Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our "Friends" - Who Are They?







Irony, contradiction, hypocrisy...or a combination of all three?

With what is sure to be a very contentious vote for SPLOST IV, the Board of Ed., the new Superintendent and the Central Office are aggressively promising that the spending for SPLOST will be unassailable.

“One of the central missions of our administration is to assure parents, citizens and taxpayers that we are committed to accountability at all levels,” Dr. Atkinson said. “We will continue to enact policies to ensure oversight, transparency and efficiency. Our schools, parents and, most importantly, our children deserve nothing less.”

“Your dollars are in good hands, believe me,” Womack said, speaking on behalf of Colman’s professionalism and experience.


Yet, the leading advocate group for the passage of SPLOST IV, the nebulously named "Friends of DeKalb Education", doesn't abide by this new focus on transparency. Even though they are soliciting donations.

They have produced the "SPLOST for Schools" website, listing every possible positive for passing SPLOST, while virtually ignoring all of the issues with SPLOST III, and the fact that the last full-time supt. and Chief Operating Officer are under indictment for criminal enterprise related to SPLOST contracts and such.

The "Friends" also have a Facebook page. Nowhere on the website or Facebook page does it list who the "friends" are. No names, when they meet, who appointed them or if they are self-appointed, who funds them, when they meet, etc., etc.

Are they just a group of parents, and if so, why not say who they are? How are they funded? Are they companies who benefit from SPLOST passage, and the half a BILLION dollars that will flow their way because of it? Are they DCSS employees, retirees, consultants, etc.? Heck, are they Board of Ed members, or their friends and family?

SPLOST is supposed to be for the students, except when $2,000 chairs, $400k for lighting their meetings, hundreds of thousands to re-do an adequate parking lot, etc., are spent specifically for the Central Office's and BOE's Mountain Industrial Mega-Complex.

Who really most benefits from the passage (Follow the Money)?

Remember how effective the Citizen's Advisory Committee for SPLOST III was?
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-really-up-with-citizens-advisory.html
Link
Is the construction contractor/former CAC chair, a "friend"?

From the Facebook page, there is little info. Whenever a question is asked on the page, a Fernbank parent/attorney is quick to respond. And another prominent Fernbank parent is the page's only "friend".

The SPLOST for School page promises:
  • Builds Better Schools; Renovates and Upgrades Our Existing Schools
  • Improves Technology in the Schools Throughout the County
  • Benefits All Homeowners by Keeping Property Taxes Down
  • Generates More Than 30% of Revenue From Shoppers and Tourists That Live Outside DeKalb County
  • Creates Jobs and Increases Economic Activity in DeKalb Neighborhoods
  • Reduces the Need for Portable Classrooms, Promoting a Better Learning and Teaching Environment for Our Students and Teachers
But, we've heard that all before for SPLOST I, II and III. They even have a "What You Should Know" page.

And this is almost as troubling as their lack of transparency, a veiled and ominous threat:

"IF SPLOST FOR SCHOOLS DOES NOT PASS, a portion of homestead exemptions for DeKalb County homeowners will automatically be revoked, effectively raising property taxes immediately. However, this will generate only $7.5 million dollars per year for capital improvements to schools. Most of these dollars would be needed just to cover bonds already issued for the replacement of Chamblee High School. Very few, if any, capital expansion or renewal projects on the approved list would be possible.
"

The "Friends" are actively soliciting donations so they can "persuade" us. Would they various companies who would benefit from SPLOST passage be willing contributors?

http://splostforschools.org/articles/how-you-can-help
DONATE to the School SPLOST campaign so that we can persuade voters to say ‘YES’ to the School SPLOST with mailers, yard signs, and radio. Use the PayPal link at the right of this page or make your checks payable and send them to:

Friends of DeKalb Education
P.O. Box 607
Decatur, GA 30031


Am I wrong here? Does anyone know more about the "Friends" and SPLOST for School website? Why can't they simply state who they are, how they are funded, when the meet, etc.? But don't forget, they want to "persuade" you.

131 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I have lived in DeKalb County since 1960, which is over 50 years. Our families always chose to work within and support the school system. Unfortunately, the system is broken. And with broken systems as with broken promises come consequences. This will be the first time that I have ever voted NO on an educational initiative or bond issue in my adult voting life. It is way past time to send a message to the current and previous Boards of Education as well as the DCSS Administration. And, for the record, please note that we will be voting against or for "SPLOST FOUR" not a "SPLOSH FUND" as many of our BOE members lovingly refer to it as.

Anonymous said...

Oh...my...god...

This blog has completely jumped the shark.

Will the next post be about Area 51 and vast government conspiracy? Please, back away from the keyboard.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Note to Paul Womack, it'is not Barbara Colman's "hands" I am worried about. It is yours and other certain members of the Board of Education who made promises for votes.

Anonymous said...

I think the post raises a legitimate question. If it is public money being sought, I know of no other entity which wouldn't disclose the names of the "drivers". Sure, some of the posts and posters tend to major in the minor, but my guess is that they wouldn't have been driven to do this if all was transparent to begin with. But on this point? Quite reasonable to want to know. For example, take the angst over the transportation vote. Arguments for and against, with a very public airing of who-stands-to-get-what, which will surely inure to who-will-vote-which-way. Same argument can be made here. Unless we all want to stay Pollyana-like and declare that it is for the good of the children. It IS for the good of the children, but we also need to be grown-up about corners of advocacy. And in THIS corner..... is who?

Anonymous said...

My family, too, has lived in DeKalb across several generations. Joined by many of our friends, we will also be voting "NO" for the first time to an educational initiative. All we see is smoke and mirrors. Has anyone been let go? The military would have dismissed all commanding officers a long, long time ago. About the only breath of fresh air was the article by that Harvard teacher who put things out there in a clear way for the first time. Why aren't the teachers who know what is going on making more of the decisions?

NOT Waiting for Superman said...

I concur, Anonymous 12:12 PM.

I have lived in DeKalb County since 1978. As a graduate of public schools and a big public school proponent, I have always supported, worked for and worked with public schools.

This will be the first time in all the years that I have been voting that I will vote NO on funding for the public schools.

I will vote NO on SPLOST IV.

More than that, I will convince my neighbors to vote NO, also. I live in a heavily private school neighborhood, so convincing my neighbors to vote NO should not be too difficult.

In fact, to be ultra sure that my vote will be counted, I am NOT going to vote early at the Memorial Drive office, nor will I vote by absentee ballot.

And I will cross my fingers that voting on election day will mean that "the powers that be" will not have the time or opportunity to tamper with the vote.

All I see when I look at DCSS and at DeKalb County government is ongoing, unfettered, corruption.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:20

Please explain who is currently at the central office who is going to do things differently from our previous administration?

The "Players" are ALL still in place!

Barbara Colman?
She doesn't even work for DCSS, she works for Parsons Construction and is supposed to be the "Interim Head of Construction".
Does that make sense?

Dr. Atkinson?
She came here to change the quality of education, not the quality of our construction program!

CFO Marcus Turk?
Every previous wrong doing was under his watch! Every authorized, illegal P-card purchase was made with his APPROVAL!

Internal Affairs and Internal Audit? Ramsey and Babst have produced NOTHING! Ramsey's wife currently owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes!

Please explain what is different this time!

We have had "Oversight" committees for SPLOTS before. This is no different.

Just like Herman Cain says we need a fundamental and cultural change in Washington, we also need a fundamental and cultural change within DeKalb County School System!

We can start with not feeding the monster with additional SPLUSH Funds and then try and change the Board of Education with our votes next November!

Dr. Atkinson, focus on the education the children are NOT receiving and then the citizens will support your every request!

Anonymous said...

Dear Fellow Friends of DeKalb Schools,

I was happy to hear all of you were able to attend last Friday's Pre-Proposal Conference for DeKalb Schools' next round of SPLOST projects. As Treasurer of the political action committee working to convince voters to approve the school SPLOST next month, I'm asking for your financial support. Your contributions will be critical in these last 26 days before the vote. Your contributions will make it possible for us to pay for the direct mail, the calls, and the advertising that will turn out our "YES" voters on November 8, and thereby allow DeKalb Schools to move forward with the $475 million in planned projects.

Time is of the essence. Please send your contribution TODAY to Friends of DeKalb Education IV, P.O. Box 607, Decatur, GA 30031. And a huge thank you to those of you who have already sent in your contributions! I'll be getting acknowledgment letters out to you shortly.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Sincerely,

Amy M. Power, Treasurer
Friends of DeKalb Education IV, Inc.
678-570-3727

Anonymous said...

Our school systems, including DeKalb, are at an exponentially critical juncture, with the arrival of new Superintendents and the launching of community-driven strategic planning processes, all of which reflect a rejuvenated dedication to improving education. With your help, we can maintain our forward momentum by winning voter approval of the educational SPLOST.

Thank you very much for your time and support. For more information on specific SPLOST IV projects for DeKalb schools, please visit www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/splost-iv or visit us, Friends of DeKalb Education, on Facebook.

Sincerely,
Thad Mayfield and Carla Roberts, Co-Chairs
Friends of DeKalb Education IV, Inc.

P.S. Because Friends of DeKalb Education IV is a state PAC, Georgia law allows contributions in any amount from individuals, partnerships, corporations, labor unions, and other PACs. Should you contribute and wish to receive an IRS W-9 for 2011, please let us know at friendsofdekalbeducation@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

If you look back at the Board minutes from when Splost III passed, you should be able to find the "community group" that was credited with its passage. They were recognized by the board. It would be a pretty good starting point for figuring out who's involved this time.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think this group is very different from the SPLOST III group. Most of those folks said no, in a big way.

My understanding is that this group isn't very diverse at all -- mostly people from the Coralwood and Fernbank communities.

David Montané said...

