Monday, February 14, 2011

Has Tom Bowen lost his mind?

Prepare for flameout.

In addition to setting agendas and running board meetings, chairpersons also have the responsibility of appointing committees and their chairs. Tom Bowen, recently voted as Chairman of the DeKalb County School Board for a second term, is about to appoint his committee chairs. Bowen has recommended the following members to the Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee.

Jay Cunningham, Gene Walker, Donna Edler and Don McChesney.

And Jay will be the chair.

I kid you not.

Jay Cunningham. The very same Jay Cunningham who pled guilty to stealing money (over $12,000) while working as a manager at McDonald’s.

And his ethics were called into question for selling pizza to schools.

For more on Jay’s financial woes, read this article at the Champion News online.

"Financial problems plague school board member"
According to court records, board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham has at least 15 open court cases against him—most of which involve payroll garnishments to pay creditors. Of the cases, four were filed between 2002 and 2007, five in 2008, one in 2009 and five last year. In addition, there are seven cases involving Cunningham that are listed as “closed.”

The garnishments in the open cases exceed $173,000. Records show that his board member check has been garnished by Ford Motor Credit in seven of the open cases. As a board member, Cunningham is paid $23,400 annually.

Other organizations bringing garnishments against Cunningham last year include Delek US Holdings and Mapco Express. Delek is the parent company of Mapco Express, a convenience store. Money from these checks has gone to pay garnishments by Georgia Receivables, a collection agency attempting to settle a debt from Nice Cars Inc.
In addition, it appears that Jay has a slight problem controlling his temper.
In the more recent allegations, Cunningham was accused in 2008 by a male friend of his wife of punching the man in the head outside a church on one occasion and of pulling a gun on the man on another occasion. In a separate allegation, a DeKalb school parent told police she believed Cunningham threatened her at a meeting of cheerleading boosters in 2009. Police wrote reports on all three of the alleged incidents — the reports were obtained by the AJC — but Cunningham was not charged in any of them.
And what about Gene Walker? Yes, this is the same Gene Walker who took a $20,000 campaign donation from the Sembler Corporation when running for school board, while also serving on the DeKalb Development Authority, the same Authority that Sembler was requesting over $50 million in tax credits, 60% of which come from the school taxes and would need to be confirmed by the school board. Worse, Walker failed to report the donation until after he won the election.
DeKalb County school board member Gene Walker, for example, raised about $20,000 in 2008 from campaign donors associated with the Sembler Co. as it sought a multimillion-dollar tax break from another county board that Walker chaired. Walker disclosed those donations two days after winning the school board seat.
Yes, the same Gene Walker who while serving as a state senator, was charged with sexual harassment of an employee, a charge that the state settled for $190,000. That’s $190,000 of the people's money.
The sexual harassment lawsuit pending against state parole board member Gene Walker isn't the first time he's been named in such a case. The Associated Press has learned that the state quietly paid $190,000 a dozen years ago to settle the first lawsuit in which Walker was accused of sexually harassing a secretary.
Tom Bowen, in appointing people with such hideous financial records to a finance committee has obviously lost his ability to protect the interests of the DeKalb County School System. Could it be time for a recall? Enough is quite enough.


Budget, Finance and Facilities
[C] Mr. Jesse ‘Jay’ Cunningham
Ms. Donna G. Edler
Mr. Donald E. McChesney
Dr. Eugene P. Walker

Business, Community and Government Relations
[C] Ms. Sarah Copelin-Wood
Ms. Nancy T. Jester
Mr. Jesse ‘Jay’ Cunningham
Dr. Pamela A. Speaks

Instruction and Board Policy
[C] Dr. Pamela A. Speaks
Ms. Sarah Copelin-Wood
Ms. Nancy T. Jester
Mr. Donald E. McChesney

The vote on the committee assignments will be tomorrow at 11 am.


Anonymous said...

If I was Ms. Edler, I would keep my purse zipped tight, over my shoulder and she should sit across from Dr. Walker.

I guess they actually think no one is watching. Hey Tom! Ask Ramona where the 2004 audit is? Go ahead, for the people....Tom

By the way, who's minding the cash box?

Anonymous said...

Please write to Dr. Barge & to SACS about this one....I've already contacted legislators.

Anonymous said...

