Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And We're Off!


Last night, was the first of 6 community input meetings on the redistricting/consolidation plan. According to local media outlets, there were about 500 people at Miller Grove High School.

In what continues to be a ongoing effort of transparency, the presentation for the meeting was posted on the DCSS website.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/redistricting/public-input-workshop-presentation.pdf

In addition, they have put up a form so that you provide your comments via the internet.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/redistricting

You also have the ability to read what others are saying. Trust me when I say that your comments will be have more impact if you are not cutting and pasting from someone else's email. If you don't care enough to be throughtful with your own response, why even bother?

https://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=cfs7yCefxIosATk9Zs83gI8DjaV4iK2j10i_2bQeLWJso_3d


Here is the schedule for the workshops. I would love to hear from people who went to see how it worked and if the tables really reached consensus.

• 6:30 -7:00 PM Goals for Tonight Overview of Options• 7:00 – 8:00 PM Small Group Discussion
• 8:00 – 9:30 PM Tables report out

How this will work tonight
• Small Group Discussion (7:00 – 8:00)
– Table Introductions and selection of Scribe, Timekeeper, and Reporter
– Round 1 - Pluses
– Round 2 - Deltas
– Round 3 - Consensus Alternative
• Large Group Share (8:00 – 9:30)
– Presentation of Consensus Alternative by Table Recorder

97 comments:

We are off to nowhere good said...

All the more reason to go to private school.
It is great to make light of the angst our "communities" feel, but why can't you all above the fray or "safe" understand the emotions of having NO CONTROL over something that feels so important to those around you?

The real shame to me is that there is fighting about crumbs for what amounts to a substandard education in the best of the schools in Dekalb.
Take the loss and sell your house now. There is no hope for public school.

themommy said...

I am so sorry. I have removed my little poem. I was just trying to add a little levity. My neighborhood will be redistricted, so I certainly share your concerns.

However, I am concerned that some communities can out argue others. I think there is a real inequity in that. When schools can buy t-shirts, websites, etc. I am not sure how that effects the argument.

Cerebration said...

It would be a good idea to attend this upcoming ELPC meeting - seems they have some heavy-hitters ready to answer questions about state funding -

Emory Lavista Parent Council
Join us at 9:15 am
(refreshments begin at 8:45 am)

Friday, January 28, 2011
Hawthorne Elementary School
2535 Caladium Drive, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30345

Part I--2011 Legislative Update (including the DeKalb BOE size proposal)
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver-House District 83
Sen. Fran Millar-Senate District 40,
Chair of the GA. Senate Education Comm.

Part 2--That Pesky 450 Count: How State Funding for Schools Really Works. Critical Information for the Redistricting Plan and Related School Budget Issues.
Joe Martin--executive director of the GA. School Funding Association/author of Georgia's QBE law


Next meeting:
February 16th at Laurel Ridge Elementary School

To receive our notices, send an email to EmoryLavistaParentCouncil@gmail.com
or visit our web page www.emory-lavista.org

Anonymous said...

I was there last night, and our table was dominated by Fernbank and Sagamore. I think anyone going can expect this at all of the other places - t-shirts, identical talking points, etc. They want performance as a criteria for being affected and obviously want existing feeders left intact. They have someone at almost every table to include these points in every table's consensus.

There were a couple of "rogue" tables that were not dominated by these two groups that favored the centralized option, even though they were going to face closure and changes. Those rogue tables also favored getting this over with while all of the Sagamore and Fernbank-dominated tables wanted the entire process to slow down, carrying into the 2012-13 school year.

There were multiple requests for the costs associated with these moves and anticipated financial gains, as well as details on what the new, consolidated schools would look like program-wise. There was zero (visible) representation from any of the closing schools in the south as well as Dunwoody area, and there was no show of crying or yelling like there was at all of the task force meetings last year.

With that said, there were very few suggestions or options presented that would close schools and start to save the kind of money school officials are going for. No one wants their area to be touched.

Anonymous said...

Can we agree on these basic points?
1. Schools should first be filled by students from the district. School population should be calculated solely on students who reside in the district. NCLB transfers, teacher's children, and certainly "admin transfers" should not count against a school's population/crowding nor should any of those take priority over the children who reside in the district: i.e., not one student should be redistricted while even one seat is taken up by a student who does not reside in the district. Frankly, that seems pretty obvious to me, but I'm not sure it does to the DCSS administration.
2. Transportation costs to DCSS (sorry, but not to parents who drive their kids) must be part of the equation. If this is all about saving money it makes no sense to exclude Peter when you save money on Paul.
3. As a basic principle, all schools must have access to the same resources, including magnets and, dare I say it, charters. All our kids deserve the same opportunity. Of course some schools will have more active PTAs/PTOs. DCSS should congratulate those schools, promote those parents as an example to others. I am talking about the basics--equivalent hours/staff for foreign language, equivalent attention to facilities maintenance, etc. I can dream, right?
Al

Anonymous said...

Any other basic principles for this?
BTW, "redistricting is for other people" doesn't count. :)
Al

pscexb said...

I attended the meeting at Miller Grove HS. I was impressed by the turnout as previous meetings south of Memorial Drive had lower attendance. I will guess that because there are tangible recommendations on the table to discuss, that brought more people from throughout the community.

That said, I question the value of the feedback received. I say that because much of the feedback provided focused on a particular school or community, not the plan as a whole. Many times the feedback did not provide alternatives. Customer engagement is important but if most of the feedback does not provide the insight one is seeking, how does it help with the process.

I also believe the format used can be 'gamed'. Various constituencies could 'stack' a table and/or request to be the spokesperson for a table to ensure their point of views get maximum exposure. I overheard several participants while one group was speaking asking, "where is that school located". I gathered that many had a narrow view of the overall plan thus came off as "don't change my area but do what you want elsewhere". That reflects my opinion.

Every table was provided 2 minutes to discuss their suggestions for improvements. After the 10th table, many of the suggestions were repetitve. Given they are expecting close to 800-1000 people at the next two session, I wonder if they will tweak the process somewhat. This can make for a long night if this format continues.

On a positive, if they table was made up of random people, it did provide an opportunity for different perspectives to be shared. I definitely learned more about specific issues outside of my immediate community. I met some genuinely nice people.

Another side observation, there were more ES parents in attendance than anything else. Perhaps this is because this is where a student will spend a majority of their school years.

Observer said...

Here's my scorecard from last night's meeting at Miller Grove:

Sagamore - 95

Fernbank - 90

Magnets - 0

South DeKalb - 0

Dunwoody/Chamblee - 0

Two tribes, Sagamore and Fernbank, were PRESENT, Organized and Effective.

Everyone else -- and I mean EVERYONE else -- was NOT in the game at all.

And Miller Grove was a "road game" for these folks. I can hardly wait to see what happens tonight when they play a "home game" at Shamrock Middle School.

pscexb said...

Cerebration, thanks for posting the ELPC information. I had a chance to speak with Marshall Orson at Miller Grove. His position is that DeKalb has misinterpreted the funding algorithm for schools with less than 450 students. IOW, he believes that the redistricting process is being driven by something that may not be true. Joe Martin is scheduled to speak on that.

