Wednesday, March 23, 2011


HB 22 seems to be mired in the politics that weigh down everything associated with DeKalb County. With the legislative session winding down, I wanted to ask everyone to do one big push to see if we can get some traction on reducing the size of the Board of Education.

There has been a major change in the last few days. The bill is having trouble gaining traction and has powerful insider opposition and it will require a heavy grassroots effort to push back. This is the time for the people to exercise their power!

Please contact head of the DeKalb Delegation, Representative Howard Mosby by himself and ask him to allow a vote on this bill, presuming Representative Oliver can get the necessary signatures to bring it forward.

Representative Howard Mosby (D) District 90
404 656-0287 (office)
Click to Email Howard Mosby

Several representatives have dropped off the list of sponsors for HB 22. We need you to email the entire delegation and implore them not to abandon the one positive change that they can effect for the children of DeKalb County.

You can read the latest blog piece on HB 22 here:

CLICK HERE to Email the entire list of DeKalb legislators

Or choose your own rep(s) from the list below:

Representative Pat Gardner (D) District 57 404 656-0265 (office)
Representative Simone Bell (D) District 58 404 656-0325 (office)
Representative Gloria Tinubu (D) District 60 404.656.0220 (office)
Representative Tom Taylor (R) District 79 404.656.0152 (office)
Representative Mike Jacobs (R) District 80 404 656-0152 (office)
Representative Elena Parent (D) District 81 404.656.6372 (office)
Representative Scott Holcomb (D) District 82 404.656.6372 (office)
Representative Mary Margaret Oliver (D) District 83 404 656-0265 (office)
Representative Stacey Abrams (D) District 84 404 656-0220 (office)
Representative Stephanie S. Benfield (D) District 85 404 656-7859 (office)
Representative Karla Drenner (D) District 86 404 656-0202 (office)
Representative Michele Henson (D) District 87 404 656-7859 (office)
Representative Billy Mitchell (D) District 88 404 656-0116 (office)
Representative “Coach” Williams (D) District 89 404 656-0202 (office)
Representative Howard Mosby (D) District 90 404 656-0287 (office)
Representative Rahn Mayo (D) District 91 404 656-6372 (office)
Representative Pam Stephenson (D) District 92 404 656-0126 (office)
Representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) District 93 404 656-0287 (office)
Representative Randal Mangham (D) District 94 404 656-0126 (office)
Senator Curt Thompson (D) District 5 404 463-1318 (office)
Senator Emanuel Jones (D) District 10 404 656-0502 (office)
Senator Fran Millar (R) District 40 404 463-2260 (office)
Senator Steve Henson (D) District 41 404 656-0085 (office)
Senator Jason Carter (D) District 42 404 463-1376 (office)
Senator Ron Ramsey, Sr. (D) District 43 404 463-2598 (office)
Senator Gloria Butler (D) District 55 404 656-0075 (office)

Please use your email lists, petition lists from redistricting, etc to get people aware of this issue.



Leo said...

A friend of mine who is a representative sent me the following e-mail:

So I've learned that it will be a total floor vote and not just local legislation.

May be that we need to reach out to non-Dekalb people too.

Leo said...

This is the current status:

Mar/14/2011 - House Second Readers
Mar/11/2011 - House First Readers
Mar/10/2011 - House Hopper
Nov/15/2010 - House Prefiled

It requires a third reading and then a vote.

Anonymous said...

But didn't it have to cross over?
I am a little confused?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't have to cross over, because there were extant versions in the House and Senate - which would then go to conference committee where differences would be worked out.

Anonymous said...

Ron Ramsey should of course be recusing himself from this vote and any vote regarding the school system. I'm assuming he would never place himself in such an obvious conflict of interest,

Ella Smith said...

I am fine with the bill for just 7 school board members as a compromise from the senate side. I think the house needs to compromise and lets have 7. There are many concerns about having just 5 board members from some. I just want to see some form of reduction. Compromise is sometimes needed. With 7 board members the districts would all be redrawn anyway and all board members would have to be re-elected next year. This could cause some major changes in the school board with different lines.

Anonymous said...

The house bill allowed the citizens to vote on either 5 or 7.

Sagamore 7 said...

I have been told that the elections would be staggered.
Not everyone would be up for re-election next year.

I would presume that the board members that are up for re-election next year would be part of the vote.
The board members that just got re-elected or new members would be up in an additional two years.

Anonymous said...

The bill has everyone being elected next year. I am not sure everyone has thought through the consequences of these changes. Some of the board members that you might want to see go will continue to get elected by large margins and gain more control. If the whole board is campaigning, won't this make for a difficult first year for the new superintendent?

Cerebration said...

