Friday, November 13, 2009

Send in your suggestions!

Here's your chance, people. The DCSS leadership is asking for budget-cutting suggestions from teachers and staff. We think our bloggers can also offer a plethora of suggestions of ways to save. Please send your very best idea to your board rep - send them real, helpful, valid ideas. We've had some great discussions on the subject here so you should be able to do this easily, thoughtfully and respectfully!

SOME FACTS -- From Marcus Turk

Managing a shrinking budget in DeKalb Schools is a challenging task. We have diligently worked to endure the funding shortages and maintain an excellent quality of education for our students. We have not laid-off any classroom teachers and have not increased the millage rate in seven years.

The General Fund makes up the largest portion of the budget and is made up of a mix of state and local funds.

State revenue is actually decreasing. For every $1 DCSS earns in state revenue, the state keeps 33 cents in the forms of the Local Five Mill Share and Austerity Reductions.

Local revenue, or property tax revenue is decreasing in DeKalb also. Foreclosures, fewer home sales, and high rates of unemployment have caused the value of the property tax digest to decrease from last year to this year.

Our student population has risen this year. With an increase in FTE and a decrease in state and local revenue, we have to do more with less.

Readers, DCSS leadership is looking for ways to trim the budget even further in this tough economy. If you would like to share innovative suggestions or ideas you may have regarding the budget, email your suggestions to your board rep - their info can be found at this link.


Anonymous said...

How about cutting the massive Central Office bloat, de-promote Executive Directors to Directors, and lose all of the curriculum supervisors and the rest of Gloria Talley's massive non-teaching staff!!!

And do not spend one penny on BOE offices. I wonder how much will be spent on Crawford's new office at Mountain Industrial.

Cerebration said...

John Heneghan has posted an article about the block vs 7 period schedule - I have weighed in there - perhaps some of you would like to as well.

Dunwoody HS students only take four classes per day under Block Scheduling. Does this need to change?

There will be a meeting at Dunwoody HS on Monday night to discuss the possibility of making a change in their schedule.

Anonymous said...

Outsource the maintenance and repair functions performed by Sam Moss Service Center employees.

At least put it to bid. The skilled labor you'd find in the private sector will be more skilled, less "entitled" to a life-long cushy job, more motivated, more responsive, easier to replace if underperforming, and much cheaper in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Compare number of employees classified as teachers to those that are classified otherwise, then ask yourself what is it we are trying to do in the school district. It's "teach", isn't it? Take a look at the numbers, you'll be astounded.

Cerebration said...

I think that property tax statement is an under-statement. I don't think they are truly prepared for the whammy we will experience after all of the foreclosures and plummeting housing values show up in the property tax collections for 2010.

November 10th - the AJC clued us in --

Today's AJC tells us why -

"State revenues in Georgia continue to plummet"

GA's revenue collections fell another 18% in October compared to last year. Individual income taxes fell from $722.5 million down to $610.57 million. Even worse, corporate tax revenues dropped from $23.55 million down to $4.9 million. Sales and use is down to $397.96 million from $486.74 million. Average drop in total is 15.5%

The fiscal year (July 1- Oct 31) will end with overall tax collections down from $5.49 billion in 08 to $4.65 billion in 09.

Schools will need to brace themselves for BIG cut backs in August 2010. We should have schools shuttered and consolidated by then - to wait would be a very bad idea.

Cerebration said...

Did you catch this part -

Even worse, corporate tax revenues dropped from $23.55 million down to $4.9 million.

Yikes! That means lost jobs - which means home foreclosures -- which means lower tax revenues.

Anonymous said...

The County should do a full vehicle inventory. Who has them. Who has access to them. If an employee is repeatedly driving from site A to site B, shouldn't that person instead simply be assigned to work from site B? More productivity, less travel down-time, and no vehicle, fuel, maintenance, or insurance expense.

Anonymous said...

Re-work and simplify bus routes-save gas;
Check residency and hold students to residency restrictions or make them pay tuition for being out of district -- stop allowing out-of-district kids to attend at tax payer expense (this goes for out of county and out of district within the county).

Anonymous said...

