Saturday, May 8, 2010

SPLOST 3 projects vs enrollments, capacity and racial make up at DeKalb High Schools

The school closure/consolidation plans discussed thus far have only included elementary schools. Many of these 11,000 stated available seats are located in middle and high schools. (We now know that about 2,000 of these 11,000 are attributed to the now closed Open Campus and Heritage schools, leaving 9,000 empty seats or less.)

Since high schools were supposed to be the focus of SPLOST 3 spending, we have compiled the best data we could regarding high school enrollments vs capacity along with the racial makeup of these schools (for those who still insist that there are "white" schools in the "north" that get more money. As you can see, there are high schools with white students, but they are simply a portion of incredibly diverse schools.)

The facts are the facts. Please read them with an open mind. If you know for certain that we have something incorrect, please let us know and we will fix it. This is entirely possible with capacity numbers, as those have been mysteriously fluctuating in the last year. The enrollment numbers came from the October, 209 FTE count submitted to the state DOE website.

Avondale HS – 639 students - (91.5% black), Having completed an HVAC replacement, they received $10 million for preparing and upgrading the building for moving the HS of the Arts into Avondale HS (to operate as a separate school within a school – 2 principals, 2 sets of teachers, counselors, etc…$$$). The building capacity is 1155. When you add 639 plus 284 from DSA, the total enrollment at Avondale will be 923 – with 232 seats available.

Cedar Grove HS – 1,177 students - (96.8% black), With a design capacity of 1,430, Cedar Grove offers 253 available seats.

Chamblee HS – 1,512 students - (53.9% black, 24.7% white, 7.8% Hispanic, 9.8% Asian, 3.8% other); NO construction so far. No plans drawn. They are scheduled to receive the Auditorium/Career Tech package, but no movement has been made in this effort. The building is old and has problems with mold and other quality of life issues. The current building’s design capacity is 1,364 putting them 148 students over capacity.

Clarkston HS – 1,001 students – (79.4% black, 3.1% white, 3.9% Hispanic, 11.0% Asian, 2.6% other); With a design capacity of 1260, Clarkston offers 259 available seats. With $11,694,682 for an Auditorium/Career Tech Center - Plus an additional $4 million for other improvements – Clarkston should soon be a sought after, very roomy, newly remodeled high school.

Columbia HS – 1,294 students – (98.6% black); Total renovation of the building, including the pool. Also recently completed the auditorium/fine arts/career tech addition. The original design capacity of this building was 1,474 giving Columbia currently at least 180 available seats.

Cross Keys HS – 900 students - (14.0% black, 2.7% white, 69.7% Hispanic, 12.5% Asian, 1.1% other); Cross Keys has been second on the list for a renovation using SPLOST 3 since it’s original proposal—before the vote. Second only to emergency HVAC projects and finishing SPLOST 2 projects. The original amount of money slated for CC was $16,927,348, however a contract was awarded to MEJA Construction at the Oct 08 Board meeting for a mere $11,000,000. Somehow, now that contract was pulled and the Cross Keys renovation was tabled for several months. The High School of Technology North, which was sold to GA Perimeter College, merged with Cross Keys last fall, and much of the new plans for renovation currently started are for the Tech program. The original design capacity of CC is 1,342, however some of the building is now unusable. Including the merge with HSTN, but there are probably at least 100 available seats, if not more. However, if this school becomes the vocational school for the north end of the county – and it’s good – it will grow. Sadly, there are currently NO plans for fixing the outdoor sports track and field, no plans for an auditorium or much more than a “fluff up” of the 1960s-era building.

DeKalb School of Arts – 291 students - (64.8% black, 26.1% white, 2.5% Hispanic, 3.2% Asian, 3.5% other); $10,000,000 has been allocated to move this school to Avondale. (This equates to spending $35,211.00 per student.) Could a better option have been to designate Lakeside as a Magnet School for the Arts, allowing Lakeside (which already has over 400 students in arts programs) to absorb the 284 from DSA and use some of the $10 million for renovations to Lakeside? Why the heavy focus and heavy spending on 284 students at DSA, when there are over 1700 at Lakeside – squeezed into a building designed for 1300? Wasteful spending here. We don’t have the luxury of over-spending on so few.

Druid Hills HS – 1,393 students – (51.8% black, 28.0% white, 6.3% Hispanic, 9.3% Asian, 4.6% other); Druid Hills has enjoyed a renovation and classroom addition – it’s almost completed, however since the classrooms are smaller, the design capacity of 1,218 will not increase and may in fact, decrease, leaving DHHS overcrowded by at least 175 seats.

Dunwoody HS – 1,515 students - (36.5% black, 41.1% white, 13.9% Hispanic, 5.7% Asian, 2.9% other); They have approved bids on the Auditorium/Career Tech addition, which is good news, as it appears that Dunwoody was tabled for quite some time, due to the Pat Pope investigation. Work is scheduled for this summer. (Capacity is 1386 for Dunwoody – currently putting them at 129 over capacity and growth projections put them at over 700 over capacity by 2016.)

Martin Luther King Jr. HS – 1,833 students - (98.1% black); From the website: “MLK opened in August, 2001, as the newest high school in the DeKalb School system. This beautiful facility is home to grades 9-12. This beautiful new school has a green and inviting campus, an ideal place for students to learn.” Scheduled to receive a multi-classroom addition with SPLOST 3. Plus a new project has been discussed and temporarily tabled for this school - MLK HS - 9th Grade Academy - $6,858,842 With a current capacity of 1,407, MLK is over-capacity by 426, however, this crowding was supposed to have been relieved by the brand new Arabia HS in August, 2009—but Arabia opened as a magnet program of sorts instead.

Lakeside HS – 1,703 students - (33.0% black, 41.1% white, 12.3% Hispanic, 8.3% Asian, 3.3% other); Lakeside received an emergency HVAC replacement using SPLOST 2 funding (the AC had actually shut down and students took final exams in 95 degree heat.) They say they have asked for bids on the Auditorium/Career Tech addition, designs been drawn but ground has not been broken and in fact, the promised construction start date of May has been moved yet again several months. This school is currently approaching 400 students OVER design capacity and has 21 trailers sitting on the unusable tennis courts.

Lithonia HS – 1,506 students - (95.4% black); “Moved into a beautiful new, totally wireless facility on October 21, 2002. The school has 188, 000 square feet of space and is one of the largest schools in DeKalb County. Lithonia has a state-of-the-art media center, a music, art, and NJROTC wings, a cyber cafe for parents to communicate online with teachers, and a 500-seat auditorium.” Scheduled to receive an addition with SPLOST 3 but that was tabled. Capacity is currently 1,407, leaving them over-capacity by 99, but again, the original promise was that Arabia would relieve over-crowding here, yet Arabia became a magnet instead.

McNair HS – 1,035 students - (98.5% black); COMPLETELY RENOVATED 2006 – including a new auditorium. Even going so far as to spend $25,000 for the Mustang Statues on the pillars at the entry. The building with a capacity of 1,701 – currently only has 1,035 students leaving 666 available seats.

Miller Grove HS – 1,650 students - (96.9% black); A couple of years ago, the website stated, “Miller Grove High is the newest and largest constructed high school in the history of The DeKalb County System. All instructional spaces receive natural daylight through walls of windows. The media center and cafeteria are state of the art, and the gymnasium comfortably seats over 2,000 people. Miller Grove High School is located next to the new DeKalb Medical Center. Key personnel at the hospital have made a commitment to work closely with MGHS. Having a 2,345 square foot Health Occupations Center is just another dynamic feature of Miller Grove High School. Miller Grove High School is truly a state of the art 21st century school facility.” With a current capacity of 1,764, Miller Grove is has 114 available seats. Even so, a SPLOST 3 funded addition is still planned for this facility to relieve over-crowding.

Open Campus HS – 604 students - (82.4% black, 3.1% white, 10.3% Hispanic, 2.3% Asian, 1.9% other); $10 million was allocated to “move” Open Campus to  the Mtn Industrial facility.

Redan HS – 1,433 students - (96.8% black); With an original design capacity of 1,298, Redan is over capacity by 135 students. Redan is scheduled to receive a $4,819,395 Classroom/Career Tech addition using SPLOST 3 dollars, which will alleviate the overcrowding.

Southwest DeKalb HS – 1,782 students - (96.8% black); SW enjoyed a total renovation and Auditorium/Career Tech addition using SPLOST 2 funding. Additional funding (approx $2 million) for construction beyond the original scope was also built and plans are underway for a performing arts auditorium. With a design capacity of 1,365, SWDK is still 417 students over capacity – requiring over 20 trailers on site. This is a magnet school, some would say enrollment should be limited to the number of available seats.

Stephenson HS – 1,783 students - (96.4% black); Stephenson HS - 9th Grade Academy was built using millions from the SPLOST 2 funds. The capacity is 2,098 for this building, leaving 315 seats available.

Stone Mountain HS – 1,341 students - (89.3% black); With an original design capacity of 1,298, Stone Mountain is fairly well-balanced with only 43 students over capacity.

Towers HS – 1,007 students - (94.8% black); Received a total renovation using SPLOST 2 including new bleachers as an extra budget item. Interestingly, the building capacity is 1,365 – so it would seem an addition was not necessary. (At least compared to other schools’ needs.) Yet - here we spent $1,500,000 SPLOST 3 funding for 8 Classrooms Additions - 12,000 SF). PLUS $350,000 for an addition of an art studio. Moreover, they have received a auditorium/tech addition. This leaves Towers with 358 available seats.

Tucker HS – 1,414 students - (72.0% black, 15.1% white, 5.4% Hispanic, 3.9% Asian, 3.5% other); Scheduled with SPLOST 3 to be renovate, Tucker had to be TORN DOWN and REPLACED, due to asbestos and other contaminants and is currently in the process of being completely rebuilt. (Original school’s design capacity was 1,474) Tucker will be a nice high school when finished, with the first county-built school auditorium in north DeKalb.  And their state champion football team will have an impressive practice field.

ARABIA MOUNTAIN HS – Just opened in August, 2009, Arabia was originally designed to alleviate overcrowding in the Lithonia area of South DeKalb, however, the three other high schools (Lithonia, Miller Grove and MLK) – that were supposed to be sending students to Arabia – were also scheduled to receive millions for classroom additions – to relieve overcrowding! This spending MUST be reassigned to alleviate real over-crowding in other high schools. Arabia currently has 1,001 students in grades 9-11. Building capacity is a minimum of 1,600 with expansion to over 2,100 according to the original press release.


Anonymous said...

Love what you do for high schools. (And have always done for high schools) Is there any way that you could look at middle schools. They always seem to get left out.

