Thursday, May 6, 2010

Millions more down the tube

The AJC is now reporting, "Sloppy paperwork, missed deadlines cost DeKalb schools millions".

Sloppy paperwork cost DeKalb County schools $25 million dollars last year and almost cost millions more again this year, officials said.

The mistakes caused the state Department of Education to revoke $11 million in construction funds and temporarily withhold another $14 million, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. DeKalb taxpayers ended up paying for the $14 million in construction projects with sales tax dollars, which could have been used for other purposes.

Further, the district’s rocky relationship with the state almost cost the troubled school system another $27 million this year.

“We lost more than $20 million last year because of sloppy paperwork on behalf of the school district,” school board member H. Paul Womack said this week.

Read the rest at the AJC link above.

One more quote first -

The only reason the school system didn’t make the multi-million-dollar mistake again this year was because State Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) intervened, securing a special extension that ended up bringing the district $27 million in state funding, Womack said.

Thank you Fran.


Anonymous said...

My goodness. This Megan Matteuci really hates Dekalb. She's writing about us twice a day every day!

Anonymous said...

It's not hate, it's getting out what is really going on in our school system. If Megan did not bring this up, do you think anyone from the school district would? I don't think so.

Tax payers need to know what is going on. The more that comes out, the better chance we have of getting new school board members.

Anonymous said...

If Megan did not bring this up, do you think anyone from the school district would? I don't so

It was brought up Monday's BOE meeting and was mentioned in the DCPC meeting yesterday.

themommy said...

But this is valuable news. Fourteen million is nearly the cost of a new elementary school and could go a fair way in renovating several schools.

The attitude expressed by the poster at 7:51 PM is why we may never see improvement in DeKalb. We must hold our elected and appointed officials accountable. Even if they are likable and pleasant and go to our church, they are still the stewards of our tax dollars.

It was only brought up by Womack because he knew the story was going to come out.

Next time a school's roof is leaking or a the air conditioning isn't working, think back to this sloppiness and decide, is it newsworthy or not?

As an aside, it was attentive parents who raised the issue with Fran Millar and members of the Board. I only wish Rep. Millar would have come back to us with the real story about sloppy paperwork, rather we always thought that it was because of the empty seat issue.

Dekalbparent said...

Cere - didn't this one come from US? We discussed the discrepancy either in the early days of School Watch or even before on GoDekalb .

I remember that Fran Millar picked it up (maybe after John Henegan repeated it on his blog), and he saved the bacon. I remember CLewis uttering a grudging, "Yeah, well Fran helped us a little" at the time...

Cerebration said...

Yes, true, we have often discussed the discrepancies between how much DeKalb gets from the state for construction vs nearby, similar counties such as Gwinnett, but we were always told we didn't know what we were talking about or that the money went back into equalization to poor counties...

As far as thinking this is newsworthy - I guess if you have a gleaming, shiny new school, you think not, but if you have an old, crumbling building, you think this is critical news.

Anonymous said...

If you are an educator in the school system, this is important. The fault is not in the writer. The fault is in the mistakes that were made in the DCSS. This is so hard to understand. There are so many checks and balances in the local schools. How are the citizen and employees suppose to have any trust? It wil take a long time for us to heal. Very soon people will lose their jobs. This has to be a very hurtul thing for those people to read. Please pray for us.

Cerebration said...

Aha! Here's the REAL reason they delayed closing four schools --

The district learned it would receive more construction money if it closed all 12 to 14 schools at once instead of over two years, board chairman Tom Bowen said.

This is good to know - and I hope those campaigning by saying that the schools were not closed due to the protests of their "wonderful" constituents stop spreading misinformation. This was strictly a smart business decision. 12-14 schools will close - all at once - sometime in the future.

Anonymous said...

"A million here, a million there. At some point it adds up to real money."

A bad decision here, a bad decision there. At some point there needs to be accountability.

Anonymous said...

...and the licks just keep on coming....just imagine if CLewis was still Super we would all still be snowed under and the truth would continue to be hidden...they dhould make Pope and Lewis sit in those moldy, leaking schools and use the filthy disgusting restrooms they are making students use...then maybe they would have done something. Shame on them and the BOE for not acting on these and other issues.

Anonymous said...

Cere 9:27 we can believe the schools will possibly close 2011-2012 school year with the list being created as we speak. This BOE will vote on in in the fall no less. They will be gone and the new BOE will have to listen to the complaints

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you promote based on relationships, not competence.

Is it any wonder taxpayers are upset that over 8,000 employees are admin and support while less than 7,000 are teachers with 2,500 overpaid per the Ernst and Young audit? Absolutely no accountability.

Dekalbparent said...

Cere - Any way to get the archives before Feb 2009? I'm going nuts here, looking for where we talked about it, 'cause I'm still so sure we did!

Do I hear someone muttering "Get a life" ?

Paula Caldarella said...

Is is utter incompetence with Lewis and/or Reid(Pope)? Or did they not care the system was losing millions of dollars? Even after "sleeping on it", I am even more angry this morning.

I truly don't understand how any persons could be so blase with million of dollars of education money at stake.

Cerebration said...

I'll look Dekalb Parent - I do have older archives on my computer.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if accepting state funds triggers a close look from the state officials on the internal workings of a school system as it relates to construction. I have no idea if it does -- but if it did, I wonder if stuff was being covered up?

I think Ms. Pope's defense will be that the people in charge of this aspect weren't competent and she wasn't allowed to fire them because of CL.

Paula Caldarella said...