Corporations usually will look at cost cuts in administrative services (secretaries), marketing, and non-essential technology (cell phones & company provided blackberries ) as easy first targets. How about starting there.

Kim Gokce said...

Does anyone know where the detailed Operations budget is available for review?

Also, I know this would be given short-shrift by DCSS but why aren't they also talking about revenue-enhancing opportunities? I think we should be talking about both.

Cerebration said...

You can find the links to the annual budgets here -

Anonymous said...

Kim: Follow this link.

FY2010 and prior years can be found from the main DCSS web page, Superintendent tab.

Dekalbparent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dekalbparent said...

Attempt # 2:

As to re-doing bus routes - either UPS has their drivers use routes that use as many right turns as possible.

They have software to plot this. They also have drivers turn off the engine rather than idling when they are dropping off. They found significant savings in both time and gas, as well as producing less pollution.

I read that DCSS has bus routing software. Are they using it? Can it be programmed to calculate routes this way? Can they tell drivers to never let the bus idle?

Anonymous said...

Smart, awesome post by Anon 4:47.

Sam Moss needs to contract out HVAC, grounds maintenance, and roof repair/maintenance...NOW!

Also, work with GA Tech to do thermal energy scans of every DCSS building. Sam Moss staffers don't understand much about energy loss. We spend too much on utilities to heat and cool, and it can be cut down dramatically by locating trouble spots in a building's envelope by thermal scanning.

And put surplus equipment, items, chairs & tables, computers, etc. on eBay. And don't sell 18 month old cars to your superintendent so he can buy it for his son at a $12,000 discount

Anonymous said...

In my experience, the first place corporations cut expenses are travel, entertainment and office supply budgets. I would hope that DCSS basically has cut travel and entertainment (lunches at meetings, etc.) to zero by now. From what I can see, office supply expenses have already largely been shifted to the families of students, at least at the elementary school level. One place to look for long term efficiencies would be to de-emphasize programs and curriculums that have expensive consumables, e.g. workbooks, that rely on annual operating budgets, and to focus instead on programs that tend to rely on one-time capital investments and minimal consumables, such as Montessori and on-line programs.

Another place to look for effiencies is to lay off employees and cut contractors. In the private sector, once part-time and contract employees have been cut loose, management uses periodic budget crunches to get rid of underperforming employees without having to go to the trouble of firing them for cause. Companies often save money by spending big bucks on consultants who more or less objectively evaluate employee and departmental performance, and then recommend the elimination of entire departments and the weakest human resource links. Of course, this only works when management has the onions to follow through on the consultant's recommendations! Not to mention, only management that feels confident that outside scrutiny will not uncover weakness at the executive level will hire the consultants in the first place. Never mind, this would never happen in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

not a specific suggestion for WHAT to cut, but a rule of sorts for where to cut:
for every $1 cut from the classroom, cut $5 from administration
if that sounds draconian, remember that an unconscionable 35% of hte BOE budget is non-classroom, and that we could expect any number of classroom cuts to be classified as "admin" under such a rule

Cerebration said...

Companies often save money by spending big bucks on consultants who more or less objectively evaluate employee and departmental performance, and then recommend the elimination of entire departments and the weakest human resource links. ... Never mind, this would never happen in DCSS.

Actually, I think that's exactly what Johnny Brown had started...and found lots of folks with job descriptions (and pay level) that did not describe what they actually did (they did less - but were paid more). He found overlapping jobs - lots of waste - and started recommending cuts. Then he was given a bus ticket out of town.

Anonymous said...

Johnny Brown was given a bus ticket out of town because of the machinations of upper level administrators who mutinied, led by Crawford. The clueless BOE allowed it to happen. I guarantee we would only have a fraction of the bloat now if the then BOE allowed Johnny Brown to cut the fat, waste and bloat. Crawford's gotta go. if and when we get a new super, I hope she/h is allowed to shake up upper management.

Cerebration said...

I have a feeling that at least Paul Womack would be all about trimming the "fat"... he is a CEO after all. Not so sure about the others, most tend to see DCSS as a jobs program for friends and family. Others don't have the moxy to actually do the trimming. (It ain't fun.)