Cerebration said...

Anyone want to take on middle schools? I can send the FTE data.... Sometimes, I have to do my "real" work - the work I get paid to do...


Anonymous said...

....I've visited REDAN HIGH SCHOOL several times and talked with several people including administrators, teachers, custodial, and security staff. Since construction began in May of last year, there have been several snafus. For one, the so-called overcrowding will NOT be alleviated by the new additional space. The construction is only adding four classrooms. When construction began in May 2009, eight(8) single classroom trailers were brought in to accomodate displaced classes while renovations are taking place. The renovations inside include new lighting, ceilings, HVAC and flooring in some rooms and restructuring of some floorplans of classrroms.

However, the renovation project is being done in phases and a new roof is not to be installed until the entire classroom renovation project is complete. Meanwhile, new ceilings with an old roof has meant periodic flooding throughout the building with damaged tiles and light fixtures (which were new). We have new ventilation duct work but, its not connected to the new heating and air units, (some of which are still wrapped up in blue tarp on the roof or in plastic wrap sitting in the parking lot near Redan Road.

New flooring was installed in some classrooms as recently as January but the county was unable to pay for adequate wax and protective coating. Hence, the floors look like they were installed years ago and haven't been cleaned since that time.

The 4 new classrooms were just recntly opened to accomodate a new group of displace teachers, however, NONE of the classrooms had a White board , or Smartbord installed. Teachers have had to improvise and find excess portable smaller board that make it harder to share imformation with students.

One of the classrooms is supposed to be a computer lab, but the NEW room has been stocked with OLD computers, some of which have been "frankensteined" to ake them work, others are missing parts from their casing that make them look "junkable" and of course about 25% don't wok at all.

So much for SPLOST dollars at work!!!

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the Redan Report, Anon. Love that term, "frankensteined"... I think I'll steal it!

Paula Caldarella said...

Construction at Dunwoody is scheduled to begin May 25th and we were told it would take a year to complete.

Anonymous said...

Not sure where you're getting your information. The construction at Dunwoody has been bid and awarded and construction is going to begin this month. They are re-doing HVAC throughout the building, as well as renovating all the science classrooms -- this will occur over the summer. In the fall they will complete a classroom addition (9 classrooms I believe are being added) as well as an auditorium and new "facade" on the front of the building. There have been several community meetings about the project, the most recent of which was just a few weeks ago. The whole campus will be closed for the entire summer. The additional classrooms will not alleviate the overcrowding (I believe they will still need most if not all of the current trailers because the incoming 9th grade class is very large).

Anonymous said...

Just a question. Will SPLOST III money complete spending for what is really needed? As I recall, all 3 SPLOSTs were to raise a total of about $1.5 BILLION.

Will SPLOSTs 4, 5, 6 be needed?

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the update on Dunwoody. Glad to see some contracts are under way for them.

Ella Smith said...

The whole county probable does need redistricting to even out as many seats as possible in the county. Some schools are overcrowded while other schools could takes some of these students and that school would not have seats open.

I think it is a good idea. However it is equally going to be difficult for some parents to move their children to another school which they feel is not as good as their school when they bought their house specifically to go to that school.

This is a new battle that the school board will be taking on. It is probable a needed change but it may cost many of the school board members their jobs.

Schools will have to close. However, why would you if you are one of the five school board members up for election want all these schools to close at one time in your district. It would be important for this to happen after the date to file to run for school board this year. (The end of June)

Paula Caldarella said...

You're right, Ella, re-districting must happen. Hopefully now, with the State BOE involved and providing guidance, it will be done properly.

Ella Smith said...

However, Dunwoody Mom there will be many unhappy parents. I would not want to be the one to tell a parent who has bought one of those One to Two million dollar homes in the Oak Grove area where I live that their child is not going to Oak Grove, or tell a parent who loves Fernbank Elementary that their child is not going to Fernbank, or a child who is going to Canby Lane Elementary, or Chapel Hill Elementary is going to another school.

I for one would not want to have to deal with my neighbors who bought those big beautiful homes specifically in the Oak Grove area as someone who really likes politics. I would hate to be their representative. This is just my immediate neighborhood. Does the school board have the strength to do what is best for the county? This is a real tough decision and not one I would want to have to make personally.

Dan M. said...

If you haven't yet walked inside and the grounds at Cross Keys, when you do, you'll be disgusted at the current and past Sam Moss administration, the Board of Education and the current and past DCSS administrations. It is disgusting how this high school has been so poorly maintained throughout the years.

If you haven't seen the rest rooms at Lakeside, and also see what happened to the tennis courts, you'll also be disgusted. Some of the worst rest rooms in any school in the country.

Clearly, the Sam Moss administration then and now operates with no basic facility standards, and have been enabled to do so by the BOE and Central Office management.

Gwinnett and Cobb operate their schools with basic facility standards. The Atlanta school system has done an admirable job updating older facilities with their penny sales tax, especially its historic buildings like Booker T Washington High and Inman Middle.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Cross Keys, unless something has changed since Tuesday, track and field renovations are being considered, but no final decision has been made. However, if there are field renovations planned, any improvements will be destroyed in one month unless the field is secured and protected from unauthorized soccer use by non-students.

Through the years several coaches have spent time and money trying to seed, fertilize, and renovate this field for the use of CKHS athletic teams, in addition to the county renovation every three or four years. Consistently, CKHS administrations have turned a blind eye while un-authorized groups to use the field destroying the efforts of these coaches and contributing citizens resulting in a hard packed dusty field for student use. Given the past and current attitude of CKHS administrators and DCSS folks familiar with this misuse of school property, further improvements for the CKHS football field are a waste of tax dollars.

A few years back, DC renovated Dresden Park removing most of the baseball fields and converted them into soccer fields. You would think that DCSS would encourage use of this park saving CKHS field for student use.

Anonymous said...

We absolutely need and must redistrict this school system. Not only is there a problem with parents who bought into high-end housing because of the school, but there is also a problem with some of these high-end areas not wanting to take in children from neighboring schools because they fear the quality of their children's education will fall. This is going to be a difficult task. .

Anonymous said...

My family has owned the same house in the Hawthorn area for over 45 years. At first we were zoned for Tucker High. When Lakeside was built the district changed and we were zoned for it. Several years later the districts changed again and we were zoned for Henderson High. The last time the district changed we were back to Lakeside where I graduated.

Districts change and people will just have to deal with it. I'm sorry to be so cold but I don't think we have any other options.

Anonymous said...

The field as Dresden Park is getting dusty now too.

Anonymous said...

Here are a couple of interesting links regarding CKHS – er I mean Dresden Park.

Anonymous said...

Interesting segment this Morning today on CBS' Sunday Morning on Japanese schools not having janiotors and having spotless schools -- kids clean their own buildings and classrooms! the Japanese word for "clean" and "beautiful" is the same. We could learn something from this.

Anonymous said...

Arabia Mountain High School is not a strictly magnet school. Kids have to apply to the magnet or choose from the pathway career program if they dont do magnet. The requirements for pathway are less stricter. They have students from all over the county especially schools from the southern end that applied and got accepted. And they have a long waiting list to get into the school.

I highly doubt they would shut down Arabia Mountain due to the high achievement rate of students there.

Anonymous said...

Arabia Mountain is as charter school-like as a non-charter school can be.

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

To anon @ 6:42:

....What we can learn from this is that the Japanese culture instills a work ethic and appreciation for education that is far superior to our own in America.

I have too often seen students intentionally create messes, and when challenged to clean it up they respond: "That's what the janitors are for!"

All of the breakfast and lunch trays and utensils at our school are disposable beacause kids refuse to clean up after themselves.(After every lunch period, the custodial staff has to "bus" tables by rolling a big trash can up and down rows of disgustingly picked over trays.)

Unfortunately, these same students will show up in classes late, without proper materials, unmotivated to learn, and quickly willing to tell their parents that they are "trying their best"
when they bring home failing grades.

I am still convinced that while such behavior might be tolerated in the school building, it was essentially learned at home.

...I teach at a DCSS high School.

Dekalbparent said...

Question for those who might know - I am under the impression that part of the Montessori method is preparing, serving and cleaning up the meal (or snack). Is this true, or am I mistaken? If it's true, what do the Montessori-educated kids think when they get into regular school (or the grades higher than DCSS has for Montessori)?

As an aside, when I was working in a DCSS school (elementary) less than 5 years ago, the students were called for dismissal from lunch and had to stand by their tables until the table was checked by an adult as cleared and cleaned Every student disposed of their own lunch remainder, and two kids from each class cleaned the tables with a soaped/wrung-out towel. I would send the kids back to do it again if they left stuff (and they would tell who it was, because the whole table would be late to class if the table was not clear), or the table was wet (the next class couldn't use it if this happened).
DOes no school do this anymore?

M G said...

Your understanding of Montessori is correct. Georgia Pre-K also has a requirement that meals be served family style. Neither occurs in DCSS.

Students are no longer allowed to clean the tables at my elementary school. We were told it was due to safety issues with the soap. We all just shook our heads at one more lost chance to teach students responsibility. From speaking to others in DCSS elementary schools, it's the same in other schools.

Dekalbparent said...

@M G -

Ouch. Well, I guess all we have for teaching is our homes. My kids sure couldn't leave the table with out cleaning up.

My own personal children went to elem. school in the bad old days when they had to clean up. In fact those days were so bad that they used real trays and plates... I think my oldest even had real utensils, just like in the real, live world....

All that said, their rooms still look like the proverbial disaster!

InTheOG said...

At my kids' elementary school (Sagamore), the kids still clear their places and wipe off tables. I can't believe that other schools have cut that out.

Anonymous said...

Children are not permitted to clean up after themselves in DCSS.

Cleaning up after ones' self would mean that a child has to take responsibility for their actions and I do not see that happening in DCSS unless administration changes things. Our children have so many rights, but no responsibilities that go with the rights.

Until parents demand a change, the current guidelines will continue. Children will turn in homework whenever they please, requiring teachers to grade a single paper multiple times. Children will get multiple times to complete work or turn something in as teachers aren't able to give a zero. Children will be able to destroy the school and walk away with in school suspension, because principals don't want to have a suspension on their school paper work or don't want angry parents complaining about them to the area superintendent or above, because they fear for their job and have been told it's all about customer service.

Give me a break. So many countries have it all over our children. In terms of what they know and their work ethics. We are not the top dog and as we require less and less from our children we continue to fall.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:36 PM - Dresden Park
OMG I had no idea!!

Cerebration said...

