Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 6 Board Work Session

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:

Board Policy
Fraud Prevention
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]

[Break]

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.

101 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

I didn't catch Zepora Robert's entire comments, but she was blasting McChesney and Jester. Bowen should have stopped her, but of course he did not.

Most of the earlier comments were ICS stakeholders trying to obtain a building.

David Schutten was his usual obnoxious self - bashing Jester for her no vote on the SPLOST IV directives.

In reality, same old, same old nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Looks like there is virtually no one there. Sad.

The interchange about staffing is an omen about how the next year is going to go for McChesney and Jester. If they say, blue, Cunningham, et al, will say red.

Walker's rant in the AJC today is mostly because he is still mad.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, Jay couldn't make up his mind. He thanked Mr. Wilson for getting the class sizes to where they need to be and then turned around and asked parents to be patient with regards to large classes.

You're right, the childish behavior of the rest of the board is going to show itself for a while.

Anonymous said...

So, we leave balancing enrollments until the 3-4th week of school but we have cogats coming up. Great idea.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Never in my life have I seen a bunch of sore winners. Zepora's comments were disgraceful. When will the 6 that voted for Dr. Atkinson, just shut up and bask in victory?

The only respect I have seen, from the BOE, is from McChesney, Jester and Speaks. They respectfully declined to vote for Dr. Atkinson and after the vote amazingly said, We will fully support her as Super. So please tell me how this is so terrible and wrong? Zepora should have been silenced, by the BOE chairperson, during her diatribe. Bowen simply stated the rules before the session began and Zepora broke them almost immediately. RESPECT. Something that the 6 "winners" have none of!

Seems to me this was a coordinated effort by the 6 BOE members, Zepora, Shutten and the guy who praised allah or something like that? What was that all about?

I can't wait to see the replay, unless of course someone edits out the Zepora comments.

Daniel said...

Don't the public comment rules exempt the superintendent and board members from the no naming employees rule? I think Zepora ignored the fact that the board members in question did say they would support Dr. Atkinson despite their votes.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Ok, that's enough...I've had it.

SACS has got to come in and put this system on probation and the Governor has got to take action.

There is no way anything will get done with this BOE.

Why couldn't Edler, Walker, et all be "good" winners? I have never seen or heard such classless behavior in adults in my life. Everyone was ready to move on and support Dr. Atkinson and these 3 clowns just open it all up again.

Anonymous said...

Can Ms. Edler please return my donation? I want my money back. Good luck retiring your debt?

Anonymous said...

Board members and the superintendent can be named -- the rest of the employees cannot be named, though Bowen usually misses it until three speakers later, when he apologizes.

teacher said...

SACS needs to step in. If they don't, than I've lost hope in the public education system of our country. This nonsense cannot continue.

Anonymous said...

I think it's very interesting that DeKalb PATH Academy is using its Title 1 money to hire 3 certified teachers, not to exceed $93,000.

I hope I remember to look at their test scores and see how they change. DeKalb PATH already makes AYP. This should make them even stronger.

SHS said...

Tom Bowen, Sarah Copelin-Wood, Donna Edler, Gene Walker, Jay Cunningham -- and their ex-fficio "member," Zepora Roberts, who appears to be privy to all BOE business, confidential or not -- are a monumental embarrassment. They deal in half-truths and appalling character assassination. They cannot tolerate any dissenting opinions. They have no class. They are completely unprofessional. They are sore losers who exhibit no grace.

Their attitude seems to be "My way or the highway."

Hey, North DeKalb! Let's choose "the highway." The majority of the BOE so clearly wants to be rid of us. We can do better for our children without even breaking a sweat!

DeKalb Mom said...

I've got to say that I am relieved I didn't see it, or else I might have lost it. Trying to convince those 6 that they are unprofessional and childish is, well, like trying to reason with a toddler. Sore "winners" who show with every word out of their mouths that they have no intention of changing ANYTHING. They think things are going well! It is like an alternate universe. Good for those moms at Smoke Rise who started Smoke Rise Prep - take advantage of the public school online curriculum but take them out of the buildings where these morons are running things.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County News 2:07 p.m. Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Open enrollment for DeKalb tutoringShareThisPrint E-mail .By Rich McKay


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Open enrollment begins next Monday and ends Oct. 3 for DeKalb County students who need tutoring or other academic help outside of the regular school day. The goal of the program is to increase academic achievement of students in low performing schools. Enrollment for the Supplemental Educational Services runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 12 through Oct. 3., at the district headquarters at 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain. For more information: 678-676-0409.

Cerebration said...

Thanks -- I'll add the tutoring info to the meetings and announcements page.

Anonymous said...

Question: From what I read of the paperwork received, only certain kids from the school that did not make AYP qualify for free tutoring (free lunch kids). Is this right? or do all kids from the school have access? Just basing it on what I read of the flyer.

Anonymous said...

That Walker, Elder, and Roberts are angry people!! They must live miserable lives and be confined to a very strict geography. Nobody wants to be around people like that - they need therapy!

Folks, it time for us to move on. Hopefully, we can elect a new BOE next year that will consist of people who look like adults, behave like adults, talk like adults, foster teamwork, lift each other up, and do something to improve the lives of our children and all our community in Dekalb County.

I wouldn't be disappointed if SACS put the System on probation and Governor Deal used his authority to remove this angry mob. I've seen children resolve conflicts better than our BOE.

Ella Smith said...

I am disappointed in the behaviors. However, I do not know what went on behind closed doors.

I am sure I do not know all the facts in the situation but disagreement is part of the process and the important thing now is that everyone supports the new superintendent.

Anonymous said...

I think Cunningham's comments about Jamie Wilson smack of something much more ominous than his cat war with Jester et al. I think it is a sign that they are going to protect the status quo.