Anonymous said...

AGAIN I go back to SACS. Can SACS as an accrediation entity audit DCSS to make budget cut recommmendation that in the best interest of the district and not Crawford Lewis and his band of administration fat cats?

Anonymous said...

Do you think we could ever get Johnny Brown back. Crawford's sorry butt gets 250k. I would be open to offereing Johnny Brown 350K to get him to come back. I know that is a lot, but he would be worth every penny to bring integrity back to DCSS.
We would get more for our buck for he would cut ten times that amount in un-necesary non teaching waste.
small price for stakeholders to pay for letting them Crawford and his band of crooks run him out of town.


Anonymous said...

I whole-heartedly agree that the Central Office bloat needs to be cut!
...But I caution painting a rosy portrait of Johnny Brown. I've grown increasingly frustrated and disgusted with the DCSS administration under Crawford Lewis. But I think principals, even good ones, have had no voice with the administration for a very long time. Teachers and principals know they will be chastised if they open their mouths with anything other than positive remarks about the school system. And, according to one really good principal I know, Johnny Brown and his deputy (the woman whose name I can't remember) were especially beligerant toward principals.
BTW, the HVAC systems have been daughter is at a school with a new system that is so loud, it's absolutely distracting! Why can't this work be done well?

Anonymous said...

A consultant needs to come in and tell the board what positions need to be cut and where we can save money.

I pray that the next superintendent is not affiliated with DCSS in any way, so that they can clean house and put education first. I see making jobs for friends as the first priority of DCSS and providing children with a quality education possibly 2nd.

Teachers who question or speak up for the children are chastised. Principals go along with the current administration policy even to the detriment of the children's education.

fedupindcss said...

Dekalbparent: DCSS has the worst transportation software ever. A parent I know took a map of our middle school attendance zone, and overlaid it with all the bus routes in different colors. It was unbelievable how many double-backed, covered the same roads, etc. She then took it to Sam Moss to show them, and they were fascinated--they had never seen it on a map! The routes they plan go "as the crow flies," without regard to cul-de-sacs or dead ends. If they see that two kids live near each other, they get put in order even if the roads don't connect. The problem is that DCSS transportation has never been run by anyone with a background in transportation. Ever.

Corollary to this--eliminate choice programs. I know, I know, but when you are in this much financial hurt, you have to give up the fluff and focus on the basics. And they are still moving huge numbers of kids far distances by bus, whether they admit it or not.

Dekalbparent said...

Fedup -

I was thinking this evening, and I remember reading that DCSS ahd purchases bus routing software (I think under Danny Reed?), but they have never used it, because no one was trained on it... Perhaps I was told this by someone in Transportation a couple of years ago when I was fighting wiht them about my kid's bus ride (which arrived so late that the bus was almost always late for school. It was to the point that the teachers would ask a kid "do you ride bus 1234?" before they botheres to mark them tardy.

Molly said...

Fedup - According to the Transportation Efficiency Plan date 10/24/08:

The Routing Department has a computer program entitled, Mapnet by Trapeze, which is designed for automated routing. However, most, if not all, routing is done manually. At this time, there are three main reasons that hinder the department from using the most effective routing process and cause transportation employees to continue using outdated manual routing techniques. (1)Training: The routers need additional trining in order to know how to use the software more effectively. (2)Updated Computer Programs: The programs in the computer must be updated so that the automation software will know that roads have changed. (3) Spatially Accurate Maps: At this time, the DCSS Department of Planning must draw and place new streets and addresses on maps by hand. This process causes spatial inaccuracy in maps. In order to calculate proper distances while using the automated routing function, maps must be accurate. Routers in the Transportation Department will receive training and begin using GIS in the near future.

Basically, the school system is stuck somewhere about 1973 as far as technology goes in the transportation department.

Anonymous said...

The head of DCSS transportation is the husband of the person who runs PDS-Channel 24. I once saw her do a feature on her husband on ch 24. She interviewed him. It was weird in a DCSS kind of way.

I also understand that the head of DCSS was appointed to that position because the powers that be couldn't find anything else for him to do. He has no expertise in school transportation.