Anonymous, you may be right. If all of this with Reid/Lewis goes to trial it will be finger-pointing all the way around.

I almost hope the D.A. does not press any charges. We need to start the healing process here in DCSS and move forward. A trial is going to keep all of this "drama" going and I am not so sure that is what is best for our students. I want Reid/Lewis to go far, far away, never to be heard from again.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear comments on Ramona Tyson's address to all teaching staff on Thursday. While it was good to have someone even speak of the issues the audio only communication came off as scripted, stiff and seemingly a waste of staff's time as they had to stay late to hear it. She did keep it shorter than expected which made many happy. The portion of the address that came off as defensive was when she covered the criticism of central office jobs. But being defensive at least goes beyond denial. I do not know at this time if the speech was prerecorded or live. It was not a good addition to to teacher appreciation day activities going on around the schools.

Anonymous said...

May 6, 2010 7:51 PM
"My goodness. This Megan Matteuci really hates Dekalb. She's writing about us twice a day every day!"

This sounds as if you are protecting the central office mess.
Please (Megan and any others)continue reporting on us!!
I am a 30 year veteran with DCSS, one who has given up thousands of hours in free labor even on holidays and summer. I was always proud to be in DCSS. But DCSS is now disgraceful. We knew about nepotism and unnecessary positions but did not realize that it was as bad as the open records site shows.
It is so corrupt and must be revealed.
The current proposed budget will be the last nails in our coffin at the local schoolhouse.
BOE, please look at other options.

Paula Caldarella said...

Just curious, if anyone else noticed, who was not interviewed as part of the AJC article - Dale Davis - school spokesperson.

I know that Ms. Tyson mentioned at the DCPC, that she was going to have the BOE members more "out front". She herself said she "does not do the media thing well" and is working on this.

Anonymous said...

Disappointed in Ms. Tyson's speech yesterday at the information yet that impacts the school house...mentioned final budget being approved Monday, May 10 at BOE meeting...mentioned to keep focus on the core business "students" as if we have not been doing so...mentioned cutting 150 central office jobs of the ones that are not federally mention of cutting instructional coaches...sad

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:21
Yes my son is a teacher and said the same thing. He was impressed with her fluency and professional presentation, but nothing of substance was said. She gave many facts and figures saying 14,000 employees were school based (I guess all those MIS and Service Center people that sit in their offices are really are considered assigned to a school), and that there were over 1200 people in the Central Office. She neglected to say that less than 7000 employees are teachers.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember the mantra "A.B.C." (Anybody But Cynthia) when Cynthia McK was running for congress?

How about "BYE BOE" for the next election cycle!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a good course of action for Dekalb citizens to consider in light of the "responsible" manner in which the previous superintendent and the board squandered tax payer money is to consider recalling school board members who supported Lewis. They were either kept in the dark or were clueless about how he and his minions were conducting school business. Dekalb County deserves to have a practical, rational board that makes sound decisions. If this happened then board wouldn't need to waste more money by hiring a p.r. firm to restore the school system's image.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same Superintendent that the current Board gave a contract extension and raise?

Wake up, people. It's time to replace each and every current Board member.

The five up for reelection in November must be replaced by competent responsible honest individuals.

It's as simple as that.

Fire The Five said...

Five BoE members who presided over this wasteful incompetence are up for reelection in November. (If they don't resign in shame before then.)

All five need to be replaced.

Anonymous said...

I like "Bye Bye, Board!"

Paula Caldarella said...

Yes, it's the same board that for reason yet comprended gave Lewis a raise. It's is also the same board that just showed him the door, as well.

Anonymous said...

"It's is also the same board that just showed him the door, as well. "

At least they are practicing self preservation even if they don't practice responsible leadership.

Anonymous said...

Sorry DM, but there is NO defending this Board.

Anonymous said...



I'll take one of each!!!

Anonymous said...

How about "Bye Bye Boardie" and we could put it to music!

Anonymous said...

Dunwoodymom the raise was a set up. They enticed the greedy lil...person to get him to sign the new contract. The new contract gave them the window to let him go without paying out his contract like that had to do with Johnny Brown.

Anonymous said...

Every single Board member currently serving should have the integrity to submit their resignation immediately.
No matter how long they have been serving they "went along" until things were exposed by concerned citizens or investigative reporters.
Forget the PR, you cannot window dress the mess they have made.

Anonymous said...

To Dunwoody Mom 6;41 AM. You really have to consider the mindset of CLewis and many of the BOE members. It is to create and protect as many jobs and benefits as possible using the vehicle of (supposedly)educating children. DeKalb County is much the same way. CLewis also impressed his BOE supporters with glitzy things.

Kudos to Megan M of the AJC for shining some light on the dysfunctional DCSS situation. But if you think that current BOE members will not be re-elected, forget it. SCW's constituents have exactly the representation that they want.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:34
You might be close to right. She does have a ruff neck district and they are amused by her antics. I still have faith that a strong candidate could sway them. Her district has upgraded with new home developments around 2nd Ave.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:16 pm

I don't think just parents in new homes care about their children's education. I'll bet there are many people in Copelin-Wodd's district that care about their kids. We saw them come out in force for their schools that are on the closure list. Someone may come along who can turn that passion into votes for a new BOE representative. That person must convey respect for their constituents though - every single one of them.

Anonymous said...

I think that Ms. Tyson's meeting with the teachers was really a rally the troops talk. She is trying to keep morale from falling further. After what I read in the papers today, there is cause for concern.