As the chairman of "Friends of DeKalb Schools", a non-partisan committee I started in summer 2010, I was startled on Wednesday the 12th with a phone call from someone who mistook me as being with "Friends of DeKalb Education". They said they read an article in The Champion newspaper by Carla Roberts, MD, PhD, co-chair of that organization. Sure enough, an online search revealed an article by her posted on both the Stone Mtn-Redan Patch and the Dunwoody Patch by her, and also a link to the Facebook page referred to above. Their fb page is "friends" with Senator Jason Carter (D), which may indicate some connection with him -- or mere admiration. Have so far not seen who the other chairman is.

Then on Tuesday I got an e-mail from a reporter with 11Alive News, WXIA-TV, wanting to interview me, and then changed their mind when another reporter "set up an interview with a member of the lobbying group". When I replied clarifying which organization I am with, and a statement of why I am voting NO, they said that would "help us balance our story". The interview is happening on Monday morning, so look for their "story we're doing on DeKalb E-SPLOST" to see how balanced it ends up being.

Also, I am going to comment on the Stone-Mtn Patch article because I suspect most in Dunwoody are against SPLOST IV anyway.

David Montané said...

Oh, I see we got some correspondence from them before I hit Send!

Anonymous said...

This school system is going down the same road as it has for the last several years: The next major decision that affects the schools will be made by the wealthiest, loudest and most well-connected people, and everyone else can go to he*&.

Fernbank ran the last redistricting, they met privately with Dr. Atkinson before she even officially started, and they are now running SPLOST. All it will take is one or two Fernbank people on the oversight committee (who will then pick 2 or 3 others) and, miraculously, Fernbank and Coralwood will be at the top of the priority list.

Enough with pandering to the loudest and richest.

Anonymous said...

Friends of DeKalb Education = Fernbankers and Coralwood parents, and that's about it.

Didn't take Amy long to respond, did it? Guessing their support of Gene Walker is going pay off for them when IV passes; wouldn't be surprised if the suddenly "crumbing down" Fernbank Elem is the first school to be renovated.

If they only looked out for the entire system instead of their backyard, oh the school system would be a much better organization.

Anonymous said...

Political Action Committee? What? Just completing the paperwork and paying the various fees for that is big-time. And Amy sure didn't take long to respond.

So how does one become co-chair or treasurer of the Friends? Is there a vote? When do they meet? What is the organization's structure?

Or is it just a group of friends and acquintances, albeit friends who have the resources to form a political action committee. My friends usually just meet up for some wine and beer together.

Anonymous said...

Amy M. Power, Thad Mayfield and Carla Roberts were very quick to respond to the blog post. Why didn't they just put their names on the website and Facebook page in the first place? They might as well list everyone from their group now to get it over with. They made a minor issue into a major one.

Anonymous said...

None of those people posted on this blog. I think some of the recipients of their emails posted the emails here so that we could all see what they're up to.

Anonymous said...

"Because Friends of DeKalb Education IV is a state PAC, Georgia law allows contributions in any amount from individuals, partnerships, corporations, labor unions, and other PACs. Should you contribute and wish to receive an IRS W-9 for 2011, please let us know at friendsofdekalbeducation@gmail.com."


The "Friends" might as well yell: All you companies who want some SPLOST IV contracts, send us some green!

Anonymous said...

As treasurer, Amy Power is the lead for the PAC: Under the federal campaign finance law, a committee must officially designate a treasurer and custodian of records. It is unnecessary to disclose the names and positions of other officers appointed by the committee such as a chairman or director.

http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/committee_treasurers_brochure.pdf

Non-connected PACs must submit paperwork when they have spent or raised $1000.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Paul Womack solicited business people to donate $5000 to the cause.

Anonymous said...

"As treasurer, Amy Power is the lead for the PAC: Under the federal campaign finance law, a committee must officially designate a treasurer and custodian of records. It is unnecessary to disclose the names and positions of other officers appointed by the committee such as a chairman or director."


Her name isn't listed anywhere on the website. It may be "unnecessary" to disclose names, but it's ethical and forthright. Not doing so opens up a can of worm of questions. It's about local schools, not some bigtime federal/national issue. Why be so secretive?

Anonymous said...

In some circles, SPLOST is being spun as, "You're already paying the tax anyway, this would just keep it in place. If you don't vote for it, they will just raise your property taxes indefinitely - and the increase in property taxes won't be enough to cover everything anyway."

The Tucker community had a meeting with Dan Drake and Barbara Colman along with some Friends of Dekalb Ed folks (http://tucker.patch.com/articles/tucker-parent-council-met-to-discuss-splost-iv) and the Druid Hills and East Lake communities have passed along a message from Amy Powers on their webpages:

http://druidhills.org/2011/10/06/special-purpose-local-option-sales-tax-splost-faq/

http://eastlakeneighborhood.org/?p=1320

I wonder how the SPLOST discussions went at the meetings on the 18th and 19th.

Anonymous said...

Agreed 7:14. While we appreciate the legal clarification, let's keep this in perspective. This is a local ballot issue, driven by local advocates, with a desired outcome of an extension of a penny sales tax -- levied by a local government. Necessary or not, a "friendly" committee would know that especially now, transparency is paramount. Red flags may be non-existent, but it's not hard to conjure them up when the person who so much as mounted the web page should have thought about the ubiquitous link called "About Us". If the committee was asked about such a link and declined to submit material for it, I find that interesting. If the committee was not asked about it, it should have been. In any case the question remains, what's the harm? Especially when it would help the cause so passionately promoted when we know there are more skeptical voters out there now more than ever, and the reason they're skeptical is lack of transparency?

Anonymous said...

If SPLOST doesn’t renew on November 8th will you rejoice that you have sent a message to the school board? --The board that has no control of the SPLOST funds going forward. -- The board that will no longer be reduced to seven if SPLOST fails. Will you be happy that the only viable funding mechanism in place to renovate our schools and replace or failing buildings will not exist? Will you toast your cynicism and unwillingness to make improvements and move forward? Will you tell your friends that you are proud that you have punished Crawford Lewis and Pat Pope (no longer employees)? Will you be glad for homeowners to carry the entire load for the minimal improvements that will be possible instead of sharing the responsibility with renters and visitors to the county? Will you have made your point by denying our students and teachers access to a better learning environment?

I plan to vote yes, stay involved, and do all I can to make sure that the SPLOST projects proceed as planned, efficiently and expertly, to help move our school system forward.

Anonymous said...

Actually, in previous SPLOST, the Pac to push for passage received big bucks from construction companies, etc. Not this time. As of a few weeks ago, donations were under 2500 dollars. Virtually no funds are flowing in. (Unless something has changed in the last week or two.)

Anonymous said...

Ummm, @8:20 -- I enjoy debate and fact-finding as much as anyone, but I do become worried when I see either deliberate and obtuse attempts to stray from the main point. Our focus with this post is the transparency question with those advocating for passage. It is a complete and nearly irrelevant aside that I will probably vote for it as well, although I'm undecided at the moment. Of course, each of the points you so passionately raise are cogent -- but I seem to recall that those are not the point of this post. We are talking about, as I understand it, the desire for those not only working in the system (District?) to grow a different culture and become transparent, but also those in the community who undertake initiatives like the passage of this measure. The question should never have been put on the table, IMO, because those advocates should know better than to foster even deeper levels of mystery. We voters, no matter where we stand on an issue, deserve to know what kind of steak (or "cake") we're being fed and what kind of tray it's being served on. Let's stick with the discussion at hand.

Anonymous said...

"I plan to vote yes, stay involved, and do all I can to make sure that the SPLOST projects proceed as planned, efficiently and expertly, to help move our school system forward."

Anon 8:20, where were you during the implementation of SPLOST III?

The other big elephant in the room is even if buildings are expertly built & renovated from SPLOST, the Sam Moss staff has shown time and time again that they cannot properly maintain facilities, especially roofs, heating & air conditioning, windows, grounds, playgrounds, etc., etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:20 - Here's the connection you and other SPLOST proponents fail to make: before the advent of SPLOST, the BoE and DCSS had to make do with the general fund. They had to repair schools and buy buses with it. When we first supported SPLOST (in olden times) we were told this was the only way to make a dent in the roughly billion dollars of identified needs. Well guess what? Now there is $2.5 billion in identified needs. We've spent $2 billion and we are essentially more behind in capital improvements than we were when the penny tax was put in place. Projects were prioritized for political, not sound academic reasons. We misspent literally millions of dollars. Schools got "refreshes" - upgraded electrical and lighting and alleged new roofs. But despite the school being torn up and construction vehicles taking up space in the parking lot for months on end, the new roofs still leaked, the lighting was not improved and who knows about the electrical. THEN comes word that some of these very buildings will now be closed, while others will get still more renovations. Oh, and we're going to get new buildilngs! Does this sound like a well conceived plan to you? And with the same people in leadership - except for the two new people who are replacing people who were INDICTED for all this - why in the world would it make sense to hand over another blank check?

Here's the other thing SPLOST did: it created opportunity in the general budget for graft and corruption. Monies formerly designated for capital needs were redirected to fund pretend jobs for those in DeKalb who were well-connected. Yes, there have always been multiple Freemans and Hallfords working in DeKalb. But at least they had teaching degrees and valid certificates. Because of the significant monies SPLOST freed up, we have the children of BoE members and former members who are untrained and not certified. They hold jobs that are ill-defined and well-paying.

As for the contention that reducing the size of the board depends on SPLOST passage, legislators are resolving that little glitch. Paul Womack just forgot he knew that.

Anonymous said...

"I plan to vote yes, stay involved, and do all I can to make sure that the SPLOST projects proceed as planned, efficiently and expertly, to help move our school system forward."

I really think that this is the best approach. We can punish the leaders who are no longer in power by voting against SPLOST. We can punish the school board by voting against SPLOST, but is it really a punishment for them? It seems to me that we will be punishing the children who are sitting in classrooms all over the county right now. If you don't like your school board representatives, vote for someone else next time.

Anonymous said...

Item #17 on the SPLOST list on the DCSS website says "technology equipment and infrastructure refresh". Anybody know about all the thefts of laptops and other equipment around the district? They don't seem to be stopping this. If SPLOST IV passes the criminals will have a new supply to "steal". Seems convenient.

Anonymous said...