How dare anyone accuse Wilson (or pick a name) of doing a bad job? No way, no how. They don't need to go.

That is what this is about folks. Protection.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Anon 6:58, This is only the beginning. Effective leadership makes changes and some time those decisions can be hard. This BOE is sorely mistaken, if they think the status quo is acceptable to the stakeholders of DCSS.

These feckless individuals, on the BOE, will kick and scream that "r" word until they are blue in the face. DCSS has made the decision to continue down the same failing path they have been on for years. The way the entire process was handled only proves that positive change is not in the future of DCSS. It will take an election to change things, however it looks like the majority of the voting bloc from Bowen's, Cuningham's, Walker's, Edler's and SCW's districts are satisfied with mediocrity.

DCSS BOE = Failure of EPIC proportions! Tonight's performance gets an F!

Viola Davis said...

I am against a SPLOST IV until the criminal activity involving prior SPLOST and RICO charges are addressed and the guilty are sent to jail. Please explain the reason the taxpayers and voters should place additional money in the hands of an administration that has yet to address this criminal activity.

Anonymous said...

"civil disobedience"?? "personal protection"??

The only one threatening to "slug" people around here is on your side Donna, and there's a difference between "civil disobedience" and "puerile"

Anonymous said...

Seriously, if SACS is ok with the way that the last two meetings went down, it is utterly hopeless. I have no respect for the "winners." I am very distrustful of anyone who says that they consider race in hiring decisions, and the fact that this statement was made publicly calls into question any vote that this particular board member has made since. What would the reaction be if a white person had said that in this setting? Reverse discrimination is real in DeKalb County, we know it and have paid taxpayer dollars to settle such suits in the past. This Walker person has set us up for multiple lawsuits by his public comments.

If sacs is ok with the demonstrated in-fighting we are sunk. I have no hope that they will see it as a problem and anticipate that they will instead praise the board for working together to make such an "excellent" hire (sarcasm intended).

WHY were the minutes from the previous meeting pulled by Tyson. This rings screwy to me. Aren't they required?

BhutrasGolly said...

Free tutoring is available to any student in certain schools that have been designed as needs improvement. The tutoring is an alternative to transfer to another school. It is probably more effective but less publicized. It is not just for Title I students (although 70% of our students now qualify for free and reduced lunch) although Title I also provides some after school and summer programs for students

Dear Viola,
Prosecution for any law breaking has nothing to do with the school system. It is the duty of the DA and our legal system. I am shocked that you would want to punish our students for something they did not do.

Anonymous said...

@DM:
You mention that "Most of the earlier comments were ICS stakeholders trying to obtain a building."
Any more detail on that, particularly the board's reaction? (did they even pay attention?)

Cerebration said...

Viola -- you are absolutely correct. It really is that simple. This board needs to get a formal EDUCATIONALLY-driven plan (not just haphazardly naming virtually every school in DCSS) - before asking the voters to approve handing them another HALF-BiLLION dollars to play with. They did not detect the outrageous criminal and ethical misdeeds of the past, so why on earth would we hand over more money for them to monitor? Lewis and Pope could not have pulled this off single-handedly with no knowledge and no support of anyone in the administration. Yes, we need to know the whole story before moving forward. It's not a now or never vote -- SPLOST can be addressed again next year, IF the board has earned the confidence of the public.

Cerebration said...

Also, I do not understand the board's hesitation in supporting the International Community School. They have been a struggling charter for years now -- mostly due to very little support from this board. Then, as I understand it, the newly formed Museum School was just handed a building - in their second year of operation. What's up with that? Nothing against the Museum School - but ICS has been asking for a building for years.

DeKalb Mom said...

Very good point on SPLOST vote. While Lewis and Pope are out, they could not have been the only two in on it and, without trial testimony and evidence, we can't know who. Until there is a thorough house-cleaning in the administration, there is no way the same people should be allowed to manage that kind of money again. Besides, in addition to racketeering, the overall SPLOST management has been horrendous - they make an initial list and then don't follow it.

Dunwoody Mom said...

What Cere said...the BOE is being asked to allow the Museum School to use the old Forest Hills ES - vote comes next week. I believe ICS has asked several times to utilize that facility.

Just another chapter of "board behaving badly".

Anonymous said...

@BG:
Ms. Davis--the Unhappy Taxpayer Voter--is entirely right. How does it punish children if corrupt government officials don't get more tax dollars said officials were never going to spend on the children anyway?

parent said...

Now that Dr. Atkinson has been hired, can we revive the "Friends and Family" roll call? That could be a great resource for Dr. Atkinson to use as a tip-sheet of where to look for corruption and ineptitude.

I admit I had my doubts about Dr. Atkinson due to the small school district and the mixed track record. But, I like the progress she showed when recent Lorain scores came out.

Additionally, she might actually have an x-factor to really succeed here. What some considered her weakness (her mobility) may be her strength. If she doesn't feel wed to living out her days in the Atlanta area, there is nothing to keep her from cleaning house and using this position to really make her mark as an education reformer.

[One could probably develop a reputation as such, and go school system to school system around the country slashing waste and corruption. Yes, you'd be hated after a few years, but then you move on. Maybe the problem with education is that we're looking for the "Superman" superintendent to save us. We tend to expect our super(wo)men to be civic leaders like charismatic CEOs or preachers that live in our communities with us and ride into the sunset with us forever.

Conversely, maybe what schools need is a cold-hearted liquidator. Cut fat, eliminate Faux.h.ds, make teachers the center of payroll considerations, and perform a turn-around.]

Cerebration said...