I'd like to ask Senator Millar about HS graduation rates and possible adjustments downward based on his recent comments. Being that he is a supporter of the Career Tech program, I'd also like to know if he sees value in offering another diploma track, which I believe could help the graduation rate.

This should be an interesting meeting.

Jeanie said...

I was reading the South Dekalb Parent Council Website. During a question and answer session the policy about NCLB was posted. Apparently they CAN redraw lines to accommodate transfers if needed.

According to the Public School Choice, Non-Regulatory Guidance, January 14, 2009:


1. Reconfiguring, as new classrooms, space in receiving schools that is currently not being used for instruction;
2. Expanding space in receiving schools, such as by reallocating portable classrooms within the LEA;
3. Redrawing the LEA’s attendance zones, if sufficient capacity is unavailable within the existing zones within which students would ordinarily select schools;

Anonymous said...

Observer, the were well organized, so what? That doesn't mean that they will be listened to or get their way. It may just mean that they will also have the best organized pity party after this is all said and done.

Anonymous said...

"Those rogue tables also favored getting this over with while all of the Sagamore and Fernbank-dominated tables wanted the entire process to slow down, carrying into the 2012-13 school year. "


That's how the Fernbank parents got the $7,000,000 ineffective and outdated Fernbank Science Center to go virtually untouched last year. Let's slow down until it was out of the public eye. So now we are going lower and lower in science scores in DCSS while many science teachers can't teach labs because of the number of students packed into their classes and they buy science supplies out of their own pockets. Meanwhile Fernbank Science Center continues to drain science instructional dollars from the schools. Think what that $7,000,00 put back into the schools for science would mean in terms of science instruction. I know the Fernbank parents are not thinking about that. They are thinking about the asset that well kept green space is to their community and how convenient the few advanced programs they offer are for their children.

Have a little heart people said...

We need a little empathy for the folks being uprooted. Even those a Fernbank.
How many on this blog or the county for that matter does not want what is best for them. Remember many of those not being uprooted are gaining by this process and have a stake in it in the other direction.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 11:49
Actually, the preservation of FSC by DCSS has very little to do with influence of Fernbank School. The decisions about FSC in last years budget had been made well before any outcry from the Fernbank community. The science center has a strong advocacy base in the south of the county, due to their outreach programs and STT.

By my count said...

Last night at the Miller Grove Public Input workshop, I counted about 20 Fernbank parents, 50 Sagamore parents, 10 Medlock parents and the Oak Grove/Lakeside group had at least 100 parents.

All these parents drove for 30-45 minutes out past Panola Road and I-20 and spent 3 hours so that their voices would be hear about how this plan should be changed.

Were YOU there?

If not, what were YOU doing that was MORE important?

The folks on this blog who criticize the parents who bust their rear ends for their schools should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Many Livsey parents were there too.

We are off to nowhere good. said...

Thanks Mommy for your kind words.
I can now see the poem for it's intended satire!

Do you really think this should be about who can scream the loudest? Or who has enough free time to get to 6 meetings. Personally I think people should be limited to 1 meeting, preferably closest to their schools.
Those poor souls from the Miller Grove area sound like they were denied a voice because other areas of town can mobilize.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:58
"The science center has a strong advocacy base in the south of the county, due to their outreach programs and STT."

The science center SST program serves 90 students per semester out of 96,000 DCSS students. The outreach programs do not require a $7,000,000 (over $5,000,000 alone in salary and benefits spent on 60+ employees - only 28 who are teachers). The overhead for this center when you add in grounds keeping, facilities upkeep, transportation, etc. is unsustainable.

That $7,000,000 is much better spent in the science classrooms where children are having daily science instruction.

And yes - the Fernbank Community pulled out all the stops from Dr. Mel Connor's op ed piece (he's very nice and his daughter was in the extremely select SST program) to the "Open Letter to the Board" regarding the Fernbank Science Center the Fernbank Elementary School PTA published (see link below). You are wrong if you think the Fernbank community was not lobbying hard (please see below their - let's deliberate a little more tactic":

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/letter-from-fernbank-elementary-school.html

Cerebration said...

The same thing happened to the parents of the high special needs kids at Heritage when the plan was to kick them out and put the military academy there. They had to take a random number to speak along with the entire military academy opposition. Their voices were never heard. They were merged in with Margaret Harris, where these special needs children will be effectively "warehoused" from 4-19 or 20 years old.

@11:23, the transfers at issue are not the AYP transfers (although a case could be made for offering intense tutorials at home schools rather than pushing transfers). The problem lies with the special permission (sometimes called Letter of Transfer) or superintendent transfers. These usually go to insiders, office staff, squeaky wheels, and even not so squeaky wheels, as long as they are asking to move from south to north DeKalb. It's encouraged. In fact, one school, Livesey, I'm told has more transfer students than area district students. (It's apparently the hip new school for administrator's children.) The issue is - these people are throwing off the numbers. It's simply not fair to allow hundreds of transfers in to a school and then ask the neighborhood children (who can literally walk to school) to get on a bus and go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

So now Ms. Tyson has backed down from outsourcing. Do you think she will back down from redistricting? Why not just take the easy way out like she did last year and not fill vacant teacher positions (they're probably fleeing as fast as they can out of DCSS) - thus increasing class sizes to what the BOE approved for her last spring:
36 in high school content areas (math, science, social studies, and language arts)
39 in all the other high school subjects

And then parents wonder why the teachers have no time to differentiate instruction, serve the gifted, serve the underachiever, serve the student who needs some extra attention.

Cerebration said...

A new issue to ponder -

Under the Clean Air Act, Atlanta (including Dekalb county) is designated as Non-attainment for ozone. As part of those requirements, that are federally enforceable, our area is supposed to be DECREASING vehicle miles traveled. Increases in vehicle miles traveled, as well as idling cars and school buses in traffic congestion, will lead to proportional increases in emissions such as nitrogen oxide. Any action that would increase the vehicle miles traveled and emission levels would be in violation of federal law. The BOE should be working with Atlanta's regional transportation authorities to make sure any redistricting plan they put in place would be compliant with this law. I did some quick searching for 'non-attainment areas' on the web and have downloaded letters from the EPA to Sonny Perdue regarding this issue as well as outlining the Georgia areas designated as non-attainment.

Cerebration said...

New link to the Livsey response -

Save Livsey

Jeanie said...

Why are we closing Livsey? Why not expand it? Makes sense to me.
I do not live anywhere near there.

Anonymous said...

OT:
Does anyone have any idea when there will be a decision on snow makeup days? I have the sinking feeling they will make up as little as possible and pocket the change.

Anonymous said...

Livsey's enrollment is below 400 - again a small school....

Anonymous said...

I am wondering about the snow days as well. Fulton, Cobb, and Gwinnett have all announced there plans to make up. Why does Dekalb like to wait on everything?

Thank you for having this blog. What I feel like I have learned is that everyone is loud about what they DON'T want. But very few have solutions. Every time I read another person say that their property values are going to go down, or there child won't go to the school they have been planning on them going...I'm very sad. We really do live in a Me, Me, Me society.

pscexb said...

