Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Plan to Attend: Budget Hearing Tomorrow Eve - April 27 @ 6pm
This is critical. We need to demand accountability from the budget committee. This is the most vague, opaque, difficult to navigate area of the school system - and they are fiddling with over a BILLION dollars of your tax money! They need to KNOW that we are watching!
Sign up to speak and attend the BUDGET HEARING tomorrow evening -
4/27/2011 - 6:00 PM -
DeKalb Board of Education Public Budget Hearing Board Meeting
J. David Williamson Board Room, Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083
Ask one of the following questions or write up your own:
How exactly is FTE funding calculated?
What is the difference between the old system and the new "STAR" system of points allocation?
How closely are you tracking gifted points? Are students who EARN the gifted points receiving the appropriate services?
How much more do our "special" or "magnet" programs really cost?
Why are we unable to claim all that is due us from the state - as Gwinnett does?
Why is our budget so difficult to comprehend? Why can't it be simplified and published online?
Which pot of money pays for attorney's fees? We are told that EVERY BUDGET has legal fees embedded (buried) in it. THAT IS WRONG! As taxpayers, we have a right to know exactly how much is being spent on attorneys and why. And, can we please calculate exactly how much we are spending to maintain TWO separate in-house counsels?
When can we expect to have the Check Register published online as is the current trend with all fiscally transparent and unafraid school systems?
Add your own in the comments and bring them to the meeting - but even if you don't plan to speak, please try to attend. Take notes. Share what you learn on the blog on Thursday. We need everyone possible to pay attention to these budget hearings.
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Will they answer questions? Every time I have gone to one of these, the Board members just sit and look at you with no response. Will this one be different?
They don't answer questions -- in fact, as they interpret the open records/open meetings act, they can't answer them.
That's right... Tom reads the rules for public comment before every meeting and there's something to the effect of that they can't respond as the topic isn't on the agenda.
Gee - since Tom finds it proper to inform the public about their portion of the meeting - perhaps he should start reading the BOARD the rules of Executive Session every time they meet behind closed doors!
This is the published "purpose" of the meeting -
The purpose of the Hearing is to receive input from the public regarding the taxpayers’ priorities in preparation for the development of the 2011-2012 school system budget.
I hope each PTA from each school has a rep at the finance meeting tonight. At least all the questions put forth in this blog realated to Title 1 funding, the money watsted on the failed national search to replace Clewis, the money not going to eduction but to legal fees to protect the Board, etc. Good luck. Hold their feet to the fire.
Please - make sure that you ask about the legal fees. Everyone must demand transparency regarding exactly how much we spend on legal fees - and to which law firms. That's why we need the Check Register online. The legal fees are buried in every line item. Johnny Brown tried to separate them - and we all know what happened to him. This must be made transparent.
Another very important item is the reporting of FTE and the gifted points. We think that we are not properly reporting gifted numbers and /or not properly allocating the funding back to the students. Gifted funding must be more transparent and accessible to parents so that parents and teachers can decide the best services for gifted students.
Third - Title 1 funding should be separated and described in detail how it is spent. Title 1 funding should be divided among schools and parents and teachers should decide how best to spend it on their students (this is how Gwinnett does it). The proportion of Title 1 funds spent on administration vs directly spent on the students should be reported and obvious in the budget.
We also deserve to know the TRUE cost of each and every magnet program. Detailed budgets for these schools vs regular schools must be accessible. The case can be made for absorbing magnets into regular schools in order to share resources like principals, APs, teachers, custodians, food service, media, security, etc. Every dime overspent on a magnet or theme is a dime taken away from regular students.
How much are we spending on trailers? Could we get rid of a couple hundred trailers if we properly balance our attendance?
Although the board won't respond, we must air these questions publicly and then follow-up for clarity.
I just saw on Channel 11 that all DeKalb County Schools activities have been cancelled tonight. I assume this includes the budget meeting, although the school system has not updated the web site yet.
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