Time will tell, parent. We'll see what she's made of --

Also - FWIW - I think the damage done to the children was horrendous during Lewis' reign - and continuing as this board works its way through the legal system. Not long ago, they voted to spend another $100,000 defending each of the newly named 14 defendants in the civil case. This is in addition to the over $15.5 million already spent in legal fees. This money comes out of the GENERAL FUND - but it is cleverly disguised by Marcus Turk in every single line item so that the public won't pitch a fit.

So you see -- we are spending money directly out of the OPERATIONS budget -- the budget supposedly used to educate children -- for legal fees incurred due to the SPLOST construction projects - civil and criminal cases.

Now that - my friend - directly harms the children! And I can't believe ANYONE thinks this is ok!

Anonymous said...

Judging from the legal fees that are coming out of the General Operations fund (the fund that pays for teachers) no wonder Ms. Tyson and the BOE have had to eliminate 600 teacher positions and take class sizes to over 35 in high schools.

DeKalb Mom said...

Everyone needs to remember that almost all of the people who created the mess we are in are still employed. Unless Dr. Atkinson does something drastic, we are looking at more of the same. Period.

Anonymous said...

Parent

I really like your analysis and why her mobility might be a good thing. I hope you are right.

Cleaning house is essential.

By the way, there are professionals who go in and clean up messes. My understanding is that there was no motivation from the majority of the board to hire such a person.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Dr. Atkinson, don't expect too much housecleaning this academic year. The contracts and agreements are already signed, and it only makes sense for her to do some assessing of her own before taking action. Then of course there will be the question of what the fearful ("personal protection"--how very, um, "asinine"), the felon, the bigot and the rest will let her do.

parent said...

Great to see agreement. So, moderators, can we unlock the friends and family thread? I saw some insightful posts from '10 that seemed to indicate what many board members incentives might be.

Anon, you may be right. Maybe "has enough balls to reform and fire dead weight" was a negative on some board members mental score sheets.

No Duh said...

I tuned in just in time for Zepora's incoherent ramblings. That woman admonishing the BOE for leaks (and implying it was Jester/McChesney/Speaks who did it) had me laughing out loud. Didn't she also say something about the three no voters stating their opinions AFTER the vote? And said she was a "trainer" for BOE protocal? I wish one of our technical gurus would make a "best of" video of that woman.

When Shutten said the blogs were the problem and were responsible for race baiting I started screaming (had to stop when my Freshman asked me what was wrong!
"It's just your mother watching the BOE meeting, honey!") But, the icing on his comment was stating that the anonymity of the blogs is the equivalent of "white hoods." (more screaming, "Sorry, honey, Mom can't help it!")

And the only person angrier than Walker/Roberts/Edler is that Mohammed guy. He wanted an extra 15 seconds because a white guy in front of him had a pleasant moment with Bowen explaining how to pronounce his name. I guess that's Mohammed's definition of "equal." Sorry Dave, was that racist? Or just snide?

Could not watch the rest. So thanks for the synopsis. You're my favorite racist, Cere! ;)

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I've asked my BOE member for the figure that comes out of the operational budget for ALL legal expenditures. I have not received any info yet, but I sure do look forward to seeing how much is being taken from educating our kids and being spent for the law firms, who are reaping big bucks from US the DeKalb taxpayer.

DeKalb Mom said...

I have been very disappointed to see a number of influential, supposedly intelligent people in this county (whose kids go to good schools) cozy up with the board because they know that will get them and their school whatever they want. I think that is how some people are giving up the fight - just starting to completely kiss a*&. We have got to work to expose this underhanded political maneuvering, as well.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:11
"To be fair to Dr. Atkinson, don't expect too much housecleaning this academic year. The contracts and agreements are already signed, and it only makes sense for her to do some assessing of her own before taking action."

The contracts all say your salary and position and location are not guaranteed. That goes for contracts for certified personnel inside the schoolhouse and outside the schoolhouse (no other personnel are under contract). For example, Dr. Atkinson can place Dr. Beasley or Dr. Berry inside a school teaching or in a principalship or in an AP position. They did not sign contracts guaranteeing those positions. They signed contracts guaranteeing certified positions in DCSS.

Dr. Brown did this. He came in and sent many of the Central Office personnel back into the schoolhouse.

I do not think students should have to suffer under policies, procedures and practices that have already not proved effective. Dr. Atkinson needs to install competent personnel in Teaching and Learning To be fair to Dr. Atkinson, don't expect too much housecleaning this academic year. The contracts and agreements are already signed, and it only makes sense for her to do some assessing of her own before taking action.and in the Office of School Improvement. It's just not fair to kids to leave the same failing policies, procedures and practices in place.

Dr. Atkinson's first and main responsibility is to the students. She cannot turn student achievement around by herself. She needs competent personnel and effective practices or DCSS will be in the same or worst shape next year.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Sorry.

Last psot should have read:
Dr. Atkinson needs to install competent personnel in Teaching and Learning and the Office of School Improvement. It's just not fair to kids to leave the same failing policies, procedures and practices in place.

--hit the paste button in error....

Anonymous said...

@AMG,
The legal fees have been added to the financial report starting this fiscal year. Here's the link (they are on pg 7 under general admin): https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=318221&MID=17930

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Thanks Anon! 3.4 million budgeted. Bet they'll need more as the trial(s) gets cranking. Let's hope there are no more hiding places in the budget. Open DCSS check book anyone? Many districts have this and it works quite well. Glad to see a line item now.

Anonymous said...

@AMG,
McChesney and Jester asked for this to be a line item so they added it for the new budget. Turk brought that up and there is also a variance explanation page now too.

Cerebration said...

The Friends & Family post is available here:

The Friends and Family Plan

FWIW, there is a Search box on the right side panel of this blog's home page. It usually works pretty well.

Anonymous said...