I don't get #17. Wasn't the original intent of SPLOST only to fund new classroom construction? When did it become a catch-all for general school renovation, amintenance, and technology? Is that even legal?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:08, yes this is legal. Look at the Georgia Constitution (2009 is the most recent version), Article VIII, Section VI, Paragraph IV. Section b1 allows the money to be used for capital outlay projects for educational purposes. This includes building improvements, buses, and technology procurement. This money cannot be used for salaries.

When you consider that about 90% of the general operations budget ($775 million) goes to employee compensation, that leaves about $77 million for classroom supplies and school maintenance. With over 130 schools and over 4500 classrooms, does this sound like enough? That's partially why SPLOST was needed because school maintenance was usually cut to balance school budgets yet the needs did not go away.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Technology!? DeKalb taxpayers have dumped millions of dollars in Technology over the past 8 years. What have we to show for it? Dr. Atkinson says DCSS(D?) technology is woefully inadequate. If that is true, why is Ms. Tyson still employed? She was in charge of MIS during the most expansive upgrade in DCSS(D?) history. She also made sure friends and family of BOE members were well taken care of with jobs and raises, even when some of those people never reported to their new cushy jobs, until parents had to expose the hiding and dishonesty. By the way, that person still works for the system. Where in the world is Francis Edwards son? Also the person who sold DCSS(D?) the huge network that some DCSS(D?) computers were NOT compatible with left his private sector job and replaced Tyson when she was asked to become interim. See how it all works?

Dr. Atkinson this is why you must gain our trust that you will improve our system. Why is the CLew crew still around and employed? No SPLOST IV until Clew's crew is GONE!

Trust, Transparency and Truth is all were asking for! Sadly the folks at the palace continue to ignore the people footing the bill. This palace guard can not and should not be trusted with a 1.2 Billion dollar general budget and another half billion plus in SPLOST money!

Anonymous said...

Fellow DeKalb homeowners, please do not shoot yourselves in the foot by voting "no" on the next SPLOST!!! Our taxes will only go up because repairs on all these buildings will continue to be needed. BUT THE BIGGEST REASON TO VOTE YES IS SO WE CAN REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE SCHOOL BOARD TO SEVEN MEMBERS!!! If the SPLOST is discontinued, then all nine dysfunctional board members get to stay. That's how the legislation reads as it was approved at last year's general session.

As for the "friends" issue, the rules are you can't spend tax dollars on convincing residents how to vote so that's why you need an outside group and they need to raise their on money to "campaign" for a passage. All staff and board members can do is talk about the facts of the SPLOST. I'm not sure who's on the committee, except one who is a friend of mine who is actually a city of Decatur resident. There are other Decatur residents helping out because if it doesn't pass in DeKalb as a whole (even if it passes in Decatur), Decatur can't get their money either.

The message to send is to reduce the number of board members to 7 and then vote these clowns out of office so we can reduce the size of the central office and get rid of the rampant nepotism, cronyism and incompetence!! So please think of the students first and vote "yes". They deserve to have decent facilities.

Anonymous said...

After reading the carefully reason arguments on this blog I am convinced to vote yes and to make a donation to the Friends. It is the only alternative to punishing the students of the county for the past problems of the system.

BhutrasGolly said...

Why can't we as responsible citizens pledge to support the SPLOST and work to make sure it is done right this time?

Anonymous said...

The answer is

We love democracy except when we disagree with the results which is often

We won't take the responsibilty for electing a board that will do it right

And finally we really wan to dismantle the public school system

BhutrasGolly said...

So you are saying that if we aren't "Friends" we are enemies?

Anonymous said...

Bhutras,

How do you contend we do that? There are at least a dozen parents/citizens who have spent the better part of a decade exposing what is wrong in DeKalb and trying to make things better...

Nothing changed.

I can only elect one/two board members. I changed mine -- nothing has changed.

Many of Copelin-Woods, Cunningham, Walker, Bowen and Edler's constituents support their actions. It is easier to believe that "the man" is at fault rather than look inward at your own community and politicians and ask them to do better. (In fact, I believe that Donna Edler started off with the right intentions, but her constituents pressured her and she couldn't withstand it.)

You are delusional if you believe that things will change that much.

Anonymous said...

Problem with voting no to send a message to the board members is that they are all so arrogant they would not "get the message" that it's a vote of non-confidence in them. Heck the two members that were voted out STILL don't get the message that change was/is needed and that this board = HORRIBLE leadership!! And the same can be said for the arrogance of the current and former administration. I'm willing to give the new sup a chance to prove she can manage this district effectively, so I'm voting yes. Building repairs are always going to be needed!

Anonymous said...

"I'm willing to give the new sup a chance to prove she can manage this district effectively, so I'm voting yes. Building repairs are always going to be needed!"

This sounds like reasoned analysis. Building repairs, technology upgrades, and buses will always be needed regardless of who the Board members are.

Dunwoody Mom said...

You know what? I am so sick of this voting "NO" for SPLOST is voting against children nonsense being spewed. Do you know how angry that makes me? Do you know how offended I am (and may others) with this attitude? I know people who are going to vote "NO" simply due to the outrageous actions of this "Friends" group. Tone down the rhetoric and blatant misrepresentation of this vote and what is means. "Friend", all you are doing now is angering many people and perhaps, changing votes from YES to NO.

Anonymous said...

"BUT THE BIGGEST REASON TO VOTE YES IS SO WE CAN REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE SCHOOL BOARD TO SEVEN MEMBERS!!!"


This is not a valid argument. Mike Jacobs and others at the Gold Dome are working on correcting this oversight. The BOE will be reduced to 7 members regardless of the SPLOST vote.

Yes, many facilities need renovation and some new facilities are needed, but none are so desperate that SPLOST IV could not be brought up again next year if it doesn't pass now. It's mostly the same BOE and administration that failed us so miserably for S- III.

Also, building maintenance is vitally important. The current management and staff do a horrendous job maintaining facilities. Before the next SPLOST is passed, major changes should be made at Sam Moss to insure that new and renovated facilities, as well as every other facility, are properly maintained, inspected, etc. I'd be happy with working heating and air at my school.

Also,

Anonymous said...

Thank you "Friends" for you many posts on this blog.

I will vote NO.

The bottom line for me is :

1. Past funds were not used properly (see RICO charges involving SPLOST III and lack of technology that works for students after millions spent).

2. No SOLOST III forensic follow up has been made public even though taxpayers were promised this 5 years ago when SOLOST III was proposed.

3. The Central Office is still primarily staffed by the same personnel who oversaw the steepest decline in student achievement in the history of the school system and in the metro area.

These are three facts posters might want to share with their friends and neighbors - in particular with their retired friends and neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we've got the "friends" blogging today. They have listened and are now "convinced to vote yes." Right.

The "board size argument", the "won't get the message argument", the "it's for the children argument" - there is some stretching going on. SPLOST used to be for kids but it has morphed into a steady stream of money that can be used to buy any group they want. It allows the dysfunction to continue. As far as message is concerned, when they can't spend your money anymore, they won't be happy but that will send a message.

Anonymous said...

@ BhutrasGolly

I hope you aren't a school system employee taking time away from your school day to advocate for SPLOST.

I hope the DCSS Public Relations Department paid for by taxpayer dollars has not engaged in publicly advocating for SPLOST IV by posting on blogs.

If you fall into either of these categories, you need to consult with DCSS lawyers to ensure you are not violating the law against the superintendent or any agent of the school system advocating for SPLOST.

I would be very surprised if Dr. Atkinson has not made it clear to all DCSS employees that the stakes are too high to jeopardize this initiative with any action that could be considered improper.

Anonymous said...

Still thinking. Was going to vote NO.
But

My North DeKalb taxes will go up (Walker and company will see to that and they have the votes to do it) and those in South DK will see little increase because of low home valuations (Mr Womack's $500K+ house will have no increase at all). If I vote YES then we all get hit with one cent.

If I vote No and my taxes go up, then they will still waste that money. Just a different form of SPLOSH.


Yes Vote will reduce BOE to 7 members. Makes no difference.


What to do what to do? Tis a puzzlement.

Only difference would be if the State took over. Would really like to see two school systems. People in Central and North DK are sacrificing their own children to keep some loudmouths quiet.

Einstein's Definition of insanity is
doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Vote yes and shop in Fulton? That will save me tax money on both house and sales tax. Screw the DCSS. Nothing will change it.

Anonymous said...

"BUT THE BIGGEST REASON TO VOTE YES IS SO WE CAN REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE SCHOOL BOARD TO SEVEN MEMBERS!!!"


"This is not a valid argument. Mike Jacobs and others at the Gold Dome are working on correcting this oversight. The BOE will be reduced to 7 members regardless of the SPLOST vote."

What color is the sky in your world? It's already been voted on and to get it changed again by a white guy in a majority black delegation and county is quite a stretch. There has been resistance at all levels to reduce the size of the board. And we're now so close to getting this accomplished, so let's not blow it. And no I am NOT a "friend" of DeKalb. In fact I use to work for the system and was riffed. I HATE this board and administration and think my kids and all of DeKalb's kids deserve better. But taking everything out on the next SPLOST is NOT the answer. My kids' schools are horrendous and to start with need simple repairs like a new roof and an HVAC that works - and I don't live anywhere close to Fernbank and am not a parent there!!

Anonymous said...

"It's for the children" blah, blah, blah

Was the Palace built "for the children"?

The current palace was constructed with largely the same administration and BOE in place. Having 98% of the same players still in charge is a risk I am not willing to take with $450 million dollars. There was also an oversight committee when the palace was built.

When unscrupulous people have a goal, it will get done. Sit through a board meeting where multiple financial items are reviewed, and even the smartest people's eyes will glaze over.

If your child blew through $500 on car speakers that you had made a spending/saving/donating plan for, would you hand over $500 more to him? I guess some of you would b/c it would be "for the children".

Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter said...

Just finished an interview on why we advocate for a "No" vote. We met up with a group of upset residents who showed up at the front of MLK High School.