I think the census and the drop in school populations will also cause the district lines to change dramatically - both for school board as well as commission and legislative seats. We will see a big change in representation in a couple of years in DeKalb.

BTW-I'm in favor of cutting the board to 5. If Gwinnett can function so efficiently with 5, certainly DeKalb can as well.

Anonymous said...

a day in the life of a teacher... rumor is it was created in Dunwoody

Cerebration said...

ELPC Meeting Reminder for

Friday, March 25, 2011

Laurel Ridge Elementary School
1215 Balsam Drive
Decatur, Georgia 30033

School System Instructional Management—
Top Down or Bottom Up?

Our updated slate of speakers includes

Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, DeKalb Interim Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning,

Dr.Gale Hey, Gwinnett Area Superintendent, and

Dr. Cheryl Nahmias, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, Renfroe Middle School, City Schools of Decatur

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please, please, please push the members of the legislature to change the size of the school board for the children. The adults in charge are not doing what is best for the children. The system is not about education. Reducing the size of the school board puts the children first. Don't let politics and "little fiefdoms" get in the way of children having a future because our BOE and others can't stand the thought of surrendering power. Contact the legislators. Do it. Now. Please......

Anonymous said...

I am totally opposed to cutting Represention of the people. It is hard to get a response as it is with so many people with questions needing to be answered.
The problem is not with the number of Board menbers, it is with the Board members that we have now and I mean "everyone of them". We need members who will represent all of the children all of the time.
We need members who are active in the community and schools prior to running for office and we need members who will demand accountability and quality decision making. I don't care if it's 9 or 3...GET THE JOB DONE!

Anonymous said...


What time is the meeting at Laurel Ridge?

I am curious about whether Beasley will come across as out of his league with the other members of this panel as I believe him to be.

Sagamore 7 said...

Refreshments start at 8:45 and the meeting begins at 9:15.

Anonymous said...

The key to changing the board is having County Wide elections instead of just voting within the district!

This is how one church can pass out absentee ballots to their members and turn in 15,000 votes for Deacon Board Member!

I thought that DeKalb County was for CHANGE!
Everyone voted for CHANGE in 2008!
Let's continue to vote for CHANGE!
Folks, this is the CHANGE that is needed!

Support HB 22!

Anonymous said...

I guess they have to include the IB Coordinator from City of Decatur since the IB Coordinator position was cut from DCSS last spring as part of Central Office cuts.

Anonymous said...

Folks -- the BOE is not about access to anyone of us individually or to any school individually. The BOE is about running a system that has a millions and billions of dollars -- it's like a huge Home Depot running education. Then, the "business" of the BOE is to actaully educate the kids. The members of the BOE owe duties to taxpayers and the kids. The hire and fire the superintendant who is supposed to run the system. Problem is the superintendant can't be adequately supervised and can't run the system with 9 bosses. The superintendant can not be subject to appropriate checks and balances with 9 people running their own little kingdoms looking out for their handful of schools and indviduals who are contacting them and who are expecting answers. This is why the system is a mess and isn't really, actually educating the children. The only schools really educating kids are the schools where the parents are stepping up to the plate and filling in the gaps -- such as Fernbanks and Vanderlyn and the schools getting supplemented at the expense of others such as Kittredge and Wadsworth. The system as a whole is a disaster because no one understands how the checks and balances and fiduciary duties are supposed to work. We have got to get the board to 5 members appointed by the governor or elected at large so we can run the billion dollars rather than this hodge-podge that may really be a criminal enterprise that doesn't really care about educating kids.

Cerebration said...

Read Claudia Keenan's post in the Patch on the subject of reducing the size of the school board;

Reducing DeKalb County's school board size is the objective of two bills before the Georgia legislature.

The report, released Thursday by the National School Boards Association, surveyed school trustees in 7,100 districts regarding their priorities and perceptions of their roles, working relationships and preparation for the job. Superintendents also participated in the study.

They study comes as some state lawmakers are making their own push to reduce the number of school board members. State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, has filed a bill in the House that would cut the DeKalb County Board of Education from nine members to five. State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, has filed another that would require all Georgia school boards to have, at maximum, seven members.

DeKalb County is definitely behind the trend toward smaller boards. Three-quarters of the superintendents reported that their school boards have 5 or 7 seats. Those with 5 seats comprise about 41 percent of respondents, those with 7 comprise 37 percent and those with 9 are about 15 percent.

. . .

Click the link above to read the entire post

Anonymous said...

Would you really want county wide elections?

Keep in mind that this is DeKalb and if we have a 5 or 7 member board we all should be concerned about what that might look like with the politics of DeKalb. It is possible that you will see a consolidation of power for agendas you wouldn't want to have it.

Anonymous said...

