Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Open Records Request

Below is the content of another Open Records Act request sent today to Mrs. Ramona Tyson, Interim Superintendent of the DeKalb County School System. A copy of this request was also sent to Mr. Tom Bowen, Chairperson of the DCSS Board of Education.

This request is based on items identified as the result of an extensive study of the Ernst & Young Compensation and Classification Chronology -- a 220+ page binder of mostly useless documents presented by Mrs. Ramona Tyson, DCSS Interim Superintendent, March 2011. But, among the chaff there were a few kernels of interesting information.

Also found was an unintentional, hide-in-plain sight "Easter egg" (look it up!) -- appropriate for this time of year, don't you think?

The question remains, though: What is DCSS hiding?

Open Records Request to Ramona Tyson

April 10, 2011

Mrs. Ramona Tyson

Interim Superintendent

DeKalb County School System

Copy to: Mr. Tom Bowen


DeKalb County School System Board of Education

RE: Open Records Act Request

Good morning, Mrs. Tyson,

Thank you for providing the Ernst & Young Compensation and Classification Study Chronology. Based on the information and referenced deliverables contained in that chronology, I am requesting the following under Georgia’s Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 through 50-18-76 :

(1) A copy of the signed contract between the DeKalb County School System/DCSS BOE and Ernst & Young, containing specified deliverables, as approved at the September 8, 2003 Board of Education meeting, to include:

  • Comprehensive compensation survey completed for surrounding and comparable school systems, as required in detailed RFP. [Part I, Item 8, page 3]

  • Estimated implemented costs and projected annual fiscal impact to DCSS Department of Human Resources. [Part I, Item 8, page 3]

(2) The following items, listed and described in the Compensation and Classification Summary of Services provided to the DeKalb County School System by Ernst & Young, LLP; [summary] prepared by Reanee N. Ivey, Ph.D., January 14, 2005:

  • Written compensation philosophy (draft) based on input from the Board of Education, then-Superintendent [Johnny Brown], PGT members and input obtained during focus group meetings with employees.

  • A draft of the management plan for salaries that exceed the market (developed and proposed by Carl Beck, Rick Cost, Vivian Davis, Reanee Ivey and Vicki Correls) requested by then-superintendent Johnny Brown.

(3) The spreadsheet presented to DCSS/DCSS BOE on or about April 18, 2005 by Steve Sullivan of Ernst & Young.

(4) The RFP that led to Deloitte Consulting LLP’s selection to prepare Developing the DCSS Compensation and Classification Program (originally one of the Ernst & Young contracted deliverables [September 8, 2003] for which Ernst & Young was paid a total of $341,000 for all deliverables.)

(5) The signed contract between the DeKalb County School System and Deloitte Consulting LLP, containing specified deliverables.

(6) Official record of a request from DCSS to Ernst & Young to return payments for deliverables not satisfactorily completed and the official record of funding returned by Ernst & Young to DCSS. [See #4, above.]

(7) From the September 6, 2005 BOE meeting:

  • The complete executive summary report on the Position Compensation and Classification Study as presented to the DCSS BOE on September 6, 2005 by Jim Landry of Deloitte. (A copy of the complete report is noted as being part of the official file of the September 6, 2005 BOE meeting.)

  • The answer to BOE members’ request on September 6, 2005 for information regarding the potential cost impact of the Position Compensation and Classification Study to DCSS.

The taxpayers of DeKalb County paid more than $341,000 – when you factor in the as yet undisclosed expenses for Deloitte -- for the deliverables from this salary study. The information I am requesting should be easily available electronically, as well as in hard copy, in DCSS files. A study of this magnitude and importance – not to mention cost – should be readily available on request.

Mrs. Tyson, you went to a lot of trouble assembling a “chronology” of the salary study (albeit with large gaps of time) which mentions the existence of the very things I am asking for. The chronology, itself, given to and apparently mostly ignored and unread by current BOE members, does not provide the deliverables we paid for. Simply not having the documents now, whether due to carelessness, incompetence or intent, is not acceptable.

You have the option to produce these documents, at no cost, for taxpayers in response to my request. Since I and other taxpayers have already paid for the documents with our tax dollars, I would greatly appreciate it if you would simply make them available at no charge on the DCSS website within the 3 business days allowed by law – by Thursday, April 14, 2011.

Thank you for your consideration and cooperation,

Sandy Spruill


Atlanta Media Guy said...

Sandy, I stand with you! Ms. Tyson show us the audit! Show us the truth! The truth shall set you free! Maybe that's the problem, Ms. Tyson thinks the taxpayers, who paid over $300,000 dollars, can't handle the truth.

Sandy please keep us updated on any response from The Palace!

PolitiMom said...

What does she have to lose? Her contract is solid for the next two years and then she is out of there. I do wonder if the docs are still around though. Its amazing what gets "lost" in a new administration. The transition from Brown to Lewis is likely a key factor in the missing information.

Cerebration said...


The ELPC meeting scheduled this week for Wednesday April 13th will now meet on Wednesday May 4th. Our meeting location remains Druid Hills Middle School, formerly named Shamrock Middle School. This later meeting date avoids overlap with CRCT preparation and testing.

Welcome home from spring break.

Cerebration said...

@PolitiMom - all they have to do is ask E&Y for a copy.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Should the taxpayers start a phone call campaign to Ernst and Young? I can't believe no one at E & Y has a copy of the report. This was too important of an audit and Clew did all he could to hide it and his personal right hand, during his reign of terror, Ramona Tyson is only doing what Clew told her to do after he gave her control of DCSS. Evade, ignore, answer to no one and make sure to destroy every copy of the audit. Check, Check, Check and triple check! Ramona continued what Clew started and then wasted millions on a redistricting effort that an in house demographer, Dan Drake, recommended months before we wasted the money with the Charette Company! Let's give her a raise and a contract that will extend into the tenure of the new Super. Nice job DCSS! Thanks for the transparency in all that is DCSS!

SHS said...

@ Atlanta Media Guy

Could you please send me an email with your contact information? My email address is shspruill at Gee mail (written so as to not attract spambots trolling the Internet). I am sure that you can figure out how to write it correctly. Thanks!

Anon said...


What are the consequences if the system doesn't comply? (for the system, I mean, not you!)

Sagamore 7 said...


I checked with my sources at E&Y and they DEFINITELY HAVE the report!

I wish we could get our hands on it!


Cerebration said...


Joseph Hunt said...

It's a real shame that DCSS has more employees making $50K plus in "Miscellanous Positions" than any other school system in Georgia. Many make more than $75K. A few make more than $100K. Courtesy of the GA Dept of Audits and Accounts.

These positions obviously have no job description, and probably very few responsibilities. The label "Miscellaneous Services" is a convenience for the Friends and Family Plan and our expert HR director. So much money is going into a void of irresponsible spending.

It's not surprising, and it's certainly something the we, all "stakeholders" in seeing our county's children well educated, should be ashamed of.

Joseph Hunt said...

I miss the "free-for-all" conversations this blog provoked before the spam issue