Attend the board meeting or watch it live on Comcast 24 tonight at 6:00 pm. You can review the agenda by clicking on our link to "Meetings & Announcements".
MEETING MINUTES BELOW
Ramona Tyson gives the inspiration... "it will take all of us to move this district forward". I just want to speak from the heart. I understand good and bad feelings about the low academic achievement, but you can't give up on us yet. Change is necessary and change will happen. Children need to know that we are inspired by the challenge and if we all come together we can be the change that we want to be. I have between 75-80 days left. I will not be idling. Change will be ready on day 1 of the new superintendent's term. We will talk with the community and the board about the change we want to make in the 90 days for the time after the 90 days.
1. Special Recognition ~ 2011 Jack Cooke Kent Scholarship Recipient Angelica Hairston who plays harp and violin
Presented by: Ms. Nancy T. Jester, Board Representative, District #1
1. Jacqueline Sneed - Meadowview ES. Loves the place. Community is involved.
2. Loreen Booker-Brown - absent
3. Bernard Hicks - DeKalb Co Board of Health. Relationship with DCSS is very strong. DeKalb schools are a critical player in emergency preparedness. Esp in case of biological etc attack. Moseley, Freeman worked with him. Planning with DCSS has resulted in good ideas that will work. We can distribute in 48 hours.
4. Rev. David Richards - 3 pts, family, formal and social education. Served as a sub while in seminary. Saw a lot. Son graduated from Redan. 3.96 GPA. Area super pushed parents to push the children. Responsibility falls first to the family. Children must be obedient and prepared. Asking DCSS to tighten the reins on those who are not doing what they're supposed to do. $16 million in athletic scholarships but we have not heard about it. You must do a better job of advertising the successes.
5. Dr. Tom Keating - absent
6. Quenton Young - absent
7. Sylvester Hopewell - DeKalb County PTAs Men's Initiative. Mentoring resource. Educators, X military, X athletes, business people. Conduit for 100 Black Men. [Apparently they only help black boys.]
8. Connie Boone - Great schools start with a great principal. They must create great working environment. School buildings in devastating condition harm students more than anything. Meadowview is unacceptable. We appreciate the modifications being made this summer.
9. Elizabeth Laing - Ivy Prep parent girls school. Support of Ivy Prep Charter in DeKalb.
10. Melinda Lehrer - Anti-cell tower - part 2 - health problems. Issue of tower is separate from the issue of the towers. Phones are now known to cause harm. We don't know yet about the cell towers. Experts are battling. There is a condition - electric pulse hyper-sensitivity. Results are not in but there is persuasive evidence that the cell tower radiation is not helpful and in addition to all other toxic elements.
11. Felicia LaPoole - Ivy Prep proponent for DeKalb locations.
12. Scott Bonder - Co Pres Fernbank PTA. We've come through our hard times stronger. DCSS doing a great job at Fernbank and in the Druid Hills cluster. IB program is strong. Based on questioning. Type of teaching is Socratic. Thank you - you all deserve a giant thank you - especially our principal.
13. Linda Podger Williams - ESEA transfers. (aka: AYP) Meetings start tomorrow eve to develop plans. Every year administrators discuss a better option than traveling across the county. I'd like to hear a new plan tomorrow. I fear I won't. Last year was a disaster. 90 students from last year plus 40 more - will require more trailers. Establishing a better plan should be discussed all year to help students who need it.
14. Katherine Ferago - No Cell Tower at the former Medlock ES. 1 - no longer a school so it doesn't qualify for zoning 2. Plan is not thought out - long term ATT may not need it 3. Combined damage to the neighborhood is damaging. 4. Huge eyesore. 5. Real estate values damaged.
15. Pat Kemp - No Cell Tower in Medlock. Of the 12 proposed locations, we are the only one with a double whammy - cell tower and a closed school. School is closed and board has not committed to continuing to keep it a school. Board can't propose a cell tower using zoning exclusions if there is no school.
