New questions about how Pat Pope awarded DeKalb school projects.
By Tim Eberly
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
DeKalb County school official Patricia “Pat” Pope hired a family friend from Washington, D.C., to work as a furniture consultant on three school construction projects, and the school district paid for the woman’s plane tickets, hotel stays and car rentals when she traveled here, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned....
Around the same time, Pope also hired an Atlanta interior designer to serve as a furniture consultant on two other projects.
Both hirings apparently violated school district policy. When asked for documents to show that purchasing policies were followed, the district could not produce any.
Records show that Pope’s construction program paid D.C.-based furniture consultant Judy Hasbrouck $108,730 for three contracts between 2007 and 2009 for her work and travel expenses.
Pope also paid $19,263 to Atlanta interior designer Vanessa Shorter, an acquaintance who later went to work for Pope’s architect husband, for furniture consulting work in 2007.
The revelation about those contracts is the latest in a series of AJC articles about Pat Pope and her involvement in the construction projects under criminal investigation.
Hasbrouck and Shorter began working for the district after Pat Pope cut ties with a retired employee on the grounds that she had a full-time employee who was ready to take over the work. The retired employee had been working part time for the system.
Within a month, Pope fired the full-time employee and brought Hasbrouck and Shorter into the picture.
The school district doesn’t have records to compare Hasbrouck’s and Shorter’s workloads to that of the retired employee, but Hasbrouck alone made nearly as much money in half the time, documents show.
Pope’s hiring of Hasbrouck and Shorter was not only unusual, but apparently violated school district policies.*
Two of Hasbrouck’s three contracts were worth more than $25,000 and should have been competitively bid through public advertisements, according to the school district’s policy for purchasing goods and services.
The third Hasbrouck contract — and Shorter’s single contract — were worth more than $10,000 and should have been approved only after the district got two written quotes from possible vendors.
*So - now do you suppose the board will fire her and save the taxpayers her $200,000 salary plus benefits?
Follow this link to read the entire AJC story.
"At the probe’s outset, DeKalb schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis told authorities that, three years into Pope’s employment, he learned that those close to Pope were making money off the school district through a variety of contracted jobs."
Um. Well. Why didn't you fire her then?
What's the deal?
You have go to be kidding me. Excerpt from article...
Their job duties involved working with the school district to select and purchase furniture for the schools, and to coordinate its delivery and installation.
In prior years, the school district had relied on a retired employee, Gerald Bowen, to assist in those duties. Bowen retired in 2003 from the district and began working part time soon after, according to his personnel file.
In March 2007, Pat Pope cut ties with Bowen. At the time, she complimented his work and attributed the change to a succession plan.
“The support provided by the two is greatly appreciated,” Pope wrote in a memo dated March 15, 2007, referring to Bowen and another part-timer. “Unfortunately, the positions have been filled with employees that are now ready to take on the roles of these positions, successfully.”
Pope added that the two part-timers “allowed for a smooth transition and again we appreciate them.”
Five days later, though, Pope hired Shorter, records show.
Bowen declined to comment for the article.
One month after Shorter started, Pat Pope fired the full-time employee whom Pope had described in the memo as ready to do the work. In a letter detailing the termination, Pope said the employee had “not been able to meet deadlines” nor “expectations outlined for her.”
I knew that when her office was first raided by DCSS police that this was going to get bigger and more entangled than we could imagine.
Oh what a tangled web we weave...
Pray for the DCSS. There are many great people who work for the system. There are hard working people both in and out of the school. Ella, works in the schools. I feel that she will agree that principals, counselors, teachers, paras, custodians perform a valuable service to our students. Most of them work more more than 40 hours a week, and consider it a mission and not a job. Losing 6.25 percent of one's salary is a big loss, but not having trust or hope is even worst. Please do not be so hard on Ms Tyson. She is in a difficult position. Staff working with students are held to a very high standard. One mistake can cost someone his or her job. They have very little recourse,
Hopefully, one day all people working in the school system will be held to the same high standards.
We have to be able to trust again. Trust is going to be a long time coming.
You know it's getting bad when you see the AJC headline: "Pope apologizes for Irish church abuse" and you think it's another story about Pat.
That is really funny or just really sad.