Oh brother. Are you aware of what goes on in most parks after dark? Or anytime for that matter? Ask a cop sometime. How about behind the DCSS abandoned properties like the Druid HIlls complex or Heritage school? How about Piedmont Park - anyone care to describe what happens there? Are you going to judge Grady HS by some of what goes on in Piedmont Park? This is silliness.

Go to Cross Keys - see if you can walk the track without tripping on a weed-filled crack and spraining your ankle.

Anonymous said...

The construction project on the newly "renovated" Avondale/DSA complex is a shame. The ceiling leaks constantly, the fire alarms don't work properly, the bathrooms are a mess, the windows are still circa the 1970s, and the layout and design of the new renovations was poorly thought out. The Avondale students did not get to use their new classrooms until this January, due to construction mistakes, and the DSA side was not fully open until mid fall semester. There were 16 classrooms and one set of bathrooms for all 300 kids and faculty for months. This is a perfect example of the CLew administration at its best.

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon: "...unless something has changed since Tuesday, track and field renovations are being considered, but no final decision has been made."

To my knowledge, there is not one cent being spent by DCSS during SPLOST 3 on grounds, much less athletic fields at CKHS. Please call me with any other info at 404-325-9025.

@Thread: "SPLOST"

So I'm only in the DCSS-watching game for less than 2 years but I have to say that SPLOST 2 and 3 we're ill conceived out of the gate.

Sure, we should have funded emergency capital projects like HVAC and roofing but the rest has been grossly mis-spent in my eye (hindsight is great!).

We have something like 30,000 high school students. How is it that we have any more than 12-15 high schools? Our leadership should have been on a path to consolidating our plant into fewer, newer buildings, not investing $$$ in the old plant!

So, now in our area we have Dunwoody, Lakeside, Chamblee, Cross Keys, and Druid Hills all getting one sort or another of make overs for a pretty large chunk of change. By everyone's assessment, even these investments are short of what is needed and forget ideal.

We are just kicking the can down the road ...

Anonymous said...

Cere: My understanding is that Chamblee Charter High School's SPLOST III addition has been tabled- indefinitely. This apparently was not a new decision. If you look at the January 2010 updated posted on the DCSS Operations web page you will see this. However, I heard that the Governance Council was not officially told this until last Friday.

I believe that CCHS is older than Cross Keys, is in urgent need of repair and it has been overcrowded for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

Lakeside's addition and renovation was delayed multiple times over the last five years. It was promised last fall to start in May so major land movement could take place while kids were off site. However, due to "the change in attorneys for the BOE," it was pushed back to September and has gone to bid this week. It is now schedule to finish by 2012, but it is similar in scope to Columbia, which actually took three years.

Honestly, the renovation is a major waste of time and money. It is a small site, landlocked, and the building's existing plumbing/electrical will not support the new construction. It will be a disaster (just like the HVAC renovation turned out to be).

Folks from S. Dekalb who insist on your kids going there and Chamblee--you are nuts. One, your facilities are better. Two, I spoke with a woman in her 20's who went to Chamblee from Redan as a magnet; said she lost out on college opportunities because she was in a pool with all the Chamblee kids; meanwhile the top students at Redan got to go to great schools. She said it was a mistake for her to have left. Stay and work for your (very pretty) neighborhood schools--ask Sandy Purkett how it's done! Plus, your kids won't have to try to learn while dodging construction debris.

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 2:36 "Here are a couple of interesting links regarding CKHS – er I mean Dresden Park."

Ok. I'm not sure of the value of this to the discussion but since I can never leave anything alone ...

The fact that "someone" on a odd little web site is reporting Dresden Park as a "cruising for gay sex" spot isn't compelling. I am not saying it doesn't happen, I'm simply saying I'm pretty sure that is not the defining feature of the park.

I have lived in the area for over 20 years. I've used Dresden Park, Keswick Park, Ashford Park, Garden Hills Park, Brook Run Park, Shady Valley Park and others. I do not think any public park is immune from this type of activity.

For example, the same site you reference lists Woodruff Library at Emory University and Kroger at LaVista/Toco and other innocent enough places as places "to cruise for sex." So, let's take this Anon comment with a grain of salt please. See:

Other 'Scary' places in Atlanta according to that site

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 10:04: "I believe that CCHS is older than Cross Keys, is in urgent need of repair and it has been overcrowded for quite some time."

I actually think the 1958 construction at CK predates CCHS' current building by a couple of years. But I know that both buildings are in bad shape. Employees of DCSS that know both building intimately tell me that CCHS is not much better than CK anyway.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't parents calling the Fire Marshall and the health department about Cross Keys and other schools in DCSS? I've been in all over DeKalb that were beyond disgusting. For example, Fairington was so bad, I would wash my hands after being in the computer lab. Being a DCSS employee, these situations are not something I could go outside the system and report. I guess I'm just wondering why parents don't seek some recourse from agencies outside the school system. For example, I'm not sure why parents have not filed lawsuits regarding the proposed number of students packed into the small physical space of some of our classrooms, particularly in the older schools. 35 students to a classroom is not a safe situation for students. I believe there are laws on the books that state how many square feet of space you must allow a student. What Ms. Tsyon and the BOE are proposing by packing this many students into small classrooms is not physically safe for students.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cere: "Go to Cross Keys ..."

You are a better defender of Cross Keys than I, Cere! Your indignation on our behalf is very heart-warming. The facility really is lacking. Yes, Chamblee and Lakeside have crappy pools and have to wait for their auditoriums ... but at least they have pools and auditoriums on the way - not here!

I'm going to have to come up with a special award for your advocacy.

Want to come to Honors Night Thursday at 6pm? You can stand with CK Foundation folks as we present our first scholarships ... it's going to be a special moment and you should share in it!

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 11:34 "Why aren't parents calling the Fire Marshall and the health department about Cross Keys and other schools in DCSS?"

That is an excellent question ... I don't think the departments are unaware of the issues.

Last summer, I was sure that CK would not be cleared to open by the Fire Marshall but it was. The violation I was sure was a "show stopper" still exists there as the school year comes to a close. A couple of weeks and it will be a moot point on this one ...

I have no explanation for how this is allowed.

Anonymous said...

Can schools really have 6 or 7 toilets for hundreds of students to use? Isn't this a health code violation?

Parents, why aren't you looking into this - calling the health department, asking for soap in the toilets for your children to wash their hands. Are there no laws governing sanitation for our kids?

If your child has an asthma attack at school, have you checked to see if the air conditioning is blowing dust into the air or that isn't mold in the ceiling, carpeting or walls?

We need to hold the support group responsible for the environmental safety in our schools. Who do parents call when our children's safety is endangered by the lax environmental practices in the schools?

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 7:53 "I am still convinced that while such behavior might be tolerated in the school building, it was essentially learned at home.

...I teach at a DCSS high School."

Wow, that paints a pretty ugly picture! The fact that so many young people today are attuned to the mantra, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," makes the scene you describe so shocking ... disposable trays and utensils???

The kids I know at CK would picket the school to stop that kind of waste. Absolutely shameful - I am so sorry to hear it.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone calling their state representatives - House and Senate or their federal Congressional representatives - to investigate the sanitation and environmental hazards in DCSS schools.

How about federal agencies?

Has any parent registered a formal complaint against DCSS for the unsafe conditions students are being subjected to?

Mold, dust and uneven heating and air cause a tremendous amount of asthma attacks for students and teachers in the classrooms.

Can parents lodge complaints with the EPA?

There must be some recourse with local, state and federal agencies and/or elected officials when students are in unsafe environments.

Anonymous said...

No child should have to use filthy toilets and then have no soap to wash his/her hands. No child should breathe unsafe air day after day. No child should be in such a crowded classroom that they only have a few square feet per student. How can they even be mobilized if there is an emergency?

Kim Gokce said...

A quick comment on the data provided in this blog post ... my back-of-the-napkin tally of the figures reflects barely 3,000 "white" students in DCSS high schools with the vast majority of those accounted for in just a few high schools.

Exactly where is the "black vs white" issue in our public system? The only issue seems to be a virtually abandonment of the public system by white families.

We really have to stop all the nonsense about north vs south in DCSS as a race issue - we have one public system and it serves primarily minorities from top to bottom of this County. So let's get over it and make all of our schools a point of civic pride.

Say "No!" to politics of race in this year's campaign! It is a complete distraction ...

Anonymous said...

Be very careful about filing a complaint with the Fire Marshall. Parents at one high school did because of the shear number of students enrolled at the school. His response was as long as they weren't all in the gym or cafeteria at the same time, it was all good.

So, freshmen had limited access to pep rallies, a 4th lunch had to be added, etc.

In the end DCSS did nothing.

There have been different experiences with contacting the DeKalb Board of Health. When a problem is school wide, and a complaint is filed, DCSS generally has addressed it. (Though not always with the best fix.) However, in multiple schools, if the problem is isolated to one or two rooms and involves an expensive fix, the system has generally just locked the door on those classrooms and not used them anymore. (I am not making this up.)

I don't know if Ms. Colman will be any better.

Anonymous said...

Re the Fire Marshall...

Does anyone know how this person is anointed (I mean appointed?). At my children's elementary school, the person filling the role seems to change every few months and with that change comes new rules and objections. Most recently, it was to something that was on the wall for over a decade. Can you imagine how many other fire marshals had said it was ok?

One fire marshall gave us permission to purchase certain furniture for the school library (PTA) and then another said nope, can't have it anymore.

Anonymous said...

So guess who now cleans the tables in my school?????

No one. Sagamore Hills Principal might be sanctioned!!!!

From: WENDOLYN N. BOUIE Friday, April 23, 2010 2:53:54 PM
Subject: Restricted Use of Sanitizer by Students
To: Bulletin Principal CT Bulletin Principal ES Bulletin Principal HS Bulletin Principal MS

According to the Health Department, cafeteria tables must be cleaned and sanitized however it is not recommended that students use sanitizers.  Therefore, dining room tables must be cleaned by custodial staff or school nutrition employees only. If you have students cleaning tables please discontinue the practice of allowing students to clean tables.  Even if students are not provided with sanitizer in the cleaning buckets, there is still the potential for a health concern to the students.
Thank you.

Dr. Wendolyn Bouie
Associate Superintendent for Instructional Transition
DeKalb County School System
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083
678-676-0671 Phone
FAX: 678-676-0759

Paula Caldarella said...

I believe that CCHS is older than Cross Keys, is in urgent need of repair and it has been overcrowded for quite some time.

Cross Keys is a much older facility than the current Chamblee High School facility.

Paula Caldarella said...

