Whoops, missed the citizen comments. Anyone who watched them, please post what was said.
Tyson pulled the minutes from the August 29 meeting.
G-1: Gary Babst (Audit & compliance) Requested a waiver of adoption. New fraud reporting policy (same idea as whistleblower policy). Waive BDC.
In order to respond to inquiries from SACS, it has become necessary to waive Board Policy on Policy Adoption, Descriptor Code BDC, specifically, 'No proposed alteration, amendment, repeal, or new policy shall be voted upon until the next regular monthly meeting subsequent to the meeting at which the proposal is offered'.
G-2: Amendment to policy: new EIE - reporting of fraud or misconduct. Necessary for follow-up. [Not sure what that new policy actually says.]
The adoption of this new policy is necessary to ensure adequate resources for reporting fraud and misconduct. Download supporting document here.
Here is the supporting statement:
Descriptor Code: DIE
Reporting of Fraud or Misconduct
The DeKalb County School District expects the highest ethical standards from its employees as well as its business partners in the community. Further, the District encourages reporting, in good faith, any activity constituting fraud, waste, or misconduct involving any operation, program or individual in the District. No punitive or legal action will be taken against anyone for reporting fraud, waste, or misconduct unless the disclosure was made with knowledge that the disclosure was false or made with reckless disregard for its veracity.
The Superintendent shall establish and communicate procedures to facilitate the reporting and follow up of fraud and misconduct allegations (including anonymous reporting) within the District. This information can be found on the District website.
[So, if I'm reading this right, our long-promised whistleblower hotline is still not in existence. In fact, it has now become the responsibility of the superintendent...interesting. UPDATE: Babst later tells us that the hotline will be activated in late September.]
G-3: Receipt of findings Case #1104 - Accepts tribunals facts and recommendations. [Executive Session]
G-4: Case #1105 Accepts facts and recommendations of tribunal. [Executive Session]
Turk: Financial Report. Download it here.
$328,000 from General Fund to DeKalb Government for costs to hold the SPLOST 4 vote
Contract with Board of Health. $35,000 for a [part-time] nutrition coordinator - paid by the Board of Health. Speaks: Redundant to our department? Turk: An enhancement.
Grant authorization over $50k for list of vendors. Download the list here.
State board of workers comp: $62,000
Jamie Wilson : Human Resources Report. Download it here. McChesney: Includes hiring staff for Druid Hills? Wilson: We didn't hire, we reassigned from within the system. Jester: What are you doing to hire necessary people faster? Wilson: Enrollment balancing happens during 3rd-4th week of school. We don't usually hire until after Labor Day. It would not be in the best interest of the system to move staff earlier. Standard across districts. Jester: So, what's the strategy? Larger classes? Substitutes? Wilson: A variety of ways, including those as well as some teachers working extended days. Cunningham: Thanks for all your hard work. I want to compliment you on your making adjustments in a timely manner. Parents, please be patient while we make adjustments.
Tekshia Ward-Smith: Extend Aetna life insurance policy (Up to $50k per person). Not to exceed $1,188,203. McChesney complimented her thorough documentation.
Patti Reed: Gallop pre-screening contract. $112,000 (funded by Title 2)
Babst: Internal Audit Report. 16 Audits completed. 77 deficiencies found. Cash handling issues. Fundraising violations. On-going booster club concerns. On-going p-card audits. Implementing ethics hotline: working with Global Compliance. Outside resource. Will produce consumer communication materials. IIA (Institute of Internal Audits) held a training webinar this month. Download report here. Jester: Talk about your audit plan. Babst: Talked with staff, developed an audit universe. Identified highest risk items. Front-load school audits at the beginning of the year. Process audits come second half. Jester: Good to audit booster clubs, but higher item audits would be good. We've had indictments. Need to focus on the big areas.