Both Pope and Lewis need to be gone now. The Board needs to ask for his resignation. Pope simply needs to be fired.
Any chance that she could help in the Heery-Mitchell Lawsuit is over.
Straw that broke the camel's back. If Pope isn't gone in a week, I am. I refuse to work for a company that so blatantly screws its employees and customers while upper management receives no consequences other than high pay.
Another interesting quote from the article:
"Tony Pope and Hasbrouck also worked together on the Columbia High construction project, and it appears Pope was paid $52,000 to do much of the same work, including furniture selection and overseeing its installation, for which Hasbrouck was hired, records show.
Tony Pope declined to comment on the apparent overlap in work."
How much longer is the board going to keep this lady on the payroll? She has caused so many people their jobs. How can any thing she has done be legal. I hope every person that she has caused to lose there jobs file suit against her and lewis because he looked the other way. He did not do his job. He and the board should have been more on top of what she was doing.
The more I read this the more i am just sick of all this mess and how the kids in dekalb will hurt from this. I knew when they put lewis in that job we were headed for trouble. And the first time I met pope i knew she was trouble. She had a nasty air about her. She is a very nasty person and the sooner she is gone the better.
Of course, that is your opinion, Anon. However, there certainly are facts in Pat Pope's case that would lend solid reasons for terminating an employee just about anywhere except DCSS.
Here's a recent report on the subject -
This story is not just about unacceptable behavior on the part of Pat Pope, but also on the part of Crawford Lewis, and even the Board of Education. How are thousands of dollars spent without no oversight? How are consultants brought in, how are they chosen, and how are they evaulated?
How are the policies and procedures enforced? Why was Pope allowed to make these hires, and how where they approved? D.C.-based furniture consultant??
Tony Pope and Hasbrouck paid to do the same work?
Why even have policies and procedures in place if they are not enforced? How long did DCSS know about these decisions by Pope?
"Two of Hasbrouck’s three contracts were worth more than $25,000 and should have been competitively bid through public advertisements, according to the school district’s policy for purchasing goods and services.
The third Hasbrouck contract — and Shorter’s single contract — were worth more than $10,000 and should have been approved only after the district got two written quotes from possible vendors."
Why were the payments even made in the first place if they went againt DCSS policy? How does this happen? How do we know that other department heads Haven't made similar moves and/or are still making still moves? Who watches the money?
Why is anyone even paid for "furniture selection"? Why isn't school furniture standardized across the system?
Who in the DCSS administrator in charge of reimbursements and cutting the checks? Red flag galore that someone from D.C. being paid for hotel, plane ticket and expenses!
Pope alledgely fired an employee after only a month for “not been able to meet deadlines”, and then brings in someone from Washington D.C. to perform a duty there should be no need for in the first place?
Is their no auditor or comptroller in DCSS? Other departments like MIS have increased exponentially in budget and staff in a relatively short time. Are similar things happening like these by Pope? Were these SPLOST dollars and if so, are we to feel comfortable with the current administration and a SPLOST IV?
Why are tens of thousands being spent on a consultant to pick furniture while the system is facing a massive deficit and every penny is needed first in the classroom? Why our spending priorities always for administration by the administration instead of for students and teachers?
The credibility of the school system is in question, and justifiably so.
@ Anon 10:39, you raise good points.
Did DCSS's finance department knowingly violate the board's purchasing policy when they cut the checks to pay for the no-bid items or for those that (in aggregate) should have required board approval in the first place?
What procedures are in place to ensure board policy is followed; and if it isn't, what are the consequences?
According to Womack and al., Dr. Lewis earned every penny!!!
Dan and Anon
Those are good questions. It does seem like someone should have been scratching their head in finance wondering what was what or who was who.
It sounds like in the other school districts that furniture selection is handled by an employee who does other things.
So what now? How do we get this board to start cleaning up their house? Do we organize a march on the central office, a press conference, a recall?
I'm curious - are there no qualified "Furniture Selection Specialists" in Atlanta? Is that why we had to spend local property tax dollars to fly in someone from D.C.? Must be a very complicated job with very few experts!
BTW -- Today (Sunday, March 21) is Crawford’s birthday! Thought you bloggers may want to send him well wishes to accompany his taxpayer funded $700+ per day unlimited vacation.