Thank you AJC for reporting the story and please keep digging.

I don't mind paying taxes so that we can have quality schools in DeKalb, but I don't want to pay taxes and have the money wasted. There is some serious financial mismanagement going on. I am not happy with the BOE for allowing this to happen. It is time to really clean house in the central office. The people involved in this situation need to be replaced.

Where I grew up, school board members were elected volunteers. They served for the good of the community. I think our BOE needs to give back their expense accounts, and some of their salary. They haven't done the job they were elected to do.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson's address did nothing to improve morale. Her intention might have been good, but the implementation was not. If it were something she felt needed to be said, it could have been accomplished via email or electronic video-clip. Making teachers wait around after hours, during Teacher Appreciation Week, wasn't a team-building move.

Anonymous said...

I havew to agree. Ms. Tyson's voice over was nothing more than justifying why we need a big Central Office and how we would lose 150 of them this year. Boo dag um whoo.

She never once talked about being sorry for your increased class sizes, poor working conditions (ie, AC's that don't work, Copiers that are dead, heat that might come on or off), roof's that leak, heatlh cares that raises faster than gas prices at the pump.

I have sat through too many county meetings from where they protect each other at the central office, and yes I do have a tape so I can back that one up.

Do not be fooled. Nothing is going to change until 1) a new board is in place and 2)Central Office is cleaned out.

I love the kids and if it was not for them I would leave this year. They get too you. I feel so sorry for them. All of us, teachers, parents, Central Office, and BOE could learn a great lesson on respect and treating each other as equals.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does our BOE look old and tired and out of date? I'm 60 years old, but even I can see that we need some "new blood" at the helm.

Cerebration said...

Yes, they are - and they have a racially-charged intertwined history. They need to be replaced with young, vibrant, fresh faces. I am amazed that Gene Walker would bother to even put his hat in the ring, when there was already a fabulous, young African-American father of children in DCSS schools running for that board seat. Isn't that what his "fight" was all about? To give a chance to the next generation? No - he swooped in and took that away - from ALL of us. Ernest Brown would have been a terrific school board rep.

IMHO, Walker won for two reasons: He had name recognition with older voters and he had $20,000 to spend thanks to the Sembler Corp. The only people who really knew Ernest and voted for him were the small percentage of people who pay attention to school issues and know who has been in there fighting the good fight for the kids of Dekalb.

I agree with the person on another thread who wrote this comment (worth repeating yet again) -

In my opinion, DCSS will never move beyond the "race riots" of the 1960s and all that it brought with it so long as the leadership of the system is of an age and background to have personally been a part of it all. The vast majority (all but 2 in my estimation) of the DCSS board of ed was either on the receiving end of the stick or on the "granting" end of the stick. So long as those are the people who are in power, rather than a younger generation which wasn't a part of it all, I do not believe we will ever move forward.

The fact that the folks like ZR and SCW refuse to grasp that the county is 80% of their own and that all of those children need them and that another 10% are latino and really need them is beyond me. This ought to be a violation of SACS as no individual represents only one part of the county -- they represent the entire county. White students are a mere 8-10% of the county school child population. It's time to move into the 21st Century. It is absolutely criminal, if not illegal, for them to pay such little attention to the Latino population and I believe it is a brewing law suit.

Anonymous said...

Agree! Womack was on the school board when I was a DCSS student, and now I have kids in high school. There must be some new blood out there!!

Cerebration said...

Yes, Womack was on the board during half of the school desegregation case -- for 12 years. He was there in DC when the system was declared "unified" and the mandate lifted. So - it should be history. But he's back and Walker jumped in right behind him. Walker also sponsored Dr. Lewis into the Commerce Club, which is a questionable tie to the superintendent he was charged with monitoring.

But voters endorsed Womack & Walker - two guys with a long, dramatic history and no real knowledge of what is happening in schools today - when we could have had Shayna Steinfeld and Ernest Brown instead. (Not my fault! I did everything I could on this blog to convince people to go with Shayna and Ernest.)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad somebody else besides me sees how old and tired these BOE members are, and I can say that because I am old as well.

Do they understand the value of technology in the classroom, how students today take diversity for granted, or that globalization is our real economic challenge?

Sometimes, you have to move over and let the younger generation take the reins. It's hard to relinquish power, and you can see it in the actions and statements of this BOE. They come across as uninformed and reactionary, living in a past DeKalb County School System that no longer exists.

Anonymous said...

Cere: you were right, the voters were wrong. I know people who voted for Womack because they thought he was an incumbent!

Sort of on the topic of this blog, Lakeside's construction (that was supposed to start several years ago) has now been pushed back to September--something about the change in system attorney affecting it (?). So they will lose the summer doing large scale land movement, etc. and will start with kids in the building. This thing will take forever, and will go way over budget, take my word for it.

Anonymous said...

Oh no. My son just had to teach in a DCSS school that was under construction this past fall (it was supposed to be completed by the start of school). What a nightmare for teachers and students! I wouldn't wish this on any student. And totally inexcusable and intolerable.

Parents, go into Lakeside and if it's not done, camp out in Ms. Tyson's office - every day. Go to BOE meetings and complain. Make as much noise as you can.

Jackie said...