These folks just learned about the cell tower coming to the school that has negative implications for their health and home values. They were already upset about a new wing they have been promised since Spost III that has yet to be built, but has nearly doubled in estimated cost.

After the interview, the PTA President demanded our names and set off on a verbal tirade that would rival my child's worst temper tantrum. She didn't give me much of a chance to answer her questions and continued to demand my name. She wanted to know if I had a child in school as I had no right to be on their property.

The homeowners stood up for me and much arguing ensued. I directed her to our website if she wanted more information and asked if she would give me her name... Mrs. Jesse "Jay" Cunningham. Need I say more? She admitted that the PTA has known about the cell towers for more than a year. Why, then, is the community only finding out now?

The more things become transparent, the uglier they do start to become.Press release to follow. Story to air on 11 Alive on Tuesday.

We have to stop put the needs of one or another school over the needs of our county. Or we will all go down with the ship together.

Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter said...

I never did find out what she was so mad about. I guess she really wanted a cell tower. But, our cell phones worked fine while we are there and unless the rules have changed, students are not allowed to turn cell phones on at school.

So, what are we missing? If we understood the positive, then maybe we would not be so negative. So far, no one is speaking up in favor of these cell towers, except the folks at Lakeside. Oh yes, and prior to our notification to the community at Briarlake, they were reportedly in favor of a tower at their school, too. Looks to us like the PTA needs to be reined in a bit if they are speaking on behalf of an entire school without regard to how their members actually feel.

Anonymous said...

Dear parents of DeKalb,

Please, please vote for SPLOST IV so that I may receive nourishing food. Do not punish me in my time of need over the misdees of board members and central office staffers. Without your "yes" vote for extending the sales tax, I will have to go to work in the textile mills, and my sister will be forced into a life of prostitution.

Sincerely,

A Child of DeKalb
(and really, really innocent, did I mention that?)

Anonymous said...

Vote YES and you are voluntarily handing over your money to known criminals or those who are protecting suspected criminals. You are helping to fund the defense of a person who stole our money that was intended to help our children.

Vote NO and they still get the money, but instead of handing it over, you are making them have to participate in a hostile act of taking back a benefit that once was given to us because we lived in a DeKalb we were proud of. If they TAKE the money, it will be a signal to every voter to wake up and VOTE these people OUT.

Anonymous said...

Kim Gotche (sp?) did you tell us that the Homestead would save $57 a year across the board? Can you explain this calculation?

Anonymous said...

If SPLOST isn't approve then we lose a $2500 extra homestead exemption that goes against the school levy that we get in DeKalb. The school millage rate is 22.98 mils.

22.98 times $2500 is $57 and change.

That's the same no matter the value of your house because the exemption of $2500 is the same for every homeowner.

Anonymous said...

What color is the sky in your world? It's already been voted on and to get it changed again by a white guy in a majority black delegation and county is quite a stretch

It was state legislation not through the delegation.

Keep in mind though, a SPLOST failure will be a huge burden for our DeKalb delegation and a big slap in their faces. They will be forced to acknowledge the challenges we face as a system. In fact, they may even agree to shrink the board just to restore confidence so that SPLOST will pass the next time.

Anonymous said...

If you can't see the games already being played behind the scenes on SPLOST IV, then you are blind as a bat. It was no accident that Coralwood and Fernbank were included on the list. There's no better way to guarantee noise and action than to include Fernbank as either a potential recipient (SPLOST) or victim (redistricting).

There would be no "Friends" organization or distributed talking points or emails with strategy without a wealthy and influential school on the list. Replace Fernbank's replacement on the list with, like, Idlewood, and you're going to hear nothing.

Like it or not, games are already being played. There will be more games once this SPLOST is approved and then it's a game of "who's first" and "which wealthy parent's construction company gets a bid".

After the Fernbank show last year, DCSS wised up and brokered a deal. No redistricting for support of a SPLOST that also benefits you.

dundevil said...

@ Get the Cell 2:14 Dr Walker said that his constituents WANTED the cell towers. $25K in cold cash. It will be "for the children" I am sure

@ 2:16 You should have had an administration lament. No more hires, maybe have to show up for work, bonuses will be harder to come by, Waldo will have to learn how to turn a screw driver. No prostitution though. The good Bishop counsels against improper sex acts. Oh the sheer inhumanity of it all.

@ 2:19 it is not only the $57 that homeowners will have to pay. The BOE can still raise the taxes by 2.2 mils (25 mil max). The 2.2 mils is applied against 40% of your home's total assessed value. So if your home is (probably over-assessed if you live in North DK) at $300K it will cost you $264 per year (.40 x 300,000 x .0022). Walker always has been for raising taxes. This will give him a good excuse. He has the votes... himself, Bowen, Cunningham, SCW, Edler and probably Womack since the increase will not cost him anything (home is exempted according to one report) and he wants his school built to satisfy his voters.

Bottom line.... the forced extortion seems to come out cheaper to homeowner-taxpayers if they vote yes. So... rob me while I smile a little or a lot.

But, unlike the last three SPLOSTs, this time it will be different. The super, BOE and administration have all pledged ( fingers crossed behind their backs) to act in a prudent non-discriminatory, fully transparent way in being stalwart shepherds of our hard earned tax money. ROFLMAO based on past experience

Anonymous said...

I am voting "NO". One other thing that I am not sure has been brought up~ The past SPLOST's may have brought money into the county to spend on capital expenditures. But because of the mishandling, we now are paying lawyers out of the general fund. So I'm not sure how much money the county really ends up getting once you net the legal costs against the SPLOST funds. Since the legal fees are coming from the general fund, they are taking away directly from the students and teachers. From my perspective a vote of "NO" is putting the brakes on the lawsuits and hopefully having more for running the schools.

Anonymous said...

From the Druid Hills HS message board:
Both the Fernbank PTA and the Emory LaVista Parent Council will have presentations on the school SPLOST at their October meetings. The PTA meeting is October 18 at 6:00 p.m., and the ELPC meeting is October 19 at 9:00 a.m., both in the Fernbank cafeteria. If you have any additional questions, you can contact Fernbank parents serving on the county-wide SPLOST advocacy committee: Marshall Orson, marshall.orson@XXX.com; Amy Power, amypower@XXX.net; Susan-Anne MacKenna, sasmack@XXXX.com; and Jeff DiSantis, jeff@XXX.com.

So how do you get appointed to the "county-wide SPLOST advocacy committee? I know people who would have been interested.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:46 PM. I watched part of the school board meeting tonight on Channel 24. The matter of attorneys fees came up. It was stated that there was no control over the amount of these fees and that they were all paid from the general fund.

But money is fungible and it is easy to make bookkeeping entries to shift money between accounts. Also, there is no audit of how SPLOST money is spent. So the educational and construction aspects of the school system can suffer from paying attorneys no matter from which account payment of the fees come.

Ms Jester also questioned Mr Turk about utility fees and how they were budgeted. Dr. Walker correctly pointed out that Georgia Power had been raising utility rates and that the system had no control over this. Dr. Walker and SCW then came to Mr. Turk's defense and roundly praised his good work, business acumen, etc. etc. on behalf of DCSS. That is getting to be pretty routine. Turk must be the fair-haired boy. Whoops that does not physically apply here. Sorry for that. Maybe they are trying to give him some advance cover for something that we do not know about.

SCW proposed that DCSS hire a full-time lobbyist for representation at the State House. I was thinking of writing to the BOE and suggesting Zephora "Rocky" Roberts for the job. I can see her running up the capital building steps with the music playing the Rocky theme song.

We have to keep these people around. They really are funny.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, if you look up who registered the domain name splostforschools.org on WhoIs, it shows that it was registered by a company in Arizona called DomainsByProxy. This is a company that will register a domain name for you so that people can't figure out who registered the domain. Seems like a lot of effort to keep their identity secret.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:46--excellent point.

Anon 9:00--DCSS had a legislative lobbyist for years. I can't remember his name, but he had been there since the dawn of time, and was a good ol' boy--perfect for the Gold Dome. He hired an assistant, then promptly retired. His assistant (I think her title was legislative liaison or something) was supposed to take over, but at a reduced salary and function. She was a young African American woman, straight out of college, I think, and had no lobbying experience. Not sure if she ever did anything or not.

Anonymous said...

Jim Mullens was the lobbyist. Nicole Knighten, mostly associated with Charter school applications and hounding school councils for minutes, is the person that stepped into government relations. Don't see her being an effective lobbyist.

Anonymous said...

"If you have any additional questions, you can contact Fernbank parents serving on the county-wide SPLOST advocacy committee: Marshall Orson, marshall.orson@XXX.com; Amy Power, amypower@XXX.net; Susan-Anne MacKenna, sasmack@XXXX.com; and Jeff DiSantis, jeff@XXX.com."

A county-wide advocacy committee, in a county with 100+ schools, and four of the members all come from Fernbank? The F-Mafia is still strong as ever.

Anonymous said...

Having four parents from Fernbank on one committee is what is exactly wrong with our county. As a former DCSS teacher and parent, I so wish that the county would focus on educating our children. The education that many of our children receive is a joke and lacking of any rigor and accountability on anyone's part.

So glad that parents whose children attend Fernbank get a "good" education, but there are way too many children in the county that DO NOT! New or refurbished schools don't make for a quality education.

Leaking roofs are throughout the county, even on schools who have had roofs put on over the last 10 years. Much of the construction work that has been done has been shoddy work, and no one from the district expects the companies to come back and repair the poorly completed work. We have eleven year old buildings that have leaked since they were opened.

The only lobbying that needs to be done is for the county to keep every tax dollar collected within our county for schools. NO more redistribution of our tax dollars.

Our schools do not need any more money to give our children a better education. More tax dollars will only be wasted, as this is what already happens to much of what we already give.

Anonymous said...

Get the Cell Out, what does your apparent obsession with saving the unsuspecting masses from cell tower death rays have to do with the Splost election? Or, were you just feeling lonely?

Anonymous said...