The additional classrooms will not alleviate the overcrowding (I believe they will still need most if not all of the current trailers because the incoming 9th grade class is very large).

It will be worse for DHS in a couple of more years. The current 6th grade class at PCMS is over 420 students.

Cerebration said...

Anon 10:45 PM - I agree! If you are a student who has access to Sandy Purkett - stick with her! She is an angel - a guide - a mentor. I am a big fan.

Check out her website (the link is in our Favorite Links column) and learn about her P.I.L.O.T. program. You will not get this level of support anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Friends and Family strike again! Thank you, Ed Bouie!

WTH is Instructional Transition?

Cerebration said...

Why is Ron Ramsey included in this email? Was there an investigation? "Spongegate!"

Actually, I don't disagree. Personally, I would insist that students clean up their dishes and their trash, but the wiping of the tables should be by gloved staff. The kids used to wash the tables at Oak Grove and those sponges were pretty gross. They probably should have washed their hands after wiping the tables. Plus - they didn't do the best job. You really need a spray bottle and decent rag or paper towel to control bacteria.

Paula Caldarella said...

Hey, are any of you old enough to remember smoking in the school bathrooms? Now, you want to talk nasty and beyond nasty....

Anonymous said...

"How about Piedmont Park - anyone care to describe what happens there?"

Cere, Piedmont Park hires security guards to patrol the park on nights and weekends. They are extremely proactive.

With almost 180 DCSS school police, you would think that every school facility, like Heritage, is patrolled at least once per night and on weekends.

But that doesn't happen. We spend millions on school police, and while many of the school respurce officers in our middle and high schools are great, we also pay for non-performers and too many administrators in the school police department who prove absolutely no return on investment.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 9:42

I agree with Cerebration. In every class I taught, students had to pick up paper and anything else on the floor, return any materials they used to their designated places, put their chairs on the desks when they left, and generally keep everything tidy. However, I did not ask them to do any cleaning. It just didn't seem safe for students to handle cleaners even ones that are labeled non-toxic.

The custodian swept my room every day, and that's all he/she ever did at the 4 DCSS schools I taught in.

I used to use clean all shelves and desks myself every week, and if the custodian missed sweeping my room, I swept it. There is nothing like students walking into a clean and tidy room.

I bought soap for students and always kept toilet paper and paper towels on hand just in case the bathrooms ran out which they frequently did.

I have taught in schools where they wouldn't supply soap because they said the students "played" with it and got it all over the floors. It's extremely poor hygiene to not wash your hands after using the bathroom and before you eat. That's a basic health lesson all children should learn, particularly since there is so much Multi Staff Resistant Bacteria (MRSA) in institutional settings.

If school is any preparation for life, students need to understand the lessons of tidiness, cleanliness and proper hygiene not only because it ensures their own health, but also for the other people they will go through life surrounded by.

InTheOG said...

I stand corrected. The Sagamore kids no longer wipe off tables at lunch. Based on the date of Bouie's memo, it must be a recent change. They do dispose of their trays and trash.

It's a crazy county we live in.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12:48

That's a basic health lesson all children should learn, particularly since there is so much Multi Staff Resistant Bacteria (MRSA) in institutional settings.

It's actually Methicillin Staphylococcus (Staph) Resistant Bacteria (MRSA). However, one can only laugh at the irony since there is certainly so much resistance to multiple staff in institutional settings like schools. Ask any Discipline AP, Security Officer, or ISS supervisor.

Anonymous said...

OK, I have to admit I do not really understand some of the points made on this one.

Regarding Cross Keys and Chamblee: I have been in both of these schools. I recently visited Cross Keys because I was told they have a special office where parents can find out things like graduation requirements (turns out they do have a special office, but the info provided by DCSS was woefully out of date). While at CK, I walked through the school and I thought it was nice. Granted it is an old building and I do not doubt that there are some things that need fixing, and admittedly I did not tour the whole facility. But on the whole, it was clean, well-kept, the kids were friendly and well-behaved. Said parent office was very nice with computers, books, and a very nice employee (I believe she was an employee but could have been a volunteer) who was very helpful.

I actually thought CK was MUCH nicer than Chamblee, where I have been on several occasions. Chamblee is not a school I would want my child to attend on a daily basis. Cross Keys would be fine with me.

Now, I understand that neither of these schools has an auditorium or is likely to get one. Sorry, but how big of a deal is that really? I went to high school in North Fulton at what would be described as a highly sought after school, and we did not have an auditorium either. We just did our plays and assemblies in the gym or the cafeteria. Why is that a big deal?

Also, I have one child who attends private school now. We pay more than $15k for her to go there. Guess what? No auditorium. They do their plays, assemblies, speakers either in the gym (which has a stage) or in the cafeteria (which doesn't). I do not view this as a big deal. I am sure an auditorium would be nice, but it is a minor consideration as compared to the cleanliness and general feeling of the school. Personally, I thought the parent information office at CK was probably a better service than an auditorium, which would probably be rarely used. (Do cross keys or chamblee even have lots of arts programs that would make use of such an auditorium? how many school plays, concerts do those schools put on? Can they share this facility with a high school that does have one, just as other high schools that don't have a pool or stadium have to use Chamblee's?)

Regarding the arts magnet, I also do not understand how you seem to be advocating putting that a Lakeside, but also complaining that Lakeside is overcrowded. Wouldn't adding a magnet school make that worse? What is so wrong with putting it at Avondale, which is more in the central part of the county? They seem to have the space. I do understand they had to make modifications to the building to accommodate it, but is that so wrong? WOuldn't they have had to do pretty much the same thing if they had put it at Lakeside or some other school? Lakeside is not exactly centrally located.

Just sayin'....yall make some good points on this blog but sometimes it seems like folks are too focused on what would be best for Lakeside/Cross Keys and not looking at the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:29 AM, you didn't tour all of Cross Keys. There are sections of flooring that have collapsed. A homeless camp in the back part of the grounds. Pathetic rest rooms. A track and athletic fields that should be used for health & physical education and athletics that are not maintained.

Every DCSS high school has an auditorium, which is an important amenity for theater, assemblies, parent meetings, convocation/graduation events, etc. Some are plain while some are multi-million dollar taj mahal's.
Ridiculous that the only reason why Cross Keys does not have one is because Cross Keys parents aren't screamers.

Cerebration said...

Anon 8:29 AM, we are covering SPLOST 3 spending on this thread (as best we can - we're not reporters, employees of DCSS or even paid to do this - just a bunch of concerned citizens and parents attempting to understand) -

That said - SPLOST 3 was supposed to focus on high schools - like SPLOST 1 did for elementary schools. Instead of gymnasiums, we now looked to build auditoriums. They have successfully built several in south DeKalb - however, to date, none in north. Tucker when finished, will be the first.

I had advocated for merging DSA into Lakeside (creating a school similar to the North Springs Arts Magnet in Fulton) because Lakeside already has 400 students participating in the arts regularly. They perform the most wonderful plays and concerts in the "cafetorium" or the floor of the gymnasium. There are several hundred students attending Lakeside right now who do not live in the attendance zone - sending them to their home high school would certainly provide room for DSA students - and the county would only need to build one auditorium to serve both schools - AND one principal could handle the whole building (as it is now, DSA has a full admin staff all their own - for only 300 students!)

Also - you simply could not have toured all of Cross Keys. Yes, the construction crews have been working to fluff up the hallways, etc, but surely you didn't see the unusable mezzanine with the hole through it in the gym, the workout "room" in a back hall or the restrooms, etc. Did you walk the grounds? Try to run the cracked and weedy track? I'm sorry, you just didn't really see it all.

But then, a picture says a thousand words - view our Cross Keys slideshow here -
Why is Cross Keys STILL in Limbo?

We just think SPLOST 3 should be spent equitably across the county - and it's not. Now, Lakeside's construction plans have been postponed yet another few months (this is over two years worth of "talk" about construction.)

I totally agree with you about Chamblee - it's horrible! It's unhealthy. People in the building are sick due to the bad environment. And weirdness of all weirdness - we're now hearing that construction to Chamblee has been tabled!

Anonymous said...

Every DCSS high school has an auditorium

There are several high schools still without an auditorium - think "North" schools.

Cerebration said...

True that. SPLOST 3's intent was to build auditoriums at each high school. Although the only one in the process of being built in north DeKalb is at Tucker, the rest are all listed as future projects (which keep getting mysteriously delayed) - all except Cross Keys - they have never even been on the list to receive an auditorium.

I posted this article in order to prove that there certainly in no "north/south" divide - that not only are the schools in the north NOT "white" - they are also in horrible condition - with unkept promises of SPLOST spending - and wimpy board reps who won't fight for us.

Anonymous said...

That's just not true -- Dunwoody HS is in the process of building an auditorium. Construction is starting this month. I would encourage you to drive over there. There have been lots of meetings about this and articles in various newspapers.

My only point is, what is the big deal about auditoriums? Plays and meetings can easily be held in the gym or the cafeteria. Some schools have auditoriums (Dunwoody & Tucker -- at least soon), some don't; those that don't can stage their plays at the schools that do. Some schools have pools (Chamblee), some don't--those that don't can have their swim meets at the ones that do. Some schools have stadiums (Lakeside), some don't-- those that don't can have their football games at the ones that do. Some schools have magnet programs (Chamblee), some don't--those that don't can apply for spots at those that do (albeit it is very difficult for non-Chamblee residents to get in because very few slots are allocated for non-chamblee residents -- this is probably the biggest inequity and is much more of a big deal than who has an auditorium). Some schools have "parent resource offices" (Cross Keys); some don't -- those whose home school does not have one (like me!) can go to the parent resource center at the ones that do!

Personally, I would rather see the money spent on improving the classrooms, science labs and other facilities used on a day-to-day basis rather than auditoriums, which i am sure are not used daily and are a "nice to have" at best.

I am not saying that improvements don't need to be made at CK -- I am sure there are things that need to be improved. Sounds like the mezzanine is one of them. (But again, not all schools have mezzanines over the gym to begin with) I am just saying I would not focus so much on auditoriums.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are seriously mis-informed.

Cerebration said...

Wow - Who are you, Anon? I have never had anyone defend the inequity in SPLOST spending as vehemently as you, Anon. Yes, Dunwoody has drawings and a plan to begin construction - let's hope the diggers show up and actually start - as has NOT happened at Lakeside or Chamblee. These were PROMISES made in order to get people to vote for SPLOST 3 - and now, you actually have the nerve to say, "don't focus on auditoriums" - and well, gee, your school's not all that bad - more or less you are saying, "get over it - you don't really need it!" Put on your plays in your cafetorium! My oh my.

