Thursday, February 12, 2009

"I went to a meeting and I heard..."

I decided to repost a post called, "I went to a meeting and I heard...", since we have lots of bloggers who go to lots of meetings and come back with lots of interesting info to share. When
you do that - post it here!!

Also included in this post are my notes from the DeKalb School Board Meeting, January 9, 2009.
Highlights -- Block scheduling, budget cuts, Arabia HS and a proposed Military Academy.


Cerebration said...

I'll go ahead and transfer a few of the recent postings that apply --
Ella heard Dr. Lewis was going to cut transportation and increase
career tech spending.

Ella also heard that Mr. Womack may introduce the idea of creating
a Military Academy run by the U.S. Marines.

PSCEXB heard that the State is going to cut another $15 million
from our budget - which when added to the $16 million already cut
totals over $30 million.

Cerebration said...

Open+Transparent said...

Only teachers and principals should have pensions.

Every other DCSS employee should have a 403b (the education
version of a 401k). The school ssytem would contribute to each employee's 403b, as would the employee. It's portable too, which is a huge bonus for those who leave the system. But then when the employee leaves or retires, the school system is not paying a nice fat pension forever.

If someone starts working for DCSS at 22 or 23, works 30 years and retires, and lives to 80, 85, 90, etc, we're paying a huge amount in
pension and health insurance.
I have no problem with making sure a teacher or principal gets a
good pension. But everyone else at DCSS, all the pencil pushers and
non-educators, need to be on a

It would save taxpayers tens of millions if not more, probably
hundreds of millions, and give an incentive for teachers and
principals to stay teachers and principals, instead of trying to get
sweet unproductive DCSS Central office administrator jobs.

Cerebration said...

Ella said...

DeKalb Military Marine Corps' Institute


The program would link directly to the DeKalb School District's
Strategic Plan and Board and Superintendent's goals in that it
maximizes students' social and academic potential and prepares
them for a global society.

The Marine Corps proposes to partner with DeKalb School System
and local post secondary institutions to create an immersive small community learning system that seamlessly incorporates all facets of academically sound educational principles along the 9th through 14th year continuum.
This focused initiative will leverage and synergize resources from the Department of Defense, Federal and State Governments, the private sector and the School District.

Dr. Frankie Callaway, Deputy Superintendent, School Administration
, 678.676.0671
Ms. Gloria Talley, Deputy Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction,

Quick Summary / Abstract
Presented by: Dr. Frankie Callaway, Deputy Superintendent, School
Administration and Ms. Gloria Talley, Deputy Superintendent,
Curriculum & Instruction

Requested Action
It is recommended that the Board approve the request for the
Superintendent and DeKalb County School System to engage in a
data collection exercise with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Department
of Defense, and Georgia Department of Education to complete the
due diligence including reviewing and exploring the design components and the feasibility for establishing the first DeKalb Military Marine Corps Institute. This would be the first school of this type in the state of Georgia.

Cerebration said...

Issues brought to us from the STATE PTA

Voucher Legislation! SB 90 introduced
As predicted, a universal voucher bill was introduced last week. Any
child currently enrolled in public schools could get a voucher to any
public (within the district or in another district) or private school if:
• The school accepts the student
• Parents agree to provide transportation for the student
• Parent and student agree to abide by the rules and policies of the
new school

While GA PTA supports school choice, we oppose this legislation (SB 90): In a time where every dollar counts, where every program and department is being scrutinized to make sure public taxpayer dollars
are being spent effectively, how can the State government use
public tax dollars to write a blank check to a private institution with
no accountability of those tax dollars?
• Private institutions don’t need to hire certified teachers. The
teachers don’t have to be certified in the subject material being
taught; they don’t have to be certified to teach; they don’t even
need to have a college education.
• Private institutions are not required to teach a curriculum that
prepares the student for the 21st century in a global economy or
test them on that curriculum.
• Private schools don’t have to show that a student has learned
anything since there is no requirement to test a child and show any level of knowledge or gain in knowledge.

SB 84: School boards may have only seven members unless grandfathered by a local act. Each school board member shall subscribe to an ethics policy, shall have no interest in a business which transacts with the school system, shall accept no gifts or favors, loans, contributions or other thing of value, except campaign contributions. School board members can be removed by a vote of the remainder of the board. The governor may remove board members if a local school system is placed on probation by an accrediting agency. The board member may appeal to the governor for reinstatement after a hearing. Disallows a relative of a superintendent to be on the school board. State board shall design and deliver all school board member training.