Wow Celebration! That's great. I hope you have a young, viabrant. parent of children in DCSS who represents your district. If so, it must be in another school district..not DeKalb.
I think you should invite Ernest Brown to move into your district because we don't want that "Tom" representing us. We have our own ideas of candidates who will stand up for us and "our children" as well as all of Dekalb County children. Until two years ago, we had 600 trailers in my district. Now, most of our children can at least use the bathrooms inside of the building. Please don't tell us how or who to vote for and we will not tell you who to vote for in your district. The days of "Driving Ms.Daisey" are truly over.
We have numerous qualified, dedicated citizens who would step up to the plate and run for the Board but who wants to deal with the present members who have two more years to be the leaders in a 3-ring circus. In two years you will have your chance to select your Board members but right now the ball is in our court and we don't want another CL , the choice of the NORTH not the SOUTH1

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jackie. Voting is an individual decision based on persional knowlege of the schools in their area. No one should ever try to influence the vote of another other than the candidates. There is one white board member from Dunwoody who is up for election who will run without being unopposed, that's the way you all do it. We have 4 black board members up for re_election who the Business community wants to control as well as Dunwoody. We say "no thanks"...we will select and vote our own convictions and will have a better Board if you all will just "butt-out". We are not stupid and want the best for our children just as you do. Stop trying to control us, please!.

Anonymous said...

This is from the AJC this morning: State funding for programs such as the Spelling Bee, Academic Decathlon and Science Olympiad is gone. Now that is SAD!

Anonymous said...

Public faith in the school system is gone. For transparency the district needs to bring an outside entity to investigate the situation with Principal Thedford and Dr. Simpson. Title I funds are federal monies. Now if Simpson has funneled his book throughout the county it may be more than the internal investigators can handled.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You know what Jackie--Ernest is the reason that Flat Rock elementary was built. He was the only one at board meetings consistently raising the issue of Fairington Elementary and its rediculous 40 trailers. And guess what, he doesn't live in that district or have children at that school. Not one parent from Fairington ever showed up to advocate for them -- nor did their board member.

But he won't run again and that is all of DeKalb's children's loss.

I don't really care what vehicle is used to change the board -- but is has to happen.

My understanding is that Gene Walker only ran for Board because Paul Womack did. Electing Womack was a huge mistake. (Though I didn't vote for him.) Electing Walker was a mistake as well.

Vibrant schools will lead to revitalization and reinvestment in your communities.

Anonymous said...

Buying technology is only useful if you have the money to keep it up. For example the Promethean boards that DCSS bought the schools. There are no $550 light bulbs for when they go out. A teacher at my school has the bulb out in her Promethean board with no replacement in sight.

What good is technology if you are not going to or do not have the money to upkeep the equipment.

As far as I am concerned this technology purchase was a waste of money, because of the high cost of the bulbs. Maybe some PTAs can help out, but there are some PTAs that do not have the extra money in their budget. If a school has 10 boards the cost is 5500 and the price just keeps going up.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 5:44-
In DeKalb, the Science Olympiad is run completely by a few staff at Fernbank Science Center. I do not think they use any state funds.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:42 pm

"No one should ever try to influence the vote of another other than the candidates."

We must live in different countries. I campaigned like the dickens for Obama, knocking on doors and talking to everyone I know to try to get them to vote for him. I don't have a lot of money, but I sent him $25 every month I could afford it. I've campaigned for lots of candidates. Otherwise the "big money" guys almost certainly will win. And I don't think the "big money" guys should decide everything.

I'm going to campaign as hard as I can to get rid of those weasels in the the legislature who have turned their backs on kids and teachers. I going campaign for a governor that realizes schools are our best hope in Georgia.

I'll campaign anywhere I can in DeKalb to help elect BOE members that put the classroom first. That's what everyone should do. So get involved - that's the only way your can bring about real change. If you like the BOE member you have, get out there and talk to people - try to get him/her re-elected. You'll most likely run into me - I'll be working for my candidate. Maybe it'll be the same candidate you're working for or maybe it'll be a different one. That's the beauty of democracy.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:06 am

If Title 1 schools had any control over Title 1 funds, then instead of America's Choice and Instructional Coaches, purchases such as this would not be an issue. If you're in a non-Title 1 school, unfortunately, you'll have to depend on the PTA.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:29
You are so right!!!

Public faith in the school system is gone.

Tyson needs to have the GBI come in and do the investigation. She needs to do it for no other reason than to show good a good face.

DCSS Internal Affairs department is compromised. Ronald Ramsey is closed person and business bud with Lewis and Simpson.

Remember Simpson was Crawfords choice to stand in for him at a function he could not attend.

Crawford brought Ramsey into Dekalb.Internal Affairs under Ramsey's command is not going to do anything.


Cerebration said...

Sigh. This is really sad. I am absolutely floored at the level of racial posturing that is part and parcel to the elections in DeKalb. The South vs North DeKalb continues to remain the inflammatory emotional divide that those running for office in South DeKalb continue to perpetuate - simply to ensure a win. A woman running for Commission was at the press conference for eduKALB and she even brought up the North/South "inequities" in schools. Another lady used it as her total campaign platform in the last board election. IMO, this hatred is why this board and this school system is doomed. Most whites have left the system and the county (the school system in now less than 10% white, down from 93% in 1970) - and the schools in the (perceived "white") north have been left to crumble. The "fluff" job at Cross Keys, the complete lack of work at Chamblee and the latest delay for Lakeside are examples. There is not one auditorium around here. Tucker will be the first when it opens.

