Saturday, January 1, 2011

HB22 / Time for change, positively!

This year is the only year in the next decade that the school districts can change.

Dekalb Legislator, Mary Margaret Oliver, has introduced House Bill 22 that will reduce the size of our school districts from 7 to 5 with 2 super districts that cover half of the county each.

What this will also do is reduce the size of the school board from 9 to 7 and get rid of a couple of unwanted board seats/members.

You can't FIRE a school board member but you sure have the ability to change the law and get rid of their board seat for at least another decade!

I spoke with her during the holidays and she would like our help from this blog.

She asked if everyone would contact their Dekalb delegate from the State House and Senate to get their opinion and make it public for all to see. My representative from the House is MMO, my Senate representative is Jason Carter*.

MMO has already expressed her opinion by presenting HB22 and I have contacted Senator Carter's office for his position on the bill. I will post his opinion as soon as I here back from him or his office.

MMO was very prompt in returning my message, just a couple of hours later. She is watching this blog to see what our fact finding reports.

The Dekalb delegation is headed by Rep. Howard Mosby.

We will need a grass roots movement to make POSITIVE CHANGE for DCSS and this is the first step and a HUGE step in the right direction.

Please contact your delegate and ask their opinion and let's see where they stand!

This will be a ballot item in the fall and will take place for the 2012 school year. We won't have to wait for change we can make change happen now! Change that will positively impact DCSS!

Happy New Year,

Sagamore 7

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*(If you are unsure of who your legislators are, click here or here or here to find out.)

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, the bill has not been introduced yet. She has only filed pre-legislation.

Anonymous said...

How will the dividing line be drawn? How will the proposed reorganization affect funding? We need to defund the central administration and keep the money local. My tax dollars should support DHHS and its feeder schools, not Lithonia, McNair, and the like.

Dunwoody Mom said...

According to Fran Millar's comments in the Dunwoody Reporter, he feels the legislation should have no problem...

His comment: "So-called “local legislation” – laws that only affect a single city or county – usually pass easily."

I think the only people worried about this legislation passing are certain board members and their supporters in the GA House, but those individuals are very much in the minority.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a step in the right direction. However, I think the best fix is to turn this school system into several smaller systems.

Anonymous said...

Under the proposed legislation, would all the current Board members have to go through a new election? I support having a smaller BOE, but would like to know how this legislation will work?

Anonymous said...

This is encouraging...perhaps someone is finally taking an interest in this county. I won't hold my breath as the race baiting will occur because thats what it is about for the adults, instead of being about what classrooms need. I think its a move in the right direction. However, I too believe that the school district is far too large, with a population that has too many diverse needs to continue to be held together as a single district. Even with fewer board members, current state, federal, and county mandates will continue to force removal of funds from classrooms with majority normal performers to shift them into schools with populations not performing at standard. What this can potentially do is reduce money going to admin. (fewer board members) and fewer friends and family that we have to support.

I would like to see further involvement from the legislators...investigations into the supers raise beyond state law prohibition of such, for just one example. Can't they lean on the board to demonstrate poor decision, making on on this one? Can they investigate on their own the pending charges? (They were willing to get involved with cheating but not corruption???) How about exploring the county's use of title 1 funds.
Perhaps a start, and credit is due for this, but honestly it is too little, and for some kids already too late.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Here is the link to the legislation:

http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/fulltext/hb22.htm

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:18 am

HUH? This only effects the Board of Education seats, nothing else.

The key is getting the delegation to move on this quickly. We need the potential superintendent candidates to know that this is going to happen.

Anon 11:53 am

Yes, it would require a totally new election because the reduction in seats would change the districts of each board member. If passed by the voters of DeKalb, an election would be held in November 2012 for all the seats of the BoE. Does that make sense.

Cerebration said...

Great news, thanks for posting Sagamore - and thanks for the link DM. I have added links to the post that will hopefully help in guiding readers to more info.

Yay MMO!