Cerebration said...

I think the three most significant areas we can save money are -

-Closing and selling (or at least not heating, etc) under-utilized buildings

-Cutting administrative costs - especially in the curriculum department. It's absurd to have one "curriculum specialist" type person for every 15 or fewer teachers. That's a better ratio than teachers to students!

-Transportation - we can still cut a lot of spending in this department.


Other than that - the legal fees are completely without bounds. Some come from the main budget - some from the construction budget - but all are much, much, much too much. Case in point: an additional $400,000 to Judge Moore as an outside consultant to investigate the Jaheem Herrera suicide and bullying case. There's much more "outside" spending that needs to be controlled - the first step of which includes reporting these expenditures in an online detailed spending budget.

Anonymous said...

The head of transportation and his wife, who has something to do with PDS 24 are relatives of former school board member, Frances Edwards.

Guillard is their last name I believe. Someone should look up their salaries.

Cerebration said...



Thanks, ma! Pretty nice to bring in over a quarter million a year to the family!

And the practice continues - as was announced at the last board meeting - Moseley's (nephew?) was given a job and so was a relative of someone else - can't remember -- anyone?

Anonymous said...

Bob Moseley's brother (or brother-in-law) got a job as a roofer and Felicia Mitchell's son got a job as a paraprofessional.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that someone (a parent and person living in DeKalb) with transportation experience had offered to help DCSS with the routes, but was turned down because he would be helping to do someone's job. Very sad, as this person was going to volunteer his time.

Anonymous said...

Parents could be charged for workbooks/consumables that the children use and need. Of course administration cuts need to be made and hiring family and friends with no experience for the job that they are receiving also needs to come to an end. We can't afford this.

You couldn't run your home the way DeKalb runs the school system and keep your head above water. Large cuts need to be made.

Anonymous said...

How about taking a look at the high dollar programs that benefit a small number of children? Specifically, magnet and high achiever programs that still, yes still, offer transportation costing lots of $$. And, they contribute to the perception that kids need to depart their neighborhood school for a challenge in Dekalb County... The trend now is actually for the parent(s) to take some resonsibility and get the children to the " school of choice ".

Anonymous said...


Ditto to this. End ALL transportation for specialty programs.

Level the playing field. The magnet programs' extras cost in the millions. Avondale Elementary doesn't have a music teacher and KMS has 2 band teachers, one orchestra teacher and a choral music teacher. Does this make sense to anyone?v

Anonymous said...

Doesn't make sense now and never has. However, parents have either not been aware of the inequalities of resource allocation or just didn't make a stink about it. I am hopeful that in this day of shrinking dollars, the parents will actually speak up. How can they sit by and have small enrollment schools in danger of elimination but tolerate the millions that are spent on the magnet and high achiever settings. Even though Wadsworth sits at what 175 enrollment? Ridiculous............

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

OKAY! This is good! Who esle is related to whom? Lets put it out there,verify the relationship and their salary thru and let give it to mass public display.

Lewis friend...need her full name.
Moseley brother in law...full name.
Got Edwards two...anymore?
Felica Mitchell son...full name.

Let finish what Johnny Brown started to help our kids and DCSS before SACS does.

What is Crawfords secretary's name?
Janet Eberhardt makes 75k per the 2008 report. Who makes 109k?

Cerebration said...

That was the last year reported for his former Sec, Debbie Loeb. She had many years in with the county.

Anonymous said...

Debbie Loeb was a former elementary school principal. She was not Dr. Lewis' secretary but rather his assistant -- the same role that Ms. Mitchell had until recently. Someone else has it now -- I can't remember whom. But I think that is to much money for that job.

But will our board have the balls to do anything about any of this? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Crawford's assistant should not have made $109 per year. That's obscene. But of cours, she was a former principal who didn't want to be in a school anymore but definitely wanted a principal's salary.

"The problem is that DCSS transportation has never been run by anyone with a background in transportation. Ever."

Yes, Frances Edward's son in law David Guillory runs DCSS transportation, despite no background in it. At $133,000 per year.

And we have expensive software not being used because no one is trained in it???