Tell me you all aren't shocked and/or surprised! What would make you think that it would not be business as usual. In fact, it is my belief, this move is the first of many that will result in the further destruction and degredation of DCSS and more importantly, the process of attempting to educate those most in need!

Good luck to us!

Anonymous said...

Who better to run a finance committee than someone who has had financial problems? DeKalb County has Ms Sutton on its finance committee. She bounced two checks in a way that should have brought felony charges but was let off the hook by some inside politics.

Speaking of finance, our new super auditor has so far uncovered $25,000 of misappropriated funds. He has been at the job for eight months and gets paid about $100,000 per year. Not a very good cost to benefit result. I think that Ramona is keeping him on a very short leash.
I understand that he reports to her and not to the BOE. But what really would be the difference?

Anonymous said...

Being somewhat objective, it looks as though the new Board members were not considered for committee chairs. Given their backgrounds, I believe both Donna and Nancy are more qualified to serve as Budget chair but they do have a lot to learn with this process.

Of the other Board members, all except SCW have an education background. Jay does have a business background which makes him the logical choice.

Because of his past financial challenges and very public missteps, I don't see how the other Board members can approve him to be the Budget Chair. I would think SACS would question their decision making skills if he was elected to that position.

Since staff does most of the work, what is the role of the Budget Chair? If Jay is elected, is there harm he could do to the budget approval process? He is still just one of nine votes on the Board.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 4:57
When hired, the new auditor had a straight line to the BOE and a dotted line to the super - don't think that has changed.

No way the status quo will let "newbies" chair any committee. Jester's been asking the tough financial questions so of course she won't be placed on the budget committtee - too threatening. The chair of budget can be pretty powerful - don't fool yourself.

Keeping policy with instruction means no one is looking at instruction - they are too busy going through all the policies and revising them...Beasley has free reign. Academics takes a back seat again. Are we surprised? NO! Are we in big trouble? YES!

Paula Caldarella said...

Surely, this is a joke? A man who cannot even handle his own finances is being asked to lead a million dollar budget?

Sagamore 7 said...

Contact your state legislator and require CRIMINAL background checks and CREDIT checks for ALL board members!

Cerebration said...

@ 5:24 - they put no policy changes forth at the last board meeting - not even the one that Ramona pulled from discussion the meeting before that (Jan). The one about administrative transfers -- it seems to still be missing in action.

Anonymous said...

No different than our Governor Nath Deal.

Anonymous said...

Is Beasley the heir apparent?! Isn't he the "interim" instructional czar? We need to contact the teachers in Port Arthur, Texas to find out how to unseat this guy.

Anonymous said...

so Jester has a financial background, as does Bowen, but Jester not on Finance committee?

Sagamore 7 said...


The JBCC descriptor policy code is what you are referring to and it will be a BIG subject coming soon.

I think we will ALL be shocked and amazed (in a good way) how this is handled.


Anonymous said...

Given all the negative publicity and detailing of his financial misdoings, the smartest thing Jay Cunningham can do is resign, but he has probably deluded himself to the point that he doesn't believe he has done anything wrong...or his giant ego is clouding his judgment. Bowen simply is counting on the apathy of parents or thinks he is untouchable, too. This is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

AJC just reported that Cunningham has turned down the chair position.

Cerebration said...

Good for him.

Cerebration said...

S7 - I really hope you are right!

Anonymous said...

Nancy Jester should be on the finance committee. Of course, we all know why she isn't. The incumbents - the ones who can't speak or write properly or follow numbers - are afraid of her.

I am embarrassed for their districts.

Anonymous said...

Here is story where JC resigned his charimanship but will stay on the committee.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid of Nancy Jester

Anonymous said...

@ 7:33

Eleanor, grow up.

Sagamore 7 said...

Would a few people take a moment and breath?

Thank you.

Now think about how long Nancy Jester and Donna Edler have been on the board.
They were inducted to the board on January 3rd!
They tenure has been christened by redistricting, working with board members from a previous DCSS era and wondering if they will be around next year if the schools districts are redrawn.

That is worse than the most severe college hazing of incoming freshman EVER SEEN!

IMHO, let's give them some time to get situated, gain some momentum and not be sooo intimidated by everything that is swirling around them.
I see them at board meetings listening to the fellow board members complain about the redistricting maps being incorrect or mislabeled?
They must be asking themselves, "Are you kidding me, that's who I'm working with? This is the only concern there is?"

