Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Open Records Request yields interesting information about SPLOST

Open Records Requests often yield information that although included in the request, is actually part of another conversation. All communication to and from board members is public information, therefore when a group of citizens requested all of Nancy Jester’s email correspondence, they came to possess a conversation about SPLOST IV that I found a very relevant and interesting ‘aside’.

It seems that Nancy was ‘virtually’ bullied by Gene Walker and others on the board for her vote against the SPLOST IV construction plans put forth by the board. She was also very concerned about the apparent advocacy by employees of the district for the passage of SPLOST. She repeatedly sought information and pointed out problems as she saw them. There was some very serious ‘cheerleading’ for SPLOST IV by some DCSS power players behind the scenes—a big ‘no-no’ legally speaking.

Below are some quotes from the stack of hard copies of the emails requested and received by the Dunwoody group:

Responding to Nancy’s inquiry as to the rumor that there was a meeting about SPLOST IV that evening, Barbara Colman (DCSS COO and head of construction) sent an email to the entire board announcing the upcoming meetings at the offices of ODE (Organization of DeKalb Educators) scheduled by “Friends of DeKalb”, the PAC with the goal of passing SPLOST IV.

Dr Walker responded, asking Nancy, “Since you have publicly stated your opposition to SPLOST IV what use would you have for such info?”
Nancy’s response: “Thank you for asking. First let me clarify what I have and have not stated publicly. As you recall, I did not vote in favor of this SPLOST resolution and stated the reasons for my vote prior to the vote. This is not congruent with being against SPLOST IV as a financial mechanism. This is an important difference.”

She goes on to explain that she wanted the info in order to keep a current calendar for her constituents. (Nancy maintains a blog which you can find here.)

Nancy asks in a later email to Barbara Colman, Dr. Atkinson, Ms. Tyson and the rest of the board, “Will our attorneys be present? This is a meeting of an advocacy group expressly gathered to promote the passage of SPLOST. As such, any use of employees and county resources dedicated to this meeting must be clear that they cannot advocate for this tax but only provide information. Also, if a group formed to advocate against the tax would the county provide equivalent personnel and resources? I want to make sure we are operating in compliance with the law.”

Ramona Tyson replied to the group, “Ms. Jester, Again, the administration has never met with this group or any other group to promote the passage of SPLOST. Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan (SAB) continually meets with staff to provide guidance and direction on our role which is simply to provide information to requesting groups. We have been scripted and advised in meetings with SAB on our role. We repeatedly communicate this to you and will continue to do every time we receive this type of communication We have been told by SAB that we may attend meetings where we are asked to provide information but never promote SPLOST. We are in full compliance now, and the past and will continue in the future. You have received emails that are archived that communicate this same position.”

To which Nancy replied, “Let me assure you my memory is serving me quite well here. Again, I write about this matter because I am not convinced that our staff is compliant with the letter or spirit of the law. I hope that offers clarity and assurance that I shall not drop this matter. To this point, I am in possession of an email from a staff member that states, '…the school district is asking for your energy, enthusiasm and support once again.'” 

Nancy goes on to indicate that Tyson’s statement is false since the email she obtained clearly predates Tyson’s assertion that “the administration has never met with this group or any other group to promote the passage of SPLOST” (see the above Tyson quote). Tyson was copied on that earlier email and was, therefore, aware that the staff member had been meeting with the PAC from earlier in the summer.

Tyson replied, “Give us this staff member’s name so that we can address this through personnel.” Nancy then replies that she will forward the original email from the employee to the attorneys and Tom Bowen.

Later in the emails collected, Paul Womack forwarded an email to the board written by Eric Johnson (former state legislator who proposed building prison camps for illegal immigrants) describing why he is supporting SPLOST. Nancy replied that Eric Johnson lives in Savannah and that his email was about Chatham County’s SPLOST and wasn’t meant to advocate for SPLOST in DeKalb. Further, of course, Eric Johnson cannot and will not vote in DeKalb. She questioned the relevance of Johnson’s actions in Savannah to support for SPLOST in DeKalb since the circumstances, which she described, were so different.

Gene Walker then responded with an email to Nancy stating that, “It both saddens and disappoints me to see how transparent and consistent you are in attempting to diminish or dash any scintilla of support one might muster for the November vote on DeKalb’s SPLOST. However, the most hurtful and insulting aspect of your response is your expressing the need to clarify any confusion over Eric’s email. In case you’re not aware, the implication is that your level of reading and comprehension is superior to ours.”