I do agree that science equipment would be wonderful - none of that at Lakeside either.

And as far as the magnet program at Chamblee goes - what are you talking about? This is a high-achiever magnet, which in order to apply you have to have a certain group of testing, etc qualifications. These kids come from ALL OVER the county. There is also a regular old everyday high school program in the Chamblee building - for students who live in the district and aren't in the magnet program. What exactly are you saying is so difficult about access to Chamblee? There are similar high achiever programs at SW DeKalb and even Arabia - there's plenty of opportunity to go around. (Plus those buildings are either brand new or recently renovated-in fact, SW DeKalb is about to get a Performing Arts Auditorium. You may wish to tell THEM to have their performances in THEIR cafeteria instead.)

FWIW - Lakeside certainly does not have a stadium! There is one for the entire area - Adams Stadium - at the Druid Hills property (with the closed Jim Cherry Center, etc.)

I swear, you are some kind of plant. You are making up ridiculous things and denying the horrible conditions of the schools around here as compared to elsewhere. Why? What's your motivation?

Anonymous said...

Unless something has changed VERY recently, I am not misinformed and the auditorium construction at Dunwoody HS is beginning this month:

Cerebration said...

Well, hurrah for that bright spot! At least it is starting to look like Dunwoody will get something that was promised to voters. Still waiting on promises to Lakeside, Cross Keys and Chamblee. There is PLENTY of money collected from SPLOST 3 pennies - I'm told there's over $100 million sitting in the bank. Collections were consistently above expectations. Of course, our leaders - Pope and Lewis - couldn't manage to keep their noses to the grindstone and get the work done - in fact, they wasted millions here and there - and now they're costing millions in legal fees. Not only using school tax dollars - but county tax dollars, as this has now become a criminal investigation - requiring the DA's time and energy. And you actually think it's reasonable to expect us to forget about auditoriums? Is there something else we should be worried about? Say, maybe the money has been misspent much more than the public suspects??? What is going on for them to back-pedal on these promises and send out people like Anon to try to convince the public that this is not such a big deal.

Oh - are you our new $25,000 PR person perhaps?


Anonymous said...

Well, anonymous, wow, totally off-base comments. Not that I think your comments are serious, but...

Part of what was promised with Splost III were auditoriums for those High Schools that did not have them. After waiting 3 years, construction is to begin at Dunwoody. Hopefully, soon at Lakeside and Chamblee.

No schools have stadiums. There is a stadium next to Chamblee HS, but it does not belong to the school. In fact, they are not allowed to even use said stadium.

Chamblee is more than a Magnet school. It also houses a "regular" school and is a Charter School, so if you wish to get your child into Chamblee outside of the Magnet program, just apply through the Charter application.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom made the comment at 10:51, not sure why my login is not working.

Anonymous said...

Wow, can't believe the response. I am NOT a plant. I am just saying that when there is misinformation put out there, it undermines the legitimate points you are making. I understand you are not reporters and am sorry if I sounded critical. I just want to get the facts out there because otherwise, it drags down the credibility of the entire effort, in my opinion.

Here is the deal about Chamblee Magnet. This is public information that anyone can obtain by calling Chamblee HS or the magnet office. I am surprised that this is not well known information apparently.

They have approximately 20 slots for incoming 9th graders (the actual number of slots depends upon how many of the current 8th grade magnet students at chamblee MS enroll at Chamblee HS but they were estimating 20 as of the open house they had in january).

Of those slots, HALF of them are reserved for residents in the chamblee HS attendance zone. The other half are for residents of the other 20+high school attendance zones in Dekalb. THus, you have a MUCH better shot at the lottery if you are in the chamblee attendance zone than if you are not.

I do understand that there are kids from all over the county that attend the magnet program -- and I don't know how they got in -- all i know is what the deal is for rising 9th graders who want to enter the chamblee magnet program.

Also, DM, I understand that kids can enter Chamblee thru the charter program rather than the magnet program -- but that is not helpful for kids who want to be in the magnet program.

In terms of SPLOST, it is horribly mismanaged. No one is saying that it's not. I'm just saying that the lack of an auditorium is not the best evidence of this. An auditorium is a nice to have at best.

Dekalbparent said...

Perhaps what Anon is referring to regarding the Chamblee Magnet program is that half the open magnet slots (those not used by magnet students coming in from Chamblee Middle) are set aside for students in the CCHS attendance zone, although I think that the slots are opened up if not enough in-zone students qualify/apply.

Anonymous said...

What misinformation have we put out there?

Dekalbparent said...

Well, Anon, you beat me to it!

I do want to put in my opinion that auditoriums are needed - when a parent meeting is held, the cafeteria is often not large enough. There are four shifts in the cafeteria at our high school - the cafeteria is just not that large.

The gym at our high school is at one end of the building, and does not have good ventilation. It would be very difficult and time-consuming to move enough chairs from the opposite end of the building (where the cafeteria and library - the only mass sources of chairs - are located) and back again. Bleachers just don't cut it for plays.

Anonymous said...

With regard to Chamblee Charter High School, Anonymous 10:18 AM:

(1)North DeKalb Stadium (next to CCHS) does not belong to CCHS -- never did, never will. In fact, CCHS is prohibited from using the stadium unless they are scheduled to play a game there. That includes the track, as well. Even during the school day when no games are scheduled at North DeKalb Stadium. CCHS has a very small PE/practice field that abuts the baseball field and is pretty much part of the baseball outfield.

(2) The swimming pool at CCHS also is not CCHS's pool. It is a DCSS pool. I believe there are three DCSS swimming pools for use by all DCSS schools for swim meets. When CCHS wanted to offer swimming as part of its PE curriculum, DCSS said, "No" because every other DCSS school could not offer swimming.

(3) The magnet program at CCHS makes up approximately 30% of the student body. It came to CCHS when the great thinkers at DCSS realized they had 8th grade students at Kittredge and they had neglected to plan for that eventuality. (This was back before middle schools when high school started with 8th grade.) Chamblee High School, which, like Dunwoody High School, had always had top performing students got the magnet program because at the time CHS had the space.

(4) Approximately 36% of CCHS's students are eligible for free-or-reduced price meals (breakfast and lunch). Approximately 54% of CCHS's students are African-American. The remainder are Asian, 10%; Hispanic, 7%; Multi-racial, 4%; and White, 25%.

(5)Nearly 100% of CCHS's students take the SAT every year. The fact that CCHS has been and continues to be a high performing school (residential students + magnet students) is because at CCHS, doing well in school is cool and expected of all students -- no excuses. CCHS is one of Georgia's top schools because each one of CCHS's students contributes to excellence.

And CCHS performs as a top school in spite of rats, roaches, rot and mold. No one has handed anything to CCHS. All of CCHS's achievements and recognition have come the old-fashioned way -- through just plain hard work on the part of students, staff and parents undergirded with community support.

Paula Caldarella said...

Same with Dunwoody High, DeKalb Parent. Cafeteria and gym are on total opposite ends of the school building. Should we not offer our music, art and drama students the same facilities that we offer to other offerings?

Also, as part of the renovation at Dunwoody, new science rooms will be added as well. I would hope the same is on tap for Lakeside and Chamblee.

Anonymous said...

Here is the info regarding preference being given to chamblee residents applying for the magnet program:

Clifton, Evansdale, Chamblee Middle School, Columbia Middle School, Chapel Hill Middle School, Chamblee Charter High School, Columbia High School, and Southwest DeKalb High School. An effort is made to give the home school magnet site the opportunity to have 50% of the total magnet program enrollment selected from its home pool. The other 50% will be selected from a countyat-large pool. Additional students not selected will be wait listed per grade level. Home pool seats will be filled by home applicants when available. At-large pool seats will be filled by at-large applicants when available.

Here is the link in case you want to read it for yourself:

Personally I think it's great that DCSS offers access to this program. I just wish these sorts of programs were more widely available and that so much did not depend upon where in Dekalb one lives.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:59

I'm 12:48 pm, the teacher who always had her kids keep a tidy room, and did the "wet work" cleaning myself.

Technically MRSA stands for "Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus".

MRSA is a real problem for students who are immune compromised. We have many, many asthmatic children in DCSS. I have had ones on corticosteroids. Other children may have Type 1 diabetics, although that is much less common. However, both of these groups are very vulnerable to any infection. Some of the filthy conditions they are exposed to everyday at DCSS schools is really deplorable. Soap and paper towels as well as instruction on when and how to wash your hands was always a part of my lessons to elementary students. If buying soap and paper towels is what it takes to keep students safe, that's what most teachers do.

This post doesn't even begin to cover the dust, mold and uneven heat and air the students (and teachers) have to contend with. It seems ironic that when I go to get my allergy shot at my allergist, I see so many children with allergies and asthma, they're only there for about 45 minutes, and the sign on the door says "don't come into here with perfume."

I just think to myself, if only the parents and allergists understood what these children are exposed to for many hours a day, every day in DCSS schools.

I'm honestly surprised that there are no health standards for students in schools. They are herded together like so many cattle. Crowding 35 students to a classroom has to increase the infectious disease risk. I wonder if the medical community has even addressed the sanitation and health conditions in our schools as a public health issue.

Anonymous said...

Dekalbparent & Dunwoody Mom,

It sounds like in the two schools you are describing, SPLOST moneys could be better spent on enlarging the cafeteria (which would allow room for more people at meetings as well as eliminate the necessity to have four lunch periods) as well as improve the ventilation in the gym. To me, that would be better than adding an auditorium that would not be used on a daily basis. Not saying that an auditorium wouldn't be great, but the cafeteria and gym are things that are getting used daily.

As far as Dunwoody HS goes, I have been to many parent meetings in the cafeteria and never thought it was too small, but I certainly agree it could be expanded. My concern is that with the money (and land) being allocated to an auditorium we could be making many more classrooms than the 7 or so that they are adding via an overhang on the front of the building. We are going to need a lot more classrooms than that based on enrollment projections. And even with the 7 new ones, we are still going to need trailers next year! For a school with not a lot of land, it just seems silly to use it on an auditorium (unless we were going to make it a multiple level structure with classrooms above or below).

Cerebration @ 10:46am: Not everyone who disagrees with some aspect of what you post is a DCSS insider. Some of us just have different points of view.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 11:15am said...

What misinformation have we put out there?

Well to start with, see the comment at 9:46 a.m. that states:

SPLOST 3's intent was to build auditoriums at each high school. Although the only one in the process of being built in north DeKalb is at Tucker, the rest are all listed as future projects (which keep getting mysteriously delayed) - all except Cross Keys - they have never even been on the list to receive an auditorium.