Then they listen to the DR. rant and rave about his life story as an example for Black History Month for EVERYONE to hear and wonder, "Is this guy for real?"

I personally thought he was talking about February being bullying month in DCSS!

Now the chairman of the board nominates for chairman of the budget committee someone who is having his wages GARNISHED for several liens?

I've decided to give them a little more time before I throw any stones in this glass house.

I hope you can understand my perspective.



Anonymous said...

Where in the blank is your judgement, Tom Bowen???

I can't wait to work hard against your re-election to the BOE. You're a loser, and will never ever be elected to public office again in this county.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Cunningham for doing the right thing.


Anonymous said...

Welcome Mr. Bowen. I can't wait for your BIG appointment by our Governor.When you get on that Board don't forget about how you have been dogged for all of your hard work.
By the way, does anyone know exactly what the Finance Committee does? Aren't all of their meetings opened to ALL Board Members?

Anonymous said...

So maybe Dr. Walker will be the chairman? He has a simple solution for all of the DCSS problems .... raise taxes.

Mr McChesney seems like a nice guy and means well. But he has little financial smarts.

So... Mr Turk and Ramona will be calling the shots and nothing will change. That is the way it is supposed to be. There is no hope.

Anonymous said...

From the AJC:
Court records also show Cunningham’s school board wages have been garnished to pay several outstanding debts, including seven collections to Ford Motor Co. The debts to Ford total more than $134,000, in addition to debts with Georgia Receivables, according to the records.

How many freaking cars did he buy????!!!

Anonymous said...

Cunningham was arrested after his manager told police he found $11,000 in cash in Cunningham’s gym bag at the Flat Shoals Road restaurant. Police also found cut bank bags in Cunningham’s rental car, records show.

In addition to theft, Cunningham was charged with making a false report to police because he first told officers someone had broken into his rental car and stolen the money.


Anonymous said...

Cripes. Give the guy a break. He has admitted his fault. Apologized. Accepted the penalty. And... it was a long, long time ago.

Anonymous said...

In that case, Cunningham pleaded guilty in 1982 under Georgia’s first offender program to stealing $12,500 in bank deposits from a Decatur McDonald’s where he was store manager.

Also, nearly his entire paycheck is being garnished. Does this not set him up for temptations? Or at least show that he is fiscally inept?

1982. That was almost 30 years ago. But then, according to the Champion,

According to court records, board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham has at least 15 open court cases against him—most of which involve payroll garnishments to pay creditors. Of the cases, four were filed between 2002 and 2007, five in 2008, one in 2009 and five last year. In addition, there are seven cases involving Cunningham that are listed as “closed.”

So maybe, he hasn't really changed his spots?

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, the most qualified candidate of any running for any of the 5 seats up for reelection last year was running against Jay.... and he came in last. Truly sad. DeKalb voters didn't give anyone a chance to really make a difference on the board in a few of the seats.

Anonymous said...

Some people don't want to forgive...but that because they are not God. Be careful when you judge without having all the facts or reasons for such actions. For example, why did his background check come back clear?
How was it that in 1994 he was DISTRICT Manager of , yes, McDonalds.. If they gave his restitution and never fired him, then I know all the facts aren't revealed and none of our business.

He is absolutely one of the most dedicated and involved Board Members. He really cares about our children and he is there when we need him, whether it is a tragedy or a celebration. I voted and contributed to his campaign and yes he was re-elected by over 60% with a college professor and bank worker running against him. He was honest in communicating his past with 5th District voters BEFORE it was distorted by AJC with tips from his personal enemy the Senator who lives in Henry County--Emanuel Jones.
He was Chair of the Finance committee last year. So what's the big deal now? Kudos to Mr. Cunningham for caring more about all the negative publicity DeKalb is getting than for himself.

Anonymous said...

So... Mr Turk and Ramona will be calling the shots and nothing will change. That is the way it is supposed to be. There is no hope.

February 14, 2011 8:36 PM

Please show a tad of respect and refer to Supt. Tyson at least as Mrs. Tyson not Ramona. The same goes for President Obama.

Sagamore 7 said...

Anon 11:17

I appreciate your support of JJ Cunningham.

Please tell me this.