Here's his email address -
Crawford still gets his $2,500 per month expense account and use of his school credit card while he's on vacation, er, sitting on the sidelines while the tough budget decisions are being made, er, while he's on paid leave.
There was a person in place who ordered furniture for the schools and offices. It was her fulltime job (hired by Stan Pritchett) at the Sam Moss Svc Center with no complaints. Ms. Pope removed her and shipped her to another department then slide a person that she wanted in that position. She later fired the new person and that's how we got the contactors or should I say the "DCSS Friends & Family Plan."
When Pope arrived on the DCSS scene she had a plan and that was to give back to the friends who have helped her in the past. This was also the case with CLewis..This is why the DCSS employment has swelled to the bulk we have toay. I can tell you that the State and Federal Government are looking seriously into the allegations and will be working with the D.A. to resolve this matter if not on a county level but a state and federal one. You can believe that they are looking at this and waiting to see how the county will handle this but just remember money was used that was allocated by the state and federal government...this is where things get tricky for CLewis and Pope and the BOE they too are accountable and will be scrunitized by the proper authorities. These situations always start with a rumble but end with a bang. And the bang is going to be very powerful not many people will be left standing in line of trusted cabinent members...e.a.,Purchasing, Human Resources, & Finance to name a few....a year from now we could see an entire new BOE and new Department heads....not a dream...it has happend in the past and will happen this time sooner than we all might think.....just think if the little people know what's going on and that it wasn't legal.and kept a paper trail to cover their butts...how soon do you think the cabinent will start to cut deals with the GBI and the Feds.....just a hunch but I always go with my hunches they pay off BIG. BTW expect lawsuits from all the folks who were let go by Pope and the BOE stood by and approved these actions knowing she was guilty of crimes...this is mob style dealings within a shool system....expect coverage on a national level. This exact situation happened in New York and Virginia in recent years.
@Anonymous 11:51 AM
I certainly hope so! Lewis, Pope, Ramsey, Callaway (yes, even retired, she must be held accountable!, et al -- all have misused federal and state dollars and have robbed our children. Additionally, they need to be held responsible for significantly reducing our property values.
Ok, now, you all know better than to post personal emails, etc. That's why I only posted Crawford's work email - it's public.
See all the work you made me do on a Sunday???
Deleting is such hard labor.
Now play nice.
In my mind, the Dekalb DA is just scouting for the Feds and for the State. That is where the real prosecution will take place.
Hence circling the wagon...
The attitude of the BOE has always led me to think there was and is a certain "quid pro quo" going on between the BOE and the Central Office AND between them.
It would be hard to think that the BOE was so incompetent as to let all of these rookie slights of hand to go unnoticed!
Absent prior knowledge....
If I were I BOE member who had had the wool pulled over, I would be raising holy haedes to fire and prosecute these magicians of evil..
What about people like Debbie Loeb, who quickly retired and moved out of state when she realized what was going on?
What about Rick Cost and Ren Hallford, both now with Gwinnett County Public Schools?
What about double-dipping Ron Ramsey, head of Internal Affairs?
What about Larry Hammel (Director of Finance) and Susan Hurst (Director of Budget)?
What about Gail Sewell, Carla Smith and the so-called auditors?
If they knew what was going on -- and how could they not? -- are they not just as culpable? The "little people" who kept a paper trail to prove their "innocence", just in case -- are they not just as guilty of stealing from DCSS students and taxpayers?
Can they be compelled to testify? Or will they wriggle free based on the 5th Amendment?
Maybe the board can buy Dr. Lewis a car for his birthday. Oh, I forgot, they already did. Good thing they didn't fill it up with Premium!
Hey Crawford: Happy Birthday! Go ahead and take the day off.
"The total bill for travel on that project: $4,297.
Hasbrouck was reimbursed for four flights to Atlanta between April 2007 and August 2007. Some of the costs of her flights: $628 and $538
The school district also paid for her hotel bills and car rentals. On two trips, Hasbrouck stayed at a local Marriott. During one stay, she racked up a $877 hotel bill and a $473 car rental bill."