Off Topic Answer. I understand the state 'gives' school districts 4 days. If that is true, then DeKalb has one day to make up. I've heard rumblings that day would be the Friday before President's Day, if a waiver is not provided by the state.

Bear in mind, this is simply 'word on the street' at this time.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Friday before Presidents Day was already back "on" when the furlough days were canceled?

Anonymous said...

For the second year the DCSS has identified the need for school closure and consolidation and for 2 years they have passed the ownership of the decision to the community. They are succeeding in making enemies out of friends and in many cases strangers.

Face it, if Fernbank is omitted the house of cards crumbles and what we all know to be true is verified. The wealth center in Dekalb pulls the DCSS strings. This has nothing to do with the quality of education and everything to do with property values, influence and control. If Fernbank is left intact no school will be touched in this county. So maybe we all throw our weight behind Fernbank?

One more thing...there is a difference between being elite and being an elitist. Which are you??

We are off to nowhere good said...

I would bet the farm all of these imput meetings are for show. You can't change some and not others, and I think the powers that be are pretty happy. (In DCSS and the state and local government.)
It is a shame, because even in the "elite and wealthy" areas the people really being affected have no political muscle to advocate for themselves. Really do you think the entire Fernbank community cares that much? I doubt it.
I also predict the magnets will stay. The centralized option is a red herring out there to make the decentralized option appeal to more people.

Anonymous said...

Regarding make-up day: It's not "the word on the street" it's the word on the website: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/newsroom/emergency

Nothing firm but they are looking at a day in February.

Anonymous said...

I saw one of the authors of the redistricting plan on Channel 9 news. He was asked tough questions. First, how much money would be saved. Answer... I do not know. Next question, what will happen to the teachers of the schools that are close. Answer.... I do not know

Sounds well thought out to me.

Anonymous said...

I feel strongly that each "option" in the redistricting plan should have a verifiable cost savings number. The following things should be outlined :
- What happens to the staff from a school that would be closed. If the "admin" folks are just absorbed into central admin where are the cost savings ?
- What are the transportation costs associated with moving children to a new school each day both ways?
- Where are the dollars going to come from for schools that are going to be "fully funded" - as we all know the state is not increasing the budget(s) so if Dekalb County is going to get more dollars for X Elementary school for the 2011-2012 school year - how much and where are these funds coming from ?

All of these things needs to be answered so everyone involved can be assured there are really savings to be had and not just "smoke". In addition with this desire to gain additional funds there HAS to be a follow on with how much $$$ is to be saved in 2011-2012 school year from the removal of the Instructional Coaches and all other waste in the Central Office. I believe that if the students/parents are going to "take one for the team" so should the CO folks.

pscexb said...

Good to know the make up day is documented. The Friday before President's Day was restored as a 'teacher work day' meaning an off day for students. If they need to make up a 'student contact day', more than likely this day would be used.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, it is to the benefit of the school system to keep smart, motivated, high performing kids and their motivated parents as part of DCSS. Alienating Fernbank, Oakgrove, magnets, etc will only push more of these kids to private schools. As a parent, I want these kids in classes with my own kids to help raise the performance bar, to motivate their peers, and I want the parents who are actively involved in supporting the schools.

Anonymous said...

I am sure they want to keep bright motivated kids. But they are alienating pockets of people at most of these schools. THEY DO NOT CARE.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to all the parents that got out there last night. I just hope that we get heard - Tyson has very little time to consolodate these comments into a new plan.

I think that all parents in this county would like to have as little disruption as possible for all students. Yes some schools will have to be closed and elementary school lines redrawn - but the county should work to keep the feeder lines intact.

I am glad to hear that Sagamore was well represented - they and a few other groups of Lakeside kids are really getting a raw deal in this proposal because the data used is incorrect.

Other groups are not being treated well either - the students are not just numbers. Moving students away from their support groups could not possibly be a good thing. Remember.. it takes a village.

Anonymous said...

Any update on Thedford and Simpson with the book situation. Does ayone know if the PSC has done anything with their investigation. Linda Shrenko got 8 years for embezzlement, so I know Thedford better do some time.

Anonymous said...

"merge those underpopulated schools, but leave this area alone."

An actual comment from the survey.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:31 He might not know, as that may not have been what they were hired to do. Plus I believe that it would probably be difficult for DCSS to get that information. I would have thought that it would have been part of the deal when hiring, but this is DCSS and common sense and good thinking is thrown out the window.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 4:23 Re: Thedford and Simpson with the book situation. I think that that is being investigated internally of DCSS and not by the district attorney. I have not heard anything. But it has only been about a year. DCSS is probably hoping that it will be forgotten.

Has anyone ever heard of a DCSS employee being punished by DCSS itself? Glaring example,
Ms Walkaway Calloway.

DCSS must be as clean as a whistle. They hired the super auditor/investigator about eight months ago. Not a word has been heard from him. So everything must be okay.

Anonymous said...

Cere, I think you misunderstood Jeannie at 11:23's comment. while I agree that there is an administrative transfer problem, there is also a NCLB school choice transfer problem. DCSS has run out of seats to accomodate the transfer students and the parents of students in the annexes are unhappy. Jeannie is quoting the 2009 federal guidance that says a school system "could" redraw district lines to make space in receiving schools. Could that be part of the magnet consolidation plan?

I really thing MGT and DCSS need to be upfront about how they plan to handle this issue and how they counted all the school choice transfer students.

kim said...

Anon 2:12pm "We really do live in a Me, Me, Me society."

Yes and it knows no bounds!

As far as the majority of comments being criticism rather than solutions, this, too, is human nature. It is far easier to destroy than create and much more fun knock down than to raise up. I coined (mangled?) a phrase years ago from own personal experience in business:

"They say that Rome wasn't built in a day but it sure as hell can be burned in one."

I think that the dynamic of this round of "public input" is not too different than previous ones - only boosters are truly engaged and the more broad community that truly represent the "general interest" of public education as a social contract are absent.

That is to say, I respect a given parent's concern about their child at a particular school at a particular time (now!), but I do not think this perspective should be the universe in which governance decisions are made. The questions on the table are (should be?) how do we get from where we are to where we need to be?

Everyone hates the system and loves their school in the same way that Congress is considered in the lowest opinion by most except when it comes to our own representative.

Anonymous said...

I love teh comments on these surveys. There are so insightful and should give us great insight into the challenges facing DCSS. I pity all involved.



With HB 251 in our favor my son has been very privledged to attend _____ Elementary rather than my current and undesirable ________ Elementary School. I hope that the influx of studens from _______does not take away the opportunity for my other sons to attend _______or my son who currently does to have to relocate.

kim said...

So, speaking of offering solutions rather than complaints, try this crazy talk on for size ...

Cere and others here have rightly pointed out that schools like Lakeside should not be "penalized" or have areas drawn out of their district until all transfers are accounted for first, or even removed. Well, that's a fair argument and the same could be said for Magnets.

If we put these two principles together, why would we close both Lakeside and Chamblee and Cross Keys and built one traditional high school for the existing three attendance zones? Between the three there are barely 3,000 kids in zone.

