Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The December 2009 Board Meeting

Much was discussed at last night's very, very long meeting, presented with a really bad sound system. Had the board not tabled several items, they surely would have gone on until the wee hours.

First, during the public comments portion, there were several speakers requesting a reversal on the board's decision to join Gwinnett County in suing the state of Georgia over its formation of the charter school, Ivy Prep Academy. People are thrilled with this middle school for girls and very sad and angered that the local systems are threatening to take it away. Dr. Lewis stated that he had nothing against the school, just the constitutionality of it's existence. I hope Dr. Lewis is considering the requirements for states to earn "Race to the Top" federal money – apparently Obama and Duncan are big proponents of charter schools and allowing them to exist will help open the flow of those dollars to the state.

Several bus drivers addressed the board regarding the cut-backs they have endured. It seems as though these loyal folks have taken the worst hit of anyone. One lady compared her cut in hours - resulting in a 29% pay cut ($1715/month to $1225/month) - to the 2% pay cut and two day furlough the transportation management has had. This really is a travesty. Our bus drivers are some of our lowest paid people in the system, yet are entrusted with our most precious cargo every day. Dr. Lewis promised to meet with the bus drivers and stated that Dr. Alice Thompson would set up that meeting.

Barbara Colman gave us the CIP update, highlighting several projects still currently in progress - Redan HS, Cross Keys HS, Tucker HS, Stone Mountain HS and Mountain Industrial Center. She presented a Powerpoint overview stating that they are currently working on 97 projects, 59 Local School Priority Requests, 51 ADA projects for a total of $351 million currently being managed. She did say that the new managers have visited several projects only to discover that they had been "under-scoped" - meaning all of the scope necessary for the project was not addressed in the plan. The lack of a replacement weight room at Avondale HS was an example. Ms. Colman will be meeting with the Avondale community tonight and the Cross Keys community tomorrow night to discuss their projects. Hopefully, she will be able to help those communities regain trust in the school system.

All in all, it seems that although expensive, the construction managers have really jumped in and taken charge professionally. Pat Pope's ability to make progress had surely been hampered by the fact that she had been living under a microscope for the past year - it must have been nearly impossible for her to get any work done with the District Attorney and the GBI monitoring her every move. Hopefully these new managers will be given the freedom and autonomy they need to get these projects done at long last.

Jamie Wilson presented a new software program by Gallup for evaluating principals and teachers called "Teacher Insight" and "Principal Insight". This software program appears to be capable of predicting teacher and principal success, based on more or less a personality test which determines their skills, talents and passions. This will help place teachers in the most appropriate positions, and may even result in helping to remove teachers who appear to not actually be well-suited for their job. At a cost of $160,000, which is funded by Title II money, the software will be a bargain if it delivers it's promises.

The board voted to table the resolution to limit the size of the board without much discussion. They also voted to table the proposed ethics policy with Walker angrily moving to table saying, "table it so we don't have to listen to it" and that it was simply in reaction to Kevin Levitas' ethics proposal for the board at the state level. He then publicly dressed down state rep Kevin Levitas for having the audacity to propose such a policy in the legislature, while citing his own legislative background as being much more vast and experienced. Walker's comments always speak for themselves, there's no need for us to say any more. To read about it, visit this article at Atlanta Unfiltered.

Additionally, the board voted to change the bylaws requiring that school councils or some other citizen review panel be allowed to interview a new principal for their school. The bylaw has been changed to only include interviews for principals hired from outside the system–the superintendent can place principals from within the system at his pleasure, without input from the public. They have accomplished this by redefining the word "vacancy" by now stating, "A vacancy occurs in the position of principal when the position is to be filled from applications submitted to the district and not from reassignment of existing personnel."

Other than that, Dr. Lewis tabled the plan to use the Elk's Lodge property for transportation since finding out that the property is in a flood plain. And the calendar issue endured much discussion. The start dates and the way the second semester backs right into a very heavy testing period are at issue. These tests determine AYP status, so ensuring that students are prepared and rested is vital to earning a good score. The calendar issue will prove to become very important as we move into national standards and testing.