What in the world is the DCSS BOE & Marcus Turk doing; signing blank checks and turning their heads..this is an outrage and a gosh darn shame....This is half of a part-time employees salary what this woman was paid in travel alone..in just 4 months!!!Folks we should really be calling and seeing these BOE members face to face at meetings...Let's talk about the waste and the disappearence of funds in DCSS why teachers (6.25% decrease in salary)and students are suffering (transportation and possible school closures)at the hands of fowl leadership on all levels. All the while Pope & Lewis spend their 200,000+ a year and drive free cars...They should be resigning NLT Monday morning and turn in those darn cars....why should yoou ride for free on taxpayers backs...We didn't get a raise so why should you give us back our cars and salaries. This is like the Tiger Woods text messages...everyday soemthing new and more explosive.....we should all feel like Elin Woods.
Wow... what they spent on a furniture consultant's travel expenses could more than make up the 6.25% I'm going to do without next year. Not that I'm bitter. It's just $5K that my unemployed spouse and I will just have to learn to live without. Hey, what's another year on a 12-year-old sedan?
Hmm... maybe the county office will cut me a sweet deal on a slightly used Ford 500.
BTW -- Today (Sunday, March 21) is Crawford’s birthday! Thought you bloggers may want to send him well wishes to accompany his taxpayer funded $700+ per day unlimited vacation.
The blog has sunk to a new low. Could we please stick to the issues?
How can we get organized for the available board positions? We need to focus on what we can change.
I just ran across this article: http://www.examiner.com/x-3958-Atlanta-Northside-Family--Parenting-Examiner~y2010m2d26-One-moms-outrage-at-Crawford-Lewis-and-the-DeKalb-County-School-Board
To read it, copy and paste the URL into your browser's address bar.
Be sure to read the first comment following the article!
Anon 5:01 PM - you really want to call out this blog for sinking to a new low? Are you paying attention to what it is we are so irate about? Do you really think WE are the ones to throw stones at? Come on... read some old posts - get up to speed. We have been duped and used by our school administration - we are in BIG trouble and the people to pay the price are our children and their teachers.
In fact, this charade has gone so far as to now refer to it as ludicrous. We've been played, and now we're being tortured with excruciatingly long legal investigations that will most likely never lead to any kind of charges against anyone. However, the taxpayer will have to ante up the mountain of money required for attorneys to continue pushing forward with this ridiculous, torturous, unbelievable waste of resources. Pity our children and their teachers to be under the control of DeKalb County Schools. Pity them and pity the rest of us with no power.
Etymology: Latin ludicrus, from ludus play, sport; perhaps akin to Greek loidoros abusive
1 : amusing or laughable through obvious absurdity, incongruity, exaggeration, or eccentricity
2 : meriting derisive laughter or scorn as absurdly inept, false, or foolis
With all the info. that has already filtered out, does anyone think the DA will actually do anything?
In my 30+ years, I have known many wonderful, caring administrators and techers...It is so sad the mess that has become of our wonderful system!
As Deputy Superintendent for Business Operations, Ramona Tyson, for 5 years the head of MIS, has been the supervisor of Marcus Turk, head of Finance and Jamie Wilson, head of Human Resouces since last fall. Dr. Lewis then recommended the BOE appoint her Interim Superintendent. Is she really the best person to get to the bottom of this mess?
Amen Cere! One can either fight for those who can't (the students) or they can bitch about it. I've got kids. Thank you Cere for your fight.
There is some good to all of this believe it or not. Such a crisis in our educational system is causing some movement in the right direction. The light is exposing what needs to change. Lets be optimists in all of this. The problem is simply DEFECTIVE LEADERSHIP. If the BOE does not do what's best for our children, then they MUST go. Those that occupy leadership position MUST practice self-discipline. If they fail to, it will only bring about their own downfall, and disaster for those they were expected to guide.
Pat Pope is like the serial murderer Ted Bundy. She lacks scruples, is a sexual predator, rewards her friends with generous monetary gifts and just won't go away. Why is the school board and Crawford Lewis afraid of terminating her? Did Lewis conveniently forget to add a morality clause to her contract? Did he forgot to add the clause that she may be terminated with or without cause? If so, then he acted negligently. She needs to be terminated immediately so the money being paid to her can be used to pay teachers. She continues to get away with murder while the tax payers foot her bill. We also need to terminate all the school board members who continue to support her and Crawford Lewis. Shame on both of them for robbing our children of a quality education at their own expense.