Before we got all worked up about what a county-wide elected board might “look like” (and I’m not even going to touch that), let’s remember that the demographics of the electorate are a lot different from the demographics of the schools. From the latest census:
Black persons, percent 53.7%
White persons, percent 40.2%
Asian persons, percent 4.2%
Persons reporting two or more races, percent 1.4%
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent 0.4%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent 0.1%
The above five categories = 100%. Also noted:
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent 10.9%
White persons not Hispanic, percent 30.5%
Total population, 2009: 747,274, 23.9% under 18, 7.5% under 5

Anonymous said...

Let's not be overly sensitive. "Look like" isn't a reference to racial matters. It refers to the politics of the county. We'll have a more liberal board,one more inclined to increases in taxes and one that can't manage services effectively. Look at our county government.

Cerebration said...

I believe the countywide vote is simply to decide whether or not to reduce the size of the board to 5 or 7. If approved, then new districts would be drawn for the actual election which would be held in November 2012. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

7:32-How is that change you voted for going for you?

Lets see in 2008 I made 50K more than I did in 2010.

Not the kinda change I was loking for.

I know a lot of people are now out of work, that were not out of work in 2008.

Oh, my health cost has doubled due to the "chnage"

So before voting for change make sure that is really what your looking for or you may have 5 board members making changes that your not for!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a conspiracy theorist here. However, I wonder if the DeKalb legislators who must vote on this HB22, are trying to do something to keep DCSS and the current atmosphere working. If they shrink the board, you better believe politics will take a huge role in the policy and how it is formed. I'm nervous having 5 or 7 will give the very folks power who has had it and squandered it for years! Jay Cuningham, Dr. Walker, SCW, and Mr. Bowen. I guarantee you they will draw districts to give these folks the majority.. The North DeKalb folks will get their one voice and voila! Friends and Family stays intact, Guilroy's, Jamal Edwards and other BOE family members will keep their jobs and the new Super will be hired in house. Taxes will be raised, more money for Audria Berry's Office of Destruction and there will be no audit and if there was one it would be shoved in a box and forgotten about. Clew did it, what would prevent the 5 member BOE to do it too.

I was for HB22 before I became skeptical of it. Can someone explain how everyone's voice will be heard and represnted by a 5 member board in DeKalb County?

Anonymous said...

Instead of worrying about having a voice heard, look at it this way -- The superintendent boss is the school board. Right now that is nine people. Reducing the size of the board will lead to a better working situation for the superintendent.

When the lines are redrawn for the school board districts, they must be approved by the entire house of representatives, which is controlled by republicans. I expect that we don't have to worry to much about gerrymandering.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that this legislation is being blocked by South DeKalb legislators especially those interested in protecting Cunningham and Walker. These state representatives obviously don't believe they can protect Walker and Cunningham UNLESS they keep NINE seats on the board.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:36
"Keep in mind that this legislation is being blocked by South DeKalb legislators especially those interested in protecting Cunningham and Walker. "

Also, keep in mind Emanuel Jones is one of the most vocal proponents and is a sponsor of this legislation to reduce the BOE. Emanuel was the legislator who bore the vocal and public abuse that Womack dealt out to him because of his efforts to reduce the size of the BOE (and still Bowen has not demanded an apology to Rep. Jones from Womack).

Maybe you didn't know that Emanuel Jones was also a contributor to Jay Cunningham's first campaign. But that hasn't stopped Rep. Jones from thinking critically and doing what's right for kids by sponsoring this bill.

Anonymous said...

Correcto! And Jones will have an uphill battle fighting Womack (aka: God)!

Anonymous said...

The Dekalb Senate delegation has passed their version of HB 22 which Jones introduced. They have done their job.

I am very grateful to the Senate delegation for this.
(And they had to stand up to God LOL)

The house delegation is where the problem is. I should have been clearer on that earlier. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Wake up an smell the flowers kids< the reason that Howard threw Oliver under the bus is because he is dating Cunningham's sister.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:04

If you feel a House member is behaving unethically, here is a link to the Georgia House of Representatives Ethics committee:

There is contact information on this website.

That goes for any citizens of DeKalb County. Personal relationships should not be the basis driving the votes of our elected representatives.

Anonymous said...

@8:19 AM -- Your statistics make it abundantly clear that white people in the county have lost confidence in the school district. 40% white in the electorate, but what...about 10% white students enrolled? This is one of the biggest problems no-one is willing to talk about.

Anonymous said...

Bingo. Time to do something drastic. Billions of dollars in and very little to show for it. Dreadful.

Anonymous said...

We write and blog and write and blog and nothing ever comes of it. I'm growing weary of it all.