This si the type of stu ffthat has happened again and again in the Crawford Lewis administration. The BOE is clueless and "out to

Marcus Turk is asking teacher's for suggestions to save money, yet it's the DCSS Central Office that buys fancy expensive software and doesn't even use it??!!

This has to stop and it has to stop now.

Anonymous said...

Felicia Mitchell was Crawford's Chief Executive Asst until like March or April of this year. Alice Thompson is Crawford's Chief Executive Asst now.

Alice Thompson used to be over student assignment. That is where Felicia Mitchell is now. They just switched positions.

Janet Eberhardt is Crawford's secretary and she makes 75k per the 2008 report.

Anonymous said...

Johnny Brown came in hard because there was so much mess going on in DCSS. Yes I heard he was hard on some principals. But there is two sides to every story.

Johnny Brown came in and saw a lot of highly paid principals that were related to other highly paid administrative personel.

He saw teachers teaching in the classroom who were not ceritfied and on their second or even third year provisional.

He had to weed out the good from the bad. Everyone was bad until he or she proved otherwise.

Some principals that knew they had gotten to where they are because of who they knew got unknowing paretns and PTAs behind them to get Brown off their butts.

Nobody is perfect, but I do believe he cared for the students and did want to do what was best in their interest.

I think he would have proven his worth if he had been given a fair chance.

I like him for he was always visible and approachable.

At least he acted like he listened.

Cerebration said...




(these are all 2008 salaries -- according to the cutbacks, they should all be making 2% less now)

Anonymous said...

Stop the small special programs that cost taxpayers a lot of money and only benefit a handful of kids or charge parents for this privilege.

Dekalbparent said...

STT is a good program - although it serves only a fraction of the students who could benefit from it (specifically 180 per year) - but again we come to transportation costs.

As I mentioned a while ago, there are 20 (twenty) buses lined up in front of the Science Center every day at 11:00 to take the kids back to their schools.

Presumably, there are also a number of buses transporting the kids TO Fernbank in the morning. Several of the buses have three kids on them.

STT serves all DCSS high schools, so some of those buses travel quite a few miles. The kids have to be back for lunch and afternoon classes, so you can't run a single bus to several high schools, or some of the kids would be late.

Can there be some sort of transportation fee required to participate (like the field trip costs), or is that not OK because this is a program theoretically open to all DCSS 9th graders? SEMAA is open to all DCSS kids, and parents have to furnish transportation - there never seemed to be a shortfall of kids at SEMAA.

I just really wonder about how much money is spent for this fairly small program.

Anonymous said...

Marcus Turk, son of Katherine Turk, retired well-respected Instruction Dept Administrator. Came into acct/finance dept straight from college and in the wink of an eye is CFO for a billion dollar system?!

Cerebration said...


Anonymous said...

Marcus Turk father ran for school board and was almost elected and then his son was promoted to the position he has and he did not run again against the person he ran against the first time. Mr. Turk has his position because of politics. Do not kid yourself.

Anonymous said...

Lewis college friend name is Andrea
Brown, she was Maria Washington Assistant and that didn't work for her, Lewis moved her to East Dekalb last I heard.

Pat Pope had two Assistants, after about 18 Months she gave one of them a upgrade. Tiffany Nowland
is now over text books. last I heard ,I was told she is a friend's daughter. By the way pope's other assistant last
name is Moody, is she related too
moody construction?

This is why the Budget is so out of control, until this stops the students will always be the ones to go without. More money needs to go in the schools. It should would be nice if our Teacher's made the money they are paying all these people.

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration and anon 11/13 re: budget documents ...

Ok, so I reviewed the 198 page budget documents. Don't be too impressed - 140 pages are taken up by individual school "points" calculating spreadsheets.

This is interesting and helpful for reference but it still does not include the detail I was looking for in a budget. All I can tell from this level of detail is all other operational expenses pale in comparison to personnel ... but we kinda already knew that.

Anyone have access to the "account level" operational budget? Surely this is somewhere in the public domain.

Also, there are a few mentions above of "how businesses do it." My experience at the largest American companies is that cuts, whether expense or headcount, are managed very simply ...