Dr. Walker is a brilliant man - he just brings a racial lens to the table - he has said so himself. He sponsored Dr. Lewis into the Commerce Club - they are old buddies - how can anyone say that Lewis was a choice of North DeKalb? Lewis has been propped up by people like Walker for years. Walker also has no problems with development in North DeKalb - having taken at least $20,000 in campaign contributions from a white developer in Florida looking to develop in North DeKalb and seeking tax credits from the Development Authority - which Walker was chair of at the time. Yep, he's all about South DeKalb alright - until someone offers to puff up his wallet.

Go ahead - vote in people whose only focus is race. They've done a great job so far of bringing nearly ALL the SPLOST construction money to their districts - so I can see why you want to keep them. But they aren't doing much to improve the education in those buildings - our overall test scores are in the tank, while they allow the salaries and bloat in the system to flourish, instead of direct support to the children in the classrooms. Has anyone in a Title 1 school ever tried to track exactly what your school's Title 1 money is going for? Not for support to your child in the classroom - but for programs and trips to Hollywood.

You're right, Jackie. Who am I to tell you to focus on younger candidates who have children in the system and want to focus on their education? Apparently, DeKalb is still just as racially divided a place as ever. Carry on then.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

Not everyone in South DeKalb feels the way Jackie feels. She has her opinions. I have my opinions. Parents all over Dekalb want the best for their children. We are not getting the best for them now and we know it.

Cerebration said...

Glad to hear that Anon 9:58 AM. I have met many people from S DeKalb who are fighting for their schools - for a better education for their children - for the money to flow to the classroom - not get bogged down in programs, etc. For quality leadership and cutting edge thinking - not cronyism and favoritism. They want a professional staff and board.

I just hope we find some quality people to run for these board seats - and there are enough of us to vote them into office.

FWIW - I don't really plan to "follow" whoever eduKALB endorses - I plan to vet the people who run for board using my own heart and brain. I hope we all do.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 7:07
Ramona Tyson's speech to the staff was a nice gesture, but I was a little insulted that she required high and middle school staff to stay an hour late to hear it. It was not worth the wait. She defended the layoffs of only 150 centeral office employees by hiding behind a lot of numbers.
She stated we had about 15,000 employees and only 950 were not school based. I'm assuming she's also including the HVAC, MIS, and other service employees in the "school based employee numbers."
I'd like to throw out another number for her. 7,000. That's the amount of certified employees (teachers, admin, and media specialists) we have in our schools. That's less than half of our employees directly involved with the instruction of our children.
We know that the HVAC services in our schools are pitiful. An engineer with a high school diploma makes more than a teacher. Surely, for that kind of money they could be doing a better job.
Also, she only cut 18 employees from MIS: the CTSS's who are actually based in the schools. Correct me if I'm wrong teachers, but how often do you see those 100's of MIS employees in your schools? The ITS's and the CTSS's are the only ones that deign to step foot inside a school building.
We keep pointing the finger at the central office, but there are lots of positions that can be contracted out for much less than we pay in salaries and benefits.
Her transparency message may be true, but I still feel as though DCSS will turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to their problems. We don't need a crisis team to tell us that.

Anonymous said...

Dekalb School System is divided into 2 parts.

Part 1: The instruction side which deals with learning and instruction. Part 1 exists to deliver instruction to the students.

Part 2: The operational side which deals with money & people to execute part 1. Part 2 exists ONLY to support part 1. It has no other purpose.

From what part does/did the money abuse, theft, misappropriation of funds, salary abuse, and waste in resources come from?

From part 2!! Where does the Interim Super come from? So why does she pretend not to know what happened? Did she raise concerns about all of the above? Should she have KNOWN?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:10 am

On the 2010 proposed school budget, Ms. Tyson has recommended looking at outsourcing for Groundskeeping, Maintenance, and Security (for future consideration FY11 or FY12).

I notice that MIS is absent from that list. This department is one of the most overstaffed and over compensated in DCSS, and gives teachers and students notoriously poor service. Why would this department not be looked into for outsourcing?

Many Information Systems functions have been outsourced successfully in so many government organizations (state of Georgia, Centers for Disease Control, etc.). Already Dell does all of the installation and maintenance for the computers and the Activboards in DCSS. When you have a department that does not teach students, gives poor service, costs $20,000,000 a year in salaries and benefits, and in addition uses millions more taxpayer dollars to contract out much of their work, the question has to be - how can we get a better return on our investment?

Technology is a huge investment in DCSS due to SPLOST expenditures, installation and maintenance contracts with Dell and other vendors, and hundreds of highly paid personnel. Yet our students in the classrooms get very little in the way of technology. Teachers get no input in an online gradebook (eSis) and Student Data Management System that has drained thousands of hours of instructional time from their students.

It looks like at least considering outsourcing this department is a no-brainer. DCSS has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Ms. Tyson needs to add this department to the list for outsourcing consideration.

Anonymous said...

To the tune of "Bye Bye Love"
Bye bye Board
Bye Bye uncertainty
and lower salaries
for all the teachers who
work hard at what they do
for them we won't boo hoo
when your time is through
Bye Bye Board!

Anonymous said...

Did Ms. Tyson and the Board of Education just land from a distant planet?......?.......?

In the wake of Crawford Lewis' departure, it now seems that Ms. R. Tyson and the Board Members are aliens from Mars with no recollection and no participation in the last 4 or 5 years of mismanagement.... Upon the shoulders of Crawford and Patricia have they placed all responsibility.

Were you not in charge of payroll and personel? Were you not scrutinizing contracts and disbursements?

Anonymous said...

