Sunday, April 19, 2009

Summary of 4/17 DeKalb BoE Called Meeting

On Friday, April 17th @ 10:30am, the DCSS BoE held ‘Meeting of the Whole’ to discuss several facility related topics. See the agenda for this meeting on the school system website by navigating to Board of Education on the left hand pane, then Meeting Agendas. Select the 4/17/2009 meeting. Note, this was a discussion thus did not require the board to act on these topics during the meeting. Some of the topics were mentioned in the 4/18 AJC article.

Dr. Lewis recognized Ms. Pope for her work with the overall Operations Department and CIP for the district. She discussed:

E1) The Mountain Industrial Center (MIC). As a reminder, this is the old American Fare/Kmart facility at the intersection of Stone Mountain Industrial and US 78. This will house seven departments, listed below with the anticipated move in dates:

1. DeKalb Early College Academy (already in place)
2. Drivers Ed (already in place)
3. GLRS (Jim Cherry Teacher Center on North Druid Hills) (Fall 2009)
4. Education Media (Fall 2009)
5. Elizabeth Andrew HS (formerly Open Campus) (Fall 2009)
6. Administrative personnel (January 2010)
7. BoE (January 2010)

This facility will be about 262,000 square feet and should house up to 1331 individuals. There will also be ample parking at this site.

For those ‘school board junkies’ that complain about the lack of space at the Freeman building, the board meeting room will house up to 300 people. There is another meeting room nearby that will house over 400 people and will be utilized for various staff meetings. There is a map that shows the tentative layout of the space.

There will need to be a final decision regarding how to lay out the BoE space and whether PDS 24 will move to this facility. Ms. Pope also indicated the BoE should decide a name for this facility by August 2009.

E2) Ms. Pope briefly reviewed the facilities inventory book with the BoE. She identified 10 ‘current and soon to be’ unused properties’ and provided recommendations for each:

1. Tilson ES (Pre-K Academy, serving children as young as 3 months)
2. Forrest Hills ES (single gender)
3. Open Campus (under evaluation)
4. DSA (under evaluation)
5. DESA/Hooper Alexander ES (sell or lease)
6. Clarkston Center (sell)
7. Freeman A (sell)
8. Freeman B (sell)
9. Robert Shaw Annex (Trade with county, sell, or lease)
10. Rock Gym (Trade with county, sell, or lease)

Ms. Pope requested the attorney’s research, acquire, and review all deeds to ensure there are no restrictions. She mentioned DCSS owns a few sites without a building and mentioned the park near Heritage ES as an example. She also acknowledged two other facilities. Heritage is planned for short term use by the Marines and that they have not decided how to use the former Chamblee MS.

Robert Shaw annex is currently being leased by the Health department for $1200/month however there is not a record of the monies being collected. Rock Gym is currently being leased to the City of Stone Mountain for $1/year.

It is expected there will be a complete facility inventory report by June 2009. There is also a concurrent project to evaluate current facilities and make recommendations for further closure/consolidation. That study is expected to be completed by the end of the 2010 school year.

Dr. Lewis mentioned State Rep. Fran Millar requested he meet with him and other legislators to discuss the reimbursement dollars. Most should recall that DeKalb got a ‘less than expected’ allocation, partly due to funding formulas that factored in the excess capacity of seats in DCSS.

E3) See earlier blog posting regarding the CIP mid program assessment.

Please note this is the best recollection of this meeting I got. I did not offer any opinions, just simply reported what was recorded. This meeting was filmed by PDS 24 thus residents could probably get a copy of this, if they desire.


Ella Smith said...

Very good post. Thanks for the information.

Open+Transparent said...

"Robert Shaw annex is currently being leased by the Health department for $1200/month however there is not a record of the monies being collected."

What??? Again, what?? This sounds like the DeKalb County gov't!! How many other properties does DCSS lease out but not receive payments for?

It is high time that the City of Clarkston buys the DCSS-owned Clarkston Community Center.

Taxpayers need to hold the BOE and DCSS Central Office more accountable in this area. It is no longer appropriate for any school system to just hold onto properties that have no future use as a school location. is no longer appropriate for any school system to lease out surplus buildings below market rate rent.

fedupindcss said...

O&T: You beat me to it! I saw that and just about died.

This is similar to another little gem I heard a few weeks ago: Apparently, if a teacher or staff member lives outside Dekalb and sends their child to school in DCSS, they are supposed to pay tuition of some sort. However, I was told that this "is never enforced."

I am amazed this outfit ever survives an audit. We ought to just set our money on fire.

Anonymous said...

Wait, it gets worse.