I'm not kidding. Just think about the discussion that SHOULD have happened three or four years ago ... "We have three of the oldest and most in disrepair high schools in the County at CCHS, LHS, and CKHS. They are mostly land-locked and have limited potential in the long run to serve the public need economically. Let's take $70m and build modern campus and consolidate them all and plunk it down right on Buford Hwy midpoint near or in Chamblee for maximum accessibility by car, private bus, and public transport."

Why wasn't this type of opportunity on the table? It is still possible even today. Answer that question and you can explain the mess we have been in and remain in as a community.

kim said...

Yeah, that's the ticket! One awe-inspiring prep campus in the heart of "North Dekalb" ... yeah, we could offer just about any amenity and support any program for our children. It wouldn't be a hidden, dirty diamond in the rough but a high profile beacon of our commitment to education and our community.

We could have the coolest mascot, too! Go you crazy, rabid Chief NorseDogs!

Anonymous said...

Over 1200 people there tonight. They have at least another half hour to go or so.

kim said...

1200? Wow, you couldn't get that crowd at a work day to clean up a school if you offered free pancakes. Has the fire marshall been called?

That actually happened at Montclair ES the last round of district scares four years ago - DCFD forced people out of the school because the cafeteria was standing room only and over-flowing.

Anonymous said...

They ended up splitting the small groups into both the gym and the cafeteria.

Anonymous said...

1200 huh....I think that is going to be a fraction of who shows for Chamblee tomorrow

Auntie Gerrymander said...

Quotes from the meeting at Shamrock tonight:

"As the only neighborhood in DeKalb County on the National Register of Historic Places, Druid Hills should not be moved away from Fernbank."

[We need to improve schools that are failing to make AYP,] "that way they'll stay in their neighborhoods."


[We need to] "preserve historic customs."

"If the low performing schools are closed, no one will be forced to attend them."

"Don't force IB students into Montessori classrooms."

[Your school name here]'s "attendance area reflects natural neighborhood boundaries and therefore should not be changed."

Wow. I can't wait until tomorrow's meeting at Chamblee.

Anonymous said...

Can someone with history in this area tell me - didn't Henderson Middle used to be Henderson High School? Was Shamrock a high school, too? Hasn't that general Lakeside area gone through changes before? It hasn't really always been the exact same zones area, has it? Seems like I hear a lot of people say "the old high school" or "where x elementary school used to be", and the general Lakeside area isn't excluded. I'm just wondering if the statements that Lakeside is one of the oldest neighborhoods and has always had the same neighborhoods is true.

Auntie Gerrymander said...

Henderson, Shamrock, and the now-shuttered facility on N. Druid Hills Rd. across from Target all used to be high schools.

Kind of deflates the "historic neighborhood school" balloon.

Anonymous said...

When DeKalb decided to go to the Junior High then Middle school model, Druid Hills was scheduled to convert to a junior high school and Shamrock was to remain as the high school. At the time this made sense as Shamrock was the newer school with room for expansion. Druid Hills advocates found a covenant that indicated that site must be used for a high school or the property would go back to Emory.

For more history, the proposed name for Shamrock was North DeKalb, after the mall in the area. The original mascot was to be the Mauraders however it was changed to the Saints when the school opened. It became Dragons after the first season.

Anonymous said...

In case you missed this important post a few days ago. One of the nine people in charge of the billion dollar school system has quite a number of legal issues on his plate!





Look on DeKalb OJS Civil cases and see how many times and for what amounts Jesse “Jay” Cunningham has been sued or garnished for indebtedness, mostly relating to auto debt. Great that we have him helping to control a huge budget. 17 cases over the years taken to court for money and one for a protective order for domestic violence.
When are the voters of DeKalb going to wake up?
Case Search Results
Last Name First Name / MI Party Type Case ID* Type Court Style Filing Date Status
CUNNINGHAM JESSE J DEFENDANT 09G24391 State Garnishment State Ford Motor Credit Co Vs Jesse J Cunnington 28-JUL-2009 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE J DEFENDANT 10G35599 State Garnishment State Ford Motor Vs Jesse J Cunningham 15-NOV-2010 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE J DEFENDANT 03A11016 State Civil Suits State Ford Motor Vs Cunningham 08-SEP-2003 CLOSED
CUNNINGHAM JESSE J DEFENDANT 04G91364 State Garnishment State Ford Motor Credit Co Vs Jesse J Cunningham 01-SEP-2004 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE J DEFENDANT 93A75228 State Civil Suits State Frank Jackson Lincoln Vs Cunningham 20-JUL-1993 CLOSED
CUNNINGHAM JESSE J DEFENDANT 07G08078 State Garnishment State Ford Motor Credit Vs Jesse J Cunningham 25-JUL-2007 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE J DEFENDANT 08G13210 State Garnishment State Ford Motor Vs Jesse J Cunningham 01-APR-2008 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE JAY DEFENDANT 01M81305 Magistrate Civil Suits Magistrate Cindy Mcqueary Vs Jesse Jay Cunningham 31-MAY-2001 CLOSED
CUNNINGHAM JESSE JAY DEFENDANT 01M85208 Magistrate Civil Suits Magistrate Bruce Webb Vs Jesse Jay Cunningham 13-NOV-2001 CLOSED
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 08G18581 State Garnishment State Ford Motor Vs Jesse J Cunningham 18-NOV-2008 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 08G19157 State Garnishment State Georgia Receivables Inc Vs Jesse Cunningham 12-DEC-2008 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 10G28373 State Garnishment State Georgia Receivables Vs Jesse Cunningham 13-JAN-2010 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 09G28373 State Garnishment State Georgia Receivables Vs Jesse Cunningham 13-JAN-2010 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 10D58256 Magistrate Dispossessory Magistrate Salem Crossing Shopping Center Vs Evelyn Phillip 16-AUG-2010 CLOSED
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 10G36434M Magistate Garnishment Magistrate Ga Recievables Inc Vs Jesse Cunningham 16-DEC-2010 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 02D60250 State Dispossessory State Lexington On The Green Vs Jesse Cunningham 18-MAR-2002 OPEN
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 97CV11173 Superior Domestic Relations Superior Cunningham Vs Cunningham (Se) 15-SEP-1997 CLOSED
CUNNINGHAM JESSE DEFENDANT 07A74296 State Civil Suits State American Express Vs Evelyn Phillip 18-SEP-2007 CLOSED

Wyndy Amerson said...

It is Druid Hills High that is one of the oldest schools in DeKalb - not Lakeside. Lakeside was built in the mid-60's to ease the congestion of baby boomers between Briarcliff (closed in mid-80's and home to DSA until last year) and Tucker high schools. The Henderson High was added into the mix in the late 60's. This was during the huge baby boom period when every home seemed to have 4-5 students. Classrooms had 36-40 students. This was predominantly a white upper class school system at that time when more thatn 70% of the high school graduates went to college (the state avg. at the time was less than 50%). In the late 90's the middle school model was added. Henderson closed and became a middle school, the stuents in 9-12 grade went to Lakeside. The LHS boundary now extends from the corner of N. Druid Hills/Clairmont (about 3 miles from LHS)all the way out to Plesantdale (Gwinnett County line).

Wyndy Amerson said...