School Based Staff have already been given contracts with a salary reduction included in them. Some DCSS county level people are custodians or special education lead teachers.Every county level person is not an offical that makes a great deal of money. Also, I do not understand how the State Department of Education did not make DeKalb's error public. We may have been able to stop this practice sooner. There are so many former staff members from the DCSS that work for the state.
How much money have we lost in other ways?
Positions have been being created in the School System for the last few years. Coordinator positions were changed to Director Positions. Director Positions were changed to Executive Director Postions. Each of these changes brought a salary increase. I remember at a board meeting a former board member warned against these practices.
Whatever you think, Ms Tyson is in a very difficult position. She is the person that now must take the heat for the bad decisions of the past.
You have to be open to accepting the views of others. I do not believe that in the past people were allowed to express views that were not in agreement with what the person in charge wanted to hear.
Before you are harsh on all administrators, without school based administrators what would happen in the schools?
They are also in a very difficult situation. They are on the front line taking the heat from the staff and community.
I have a great deal of compassion for my husband's principal. This is going to be a very difficult summer for all of them.
They are going to be hit with losing staff, not being able to work certain days and an endless round of meetings.
The other day I was thinking that it is important to try and remember that there are a lot of people in the schools impacted by the mistakes of the past. I am trying to remember that people make mistakes and to try and have compassion for all.
When I realize that jobs will be lost. Pay will be cut. Students will be impacted. It is hard to keep a positive focus. I ask you to pray for me and all the people working in the school system. We really do need healing.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:20 pm

Yes. You would think that Ms. Tyson had never been Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations over Finance and Human Resources, and that the BOE just got their jobs a week before Crawford Lewis left.

Ms. Tyson went from making $99,960 in the 2004-2005 school year to $131,104 by the 2007-2008 school year. In one more year Ms. Tyson's salary increased 26% to $165,035 (2008-2009). She was one of his 3 direct reports. Does anyone think Ms. Tyson was not privy to the day to day operations of DCSS? She headed Business Operations for goodness sake.

Teachers, what percent increase did you guys get in 2008-2009? Was it 26%?

Who approved Ms. Tyson's promotions and raises along with the millions and millions of dollars in raises and promotions for the overwhelming number of administrators in DCSS? Who approved the vast army of non-teaching positions created? Who approved shrinking our teacher count at the same time?

This BOE approved every one of the expenditures Crawford Lewis submitted to them. This BOE helped him shrink our teacher count leaving our students packed into classrooms like rats. This BOE let him use Title 1 funds for our low income students as a "piggy bank" or pet projects, programs and non-teaching positions. LOL - Now you would think they have never met him.

Turn out every one of them. The ones not up for re-election should be recalled. If they had any decency, the ones not up for re-election should resign. They are just as culpable as Dr. Lewis.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:06 pm

"There are so many former staff members from the DCSS that work for the state. "

And that obviously is a huge problem for the state of Georgia. These people were non-teaching bureaucrats in DCSS and now they're non-teaching bureaucrats in the Georgia DOE.

I'm praying for the whole school system, but mainly I'm praying for our children.

Anonymous said...

To Jackie and those who agree with her:

It is unfortunate in this day and age that you can justify your us(South) vs. them(North) stance while still using such an archaic term as "Tom" to describe someone of color whose opinions are obviously different from your own.I doubt that control or being controlled is the issue that currently confronts DCSS. I would dare to say that such a viewpoit is short sighted when it comes to determining the future of public education in Dekalb.

Think hard and long about what you really want for your Dekalb County School System students. Even if every school building was a pristine facility with cutting edge technology (fantasy, I know), there would still be major differences in schools - check the test scores from the Ga. Report card and you will see.

I don't think that the number of black faces sitting on the school board or how hard they've worked for South County schools over the last 20+ years is helping us right NOW !

The year is 2010. We are $100+ million in the hole. People are losing their jobs. Money has been wasted. Construction is shoddy. No-one has answers. Yet, we are still fighting over who gets to sing the next stanza to "We Shall Overcome"

How about changing the title to "DCSS Shall Overcome" and instead of locking arms and swaying, how about rolling up our sleeves and working for the COMMON GOOD. ....where EVERYBODY BENEFITS.

......sorry for all the emotion. I am passionate about education. You see.....I am an African American DCSS teacher who lives and works in South Dekalb County.

Ella Smith said...

Race, disability, religion, ethnic background, etc. should have absolutely nothing to do with decisions made on the school board.

This last week I served as a juror in the Superior Court of Dekalb. I could not believe I was selected to serve on a battery case but I was as I am an individual who has recovered from the battered women syndrome. But, I have recovered and moved on with my life and have worked with my ex-husband to raise our child. This was the correct thing to do and I have put down every emotion I have had for my child to live a happy normal life and so communication could be great.

I was selected and I made the decision based on the law without any emotions involved. I did what was right. This person was found not guilty of those charges with picture as evidence. It was a tough decision. However, I made the decision based on facts and not emotions. This is what the school board members must all do. The only decision that can be taken into consideration is whether this is the right decision for the total school system and the students of the Dekalb County Schools. Emotions must be put aside to make decisions when you are representing others in the community like I was as a juror and like school board members are each time they make a decision.

Anonymous said...


I have a question. I reviewed the proposed budget foro 2011 and the approved budget from 2010. The majority of schools will lose 1/4 to 1/3 of their points. Where are all these teachers going to go who have already signed contracts.I even noticed some schools wil lose almost have of thier point. Just curious.

Anonymous said...

To Jackie, May 7, 2010
Anonymous, 12:32 AM

I have thought about your posts, off and on, all day.