Why is Pat Pope only now seeking an annulment from her alleged husband? She was committing bigamy which is a crime and not just in Utah. Is she seeking an annulment so she can testify against her alleged husband (and prevent him from claiming spousal privilege) in a criminal investigation and potential trial? The timing of the annulment is indeed suspect and so are her motives.
Why should Lewis continue to be paid? Did he step down on his own volition or did the school board force him to step aside. The article in the AJC was contradictory. How much more of this abuse by POpe and Lewis can the public take? It is time for the moral compass to spin in a new direction with some new leadership with an ethical superintendent and a school board with moral integrity that has the fortitude to do the right thing.
Anonymous and Fed Up
While an obscure public school employee NOT UNDER investigation may be allowed to to privately deal with marriage anulment, Mrs. Pope can't. This is the perfect time to let her go not for being under investigation but for being a blatant moral outraged for all children.
Of course that may not be possible if she has the goods on a majority of the Board members....
If a majority of board members were not worried, perhaps....at least that is the appearance they generate by their inaction.
The problem is that immorality runs rampent in DCSS. I see it at my school with not following the No Place for Hate posters plastered in every DCSS school. I see it in the wrong information parents use to fill out lunch forms, and that school teachers, and administrators have instructed parents on how to fill the forms out so that their school will get more funding. I see it in the school board, by them not asking the tough questions and taking everything said to them at face value. I see it in the district not having high expectations for all students, only those children lucky enough to win the lottery for a magnet program get a top notch education. I see it in the way cuts are being made to balance a budget and scratch my head as the big picture isn't any where to be found by the people in charge. I see it when the board approves friends and family of employees working in high paying jobs with little to no qualifications for the positions that they hold.
I will not sign my contract, because I can no longer work for a district who is immoral and unethical. I am tired of trying to teach my students that being honest is important, while the headlines are plastered with school officials who have cheated them out of a quality education.
Now is the time for Citizens of DeKalb to ban together and demand that all of our children receive a quality education, that money is spent properly, that administrative costs are lowered, that buildings get fixed and taken care of properly, and that teacher training and quality is improved.
Ok i hope all the people that pope got rid of file suit against her and lewis. I heard that some of them have already been in contact with lawyers. And all the people that were in the lay-offs find you a good lawyer also because this lady was not even who she said she was. Everything that she was able to do was wrong and she took those jobs and then hired her friends, how did this save the county any money. I hope they send her to prison.
Why did hr let her do this?
Why did finance not check on all these people she was paying?
Why did the board ok this?
Did they do a background check on her?
Who was she reporting to?
Why was vincent in and out of the sam moss center. He would go in her office when she was not even there.
Also be aware that ms. moody her assistant had to be aware of all this also. The girl friends daughter tiffany she needs to be checked also. She did all her shoping for her. The queen bee had her food brought in to her and a vender had crystal springs truck bring her water. Check out the gift cards that she receive from venders and who paid for the xmas party at atlanta station and the xmas dinner.
Good points anon 12:39 am
I too was wondering how the heck the Svc Center could afford parties at the Marriott one year and Atlantic Station the next. The vendors were not donating monies for these functions...but I know what budget it was taken from.....hmmmmmm...she re-routed money from other departments funds to have herself a Merry Christmas all year long while school houses suffered.
This is selfish and I think it's wrong to cut Teacher's salaries...this angers me they suffer enough riddicule and rejection from parents, students and Principals how much more rejection can they tolerate. All teachers in this state need union representation...someone to help in the fight with unselfish qualifications.
I noticed the Board had previously appointed a Committee to help name the Mountain Industrial Center.
Folks have until March 24th to suggest names.
I thought it rather funny that one of the currently recommended names is, "DeKalb County Gateway to Education Center". This has got to be a joke.
It ought to be named, "The Lewis and Baord Friends and Family Employment Center".
I don't even know where to begin...
First, teachers in DeKalb County (myself included) need to take some responsibility for what has occurred over the last four years. Remember how we all boarded buses (like prisoners) and were transported to various locations to hear Dr. Lewis's "State of the District" address? Remember how we sat passively (and even clapped) when he told us that we would NOT receive our step increase? Remember how grateful we were to not have furlough days this year? Remember when the deficit was @ $38million?