In all of the public candidate forums sponsored by many community and civic associations in the past re-election campaign, North and South, why did JJ feel it was in his best interest NOT to ATTEND ANY OF THEM?

NONE, NADA, ZILCH and he won by a landslide!

I guess his record speaks for himself?

Did you attend any of the forums or debates?

No one could bring any personal debate into them. He would not have to answer to any of his personal faults or crisis.

Mrs. Zepora Roberts attended a couple and Mrs. Edler tried her best to confront her about her outspoken remarks in public. I think they were, "I'm gonna SLUG you!" she said to a reporter.

The moderator would not let this be part of the discussion!

These comments were not part of the open debate and forum.

Comments and questions were based solely on issues related to DCSS and current policies and procedures.

Can you tell me why he didn't bother to speak to the public once?

Can you tell me why he left a well-spoken, intelligent PHD College administrator at the podium to debate himself?

If I was running a campaign for re-election for School Board, I might want to show up and tell the public what I stand for!

I might want to show up and tell the public what I believe in and how I will represent the taxpayers of this county who demand accountability and transparency with their hard earned tax dollars that so graciously pay for the children's education of this county!

Times are changing in Dekalb County!

There is a storm a brewing and the nonsense that has been around for a long time is coming to an end.

God bless and good night.

Advocate for HB 22 & 63!


Anonymous said...


February 14, 2011 8:36 PM

Please show a tad of respect and refer to Supt. Tyson at least as Mrs. Tyson not Ramona. The same goes for President Obama.

February 14, 2011 11:20 PM

Way to dis the prez! Putting Obama on the same level as Ramona!

I believe the proper term for one who resides in the palace would be:

Her Royal Highness

(of Kissmyanthia!)

Respect is earned. Titles are cheap. Purchase one online if you'd like and you to can be a PhD. and get a high paying job with DCSS!


Anonymous said...

Not sure which members of the public Jay told about his "mishaps," but NO ONE knew about this until it came out in the ajc.
But it's not just the mcdonalds thefts. It's the bad debts, pizza sales and threats. HELLO, he threatened a parent. Definitely a role model for 100,000 children!
wake up voters!

Anonymous said...

If Jay can go back to working at McDonalds, maybe he should get a job and start paying some of his bills instead of relying on the taxpayers to pay his debts!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 11:17, explain this??

More-recent reports

In 2008, DeKalb Police reports show, Cunningham was accused of two separate assaults on a male friend of his wife. The alleged victim told police he was injured and requested medical assistance in the alleged punching incident, but he never took out a warrant. Police spokesman Officer Jason Gagnon said officers reviewed the incident, but the victim did not press charges and Cunningham’s wife, Evelyn, gave conflicting statements.

The victim, Curtis Bauchman, reported the alleged incident involving the gun a month after it allegedly occurred and no charges were filed, police said. The AJC was unable to locate Bauchman for comment.

Cunningham told the AJC on Thursday that he was unaware of these incidents. He said he knows Bauchman but added, “I don’t know anything about an assault.”

In the third alleged incident, Kimberly Pierson claimed that Cunningham threatened her at a cheerleading meeting at Martin Luther King Jr. High School last year. Pierson told police she felt threatened after Cunningham approached her at the school meeting and said “if you say anything else to my child, it’s going to be me and you.”

Pierson, who did not return phone calls, never filed charges, police said. A schools spokesman said the district was unaware of the incident.

Anonymous said...

When does Bowen's term end? Can't find it on the confusing BOE website.

Paula Caldarella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula Caldarella said...

It is my understanding that if the law is passed downsizing the board from 9 to 7 - then all BOE reps will be up for relection the fall of 2012.

Anonymous said...

If the law to downsize Board members does not pass, his term will be up in 2012, along with other even numbers Board districts.

Anonymous said...

Can't we get rid of them before then? Let's give them the same ultimatum that Atlanta gave it's board...maybe a recall of the board? Is that what it will take to get us back on track?

Anonymous said...

If a person really cares for the children in the school district that's nice but what we need on the board are individuals who have had successful experience in handling budget over over a million dollars. School board elections are a joke. Most of the electorate do not know who these people are. The elections can easily be swayed by support from a few churches or professional organizations. I feel that some members of the boards should be appointed by elected officials who have a vested interest in having a functioning school system in their district.

Anonymous said...

How much worse can this get?