The Board pulls a net number in $$$ they want back from the management. That number is convereted to a percentage of budget - let's say 10%, for example.

Then, every officer is told to cut 10% from their org. They, in turn, tell their directors to bring back 10% and so on ...

While this seems like a blunt instrument, I think leadership's assumption is that there is waste everywhere and the folks best positioned to judge priorities are their own employees/managers. Tough process but I believe it is the best way in reality.

Asking "for suggestions" is a nice gesture but DCSS should be following the private sector model for managing operational budget cuts.

Anonymous said...

Why do we have an administrator making $120k per for "student assignment"? Anyone know what this means?

Anonymous said...

I thought DCSS was a publically owned entity. I did not know it was a MOM and POP operation where the high paying administrative job go only to those whose mom or pop work in the school system.

Anonymous said...

"I did not know it was a MOM and POP operation where the high paying administrative job go only to those whose mom or pop work in the school system."

It's been that way forever, even under Halford.

Johnny Brown wanted to stop the nepostism and cronyism and the sweet consulting gigs for retired adminsitrators. So the entrenched upper level management like Crawford staged a coup and they got the BOE to bite and off Johnny Brown went.

Clearly, we need sweeping management changes. But even if we brought in one of the best superintendents in the country, he/she would have no chance unless the BOE was ready to allow a thorough re-organization. There are so many friends and family members in upper management, and they have made themselves tight with some BOE'ers, there's no chance for change, unless the BOE also gets new board members.

Change ain't ever going to happen under Zepora Roberts, Sarah Copelin-Wood, Jay Cunningham and Crawford's Commerce Club buddy Gene Walker.

Anonymous said...

Before new contracts go out to Lewis's cronies, YOU NEED TO CONTACT YOUR BOE MEMBERS AND DEMAND ACTION. Pat Pope should not get a new contract in February---she should not have gotten a new one last February (she should have been fired WITH CAUSE). Lewis has know about her alleged crimes for over a year and he has shielded her. He stupidly took her word on everything about Heery and now, he can't let her true colors show because he knows doing so will hurt the civil case and COST HIM HIS JOB. Lewis could have dealt with POPE a long time ago, cut his losses on the civil suit with Heery...but he didn't. He chose to cover up and make up. Lewis should go. Turk should go (or at least be demoted), Lewis' friend who is now in a made up Executive Director Position in Nutrition/Wellness needs to go, PDS needs to go (or at least Guillory should go)! Revamp Sam Moss Center.

It is insulting to have the CFO ask teachers how to save money in the system when the administration is by far the main cause/reason behind ongoing money pits in the system. Lewis put Turk up to this.

I am still blown away by the stupidity of the Lewis administration. The tone is certainly set at the top.

Cerebration said...

Gee, Anon, tell us what you really think! ;-)

I do agree though, a big shake-up upstairs is vital to our school system getting back on track.

And, as far as Pope goes, I have come to the conclusion that the only reason they have kept her around (in a cavernous empty office space) is to keep her inaccessible to Heery's attorneys. After all, she led the response to their $500,000 claim against DCSS as it was elevated to a counter-claim of somewhere now between $85-$125 milllion! I therefore assume that they really - really - want to ask her some questions. But unless someone actually fires her with cause that relates to HM and/or files some charges against her - she is off-limits to them.

Cerebration said...

oh, to Anon above - that administrator in charge of student assignment is the one who told me, "Don't hold your breath" when I asked for one for my kid.

Anonymous said...

The Superintendent is in charge of administrative transfers i.e. political favors. The administrator in charge of student assignment, who makes well over, $100 per eyar, and was Crawford's previous assistant, spends her time making the political favors, cough, admin transfers happen.

Cerebration said...

Oh - no wonder.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lewis sat with me in a meeting with the then director of student assignments when he was Asst Super and assured me that my child would be eligible for a certain magnet program even though I worked for the school with the program.

I found out later that my child's name was removed from from the list before selection was done at the request of an administrator at the school.

He lied.

Anonymous said...