Actually, opposition to SPLOST and the T-Mobile contract are linked by the issue of our BOE's incompetency. DCSS does not need more money. It needs fiscal responsibility and accountability. We do not need a T-Mobile contract to make money. We need to manage the money we have much better. We do not approve of SPLOST IV because we do not agree with giving our BOE $450 more million to mismanage.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:37 the cell phone towers were dealt with in a sneaky way where some knew about them for much longer than the general public. Meetings were quick and the vote even quicker. The board voted on the towers before the public even knew what was really happening.

Like so much the board does, the cell phone tower are a prime example of how things are done in DCSS. Giving the board more money in the form of SPLOST will enable them to further mismanage millions and millions of dollars.

I'm not the person who made the cell phone tower comments, but putting two and two together is not very difficult to do.

Anonymous said...

From the Henderson Middle School weekly update in a summary about the ELPC meeting: "DCSS employees also gave an overview of the proposed SPLOST IV (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) projects. We will vote on SPLOST IV on November 8. The continuation of the one cent sales tax will allow funding for construction, renovation and other improvement projects for schools all over DeKalb County. Henderson Middle School is a top priority on the list, and would receive $16 million dollars.

The ELPC speakers clarified these points:
1) If SPLOST IV does not pass this November is it unlikely that it will be placed on the ballot in 2012, due to the transportation SPLOST vote already scheduled for 2012.
2) If SPLOST IV does not pass this November, the school board reform legislation (which dictates that DeKalb's Board of Education will be reduced from 9 members to 7 members) will not go into effect.
3) DeKalb's current BOE is setting up a committee of community members and construction experts to ensure proper oversight of SPLOST IV dollars."

They are drinking the Fernbank kool-aid too!

Anonymous said...

"They are drinking the Fernbank kool-aid too!"

Baloney, didn't you read your own post?!

"Henderson Middle School is a top priority on the list, and would receive $16 million dollars."

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think a key part of the SPLOST legislation should have been that the list of improvements cannot contain the names of specific schools until votes have been cast. List by project (7 new ES, 2 new MS, etc)

If Fernbank, Coralwood, Henderson MS, and the rest are really in it "for the children", they should be for it even if they don't know it's their schools. Maybe their slogan should be "It's for OUR children."

Anonymous said...

Decisons made during last year's redistricting to allow Henderson Middle and Fernbank to remain very overcrowded were predicated on passage of SPLOST IV. Without SPLOST IV, these 2 schools will be back on the redistricting list. This message was conveyed clearly and repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

Here's one thing I don't see on this blog today...some new facts. The "Friends" have rolled out a pretty strong case to vote "yes" on SPLOST IV, while the only thing I see here is the same 11 alive story from 2008, and the same blatant attacks on Fernbank/Coralwood/Lakeside/etc. communities.

Anonymous said...

"...., and the same blatant attacks on Fernbank/Coralwood/Lakeside/etc. communities."

I think these communities can hold their own.

The case against SPLOST IV has always been:
1. Past funds were not used properly (see RICO charges involving SPLOST III and lack of technology that works for students after millions spent).

2. No SOLOST III forensic follow up has been made public even though taxpayers were promised this 5 years ago when SOLOST III was proposed.

3. The Central Office is still primarily staffed by the same personnel who oversaw the steepest decline in student achievement in the history of the school system and in the metro area.

NOT Waiting for Superman said...

An addendum to Anonymous 5:03 PM's posting:

4. State Representative Mike Jacobs and others are working to change the wording so that DCSS can drop back to 7 BOE members from 9 -- with or without SPLOST IV. Whether the wording is changed or not ... whether we have 7 BOE members or 9 is immaterial. The ONLY thing that will matter is if Bowen, Womack, Copelin-Wood, Cunningham, Edler, Speaks and Walker are replaced by people who have NO ties to the current or previous BOE and administrations. So the size of the BOE should not even be a consideration in voting whether or not to give more money to a corrupt BOE and a corrupt DCSS administration. They have clearly shown that they will mismanage what they are forced to report on and steal the rest.

5. Voting for SPLOST IV is NO guarantee that the current BOE will not vote, also, to raise our property taxes to the max. The DCSS BOE won't be satisfied until they have gotten every last drop of blood.

Before we can "throw the scoundrels out!" we must stop the flow of money into their grubby, grabby, greedy hands.

It's NOT "for the children." It has NEVER been "for the children." Unless, of course, you are talking about the "well-connected children" of administrators and present/past BOE members.

Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!

Just Say NO! to SPLOST IV.

Anonymous said...

SPLOST IV should not pass, period. It is NOT a vote against our children, but a step in taking DeKalb back from the inept and corrupt (aka DCSS & DC BOE). A NO VOTE is intended to show that the residents care more about getting the proper legislation in place that will ensure that there is a properly laid roof over their children's head and that their building is safe. Giving this county money only shows OUR children how to do things badly. Having a list start of with the much NEEDED TURF is another act of idiocy.

Yes, the list is baked and that is EXACTLY WHY YOU NEED TO VOTE NO. The list is BAD, the BOE is BAD and Atkinson has not proved herself and unfortunately she is coming into this office with a personal bankruptcy under her belt that she had not disclosed, connections to Bishop Long and not such great press from previous posts that she now needs to overcome as she gains the trust of those of us who are truly invested in DeKalb. Does this scream fiscal responsibility to you???

Say NO to the blackmail of the shrinking of the BOE, say NO to the tax blackmail because this crooked BOE is going after your money regardless and say NO because DeKalb County children deserve to see a functional system that can operate well within its billion dollar budget.

NO, HELL NO, WE WON'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Anonymous said...

Lets put to rest the "it's for the kids" mantra. Little Dekalb does is for the kids. I've taught in Dekalb for fifteen years. I am confident that smaller classes, more relevant curricula, and meaningful discipline policies will do more for our students than the new out-of-date air conditioning units or computer programs and expensive cheap furniture.
Also, I disagree that a no vote will not affect this board. So far no one-the governor, SACS-has stepped in to do anything, so this is the one act of oversight that we can all perform.

Anonymous said...

Let's clear up another misconception, SPLOSTs are audited annually. See the link below from the law firm Smith, Grambrell, and Russel, LLP on the Georgia SPLOST,

Overview of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and Related Financing

Do our children benefit from SPLOST? Of course they do. The same applies for teachers and other school employees. Mostly the citizens benefit from SPLOST since schools are usually the center of most communities. Like roads and bridges, schools need regular renovation and upgrades if we expect them to continue serving their purpose. These needs will still exist regardless of who the Board members are.

Would you forego repairing a leaky roof in your house if you are frustrated at your spouse?

Anonymous said...

If my spouse took my hard-earned money, hired one of his shiftless best friends to do it wrong, it leaked for a few months, and then held his hand out for another $5000 to do it again, yes, I would tell him "no".

How easy is that?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:57am

Would I forego fixing my leaky roof if I was mad at my wife? NO!

If I had been lied to numerous times, found out that she has invited all of her sisters to live with us rent free and wasted ALL of our money without making sure our kids were being educated?

Do you get the analogy?

We have been paying our tax dollars to an enterprise that is supposed to educate ALL the children of this county.

What I have seen for YEARS is a system that:

* Promotes unqualified "Friends and Family" to administrative positions that cause WASTE and ERRORS!

* The same administrators know not what they are doing so the results are FAILURE!

* The same administrators accepts Fraud and Illegal activities as standard operating procedure while entrusted by the public to stop these actions and still have their jobs.

Until a fundamental change is made from within the educational enterprise called the DeKalb County School System and the unqualified personnel are replaced with competent, highly qualified system employees then the perception and public response will remain the same.

And my wife?

*I would file for DIVORCE.

*I would not be required to pay alimony.

*I would obtain custody of the children.

*She would live with her freeloading family!

Get the analogy?

Anonymous said...

We need to get the Angry Birds creators to make a version for some DeKalb citizens. There seems to be a lot of frustration in this community.

Anonymous said...

There "seems" to be? What rock have you been living under? This school system is in a downward spiral in every aspect - student achievement, BOE, integrity, fiscal management, take your pick.

Anonymous said...

It was meant as a joke. I guess that speaks to the frustration again.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 5:03...so Mike Jacobs is going to take a break from the "Let's do a City of Brookhaven" world tour to get involved in DCSS politics?

Also, wouldn't SPLOST IV's failure hasten a school tax increase in 2012? Sorry, I am all for sharing the burden of infrastructure improvement, as opposed to tje continued reliance on Dekalb homeowners that Burrell Ellis is famous for.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who is posting the "Dekalb County, vote no to $645 million in new taxes" signs? If so, please ask them to stop trespassing on private property. Just because there is a power pole in my yard, does not mean they can trespass into my yard to put their sign there. They need my permission. The same goes for the pro-SPLOSTers. Respect people's private property. I'm tired of cleaning up your mess.

Anonymous said...

This comes from the Druid Hills Civic Association.

"Finally, without funding for a new Fernbank facility, school system officials have advised that Fernbank will be placed on the next redistricting agenda."

This seems to be one of the key arguments to pass SPLOST IV.

Fernbank fought hard against redistricting while so many other communities endured redistricting and even closure of their schools. I'm personally uncomfortable with Fernbank being the exception while other communities dealt with and bore the brunt of the very necessary issue of redistricting.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that in the district of Fernbank turnout and voting was heavily in favor of Eugene Walker this past school board election. Will they again be tipping the scales in favor of the status quo if SPLOST IV passes? How will we ever get a new BOE if this happens?

Anonymous said...

In the event of the passage of SPLOST IV, let us all advocate these points in regards to Fernbank Elementary:

1. Move the school to a property that would be closer to the current Briar Vista and/or the former Medlock Elementary zones and would be a centralized location to all in the attendance zone, rather than being at the end of the zone.
2. Expand the capacity of the school beyond 900, whether that means 1000, 1200, 1500, etc. capacity, in order to accommodate students from the current Briar Vista and/or the former Medlock Elementary zones.

Please write to all members of the school board and the superintendent about this issue. In my opinion, if, in 10 years, Fernbank remains at its current location with the exact same attendance zone as it has today, then we have wasted our SPLOST IV funds.