Anonymous said...

The Ivy Prep Students were well spoken and much more on point than some of our elected officials.

Supposedly one of the problems with Ivy Prep is that it gets more per pupil money per student than any public school or any charter school approved by the school board. In addition to costing the school system the normal transfer of district pupil funds t0 the charter school an additional amount comes out of what the state might otherwise give to local schools.

Until last year the school board in each district approved (or disapproved the request for a charter). Since our district has approved charters in the past we assume that all charters are not rejected out of hand for financial reasons. The focus of the lawsuit is the constitutionality of removing a school board from the process. “We do not believe the commission has the constitutional authority to establish a state-wide independent school system as it is doing in authorizing its own charter schools,” Wilbanks said. “We also do not believe the commission has the constitutional authority to direct local dollars to the operation of commission-approved charter schools. The board’s decision to pursue this legal action was precipitated by the state’s unconstitutional erosion of local control.” Similar lawsuits in other states have been successful and in Florida the Charter School Commission was disbanded after losing such a suit.

Ivy Prep is a good school and if its location had been in DeKalb it would have been approved. Gwinnett supposed rejected it because of Title I. That is, it is a girls only school and there is some question whether a school board can legally approve a single gender school without making equal provisions for the other gender ( separate but equal comes to mind, somehow). There is some thought that a parallel federal discrimination suit will also be filed against the state of Georgia Charter School Commission to resolve this very point.

Clearly, some details about how the nation does charter schools need to be resolved as we go forward with reform. The idea of doing away with the school board and local control appeals to me.
Perhaps if Ivy Prep wins DCSS should just become a big charter receiving more pupil money and saving us them time to monitor the school board meetings.

Anonymous said...

The acquisition of the Elks' Lodge property was subject of much opposition from the conservation folks, so DCSS knew there were problems with using it as a bus depot. Last night they acted as if it was a big surprise - "we just found out today.."

So now they need to buy another piece of land. More $$. How are they going to unload the Elks' Lodge property?

Molly said...

As much as I sympathize with the bus drivers who have lost much needed income, the reason their hours could be cut so drastically was because the transportation program was being run so inefficiently. Routes and stops have been combined, requiring fewer buses and driver hours. As difficult as it is for the drivers, it is necessary for the school system.

If only that same sense of efficiency were applied to the central office staff, we might see some real improvement in the budget. No doubt there are plenty of administrative positions that could be combined or eliminated...Executive Director of Corporate Wellness springs to mind.

themommy said...

Actually, I believe that start up single gender schools have survived lawsuits nationally. However, local systems cannot start schools/programs for one gender without offering the same program for another. It is a fine distinction -- but they are different.

What DCSS is really worried about is not the revenue lose because of Ivy, but what is in the pipeline. DCSS turned down not only the Avondale group but a couple of others that probably have a shot at commission approval.

By the way, while the law was overturned in Florida it was upheld in Colorado. These are local court's decisions, based on state constitutions, so it is hard to read to much into decisions from other states.

If the commission is upheld in GA, you can expect many new public charters in DeKalb (and metro Atlanta) in the next 5 years or so.

Kim Gokce said...

How did the Fire Marshall's appearance come across on the broadcast? Seemed like there were 200+ people trying to fit into a room designed for less than half that. By the time the FM got there, folks were already filing out in advance of the business agenda.

One public speaker mentioned "... race is in this place." It was more like 2 of every species ...

Anonymous said...

Under scope projects worry me. I hope the board (and DA) keep a watchful eye as Change Orders come forward to fix the omissions.

Board members can't in good conscience vote "No" to change orders that would hurt children -- like not approving equipment for a weight room, or better yet not approving change orders for ADA or fire marshal requirements.

One has to look closely at bids submitted to see if some vendors included everything necessary, but lost the bid because others submitted low-ball bids with full knowledge that after they win the project they can make up their profit in change orders that will have automatic approval.