HB 143: This guarantees that the Homestead Tax Relief Grant (HTRG) will be funded this year and establishes a formula to determine whether the state will pay for it in any given year. What this means to you: Tax bills went out this year and the HTRG was included. Based on your individual property taxes that grant equated to about $200-300. If the HTRG isn’t covered you’ll receive another tax bill and will have to pay that now. Given the funding requirements proposed in the bill, it isn’t likely that the state will pay the HTRG any time in the next few years so taxes will go up next year. Update: Passed in House, Passed in Senate but to be reconsidered.

HB 229: Student Health and Physical Education Act. Students in grades 4-12 enrolled in physical education in 2011-12 must have an annual fitness assessment approved by the state board of education during the PE class time. The aggregate results shall be reported to the state board yearly. What this means to you: If your child is in PE, which is required in elementary school and for one semester in
high school, he will get assessed on his physical fitness and those
results will be aggregated and sent to the state. Requires elementary schools to actually conduct PE which some aren't doing today. Update: PTA asked for the bill to add required reporting to students. If a child is assessed, the parents should know the results.

HB 149: Move on When Ready: Students in 11th and 12th grades may enroll in Georgia public colleges and take Department of Education approved courses that will meet both high school graduation requirements and earn them college credit. Hours earned will not count against HOPE.What this means to you: If a student is ready to attend college and only has a few high school credits remaining to fulfill the high school diploma requirements, (s)he can earn those credits while attending college.

Cerebration said...

Highlights from the Feb 9 Board Meeting -

An award was presented to Sandra Purkett for her many years of service and support to students at Redan HS and in the PILOT

March 2-6 is Exceptional Children's Week.

Recognitions went to Browns Mill and Kittredge for achievement

ODE asked Board members to take March 2 off to read to students
during "Read Across America" ODE will also be giving away books at
North DK and Stonecrest malls on March 7.

Many people advocated to keep driver's ed, nurses and graphics

The culinary teams around the county will compete in an "Iron
Chef" competition at Le Cordon Bleu.

Ms. Jackson and her children spoke as always - she was salivating
over the 500 seat auditorium at Arabia. They don't want to move
into Terrell Mill, as they reiterate every month. She also said the administration had no creativity or innovation in fiscal responsibility.

There was much conversation about the block. The Board didn't discuss the block very long. They made a decision to review it over the course of the 09-10 school year (Gloria Talley said high schools are making their schedules now and to change the whole system would throw them into turmoil. Callaway, at the beginning, said that the deadline to request a change is Dec 31. It's basically been deferred until Dr. Lewis decides to bring it back as an action item. I did understand Dr. Walker to say that when he taught, he factored in "student progress" on his grades. (Inferring, I guess that he doesn't really value standardized tests that much.) McChesney also cited that 60-70% of teachers need more training on the block (along with his factoid that the block takes 5-7 years to really implement.) I wish he would cite where his research came from. The promise was made that the principals and Area Supers would ensure that teachers are teaching "bell to bell"...

Redovian wondered if we weren't losing good teachers who prefer to teach on a 7 period day. Lewis said teachers felt they couldn't get through the textbook on a 7 period day. (I have actually heard the opposite - it's harder to get through the textbook on the block even though classes are longer, they're only half a year as opposed
to all year. Also, this may be why students do better on tests, they get daily math, English, etc - it's fresher and input more steadily.)

It is interesting that Arabia will open on the 7 period day though. Also - data was shared that Arabia will only take 350 students from
MLK and 250 from Lithonia. The rest will be "Choice" students (emphasizing this is not a "magnet" program, but a "choice" program.) There will be 3 more community meetings to communicate to people the programs available there and the
application process.

Someone suggested a 4 day school week to save money. Of course, IMO this would never fly - what would working parents do?

Ernest Brown praised the small learning communities at Arabia and stated that we should implement the concept in middle schools. He also hopes we can duplicate the rehab at Murphy Candler at other older buildings around the county. (Can't disagree there!) He's on a mission to beef up joint enrollment and allow full high school credit for college credits earned (1 to 1) Now, you only get a half HS credit for a full college credit class. His son also spoke to this - very cogently. His son also asked to get a DK Urban Debate League subsidized like APS.