Anonymous said...

"In my opinion, if, in 10 years, Fernbank remains at its current location with the exact same attendance zone as it has today, then we have wasted our SPLOST IV funds."

I agree. So many parents want their students to go to Fernbank that they could easily accommodate 1,500 students. Think of the economies of scale.

Just providing Fernbank with a new school without significant expansion is not something I would vote for. It seems this will just reward them for supporting the current BOE.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to watch the hysteria ratchet up on this blog as the SPLOST voting date nears . . .

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:57

By hysteria, I assume you mean the warning to the Fernbank community that if they don't get behind SPLOST IV, they will be guaranteed to be subject to school redistricting.

From the Druid Hills Civic Association:
"Finally, without funding for a new Fernbank facility, school system officials have advised that Fernbank will be placed on the next redistricting agenda."
http://druidhills.org/2011/10/06/special-purpose-local-option-sales-tax-splost-faq/

I agree. This is a scare tactic and meant to generate hysteria to translate into votes for SPLOST IV.

Leo said...

If you use the logic that Fernbank is using (a Yes vote means a new school for us), then the converse should be true: If your school isn't going to benefit from SPLOST, you should vote NO.

I'm voting NO, but not because of the projects proposed but because I want to see some real change in DCSS before I agree to give them more money to spend unwisely. Do our buildings need repairs and/or replacing? Yes, many of them do but I feel better about giving you money to do that if I think you've tightened your belt everywhere else. 6 months without SPLOST won't kill anyone.

Anonymous said...

Actually from Druid Hills Middle School's perspective, a SPLOST failure is a big boon because Sagamore and the Henderson overflow will be redistricted back into the DHMS pattern. Henderson is at 144% capacity so no SPLOST equals no addition. That's a good thing for Druid Hills Middle!

Anonymous said...

No, I meant hysteria as in all of the mean-spirited and half-truthful posts that appear with more and more frequency here. It's unfortunate that well-reasoned and far-seeing arguments always get torn appart in this forum, with nothing but pie-in-the-sky "we want what is best for all of the children" and "Don't trust the powers that be." It's easy to criticize and blame, but difficult to work from within and offer compromises and solutions that will actually help.

Anonymous said...

Druid Hills Middle is always and forever SHAMROCK Middle.

Amy Power and Marshall forced this ridiculous, non-sensesical name change through just as the Fernbank mafia bullies its way through everything else DCSS-related.

Remember, these are the same people that supported Gene Walker/King Nepotism for BOE re-election. 'Nuff said!

Yes this Gene Walker:
http://www.accessnorthgeorgia.com/detail.php?n=150517

http://www.accessnorthgeorgia.com/detail.php?n=165732

Anonymous said...

Believe what you want but the probability of redistricting for Fernbank and Henderson MS is very real if SPLOST doesn't pass. Heard it myself from several folks at the Palace. Not a scare tactic. The Lakeside SCORE plan will be turned upside down with no SPLOST.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:17 -

You have no idea what you are posting about, they had nothing to do with the name change. But facts obviously are of no concern to you are they?

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic. The Dunwoody school cluster might be losing about 500 students over the next few years. The City is trying to pass a bond issue that will buy an apartment complex, close it and turn it into a sports field.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:43

"No, I meant hysteria as in all of the mean-spirited and half-truthful posts that appear with more and more frequency here."

Sorry. I thought the threat of Fernbank redistricting was the hysteria you are referring to. That seems to be designed to create hysteria and whip up the base IMO.

Anonymous said...

If you care about others, vote NO. We have more and more families slipping into poverty in this county and children who cannot be fed. If that pennny per dollar doesn't mean anything to you, consider youself lucky, but consider those who cannot afford to move and can hardly afford to live here. We are already heavily taxed - one of the highest in sales and property taxes in the state and even in the country.

Let the poor families in our school system catch a break. We are in a recession for God's sake. Make the board revise the SPLOST to a list of necessities. Artifical turf, wireless for all, new constuction - these things can wait. Give us a list of needed repairs and reasonable prices ($500K for plubing fixtures in one school? Come on!) and let's hold off on the rest until we can get back on our feet in this economy and SETTLE THE LAWSUIS so we do not have to keep paying the lawyers to just drag these things out.
Stop putting your own needs first. That's what they bank on you doing. Stop believing in the lies. If we do not learn from our past mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them.

Anonymous said...

Cell towers = special interest of one school (Lakeside) becomes a burden for all to bear. SPLOST IV = special interest of one school (Fernbank) becomes a burden for all to bear. School board = criminals getting richer and richer and their families and friends now doing the same while they laugh their way to the bank, holding your hard-earned money in their hands and you keep giving it to them. You expect something different yet you, too, refuse to change. Work together, vote together, unite and win. Fight amongst yourselves, vote for what is best for you and not your neighbor, stay divided, and lose. The vote is the voice of the people. Do we know what we want to say? A vote divided is a group divided and that makes a much easier prey. Right now, the message is "we're confused." Get it figured out before it is time to vote or the message will be "we're idiots." Go ahead, do whatever you want, we will believe anything, we won't expect you to deliver, we will keep shelling out the bucks and taking the abuse. We're idiots and this is probably what our children deserve.

Anonymous said...

THINK ABOUT THIS: The board cannot be trusted... they WANT us to vote YES to SPLOST IV and they do NOT want to take the Homestead Exemption away. Why? Because the Homestead is actually CHEAPER for us and it holds them more accountable. The removal of the exemption would piss off a lot of people who have no clue about what is going on in education. They might actually vote the jokers out of office and that is what they are afraid of. If you get your new Fernbank EITHER WAY, then why do you care how it is funded? Fernbank friends, reconsider your position, vote no, and send a message that you will not be used as their pawn any longer. We need to unite and support what is best for all schools so that no child has to go to school in poor conditions, esp. when there are some who have brand new everything. We need to reach a common ground of what is fair and what is a blatant attempt to divide us. This is not a SPLOST conceived out of need. It is a SPLOST built from deceipt and GREED.

Anonymous said...

With a few of these posts about the renaming of Shamrock, I would like to give you my perspective on the matter. While I agree that it was good that the high school and middle school share the same name, I disagree with the name chosen. Why couldn't both schools be renamed? What about naming them after Hosea Williams? And why hasn't anything changed at Druid Hills, in terms of its names and symbols? A lot of times when schools merge, there is some sort of merger with the names, colors, and/or mascots. However, even with its mergers with three former high schools (Briarcliff, Shamrock, Avondale), whose buildings are all located in the Druid Hills attendance zone, its name, colors, and mascot have remained the same. How could this be? Now what I am most concerned about is how the name affects those who do not live in Druid Hills. Do students from Scottdale or the Avondale area really feel like they belong? How does the name affect academics, leadership, and other student activities? In the end, I fear that the name creates the situation in which some students are more important than others. Therefore, I would like to see the schools given a more inclusive name, rather than keeping the exclusive name of Druid Hills.

Anonymous said...

I still want to know why the county is choosing to spend a bizillion dollars of leftover splost 3 money on cooling computer floors at WBBC instead of playgrounds. Children who can not walk, get out of their chairs deserve to be be able to play too! The playground equipment at LRE is ancient and torn up. This is ridiculous. Why should the PTA's/foundations and parents be forced to make financial contributions to fundraise money to replace playground equipment. It's disgusting. The fact that wwe have have to fundraise at all, disgusts me.
And this goes doubly true for a school that is a county center for O/I and wheelchair/blind kids. Some of this money should be used to replace these play systems.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:37 The better question is why was the palace done, and the Bryant center when we have school buildings that need repair and added space? Our board and administration take care of themselves in many ways and think of the kids last. Building A and B did not need to be moved. The kids should always come before the adults.

Anonymous said...

eduKALB has of course officially endorsed SPLOST IV:

eduKALB is dedicated and committed to publication in DeKalb County. Since 1997, our schools have received Special Purpose Local Option Sales (SPLOST) funding for construction and capital improvements. On November 8, 2011, voters will decide if this one-cent sales tax will continue for another five years. eduKALB encourages you to vote "yes" for SPLOST IV on November 8th.

If SPLOST IV passes in November, our students will see improvements in classrooms, technology, security, and facilities for sports and fine arts. Since its inception, SPLOST has provided $1.2 billion to benefit DeKalb County schools:


SPLOST I

1997-2002

$415 million

Built 10 new schools, constructed multi-purpose buildings at each elementary school location, and provided modifications to existing buildings.



SPLOST II

2002-2007

$457 million

Built 11 new schools and modifications/major renovations to 10 middle & high schools.



SPLOST III

2007-2012

$385 million *under budget as of July 31 of estimated $466 million

Replaced one high school, provided 12 major renovations and 140 minor renovations.



SPLOST IV**

2012-2017

$475 million

Will build seven new elementary school facilities, replace two high schools, and provide major renovations and additions to five locations.



**Proposed



Currently, the DeKalb County School District has a $2.2 billion replacement and renovation need. With the average facility age at 49 years old, it is time for major renovations, replacements, and new construction.



If voters approve this referendum, school improvements will be funded by those who buy goods in our county. This means tourists and visitors from other counties will generate revenue into SPLOST. Without the special tax, DeKalb residents will not only risk higher property taxes, but potentially decreased property values. We all benefit from a quality, high-achieving school system because good schools mean well-equipped citizens, attractive property values, and a strong labor market.



Please join eduKALB in putting "Classrooms First," and passing SPLOST IV on November 8!


For more information on SPLOST IV, visit http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/splost-iv.

---


Who makes up eduKALB?
Board Members
LEADERSHIP

Gregory B. Levett, Sr. – Co-Chair
Chris Marquardt, Esq. – Co-Chair
Robert Newcomer, Esq. -Treasurer
Leonardo McClarty -Secretary

DIRECTORS
Ernest Brown
Sadie Dennard
Allyson Gevertz
Brenda Landers
Kerry Ramsey
Donata Renfrow, Ph.D.
David Schutten
Arnie Silverman
Rocio Woody
Honorable Ken Wright


Please, please, pleaase tell me that Kerry Ramsey is no relation to Office of Internal Affairs Chief/State Senator Ron Ramsey!!