Sagamore 7 said...

Please contact all of the legislators in the Dekalb Delegation for support of HB-22 and HB-63!

This is how we get the law changed!

Redistricting has cost the taxpayers valuable time and energy in trying to change the districts.

Oh and by the way, this is the ONLY year we can change the district lines EVERY 10 YEARS!

It is driven by the census data from 2010. Next time we can redraw the lines after this legislative session is in 2021!!!!

Now please contact the ENTIRE Dekalb Delegation to express your concern for the oversized BOE that has permeated within DCSS for year and make CHANGE HAPPEN!


Anonymous said...

From what I understood in conversation with Dan Drake, the census figures are used very little. Live birth data is used to project incoming attendance from block zones. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, DCSS can redistrict as often or as little as the please.

Anonymous said...

What kind of values does a person have if they commend and support someone who has a strong history of failing to pay debts,fraud, theft from an employer, bullying, and more? It's not an isolated incident. One does not generally get a pass for stealing thousands of dollars from an employer. Cunningham has a demonstrated pattern of a lack of reliability and disregard for honesty. He does not deserve and has not earned a 'pat on the back.' He needs to focus on getting his debts paid and his personal character. I would not vote for him and certainly would not brag about supporting him. He has shown, over and over, that he is of questionable character. Standards matter. Maybe he appeals to those who are similarly minded.

Anonymous said...

Given the caliber and records of some of our by district representatives, I'm not sure I like the idea of getting rid of at-large candidates who represent the school district as a whole instead of one piece.

Bowen was the one who pushed Tyson to promise no lost jobs and can't see that Cunningham in that position was an issue.

Anonymous said...

What happened at the meeting? Where there other items on the agenda?

Anonymous said...

Actually part of Cunnigham's punishment was having to serve on the school board.

Anonymous said...

I believe the census data and lines being redrawn refer to election lines (like senator, commissioner, school board, judges, etc.) not the redistricting process and school attendance boundaries.

Anonymous said...

So what happened at today's meeting?

Sagamore 7 said...

Anon 9:52

Dekalb does use live birth data and they can redraw districts as they did this year.

My comments are based on the State of Georgia school districts in Dekalb County. This is a matter at the STATE level and not Dekalb county. We are limited to redrawing school districts not attendance lines every decade.
We currently have 7 school districts and 2 super districts totaling 9 board members.

DCSS redrew the attendance lines this year but that did not affect the school district lines.

Please do me a favor and look at the PDF's for all of the board members and the schools that fall under their district lines. It is confusing and overlap among several schools.

For instance, in my feeder pattern, my elementary school is Sagamore Hills ES.
Don McChesney is the board member for this area but he shares the school with Paul Womack.

Of the 9 ES in McChesney district, he shares 6 of them with other board memebrs. Do we need to contact numerous board members when you have a problem? I wouldn't think so!

Then the rest of my feeder schools are Henderson MS and Lakeside HS.

Guess who is the board member that oversees them?

I'll give you a guess, it's not McChesney! It is Paul Womack!

Now think for a minute about the redistricting that just happened.

How many Super Clusters were there?

I hope you are starting to see the big picture and how simple DCSS governance would be if there were 5 Super Clusters with 5 board members in charge of those schools in their specific Super Cluster?

Imagine that, single feeder, single board member accountability and transparency?

Wow, what an idea?

Any other questions?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

@ Sag 7
Don't want to make it any worse but Henderson Middle School is represented by the District 1 BOE member: Nancy Jester. Even though Womack's constituents go there from elementary school, he is not the rep assigned to that school. So it is even more confusing: where you live determines who you vote for on the BOE but along the way, you will find yourself in a school that has a different rep. than the one you can elect - and they ignore you if you are not a voter in their district because they know you can't vote them out.

Anonymous said...

There was something legal on the agenda. Anybody know what it was and what happened?

Ella Smith said...

It is my understanding that lowering the school board members may not go with our legislative body. I was asked to try to get the members of this group to contact the local legislature and try to get them to be supportive of letting the public vote for this change.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Walker is appointed head of the budget committee. Hang onto your wallets. His solution to all DCSS problems is simple... Raise Taxes

He is no champion of change as far as I can see. So... forward with the status quo. Protect the administration and the job machine, of course for the benefit of the children.