16. Judy McDowell - No Cell Tower in Medlock. House is 5 houses away. In no uncertain terms - no cell tower in our community. We have written you about this several times. Cigarettes were once considered harmless too. Do the right thing for the people of Medlock.
17. Joanne Massey - No Cell Towers on the Medlock property. Would hurt neighborhood and drive away private schools that might rent the school. Can you imagine a 150x60x60 cell tower in your yard? No studies have been done as to what this will do to the wetlands. Cell towers have nothing to do with education.
18. Barbara Dalton - No cell tower in Medlock. Why would the school board put this large structure on a property that is closed. That is reckless.
19. Nina Gilbert - Ivy Prep wants to partner with DCSS.
20. Kirstie Young - Ivy Prep parent. Wants a DeKalb campus.
1. Willie Pringle - God is holding you accountable and holding us parents accountable. Take a look at what's really going on. A house divided cannot stand. The board and the administration are divided and that's why we don't have a superintendent. Our house is divided. Remember what it's all about - it's about the children.
2. Lillian Ryan - DeKalb Prep Academy (she has 4 people with her) Only she can speak. 3 years of effort for our petition. k-8 model serving all of DeKalb. Extended school day and school year. Thank you - we're looking forward to our partnership.
[* Idea - how about putting an Ivy Prep Academy at Medlock?!! These folks should talk.]
No reports from the committees. Tyson asks to include AdvancED on super's report. Remove Policy IBB. Remove Peachtree Hope Charter. Need time to review info. Adopted agenda with changes. Recess 10 min. Time for wine!
Whoa! No wine - looks like they're moving on straightaway.
Mr. Babst, internal auditor now talking about the audit dept. Conducted 33 school audits. Audit pCards monthly. Conducted 15 investigations. Consulting with bookkeepers. Implementing new cash mgmt system. Auditing Central Office business functions. Order based on risk. Planning an information technology auditor. 33% time in schools, 21% central office 13% investigations.... Intend to audit all high schools and middle schools. Will do construction and transportation audits. Also after school care audits.
Jester - have an update on the whistleblower hotline? email? A: We've been taking calls in our dept. Bid out service. Nearly have a contract with outside vendor to put in place in 30-60 days. Jester - will it include phone and email? A; yes. Also hand-written letters.
Cunningham: have we went back and looked at programs we already have in place as opposed to going out? A: yes, we're evaluating that to see if we can operate an ethics hotline internally.
Jester: Can you talk about high risk issues? Are you looking at our financial statements doing spot audits? Lines to audit committee and dotted line to super on your slide - can you explain your relationships? A: Talking about inherent risk - a lot of money - complex activities are high risk. We look at variances and business processes. A2: Have a direct line to BOE - specifically budget cmtee and dotted line to super. Review plans with super before bringing to the board. Jester: What about board members not on that committee? A: I can meet with board members. Obviously I report to the committee. If others want to talk about issues I can talk individually as my report is to the entire board. Jester: Due to SACS requirement? A: yes. They wanted a direct line to the board.
Woods: Yes, the rest of the board wants to know everything the budget committee knows coming from the auditor. Tyson steps in. Every month a standard template has given financial and human resources report. Now, you will get a monthly audit template (report).
Tyson: Status report on SACS/AdvancED. Will be posted on the website. Action #1 - GA School Bd assn will be here for a training on strategic devl. #2 - policy review - we are looking at every single policy. They are 10 years old and need reviewed. At 8/month, it will take 4-5 years. We will start a dedicated policy review meeting every month to move this faster (by June 2012). #3 - to ensure staff knows policy. Starting August we have 11 policies detrimental to employees - ethics, harassment, etc... All 15,000 employees will have to complete Illuminate training on policy.
OK - real break now!
Policy - policy - policy - check them out on the agenda. Womack is ripping through these -- good job Paul!
Budget - Turk - did he really say property tax collections were over projected budget by $14 million?
Yeah NANCY! She asked Turk to delineate the legal fees on separate line items - not just buried in admin costs!! She also asked if he could make notations for large variances (electricity was over by 57%) Turk seemed a bit defensive - "We monitor and check it in order to give you a clean report." [Are we to simply believe him??? Write it down Turk - you report to the board and to the people!]
