Anonymous said...

I am curious about the P'tree situation. What exactly is happening there?