Sandy Purkett mentioned a new program where students can effectively become full time government employees while attending college on a full scholarship... I'd like to know more!

Nathanial Paxton is holding a "Men Only" meeting at (Miller Grove I
think) to encourage a "Spirit of Change" in DK.

Mr. Turk once again reiterated that if the State would grant us our Homestead Relief Grant, our budget would be balanced. Legislators
are debating this now and may actually do so as Womack pointed

Human resources reported that there were 57 resignations (compared to 83 this time last year), and 98 subs added to the list, bringing the total to 1513 subs available. There are only 6 teacher vacancies out of over 7,200 teachers. And the figure we have all been wondering about - there were 484 absences on Jan 20 and 417 on Jan 21. (costing the system $81,090 in subs for those 2 days -- by my calculation.)

Cerebration said...

Emory Lavista Parent Council
Join us at 9:15 am
(refreshments begin at 8:45 am)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Sagamore Hills Elementary School
1865 Alderbrook Road, NE Atlanta, GA 30345

Round Table Discussion
with our New Board Members

District 2—Don McChesney
(Cross Keys & Druid Hills Areas)

District 4—Paul Womack
(Lakeside & Tucker Areas)

District 8—Dr. Eugene Walker
(At-Large Member)

District 9—Dr. Pam Speaks
(At-Large Member)

Upcoming Meetings…..

March 18th Hawthorne Elementary. Topic: The Changing Face of Education Funding -- State, Local and Foundation Funding

April 15th Henderson Mill Elementary. Topic: School Councils -- How They Can Help You Improve Your School

To receive our notices, send an email to or visit our new web page

Anonymous said...

I like what I see as posted below:

Senate Bill 14
By: Senators Douglas of the 17th, Rogers of the 21st, Goggans of the 7th, Murphy of the 27th, Hawkins of the 49th and others

To amend Code Section 20-2-51 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to election of county board of education members, persons ineligible to be members or superintendent, ineligibility for local boards of education, and ineligibility for other offices, so as to provide that no person who is on the national or state sex offender registry shall be eligible for election to or service on a local board of education; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
SECTION 1.Code Section 20-2-51 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to election of county board of education members, persons ineligible to be members or superintendent, ineligibility for local boards of education, and ineligibility for other offices, is amended by adding a new subsection to read as follows:"(e) No person who is on the National Sex Offender Registry or the state sexual offender registry shall be eligible for election to or service on a local board of education."
SECTION 2.All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Anonymous said...

I like what I see:

09 LC 33 2823

Senate Bill 60
By: Senators Jackson of the 2nd, Brown of the 26th, Jones of the 10th, Sims of the 12th, Ramsey, Sr. of the 43rd and others

To amend Code Section 20-2-690.1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to relating to mandatory education for children, so as to authorize each local board of education to determine the maximum age of mandatory education from 16 to 18 for its local school system; to provide for alternative tracks; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
SECTION 1.Code Section 20-2-690.1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to relating to mandatory education for children, is amended by revising subsection (a) as follows:"(a) Mandatory attendance in a public school, private school, or home school program shall be required for children between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays their sixteenth, seventeenth, or eighteenth birthdays, as determined for each local school system by the local board of education; provided, however, that a parent or guardian may sign a waiver for his or her child to opt out of a traditional public school setting between the age of 16 and the maximum age set by the local board of education pursuant to this subsection so long as the child enrolls in and attends a community college or technical school, which for purposes of this subsection shall be considered attendance in a public school until such child reaches such maximum age. Such mandatory attendance shall not be required where the child has successfully completed all requirements for a high school diploma."
SECTION 2.All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

No Duh said...

Walker at the ELPC meeting was asked about the ethics of his being on the DCSS board and on the development authority (or whatever the board name is). He sees no problem at all. As long as everything is "transparent." Well, sure the meetings are open to the public and therefore "transparent." He must think we all just fell off the turnip truck!! Let's see how "transparent" he'll make his lunches with BOE members to get the votes he (Sembler) needs for TADs.

I'm already sick of the word "transparent"! It's the new "interfacing." :)

pscexb said...

Heads up, DeKalbSchoolWatch bloggers and lurkers, I understand the March 2nd Work Session has been moved from Druid Hills HS to the Board Meeting Room in Building A. This change was made due to the ongoing construction and concern about the lack of parking. Hopefully there will be a PSA made for all in the community but you can say you heard it here first!