That comment made me chuckle. How could Nancy’s questioning the use of sharing the opinion of a former state legislator from hundreds of miles away to promote our SPLOST be “hurtful” or imply that she has superior reading skills? As I read it, I interpreted Nancy’s reply to only infer that Womack was misrepresenting support for DeKalb’s SPLOST by allowing people to assume that this email from Johnson promoted DeKalb’s SPLOST. Perhaps Nancy should no longer infer anything. Perhaps she should just say exactly what she is thinking.

However, Walker continues to berate Jester in his four paragraph email stating that he is well aware that Johnson does not represent DeKalb but that “former state senator Johnson’s explanation of SPLOST and why he supports it for his community is one of the least confusing and credible examples one can offer regarding the value of SPLOST and how it is managed. And the importance and meaning of his e-mail to me is that he is encouraging people in Georgia, no matter their county, to vote 'Yes' for SPLOST.”

So basically, Walker figures it is perfectly fine to plagiarize and send out someone else’s email with the intent of swaying voters in your own district on your own version of a similar issue. Interesting.

I read the Johnson email in its entirety. Not only does he not mention anything about the rest of the state SPLOSTs, nor encourage anyone anywhere else to vote for a SPLOST, Johnson references only specific tax benefits for Chatham County such as reducing the millage rate by 3 mils over 5 years (not true for DeKalb). He also says they have the lowest millage rate in the metro area (not true for DeKalb). In fact, he specifically says that property taxes will increase by law to pay for approved bonds (in Chatham County only). Further, one entire paragraph in Johnson’s email is devoted to the fact that SPLOST will provide much needed construction jobs for people. Specifically, he states, “This isn’t spending tax dollars as a ‘stimulus’ for green jobs or politically-correct purposes, but real, good-paying construction jobs.”

Nancy responded by reiterating the tax implication in DeKalb for non-passage of SPLOST, “If SPLOST fails, it would sunset and (the $2500 exemption) would result in a $57 per year increase in property taxes. This would be the same for any property. ($2500 x 22.98 mils). If the voters of DeKalb passed a SPLOST in the future, I believe that exemption would return."

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW! I'm very impressed with Nancy. I have a feeling this is part of what the Grand Jury may be investigating. It is time for the board members to be held accountable. My gut tells me this is just the beginning...

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Unreal! Does anyone think Eugene Walker and for that matter Womack should resign at the next BOE meeting? This was blatant cheerleading by our BOE members. I also wonder who the DCSS employee is, that Nancy speaks of, who wrote an email that expresses the need of support for SPLOST IV. Time to lawyer up again!

Great read and let's have some more Open Records requests, what a treasure trove of info. Puts that whole embarrassing meeting in perspective, when the BOE members walked out on Jester, McChesney and Pam Speaks explaining why they voted against SPLOST.

I hope the investigation continues, DA James will be put under a lot of pressure to squelch this, but I think the cat is out of the bag and we're about to find out a whole lot more about just how DCSS has been enriching friends and family members of our elected, formerly elected and hired leaders of the once "Premiere" school system....

Will the taxpayers be on the hook for the defense lawyers of our BOE members if charges are brought against them? I'm afraid I know the answer to this question and it's not a good one for our students and teachers. I hope I'm wrong.

Dekalbparent said...

Kinda tickled that this blog post immediately follows the post on the anti-bullying effort started by the former DCSS students...

Dekalb property owner said...

Nancy Jester must have a lot of guts and patience to deal with that kind of bullying from her fellow board members. I am glad someone with her integrity is on the board. (I voted against this SPLOST.)

Anonymous said...

Entire DCSS reported to be taking "FMLA"

"Fire My Lazy A$$"

Anonymous said...

I did not know promotion of splost was not allowed by board members. Jay CunninghM was standing in his usual spot on an island area Along Wesley Chapel RoD holding his 'vote yes for splost' sign. He was on his phone at that time.

I say usual spot because this is where he stoop when he was running for reelection.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my typos, I am on a phone

Anonymous said...

Actually, as "private citizens" board members can do anything they want. So, they have the same freedom of speech as the rest of us, as long as they aren't on school system time or using school system resources, like their email addresses.