A few years ago I was looking at the old Dekalb News Era legal notices. Under the "Building Permits" section I noticed that some addresses had 8-15 building permits issued to them. I knew that the addresses were for various Dekalb County Schools. I figured that the permits were for mobile classrooms.

My hunch proved correct a few years later. Some people in our area were considering starting a small private school, and utilizing a mobile classroom initially.

I called the county up and asked them how much it was for
building permits for a mobile classroom. There were 3, and the total was for $275.00

The person answering the phone was cheerful, and answered "why, yes!" When asked if this was on a yearly basis. When asked if all of the mobile classrooms behind the schools were being billed $275 on a yearly basis, she again said yes.

A few weeks later I was wondering where Dekalb's permits stood cost wise against some other counties. I called up a person at Cobb and asked them how much the county was charging the school system for permits for mobile classrooms.

"We can't" , He answered.
"It's illegal." He even looked up the state bill number that stated so, and informed me that counties cannot bill school systems for permits, inspections,
water or sewer hook ups etc.

The person that I spoke to a Cobb was appalled that Dekalb was breaking the law by charging permits to the school system.

I went as far as reporting it to an acquantaince at the State
Superintendant of School's office.

They sent someone out to investigate, but were dumb enough to ask somebody from the school system point blank if this was occurring. Of course, they said "No".

Ella Smith said...

If a teacher or staff member lives outside Dekalb and sends their child to school in DCSS, they are supposed to pay tuition if this is not the school they teach at. I am also aware that this "is never enforced."

The state law is very clear that a teacher can take their children to the school he/she teachers. There are many good reasons for this. But the law does not say anything for instance about it being legal to send your children to Oak Grove and Henderson Middle School if you teach at Lakeside High School but this happens all the time. The principals at the middle and grade schools turn a blind eye to such things and allow them to happen without collecting tuition.

You could debate that this is a service provided to teachers so they do not have to pay child care and this may or may not be a good debate. I can see this being a problem when students who live in district are at a crowded school.

pscexb said...

The following is from Board Policy JBCB:


Non‑resident students shall not be accepted for enrollment in the DeKalb County School District except in the following situations:

A. Residents of federal reservations.

B. Tuition students presently enrolled.

C. Students having a parent or guardian who is a full‑time teacher, professional, or other employee of the DeKalb County School System.

D. Foreign students and hardship cases, not in conflict with court decisions, which may be approved by the Superintendent or designee.

Also Board Policy JBCBA addresses how tuition is set.

Note that section C does NOT indicate that children of DCSS employees are subject to tuition payments.

fedupindcss said...

It is my understanding that the teachers who live outside of Dekalb are supposed to be charged tuition because this creates a disparity of compensation between them and teachers who live in Dekalb. That is, if you live in Dekalb, and pay Dekalb taxes, and teach here, you are not being given an equivalent "perk" to that of the free tuition given to those teachers from outside the county. I am amazed that resident teachers don't march on the Board and demand extra money from them for this. Oh, wait, they are represented by the ODE, so of course they don't get anything.

Anonymous said...

Georgia law allows children of school systems employees to “ride to school” with their parents – regardless of where they live.

O.C.G.A. § 20-2-293

"(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section or any other general law, and except as provided by the General Assembly by local law, a student shall be allowed to attend and be enrolled in the school in which a parent or guardian of such student is a full-time teacher, professional, or other employee, notwithstanding the fact that such school is not located in the local unit of administration in which such student resides. Each school system of this state shall provide procedures to implement the provisions of this subsection."

pscexb said...

Good find by Anon @ 1:30. If you scrutinize the policy further, you could come away saying it is 'silent' with respect to which schools the children of 'out of county' employees can attend.

I see fedup's point but would this be a case where the dollars follow the child? What I mean, DCSS would get FTE dollars for that student (at least the state portion). I wonder how it works with the federal and local portion of the dollars.

fedupindcss said...

pscexb--the FTE probably does follow the child for basic instruction, but it still leaves the question hanging about the other costs--DCSS pays above the state level on a number of things, and the extra students require extra classrooms that come out of the construction budget.

I asked my mother, a retired teacher from the northeast, if they had this in her district. She said her state had long ago eliminated it as a perk, because there was such a differential from one district to another due to differences in property tax rates and collections. Of course, they also have one of the best school systems in the country, so go figure. Must not chase away too many good teachers.

Ella Smith said...

The law allows me to take my children to the school I teach, but it does not say also I can take my children to feeder schools. Many teachers do take their children to feeder schools if the feeder schools particularily if the feeders schools are better than the home schools regardless of the county the teacher's residence is in. The law does not allow for this but the principals and administrators turn a blind eye to the situation because of the convience to the teachers. I have seen many situations where it did prevent the teacher from having also to pay for after school daycare.