Cerebration said...

"Perhaps if Ivy Prep wins DCSS should just become a big charter receiving more pupil money and saving us them time to monitor the school board meetings."

I'm all for that! These are our tax dollars - I like what the Ivy Prep mom said - "My local control happens at my kitchen table."

BTW - I recall DeKalb considering and rejecting an all girls middle school. They had their chance and blew it!

Anonymous said...

What did John Evans speak about? Did he really say that there were no black owned law firms in GA that could compete with elite white firms?

Kim Gokce said...

That's what he said ... it sure seemed to be a less-than-finessed-point. I have to believe he would choose different phrasing given a review.

Cerebration said...

Well, first he advocated for school nurses in middle and high schools. Then he went off on the legal representation issue again claiming that only three people promoted the RFP for new legal representation. He claimed that these three influenced the other six. He then stated that there are only six blacks on the school board and they were influenced to go with a white firm and that there are no black firms in the state of Georgia who could fulfill the RFP (insinuating that it was written with a bias). His actual words were, "There is Race in this Place".

Molly said...

I like what the Ivy Prep mom said - "My local control happens at my kitchen table."

That was me. From my perspective, this lawsuit is about fear. Not fear of Ivy Prep - it is one small school and the budget impact is minimal. It is fear of all the other potential charter schools out there. Up until now, boards have been able to deny charters simply because they don't want the competition. They didn't have to give a valid reason. Potentially excellent schools were shut down before they could begin. The State Charter commission allows those charters a fair hearing with an opportunity for an impartial assessment.

This lawsuit is like the Berlin Wall. Rather than improve conditions in the east so that citizens would want to stay, the Soviets built a wall to force them to stay. DeKalb ought to focus on drastically improving its own middle schools, so parents like me don't feel compelled to tunnel under the wall.

Kim Gokce said...

Wow, Molly, that is too very eloquent analogies on one subject. The key word running through the charter discussion is certainly control and power. Long live the kitchen table!

Cerebration said...

You did an excellent job making your point at the microphone, Molly. It really makes me sad to think that our board will spend taxpayer dollars on lawyers to fight against the needs of children. Where are their heads?

And - as far as John Evans goes - I'm even more sad to think that here we are - 10 years into the new millennium - and we are being dragged back into the dark ages of racial discrimination. This - in a school system that is an overwhelming majority black with an overwhelming black leadership in every corner. Why are these people leading our schools? Why didn't the voters approve of the fresh, new leadership that was within their reach at the last election?

If you really want to discuss racial inequity - go to Cross Keys. That majority Latino school is suffering badly - at the hands of our black leadership. Explain that Mr. Evans.

Paula Caldarella said...

You did an excellent job making your point at the microphone, Molly. It really makes me sad to think that our board will spend taxpayer dollars on lawyers to fight against the needs of children. Where are their heads?

I guess I am in the minority here with regards to public funding of these start-up Charters. I just found out that the elementary school my children attended does not even have a promethean board in every classroom and the school's fundraising arm is going full-tilt to make sure that each classroom has one. I would like to see this school and other schools, such as Cross Keys, get the DCSS money to put together a proper education experience before that money is re-directed to a school that may, or may be make it.

Anonymous said...

“They didn't have to give a valid reason. Potentially excellent schools were shut down before they could begin. The State Charter commission allows those charters a fair hearing with an opportunity for an impartial assessment.”

Actually there is a very long check list of what must be provided for a charter that is required by state law. DCSS has approved some charter requests, as other systems have. DeKalb County presently has about 4 charter schools (not counting conversion charters) and Gwinnett has two. All were approved the school boards.

Rejection by the local board must be based on failure to satisfy the check list. Some cases the local board has approved, the state has refused to approve. Often schools rejected the first year of application reapply and if they correct the deficiencies in their application they have been approved.