Cerebration said...

ps - to clarify for 11:18 AM an others - this will only require redrawing the board member districts (which schools each one represents and who votes for that seat). This will in no way effect attendance lines for school districts. That's a whole 'nother can of worms the superintendent is currently working on. Some redistricting and school consolidation must and will occur - but that is a separate issue from this one.

Anonymous said...

Heard back channel that Rep Mike Jacobs and new Rep Tom Taylor are taking it a step further and will be pushing for a reduction from 9 board members to five. While they are the only 2 Republicans in the DeKalb delegation, they have a HUGE majority in the House overall.

Heard also that the will try to modify the SB-84 that passed last year to address qualifications of school board members statewide. Taylor talked to several folks at a recent meeting implying that the bill would be changed to not allow felons to serve on boards. Looks like that is directed towards Jay Cunningham.

Anonymous said...

The bill calls for 5 as opposed to 9, read that part here.


(b) In the 2012 general election, members of the board of education from Education Districts 1, 3, and 5 shall be elected. Such members shall take office on January 1, 2013, and shall serve terms of office of four years and until their respective successors are elected and qualified. Thereafter, successors shall be elected at the November general election immediately preceding the expiration of the term of office of each respective member and shall take office on the first day of January following such election for a term of office of four years and until a successor is elected and qualified.
(c) In the 2012 general election, members of the board of education from Education Districts 2 and 4 shall be elected. Such members shall take office on January 1, 2013, and shall serve terms of office of two years and until their respective successors are elected and qualified. Thereafter, successors shall be elected at the November general election immediately preceding the expiration of the term of office of each respective member and shall take office on the first day of January following such election for a term of office of four years and until a successor is elected and qualifie

Dunwoody Mom said...

The bill actually has 2 Parts - one that calls for 5 members and one for 7 members.

Personally, I am for a 7 member board. A 5-member board with the possibility that 3 members could form an alliance to "have their way" scares me.....

Anonymous said...

I think the most effective local school districts have 5 member school boards -- 5 can work more effectively. If the districts are drawn properly, they will need to be more responsive to the county as a whole and less responsive to "constitutencies" and will, therefore, be more attuned to their job -- which is actually educating 90,000+ kids. I say go for 5 (and the point is you need 3 to get anything accomplished). I've expressed this opinion to my legislators.

Anonymous said...

I would hate to see Donna Edler and Nancy Jester have to run again. They spent an enormous amount of time and effort to get elected.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Anonymous, it's also easier for 3 people to control and form an "alliance". You would have less of a problem with 5, imo.

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand how this will make any real difference. Is the goal to start from a clean slate with new elections? Do we want to have LESS representation? Do we feel there are only 7 people capable of serving on the board and that this will help us get those 7 on the board and not the 2 we have determined are incapable? Is it that now we have 2 new board members in which we have renewed hope, we want to strengthen their power, and we are confident they will be re-elected? Do we feel the board is paralyzed by its size and this will streamline the decision-making process?

Obviously this would be a change. However, I fail to see how it is possible to predict whether it would be a change for better or worse - or the same sad old story.

Anonymous said...

DM, if there are 7 board members, a majority would only be 4, not 5. Right now, with 9 board members, a majority is 5.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Sorry, I meant there would be less of a problem with 7 board members.

My comment was based on a 5 member board. It would only take 3 members to get together an "scratch each others back".

Dan Magee said...

Thank you Rep. Oliver!

She's my state rep., and a good one. Sends out a weekly e-mail to her constituents during the legislative session, which includes a weekly question regarding an important topic. Why? Because she wants to hear from her district's residents, not just some yes/no answer, but she wants to hear a fully rounded answer. And she always takes time to listen to someone in person.

The DeKalb Delegation has to know that the school system is hurting property values and recruiting business to the county.

Glad to know some of the DeKalb Delegation members are paying attention!!


P.S. I feel sorry for those who have Ron Ramsey representing them. Not only has he never wrote and passed any legislation of note, you gotta wonder who he represents: his constituents who want a better school system, or his fellow Central Office bureaucrats?