School board positions are part-time, so technically he probably didn't violate any laws.

However, it certainly falls in the fuzzy ethical area. No surprise there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:34pm.

Let me try and help you understand the law, elected officials and private citizens.

Board Members are elected officials of DeKalb County and the School District.

They receive $23,420 per year as an elected official.

They have the ability to create potential laws that actually citizens vote on. SPLOST, an increase in the mileage rate, etc.

They can not promote a referendum that they (BOE) voted to have on the ballot. (PERIOD)

If I am on the BOE and created a motion to pass legislation that is voted on by the citizens of DeKalb County, then I am not allowed to promote or advocate for the legislation. As a person or a board member.

End of story.

Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter said...

Curious if the Dunwoody group was charged a fee for these documents. We were sent a letter from an attorney asking for hundreds of dollars when we asked for cell tower meeting minutes and contracts and proposals.

Briarlake apparantly had no trouble when they asked for the same thing. They also reportedly have copies of the research the board relied upon that showed them the health risks were "50/50."

What is the trick to getting this board to comply with Open Records? Can we ask them to just post all the contracts on their website so all the schools can see exactly what they were signed up for?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 5:08
I’m not arguing or disputing your point, but what “law” do you base this on?
So they’re elected by the citizens and paid by the county. Do they lose their First Amendment rights because of this?
The point made by Anon 4:34 sounds more reasonable. As long as they’re not acting in their official capacity as a board member or using board/school system resources, what law are they breaking?

Anonymous said...

There was a very interesting comment on DeKalb County School Watch regarding the use of the DCSS server/website (Druid Hills HS) which had information advocating for SPLOST IV. The following web address had the information listed below:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/druidhills/announcements/announcements.html

Here is an excerpt:
“Upcoming Meetings on the School SPLOST
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: …….If you or someone you know would like a yard sign supporting the school SPLOST, please contact …. at the above address. ”

Then it went on to list the positives if SPLOST IV passed and the negatives if it didn't pass.

The DCSS website is one of the primary means of communication for DCSS.

IMO - It was not appropriate to post this on the Druid Hills website which is part of the school system server.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to get a copy of the actual grand jury report? The presentment is not yet posted on the DeKalb DA website.

PolitiMom said...

@anon 5:30
I think this is similar to the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from participating in political campaigns. Yes, it is a violation of freedom of speech, but more likely a protection from undue influence.

I'm so proud of Nancy Jester. And so relieved to know she is consistent with her views and commitment to watchdogging behind closed doors. I just wish the AJC would pick up on it and act like investigative reporters for once. Time for Bowen and Walker to go.

Anonymous said...

If you are having trouble with Open Records request and you believe DCSS is not living up to the letter of the law, you can (and should) contact the GA General Attorney Sam Olens. This is a big issue with/for him and he and his office will give you guidance.

http://law.ga.gov/02/ago/home/0,2705,87670814,00.html

Yes, it is legal to be charged for the records you request, but governments are required to be the most cost efficient as possible. (For example, offering electronic copies rather than paper)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

In Fulton, pro-SPLOST meetings were held by PTAs at schools, so I am not sure there is any law prohibiting anything. If someone could site the law, I would be interested.

Anonymous said...

PTAs can advocate for SPLOST, but school system employees cannot advocate for SPLOST in their roles of school employees. I looked at some of the Fulton PTA websites that advocated for SPLOST. They were not hosted on the Fulton server.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea on the part of these parents for getting this information via Open Records. I guarantee any random set of records would reveal something just as conniving and over the top as this.

Nancy Jester, thank you for being willing to tolerate this type of garbage and showing us there are people out there who understand what they are supposed to do as board members.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I have a favor. I would like to submit an Open Records request myself. If the individual(s) who submitted the one reference here would contact me so I can find out how this was done I would appreciate it. Please email me at dunwoodyschooldaze@yahoo.com.

Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

In order to file an Open Records Request, you can simply send an email or letter requesting the items that you would like to see. The legal citation is O.C.G.A. §§ 50-14-1(a)(1), 50-18-70(a). You can go to the Attorney General's website and view information about the open records act and FAQs about filing an open records request:
http://www.georgia.gov/00/article/0,2086,87670814_87670967_87996517,00.html

FAQs are here:
http://law.ga.gov/00/channel_modifieddate/0,2096,87670814_87996542,00.html

Cerebration said...