This is just not true. Dunwoody is about as far north as you can get and still be in Dekalb County. While it may be true that high schools in other parts of the county have gotten MORE than in the north part, exaggerating and putting out misinformation is just not helpful. Why would we want to do that? It doesn't help the cause of focusing attention on the bloat and waste within DCSS.

Anonymous said...

There has been some internal disagreement at Dunwoody High School about the auditorium.

At many schools, the auditorium is used as both a music and performing arts classroom. I expect that will happen at DHS as well.

While trailers are a bad thing, I contend that overbuilding in DeKalb is bad as well.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:38 - I'm sorry I don't see the comment to which you are referring at 0946. And your comments still make no sense.

Anonymous said...

Think what Anon might be saying is that the comment is made repeatedly that Tucker is the only north high school getting the SPLOST 3 auditorium -- when Dunwoody is also getting one. While Anon is correct -- to me the more important issue is the overall misuse of moneys -- not whether one area gets more than another.

Cerebration said...

No - to me, it looks like Anon is perfectly happy with only Dunwoody and Tucker getting auditoriums (as well as every high school in south DeKalb). Unless, of course, Anon can personally stop them from building one at Dunwoody, then s/he would be especially happy. (BTW, the auditorium package does include the Career Tech wing - 8 classrooms for CT.)

Tucker's is just about done. Dunwoody's hasn't actually broken ground, but is scheduled to, they say. Lakeside's has been scheduled to break ground several times but keeps getting delayed (this time the reason is due to our "new legal counsel"—or maybe we just got bumped), Chamblee's construction has been tabled completely. What happened? We've all been waiting for at least 2 years, listening to promise after promise. Cross Keys was first on the list of priorities behind finishing SPLOST 2 projects—so far most of the work done to CK has been for the merged High School of Tech North Career Tech labs. It's so easy to just come up with random reasons to delay. Sorry, Anon - re-read the post. There are no exaggerations in there - the facts is simply the facts. We've all been played and I personally am very skeptical of any kind of promise coming from DCSS.

Cerebration said...

ps s - the bloat etc (which we are also very upset about here at the blog) - only effects the operations budget - totally different pile of money. These construction projects are strictly paid for with the penny sales tax, SPLOST. That tax cannot be used for general operations - it must be used for construction. That's why when we see so much waste of these funds - we go crazy. Lewis himself makes the point over and over - there was over $2 billion in needs and we will only collect about $1 billion in SPLOST revenue. Yet - he was apparently perfectly ok with $2000 chairs and a $200,000 office suite for himself and his staff.

Teachers - we are going to post a slideshow of photos of the chairs you all use in your classrooms. Please - send a photo of your chair (or desk) and we will highlight the beautiful furniture our leaders hand down to our teachers.

Send a jpg photo to us at

I think the board needs some visual aid...

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess that all depends on how you define BLOAT. I think the new central offices that they are building is bloat, and that was definitely paid for with SPLOST.

I also think that building auditoriums at schools that desperately need basics -- like classrooms!-- is waste. I realize you disagree.

Regarding the "career tech wing", are you sure about that? That is not what was said at the community meeting that was held last month. They indicated that in addition to the auditorium, they planned to (1) rehab existing science classrooms, and (2) build 7 classrooms to be used by the Mass Comm Academy in a third floor ovverhang on the building facade. No mention of career tech -- but I am not sure what that is -- maybe it is the same thing as the Mass Comm Academy.
Either way I am glad the school is getting classrooms but if you have looked at enrollment projections -- and existing enrollment at the feeder schools -- it is clear that more than 7 will be needed.

But at least all those kids in the trailers will have the comfort of knowing that they will be able to sit in a brand new auditorium when it comes time for the next school play!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "career tech wing", are you sure about that? That is not what was said at the community meeting that was held last month. They indicated that in addition to the auditorium, they planned to (1) rehab existing science classrooms, and (2) build 7 classrooms to be used by the Mass Comm Academy in a third floor ovverhang on the building facade. No mention of career tech -- but I am not sure what that is -- maybe it is the same thing as the Mass Comm Academy.
Either way I am glad the school is getting classrooms but if you have looked at enrollment projections -- and existing enrollment at the feeder schools -- it is clear that more than 7 will be needed.

I think we were at 2 different meetings.

Cerebration said...

This is what was written in the brochures encouraging us to vote for SPLOST way back when - and this is what is on the website still today (except that Towers was removed, as theirs was completed first, apparently using SPLOST 2 money.)

Career Tech Instructional Additions
In the DeKalb School System the construction of Career Technology Instructional Additions in our high schools has progressed during the last year. The Career Technology Additions provide three specific learning environments consisting of approx 12,000 sq ft in which to house and implement the Career Technology program. Each high school selects three Career Technology programs from a list of 19 state sanctioned programs. Students complete a Career Technology Student Data Interest Survey which serves to rank technology programs by student interest. Data from this survey along with Regional School Choice Program data is used in developing the Career Technology programs for each school. The following high schools have been selected, in the Capital Improvements Plan, to receive Career Technology Instructional Additions:
Druid Hills

Go to the link to see Columbia's Cosmetology lab and McNair's Culinary Arts Kitchen

Cerebration said...

As for the many-years promised auditoriums, this is what the website says (as did all of the brochures before the SPLOST 3 vote) -

Auditorium & Fine Arts Additions
The Auditorium/Fine Arts Additions in our high schools serve as a gathering space for school functions and community meetings as well as a valuable teaching tool for the arts. During the preconstruction phase, local schools provide the project architect with the information describing their specific needs and requests to expand and support their instructional fine arts program.
Some of the features included in our auditoriums are a comfortable seating for 500, performance stage, dressing rooms, theatrical lighting packages, stage curtains, acoustical architecture, an electronic control booth with a full sound control board, audio visual equipment with electrical projection screen, band and orchestra practice areas and instrument storage facilities, various glass fronted display areas for student work, ticket booth and concession facilities, men and women restrooms, drama classrooms, work and storage space for performing arts projects. The following high schools have been selected in the Capital Improvement Plan to receive Auditorium/Fine Arts Additions:
Druid Hills

Again, Towers was originally listed, but then removed after theirs was completed.

Cerebration said...

Sorry to be so hard on you Anon, but we have been waiting and waiting for these auditoriums for our kids to hold assemblies, concerts, plays, etc - the band and orchestra can even hold practice here. And for you to come along and just say it's a waste was kind of a shocker. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find supporters for your "expand the cafeteria instead" option...

That said, perhaps Dunwoody has a similar problem as Lakeside - too many mysterious transfer students. We have hundreds at Lakeside there by "Special Permission" from the superintendent. We also have NCLB transfers along with people who just use someone else's address. At last count, we figured we had at least 600 non-resident students. Without them - our students would not be crammed into the 21 trailers on the tennis courts. Our enrollment would be just about balanced.

Cerebration said...

Since I moderate this blog, I have the privilege of an occasional rant - so continuing --- below is the text of the brochure encouraging us to vote for SPLOST 3

Referendum: March 20, 2007
This Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is an opportunity for voters in DeKalb County to continue the onecent sales tax for school improvements. This sales tax extension is limited to 60 months or until an established cap of $645 million has been reached, whichever comes first.

If the continuation of the one cent sales tax is approved by the voters on March 20, 2007, improvements for our kids are funded by everyone who buys goods in the county, regardless of where they live.

With the extension of SPLOST ...

• Over 2,646,000 Square Feet of New Roofing
• Another 201,800 Square Feet of Roofing Repairs
• 2,535,000 Square Feet of School Renovations
• 185 New Technologically Advanced High
School Classrooms
• 183 New Innovative Elementary School Classrooms
• Over 1,206,000 Square Feet of durable Asphalt
• 7,000 Square Feet of safe Concrete Walkways
• 6 New State of the Art High School Teaching
• 22 New Advanced Career Technology Instructional
• 25 HVAC Replacement, Repair, and Upgrade


In order to maintain a healthy and safe learning environment for the students of the DeKalb County School System, a Capital Improvement Plan [CIP] has been developed and approved by the Board of Education.

The CIP outlines the most pressing facility needs.
The CIP is aligned with Board /Superintendent Goals, the Facility Needs Assessment and the Demographic Study. The plan is educationally sound, philosophically based, and fiscally responsible. To that end, the focus of the plan directly addresses the High Schools That Work principles and the commitment to learning environments that are healthy and safe.

The Capital Improvement Plan will touch every facility, school and center in the DeKalb County School System.

The main areas of focus for the CIP are as follows:
􀀵 Retirement of existing COPs* financial debt
􀀵 Completion of deferred SPLOST II work
􀀵 Major Roofing, HVAC, Code & Life Safety Improvements
􀀵 High School Improvements
􀀵 Career Technology, Fine Arts, & Classroom Additions
􀀵 Renovations of Classrooms from floor to ceiling
􀀵 Technology Upgrades to ALL Facilities
􀀵 Transportation Additions of New Buses to replace
Aging Vehicles
*Certificate of Participation

Facilities Affected

􀀵 Technology Improvements & Upgrades will be completed at ALL Schools & Centers
􀀵 Other Specified Projects Elementary Schools
Allgood, Austin, Avondale, Bob Mathis, Briar Vista, Cedar Grove, Chapel Hill, Chesnut, Clifton, Evansdale, Fairington, Fernbank, Flat Shoals, Forrest Hills, Glen Haven, Hambrick, Hawthorne, Henderson Mill, Hightower, Hooper Alexander, Huntley Hills, Idlewood, Indian Creek, Kingsley, Knollwood,
Laurel Ridge, Livsey, McLendon, Meadowview, Midvale, Midway, E.L. Miller, Montgomery, Murphey Candler, Nancy Creek, Oak View, Oakcliff, Pleasantdale, Rainbow, Rockbridge, Sagamore Hills, Sky Haven, Snapfinger, Stone Mill, Stone Mountain, Terry Mill, Vanderlyn, Wadsworth, Woodward
Middle Schools Champion Theme, Henderson, McNair, Miller Grove, Salem, Sequoyah, Stephenson

High Schools
Chamblee, Clarkston, Columbia, Cross Keys, Tech-North, Tech-South, DECA, Druid Hills, DSA, Lakeside, McNair, Open Campus, Redan, Stone Mountain, SW DeKalb, Towers Centers Clarkston, Coralwood Diagnostic, Transition Academy, Doraville Driver Ed, Fernbank Science, Freeman Administrative Building, Heritage, Sam Moss, Warren Tech

􀀵 Large Model Additions
Dunwoody, Lithonia, M.L. King Jr., Miller Grove

􀀵 New Schools
COPs Retirement: Evans Mill ES, Dunwoody/Chamblee Area ES, Rock Chapel Area ES
Tucker High School

Cerebration said...