Thank you Tom Bowen,

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted Donna Edler is on that committee. Maybe Jester in combination with Donna Edler would have been too much for them to cope with.

Anonymous said...

"Walker named DeKalb schools' budget chair"

Sembler is licking their chops down at their Florida headquarters. Guarantee they'll get in the school building business.

And great, Walker has five or six relatives working for the school system.

Cerebration said...

FWIW - there were only two agenda items for this meeting.

1. Board Standing Committees
Presented by: Mr. Thomas E. Bowen, Board Chair

2. Approval of Legal Representation
Presented by: Mr. Thomas E. Bowen, Board Chair

We all now know how action item #1 turned out.

Anyone know anything about "Approval of Legal Representation"? Is this for the 17 people added to the Heery Mitchell trial? The AJC only named 6 or 7 - who are the others? And how much more will this cost us?!! I don't think Jay or Gene chairing the Finance Committee could cost us as much as these attorney's fees on this case. How much longer will it go on? Which budget does the money for the attorneys come from? (SPLOST? General Operations? Somewhere else?) By the time we get to trial, and then pay for a trial, how much will we have spent as compared to what we could reasonably recover?

Is this is another one of those attempts to focus our attention to one "controversy" in order to play a sleight of hand in another area? An area that perhaps is much, much more costly?

Keep an eye on these legal bills people - I swear, they are costing the school system dearly. I've been harping on this for quite some time now. I hope you will all join the call for transparency. It is nearly impossible to find reference to what I figure is at least $20 million on attorney's fees in this case. It simply doesn't show up on any public budgets or records that I see.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this something that we could ask the PR person that Ramona ordered to be cooperative with the open records request?

Shouldn't the amounts and names of those represented be public record?

Anonymous said...

"Which budget does the money for the attorneys come from? (SPLOST? General Operations? Somewhere else?)"

That's a great question. Everyone, please ask your BOE member. Gene Walker would rather raise taxes than look at spending, like this out of control egal spending by the Central Office and BOE.

Anonymous said...

Legal expenses should come from the general fund. But money is fungible and accounting gimmickry could be using SPLOST funds. Who knows. If Marcus told us, can he be believed?

It really makes no difference. SPLOST was initiated as a slush fund so that the administration could increase in number and remuneration and there would still be money to do necessary capital improvements. Without SPLOST, the bloated overpaid administration would have to be of normal size and salary and capital improvements made out of the general fund. Most well run school systems do this.

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Anonymous said...

Maybe it's coming from the gifted monies? They convert the gifted funding from the state to points to the school -- voila slight of hand and have 'extra' funds for things like legal fees and administration... no one ever gets a thorough accounting because no one (not even the experts) understand the points. (This goes for the FTEs that we get and the Title I funds too I think).

Anonymous said...

Uras Clinton Agee III

GA Certification ID: 459769

Most Recent Ethics Actions: Suspension

Dates of Suspension: 08/27/2004 - 09/02/2004

Reason: Jacked up a student (physical violence)

Education Leadership certificate issued 06/28/2006

Made Principal, Columbia High School, July 2010


Go to Georgia Professional Standards Commission Teacher Certification - Certification Channel for this info in the public domain.

Contact Ronald Ramsay, Internal Affairs, DeKalb County School District, for Open Records Act request about complaints filed against Agee by DeKalb County School personnel.

Uras Clinton Agee III

Anonymous said...

'Bethca Uras got his master's from one of the favored Central Office diloma mills, like "Sarasota University"

Anonymous said...

So, what's the latest on the folks who are being investigated in the CRCT?

Anonymous said...

Tom Bowen, if you think the SPLOST is going to pass with you, Jay Cunningham, Gene Walker and Sarh Copelin-Wood on the BOE, you are INSANE!

No SPLOST until we have a BOE worthy of trust and respect, and who actually oversees the Central Office, instead of just rubber stamping it.

“The greatest concern is going to be that ... all the large major school systems are relying on this,” said Tom Bowen, chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Education, referring to the sales tax. “It’s built into the long-term planning.”

Cerebration said...

Ok - so here was the "Other" issue (the legal matter) from the same meeting.... I told you this was going to cost us. Seems there's no end to what we have to pay for attorneys.

DeKalb schools hire law firm for ex-superintendent

DeKalb County schools have capped the amount of money the district will spend representing former Superintendent Crawford Lewis in an ongoing civil lawsuit at $100,000.