Why do I ask, other than her last name? Kerry Ramsey was previously a lobbyist for DCSS. Oh what a tangled web they weave.

Anonymous said...

Kerry Ramsey has made campaign contributions to CEO Burrell Ellis and a number of other local elected officials, and just happpens to be an "approved" vendor for DeKalb County. How convenient.

http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/reports/ceo08/EllisBurrellSept08.pdf

http://www.co.dekalb.ga.us/purchasing/pdf/supplierList.pdf

The co-owner of the address of the house listed as the business location by Kerry Ramsey? Valerie Ramsey, who is married to none other than Ron Ramsey.

Valerie is you remember was a campaign contributor to Gene Walker:

EUGENE P. WALKER - DCSS BOE
SPECIAL ELECTIONS ORIGINAL REPORT for December 2008 (http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/voter/reports/boe08/WALKEREUGENEDec08_Special.pdf)


eduKalb wants to be taken seriously, but discloses little about its members, and any ties/affiliations its members have with DCSS.

Wonder if Dr. Atkinson was aware of this stuff?

Anonymous said...

Missed the first part of the post. eduKALB is endorsing SPLOST IV of course. Here are their members:

LEADERSHIP

Gregory B. Levett, Sr. – Co-Chair

Chris Marquardt, Esq. – Co-Chair

Robert Newcomer, Esq. -Treasurer

Leonardo McClarty -Secretary

DIRECTORS
Ernest Brown
Sadie Dennard
Allyson Gevertz
Brenda Landers
Kerry Ramsey
Donata Renfrow, Ph.D.
David Schutten
Arnie Silverman
Rocio Woody
Honorable Ken Wright

Anonymous said...

Here is their statement. Wondering if Kerry Ramsey is related to Ron Ramsey. Wondering what other conflicts/affiliations/contracts eduKALB members have with DCSS.




eduKALB is dedicated and committed to publication in DeKalb County. Since 1997, our schools have received Special Purpose Local Option Sales (SPLOST) funding for construction and capital improvements. On November 8, 2011, voters will decide if this one-cent sales tax will continue for another five years. eduKALB encourages you to vote "yes" for SPLOST IV on November 8th.

If SPLOST IV passes in November, our students will see improvements in classrooms, technology, security, and facilities for sports and fine arts. Since its inception, SPLOST has provided $1.2 billion to benefit DeKalb County schools:


SPLOST I

1997-2002

$415 million

Built 10 new schools, constructed multi-purpose buildings at each elementary school location, and provided modifications to existing buildings.



SPLOST II

2002-2007

$457 million

Built 11 new schools and modifications/major renovations to 10 middle & high schools.



SPLOST III

2007-2012

$385 million *under budget as of July 31 of estimated $466 million

Replaced one high school, provided 12 major renovations and 140 minor renovations.



SPLOST IV**

2012-2017

$475 million

Will build seven new elementary school facilities, replace two high schools, and provide major renovations and additions to five locations.



**Proposed



Currently, the DeKalb County School District has a $2.2 billion replacement and renovation need. With the average facility age at 49 years old, it is time for major renovations, replacements, and new construction.



If voters approve this referendum, school improvements will be funded by those who buy goods in our county. This means tourists and visitors from other counties will generate revenue into SPLOST. Without the special tax, DeKalb residents will not only risk higher property taxes, but potentially decreased property values. We all benefit from a quality, high-achieving school system because good schools mean well-equipped citizens, attractive property values, and a strong labor market.



Please join eduKALB in putting "Classrooms First," and passing SPLOST IV on November 8!



For more information on SPLOST IV, visit http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/splost-iv.

Anonymous said...

Is Kerry Ramsey a lobbysit for DCSS? Surely she can't be on the eduKALB Board is she is a DCSS lobbyist and/or is related to Ron Ramsey??



http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/05/edukalb-announces-intent-to-guide.html

Anonymous said...
@Anon 9:41 you forgot to mention that Kerry Ramsey is paid by DCSS to be their lobbyist. One has to wonder if a new board member recommended by him/eduKalb will feel indebted to continue the lucrative lobbyist relationship with him. Ah, DCSS Friends & Family goes on...

May 4, 2010 9:53 PM

Anonymous said...

All I know is the Ramsey Family sure knows how to make money off the taxpayer dollar. 5271 Snapfinger is a busy address.

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/01/ron-ramsey.html

Anonymous said...
From an old post, Ramsey's businesses:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/12/ajc-brings-us-clue.html

RONALD RAMSEY’S BUSINESSES in GEORGIA


Source: GA Secretary of State - http://corp.sos.state.ga.us/corp/soskb/csearch.asp

FL Secretary of State - http://sunbiz.org/corinam.html

BIBLICAL & SCHOLASTIC INTEGRATED CURRICULUM & PUBLISHING CO.
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #0626234
Entity Creation Date – 3/14/06

DERWIN BROWN SHERIFF’S RANCH, INC.
PO BOX 1040 5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr Lithonia, GA 30058 Decatur, GA 30035
Control # K632426
Entity Creation Date – 9/20/96

C & J BBQ, INC
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr PO BOX #830276
Decatur, GA 30035 Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Control #K922245
Entity Creation Date – 5/27/99

CLAN RAMSEY ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA, INC.
2840 White Court NE Principal Address: 434 Skinner Blvd
Conyers, GA 30012 Dunedin, FL 34698
Document Number – 759899
FEI/EIN Number - 593723251
Control #K815988
Entity Creation Date – 9/2/81

THE EDUCATION CONSORTIUM
Doris V. Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #0139171
Entity Creation Date – 8/28/01

HORIZON ACCOUNTING PROFESSIONALS, INC.
Ronald Ramsey – CEO Registered Agent’s Address
Richard A. Kaye – Registered Agent 1360 Peachtree St., Ste. #1200
Lisa Yanett – CFO Atlanta, GA 30309
Michael Emanuele - Secretary
650 Mount Zion Rd Ste #D
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Control #K609864
Entity Creation Date – 3/5/96

HORIZON STAFFING, INC.
Ronald Ramsey – CEO
Richard Allan Kaye – Registered Agent
Lisa Yanett – CFO
Michael Emanuele - Secretary
650 Mount Zion Rd
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Control #J505024
Entity Creation Date – 12/15/83

HORIZON STAFFING OF CHATHAM COUNTY, INC.
Ronald Ramsey – CEO
Richard Allan Kaye – Registered Agent
Lisa Yanett – CFO
Michael Emanuele - Secretary
650 Mount Zion Rd
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Control #0046628
Entity Creation Date – 10/13/00

JUDGE RAMSEY ORG., INC.
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #062635
Entity Creation Date – 3/14/06

THE KINGDOM GROUP, INC.
Doris Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #K832143
Entity Creation Date – 8/28/98

THE KINGDOM ACADEMY
Doris Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Drive
Decatur GA 30035
(770) 593-9911
http://kingdom-academy.com/

IMEDIAD, INC.
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #0628545
Entity Creation Date – 4/4/06

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION CONSORTIUM, INC.
Doris V. Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #07038289
Entity Creation Date – 5/4/07

LITHONIA-ATLANTA PROFESSIONAL FORUM, INC.
PO BOX 1040 6835/6920 Main Street
Lithonia, GA 30058 Lithonia, GA 30058
Control #0019014
Entity Creation Date – 4/17/00

RONALD B. RAMSEY, SR., P.C.
1259 Metropolitan Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30316
Control #K702844
Entity Creation Date – 1/10/97

RON RAMSEY ELECTRIC COMPANY
2840 White Court NE
Conyers, GA 30012
Control #K815988
Entity Creation Date – 4/8/98

And this is a nice campaign contribution:

Educational Consultative Services, Inc. – ($500 – 6/02/08)
ROBERT L. TUCKER of DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEMS

HE WORKS IN RONALD RAMSEY’S OFFICE!

January 3, 2011 12:38 AM

Anonymous said...

The Kingdom Group/Kingdom Ministries is Ron's family business. Very interesting website for a public elected official/high-ranking public school system department head to be so aggressively pushing his family-owned Christian day-care/pre-K. Does Ron's family get any public dollars from the state's pre-K program???

http://kingdom-academy.com/

Anonymous said...

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/12/ajc-brings-us-clue.html

RONALD RAMSEY’S BUSINESSES in GEORGIA
Source: GA Secretary of State - http://corp.sos.state.ga.us/corp/soskb/csearch.asp
FL Secretary of State - http://sunbiz.org/corinam.html


BIBLICAL & SCHOLASTIC INTEGRATED CURRICULUM & PUBLISHING CO.
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #0626234
Entity Creation Date – 3/14/06

DERWIN BROWN SHERIFF’S RANCH, INC.
PO BOX 1040 5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Lithonia, GA 30058 Decatur, GA 30035
Control # K632426
Entity Creation Date – 9/20/96

C & J BBQ, INC
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr PO BOX #830276
Decatur, GA 30035 Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Control #K922245
Entity Creation Date – 5/27/99

CLAN RAMSEY ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA, INC.
2840 White Court NE Principal Address: 434 Skinner Blvd
Conyers, GA 30012 Dunedin, FL 34698
Document Number – 759899
FEI/EIN Number - 593723251
Control #K815988
Entity Creation Date – 9/2/81

THE EDUCATION CONSORTIUM
Doris V. Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #0139171
Entity Creation Date – 8/28/01

HORIZON ACCOUNTING PROFESSIONALS, INC.
Ronald Ramsey – CEO Registered Agent’s Address
Richard A. Kaye – Registered Agent 1360 Peachtree St., Ste. #1200
Lisa Yanett – CFO Atlanta, GA 30309
Michael Emanuele - Secretary
650 Mount Zion Rd Ste #D
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Control #K609864
Entity Creation Date – 3/5/96

HORIZON STAFFING, INC.
Ronald Ramsey – CEO
Richard Allan Kaye – Registered Agent
Lisa Yanett – CFO
Michael Emanuele - Secretary
650 Mount Zion Rd
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Control #J505024
Entity Creation Date – 12/15/83