Funny how his bio's on the state senate website don't mention his full-time job. Or that he had no prior experience in public education administration before securing his very highly compensated DCSS Internal Affairs position. Or that he owns multiple businesses while alledgely working full time for DCSS plus serving under the Gold Dome for two and a half months a year. Or that he called for an economic boycott of Dunwoody (which is funny, because that would affect SPLOST revenue for the school system).

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/senate/ramseyprintbio.pdf

Anonymous said...

If you look at the truly dysfunctional boards in this state who are having real problems, they all have 9 board members (APS, Clayton, Warren, Brunswick, DCSS, to name a few). You can't get anything accomplished with that many "bosses", and what superintendent worth their salt would want to work for 9 people verses 5?! If Gwinnett, the largest system with 160K, can do it with 5 than anyone should be able to do it - with the right leadership team (board, superintendent & administrators) in place. Our problem is we don't have ANY of these 3 things in place to be successful. Since Crawdaddy came on board in 2006, this district has gone steadily downhill because he furthered the friends and family plan to the district's detriment by putting incompetent "friends" in critical positions. And no one can say that our current board of 9 members is functioning better than when it was made up of 7.

You will still have enough representation with 5 members - if the DCSS staff is doing their jobs correctly. The current BOE micromanages way too many things anyway, and they need to stop. That's not their role and puts us at risk of accreditation loss. Please vote for 5 so we can start getting this boat back on course.

Anonymous said...

Interesting on the state senate seat for Ramsey:

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/senate/ramseybio.php

Biographical Information
Occupation: Attorney

--

Attorney?

Why would he put that as his actual occupation, instead of Director, office of Internal Affairs, DeKalb County School System???

Anonymous said...

I think we go to 5, if it doesn't work, we can always go back to 7. Look in the last 15 years, we have tried 7 and 9 and neither has worked very well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dan Magee and Anonymous 5:17 PM

I have repeatedly written on this blog about Ron Ramsey's bio on the Georgia General Assembly website. I have included the URL. I have published his highly questionable legislative record.

There is no way Ramsey has enough annual vacation time to cover the time required to be a legislator. His salary as posted online at OpenGeorgia.gov does not reflect that he is taking time without pay. In fact, Robert Tucker, retired from DCSS, is being paid by DCSS, in clear violation of TRS policy for retirees, to do Ramsey's job.

I am so glad that -- finally -- others have picked up on Ramsey's double-dipping and dishonesty! Ramsey should be fired for cause and prosecuted for stealing.

Anonymous said...

Successful school systems have 5 BOE members. Write your legislators to ask for the 5 BOE member option:

Gwinnett: 5 members for 150,000 students
http://www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/gcps-mainweb01.nsf/pages/BoardMembers1~BoardofEducation

Decatur City Schools: 5 members
http://www.csdecatur.net/boe/members

Forsyth: 5 members
http://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/12941061521638840/site/default.asp

Anonymous said...

If the concern with 5 BOE is a 3 member BOE "coalition" that bands together and dominates decisions (e.g the members with NB connections) then the answer is a 5 BOE member Board but require a "super majority" to accomplish things and make them have 4 or 5 votes on substantive issues so they have to work together and get along but the functional school systems all have 5 BOE members not 7 and definitely not 9. I think they need to be elected from the County at Large so they can't be controlled by NB but they need to have residency requirements from different parts of the county so its representative to all the parents of all the students they represent (I'd also love educational requirements but I keep losing that battle -- how about a bonding requirement so you can't have a criminal record?).

Anonymous said...

Prehaps the PTA presidents and School Council Chairs can send info about this legislation around their communities to get more folks to comment on it to their legislators (I think they can't actively take a pro or con position but they can lay out the options and contact info).

Anonymous said...

Cere,
Could you put a link to this website that tells citizens who their legislator is and provide a link to contact him/her.

Maybe it could go under the email your Board member link:

http://www.votesmart.org/official_state.php?state_id=GA&go2.x=10&go2.y=17&dist=

Anonymous said...