DCSS is a school system that is majority African-American in a county that is majority African- American. More than 2 generations of students have come through DCSS since it was declared unitary and the courts agreed. More than a quarter century of federal court supervision inflicted severe damage in terms of the court's refusal to allow DCSS to re-district as needed and to build schools or expand schools as needed.

Probably the best thing to come out of the who court supervision thing was that DCSS was not allowed to close Chamblee High School (now Chamblee Charter High School).

CCHS is one of the top high schools in the state in spite of rats, roaches, rot and mold. If the present principal doesn't kill CCHS by running off excellent teachers and staff, it will continue to be a top high school. Teachers, students AND parents are motivated to succeed.

CCHS has been promised SPLOST funds since SPLOST 1 to remediate severe health-threatening problems -- and has been passed over every time. It is in worse shape than just about any other DCSS school building.

At the CCHS Governance Council meeting last Friday, Ms. Colman was completely unaware that CCHS does not have an auditorium and does have severe facility problems. But, she and her lackey certainly looked official with their big binder on CCHS, which they obviously had never looked at -- even when they were coming to speak at CCHS. How discourteous! How typical!

So, Jackie, you and your ilk are still whining about perceived inequities and blaming everyone in north DeKalb because your children only know entitlement. Look in the mirror!

Your blog postings -- combined with my nearly $7,000 property tax bill wasted in unnecessary expenses by DCSS -- have convinced me. North DeKalb needs to be its own school system.

This will be my single goal. I don't care to share my name at this point, but I can assure you that every thing I have set out to do in DCSS as a parent volunteer I have accomplished. My first task will be to set up a separate blog to organize those of a similar mind.

I am sick of your blaming, carping, complaining and whining. Enough already!

Anonymous said...

So Jackie wants those bad 'ole white people in North DeKalb to "butt out".

OK. We can do that.

Let's split the school district. That way, the bad 'ole white people will have no say at all in what happens in South DeKalb. Is that good enough for you, Jackie?

Of course, you won't be able to siphon off tax money from North DeKalb either. You'll have to finance your schools on your own.

You want to be left alone by North DeKalb? By all means - be separate and handle it ALL on your own. Jolly good luck to you.

Teaching in Dekalb for God Only Knows How Much Longer said...

To anonymous @12:08 & 1:01

Can we stop the silliness, please? There seems to be too much reaction to incendiary comments by adding more such comments.

...So are we talking secession ???
Writing your own blog to foster such foolishness will only serve to accomplish what we have in place already ---- a school system struggling to provide a QUALITY EDUCATION for ALL of its CHILDREN.

Unfortunately, this thread has veered severely from its original posting. Can we get back to discussing the money trail?

Wake up people....There's a vote tomorrow on the FINAL BUDGET

P.S. "Happy Mother's Day"

Paula Caldarella said...

CCHS is one of the top high schools in the state in spite of rats, roaches, rot and mold. If the present principal doesn't kill CCHS by running off excellent teachers and staff, it will continue to be a top high school. Teachers, students AND parents are motivated to succeed.

Just a little modification to your post - the Magnet Program in Chamblee is what gives the school its name. From what I have heard, as an alumnus of Chamblee, is that the charter and residential students continue to struggle. And it's funny that you mentioned the principal. I've also heard that all of her time and attention (as well as the Parent Council) goes to the Magnet program, not the "real" students of Chamblee. If we want to make things equal for all students in DCSS, then that must start in the schools themselves. There is a reason that the test scores for Chamblee are not separated out between Magnet and Resident students.

Paula Caldarella said...

IMO, "Jackie" is just one of those internet trolls that go around stirring up trouble on blogs. It's best to just ignore these type of people - they get off on the intention they get and the angst they stir up.

Shayna said...

To Anon. 8:48 pm: Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts and comment. Happy Mother's Day to all. I do think the school system is too large -- it is unmanageable and too much gets swept under the carpet and isn't overseen -- I don't care, though whether the 20 or so high schools and their feeder schools are split north/south or east/west or picked out of a hat or divided in 2, 4 or 6 -- it just needs to be more manageable and transparent. This does require a state constitutuional amendment and we've just lost two Dekalb legislators who acatually care (one dem, one rep.) -- must have really been quite a legislative session. Yes, budget is up for vote tomorrow and each point that a school loses is a person even though a "point" isn't English for "person". The focus isn't on the children at this point.

Anonymous said...

Fran Millar intervened and Ron Ramsey didn't? This scenario is worth a thousand words.

Anonymous said...

Please let us get back to the topic. This is not a racial issue. The money that was lost was unable to benefit any child regardless of color. If we continue to focus on race and not demand excellence for all schools, nothing will ever be done. We all need to focus very carefully on the budget. If the DCSS, continues to cut the salaries of individuals in the schools we will lose good administrators, teachers, counselors and school based staff. The excellent ones will be able to find jobs in other districts. We have already loss some. No one who has an option will continue to remain in this turmoil. We must find a way to work across lines and support all schools. Having security in schools is vital. I work in a school. You have not only students that can create problems but also parents that can be very agressive. Not to mention individuals that can walk in off of the street. Be careful what you wish you in terms of taking away resources from the schools.

Anonymous said...

You know the one name not mentioned anywhere in this thread and whose fault it was to almost lose the money, if it hadn't been for North Dekalb's, Fran Millar?

DCSS CFO Marcus Turk! He must go!

As well as 40% of the Central Office. Most of the central Office personnel are Friends and Family of Current and Former BOE members as well as CLew..