The 'historic area debate' does apply to those areas that have been arbitrarily drawn into DHHS after being "historically" in the Lakeside School District. Leafmore, Briarcliff Woods, the Ponderosa, Diamond Head and others were part of the Lakeside School district since the school was built. Most of these neighborhoods are within 1.5 to 3 miles from Lakeside. The students can walk home if they miss the bus or want to run to and from. The LHS Cross Country team often runs up Oak Grove and into Leafmore. When Briarcliff High closed, the students in that area were moved to Druid Hills. Most neighborhoods were kept together. The Sagamore Hills community was split between Briarcliff and Lakeside. When BHS closed, they were split between LHS and DHHS. Now, they want to draw out these neighborhoods that have been loyal community supporters of the school and move them to DHHS. DHHS is a good school but our students can't walk there or ride bikes. It breaks up long established school areas and splits up the elementary feeder programs.

Anonymous said...

In regards to Fernbank science center ...
"They are thinking about the asset that well kept green space is to their community and how convenient the few advanced programs they offer are for their children."

First, this greenspace does not belong to the county. It belong Fernbank, Inc. which was started to preserve the forest behind the science center.

http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/museum_info/about/history.aspx

As for the science center, I live 20 minutes away and I have taken my 7 year old there since he was 2 years old. He is familiar with every exhibit. It is a great education outing for folks who can't afford $12+ admission to museums, etc.

kim said...

"Henderson, Shamrock, and the now-shuttered facility on N. Druid Hills Rd. across from Target all used to be high schools."

Don't forget good old Sequoyah HS, now MS in Doraville! Yes, I have heard the stories of the junior high conversion and how we made just about every decision incorrectly due to politics. Sequoyah, the new, larger facility should have remained a high school, not Cross Keys. Ditto for Shamrock and Henderson. And how Briarcliff EVER was closed rather than Druid Hills makes no sense whatsoever.

Then, as now, governance was simply a matter of boosterism and croneyism. I refuse to believe the the MGT recommendations will reverse decades of this tradition. Sorry for my scepticism, folks, but that is what I see.

As for our entire area being white and wealthy "in the day" ... partially true. Then, as now, Cross Keys was very much a working class school.

Anonymous said...

"As for the science center, I live 20 minutes away and I have taken my 7 year old there since he was 2 years old. He is familiar with every exhibit. It is a great education outing for folks who can't afford $12+ admission to museums, etc."

How many DCSS students have been to FSC more than once? How many of DeKalb's 740,000 residents, who pay for FSC via their taxes, have been to FSC? It is an incredibly underused asset. It clearly needs to be a non-profit affiliated with the school system, but not dependent on it. And it doesn't need to be the Fernbank Elem PTA's private oasis.

Anonymous said...

Pvt. School Blogger: Good Bye, glad to see you leave the school system and the bloggers. Please don't come back!

Anonymous said...

Kim, I'm near Chamblee and parents fought hard 4 years ago when our area went through redistricting, to make room for Kittredge. We had facts and figures from DeKalb Planning, which DCSS never looked at. We had facts and figures from the Atlanta Regional Commission, ignored again. Some parents in Dunwoody, just north of 285, wanted to be drawn into Nancy Creek back then, Georgetown is closer to Nancy Creek than the Dunwoody ES. The facts showed the growth in our area and that it would continue. We hit up the media, we uncovered a lot that DCSS was trying to cover up. Even Crawford Lewis and a few on his staff called us "vociferous" and crazy to an AJC reporter.

DCSS spent almost a million dollars to retrofit Nancy Creek into Kittredge. Now they want to change it back to a neighborhood school. How much is it going to cost to retrofit it back to a PK-5 school? Just think parents who went through redistricting 3 years ago are about to go through it again. No redistricting for 30 years in DeKalb and the Chamblee area is having to go through it twice in three years. Equitable?

Sure Chamblee got a new building for the High School, but what about the education our kids receive today? Will it be the same when the magnets leave? What about the magnet kids today? If they play football, will they be able to finish their career at Chamblee or will they have a new football team at Avondale? Can Chamblee attendance, minus magnet, support a football team, orchestra or band? Have these things been thought about and discussed?

If everyone is looking for equitability, why not start a new program at Avondale, duplicate what CMS and CCHS are doing now? Why punish success and make everyone mediocre? Shouldn't we embrace what is working and duplicate it throughout the county?

I can't wait to see the costs for magnet vs. traditional. Do the costs for this plan justify all the moving around? Where do the magnet kids live? What areas in the county could support a magnet? Why is Arabia not mentioned in plans? What does the state say and have they explained the 450 number and FTE? Where is the 2004 audit and why has this leadership hidden it? Why have minutes of meetings lately, not appeared on the website? What is this bunch trying to hide this time around?

I'd trust these folks if they hadn't been so reckless 4 years ago. But one thing is for sure, the recklessness of DCSS continues today!

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this but I think this whole meeting thing is a dog and pony show for us stakeholders. The plan is in motion folks. This timeline is so tight, it would be tough to try and change it drastically before Ms. Tyron brings HER recommendations to the BOE.

To quote a state senator who whispered this in my ear, when this happened 4 years ago at a public hearing at Nancy Creek. The state senator said, "It's a done deal!" I asked how? this is the first public hearing. He told me that night it was already determined and in motion. I feel it's happening again.

Folks, watch this process carefully. Ask a lot of questions and DEMAND honest answers.

Anonymous said...

We've already spent 400K on this, so lets go ahead and do it and be done with it. The children will adapt very quickly and be fine. Precious little Timmy won't have a nervous breakdown and/or be emotionally scarred for life if he is sent to a school without an atrium or a swimming pool, or if (gasp!) he sits next to someone who lives in an apartment.

I will agree with the posters who feel the decision has already been made and these meetings are mainly for show.

Anonymous said...

"As for the science center, I live 20 minutes away and I have taken my 7 year old there since he was 2 years old. He is familiar with every exhibit. It is a great education outing for folks who can't afford $12+ admission to museums, etc."

School systems should not be in the museum business.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 12:41 AM

I completely understand the frustrations that parents are going through. I really do. And if you spot me at Publix on Johnson's Ferry, or at Slack's eating a philly, or a the Dog House munching on a Vienna Beef dog, please don't punch me in the face for what I'm about to say ...

The proposals on the table (and the real plan somewhere inside MIC) will have a disruptive impact on every family currently enrolled in DCSS in areas of change. I personally believe that this is unfortunate but inevitable.

The operations of the system required that major changes to the physical plant and attendance areas be implemented. Why? Because we in DeKalb have more or less insisted that we keep the physical plant and attendance areas intact for decades. A plant and attendance area plan that is a relic of the 1980s.

As the world turned and the new suburban systems moved to a large school format, we insisted on keeping neighborhood schools and attendance areas intact. This is exactly what we are advocating for now.

We are spending hundreds of millions of our sales tax dollars pouring concrete today to enshrine and perpetuate the bad decisions of the past twenty-five years. In another ten to twenty, the parents of the future DCSS will be asking the same questions that you and I are today ...

Why can't we afford more teachers? Why can't every school have art and music programs? Why can't our academic programs be equitable in every school? Why can't all of our children have access to robust extra-curricular offerings? Why do we have more non-teaching personnel than teaching personnel?