Remember that some new legislators from DeKalb will be sworn in on the 10th of January. In the Senate, Fran Millar will be replacing Dan Weber and Jason Carter replacing David Adelman. In the House, Tom Taylor will be replacing Fran, Elena Parent replacing Jill Chambers and someone whose name I don't recall replacing Kevin Levitas.

Of course the incumbent Ron Ramsey will still be on the payroll of DCSS AND the State Senate. Whoever brought this to light deserves a hat tip. Time to shine some light on that cockroach situation.

Cerebration said...

Thanks Anon. The link is listed as Find Your Legislator under Favorite Links. I've also added it to the post, along with the others already included.

Anonymous said...

On the GA Gang this morning, Dick Williams called Jeff Dickerson out on the Ron Ramsey issue as well as the cheating and bloated palace. Jeff went into absolute full spin mode protecting both. No surprise there, but he either needs to disclose or leave the title of "journalist", or Dick should have him taken off the show. No more credablility, zilch.

Anonymous said...

Scott Holcombe is coming on board for Kevin Levitas in the Lakeside (NE) part of DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, Robert Tucker, retired from DCSS, is being paid by DCSS, in clear violation of TRS policy for retirees, to do Ramsey's job."

I'd love to know how much Robert Tucker is making now, in addition to his DCSS full pension. 'Cause he seems to work a full 40 hour work week.

Why is this double-dipping allowed? And if Ron Ramsey was outting the hours in he is supposed to, we wouldn't have to pay Tucker in the first place.

And I saw it here on the blog before, but how many businesses are Ramsey and his family running? Dude must be Superman to work full-time for DCSS, be a state senator and own multiple businesses. I can hardly keep up with my honey-do list.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me Ron Ramsey doesn't have a school system vehicle!

Anonymous said...

@ Cere

"Thanks Anon. The link is listed as Find Your Legislator under Favorite Links. I've also added it to the post, along with the others already included. "

Maybe it's just me, but I don't Find Your Legislator it under Our Favorite Links. I'm looking in the right hand menu bars.

Anonymous said...

Here's Isakson's response:

Thank you for contacting me. I always appreciate hearing from you and am glad to have the opportunity to respond.

Unfortunately, this is a state issue and not within the jurisdiction of the United States Congress. I understand how important this issue is to you, and I urge you to contact your local or state representative with your concerns. I am certain that they will welcome your input and be very helpful.

Thank you again for contacting me, and I hope you will not hesitate to call on me in the future if I can be of assistance to you. For more information about issues that are important to you, please visit my webpage at www.isakson.senate.gov and sign up for my newsletter.

Sincerely,
Johnny Isakson
United States Senator

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that -- finally -- others have picked up on Ramsey's double-dipping and dishonesty! Ramsey should be fired for cause and prosecuted for stealing.

Well, AMEN to that.

Anonymous said...

Here's another non-response from Hank Johnson's assistant re HB 22:

I received your email to Congressman Johnson regarding Representative Oliver’s H.B. 22. I am sorry about the delayed response to your email. It was automatically forwarded into the Congressman’s outside the district inbox.

As you may know, Congressman Johnson is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and not the GA general assembly. As a result, he is not able to vote on matters pending before the general assembly, including Rep. Oliver’s bill. I will relay your concerns to him about the quality of education in the district.

Thanks for your input.

Oliver Spurgeon
Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Legislative Correspondent
202-225-1605(p)
202-226-0691(f)

Anonymous said...

"Here's another non-response from Hank Johnson's assistant re HB 22:"


Anon 7:14, are your serious? An adult can not be so clueless about governanace. Hank Johnson has nothing and should have nothing to do with DCSS, except for any federal funding issues.

First, his office receives tens of thousands of e-mails each week.

Second, this is not a federal issue. Seriously, read a book before posting such an inane remark.

And thirdly, the last thing we need is to give ammunition to those who want to do away with public schools by asking a US representative to get involved.