Remember last year when Dr. Lewis scheduled a meeting (sending out notices to all DCSS employees via the little things that look like check stubs)? Remember that he failed to show up at that meeting? Remember that the BOE explained that Dr. Lewis had been sent to a conference?
Remember when CFO Turk told us at the meeting at Miller Grove HS (2008)that we should be grateful that we have jobs?
When do we as educators and parents and community members stand up for our schools?
I am so grateful for this site, but I do not want to just comment--I want to act.
I view this pay cut (6.25%) as confirmation of what I have thought since joining DCSS. Educators are not respected in Georgia. Teachers--we will be treated as badly as we allow ourselves to be treated.
I wonder what would happen if no one signed a contract this month...Maybe we would get a little respect.
And it is so sad that I am too afraid of DCSS retaliation to use my name...
To anon Sunday 9:47 - Lewis voluntarily stepped down. I have this straight from the mouth of my board rep. The rep. went on to say that the majority of the board is behind Lewis and supports him 100% The board feels there is a conspiracy going on w/ one of their own involved in trying to bring Lewis down. The unnamed board member knew about the raid on Lewis' home & office before anyone else. I sat there dumbfounded that 1. this rep. would even voice these concerns publicly and 2. the BoE thinks Lewis is a wonderful leader for our schools and he'll come back and pick up where he left off. WAKE UP DEKALB BoE AND SMELL THE COFFEE!!!
It's funny how a lot of the people that comment on here are teachers, however, these are school hours and you guys AREN'T teaching! No wonder DCSS is so screwed up!
Anon at 12:03:
Even in this anti-union state teachers are allowed to eat lunch and take break times
My Board Member told me just the opposite. That the votes are there to fire CL and that very few board members support him.
It is really a sad state of affairs when you realize that even if the Board does replace Dr. Lewis, the new person does not have anyone in the Central Office or on the Board that they can trust.
Do you work full-time? Is it okay if you spend a little personal time on this blog?
Unless you think teachers are supposed to be cloistered (a la priests), don't be silly. I don't have a problem with my kids' teachers reading and posting during their planning periods. Everyone needs a mental break and an opportunity to vent.
And I'd rather they vent here than blow a gasket in class.
The magnet brochure came home today. So most elementary school kids who come directly home from school arrived home in the last hour and the eSIS eportal application has now crashed.
Oh, sweet accountability, to bad you don't exist in DCSS.
Your right, the central office folks and the BoE will cheat, lie and do whatever's needed to continue and friends and family programs that are in place. Funny (not ha,ha but in a sick way) my BoE rep. said you can look in C. Lewis' eyes and see he is innocent and they can't wait to have him back on the job where he needs to be.
My personal theory on why you can look into C Lewis' eyes and think him innocent:
C Lewis believes whatever he is saying with his whole heart for as long as it takes to say it. He looks sincere as anything.
Then, when he says the next thing, he wholly believes that, too, even though it might completely contradict what he just said.
As to whether he even REMEMBERS what he says from one time to the next is a mystery; I think not, or it would be harder to lie.
The state needs to come in and do an audit on EIP etc. Over and over the schools are not following EIP guidelines. One year all of the students in our grade level were marked EIP on the report card. The API just smiled when told about how "EIP" was bubbled in. We were told just to "white it out". Can you imagine that a student can qualify for both EIP and Discovery? Only in Dekalb. We have an EIP teacher assigned to a class this year and she has not served the students one time. Again, only in Dekalb. EIP funds are misused all the time.
While there at it, they should do an audit of free and reduced lunches, as parents are constantly coached on how to fill it out, so that the school gets more students with this label. I have heard this from more than one parent and as a teacher, do not understand how a parent can drive a Benz or a BMW and be on free or reduced lunches.
Like Anon 7:41 wrote, only in DeKalb.
Many screwy ways to fudge funding happen in DeKalb, so it does not surprise me as more and more come out about Pope and Lewis. I know what happens in the school building, and I can only imagine what happens in the central offices.
Hopefully education will be about the children once again.
@ Anonymous 7:41 pm
"We have an EIP teacher assigned to a class this year and she has not served the students one time. "
$9,250,000 in salary and benefits
Average salary and benefits: $72,834
What does this program do? Where is the accountability for this program?