We have a link on the side panel of the home page under "Favorite Links" called Open Records Generator". It was developed by journalism students and after you input some parameters, it will generate a professionally written legal request. Then you just email or snail mail it to the relevant person/people. Pretty cool!

There is also a very good organization devoted to Open Records in Georgia called the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. Their website is

http://www.gfaf.org/

Cerebration said...

Also, we are getting reports that the school system puts its attorneys on many of these requests and they may write you a letter stating that the cost to dig up and copy what you seek will cost a ridiculous amount of money. Do not pay. You are entitled to a low cost response. In fact, you are entitled to go to the main office and look through the documents to see what you'd like to have copied (many times they try to get away with sending you a lot of items that are not exactly what you are looking for - wasting your time and money). Jim Walls at Atlanta Unfiltered is an expert in Open Records. He has helped us several times. Many journalists are devoted to this cause, as this is taxpayer money -- your money -- and you are entitled to see how it is spent.

Of course - the Online Check Register would be a big step into the light for the school system!

Anonymous said...

@Cere 8:49...I went to hit the "like" button on your comment and forgot this was a blog. Well said re: online check register!

Anonymous said...

Gene Walker had to bully Nancy, as he made a deal with the Fernbank mafia. They support his re-election, he gets them a new school, even though they just had a renovation a few years ago. Quid quo pro.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Confirmation of Marcus Turk's "reassignment":

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-superintendent-sidelines-finance-1291141.html

Anonymous said...

And you have to love Gene Walker: (from the AJC article about Turk)

School board member Eugene Walker said Turk was an "excellent employee" and that he didn't know why Atkinson dismissed him. He also said such staffing decisions are within the superintendent's purview.

"All we do is hold the superintendent accountable for the results," he said.

Anonymous said...

"Woods would not comment about the specifics surrounding Turk's dismissal. The former finance chief will continue working for the district in another role, Woods said."...
..."School board member Eugene Walker said Turk was an "excellent employee" and that he didn't know why Atkinson dismissed him. He also said such staffing decisions are within the superintendent's purview."

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-superintendent-sidelines-finance-1291141.html

Anonymous said...

@ 8:12 pm

""All we do is hold the superintendent accountable for the results," he said."

Yet Walker NEVER held Lewis accountable for results as student achievement in DCSS low income schools plummeted. Tyson had the worst results of all yet he wanted her to be the permanent superintendent.

Look how many relatives he has working for the school system.
From the AJC::
"Relatives working for system: Son is a resource officer; daughter-in-law is a secretary; granddaughter is a secretary; several relatives are also longtime employees of the school district."

http://www.ajc.com/news/school-board-report-card-669675.html

Anonymous said...

Walker needs to be gone he is old school. He should have just said the board is behind our super. No he did not because he is part and the friends and family. If he had been doing his job we would not be in the mess. Go home walker plant some flowers or watch soaps. It's a new day the gig is up.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that Walker is falling apart over the changes. (Not sure what to call them -- reassignments, firings, etc?)

Anyhow, Walker is MAD.

Anonymous said...

A not-so-veiled threat from Gene Walker. This is the first time I have heard him utter the word "accountability" vis a vis a superintendent. I expect he and those BOE members who have the most to lose will begin to undermine Dr. Atkinson, as this comment in the AJC subtly does. Here's what I think: the BOE members who voted for Dr. A thought they were getting a super they could manipulate. The deal, they thought, was that they'd pay her a boatload and she -- so happy to lead a school district of such career-building size -- would do as they directed. Instead, I think this woman has more character than they counted on. I bet she is learning about corrupt practices she never in her wildest dreams thought she'd encounter. I am thrilled that these stories are creeping their way to the surface - the Grand Jury presentment; the collapse of NewBirth Academy which brings attention to the expensive-to-run DCSS charter school on the same property; Berry's departure; the growing batch of reassignments; Wood's promise of "drastic" personnel changes. That said, members of this BOE will fight to maintain their power and influence. Dr. A may turn out to be the super who surfaces all the issues, gets rid of toxic personnel, and recalibrates the district during what will turn out to be a brief and stormy tenure.

Anonymous said...