Ultimately God IS in control and RIGHT will win, and GOOD will be victorious and GOD'S JUDGMENT no one can escape. We ALL get what's coming to us eventually. I'll just have to be content with waiting for that.

AND the wrongdoers at DCSS who think they have won must always know, and be reminded, that the time WILL COME for them to pay for their deeds, especially the ones against innocent people.

Anonymous said...

There is no huge white flight to private schools in DeKalb. The population in North and Central DeKalb is simply still a lot older than south DeKalb. Older people have children who have aged out of the school system. Look at the zip codes, and you can see that south DeKalb has a younger population. However, the age is shifting as there will be more older people in south DeKalb. That's why central and north Dekalb went through school closures a decade ago and south DeKalb is going through it now.
A. North and Central DeKalb:
White 98%
Over age 65 – 12.3%
White – 95%
Over age 65 – 8.1%
White - 85%
Over age 65 - 13.2%
White – 79%
Over age 65 - 17.8%
White – 69%
Over age 65 - 13.1%
White – 64%
Over age 65 - 13.7%
White – 8%
Over age 65 – 5.1%
White - 29%
Over age 65 – 5%
White – 7.9%
Over age 65 - 6%
White - 27%
Over age 65 - 4.3%

This is not all DeKalb zip codes, but it's very representative. Here are the links if you want to see the data:

Anonymous said...

If this passes and there is a vote of a 5 or 7 member BOE, South DK will be smart to vote for 5. Their demographics will win and North DK will essentially have only one vote. I am sure that the remaining 4 will be "for the children".

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 2:16
You're assuming S. Dekalb parents don't care about their children's education. That's not correct. Jester won her seat from Redovian with a close margin. Edler won her seat from Roberts by a landslide.

Leo said...

Could you just chop the districts up vertically and then every "new" board member would have constiuents in the North, Central and Southern parts of the county?

Anonymous said...

Your analysis is incorrect. There were almost 6300 votes case in the district 1 runoff. There were around 2700 cast for the district 7. Jester won by over 11 percent which is a solid victory, if not landslide in electoral terms. Edler's margin was much wider but the vote total is less than half of district 1. In fact, Jester received more votes in the runoff than both district 7 candidates put together. You can see the numbers at

Look at the response rate from various super clusters to the survey about redistricting:

I know that parents in the south care about their children but there communities as a whole are far less engaged.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:48

30019 is Dacula (Gwinnett)
30040 is Cumming (Forsyth)
30045 is Lawrenceville (Gwinnett)

However, you did list some DeKalb zip codes: for example,
30338 is Dunwoody

Lefty said...

Anon 11:48 - Your argument might be faulty. The zips you selected don't show the population diversity here in North/Central DeKalb. And as Anon 5:05 pointed out, here are the DeKalb zips you messed up on:
You wrote: 30019: White - 98% Over age 65 – 12.3%
Actually: 30319: White - 75% Over age 65 - 12.3%
You wrote: 30040: White – 95% Over age 65 – 8.1%
Actually: 30340: White - 50% Over age 65 - 7.3%
NDK zip you missed: 30341: White - 54% Over age 65 - 8.2%

It's also possible that there are a couple of zip codes where the majority of white kids go to private school. Zips like 30002 Avondale, 30306 Emory/Briarcliff, 30329 Briarvista.

Anonymous said...

@ Lefty:

"You wrote: 30040: White – 95% Over age 65 – 8.1%
Actually: 30340: White - 50% Over age 65 - 7.3%"

I think you mixed up the zip codes - 30040 is not the same number as 30340.

I said there were more zip codes. That's why I gave you the links.

I've lived in central DeKalb almost 30 years so I not only understand the demographic changes, I've lived through them. An older crowd still resides in my neighborhood. As they are gradually passing away or going to nursing homes, their homes are being bought by younger people, however empty nesters still outnumber the families with young kids.

I remember when south DeKalb was mostly farmland and devoid of houses. South DeKalb's building trajectory started in the 80s and lasted until around the early 2000s. Now they are just beginning to see their population age and the building has ground to a halt.

The northern end of DeKalb was also more sparsely populated that Central DeKalb (look at the houses in Dunwoody - they aren't the 60s ranches of Northlake and the 40s and 50s bungalows of Fernbank). So Dunwoody is a younger crowd and that's reflected in their lower age group. Check out the zip codes in the extreme south and north of DeKalb, and you'll see they don't have the aging population of central DeKalb.

The point is that the demographics of an aging population is a major factor here.

Cerebration said...

30040 is not in DeKalb county, it is Cumming in Forsyth.
30340 is the Doraville area of DeKalb.

30019 is Dacula in Gwinnett.
30319 is the Chamblee area of DeKalb.

Most DeKalb zip codes begin with 303 not 300