And finally, the famous 'PRIORITY LIST'

Capital Improvement Plan
Approved by the B.O.E. on 11/17/06

COPs Financial Debt Retirement $ 66,000,000

1. Deferred SPLOST II Work $ 25,000,000
2. Cross Keys Renovation with Career Tech
$ 16,927,348
3. Tucker Replacement High School $ 66,330,016
4. Roofing $ 9,877,168
5. HVAC $ 17,168,224
6. ADA $ 4,730,336
7. Local School Priority Requests $ 2,656,419
8. Site Improvements $ 8,417,986
9. Facility Improvements - Druid Hills High School
$ 9,739,800
10. DSA Relocation $ 10,000,000
11. Relocation of Open Campus, Jim Cherry Center & DECA to Mountain Industrial Center $ 29,836,296
12. Buses $ 4,000,000
13. Land/Property Acquisition $ 3,000,000
14. Career Tech/Classroom/Fine Arts Additions
$ 63,292,805
15. Technology – Refresh Cycle for All Schools & Centers $ 19,418,581
16. Lithonia High School Addition $ 11,447,624
17. MLK Jr. High School Addition $ 10,178,779
18. Miller Grove High School Addition $ 5,874,487
19. Dunwoody High School Addition $ 4,819,395
20. Site Improvements $ 5,000,000
21. Facility Improvements – Clarkston High School $ 4,000,000
22. HVAC $ 10,716,737
23. Roofing $ 10,681,471
24. ADA $ 2,052,729
25. Local School Priority Requests $ 2,500,000
26. Buses $ 4,000,000
27. Technology – Media Center Upgrades
$ 10,000,000
28. Buses $ 4,000,000
29. HVAC $ 17,408,662
30. Roofing $ 7,125,137

CIP TOTAL $466,000,000

Paula Caldarella said...

The Arts are, or at least should be, an important part of any academic offering. Just as you would want up to date science labs and math labs for your students, proper facilities for music, art and drama are also necessary. Sorry, but having drama performances and music concerts in a cafeteria or gymnasium just does not cut it.

Cerebration said...

So - can you see why I call them out on the SPLOST 3 spending? That brochure was full of empty promises to trick us into voting for SPLOST 3. I am glad to hear that Dunwoody is finally seeing some movement towards construction.

As you can see, Dunwoody was part of this line item -

14. Career Tech/Classroom/Fine Arts Additions
$ 63,292,805

As well as an additional line item -

19. Dunwoody High School Addition $ 4,819,395

Lakeside - not so lucky.

Cross Keys - second on the list.

Druid Hills - they have a small auditorium (built years ago with private funding) - so they used this money for other needed construction.

Tucker - gorgeous - just about finished. This reno became a teardown to the tune of over $55 million. Hopefully, the board will redistrict some of Lakeside's overflow to this gorgeous, new Tucker facility. They have room.

Lakeside did get HVAC - but their HVAC absolutely died - in May a few years ago - kids took their finals in sweltering heat. The boiler also burst that year, spewing hot water into the back halls - with a 6" flood. And - one of the bathrooms had to be shut down for many months due to a back up of sewage. The parents finally gave up on DCSS and renovated the weight rooms with their own hands. (Just like they painted the entire interior of Oak Grove several years back.)

Paula Caldarella said...

I'll be there on May 25th, the promised start date for construction, to make sure. :)

Anonymous said...

Before you talk about moving ANY student(s) out of Lakeside and moving them to THS to "make room" someone, anyone, MUST demand proof of residency of current students under penalty of fraud, perjury as well as rescind any/all admin transfers. Legal district attendees must, MUST have priority and be allowed to graduate with their class. Any other remedy involving redistricting to make room will result in a storm of lawsuits unlike any imagined!

Cerebration said...

Can't argue there, Anon -

Dunwoody Mom - you go girl! I think you should take your own shovel just in case they need someone to get the first hole dug! You'd be my choice!

Paula Caldarella said...

Yes, I will help shovel!!! I plan to take a camera as well.

Also, there was a Faculty Meeting at Peachtree MS after school today. I don't know if it had to do with layoffs or the 8th Grade Pass/Fail CRCT notices that went home today.

Anonymous said...

According to the dcss website the lakeside natatoriun renovation has begun. Is this true?

Also according to the website the chamblee Reno wAs put on hold following completion of a study on the Reno. PerhAps there was a good reason, such as they concluded the school needs to be rebuilt? Personally I can't see how it makes sense to build an auditorium there, when the rest of the building is so disgusting. Probably better to start over. If I were a chamblee parent I would sure be asking for a copy of that report.

It is better for everyone if we don't build onto buildings we are going to turn around and close down anyway -- the new gym at the old chamblee middle comes to mind.

Cerebration said...

As far as I know, they have either started or are about to start renovating the pool at Lakeside (to call it a "natatorium" is a bit overkill, although there are a few rows of wooden bleachers on one side). Five schools use this pool. It's in really bad shape. This is about a $200,000 renovation—this 1968 pool has never been renovated. It's really needed - but I think they had to wait until swim season was over to work on this.

Anonymous said...


DCCC Operations (now run by Barbara Colman of Parsons Construction) made the unilateral decision to cancel CCHS's SPLOST 3 construction. We suspect that Redovian has known this all along so he has lost votes from the Chamblee community. They claim that the builiding infrastructure is too old and too run down to spend ANY money on. According to the January report this decision was made long ago but not shared with the school until the Governance Council demanded to know what was going on. My guess is that they were hoping no one would find out so that they would not get a backlash.

Colman's pitch is to wait and see "if" SPLOST 4 passes and this money will be used to build a new school. When asked what happens if there is no SPLOST 4, they admitted that there is no contingency plan. Zip. Nada.

The construction guy from Jacobs Engineering said he needed about
$36-40 M to build a new school. SPLOST collections are way above the original projections. If this decision had been reached just one or two years ago there would have been plenty of money to do this.

Chamblee has been in rotten condition for years but has repeatedly been pushed down the priority list while other projects mysteriously were either added ahead of it, or got double the amounts of SPLOST 3 money that they were allocated. And then the BOE has allocated millions of more SPLOST money for pet projects involving the Taj Mtn Industrial complex.

Yes, the earlier ANON is correct. The Chamblee building is absolutely gross and unhealthy. But more important, the building failings are starting to have a negative impact on academics. The science labs look exactly like the labs in my high school and I graduated 40 years ago. The difference is that mine worked. The classrooms do not have sufficient electrical outlets or wiring to support any technology. (But that is not a big problem because CCHS has so little technology.) The pool and the boys locker rooms are disgusting and infested with some of the biggest roaches I have ever seen. I could go on and on, but the earlier ANON summed it up when she said that CCHS was not a school where she wanted to send her children.

Anonymous said...


Comments on the SPLOST propaganda document you quoted, from the perspective of what was actually done at DHHS. This is not a complaint, because DHHS is now in better shape than many of the other schools, but I am still steamed by how we DeKalb citizens have been and are being bamboozled:

The following high schools have been selected, in the Capital Improvements Plan, to receive Career Technology Instructional Additions:
Druid Hills
- got a new Family & Consumer Science room that had one stove and one refrigerator. The old one had five of each plus two washers and dryers. All shared with the Special Ed department.

Auditorium & Fine Arts Additions

Some of the features included in our auditoriums are a comfortable seating for 500, performance stage, dressing rooms, theatrical lighting packages, stage curtains, acoustical architecture, an electronic control booth with a full sound control board, audio visual equipment with electrical projection screen, band and orchestra practice areas and instrument storage facilities, various glass fronted display areas for student work, ticket booth and concession facilities, men and women restrooms, drama classrooms, work and storage space for performing arts projects. The following high schools have been selected in the Capital Improvement Plan to receive Auditorium/Fine Arts Additions:
Druid Hills
- DHHS got a new ceiling in the auditorium (you are correct - the auditorium itself was built with PTSA and private funds) and a new ceiling in the orchestra room - only because a pipe was broken during construction and it destroyed that ceiling. This is what DHHS did not get: full sound control board, audio visual equipment with electrical projection screen, band and orchestra practice areas and instrument storage facilities, various glass fronted display areas for student work, ticket booth and concession facilities, men and women restrooms, drama classrooms, work and storage space for performing arts projects.

DHHS got new science labs to replace the two (that's all there were) that had last been updated in the early 60's. They got 8 new classrooms (although they are also losing a couple, so building capacity stays the same). They got new locker rooms and new coaches' offices. (Thanks to the Athletic Boosters). They are getting a new Business Tech lab. They got several new Administrative offices, which were badly needed because administrators had been sharing offices that looked as if they had been created from storage areas. Refurbished front office. They got new carpeting and furniture in the Media Center (although the old furniture was equal to or better than the new). Refurbished bathrooms that were trashed so fast that all but two bathrooms in the building are locked most of the time. They did not get any new visual art rooms (Thanks to the Athletic Boosters). The cafeteria is the same old dungeon-like space it always was.

Again, I realize that DHHS slid under the wire, I don't really know why, and I am grateful. I just look at the promises made and broken, and I get mad and sad.

Anonymous said...

That's great news that chamblee hs may be rebuilt. They need it bad. And given that chamblee middle is brand new that would make for a nice cluster. (I wonder what the kids think now when they graduate from that beautiful middle school and arrive at the high school). It would be better to put it elsewhere though because that land is too small. Perhaps they will build a new combined chamblee and cross keys. That would be ideal.

Cerebration said...

I haven't heard anything about rebuilding Chamblee - so don't take the rumors posted here as fact - it's best to ask your board rep or perhaps Ms Colman.

I agree though - Chamblee HS is on a tiny piece of land - 14 acres - Cross Keys has around 36 acres. Also, I'm hearing rumblings of an idea to build a brand new high school on the Druid Hills property...

Anonymous said...

CCHS is a Charter school and the Charter was renewed through 2014. I'm not sure DCCS can simply consolidate schools. They would have to involve the Governance Council.

Anonymous said...

Seems unlikely it could get built prior to 2014 anyway.

Anonymous said...

Before redistricting occurs, there needs to be a thorough audit done of the out-of-area students attending each school. There may be a lot of them who are there legitimately, ut, as we have discussed before, there are students that are there because of the deliberate ignoring of the policy stating that teachers may have their kids at the school where they teach until the child completes the last grade at that school. It is not fair to kids who live in the attendance district to have to leave their schools, their teachers and their neighborhood friends to allow out-of-area students to stay.

