2011 began, for many of us anyway, with a slight sense of optimism that change was coming to our dysfunctional DeKalb School Board. State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver was introducing local legislation (HB 22) to allow the citizens of DeKalb to vote to reduce the size of the school board to either 5 or 7 members.
You can read the entire legislation here:
Fast forward, two months, and little to nothing has been heard about this bill. I thought perhaps we had missed it because of all the chaos surrounding redistricting. However, while the bill has the support of many legislators, several seem to be working to hold it up and prevent it from being passed.
Thousands of DeKalb citizens participated in the redistricting discussion, sending emails, attending meetings, making phone calls, etc. I am imploring all who did, and even those who didn’t, to get involved in this issue. Sending an email AND making a phone call will show your representatives that this is important to you. It will make a difference.
Here is how. Below is a list of all the DeKalb Delegation members. If you are unsure of whom your STATE rep and senator are, go here:
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) firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Stephanie S. Benfield (D) District 85 404 656-7859 (office) email@example.com
Representative Karla Drenner (D) District 86 404 656-0202 (office)
Representative Michele Henson (D) District 87 404 656-7859 (office) firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Billy Mitchell (D) District 88 404 656-0116 (office)
Representative “Coach” Williams (D) District 89 404 656-0202 (office) email@example.com
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) firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) District 93 404 656-0287 (office)
Representative Randal Mangham (D) District 94 404 656-0126 (office) email@example.com
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)
Feel free to email the entire DeKalb Delegation. (You can cut and paste multiple email addresses, just separate them with a comma or semi colon or whatever function your email provider requires.)
I would like to think that all the different groups that advocated for changes to the various redistricting and school consolidation plans would work hard to get this legislations passed. (Though I am not calling names, SCORE, Fernbank, Dunwoody, Flat Rock, etc… )
What should be in the email? The email should be in your own words and should stress the importance of passing HB 22.
Since the expansion of the DeKalb County Schoool Board from 7 to 9 members, DCSS has:
- Had its superintendent and chief operating officer indicted;
- Been placed on advisement status by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools;
- Had to censure several board members;
- Seen SAT scores plummet, in 2004, the SAT mean Math score in DeKalb was 459 and in 2010 it was 442. In 2004, the SAT mean verbal score was 464 and in 2010 it was 449.
- Had one of the lowest “make AYP” rates of any school system in the state
- Spent over 15 million dollars in legal fees in a lawsuit that may not result in that much if won;
- (and any thing else you can think of…)
- In metro Atlanta, the most successful school districts have school boards with 7 or fewer members.
- A smaller school board will incur fewer travel expenses, salary expenses and possibly legal expenses.
- A smaller school board will be easier for a new superintendent to work with.
(Breaking news -- Senators Millar, E. Jones and Carter filed a bill in the senate that would effectively do the same thing as HB 22. You can find this bill here,
http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/displaybill.aspx?BillType=SB&billNum=226 and you may want to mention it in your emails.)