Breif and stomy.. you are correct. Three Black highly qualified thrown to the wolves. Three Black women down the tube. All replaced by whites. Yes, bring on the accountability, Dr. Walker and bring it on soon. Wonder whose watching the "money" now? We do not need any more furlough days and we need our tax sheltered money as promised. Stop the waste...paying high salaries to replace folk who are in holding cages. Increase in student achievement..can't wait to see the test scores!

Anonymous said...

If PTA's are allowed to advocate for a tax, then the rules should be very clear that the PTA board take a vote as to a formal public position. Then in their correspondence, they should report that a vote was taken and affirmed.

If not, members of the PTA that are not in favor of the tax would have a legitimate complaint about the way the PTA is being managed.

ts a member organization with board representation and require disclosure as to public positions assigned to the organization.

Anonymous said...

Here is the saddest part of the Nancy Jester/Gene Walker back and forth:

Gene Walker has a history of trying to BULLY WOMEN.

And the feckless, weak BOE Chair Tom Bowen ALLOWS WALKER TO KEEP BULLYING!!

Shame of you Gene Walker, a bully with a scandalous past.

This is a new one:
http://www.accessnorthgeorgia.com/detail.php?n=193825
"In Tuesday's motion, Gillen accused Baker, Baker aide Sam Tillman and Parole Board member Gene Walker of trying to cover up a written record of a telephone call Baker allegedly made on behalf of a convicted cocaine trafficker."

Older Walker mess:
www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=150517
www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=165732



You, Chairman Tom Bowen, are even more of a disgrace. You should at least know better.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-superintendent-sidelines-finance-1291141.html

School board member Eugene Walker said Turk was an "excellent employee" and that he didn't know why Atkinson dismissed him. He also said such staffing decisions are within the superintendent's purview.

"All we do is hold the superintendent accountable for the results," he said.


--

Left unsaid by Walker and the AJC: Gene Walker has at least five or six families members working for the school system, some without college degrees yet making more than actual teachers!!!

Anonymous said...

No sane adult can read Walker's past comments, or watch his behavior at BOE meetings, and state that he is a competent, professional, mature, responsible elected official. He is truly an embarassment to the school system and county as a whole.

If I can find the time, I'm thinking about leading a recall against him.

Anonymous said...

If Walker runs for re-election, I can't imagine him getting a vote from any female voter not related to him.

Anonymous said...

Walker has been granted a stay of execution by the legislature.

Even though the new law states that we should reduce the size of the school board from 9 to 7, the plan is to make ALL the board members whose terms are coming to an end this year run for re-election. For 2 board spots.

They legislature is planning on granting Eugene Walker his own district and let him be one of the 5 remaining board members.

Even though the county will not have any "Super Districts", he is getting a special exemption to have his own district.

Does that seem fair to the other black female board member who has a super district?

I don't think so!

Also, Eugene Walker lives about 2 miles away from another BOE member, Jay Cunningham.

They have proposed "CARVING" out a new district to include Eugene Walker that does not include Jay Cunnigham?

Does this seem fair?

Sounds very similar to the Cynthia McKinley district that was carved out for her a decade ago!

I have serious issues with Walker getting a district and Pam Speaks NOT getting a district! WTH?

Can someone please explain to me why this is happening without a peep from the media?

Anonymous said...

Ever hear the story about the state Democratic Party telling Gene Walker they didn't want him to run for re-election after his four terms of state senator? Even they had enough of his shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

Yet the Fernbank mafia supported Gene Walker for re-election.

Anonymous said...

"Left unsaid by Walker and the AJC: Gene Walker has at least five or six families members working for the school system, some without college degrees yet making more than actual teachers!!!"

The inference behind this statement demonstrates a total lack of knowledge about compensation. There are a LOT of workers that make more than teachers that do not have college degrees. Plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics are a few of these. If you hire workers with these type of skills, you will need to pay the prevailing rate to keep the good ones. That rate could be more than what some teachers make, especially when you consider the years of service and experience. Otherwise you'll be stuck with that bad ones that can end up costing the taxpayers even more. You get what you pay for.

My point is not on Walker's family members or what they make. It does not make a difference if they were employed prior to him becoming a board member. Show proof that his family members where hired solely on their last name and that they lack the skills for the jobs they are performing. This applies to ANY employee that has or had a friend or family member that worked for the school system, which there are MANY.