The commission may also overrule the school board and the application, rules, and commission members may be found at http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/pea_charter.aspx

The Commission can also overrule a local board and approve a charter.

DCSS is still studying single gender schools with the understanding that if there is one for girls, there must be a parallel effort for boys.

One of the oddities of Ivy prep is that it gets more money per pupil than the other two charter schools in Gwinnett.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that no elementary school has a Promethean Boards in every classroom. So many were purchased for each school. In the two schools that I have worked in, they were given to certain teachers. One school gave one per grade level, another gave one to favorites. If schools do have Promethean Boards in all of their rooms, I would want to know where the funding came from.

Dekalbparent said...

I believe some of the elementary schools are fortunate enough to have parent contributions. I don't know about the rest that are rumored to have the boards in each room. Anybody know?

Cerebration said...

They seem random to me. I do think, however, that the money for this kind of technology as well as other technologies came from SPLOST dollars - not the general budget. If so, charter schools don't get a dime from SPLOST. So, there's some areas where the charters actually get much less.

Paula Caldarella said...

It's my understanding that my former elementary school was given 7 boards for the entire school, whereas the other schools in Dunwoody have them in almost all of their classrooms. How those other schools got them I do not know. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

Yes. The parents raised money for them. At my children's school, a good year with Sally Foster is around 14 thousand dollars profit. At some DeKalb schools, 40 thousand profit isn't unusual.

I think that the new schools that have opened in the last couple of years have a board in every classroom. Otherwise, PTAs and school foundations are raising funds for them.

Paula Caldarella said...

Those boards are about $4,000 each - that's a lot of wrapping paper...:)

Lefty said...

What was decided about school council inclusion in the hiring of principals?

themommy said...

I think Vanderlyn raises more than 50000 a with their every other year auction(maybe less last year because of the economy.) Fernbank pays for at least one teacher's salary. So it is clear that a handful of schools in DeKalb can bring in the big bucks.

Interestingly, in Fulton County, where there is far more affluence spread across many schools than DeKalb, their PTA Council keeps a fairly tight reign on spending. They don't allow (actually it is a national PTA policy) PTAs to pay for things/services that the system should be providing.

The reason we have elementary school nurses across the state now is that for many years the PTAs at many N. Fulton elementary schools were paying for school nurses. The Fulton PTA Council put an end to this because the leaders knew that not every school in Fulton could afford to do this and they wanted their parents to lobby for the system and/or state to provide this service. It happened.

Same thing happened in the City of Atlanta -- at least one of the Buckhead elementary schools PTAs was providing foreign language instruction. CoA was motivated to provide language to all schools.

In DeKalb, I have had a board member tell me that PTAs will have to make up the shortfall. Huh?

Anonymous said...

themommy- "They don't allow (actually it is a national PTA policy) PTAs to pay for things/services that the system should be providing."

Many schools get around this by setting up foundations that solicit donations and have fundraisers without the rules of PTA. At the more affluent schools these foundations raise tons of money.

There are many Title 1 schools with interactive boards in every room. To me the middle class gets shut out in public education. The lower income schools get Title 1 funds and the affluent schools get parents to bankroll projects. The average guy gets nothing!

Anonymous said...

Lefty the board unanimously approved limiting school council input in principal hiring. Dr. Lewis gave the nonsensical excuse that SACS had required this change in the procedure, but what SACS required was that the administration actually follow established board policy. Dr. Lewis decided that he did not want to follow board policy and so convinced them to change the policy under false pretenses. And they did. So much for parental involvement.

Anonymous said...

Who is the person in District 4 that Womack indicated always gets things wrong. He cannot stand for someone to have a prospective other than his view.

He is keeping a low profile lately. I cannot believe he would want ethical rules to follow either. He wants to be in control. Let's help he never becomes the chairman of the school board.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope he is never elected the chairman of the school board.

Anonymous said...

(Convicted felon) John Evans is so over. He has absolutely no credibility. Just ignore him. he's not worth getting riled up over.