Contracts do not guarantee specific positions or titles. They only guarantee that there will be a certified position available - teacher or administrator. That's how Dr. Brown was able to send so many Central Office personnel back to the schoolhouse. Non-certified personnel have no contracts so they are employed at will.

There is no legal impediment to Dr. Atkinson replacing non-performing personnel with competent personnel.

Proud Educator said...

I have watched the actions of the school board as a parent, employee, and taxpayer in DeKalb County for more than twenty years. The manner and tone surrounding the selection of Dr. Atkinson causes me more stress than relief. A majority of that stress comes from seeing the district implode with the gleeful support of numerical minorities on both sides of most issues.
The selection process for our superintendent once again demonstrates the mistrust and childish behavior of many of our "responsible" adult leaders. As a member of ODE I find it ridiculous for Schutten to posture himself as the voice of DeKalb educators when he fans the flames of racial division as much as anyone. His hyperbole and paranoia are defining traits of his weak and arrogant leadership that rarely is proactive.
A few weeks back Ms. Edler attended an ODE meeting and at first it was a pleasant surprise because we rarely see board members unless it's election time. I became disappointed twice that night with ODE (Schutten) and Ms,. Edler. Following his all too frequent warnings about GFT and others he feels are out to get him he then launched into a harangue against Ms. Jester and Mr. McChesney over their letters opposing Dr. Atkinson.
Although one person stood up and spoke to the need for civility and the need for ODE to be seen not as one-side partisans but as consensus builders and champions of unity, Schutten and then Edler chastised the speaker as naive and out of touch. Their characterizations and tone were demeaning and self-righteous had the rancor more fitting for a back alley brawl.
We can all agree that there are many problems within our schools. At a time when we need to pool our talents and resources in order to address the myriad of issues our schools and communities face, it is ridiculous that our elected leaders act like spoiled children unable to see the long-term damage their ineptitude and immaturity has created.
I do not know Dr. Atkinson and certainly wish her well in her endeavors. I would of liked more unfiltered information and opportunities to hear her address her philosophy and beliefs but I am left to depend on the "reasoned, objective, and practical" approach of a school board that I have no faith in and the polarizing atmosphere they continue to encourage.

A Blue State of Mind said...

The last couple of short "press releases" in the AJC show a byline for Rich McKay, who is identified as an AJC writer. Is McKay just a DCSS mouthpiece planted at the AJC? If so, I fear we have seen the last of any true reporting or investigative journalism (when have we in forever seen that?) into DCSSgate in the AJC.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the comment about the Museum School being "handed a building" in their second year. I am an Avondale Estates resident who is watching the MS expand the nubmer of trailers in the parking lot of the Baptist Church, across the street from ICS. Has the BOE promised the MS a building in year 3? Forrest Hills would be great.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that ICS has been quietly negotiating with DCSS on and off for the last few years for a building. In fact, they desperately wanted Forrest Hills. They have moved on to Medlock, but that deal is not finalized. For DCSS to give a building to MS before ICS, is just wrong.

Anonymous said...

Ugh Decatur schools' nepotism. What is wrong with these people...

http://decatur.patch.com/articles/decatur-school-board-hires-chairmans-son

Decatur School Board Hires Chairman's Son

Departing Board member John Ahmann opposed the hiring, citing concerns about nepotism.

It is just a part time after school program job, but there were other candidates. (Sighing deeply)

Anonymous said...

Proud Teacher,

Thanks for telling us about your experience. It's pitiful that everyone is in bed with everyone in DCSS and few are looking out for the children. Even though ODE is technically not a union, it acts like one. It surely didn't act like a professional organization. I only wish that other teachers feeling the same way that the one who spoke up, did not sit in silence. As sitting in silence is just as evil as what is happening in our system.

A similar situation happened to me my last year of teaching in DCSS, and most likely teaching in a public school ever. I was tired of speaking out in faculty meetings, saying what other teachers would say in the faculty lounge, but would not say in the open. Instead they'd sit there silently and watch me be put down and called a loud mouth or a trouble maker when I'd question policies that constantly brought children and the quality of education that they were receiving down.

This demeaning behavior is how anyone who disagrees with those in charge is treated. It's in the behavior described in the Change Agents Handbook that Charlotte Iserbyt talks about in her book "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America." It's the behavior that is happening with anyone who does not agree with the Democratic Party in our government. It's a behavior that needs to be stopped before it's too late and we are at a point of no return, something I fear we are very close to being at now.

I commend anyone willing to speak out against the vocal "majority", whether I agree with their view point or not. I have disgust for those that agree with the person speaking out, but remain silent, as they are no better than the person putting someone else down for having a different view point from their own.

Cerebration said...

Good comments teachers. We really appreciate your candor. I don't think ODE is a very strong advocacy group for teachers. In fact, I'm told that administrators can also join, which presents a conflict, IMO. Schutten is not a strong leader. In fact, teachers have lost serious ground during his tenure. But they keep voting him in as president. Not sure what's up with that.

And I love the Museum School! Advocated for them several times on the blog. But I've also advocated for the International Community School as well. And - they have not exactly been subtle about their desire for a "home". The principal has publicly addressed the board many times on the subject. But they continue to shun him. I think it may even be illegal - to withhold an available public school from a charter. Anyone know for certain?

teacher said...

Cere, Schutton may not be a good leader, but he is carrying out the agenda that the board currently wants and few members of the NEA speak out against him, so he continues to go along promoting the anti-education of the board of education. He also keeps being elected for his position. To me he is dangerous, as dangerous as the board of ed members who do not truly want the education of our children to improve and want to keep things the way that they are.

I do agree, that the board should give schools to both the Museum School and the International Community School, as we have plenty of empty buildings just sitting there, but that again would make sense and be caring for the children of DeKalb, something that few of the board members show that they are capable of.