Marcus you have done a terrible job watching the taxpayers dollars at the DCSS. Marcus please resign!

teachercreature said...

Another example of wasted money happened right under our noses this past week. Anyone follow the charter school court case that was ruled on Friday? I believe Gwinnett filed suit against the GA Charter Schools Commission first, claiming that commission charter schools were illegally using tax funds. The judge said, "NOT" and ruled completely in favor of the commission. DeKalb had jumped on the bandwagon - hiring attorneys for approximately $35,000 - to join the suit against the commission. There was no need for such action. Whatever decision was rendered by the courts would apply for all school systems in the state. DeKalb did not stand to gain one thing for its $35,000 that it wouldn't have gotten for free. To top it all off, the school systems lost. DeKalb is known as extremely charter UN-friendly, and evidently saw this as an opportunity to give the charter commission a black eye. As usual, DCSS winds up looking foolish and wastes even more taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

If and when you speak to your state rep and/or state senator, please ask her/him what they think about Ron Ramsey, and his dual roles of state senator and highly paid DCSS Internal Affairs Director.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 1:56 -

Do you have anything to back up your statements that Marcus Turk has lost DCSS money? I am not defending him - if what you say is the case, then we as taxpayers need to be aware and take appropriate action.

Please elaborate - anonymously, if need be - so we can know the facts.

Anon 1:37 -

I know of several very talented and effective teachers leaving DCSS at least partly out of frustration. Two have chosen to do voluntary teaching overseas - as on stated, "I will make less next year than I did as a beginning teacher four years ago, so I decided I would use what I know to do good for the world." Another came to DCSS after several years teaching in private school, and after four years in DCSS, teaching high-level classes, is returning to the private school in order to have job stability. It hurts all of us (and most of all the students) for top-notch teachers to leave the system.

Teachercreature -

Agree completely.

Anonymous said...


Your money is being wasted!
Your money is being wasted!
Your money is being wasted!


AUDRIA BERRY and her army of zombie INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES have left the buildings! Yes, that's right! AUDRIA BERRY has summoned all her zombie INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES from the schools where they do little less than "have" meetings and try to have a negative "impact" on high-quality teachers while supporting low-quality ones. Now AUDRIA BERRY has summoned her legion of zombie INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES to Castle Frankenstein for recharging these last two weeks of the school year.

What a better slap in the face for any who thought AUDRIA BERRY and her zombie INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES were worth anything to remove them from the schools the last two weeks when they could have been assisting the teachers with finals and remediation. This just proves the lie that AUDRIA BERRY and her zombie crew of INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES have any worth to the students.


Please help the teachers out of this madness that AUDRIA BERRY has perpetrated via the zombified INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES.


Anonymous said...

DCSS has as many students as are enrolled in schools in the entire State of Vermont. School systems up there are small usually one high school, one middle school and one elementary school. Sometimes several communities get together and form a regional school. When you meet your school board members at the grocery store, in church, or while you are out walking your dog, you have schools that are a lot more responsive to the needs of the community.

DeKalb could be divided into several smaller school districts and it might help get things back on track. It is time to get the legislature to help us cut this school system down to a workable size. I'm not interested in racial politics. I am interested in solving some of the problems and obstacles we all face when we put our kids in school. This is not and should not be a racial issue.

M G said...

DCSS cannot be carved up into smaller districts without a Constitutional amendment. The number of school districts is limited at the current number by the Georgia Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Marcus Turk is the Chief Financial Officer for DCSS. If the paper work for this additional money was not completed properly the buck should stop at the top! Since Crawford Lewis is gone, I think we need to take a serious look at the CFO.

The CFO controls the purse strings for DCSS. He is in charge of all credits and debits for the system. Please let's clean the DCSS house and start over. Especially the positions that involve finances, instruction and any other position where malfeasance has taken place over the past 5 years.

Like the comment on a different thread here mentioned, Crawford Lewis' tenure at DCSS was a reign of terror. Time to hit the reset button. Time to hold people accountable for their errors.

Paula Caldarella said...

Actually, I believe that the paperwork involved was Pat Pope's responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson was Marcus Turks supervisor before Lewis recommended her Interim Superintendent. Does the buck skip over her?

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

So there were no checks and balances on Ms. Pope?

Paula Caldarella said...

Ms. Pope reported directly to Dr. Lewis, so I guess he was supposed to be her "checks and balances".

Anonymous said...

I was totally unaware that Marcus Turk reported to Ms. Tyson. Our school system is severely sick! The CFO reports to Ms. Tyson before she was interim. I am stunned. I need to look at the crazy org chart again.

If Ms. Tyson had her fingers on the paper work that was wrong and misfiled for the 20+ MILLION, I think Ms. Tyson needs to go too.

I hope the discussion takes place amongst Board members how paper work mis-filed cost the system millions. You think the BOE will ask that question? Bueller?

Anonymous said...

After her last promotion.... human resources, finance and staff services began to report to Tyson

Anonymous said...

Yes. Ms. Tyson was Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations with Marcus Turk and Jamie Wilson reporting to her.
Go to :

Click on the left hand menu bar - Superintendent and when the drop dwon menu appears, click on Organization Charts.

Dekalbparent said...

@Anon 9:38 -

I have run into school board members in the community, and they look really SCARY (esp SCW - REALLY REALLY SCARY)...

Seriously, I agree with you. Smaller districts might allow the district to be run in a business-like manner while staying responsive to priorities: the children and their teachers.