There are many reasons discussed on this blog ad nauseum that can answer many of the questions above. For me, I have become convinced that the number one obstacle to righting these inequities is our insistence on clinging to the old neighborhood school format and the administrative bloat that goes along with it.

Fewer schools means larger attendance areas, smaller central office and service departments, and greater opportunity. If maintaining neighborhood schools were the key to success and efficiency, why don't new districts in Gwinnett, Forsyth and other communities build a neighborhood scale plant?

The answer is easy: it makes no sense. Until our leadership drags us kicking and screaming into the 21st century we can count on these things from DCSS: 1) Bloated administration and operational costs, 2) Gross inequities from attendance area to attendance area, 3) Highly fragmented parent groups and political interests dominating the discourse on public education in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Best points so far: move Pleasantdale kids (some of them) to Livesey, build an addition to complete Livsey to what it was supposed to be originally (eliminates issues at Livesy, HMS and LHS); You can't redistrict from AYP meeting schools and AYP non-meeting schools (kids can just transfer out -- illegal); no point in redistricting before getting a grip on why kids are transfering and enforcing attendance at "home" schools (n/a to AYP transfers who have a legal right to transfer -- cp those just begging to be let loose) -- people will just beg to transfer back -- got to do the "triage" appraoch -- shutter empty schools that have been on the list for a while now due to appx. 2 seats per child and reevaluate once other issues are addressed; need 2010 census data and evaluate redistricting on 2010 data rather than 2000 census data (current plan is based on 2000 census data); environmental epa comments are very valid -- get away from paradigm of alligned middle/high if you need to and keep kids within walk/bike distance to all schools; consider facts that new apt complexes are going in (e.g. for Briar Vista) and that state will fund new charter for STEM (science tech) elementary (e.g. for Medlock) -- DCSS has got to take this in stages -- doing this all at once is insane particularly when not based on census data coming out shortly that contains info on in-coming elementary children....((PS I'm not impacted by any of this directly).

Anonymous said...

Kim~ Very well written. I 100% agree with you. If you start a "petition" stating this, I'll sign it. :)

Anonymous said...

@ 8:56 I would, too.

Anonymous said...

Kim
I would agree with you except for the fact that this plan was done with incorrect data and does not have any information on the efficiency and effectiveness of the changes. What will be the cost increases of this plan and what will be the savings? Is there a way to get the same savings while impacting fewer students?
Giving Tyson one week to come up with a plan that takes into account community input means that this plan, like the ones before it, will be ad hoc and incomplete.
That is my problem - not that changes have to be made but that they arenot going to be well thought out.

Anonymous said...

Kim Gocke, I would never punch you. You and I had come up with a consensus during the CCHS building issue. I'm all for larger schools and districts, like you. However, my frustrations lie with the Central Office. They have never been forth coming about any issue. We only have history to judge here. The entire Lewis staff remains intact! These folks are the ones that got us to where we are now and the mistrust continues.

I'll go kicking and screaming when the honesty starts at the top in Ms. Tyson's office. Show us the 2004 audit. Commission another one NOW! Place meeting minutes on the website like Clew did. Get out in front of this. The fact that MGT did not reveal the costs in all this, at the original meeting, is ludicrous! Show the money we will make and what it will cost to implement these plans. I'm tired of the willy nilly, hey! let's do this.. Let's spend this! Let's all go to Vegas for a meeting.

An open and transparent process will help us go kicking and screaming. Currently, I can't trust this current DCSS bunch to take us down the path of educational successes. Some comments by the MGT folks almost sounded defensive to me, why? Shouldn't MGT listen to all the ideas and place them into a report for them to give to Tyson? Hey MGT you did a great job preparing this, however, I have some serious doubts as to the educational viability of this plan, some financial too, but mostly how this will effect the kids that are being served currently in their schools.

I think we need to duplicate this magnet success all over the county. Why place all the magnet kids into one place, when we can spread the smarts county wide? If we keep the magnet program, it should be placed in the North, Middle and South parts of the county. DeKalb is a huge county and as gas prices go up, fewer options will be available. Folks in the south that are currently enrolled at CMS or CCHS magnet programs, your sacrifice is incredible, just because it's been this way for years, why not fight to have these educational opportunities in your area, but not at the expense of another school?

Where are the magnet kids right now, I heard a rumor that the majority of magnet kids reside in the middle and northern parts of the county, while there are pockets in the south. Is this true? Why move kids further from their current schools if it's working?

Let's do this in phases, close the smaller schools and let's get this FTE funding from the state correct. Then we should audit the magnet system, does it work? Is it financially doable? can we duplicate it elsewhere?

Kim, your ideas are great and you have been a big part in getting me to see the light. I hope DCSS can be trusted with a huge effort like this. Hearing from the teachers like Mr. Blackwood, give me pause and I hope and want to see some results in these efforts.

Anonymous said...

Magnets are not free. Even excluding transportation costs, they use 50+ extra teachers.

The first step is finding a way to operate them at the same cost per student as other schools. It can be done and then you replicate.

Anonymous said...

Magnets are highly successful, just look at the test scores and property values where they are located. If they cost extra, then that's the price we pay for a quality education. Cutting magnet funding is akin to shooting oneself in the foot via a reduction in property tax revenues. Don't "fix" something that is working quite well. Instead, why not seek to replicate successful programs elsewhere. Trim Central Office bloat and we can make every school a magnet school. Shouldn't the focus be on improving the quality of an education while moving to operate more efficiently?

Sagamore 7 said...

Let me ask this question, since the entire redistricting is based on maximization of State and Federal funding.

What test/score % is required for magnets to receive State funding?

I have heard numbers that are 90%+ to receive State funding.

DCSS current policy is to qualify for the magnet lottery a student is only required to have a 75% entrance score.

Is DCSS NOT eligible for matching State funding due to the reduced entrance requirements?

How much money could be obtained from the State if DCSS were to change the policy to at least match the State minimum entrance requirements so DCSS could receive State funding?

S7

Anonymous said...

How many DCSS students have been to FSC more than once? How many of DeKalb's 740,000 residents, who pay for FSC via their taxes, have been to FSC?
More than you think. Because the center is supported by tax dollars, most of its programs are free and the rest are very low cost. When the American Chemical Society meet in Atlanta 9000 chemists or so they wanted to do something for the public. It had to be free. The only venue that stepped up was Fernbank. 6200 children attended that Saturday most of whom could not afford the country club like nonprofits such as the Aquarium and the Natural History museum. Fernbank has hosted at no charge for the past 10 years or more a Saturday and Summer program paid for with NASA grants for students and ther families. Over 3000 students and their families participate each year. The Saturday programs are semester long and students get about 30 hours of hands on instruction. I don't live in the Fernbank neighborhood but I make it a point to walk in the forest each season. As an attorney I checked the Fernbank Science Center Deed. The land for it and the school accross the street was given to the school system with the provision that the school system operate a cultural and educational facility. If this activity ceases, the science center building and equippment reverts to the foundation. You may disagree with Cherry's and the then school board's decision to accept the gift but to give it back would be one more promise broken. Perhaps it would also be foolish to lose the building and its contents. As someone too old to have anyone in school I still like paying my taxes to support the schools and that includes the science center. I would happily pay more taxes once we get this present mess straightened out and also redistrict our shcools.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 11:12 - Where did you get the fact that 50+ teachers are needed for magnets, is that system wide or which school do you speak of? How many students will be serviced by these additional teachers?