If you keep point fingers at the wrong areas and people, you will become like "Chicken Little' and no one will believe you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:23.

I have serious issues with people thinking, "You have to pay them that much to be able to hire the best!"

That is total BS and you know it!

There are thousands of people out of work currently. Even people with Masters degrees from a real college! Not some online institution.

I agree with you that there are plenty of professions out there that pay more than teachers.

I disagree with our educational system (not you) that administrators are paid MORE than teachers. Teachers are the ones that get the job done! Teachers are also the ones that don't get the job done.
No matter how hard it is, get rid of the bad ones.
If Walker's relatives are productive employees in the system, then they are secure in their job.

The problem that so many people have is with "Friends and Family" members who have NO EXPERIENCE being hired OVER qualified applicants that HAVE experience in the job.

I assume you are an electrician, plumber or mechanic? Because the people I know in those professions are not making a ton of money. Definitely not 6 figures.

When I see an administrative assistant job posted on the DCSS website that pays $90,000, I want to know where in the hell does someone come up with that salary?
Because you want to hire the best administrative assistant? (HELL NO!)
When we have several departments within DCSS being run by "Friends and Family" that have had no prior experience in their specific field EXCEPT at DCSS, I have issues.

Especially when I hear of expensive software systems that have been purchased with MY TAX DOLLARS that are not even being used in the department. They are sitting on the shelves!
I am specifically referring to the TRANSPORTATION Dept.

Do I need to tell you who is in charge of that department? Probably not. It's not Walker's relative.

Please don't give me the standard line about compensation having to be raised to attract the best employees. If we got what we paid for we would have HIGHLY EDUCATED CHILDREN IN DEKALB!

How you like them apples?

Anonymous said...

Let's see if Dr. A can successfully tackle that department and relatives. Go Dr. A!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:49,

I don't know what you were trying to say in your first 3 paragraphs. Have you seen any statistics showing the white collar worker wages have fallen? I've seen them go up because organizations are doing more with fewer workers. Blue collar worker wages have fallen drastically, partly because you have undocumented workers willing to work for lower wages off the books and because they are more skilled workers seeking traditional blue collar jobs because the white collar job ranks have shrunk. I'm sure you know that teacher salaries have not kept up with inflation and in some cases have fallen. There are also fewer teachers. This is true around the country.

Yes, there are thousands of college graduates without jobs. Many are probably liberal arts majors. I have not seen many job openings with those with philosophy, art history or African studies degrees. I understand the job market is still good for those with science and engineering degrees. In other words, there is still demand for technical skills.

Can you name one industry where field workers make the same or more than management? I don't think you can. That's the way of the world. Does every manager in most organizations have prior experience in that area they oversee? Some do and some don't. I know of a lot of MBAs that got management jobs out of school (years ago of course) because they were smart and could be trained in that area.

Yes, there are probably former teachers that have headed areas like construction, HR, IT and finance in years past. While they may understand the business of running a school system, they don't understand that particular area. What they should do is hire people with that functional expertise and manage them. That is what happens in most organizations.

We work in a world of supply and demand. When you have a large supply of a resource, that can drive overall prices down. Specialist can still make top dollar. That's probably why urban superintendents can make what they do. That's also why good electricians, plumbers, and auto mechanics make what they do.

You were obviously referring to Frances Edwards son in law in your post. I think military transportation or logistics specialist could also do a good job in that area. I don't know anything about his education or work history. Do you? Is that the same department where a few Cherry relatives work?

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Nancy!!!!! We need more board members like you. How dare you be smarter than the others...haha....the lies that are told and so easily revealed! Do they not care they'll be discovered or are they really not smart enough to know they will?? So sad these people oversee our children's education. Pathetic!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Which Cherry relatives work for DCSS? We have mentioned the relatives of other administration personnel, as well as relatives of Board members, but Jim Cherry was superintendent a while ago, and I would suppose his children and their generation would be approaching retirement age. Are there grandchildren or in-laws?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:56

You are right. Supply and demand will rule in the end.

My 92 year old mom was a nurse. She had two daughters who were teachers (my sister and myself). They each had a child. Both of those children are teachers. When we get together, the teachers and former teachers bemoan the low compensation, lack of respect and poor working conditions of teachers.

My mom tells her grandchildren not to worry. She cites what happened in the nursing field and sees a parallel in the teaching field.