Cerebration said...

I don't know what Schutten did to Zepora but she ripped into him at a board meeting in May, 2010.

From the blog report,
The Amazing May 10 Board Meeting

To wrap up the meeting, Zepora went off during the board two minute comment time. She literally ripped into David Schutten, President of ODE (Organization of DeKalb Educators). She railed that "the board has no agreement to have to negotiate with him, yet he comes before them every month making false accusations". She called him "untruthful, untrustworthy, negative and disrespectful", stating that she thinks "he is getting bolder and bolder with his nasty antics".

Viola Davis said...

As Parents, Homeowners, and Taxpayers, we have an obligation to hold our school system accountable and ensure there is transparency where our tax dollars are involved. When we allow people within the school system to misappropriate (steal) funding, we hurt the children within the system because the money does not supply the money needed to finance books, equipment, teachers, etc.

Transparency and accountability
starts and end with the people i.e. parents, homeowners, and taxpayers. We need a forensic audit of the department that’s responsible for the SPLOST funding (including Title I funding) with a focus on possible criminal activity to regain the trust of the community. We have allowed this “mess” to go on for far too long. Anything less than a forensic audit is a disservice to our children and our teachers.

Does anyone remember DeKalb County stating a need to close over eleven schools due to over 11,000 empty classroom seats? The DeKalb County School System led us to believe that this was the method to maximize the state funding our district receives. The district held a series of public comment sessions and online public survey.

Remember?

Now after reviewing the SPLOST IV list, you’ll find over $144,100,000 for new elementary school facilities. What is “wrong” with this picture?

Please remember the state of Georgia removes over $100 million dollars out of our school system and this must "Stop".

Anonymous said...

"Even though ODE is technically not a union, it acts like one."

Unions do not have management as members. That's one of ODE's main problems. ODE does not represent teachers - it represents teachers and support personnel (e.g. Non-teaching personnel such as Instructional coaches, coordinators, etc.) and management personnel (e.g. Directors, Assistant Directors, Assistant Superintendents, Principals, Assistant Principals, etc.).

Cere is right. There is an inherent conflict of interest for ODE regarding teachers. For example, when a good portion of their members (non-teaching admin and support) want to eliminate teaching positions (thereby increasing class sizes) so their non-teaching jobs don't get cut, that is a problem for the teachers. I'm sure the teachers do not want to teach 35+ per class and would prefer to see non-teaching positions cut or send those folks back into the classroom. Obviously, if the non-teaching personnel make up a good percent of ODE's numbers, that's not going to happen.

Teachers would be better off with an organization that just served teachers, and so would students. Remember that the environment that children are in all day is the same environment that teachers share. When you are "sit up here" staff (as Audria Berry put it) in the Palace, you do not share the same concerns as teachers in the classroom with students.

Anonymous said...

"Even though ODE is technically not a union, it acts like one."

Unions do not have management as members. That's one of ODE's main problems. ODE does not represent teachers - it represents teachers and support personnel (e.g. Non-teaching personnel such as Instructional coaches, coordinators, etc.) and management personnel (e.g. Directors, Assistant Directors, Assistant Superintendents, Principals, Assistant Principals, etc.).

Cere is right. There is an inherent conflict of interest for ODE regarding teachers. For example, when a good portion of their members (non-teaching admin and support) want to eliminate teaching positions (thereby increasing class sizes) so their non-teaching jobs don't get cut, that is a problem for the teachers. I'm sure the teachers do not want to teach 35+ per class and would prefer to see non-teaching positions cut or send those folks back into the classroom. Obviously, if the non-teaching personnel make up a good percent of ODE's numbers, that's not going to happen.

Teachers would be better off with an organization that just served teachers, and so would students. Remember that the environment that children are in all day is the same environment that teachers share. When you are "sit up here" staff (as Audria Berry put it) in the Palace, you do not share the same concerns as teachers in the classroom with students.

Anonymous said...

@Cere
As I recall, Shutten was part of the EduKalb group that was endorsing one of Zepora's opponents. That is why she was so angry. She was also angry at the AT&T rep because he was a part of EduKALB.

Momfirst said...

It makes me sick that I gave even one dime to Donna Elder's campaign thinking she would be better then Zepora - she's more of the same!

Anonymous said...

ODE President David Schutten congratulates Senator Ramsey on being named Legislator of the Year
ATLANTA (May 14, 2010) – State Sen. Ronald Ramsey (D-Lithonia) was recently named Legislator of the Year by the Organization of DeKalb Educators (ODE) because of his commitment to public education in Georgia. (more…)

http://senatepress.net/sen-ramsey-named-legislator-of-the-year-by-organization-of-dekalb-educators.html#more-2811

Can everyone see the inherent conflict of interest that Shutten and ODE have with representing teachers, the other members of the classroom?

Anonymous said...

Great meeting minutes (I've done this and know how difficult it can be).
Is it just me, or were Ms. Jester and Mr. McChesney the only Board Members actually listening to the reports and asking intelligent followup questions?
Man, I wish I could swap one of them as my rep for of Womack!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:52AM

You really shouldn't want Jester as your rep - unless you are in one of her "pet" schools in your district whereby then you will have her ear and she will be your voice. Jester has not worked to speak for ALL Dunwoody residents during her term and I feel she has displayed some unethical behavior herself....

SHS said...

@ Anonymous, 11:43 AM

RE: Nancy Jester

Nancy Jester represents me and I have always found her to be very accessible and prompt in returning calls and e-mails. Have you contacted her about the specific needs you or your school have? To my knowledge, she has no "pet" schools. But, she is not a mind-reader. Let Nancy know your needs.