Everyone speaks of the costs, yet no one can place a number on it yet. What are the difference in costs?

The other thing is the Kittredge/Wadsworth Magnets are a different beast than the Middle and High School magnets. The Middle and High Schools have resident students who are also taking advantage of the magnet teachers and offerings.

How much money are we saving if this "centralized" plan is voted for?

Anonymous said...

1st Why was this plan not held off until the results of the 2010 census data was released. I understand that other 'resources' were used but WHY and how reliable are they compared to the census data?
2nd Currently in my area (Medlock) we have a main artery (Willivee Rd) that feeds to Medlock es. This road is broken in regards to local school zones in bizarre ways. I have a bus that passes my house to pick up children to go to Laurel Ridge es which is 2 miles away, whereas Medlock es is .5 miles away? Also off this main artery road at Clairmont/N. Decatur Rd./N. Superior Rds. these students are being sent to Fernbank. Once again Medlock is a closer school. If these residents were redistricted to Medlock (as they should be) Medlock would have a much higher population and possibly not be in danger of being decommissioned.
3rd.Medlock es should be considered for a STEM school for the following reasons:
(1) accommodating an expanding elementary population, (2) a diverse racial/ethnic community that would be resegregated, (3) an established special needs program, and (4) the largest physical lot for expansion in the super cluster.

Anonymous said...

anon 8:55 - those apartment complexes have been put on hold for development,. Besides, we need to redistrict with kids we HAVE now in county NOT ones that will be here in 5 years.

And BVE doesnt need more transite students. why should fernbank gets all the neighborhood s kids and BVE gets all the apt kids?

NOt to mention, alot of those complexes are slotted be filled with Emory students - not people with kids. They are not even developed yet.

To the person saying "dont send IB students to montessori" I can only assume you are referring to Fernbank and BVE.

For the last time - BVE IS NOT JUST A MONTESSORI SCHOOL _ WE NOW HAVE TWO TRACKS TO OFFER - Montessori or traditional.

please everyone get your facts straight!

Im tired of everyone ranking on BVE and I dont even go there!

Cerebration said...

Well, Let's see. As it turns out - we already DO have magnets in South, Central and North Dekalb. The high school feeders are SW DeKalb, Columbia and Chamblee. Dunwoody mom is looking into the magnet funding for us - but so far, just from checking the school allotment sheets we have found that these schools get "extra" points (teachers) - for magnets - funded with local tax dollars - (FWIW, many schools also get extra local points for ROTC, but we're strictly looking at magnet points here) -

DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts - 7
Wadsworth ES - 3
Clifton ES - 2
Evansdale ES - 2
Kittredge ES - 6

Chamblee MS - 4
Chapel Hill MS - 2
Columbia MS - 1

Chamblee HS - 7
Columbia HS - 6
DeKalb School of the Arts - 7
SW DeKalb - 6

Additionally, Huntley Hills gets 5.5 additional local points for Montessori and Briar Vista gets 3.0 additional local points for Montessori

So, yes, the magnets are given 53 EXTRA teachers and the Montessori 8.5 for a total of 61.5 locally funded teachers for special programs.

Cerebration said...

For those of you who like to promote the magnets by pointing to their success, I ask, wouldn't your school's students do better with more teachers and smaller class sizes too?

Cerebration said...

Interesting that DESA is given 7 extra teachers. (That's as many as Chamblee HS and DSA) In fact, DESA and DSA combined are given 14 EXTRA teachers. Nice! (For them anyway...)

Anonymous said...

Many cogent comments. Lots of data and great suggestions. But it really doesn't matter.

We all just are not the BOE and their appointed eminent, credentialed, education professionals that are ensconced in The Palace and whose wisdom and good judgment are infallible. The plan was probably decided by them before the dog and pony shows began.

The democratic process has properly played out and we (of good sense and reason)have lost. So let us just get on with our lives.

As to Mr Cunningham's rap sheet, those are some pretty good creds for DeKalb County voters. One of the members of the FINANCE COMMITTEE of the County Government had two felony counts for passing bad checks mysteriously dropped.

By the way, the County is broke

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-budget-mess-drains-808153.html

and its bond ratings have been lowered

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalbs-bond-rating-lowered-809201.html


Couple that with the dysfunctional, profligate and inefficient County Government and school system and new job creating businesses will keep avoiding our wonderfully inclusive and diverse County (the CEO said that).

Non-Fernbank Parent said...

anon 1:41. Honestly, does the Montessori program at BVE get more priority or special benefits that the traditional track does not? Does the traditional track end up with more of the transient population since only 1st grade and below are eligible for the Montessori track?

Why not make the school only one track and not both?

Anonymous said...

What about the theme schools such as Arabia Mountain? Do they have "extra" teachers?

Also it would be important to differentiate for the magnet program how many of those teachers are "earned" due to gifted vs "magnet".

Cerebration said...

There are no extra local points allocated to Arabia or other theme schools. And the points I listed are labeled as "magnet".

Cerebration said...

If you want to download these school allotments for yourself, go to this link -

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/budget

and download the budget files on the left (PDFs)

Dekalbparent said...

There are a lot o f people saying the same thing - "Don't close my school!" - and I am afraid that that is serving to make the people in charge of "Listening to the public" become deaf to the plea. It is implied in these public input meetings that we are going to be able to come up with new suggestions that will be considered. We absolutely need these new ideas, but the public does not have the time or (more important) the information to come up with them.

We don't know any of the costs, any of the less tangible variables, or really, much about the areas of the county other than our own (and unless our jobs or avocations bring us into different schools in different areas of the county, we can't). How in the world can we come up with creative solutions without access to the data driving the decisions?

I came out of last night's meeting feeling pretty dejected.

Cerebration said...

I have found a wonderfully written post about the history of school redistricting and how it relates to DeKalb today. In fact, the writer, Claudia Keenan has several solid postings full of enlightening information on education. I've added her link to the Favorite Links on the home page. In the meantime, at least read this one:

Heated School Issues Resonate Across a Century

Anonymous said...

If you go to a meeting, come with concrete, usable solutions to suggest. "keep our neighborhoods intact" and "keep our schools together" is NOT going to win over the board.
write your own letters and KNOW YOUR NUMBERS!
"School utilization and capacity" report is helpful

IMO, much of the problem stems from insisting that middle schools feed 100% to the same partner HS. The neighborhoods were not set up that way. Our middle schools used to be high schools and are near the elementary schools that should feed to them. If we are willing to have split feeders b/n middle and high schools, it would certainly help keep our neighborhoods intact more. Look at some of the suggested shifting of students and you'll see that students are being sent a long distance to either middle or high school when they are closer to another middle or high school just to keep the Middle- to high school feeder pattern intact.
Few people are attached to their middle school than to their high school (easy for me to say) but I would take a different MS if we could keep our HS.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:31

Amen. And you can't say, "no split feeders" and "keep us geographically close to our schools" and expect that to work. Our schools are not built for perfect vertical alignment.