Jamie Wilson - HR report. Vacancies - 6 more this year than last year at this time. Wish to be staffed at 99% when school starts. [To see who was hired and who retired, etc, download the HR report.]
Speaks: How is it looking for candidates - esp in critical areas of special ed and languages? A: it's all good Q: Teachers from consolidated schools? A: Placed all but 7 of the 450 affected.
SCW: We have had more teachers leave than last year. You've listed the reasons after interviewing them right? A: Yes. Q: Have other school systems had this kind of exit with their teacher pool? A: Gwinnett schools had 200+ vacancies so we're in line. Tyson: You lose teachers seeking higher pay, but our number of furlough days places us in 1st place in salaries in metro area.
Naming of Fernbank Observatory - McChesney. Named after Ralph L. Buice.
Stacey Stepney - Grant for Towers HS $1, 381, 000 - $310,000 to be used for Pearson achievement services.
RTTT - GA Dept of Ed identified Freedom MS as improvement model. NCS Pearson achievement $310,000.
Dr Berry -- Camp Invention - Oak View, Stone View, Chapel Hill & Stone Mt - $69,000
Sarah wants to ensure that kids learn Spanish. [Funny - she had the opportunity to hire a Spanish speaking superintendent and she said, "no"... Which is it?]
Ivy Prep - denied as recommended by Nicole Knighton. (Nancy voted for Ivy Prep - against Knighton)
Ivy Prep Young Men's Leadership Academy - recommended to deny by Knighton again . (all agree)
Media Arts Tech HS - recommended to deny by Nichole Knighton. (all agree)
[Seems interesting that a big reason to deny charters is a lack of a location - which is odd, when the school system is sitting on so many shuttered schools.]
Colman comes with her list of requests -- all approved. Check the agenda.
Everything after that passes. . . .
Until McChesney proposes to remove Meadowview, Brockett and Medlock from the cell tower proposal for 12 schools. Question by Elder to McChesney. Why? McC - we've heard from these communities and they've been clear, so I'm supporting their opinion. Speaks: is there a grace period so that other communities can speak up but haven't had the opportunity [audience claps and Womack admonishes them]. Is there a mechanism for other communities to let the district know that they have an issue? Tyson - no option other than to pull the item. Womack: isn't there a 6 month window? Donahue: T-Mobile has 6 months for [due diligence]. Jester: concerned about many things. I don't like the timing - we didn't get this till Friday. Didn't get financials. Term is too long. I favor an opt in rather than opt out for communities. There may be others we haven't heard from so I am reticent to support. Edler: Happy to speak on this matter - I've had concerns. Communities have cited health reasons. I rep district 7, but also entire county so I'm not one to pick and choose for health of a particular community. So if we take out 3, I suggest we take out all 12. [Applause and Womack again admonishes.] Lots more discussion. Roberts rules out the window. [Sorry - got distracted - missed some.] I think Edler took out all the others but Lakeside, Briarlake and Meadowview(?). I think Walker insisted on Roberts Rules. So Womack puts out original motion and takes off Brockett, Medlock and Meadowview. Vote. Passed 7-1.
Edler: Amendment to the motion. Remove the remaining schools we identified before: Jolly, Margaret Harris, MLK, Narvie, Princeton and Smokerise ES. Cunningham: we don't have towers at all in South DeKalb - we're losing signals left and right. We want towers. SCW: I agree. Meadowview is smack dab in the middle of a community. Cunningham can have towers since they have a lot of land, but Meadowview is in a community so yes, it needs removed from the list. Edler: It's not the school system's business to provide cell and internet service to the county.
Vote: on Edler's amendment - eliminates all towers. Motion fails.
Main motion with original amendment: Passes 6:2 (Edler & Jester dissenting)
eSIS - $660,000 final payment - [thank goodness] to of all people, Pearson
The rest pass - the IBM contract, the tax levy resolution [22.98 mills], etc.