Last night, the DeKalb Delegation hosted its annual public meeting, at DeKalb Tech's very nice new conference center.
Unfortunately, one a third of the delegation members attended, and many were late. Yes, they are in session and of course are very busy, but they only hold this public meeting once a year. For two-thirds of them to miss it, it makes a statement that public input is somewhat unimportant. And only a few of the delegation members e-mailed their constituents to even advertise the meeting.
Anyway, back to DCSS business. The huge inequity regarding school capital improvement funds from the state was brought up. Gwinnett is getting approx. $40 mil, Cobb is getting a big amount, and even Clayton is getting millions. But DCSS is getting just over a million.
But thankfully, all of the delegation members present readily acknowledges this is a problem they need to help solve. Rep. Fran Millar, who is AWESOME and a real straight shooter, took the lead and made it very clear this was a major issue for him and the delegation. His short speech was spot-on good stuff.
Even with the disappointment of so many delegation member no-shows, it was greatly reassuring that the delegation realized how important the state capital improvement dollars for DCSS issue really is. It was impressive to them get fired up and ready to work for DCSS students and county taxpayers! For DCSS to achieve to its fullest, we need the DeKalb Delegation and county commisisoners to work hand in glove with the BOE in certain areas. Things are looking up!
Great news -- and THANK YOU!! O&T - you get the award for First to Publish his Own Post!!!
Cross Keys Meeting Tonight
Tonight at 6:00 p.m. meeting at Cross Keys to discuss proposed renovations, and possible merger of Cross Keys and the ND Tech Center. merger info was relayed to me by someone who read a post here last week. I cannot get confirmation of this from Cross Keys, DCSS PR or Pat Pope's office (Operations). I was just told to attend the meeting, which is not on the Cross Keys calendar, not on the county calendar - it took a few calls and e-mails to confirm it but I got no details. I wonder if anyone will attend?
If anyone has any background you can share on this, I'd appreciate it.
[Disclosure: I'm a DCSS grad (Briarcliff) and DCSS parent. I am also a freelance writer working with the new Brookhaven Reporter (www.reporternewspapers.net), so will be covering DeKalb news as a reporter - and a parent. I will always respect privacy & boundaries, but have a lot of catch up to do to report accurately, so any help is appreciated.]
(Cerebration - I don't have a gmail account so I can't make this into a new post, so I'm adding on here.)
The merger isn't proposed. It is happening. DCSS traded Georgia Perimeter College the ND Tech Center building for some land GPC owned to use for the new elementary school.
I need to clarify - You only need a gmail account in order to be the administrator (no takers on that job yet) - you can use any email account to write posts and publish them. A variety of people can be writers. It would be great if you could write up what you learn tonight... send me an email and I'll put you on to be a front page poster!
There has been very little info published on this merger. The mommy is correct in that the HSTN land has been sold (traded) to GPS for land for the new Dunwoody Elementary.
Ask why there was $10 million allocated for EACH of these moves -- DeKalb School of the Arts ($10 M for the move PLUS reno to Avondale HS), $10 million for moving the Admin to Mtn Industrial and $10 M for moving Open Campus... Where is the $10 M to move HSTN to Cross KEys?
Why has Cross Keys not been addressed, even though it has been SECOND on the list of priorities for SPLOST 3?
Ask Dr. Lewis if this merger is part of his recently very public announcement to the business community that DCSS was going to invest in Vo-Tech high schools...IS he planning to make this a shining example of a great tech high school???!
There was a very important message posted last week by a Cross Keys teacher - I'll move it here --
I'm a teacher at Cross Keys. (And I waited until was home on my own computer to post this comment!) I've taught there for 10 years, and I love it. The kids are awesome. I can assure you that they are the reason I'm still there. Every year I flirt with the idea of leaving "Premier DeKalb," or asking for a transfer to a school closer to my home, but I can never bring myself to do it because of the students. I am thrilled to see all the support for CK on this blog. The county has long ignored us. Last year, at a student advisory meeting, Crawford Lewis told student representatives from all the high schools that he had completed his goal of visiting all DeKalb schools. A Cross Keys student called him out and said he had not been to CK. I found that rather telling.