Anonymous said...

A least we all know Gene Walker won't win another term. Gene 'One Termer" Walker has a nice ring to it.

fedupindcss said...

The BOE this time around has a distinctly bullying feel to it. I am not sure if that is because it has more men than women this go around (sorry to sound sexist), or if the men on it are bully-ish. Whatever it is, the meetings come across as nasty.

Dekalbparent said...

From the Champion newspaper 12/3/09

The county also sees opportunity in the DeKalb County School System’s demolition of the Jim Cherry Center, the DeKalb School for the Arts and the DeKalb Alternative School on North Druid Hills Road.

Since the school district is planning a new arts school serving students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, including a performing arts center, county officials believe the redevelopment could spark renewed interest in the arts, “a key element of a livable community,” the proposal said.

Cerebration said...

wow - I was just about to post that DeKalb Parent!!

(We had a mind meld...)

At any rate - What the hell??? Excuse my French, but is that Arts Center - School of the Arts still on Lewis' agenda? Give me a break - the last time he got prices the cost was projected at between $80-$100 million!

Dekalbparent said...

Cere -

That was just about what I was thinking (another mind-meld).

When did the demo order go out?

On what basis (don't tell me asbestos, or we should be getting demo orders for a lot more schools)?

Why is this performing arts school written about as if it were a fait accompli?

Are we really thinking we can sneak an $60-100 million project under the radar?

Anonymous said...

Our district cannot afford an Arts Center. We have other more pressing matter. Like the schools that we have that need to be fixed. If Lewis wants this Arts Center, he needs to decide who he is going to get rid of in his administration, as the county cannot afford to pay for all of the over paid administrators and an arts center, while our regular schools are crumbling.

It saddens me that this Arts Center is talked about like it's a done deal. Don't tax payers have a say?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Doretha Alexander is still on the DCSS payroll? I will be beyond livid if my tax dollars are going to pay someone who broke a sacred trust.



Separate from the commission's actions, both DeKalb officials -- Berry and Doretha Alexander -- faced a rare criminal prosecution by DeKalb authorities on a felony charge of falsifying a state document. Berry pleaded guilty to that charge Wednesday. He was sentenced to two years' probation and a $1,000 fine. Alexander's case is still pending.

Anonymous said...

Dr. James Berry received a slap on the hands. He is "very" close in the closet kind of close friends with Dr. Berry. He spent a lot of personal time at Atherton Elementary while the "Berry" was there.

Anonymous said...

Dr. James Berry received a slap on the hands. He is "very" close in the closet kind of close friends with Jamie Wilson who spent a lot of personal time at Atherton Elementary while the "Berry" was there.

Anonymous said...

This blog page like many parent pow-wow is all talk. Its good to get information out, but it is worthless if no one is doing anything about it.

Justicedekalb can give first hand testimony that one voice is so easliy ignored.

Richard Bauer is a DCSS non-favorite reporter.

Uitlize this page to get the lead out of the taxpayer to get active about ridding the school system of its corruption.

All talk and no action is just..."BACKGROUND NOISE"...who really listens to that

Anonymous said...

I am not too sure loss of your job, disgrace, suspension from public school work for two years and $1000 fine is a slap on the wrist. Berry's attorney, Jackie Patterson, said Berry is "thrilled" to have the case behind him. He said Berry plans to stay in education in Georgia and is looking for jobs. Berry resigned after admitting to changing students' answers on a standardized math exam in summer 2008. The state's teacher licensing commission banned Berry from Georgia public schools for two years.

Doretha Alexander is still under investigation by the DA (Berry confessed but she did not). She did lose her job and her ability to work in public education for two years. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission Ethics committee recommended a two year suspension in September 2009. The full board voted on the recommendation but does not list suspensions by name.

Anonymous said...

“Our district cannot afford an Arts Center. We have other more pressing matter. Like the schools that we have that need to be fixed. If Lewis wants this Arts Center, he needs to decide who he is going to get rid of in his administration, as the county cannot afford to pay for all of the over paid administrators and an arts center, while our regular schools are crumbling.”