Vonzia Phillips: Teaching American History Grant Program. $74,000 paid to GA State. Paid from TAH grant funds. Womack: Is this a traditional study? Phillips: Covers grade spans. Covers traditional history and field trips like Williamsburg and Washington DC. Spectrum Consulting LLC will be administrator of the grant. $50,000 paid from TAH grant funds. ($997,500 year three grant in total.) McChesney: GA State is supposed to report attendance and testing, etc. Is there a duplication? Phillips: GA State offers expertise and resources, Spectrum measures average percentage of change (expecting a 5% gain for each teacher) and all teachers participation.
Kelli Wright: Purchase nine K units. (Lottery funded.) New kindergarten units have been ordered for: Briar Vista, Canby Lane, Evansdale, Knollwood, Laurel Ridge, McNair Discovery Learning, and three kindergarten units have been ordered for Snapfinger. Each kindergarten unit costs $5,853.91. Additional kindergarten units beyond the nine may be needed should growth continue.
Sandra Nunez: 21st Century Community Learning $300,000+
Rosalind Dennis: Media books: State allotment is $13.03 per FTE. Not to exceed certain amounts per vendor (from $50k - $1 million). Download list here. Jester: Where to find? Wilson: On each school's allotment sheet. Jester: What data are we evaluating to find if this "narrows the achievement gap". Can we use more specific goals, as narrowing the achievement gap seems like a 'throwaway' reason that I see a lot. Tyson: The old board insisted that every item needs to have a goal attached. And I agree, we struggle with assigning these goals. We have an opportunity to set new goals, as these were set three superintendents ago. We will discuss this at the strategic planning meeting on September 20 at 6 PM.
Destiny -- renew - $500,00+
Trent Arnold - Assessment Iowa and Cogat -- $495,000
Audria Berry - Over 2000 students use the ESEA transfer. Over 200 use MARTA. Asks for MARTA cards. $90,000.
SES (free tutoring) 118 vendors approved by the state. Not to exceed $2,116,000. Title 1 low-income students. Jester: What are we doing to steer students to better vendors? Best and most effective tutors? How do you assign tutors? Berry: We don't. We empower parents to ask the right questions and they make the decision. Hold a Provider's Fair. Allocate $93,000 for three support teachers at PATH Academy. Over 40 vendors exceeded $50k limit. Approve vendors for the 91 Title 1 schools up to $50k each. Trainings by the state for teachers and leadership teams will be held at Callaway Gardens. See vendor list here.
Delmas Watkins: Budget requests for Career Tech and computers. Some items paid by Perkins Grant.
Parker: Asking for Construction allocations.
A whole bunch more - including discussion about charter schools like the Museum School.
Donna Edler read a statement regarding her walk out out on McChesney's speech. She admonished McChesney for criticizing them. I apologize if anyone was offended by my act of civil disobedience and personal protection. I will protect myself from bullying. Mr McChesney's comments were not true. Mr McChesney's insulting comments were offensive, uncalled for and unproductive. (The rest of her statement is a near copy and paste of Walker's letter to the AJC). She ends with, However, unlike Ms Jester, I am not unhappy with our choice. I am happy to welcome Dr Cheryl Atkinson.
Walker: Another personal privilege. I would appreciate if you didn't use the clock. I want to provide a response for the record in support of hiring Dr Cheryl Atkinson. (He then reads his AJC published statement. You can read it in it's entirety here.)
Their main point? Nancy, Don and Pam should have just kept their mouths shut. Walker and Edler (and at the beginning of the meeting Zepora and Schutten) are righteous in their decision and continue to beat up on those who disagreed. These people are sore winners and just won't let go of the fact that not everyone agrees with their methods and their choice. Jester reiterated that all three dissenters pledged support. Curious how the "winners" have reacted. I'm confident we can all work together. It's difficult to compare data across states. It's like apples to fig newtons. Dissent is a normal part of the deliberative process and it should be supported and embraced. All I can say is "Bless Your Hearts", can we all move on? Bowen suddenly decides that in the future you can't make comments off topic and you will be timed. (A little too late, Tom.) Walker disagreed. Says the board governs itself and can set policy aside at any time.
My point? Just drop it now board - you are being ridiculous and petty.