So Lewis came to CK this past Tuesday to speak to the student body (and to complete his "goal"). As a result we had to cancel our spring sports pep rally that had already been scheduled that week. The students were very excited about having the pep rally. We were going to have a student vs. faculty basketball game. But two assemblies in one week would be too much...according to our administration. Lewis spoke on and on about dreams, not letting obstacles get in your way, breaking stereotypes, blah, blah, blah. While he seemed to genuinely care about the students of DeKalb, the man could not once identify with his audience, which consisted of 70% Latino students. He did not once use the word "Latino" or "Hispanic." Instead he referred to Cross Keys students as African-American and "students from other countries." I found that rather telling. I'm thrilled to see how many bloggers plan to attend the meeting on February 11. I know that several readers of this blog have expressed support for Pat Pope, but I have to say that I've seen her in action at Cross Keys meetings. She was extremely rude and disrespectful not just to teachers, but to parents and students. We feel cheated at Cross Keys. When SPLOST III passed, we were 2nd on the list to receive renovations. (We never received the new HVAC system promised to us during SPLOST II.) Now it looks as though most of the money allocated to us will not be used to renovate the building. Instead it will be used to bring DHST North to Cross Keys.
The restrooms on 1st Wing frequently back up because tree roots have grown under the building and around the pipes. If a teacher wants to turn the heat or A/C on, she must go into the hallway with a yardstick, poke it through the ceiling tile, and press a switch. We experienced break-ins a few years ago and lost lots of electrical equipment. Guess what? The county doesn't provide insurance for that and we had to replace the equipment from our own budget. The roof leaks regularly. The solution? place a bucket on the floor. The gym has had broken windows ever since I've been there.
Teachers can no longer have a microwave or mini-fridge in their classroom because the wiring can't handle it. I'm sure most of y'all know about the weight room fiasco. And I realize that CK is not the only school that desperately needs work. I've been in Lakeside, and I know that school deserves upgrades, too. We are fortunate to have Jeff Bragg to speak for the school. Again, I am so encouraged by the supportive comments I have read on this blog.
Cerebrations - thanks for posting that from the teacher. I was just told to look for Jeff Bragg tonight, whom the teacher mentioned in his post.
If anyone has photos of inside Cross Keys, I'd love to get one. Hopefully, I'll get some tonight, if it's not too dark - it's already so overcast it might be difficult.
I hope anyone who attends the meeting will post their feedback here.
BTW, I spoke to one of the area board members who was very frank and informative. But a number of the area board members were asked to be at Burrell Ellis' meeting at Torah Day School (Toco Hills) tonight, and probably will not be at Cross Keys.
ALSO, there is another Board budget meeting tomorrow - is anyone going? I can't.
Oh - make sure they maintain the budgeted money for a new roof for DeKalb HS of Technology - North $823,567
this is from Yahoo news today -- about the Stimulus -
It also appeared a compromise was in the works on the administration's demand for school construction funds.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told reporters that $6 billion would be set aside, and officials said it could be spent only on repair and modernization work, a limitation designed to appease the moderates.
In spite of bronchitis and a power outage I made the X-Keys meeting. It was moved to Ashford Park Elementary due to a power outage at the school.
This also meant I missed the presentation portion. However, most of the salient points were covered again in Q&A.
My take-aways look like this:
1. SPLOST III money is NOT going to be used for the merger and WILL still be allocated to the defined work at X-Keys ($16.9 million).
2. There IS separate funding for the Tech merger.
3. The X-Keys work has been delayed due to probs with service providers (they quit).
4. DCSS is finalizing the 'bidding' phase again and expect a new contractor eminently.
5. Pat Pope still encourages stakeholders to contact her office with suggestions / wishlists for X-Keys.
6. The Tech group will not operate as a 'school-within-a-school' under a separate administration.
7. Tech students at X-Keys are not eligible for sports, etc. at X-Keys but Moseley said they are looking at "options" still.
8. No fixed project schedule will be set until 10 days or so after the contract sign date (TBD).
9. Completion is obviously an open subject but they are batting around 4th quarter 2010 dates.
In under 10, there you go. Word out! X-Keys rules. Watch out, the Indians are coming ...
@jodynroy: I would like to talk to you about B-haven Reporter when you have time. I'm at kim (at) communityradar (dot) com ... welcome to the neighborhood, it's going to be an exciting beat in the next few years!
Kim - let's start a new post about Cross Keys meeting
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