I am more concerned about your implication that there are some ethical issues with Nancy. I have a problem with you implying unethical behavior by Nancy, but not backing up that claim with solid facts. Please provide that information or retract your statement.

Anonymous said...

Re: Nancy Jester...I think anyone's impression Nancy is directly influenced by the result of the redistricting process over the last year. If you feel that your part of the world did not improve as a result of the redistricting, you are not a NJ fan. It's that simple.

Folks in Chamblee, like SHS, were not impacted by redistricting this time around--AT ALL. Folks in Dunwoody were--and for some of those folks who were redistricted (certainly not all), the process was perceived to be somewhat tainted. Debate whether it was or not...the fact is, there is a perception there. And not just by those who were moved...some folks "left behind" also felt shorted.

Nancy has always returned my emails, my phone calls, and answered questions. We don't always agree--we certainly didn't during redistricting--but she is at least willing to have a conversation.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Anon. 11:43 - Nancy Jester has been the most accessible Board Member since Chip Franzoni. She listens and she is honest! She asks the tough questions to the staff, sorry CBSAtlanta, but she does. That's why the staff and the other BOE members do not respect her. Plus, I think they are scared of her. That's why we need her on the BOE, she needs to keep Bowen and the others as honest and forthright as possible.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Anon 2:25! Chamblee area was not effected by redistricting this time, since we were effected by the last round of redistricting just 4 years ago. Remember that one? The false, corrupt, cut and paste lie of a demographers report that closed a school up here and crowded 2 others? I guess you forgot that.

Ms. Tyson was well aware that we were redistricted, when so many others were not back when CLew was Super. That's why Tyson left most of Chamblee OUT of the latest redistricting.

When it comes to Dunwoody, Clew made such a poor effort originally, using a sharpie to separate Dunwoody districts, when the new school was built. The current lines still make no sense, but the Dunwoodyites seem happier now than when CLew tried. Can anyone from Dunwoody attest to this?

Anonymous said...

@anon1143,

Please stop being bitter about redistricting. Just because your street got rezoned doesn't mean someone isn't doing a good job for their district and the system as a whole. Anytime Jester and McChesney are asking questions about how things are done and how money is spent, that helps all of us. If you need help from Ms. Jester with something at your school, give her a call.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta Media Guy--my comment at 2:25 had to do only with Nancy Jester and her positions since elected. As we all clearly know, had nothing to do with the Nancy Creek redistricting. Not quite sure why the sarcasm...

I realize that your students dealt with school change already...but the way the board has talked, changes will be coming every 2-4 years from now on, so I don't see the Dunwoody children (or anyone else redistricted this time around) being given the same reprieve the next go around.

Cerebration said...

Hey -- we have a DeKalb parent/author in our midst! Jonathan Grant has written a "fictitious" story about an elementary school called, "Chain Gang Elementary".

Chain Gang Elementary

After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a “school of excellence.” When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, 3rd-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers–where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict.

Anonymous said...

@anon248,
yep, they'll be redistricting again. That process can't please everyone. But the point is you can't say that she only represents "pet" schools or throw out ethics accusations because of that.

Cerebration said...

Your child's education is only as good as what happens inside the classroom. Quality principals will hire quality teachers. Treating teachers with respect and paying them a respectable salary along with optimal working conditions and the proper technology, tools and support will drive the best applicants to DeKalb.

My sister in Ohio says they treat their teachers like gold. Average teacher salary in their town? $90,000. Yes, their doors are being knocked down.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

No sarcasm meant, Anon. I understand that growth and future zoning variances will dictate the flow of students in buildings. However, when fraudulent data is used to make moves, parents are called out as a distraction and "vociferous" just for asking questions, the friends and family in high places plan and the indictments of the Super and COO, I'm a wee bit skeptical of anyone calling out Jester, right now. She has been on the board for less than a year and has already made an impact, in my opinion.

Ms. Jester and I do not see eye to eye on everything, but she does listen and gives you a reason for her votes and decisions, in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

Could you give Rich McKay--the new AJC reporter on DCSS enough time to get up to speed before writing him off.
Yes the little announcements about parent input sessions, etc. are pretty much DCSS press releases, but what do you expect for basic meeting announcements?

His front page article on the AYP transfers volume and Druid Hills annex was an issue that DCSS would rather hide--and he got plenty of parent comments that would make the "powers that be" squirm.

Clearly the newly hired PR person at DCSS would like him friendly--and giving him access to Dr. Atkinson when no one else got it would be part of that effort on their part.

But I hope that the School Watch folk will give him time to do a couple of real investigations like the AYP article before writing or "running" him off.

SHS said...

@ Anonymous 11:43 AM

I am still waiting for you to provide some verifiable facts to support your claim that Nancy Jester behaved unethically.

If you are willing to impugn Nancy Jester's character publicly, but won't provide the facts, then your claim is bogus, mean-spirited and without merit. It should be removed from this blog.

DeKalb Mom said...

Sandy, I'm sure the "unethical" reference was to Nancy's published letter in response to Dr. Atkinson's initial announcement. Some people don't understand that public officials have an obligation to their voters and taxpayers to provide, not hide, information.

DeKalb Mom said...

From Donna Edler:

All,

Thank you for your support. A great time was had at the fundraiser (Retire The Debt For School Board Member, Donna Edler) this past Saturday, September 3. There was food (and drink), fellowship and fun. The extra bonus was that my husband, Darryl, and I shared the celebration of our 23 wedding anniversary with old and new friends.

I will be sure to share your concerns for DCSS with our new superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Atkinson, as I meet one-on-one with her next Thursday, September 14. Don't forget to mark your calendars for the DCSS Community Engagement Session to be held on September 20, 2011, 6pm to 9pm at the DCSS headquarters.