If, after examining this, a school attendance line still needs adjusting, then go to it.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:48 a.m.

I think you may have misread the post about Chamblee HS.

There is NO new building planned for CCHS and they have tabled the classroom and audtiorium that was planned for this school. So Chamblee gets zilch, nada, nothing. There is not enough SPLOST 3 money left because it was squandered since 2007 on other pet projects and the fancy new digs for the Administrative offices on Mtn Industrial.

So the BOE, Parsons Construction and management have condemned the wonderful teachers and students at this fine school to remain in this rotten, dangerous, overcrowded school.

Cerebration said...

That's what I thought. How unfair. The SPLOST 3 promises were for our high schools - not for fancy digs for the board and superintendent. There was really nothing wrong with the building the Admin was in. At least - it wasn't nearly as horrific as Chamblee, Lakeside or Cross Keys.

So, this will be what is dangled before us to get us to vote for SPLOST 4. Vote for it and you'll get your projects - vote no - and you're out of luck, the money was spent (completely out of priority).

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is how a school like chamblee can get so bad. I have seen other older schools in much better shape. Where are the parents? Are they badgering central office and their board members about this? What about the principal?

The school is just not that old. How is it that schools like Druid hills, dunwoody, even the old peachtree high before they tore it down are in so much better shape?

Cerebration said...

Another charter - poised to pull over 600 kids out of DCSS Elementary Schools...

Lottery set for DeKalb charter school

By Megan Matteucci
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

5:44 p.m. Friday, May 21, 2010

Peachtree Hope Charter School will hold an enrollment lottery Saturday for students in kindergarten-fifth grades.

The event is scheduled for 2-6 p.m. at Gospel Tabernacle Church at 277 Clifton Street in Atlanta. Parents must have already applied for enrollment, said Robert Giordano, the school’s director.

The school has received more than 1,000 applications, but only has seats for 654 students. The school is for students in DeKalb County.

The school is scheduled to open this fall at 1807 Memorial Drive, Decatur.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:22 pm

Remember we have 1,239 Central Office personnel and many, many support personnel who can send their kids anywhere they want. Teachers can only take their kids to the school they teach at. Central Office and select support personnel outside the schoolhouse routinely pick the schools their children go to. Some even live in other counties (i.e. Gwinnett, Henry, etc.) and send their kids to any school they choose in DCSS. They make the rules. This is actually a pretty nice perk for them, and not one they would give up any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Charter schools in DCSS are starting to have a real impact on our numbers. If 600 students are pulled out, do we reduce our admin and support numbers? 600 might not be so many, but once we reach 3,000 or 4,000, doesn't that mean we need to reduce at the Central Office and support level. I'm not sure how that works. Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

"The parents finally gave up on DCSS and renovated the weight rooms with their own hands. (Just like they painted the entire interior of Oak Grove several years back.)"

Parents have been equipping Vanderlyn and Austin with technology for years. Those parents spend a lot of money to ensure their kids are prepared for the 21st Century. MIS discourage this because it's more for them to keep up, but it's great for the kids.

Cerebration said...

Anon, 10:43 PM - I think this was the question Sarah Copeland-Wood was trying to make in her inarticulate way at the last meeting. Sometimes when you really listen, she does come very close to asking a good question once in a while. She's very concerned about these charter schools - as they will certainly pull more students from her district schools. There's also the new "Leadership Academy" set to go in at New Birth Church (as a public charter school) as well as the new Museum School - a charter to open this fall in Avondale Estates. Add them up and I'll bet you'll see them take about 1,500 students from the main system.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:47

Hawthorne's PTA spent tens of thousands to put in a really nice Mac lab for their students. You're right - MIS gave them a really hard time because they were adamant the Apple computers could not connect to the DCSS network. But the parents stood strong, and they got network connected. The students love them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe somebody here can help me. My daughter hardly ever talks about school. She does not have much good to say about teachers. Yesterday she came home upset that one of her best teachers did not get a job next year. The man has a Ph D from Harvard I think. He is the first teacher who makes my daughetr want to learn. The school had a lot of kids fail the graduation test, but a lot of children say they passed it because of the review this man did for them. I could go on, but you get the idea. The children finally get a high quality teacher and the man must get out of premier Dekalb?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there is not much that you can do, as the cuts have been made and were not done by who would best help the children and raise the bar for the DeKalb Education System.

I hope that your daughter feels blessed to have had a teacher like this man in her education career. I also hope that she let him know how much he meant to her, as this is what keeps good teachers going.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:5 am

If it were me, I would first clear it with the teacher that I am requesting a meeting with the principal, then a meeting with Ms. Tyson, and finally a meeting with my Board of Education representative.

Be very polite at every meeting and state the good this teacher has done for your daughter and other students. You and your daughter should state your disappointment that he will not be available to help other DeKalb County children. Bring your daughter to every meeting. This is a great way for her to see democracy in action and view civil discourse as an avenue to understanding differences.

The principal, superintendent and your BOE representative are public servants, and as such they should be available to meet with the taxpayers who pay their salaries and elect them.

I'm a retired teacher, DeKalb County taxpayer, and had a child in the DCSS schools from K-12th. As a teacher, I always considered myself a public servant. As part of my responsibilities as a public servant, I met many, many times with parents and guardians of my students, listened to what they had to say pro and con, and felt an obligation to be totally honest with them.

When I encountered a problem that affected my own child, I took off my teacher hat and put on my parent/taxpayer hat. I expected anyone I encountered in the school system to treat me and my child with respect.

No one in the school system is too important to meet with you and/or your child. Your child and all the other children in DeKalb County are the reason everyone in the school system is there. Your BOE member serves at the discretion of all who elected him/her.

As a taxpayers, parents and students, we need to make our views known to those who make decisions that affect our family members. That's one of our main obligations as citizens.

Anonymous said...

If it is the same man I think some parents may be looking into it. My child was in the room when a teacher that is staying came to move in to the man's room. The teacher that is staying has a bad reputation. I know parents have complained about him a lot. What does Dekalb do? Get rid of the highly educated effective guy who is comitted to our children. They are doing this in a school that did not make AYP again from what we have been hearing.

Anonymous said...

A lot of activity this saturday afternoon over at dunwoody high. Looks like those students will have their auditorium soon. Good for them but bad for the kids who sit in classrooms every day that are moldy and kids who attend schools where there are not enough bathrooms due to the large number of kids in trailers. But thank goodness for this new auditorium.

Paula Caldarella said...

Actually, mold removal is first on the list of "to-do" items at DHS.
Perhaps they can finally get rid of the rat issue on the bottom floor.

It's sad that you have such a problem with the art, music and drama students have a venue with which to "hone their crafts".

Cerebration said...

I'm excited! Once Dunwoody gets underway -- hopefully that means that Lakeside, Chamblee and Cross Keys will be seeing some action soon too! This SPLOST 3 tax was sold as a promise to taxpayers to use it to fix up high schools and build auditoriums (like SPLOST 1 built gymnasiums). It's about time we see some of those hundreds of millions already collected spent on our very old, crumbling, unhealthy older buildings. Hurrah!!!

fedupindcss said...

Cere--did I just read that there is going to be a PUBLIC charter at New Birth? I am sorry, but am I the only person seriously disturbed by that? Not only for the obvious religious reasons, but because New Birth seems to be the recipient of a lot of largess, in the form of our public tax dollars, from DCSS. It hosts all kinds of large events, particularly graduations, and not for free. Could this be because most of DCSS hierarchy are members? This really stinks.

LHS was supposed to start in May, yet got bumped back to Sept. Good for Dunwoody--a model parent core can achieve so much more when they work together.

Cerebration said...

Oh Lakeside's been bumped several times -- I can never figure out exactly why. This time, they say it's due to our new legal counsel....(???)

Also- yep - the public charter, Leadership Academy is set to open at New Birth. Originally promoted as filling the space of a recently closed charter (the one closed by the state for poor performance). The principal will be Frankie Callaway and there is already a private school functioning in this church - which raises the concern that there could be mixing of money... something the state will certainly keep an eye on.

We've had quite the discussion about this school already --

Another charter school to open doors in Lithonia this year

We do have the International Charter School also operating in a church - but they've been pleading for their own building for some time.

Cerebration said...

An interesting aside --

→10/11/08 – Mr. Bishop Man – Eddie L. Long – of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church @ 1267 Greenridge Ave. Lithonia, GA 30058 Contributed a monetary donation of $2,000 to Walker’s Special Run-Off Campaign

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that the BOE leased (leases?) space from New Birth despite the BOE's surplus of empty buildings.

Anonymous said...

As long as no religion is taught during the school day and market rent is paid, a charter school can locate in a public school. Heck, the City of Atlanta operated for many years (until this January), a kindergarten annex for Sarah Smith Elementary in a church on Roswell Rd.

In at least Florida and New York, charters have been started by religious organizations. (And we have AMANA charter here that was started by many Islamic parents)

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody mom I am not against an auditorium at DHS. I went to the school play earlier this month held in the linchroom, and I agree those kids will benefit from a dedicated space. The whole school will. It is just that I have to question the priorities when this is being done at a time when many schools are lacking the basics- adequate bathrooms, adequate classrooms, adequate science labs. DHS has it's share of these problems too many of which are being addressed with this Reno. I just hope we are not spending so much on extras such as auditoriums (and central office buildings and furniture!) that we run out of money for the basics at the other schools.

Anonymous said...

I know that many tax payers are disgusted with the amount of SPLOST dollars spent on the central office leaving schools in need of repair. I think that another vote for SPLOST dollars will be tough to pass, as this board has squandered the money that they had for things that were not needed at a time when people are loosing their jobs and their homes.

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH!!! Can somebody please save Chamblee Charter High School. It's a good educational program but the school is probably potentially deadly. And I mean they have rebuilt and revamped almost every school in dekalb county EXCEPT CCHS. I mean the conditions are indescribable as in you would never believe how "jank" it is for lack of a better word. But it truly is a great school if you disregard the facility. It's the second oldest school in dekalb after Druid Hills high and Druid Hills is NOWHERE near as bad. I mean honestly I have no idea how the county let it get this bad...

ThatGuy said...

They spent so much money on Towers because it was incredibly run down. If you've seen it before then you know what I mean.

Also, I think that maybe if the county decided to start building schools up (as in adding a second level) instead of out, that would help with the space and overcrowding problem. Because some schools don't have space to just keep annexing land and building further and further out.

On the other hand, maybe if all students were attending the schools they are supposed to attend instead of going out of district, the overcrowding problem would be alleviated some as well.

SN: Why bring up the racial make up of the schools?