"The 71 new play and educational spaces are open to the general public after school hours, serving over 90,000 children under age 14"

Boston initiative succeeds by avoiding costly errors

This public-private collaboration, initially inspired by the green movement, has constructed new
schoolyards across the city. With the leadership of Mayor Tom Menino, the Boston Schoolyard
Initiative has transformed the outdoor physical space of more than 70 Boston schoolyards into
colorful and engaging outdoor classrooms and places to play.
More than $4 million in private funds and close to $16 million in public funds have been invested in designing and constructing comprehensive schoolyards across Boston.

Quantity: Boston has constructed or reconstructed schoolyards and outdoor classrooms at 71 of the district’s 130 schools, including almost 90% of the city’s elementary schools. The play
spaces cover 125 acres and serve almost 30,000 students. Boston Schoolyard Initiative is on track to have 85 schoolyards completed by 2010.

Quality: Improved outdoor spaces include comprehensive, age-appropriate play structures
and green spaces that address educational, social, and cognitive development issues. They replace asphalt surfaces with limited play equipment.

Access: Boston Schoolyard Initiative has renovated schoolyards in each of the city’s 15 neighborhoods. The 71 new play and educational spaces are open to the general public after school hours, serving over 90,000 children under age 14 living in these Boston neighborhoods.

Population of Boston:
Population under 18 in Boston:
Population of DeKalb County:
Population under 18 in DeKalb:

Anonymous said...

"The arrangement between the city of Tucson and its largest school district provides a best practice example of using joint-use agreements to quickly establish new community parks at a relatively low cost."

Sharing Play Space and Responsibility
Joint-use agreements increase open space and improve safety

A joint-use agreement between the city and its largest school district increased access to
play. As a result of this agreement, playgrounds have been upgraded to meet the city’s safety
standards. School athletic fields and open space at 12 elementary schools are now available
to the community after school hours. This led to a reduction in the maintenance costs for
participating schools, improved the safety of the school grounds, and increased the city’s
inventory of open space.

The city of Tucson and the Tucson Unified School District developed a joint-use agreement to open up new play spaces to the public. By sharing liability and maintenance responsibilities, the school district saved money while city residents benefited.
Quantity: Twelve neighborhood playgrounds and fields have been opened up to the community
and general public. Each of the city’s six districts now has two additional playgrounds, chosen
specifically in communities with the largest deficit of play space.
Quality: Play equipment at these 12 playgrounds was evaluated and, where necessary, upgraded to meet the National Playground Safety Institute’s guidelines. The spaces on these grounds now receive year-round maintenance support and are regularly patrolled by the police. Communities report reduced vandalism at schools with open school yards.
Access: Tucson has almost 130,000 residents under the age of 18. By opening the gates to playgrounds and fields in diverse locations and neighborhoods across the city, Councilman Rodney Glassman, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Tucson Unified School District have increased access to safe play spaces for thousands of Tucson children.

waitaminit said...

Cerebration--your statement about things getting much much worse is an invitation to completely re-work the "NOTIONS" surrounding the public schools in DeKalb.

This is no longer the domain of BUDGETS--its a domain of explosion and re-creation.

The current and "coming" financial devastation require EVERYONE to understand that our vision of what the school system does and does not do.

A complete assessment of what a public school system will look like when there are charter schools on every corner, further home schooling and any other school choice scenario? Consider the notion that 20% of the current population will not be in a public school building.

County-wide operational unit--it's cooked. Dodo Bird. The state already allows "charter groups" of schools. use them.

Statewide legilsative changes merging schools with other functions of the government. Also, merge all functions--the Board of Public Health ("wellness"), etc

New state law enavbling more city-held school systems.

These kinds or "reality-based futures" must be understood by everyone and soon.

"Reality"--public financing is going to be radically changed (imploded)--get used to a "simpler", scaled-down, town-centered situation. Think one-room school houses.

The fact is, the economic crisis should be considered a godsend from the perspective that it should cause us to completely re-"imagine" the system. It's a crisis--and the whole thing needs to start over.

But know this--these will all be politically impossible decisions unless parents and citizen's "get it" first.

We can get ahead of this or face a "2012" scenario when it gets here--our choice.