Anonymous said...

Wow! The attendance at CCHS tonight is huge! I just drove around the school looking for parking and found people parking as far away as three blocks from the school and cars were still arriving at 6:40.

I look forward to hearing about the meeting, can someone let us now how it went? My wife and I are now planning to attend either McNair HS or Bethune MS next week. I hope others from the north end of the county attend these too, we need to make sure Ms. Tyson hears our voices at all the meetings.

Dan Magee said...

PLEASE, PLEASE attend the meeting below if you're available and let our DeKalb state rep's and state senators know we are sick and tired of the bloated and wasteful DCSS Central Office, and a Board of Ed that was so slack with oversight its previous superintendent and Chief Operating Officer are now under RICO indictment! I truly believe our rep's and senators realize how the school system is affecting property values and business recruitment/retention.

I've been to many of these delegation meetings, and its great to see how well the DeKalb Delegation gets along, whether Democrat or Republican, progressive or conservative. Howard Mosby is a fine delegation chair.

Wonder if State Senator/DCSS Internal Affairs head Ron Ramsey will be present, he usually blows these off.



Monday, January 24, 7:00 p.m.
DEKALB LEGISLATIVE DELEGATIONS TO HOST PUBLIC HEARING

This public hearing will give DeKalb residents the opportunity to be heard on issues being considered during the legislative session.
For more information, contact Rep. Howard Mosby, the Chair of the House delegation at 404-656-0287.

Location
DeKalb Technical Institute
Clarkston Campus Conference Center
495 North Indian Creek Dr
Clarkston, GA 30021

Anonymous said...

Cere, thanks for the numbers, I really want those financial ones that MGT have promised.

61.5 teachers out of how many teachers, 4585? Is that number right? Check me please. If I'm close 1.26% of the teachers at DCSS, are magnet. Not a bad percentage, if you ask me. How about we scuttle Audria Berry's army and put the money, that those 6 figure "coaches" are paid, back in the school house! Just think the 7 million spent on Berry's army can be spent on magnet teachers who actually teach our kids!

I know there are many at this blog that want this centralized option. I've looked at it and have asked questions at other meetings yet still no true financial numbers yet. If you ask about the education for the kids and how it will change, no one can really answer that one. So we have magnets county wide, maybe DCSS should tell folks if you want the magnet program, you have to attend one in your region? Let's get students out of cars, buses and trains and into the classrooms, learning! Travel time over 25 minutes to any public school seems ludicrous to me. I salute the parents and students who have sacrificed over two hours a day for round trip travel to a magnet. Shouldn't have to happen in DCSS, we have many properties that need to be used, let's use them for successful programs.

Why punish success, let's duplicate it!

Anonymous said...

To Cere and everyone regarding magnet points . . .

It's frustrating to see such bad information being put forth again and again and again as though it were factual. Say it enough and people start to take it for granted that it must be correct. The bad thing is that detailed information was given to this blog in the past regarding the point system within DeKalb. I'm not redoing all that - go back and research the past blog entries if you want to see facts on the point system and the "cost" of the Magnet programs.

In brief, the extra points given to Magnet programs are more than balanced out by the state funding formula for the education of gifted students (which make up a majority of the Magnet programs). The gifted students are funded at a higher rate than regular education students (not as high a rate as students that qualify for Special education, but still higher than regular ed.). These are STATE dollars.

So before you state that local tax dollars are funding the extra points and therefore the Magnet programs, please refer to the state funding formula - it is posted on the DeKalb site. Again, all of this was hashed out on this very blog in the past.

Next, the extra points do NOT equate to extra teachers for Magnet. Say it with me now "extra points for Magnet do not equate to extra teachers for Magnet." You ask "how is this possible? Can this person be telling the truth? Has someone been disseminating incorrect information? Why yes indeed. You see, points don't have to be "spent" on teachers. Points are spent at the discretion of the principal for that school. A teacher "cost" 1 point - you can get an extra assistant principal or counselor for 1.5 points.

Now for more fun with points - if a principal spends the points on "extra" teachers or counselors or assistant principals, what's the difference, the Magnet programs still benefit . . . right? Ahhh, there's the rub. You see, when a magnet school is housed within a regular school there is no mandate that there be a division of point spending - so extra points given to a magnet program may (and in fact are), spent in ways advantageous to the entire school.

To address what Cere said: for those of you who like to promote the magnets by pointing to their success, I ask, wouldn't your school's students do better with more teachers and smaller class sizes too? The question / statement is based on faulty information. Not all magnet programs have smaller classes than the regular ed classes. Do students benefit from having smaller classes - yes. But can the size of Magnet programs be linked to the success of the students? Partially. Again, not all magnet classes are smaller and the fact is you are dealing with mainly gifted students and typically more-than-qualified teachers.

If you want to know how much is being spent PER STUDENT, I think, though I don't know for certain, that you would find Special Ed at the top of the list. Second place would be every single student in a Title I school. Are the Title I funds being spent appropriately by hiring "academic coaches?" Most posters on this blog seem to say no, but that doesn't change how much is being spent PER STUDENT for that school. The fact that the funds are not being used in an intelligent manner doesn't change that.

So, if Magnet programs are not getting all the money why are they so successful? The people. The students, the parents, and the teachers. There. The great mystery is solved. No matter how much money you dump on failing programs, they continue to fail. It's not the magnet programs burning up all the dollars.

Cere, thank you. THANK YOU for keeping this blog going. I'm not a regular poster and I don't know if I'll have the inclination to answer questions that will surely follow after this posting, but again, I thank you for the work you put into this blog!

Anonymous said...

For the folks saying "centralization" is a wonderful idea - you forgot to factor in why the magnet programs are successful. The people. Will they go? Some, not all. Will the program be the same? Refer back to what made them successful in the first place.

Cerebration said...

I long ago lost track of why we can't just consolidate and close the schools that are severely under-enrolled. Why was it that we decided to go head first into this countywide redistricting plan? Since we've not done this in like, 30 years, can we not simply work on it in 3 phases or so? Those under-enrolled schools should have been dealt with before school started last fall, IMO. Stopping to formulate a systemwide plan actually is costing us the $2million or more we would have saved by consolidating those schools - plus $400,000 for the consultants.

Ironic how our board just continues to find ways to spend, spend, spend. Remember the bullying "investigation"? Half a million to investigate. Went nowhere. How about the Blue Ribbon Task Force? (What ever happened to the 6 Region Plan?) Or worse, the lawsuits that continue to siphon off FAR more money than consolidating children's schools will EVER be able to save. (Aren't we at over $15 million to King & Spalding on the construction lawsuit? When will that ever see the inside of a courtroom?)

Anonymous said...

@1:42 regarding DSA, the DeKalb School of the Arts High School located at Avondale High School: According to your post, it receives 7 points or teachers as a magnet.

It only has 300 students!!

Chamblee's 7 points/teachers instruct nearly 600 magnet students plus some of the charter and resident students.

I'd say CCHS gives us more bang for the buck!

I'm not against DSA. They consistently excel academically while devoting great time and energy to artistic productions. I just mention this to provide a little perspective.