This is her theory.

30 years ago, nurses were very low paid and low on the totem pole in terms of respect and working conditions.

As a result, nurses left the field in droves. When the health care industry realized that nurses were an absolutely critical part of the medical profession, there was a concerted effort to train and hire nurses. But by then, many young people who would have gone into nursing had a negative view of the profession. They were eventually lured back into nursing by a substantial increase in compensation and better working conditions. Nurses today command very good compensation and have a lot of control over their schedules.

My mom says that this is what will happen in teaching as well. She says she saw it happen in her profession, and this will happen in teaching too.

Cerebration said...

Regarding the new districts - it now looks like the lawmakers who brought forth this change from 9 to 7 have placed the responsibility of drawing the new district lines squarely on the board itself.

This is from Mary Margaret Oliver's newsletter today:

MMO has pre-filed for consideration in the 2012 Session two bills, HB 671 and 672. HB 671 implements the specific directions of 2011 legislation that reduces the DeKalb School Board’s nine member Board to seven members. Because of this reduction in Board size and the need to reapportion districts based on the 2010 Census, new district lines must be drawn and the election of seven new board members must be staggered over 2012 and 2014 election cycles. MMO has met with constituents and school advocates on this proposal and has requested that the School Board submit new district lines to the DeKalb Delegation for review.

Anonymous said...

I really, really hope that Amy Power, Marshall Orson, the Fernbank PTA, and the rest of the nameless cowards from the "Friends of DeKalb Schools" sincerely regret their support of Gene Walker. You too, ODE's David Schutten.

Gene Walker is going to be the cause of the school system losing SACS accreditation. He's that out of control, especially with the personnel moves by Dr. Atkinson. He is furious (he knows that the pro-nepotism C Lew administrators are on their way out), and he's this close to saying or doing something that SACS won't be able to ignore.

His rude, passive aggressive, ignorant e-mails to Nancy Jester are just the tip of the iceberg. Any threat to the Walker clan's cushy job set-up, no matter how unqualified they are, will result in Walker losing it, and the entire school system will pay the price.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of jacka#$ Gene Walker...


From State Rep. Mary-Margaret Oliver's newsletter:

MMO Legislative Activities: MMO has pre-filed for consideration in the 2012 Session two bills, HB 671 and 672. HB 671 implements the specific directions of 2011 legislation that reduces the DeKalb School Board’s nine member Board to seven members. Because of this reduction in Board size and the need to reapportion districts based on the 2010 Census, new district lines must be drawn and the election of seven new board members must be staggered over 2012 and 2014 election cycles. MMO has met with constituents and school advocates on this proposal and has requested that the School Board submit new district lines to the DeKalb Delegation for review.

HB 672 provides that a new city may not be legislatively created in less than a two year legislative term, and is introduced, in part, in response to a proposal for the new city of Brookhaven in DeKalb County. MMO has met with Commissioners Kathy Gannon and Jeff Rader, and representatives of the county and city associations about the process for creating new cities in general. At issue, in part, is the goal to create new cities based on financial viability standards, and to give voters more options on how they wish to receive city services. This discussion will be ongoing in the House Government Affairs Committee on which MMO serves.

MMO recently met with the new Department of Family and Children Services Director Ron Scoggins to discuss HB 633 which creates a centralized child abuse reporting telephone line and intake system. A central intake system is now operating in 157 counties for the hours when DFCS offices are not open.

You can review these or any other bill filed at the General Assembly web-site http://www.marymargaretoliver.org/http://www.legis.state.ga.us, and additional updates will be provided on MMO’s Facebook and web site www.marymargaretoliver.org.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:30

Your mom is a very astute person. Nursing and teaching were both female dominated fields. When your mom worked, women did not have the job opportunities they have today in the workplace. As a result, during her time both fields got the top students. Once Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity laws were passed in the 60's, more opportunities became available to women. The top students naturally pursued those. Nursing and teaching then had to fill jobs with the next tier of students.

I recall when nurses had low nurse-patient ratios in hospitals. Over time that has increased significantly. Does that seem similar to what we are seeing with teacher-student ratios?

Supply and demand may influence differentiated teacher pay, especially for special needs, math and science teachers. It will be interesting to see which school district proposes this as a solution for hiring highly qualified teachers in those high needs areas.