The school board has hired Atlanta law firm Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson to represent Lewis in the school system’s ongoing lawsuit construction manager Heery/Mitchell, but capped the expense at $100,000, district spokesman Jeff Dickerson said Friday.

This is the third law firm the board has hired to help with the suit. The district has already spent $15.5 million in legal fees in the case. The district is seeking $100 million from Heery, alleging fraud and mismanagement.

Earlier this month, the suit was moved from federal to DeKalb State Court and 17 new defendants were added to the suit, including the individual board members and Lewis. Lewis was terminated April and has since been indicted on charges he ran a criminal enterprise at the school system.

Please note: This is in addition to the $100,000 we spent on his criminal case... ugh.

Cerebration said...

Also - giving credit where credit is due -- Ramona Tyson has published the meeting minutes in an easy to access pull-down menu at the DCSS website!!

Go to the main page, click Leadership, then Board Meetings and Minutes

or just copy and paste -

Thank you Ms. Tyson!

Anonymous said...

From Jaime Sarrio at AJC

Tyson on list of top women of influence

Ramona Tyson, DeKalb County Schools interim superintendent, was selcted as one of Atlanta Business League's 100 Top Black Women of Influence. Tyson along with the other nonoroees will be recognized at a breakfast Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The list singles out women who are lading entrepreneurs or have influence over large public boies. Read the entire list at

Oh pah-leeez...check that out:

The list singles out women who are leading entrepreneurs or have influce over large public bodies!!!

Scary, very scary!

Anonymous said...

Cerebration: I beg to disagree with you suggesting we "give credit" to RT for posting the meeting minutes.

Posting the minutes should not be a choice! It is her job to see it gets done. Thanking her or giving her credit for merely doing her job just makes her look like she is doing us a favor. We do not need to be beholding to her for her merely doing what is required of her.

Comments like this will add to her case and resume. She is going to be difficult as it is to move her off her throne. Don't provide the superglue!

Anonymous said...

From the SPLOST Article with my annotations in ( )

Atlanta, Decatur, Fulton and DeKalb have used the SPLOST, or special-purpose local option sales tax, to build and renovate dozens of new and existing schools (and build the
$30 million unauthorized Palace with $2,000 chairs), buy thousands of computers (many of which were stolen and never recovered by our $10 million per year police force), laptops and whiteboards (which do not work or are now in storage), and replace or repair roofs and heating and air conditioning systems (with work done by favored contractors at inflated prices).

Sounds like a winner to me.

Cerebration said...

The first meeting of the new committee is scheduled.


The DeKalb Board of Education Committee on Budget, Finance & Facilities will hold a meeting on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 9:30am in the
Cabinet Room at the DeKalb County School System's Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain.
The purpose of the meeting is to review Board policies and system-wide operations as it relates to the budget.


A. Call to Order
By: Dr. Eugene Walker, Committee Chair

B. Discussion Items
Presented by: Dr. Eugene Walker, Committee Chair

1. Elect Recording Secretary

2. Establish Meeting Schedule

3. Establish Committee's Mission & Goals

4. Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Planning Calendar and Process
5. Overview of Current State and Local Projections

6. Tentative Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Recommendations

C. Citizen Comments

D. Adjourn

Anonymous said...

Just sliding in under that 24 hour public notice requirement - do you really think they just set the date/time? Doubtful but convenient. Can't wait to hear their tentative budget recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to the Budget and Finance Cmte meeting today? The "good news" that DCSS does not expect a deficit may be bad news in disguise. That means they have an excuse not to tighten the belt, not to audit the finances, not to compare costs with outcomes, not to do another Ernst and Young study, not to cut the bloated central office or to adjust salaries to align with comparable corporate positions.

Anonymous said...

Since DCSS has the lowest student achievement in the metro area, maybe they should be spending our tax dollars in a more efficacious manner.

Anonymous said...

I think the increased federal funding we have received during this recession in the form of Stimulus money has enabled Mrs. Tyson to move much of the pet projects and non-teaching personnel under federal funding (decisions made by Audria Berry's group).

This refusal to address the ineffective non-instructional expenditures in DCSS will continue to lower our student achievement In the not too distant future federal funds will "dry up" and we (and our children) will be in a very precarious situation.