How many programs do we have that cost millions and yet have no accountability?
America's Choice program (scripted teaching program): $8,000,000
Springboard program (scripted teaching porgram): $1,400,000
80 Instructional Coaches (no student contact): $8,000,000
62 Instructional Specialists (no student contact): $7,000,000
48 Graduation Coaches (no student contact): $3,500,000
13 Literacy Coaches (no student contact): $1,000,000
291 MIS (They gave us the dreaded eSis and awful customer service): $19,000,000
61 Human Resources (how many jobs is DCSS even posting?): $4,600,000
29 teachers and 37 support and admin personnel at Fernbank Science Center (yes, everyone loves Fernbank, but our overall science scores are some of the lowest in the state):
748 employees and 2 scripted teaching programs:
The preceding employees and programs have ABSOLUTELY NO AYP accountability.
What is Ms. Tyson thinking?
Why can't she or the BOE run these numbers?
Why is it so much easier to reduce classroom teacher positions and close schools than to look at these programs outside the schoolhouse?
(source: state Salary and Travel audit and DCSS website)
(source: state Salary and Travel audit)
We have an EIP teacher at our school who is basically the personal secretary and does whatever the principal needs her to do instead of serving classes. She was assigned to my room and came no more than half the time. At our school, people are upset when the students are assigned an EIP teacher. Teachers would rather serve their own students. They know their EIP students' scores would be better if they could serve those own students. EIP does not work. The state needs to stop it. I have seen EIP become a dumping ground for inefficent teachers. Valerie Harrison needs to get out in the schools and really see what is going on.
Please, please, pray that the right things are done for the students. Pray for all of the staff members in the schools. They are on the front lines and have the least amount of input. Everyone not in a school can tell us all of the things that we should be doing better. I wish there was a way for individuals in other areas in the school system to spend a week in the a school actually working with students, parents, staff and the community. It is a joy, I love it. But, it is not easy. It was very hard to get the contracts with the pay cut. If the school is going to cut pay, then it should be done by cutting the number of days. Teachers are still working very hard and trying to do the correct things for our students. Educators are human. They have bills just like everyone else. Many of us have a spouse without a job. We have children. These are very hard times for many people. We still have to take care of the needs of our students. Most of us are still doing that. Pray that the truth will be revealed.
There is only one hope for DeKalb Schools, and that is we must elect new Board members who make a promise to replace the Superintendent.
Once that is done, we must continually demand the Board members direct the new Superintendent to reduce the Central Office, and eliminate the wasteful positions that do not help the school house.
The new Superintendent must go to the local school administrators and teachers to find out what needs to be done.
Can you imagine that a student can qualify for both EIP and Discovery? Only in Dekalb.
Well, since EIP (Early Intervention Program) only applies to children under 3, no. If you mean IEP (Individualized Education Plan), it is entirely possibly for a child to qualify for both. Albert Einstein's early speech problems would most likely have qualified him for an IEP. A number of Nobel Prize winners have been dyslexic. Special needs occur in all populations, including the gifted.
EIP isn't limited to age 3. It is the state-funded intervention program for students who are at risk of not succeeding in school. There are criteria for qualifying. Failing the CRCT is one (there is a checklist method for qualifying for K and 1) and then a very small percentage of borderline students can qualify. I think it is an elementary school based program.
Given the relative easiness of the CRCT, I would be surprised for a child who is id as gifted to be also ided as EIP. Now special ed and giftedness are not an unheard of combination.
There is an early intervention program that is funded by the state department of human resources for children with special needs that does go up to age 3. This EIP though is the one that the State DOE funds.
Okay, folks - we're painting with that generalized paintbrush again. A kid can be gifted AND dyslexic, so he fails the reading portion of the CRCT. A kid can have auditory processing issues and fail the CRCT because he can't follow oral instructions - despite going off the chart in IQ and creativity.
Now, back to focusing on the real issue: our fearless leaders (ahem).
You summed up where we are now. I hate to sound discouraging but the people who put the friends and family in place, the people who see DCSS as a jobs program not an educational institution--these people are not going to be the agents to change this program. We won't see real change in how the system is lead until we change who leads it.