Please know that we continue to accept contributions via PayPal at www.DonnaEdler.com or mail at Friends of Donna Edler, 1364 Cedar Green, Stone Mountain, GA 30088. Thank you for your continued support.

Best regards,

Donna Edler
DeKalb BOE, District 7
Friends of Donna Edler
770-808-7779

Open+Transparent said...

From the eduKALB website last October, while he was campaigning for re-election, Gene Walker's answer on the how the BOE should work together. Funny, he doesn't seem to be all that "respectful" of BOE members who disagree with him, 10 months later:

"In your previous experience, how have you best been able to bridge conflict, or help to build consensus when part of a deeply divided group?"

Walker:
When it comes to educating our children, I believe we all share the same basic ideals, yet we disagree on the best approach to get us there. With that in mind, I make the conscious decision to listen and be honestly curious and respectful of the other person’s point of view. This approach will get us closer to bridging a conflict gap and foster better understanding because it shows respect for the difference of opinion.

No Duh said...

That's right! I paid Donna Edler by PayPal. Maybe I could open a dispute and get my money back.

Anonymous said...

SHS,
Don't minimize my concerns of lack of representation by my District BOE member or their ethics just because my concerns stem from her behavior during the redeistricting. The redistricting was a hugely significant event in DCSS and it served to highlight the true intentions and integrity of the entire Board.
The unethical behavior by Nancy Jester that I'm speaking of does concern her role during redistricting - she provided a written statement to Ms. Tyson and Mr. Drake that the majority of people in Dunwoody were in favor of the Decentralized Redistricting Plan. She represented this fallacy in spite of the fact that she was made VERY aware of the lack of consensus in Dunwoody --- many personal conversations and hundreds of emails opposing that plan were sent to her, she was given a well supported community petition NOT in favor of that plan (with over 1100 signatures), she was in attendance when the Dunwoody Cluster School Council could NOT come to a majority vote on a redistricting plan, and she was aware of the opinions of many voiced during the Public Input Meetings and on the On-line Public Surveys clearly showing that my Community could NOT arrive at a consensus - much less a majority in favor of any plan.

Specifically, the unethical behavior I am indicating pertains to one of the ethical behaviors as required by the Georgia School Board Assocation as that BOE members "Communicate to the board and the local superintendent expressions of public reaction to board policies and school programs"
Nancy Jester failed to represent a significant portion of members of this community and that is unethical behavior for a board member.

Anonymous said...

"With that in mind, I make the conscious decision to listen and be honestly curious and respectful of the other person’s point of view. This approach will get us closer to bridging a conflict gap and foster better understanding because it shows respect for the difference of opinion."

Wow. He really said that? Walker? That's just a bunch of campaign nonsense. The truth about how he really is has been revealed.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Anonymous @11:02. The redistricting process was a chapter in Dunwoody history that needs to be put to rest but highlighted so we can learn from past mistakes. Just the other day a friend of mine's mother mentioned that she was tutoring a little boy that used to attend Austin. He told my friend's mother that he was no longer able to attend his school because he lived in an apartment. Nancy Jester and her crew vehemently pushed a plan that would have ultimately not allowed an apartment dweller to attend Vanderlyn and Austin (regardless of proximity). I hope and pray that Dunwoody learns that this behavior has no place in the world we live in today. By the way, I saw a good movie this past weekend. It was called The Help; has anybody seen it?

Cerebration said...

I saw that movie. I cried. Not being a southerner, I really hadn't grasped the history of the race relations here. However, I remind myself that I live in a world where we now have a majority black school board, a black school superintendent, a black county CEO, a black mayor of the city of Atlanta, a black U.S. Congressman and a black President of the United States. Obviously, things are going much better for blacks in the U.S. these days. That's good. I think younger people don't see or confront the horrors of racism of their older ancestors. Sadly, people like Gene Walker keep feeding the fires of radical racially-motivated thought in order to keep their political power. I look forward to the day that modern blacks say to that, "We're past that. We are equal. Let's move on."

Anonymous said...

@anon1102,
Has it ever occurred to you that Jester received more communication, petitions, etc. that wanted something opposite from you in Dunwoody? Your own post stated that the Cluster Council could NOT come to a consensus so your views weren't the dominant ones by your own admission. By the way, I was at that meeting and Nancy Jester was NOT in attendance. Jester always stated that she wasn't in favor of moving the magnets to a "central" location. So, her support for the "decentral" view is consistent. Don't you remember that everyone was saying that "Dunwoody kids should stay in Dunwoody"? The "Central plan" took some kids out of Dunwoody and sent them to Nancy Creek and Montgomery. The "Decentral" plan had Dunwoody kids staying in Dunwoody.
I realize you're still upset about redistricting but there was nothing unethical about Jester's behavior. Just because she didn't agree with your group doesn't mean that she wasn't representing Dunwoody based on all of the feedback. Throwing around the word "unethical" just because you disagree is embarrassing.

A Blue State of Mind said...

@ Anon 9/8 4:49 PM

Why give McKay the bylines then if they're DCSS press releases from Jenkins?

I don't know anything about protocol for bylines.

Just wonderin'

Anonymous said...

Can we please stop misquoting people. I have read on this blog and on Get Schooled that Dr. Gene Walker is a racist because "he said it himselfappened to have been inattendance at that meeting and what he said was: " Yes, I SEE COLOR". A racist acts and discrimiates based on ones color. This statement was made in response to someone saying the Board should be color blind. In order to be fair and to move forward, one cannot ignore the presence of a very diverse population in DeKalb. Every child has a right to a quality education. Every employee has the right a fair evaluations and opportunities for recognition and upward mobility. Diversity training is definately needed by the entire Board. Nancy Jester made a racist comment that I bet most white ( not even Jester) are aware of- she said in response to the majority of the Board being sore winners..."Well just bless your hearts". If you know Black History or read nonfiction books like "Help" you would know that that is "the code".