We need to change our thinking. Let’s not think poor-all the needs are pressing. Our district can not afford to stint in any area. We need an arts center, we need to fix our crumbling schools (Cross Keys first?), and we need to provide our students with the best possible education. No aspect of the school system should suffer because we are worried about 50 to 100 people whose jobs we don’t understand. The building funds and the operating funds in Georgia are two separate accounts. No matter how many people we layoff it would not allow us to afford to build one more building. Any money we would save needs to be poured into the classroom. It sounds great to say that there is unnecessary spending. Should you succeed in making DCSS the most efficient school system ever you are going to need millions of dollars more to invest in our future!
Every child we fail becomes a much more expensive liability to society as they grow up. It costs three times as much to keep someone in the county jail a year than we spend per student. Of course, it also costs money to catch the people who rob and kill innocent citizens-and we don’t always catch them in time. The students that we fail who don’t turn to crime make bad life choices and cost us in other ways, increased health care, drug rehabilitation, job training, unemployment, welfare, and most importantly the lose of potential talent and productivity that is a much more criminal waste than any bloat in DCSS. For those of us (like me) who don’t have school age children the problem is just as acute. The fabric of our society, our democracy, public safety, justice, economy, health, every day services we take for granted depend on a good education system. It’s about time we were willing to really pay for what we want.

Anonymous said...

People who care about education and live in the county are not sending their kids to DCSS. We are loosing more and more kids because of the quality of education students receive in their neighborhood schools.

Having turned schools around successfully, a lot of money isn't going to do it. Lots of programs aren't going to do it. We need quality teachers to stay more than a few years. The teachers need to either learn how to utilize the best strategies in reading and math or if they already know allow them to do so. DCSS teachers need real training. Currently one or two teachers get training and are sent back to train their school. This is not working. District officials need to care less about what teachers wear and more about what students are or are not learning.

Parents also play a part in a school system. They need to know that their children will be held to standards and if they do not meet the standards they won't be moving on. They need to come to conferences when teachers request to see them. They need to sit down with their child and engage their child in a conversation about their day and what they learned today. They to make sure that their child is completing their homework and seek help from teachers if they do not know how to help their child.

A new arts center is really not a luxury that DCSS can afford right now. There are many high schools that have auditoriums that are under utilized. When they are being used, then I can see spending money on an arts center.

DCSS needs to really decide what it's priorities are. They need to put these priorities in order and start working it's way down the list. If we are to turn our county around, we must begin with the schools as this is what will draw young families here. Right now even people attending the magnet programs aren't thrilled with the education that their child is receiving.

I do not mind paying for a quality education, but I do not see it happening with the current structure in DCSS. A quality education isn't the administration's priority, and until it is, I refuse to pay more for friends and families to have jobs and the children to not receive a quality education. Education or the children do not seem to be a priority for the administration in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

A new arts center is really not a luxury that DCSS can afford right now. There are many high schools that have auditoriums that are under utilized. When they are being used, then I can see spending money on an arts center.

There are no luxuries in education

Dekalbparent said...

What about the new Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center? Built by DeKalb County. As I understand it, they could use extra funds to pay off the debt. Could this center be used by DCSS?

Cerebration said...

What an absolutely terrific idea! I don't know why no one has thought of it yet -- it's perfect! I think you should write the board and Dr. Lewis, reference what you read in the Champion --


And then propose your great idea! And keep proposing it - in fact, propose it to the County Commission as well. Don't let anyone shoot down this idea - it's a great one!

Anonymous said...

Great idea DeKalb Parent! Let others know about your idea.

Dekalbparent said...

I have emailed the CEO Ellis and BOC as well as Dr. Lewis and the BOE. Let's see what I hear.

Anonymous said...