HORIZON STAFFING OF CHATHAM COUNTY, INC.
Ronald Ramsey – CEO
Richard Allan Kaye – Registered Agent
Lisa Yanett – CFO
Michael Emanuele - Secretary
650 Mount Zion Rd
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Control #0046628
Entity Creation Date – 10/13/00


JUDGE RAMSEY ORG., INC.
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #062635
Entity Creation Date – 3/14/06

THE KINGDOM GROUP, INC.
Doris Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #K832143
Entity Creation Date – 8/28/98

THE KINGDOM ACADEMY
Doris Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Drive
Decatur GA 30035
(770) 593-9911
http://kingdom-academy.com/

IMEDIAD, INC.
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #0628545
Entity Creation Date – 4/4/06

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION CONSORTIUM, INC.
Doris V. Carrington-Ramsey (Spouse)
5271 Snapfinger Woods Dr
Decatur, GA 30035
Control #07038289
Entity Creation Date – 5/4/07

LITHONIA-ATLANTA PROFESSIONAL FORUM, INC.
PO BOX 1040 6835/6920 Main Street
Lithonia, GA 30058 Lithonia, GA 30058
Control #0019014
Entity Creation Date – 4/17/00

RONALD B. RAMSEY, SR., P.C.
1259 Metropolitan Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30316
Control #K702844
Entity Creation Date – 1/10/97

RON RAMSEY ELECTRIC COMPANY
2840 White Court NE
Conyers, GA 30012
Control #K815988
Entity Creation Date – 4/8/98


And this is a nice campaign contribution:

Educational Consultative Services, Inc. – ($500 – 6/02/08)
ROBERT L. TUCKER of DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEMS
WORKS IN RONALD RAMSEY’S OFFICE

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that a public elected official/high-ranking public school system department head cannot have another business with their family? This school existed before Ron Ramsey became a public elected official/high-ranking public school system department head. He has publicly stated that his wife handles the business related to the school. Should he either divest himself of the business or divorce his wife?

Some of you are really going to extremes.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:32am.

Regarding the Ramsey family.

I have NO problem with DCSS family members having businesses. I have no problem with DCSS family members making money from the taxpayers for child care.

I have a HUGE problem with the business taking tax dollars for a child care and NOT paying corporate TAXES!

The Kingdom Group, owned by VALERIE RAMSEY, whose CFO is RONALD RAMSEY, OWES $173,000 in FEDERAL taxes!

Her company received $278,122 in state dollars for Pre-K just in 2010! She has received over $850,000 in state money since 2006.
That's $170,000 per year.

I think THEY are the ones that are going to the EXTREME!

Pay the DAMN taxes and get a REAL CFO! Ramsey should divest himself from his wife's business.

Your comment is typical of the corruption and unethical people that are RUNNING and RUINING this county!

Here is the link to the AJC article for your review.

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-officials-past-due-1183242.html#.TnYOzBbzeb0.email

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:32,

Being a state senator is a major time commitment, with a full two months required at the state capitol, in the middle of the school year. If he doesn't, Ramsey should take full leave during those two months. His position at DCSS plus co-owning a pre-K means he cannot vote on any legislation related to education. And he's written no meaningful that's ever passed to become law; funny as he's an attorney.

Plus, Ramsey owns or co-owns a number of side businesses.

The Office of Internal Affairs is one of the most important for the school system. If you think the job has his full attention with him being a state senator and co-owning a number of businesses, then bless your heart.

It's no coincidence that retired DCSS administrator Robert Tucker makes a full-time salary assisting Ramsey while also receiving his DCSS pension.

And if mentioned before earlier, if Kerry Ramsey is his daughter, a DCSS lobbyist, and a member of the eduKALB Board, it's more than a bit unseemly. There are plenty of other school system's in the metro area who need lobbyists and don't have her father as one of their highest ranking officials.

The Office of Internal Affairs is supposed to hold DCSS employees to high standards of ethical behavior, including avoiding conflicts of interest. Ramsey seems to have quite a few.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

EduKalb is a joke. I will never join or contribute to the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce again!

Ramsey should have been fired long ago, but I guarantee you he knows where the skeletons are and he will scream is his job is threatened.

Anonymous said...

"And if mentioned before earlier, if Kerry Ramsey is his daughter, a DCSS lobbyist, and a member of the eduKALB Board, it's more than a bit unseemly. There are plenty of other school system's in the metro area who need lobbyists and don't have her father as one of their highest ranking officials."

Wow people. Kerry Ramsey is a 40+ year old man, president of K.D. Ramsey and Associates, a lobbying firm.

Anonymous said...

Wow indeed. All true, Anon 11:01.


....so did you otherwise erudite folks just assume that Kerry Ramsey couldn't have the same name as Ron Ramsey as a pure coincidence, and that he couldn't have a spouse with the same first name as a coincidence? Neither Ramsey nor Valerie are uncommon names. We should park the latter part of this thread under the George Carlin post -- funny but sad. Very sad. Funny wins out, though.

Anonymous said...

RON Ramsey's wife's name is Doris.

Anonymous said...

The main concern that taxpayers may have with respect to Mr. Ramsey is that he was (still is) head of the Office of Internal Affairs while Crawford Lewis and Pat Pope ran DCSS. Both were indicted on racketeering charges. Any employee who was aware of improprieties should have reported them to Mr. Ramsey. If any employees reported illegal or unethical actions, didn't Mr. Ramsey have a responsibility to DeKalb taxpayers to investigate Lewis and Pope and bring that to the appropriate authorities? If any employee knew of an illegal or unethical action (e.g. unauthorized use of the county P-card) and didn't report this to Mr. Ramsey, wouldn't this trigger an investigation of that person(s)? I suppose the Lewis and Pope trials will reveal if any DCSS employees knew of any improprieties and did they report these (as required) to Mr. Ramsey.

Anonymous said...

Ron Ramsey's wife's name is Doris V. Ramsey, as in Valerie Ramsey. On all of her various business licenses, she alternately goes by Doris, Doris V., Dolores, and Valerie Ramsey.

Anonymous said...

Funny, on his website, http://ronaldramsey.org/, on his bio, he mentions everything about himself other than his full-time job with DCSS.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Ronald Ramsey is trying to hide the fact he has a full time job with DCSS(D?). He never mentions it and the local media is complicit to keep his little secret. Did you ever see Ramsey on TV when Clew and Pope were indicted? I didn't. He is asleep at the wheel and if Dr. Atkinson truly wants change, Ron Ramsey will be shown the door, if not well we're not in for any change just more of the same from the most corrupt government entity in Metro Atlanta.

How long can these people keep getting away with this stuff? Will someone in the media please start investigating this bunch and start asking the "Tough Questions"?

Anonymous said...

Ron Ramsey and his sidekick, Robert Tucker, are as corrupt as they come.

Ramsey's corruptness and his part-time work for full-time pay were enabled by Crawford Lewis.

Nothing changed under Tyson. Of course, Tyson is beholden to Ramsey because she was one of only 4 direct reports to Lewis (and Marcus Turk, also beholden to Ramsey, reported to Tyson) when Lewis committed his RICO crimes. Tyson had to have known what was going on and she had to have been the one who approved Marcus Turk's payment of p-card bills that were for Lewis's personal expenses.

By all rights, Tyson (and Turk, too) should have been arrested and should be awaiting trial for knowingly enabling fraud.

Anonymous said...

Is someone really alleging that Ramona Tyson had knowledge of the RICO crimes allegedly committed by Dr. Lewis, thus should have been arrested? This blog really has some guts to allow comments like that. I guess anything goes here.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:17
If you DON'T think knowledge of the corruption in Dekalb Schools is widespread among the palace elite, you are living under a rock. Turk KNEW of the p-card use and at one point looked the other way. As for Tyson: her meteoric rise to interim superintendent deserves scrutiny. I think the eagerness with which she left the interim superintendency might indicate she wanted to get outta Dodge before the marshals ride into town.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:17 If you honestly think that only Lewis, Pope, Mr. Pope, and Pope's secretary were the only people who knew what was going on, you need to crawl back under a rock. Others had to know. Turk who deals with the P-Card and the bills had to know. What about Lewis's secretary? What about others at the top of the administration chain? Come on, after working in the district for 3 years and living here for 4 years, corruption is everywhere. Open your eyes and smell the coffee.

Anonymous said...

I had to read this again, and had no idea about Ramsey. The family business has received almost a million dollars of taxpayer money from the state while he's a state senator (?), plus his family owes hundreds of thousands in federal taxes. Oh my lord. He is the general counsel for the family business as listed. He clearly knew about the owed back taxes.

I'd love to see how much of his time during his DCSS work day is spent on non-DCSS business. This guy is too much, and he's a DCSS dept. head???


http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-officials-past-due-1183242.html#.TnYOzBbzeb0.email

Taxes owed by the Kingdom Group, a Decatur child care business run by Doris V. Carrington-Ramsey, the wife of Sen. Ronald Ramsey, D-Lithonia, also were blamed on the economy.

The IRS filed $173,000 in liens against the center for unpaid taxes from 2007-2010. While owing the federal government, the Kingdom Group was getting money from the state for childcare services. The center received $278,122 in pre-k money from the state last year and has received about $850,000 in state money since 2006.

Sen. Ramsey lists himself as vice president and general counsel for the company, although his wife said he has not played an active role in the business since he took office in 2007.

“I am solely responsible for this tax matter which I hope to resolve in the near future,” she said, adding that lower enrollment in recent years has hurt the business. The Kingdom Group is making installment payments to the IRS to pay off the debt.

Anonymous said...

@10:22, if what you say is true, that means you are guilty also of being an accessory as you did not report anything to the proper authorities. You along with every employee of the school system and every citizen in this county is guilty. My standard is higher, I believe you must have indisputable PROOF not a belief or allegation.

To my knowledge, no one has been found guilty of anything yet. We only have an indictment which is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. Looks like there is a desire for vigilante justice on this blog.