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well just bless your hearts". If you know Black History or read nonfiction books like "Help" you would know that that is "the code".

Bullcrap....LOL..."The code" for what? "Well, just bless your hearts" is a Southern expression, period, the end - it is not specific to a particular race. My grandmother was constantly making that statement to me and I say it to my children as well.

That was a poor diversion attempt away from Walker's words.

But, hey, I'm sure you won't quit trying will you?

A Blue State of Mind said...

And dare we address the anti-Latino bias in DCSS? It's a brown thing. I can understand animosity toward white people by black folks since "racism" or distinction by race is unfortunately and tragically ingrained in American society. So I only see an attitude that some recognize in Walker as a byproduct of racism, not of racism itself.

That being said, animosity towards Latinos because of language (even accent), and, yes, skin color is openly expressed by both white and black folks.

So I believe Walker and the rest of the Board, wrongfully accused of racism because he and others are looking out for black folks' interests, ARE racist in their bias against the large and growing Latino population in DCSS schools.

Look at Walker's casual, spurious dismissal of Dr. Durón as a candidate for superintendent, which none of us would've known about hadn't Zeporah fed us the leak.

Cerebration said...

In fact, Walker's comments had to do with the attempt to change law firms for DCSS. He was advocating for Josie Alexander's firm, as it is a black-owned firm. He saw the attempt at changing firms and consolidating responsibilities not as a means to saving money or going with the lowest bidder, but as a personal affront to a black-owned firm.

Walker obviously (from his own recounting at the meeting) has long-held racial bitterness due to his childhood of segregation in south GA. He attended segregated schools in Thomaston, which may have been a very difficult burden to bear, as he still harbors much resentment all these years later. His words to the board included these comments, "I am a very race-conscious person. I know discrimination. I will not lead you to believe that I am race neutral. I see color. I love color. I do see in black and white, but judge me by my actions."

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/10/school-board-needs-to-make-decisions.html

Anonymous said...

From the Urban Dictionary:

"Bless your heart"

1. This is a term used by the people of the southern United States particularly near the Gulf of Mexico to express to someone that they are an idiot without saying such harsh words.

2. "You are an idiot but I like you and care about you so I dont want to hurt your feelings."

Little Billy: I am 6 years old (only holds up 4 fingers)
Scarlet: Oh honey, bless your heart, but that's only 4 fingers.
Little Billy tries again: I am 6 years old (this time holds up the same 4 fingers and 4 more on the other hand)
Scarlet: Child....Bless you and your momma's heart.

Anonymous said...

Or alternatively:

Bless your heart.

Southernese for "f-you".

You can't come to work today because your mother died, your dog ran away and someone stoled your truck? Oh, Bless your heart.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The term "well, bless your heart" has both a serious and a saracastic meaning. We use the term in a serious way, when someone is in trouble or hurting.
It's also used in its saracastic form to be patronizing.

Anonymous said...

With the absurdity that Jester was facing, I think that a "bless your heart" was in order.

SHS said...

@ Anonymous 7:44 PM

If you know Black History or read nonfiction books like "Help" ...

Honey -- the name of the best-selling book that Kathryn Stockett wrote is, The Help. Not Help. It's on the cover.

Two other important points on the cover of The Help are:
(1) "a novel" -- note: that usually means it is a work of fiction.
(2) "This could be one of the most important pieces of fiction since To Kill A Mockingbird ... If you read only one book ... let this be it." -- NPR.org

BTW --"Bless your heart" has nothing to do with black history. I am a Southerner and Dunwoody Mom has the usage exactly right.

Bless your heart ...

Fred said...

It will be interesting to see the comments after the Title 1 presentation by Dr. Berry during the Business meeting. It was pretty clear that mandates dictate how those dollars can be used with the school system being audited multiple time by multiple agencies. I found out I made a mistake in saying $660 per student per Title 1 school was allocated. The actual number is $325 for the 91 Title 1 schools.

I'm looking forward to seeing that presentation placed on the school system website. Hopefully some of the misinformation about Title 1that has been floating around will cease and we can have fruitful discussions on how these dollars should be used to help improve student performance.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. Lewis. I see you are still watching Audria Berry's backside.

Sagamore 7 said...

Fred,

Please let everyone know when the Title 1 information is posted on the DCSS website.

Thank you for your continued efforts.

S7

Cerebration said...

UPDATE: This is from Nancy Jester's email newsletter after the Sept 13 meeting:

Saving you money
Congratulations to the DCSS Purchasing Department! They have been recognized by he U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance with the U.S. Communities Merit Award of Appreciation. Here's a tidbit from the recognition that was read at the last Board meeting:
"The DeKalb County School District Purchasing Department, with its five staff members, has the fewest staff to student ratio in the Metropolitan Atlanta area and has one of the fewest staff to student ratios in the entire United States for the K-12 public school sector. For the fiscal year 2011, the cost savings from innovative initiatives such as the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, combined with rebates received from the P-Card program and leveraged rebates from various other vendor programs have returned to the district enough to cover the entire cost of salaries and benefits for all five of the Purchasing Department staff members."

Thank you for your hard work!


Good news! I like sharing some good news... Nice job to our Procurement Department.

Fred said...

The Title 1 presentation given at the 9/12 Board meeting is online and accessible from the main school system webpage. Please take a look at it as it provides information regarding allocations to each funding category along with whether it is a mandate. I believe many will be surprised when they look at this presentation on where this money goes.

Fred said...

Thanks for sharing the information about the DCSS Procurement Department. It is a self sustaining department and was reconized for its efforts. All is not bad with the Central Office.