It's truly sad that the legacy of some folks with so many years on the BOE will be that they put their friends and family ahead of our children and teachers, but they don't seem inclined to change. As someone said, we need to be the change we believe in.
Well, what do we do now...
I believe that the reasons that the teachers will bear the brunt of the budget cuts are as follows:
1) Teaching is a female-dominated profession. Historically women have earned less money than men in the same positions and this trend continues today.
2) The public perception is that we (teachers) teach as a vocation (like the priesthood or something) as opposed to viewing us as highly educated professionals who expect their salaries to reflect the level of investment the public CLAIM they are willing to make in providing a quality education for all children.
3) For all of the platitudes about how "the children are our future," society views children much in the same way that a parent views the baby chick that was incubated in his/her child's first grade classroom: Everyone loves the cute little baby chick--nobody wants to bring home the full grown rooster. Everyone loves a kitten but many people don't like cats. In other words, society cares about cute little kids, but has no interest in the pre-adults. We are unwilling to raise taxes to ensure that all of our young people are prepared to become productive and contributing citizens within our democracy.
4) Teachers have a history of tolerating disrespect. For various reasons (fear, guilt, a deeply felt moral obligation to support and nuture children) teachers grumble a lot about the deplorable conditions under which they often work (see Cross Keys), yet they will spend their own hard-earned cash to see to it that their students have what they need. Can you imagine your doctor actually purchasing an X-ray machine with his own money in order to treat you? Would we expect our physicians to do this? Would your garbage collector come in his personal truck to collect your trash? Would we lay a heavy guilt trip on him if he refused to do so? I think not.
Ultimately, we will be treated as badly as we allow. We allowed Crawford Lewis to insult us with that RIDICULOUS story about siphoning gas. We allowed Crawford Lewis and the BOE to take away our step increase. We allowed CFO Turk to repeatedly insult us by telling us that we should be "happy to have a job." Yes, employment during these tough economic times is a blessing. However, I do not have to be happy about taking a huge pay cut.
I respect everyone who comments here. Thank you for the information, your thoughts and your ideas. Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts.
I would like to know what are we prepared TO DO to affect change.
Disgruntled and Brooding in DeKalb
Parents who would like for their children too have some of the summer jobs, that are always given to the admin students. These jobs pay $13.00 and $14.00 a hour and this year tax payers should be able too get some of there kids these jobs. It is my understanding that the money comes from a grant. The admin students play all summmer and get this money. It is time we as parents start asking question about where this money is going.
Pope had kids working the last two years that were friends of her family and had some students that were from out of the state. This is some information that i got from a employee. I read that lewis son worked in the program and went too sleep everyday.
When I first heard the allegations about Pat Pope and contracts involving her husband, I thought about NEPOTISM. Correct me if I'm wrong, but competitive bid contracts forbid this practice by including a NO NEPOTISM clause. I can understand if she did this under some "emergency" circumstances here and there to SAVE $$$ -- however, she MUST get written consent in such a special case. We'll see how all of this plays out.
I have seen the contract given to Vince Pope and signed by Dr. Lewis. Dr. Lewis verbally and publicly opposed Vince Pope working on projects, but then blatantly signed off on a contract which very obviously showed Pope and Associates as a contractor. Really, the buck stops at Lewis IMO.
Cerebration said, "Really, the buck stops at Lewis IMO."
IMO that is what much of this investigation will come down to. Did Lewis try to 'pass the buck'? As Cerebration indicated in the first post, if he knew this long ago, this should have been grounds for a dismissal.
The conclusion of this investigation can't come soon enough....
In my own private protest, I've turned the school spirit magnets I proudly display on my car upside down. I like to think it's a symbol of my desire for the system to be turned upside down and the bums shaken out.
Maybe you will join me.
As the BOE members drive around town, I'd like them to notice these upside down magnets and take a look at the people in the vehicles. They'll see white, black, asian, hispanic, etc. people proud of their children's individual schools, but disgusted by the system's inability to grasp the corruption and waste sucking resources from these fine schools and students.
If you're tired of hearing our BOE complain about the number and quality of emails they get, tired of being virtually ignored by them, tired of being dismissed by them, tired of being embarrassed by them, tired of seeing your home value diminish because of their idiocy (or your salary!), or just plain tired. Release your inner "dissident" and join me.
Great idea, No Duh!
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