It makes perfect sense for the county to lease the arts center to DCSS. it was a Vernon Jones boondoogle that went way over budget, and I know for a fact that it is bleeding money right now. The county is facing a serious revenue shortfall, and should not have to pay hundreds of tousands to keep the art center afloat. It is not coming close to generating the rental revenue that Vernon and his minions projected.

A lease to DCSS for an arts school is a huge win win for the county, DCSS, students and especially us taxpayers!!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the story mentioning a new Arts School on the N. Druid Hills property has any truth or was just repeating ancient "talk?"

Very few urban school districts have sufficient land needed to build a high school. This is an incredible chunk of land where there is already a stadium. DCSS needs to use either this property or Cross Keys for a super new high school (like Arabia Mtn) that will fulfill the need by 2016 for more high school seats in the north/central part of the county.

Anonymous said...

Cere: the DCSS Operations department has finally posted the October 2009 CIP Update report on the web. While the report is dated October, it includes information through early December 2009. It might merit a new discussion thread.

Here is the link: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/operations/projects/2002-2007/files/CIP/October%202009%20Bi-Monthly%20Report%20Rev%2002%202.pdf

If the link does not work, go to Operations page, on the right side scroll down to CIP, then click Reports.

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the heads up, Anon - the post is ready!

Anonymous said...

The DCSS Administration is hiding from the public that a large number of Dekalb Alternative School students have been arrested in 2009 on a wide variety of charges. MARTA Police are constantly picking them up on truancy charges. Seems either no one knows when they are missing or they just don't care. There are gang issues and while many of the crimes are minor, there has been some serious charges. Marijuana
and theft are at an all time high with DAS students.

I am not exaggerating when I say things are close to bedlam with DAS. It's very, very bad right now, and our county police and MARTA police spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with DAS students. It is the dirty little secret of the Crawford Lewis administration.

Cerebration said...

Remember this story -

Police: Ammo found on teen outside Decatur school

Police say a large group of teens believed to be armed led to the lockdown of two schools in downtown Decatur.

As many as 30 or more teens approached the entrance to Decatur High School around 3 p.m. Thursday, while students were in class, police said.

A bus driver who didn’t recognize any of the young people as students there, called the school resource officer who called Decatur police.

When officers approached, the teens scattered and ran, but police caught eight of them, Decatur deputy police chief Keith Lee said.

“One had ammunition in his pockets, which made us concerned that there were weapons” brought on the campus, Lee said.

Police ordered Decatur High and Renfroe Middle School, about a quarter of a mile away, locked down around 3:30 p.m., City Schools of Decatur spokeswoman Maria Lewis.

About 55 minutes later, students who ride the bus or go home by car were permitted to leave. Students who walk were detained at the school until about 4:50 p.m. when police cleared the scene, Lewis said.

It’s uncertain why the teens came to Decatur High, Lee said.

Decatur Police said no students were injured, but they were taking precautions and looking for several teenagers seen outside the high school.

Lewis said she could not release any details, but said no Decatur students were involved.

Lee said the teens who were detained were believed to be students from DeKalb Alternative School, nearly six miles away in Stone Mountain.

An automated phone system has called parents to report the lockdown. Students walking home were also ordered back to the building, parents said.

About 775 students attend the high school and about 500 students attend the middle school, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

Interesting -- Small world - the Maria Lewis from Decatur schools they quote in the article is Dr. Lewis' daughter. So - given that knowledge - do you think there's a possibility she didn't share the "whole" story? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the reported demolition plans for the N. Druid Hills property and the planned performing arts school, I asked the author of the article in the Champion, Jonathan Cribbs, where the information came from. He said he would check the source and, if necessary, the Champion will issue a clarification or a correction.

I'll let you know what he says.

Cerebration said...

Thanks, Anon. Great idea to follow up.

Anonymous said...

No answer from Champion yet regarding plans for N Druid Hills property. I am supposing, though, if it were common knowledge to BOE, the two BOE reps who have expressed opposition would be speaking out, so I am really wanting to know what the story is.