Monday, May 30, 2011

School System Presents Proposed Master Facilities Plan

On Friday, May 27th, Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson, Interim CIP Operations Officer Barbara Colman, and members of the consulting firm MGT America presented the proposed 2020 Vision Master Facility Plan and SPLOST IV list to the DeKalb Board of Education.

To view the presentation and see the Facility Needs Assessments for each school, click here. Scroll down to Updates and look under Friday, May 27th.

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the SPLOST IV draft project list. The survey closes this Wednesday, June 1st at 11:59 p.m. To take the survey, click here.

The DeKalb Board of Education will continue the discussion about the 2020 Vision and SPLOST IV at a Committee of the Whole meeting this Wednesday, June 1st at 9:30 a.m. at the Administrative and Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA. The meeting is open to the public.

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold another Committee of the Whole meeting this Friday, June 3rd at 9:30 a.m. to continue the discussion about the 2020 Vision and SPLOST IV and to receive a copy of the final draft of the Facility Master Plan. It will also be held at the Administrative and Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA. The meeting is open to the public.

The Board of Education plans to vote on the SPLOST IV referendum and the Ten Year Facility Master Plan at their monthly Board meeting on Monday, June 6th at 6 p.m.

Please take time to familiarize yourself with the proposals and provide any feedback you have this week.

To view the plans as well as the video of Friday's meeting, click here.

To read an interesting blog post on the subject click here to visit Dunwoody Talk Blog.


Kim Gokce said...

I read the entire thing as a status quo plan. If there is a vision, will someone please tell me what it is?

Anonymous said...

The vision is larger schools and a promise to re-district every 5 years instead of waiting 15 years.

Beyond that, I agree there seems to be a lack of "vision."

Some had hoped for 1) a top notch science/math/technology high school, and 2) a much larger and more robust Arts high school. There is neither.

And NO plans for the huge chunk of land on N. Druid Hills Road. Are they going to continue to rent it out for low budget films?

I am disappointed to see that they evidently plan to continue with all the "pet" projects like Destiny, DeKalb Night school, etc. that just suck up tons of resources.

Page 25 references the installation of turf at the stadiums. Is this aritificial turf?

September said...

The vision from where I stand is that this school system finally realized that there are students sitting in substandard facilities and that they need to do something about it. The new school buildings proposed in this plan are desperately needed.

Many of our children attend classes in environments that most adults would refuse to work in. If you are too hot, or too cold you have trouble paying attention. When you eat lunch at 10:00 it is a long time until dinner. If you are assigned to a trailer and have to walk inside the main building to use the restroom or get a drink from the water fountain, you just lost 10 minutes of instruction.

Yes, there is a lot of status quo in this plan, but there are also some things that we really need.

Open+Transparent said...

Again, a complete lack of leadership and transparency from the Central Office and the BOE, led by the feckless Tom Bowen.

SPLOST IV will cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The plan is presented after school is out, without any proactive effort to alert parents and taxpayers.

And the worst part, on the Friday of holiday weekend.

The survey is online for a whole five days.

The BOE votes on it a few days later.

The Central Office and BOE could not have tried any harder to have the least amount of people read it before it's voted upon.

Same old, same old.

fedupindcss said...

I absolutely recognize that the facilities in this system are substandard. Yes, they should be improved, for both health and safety. But will I vote for SPLOST IV? No, hell no, and never. Not with a BOE comprised of many of the same people who oversaw what was done with I, II and III. These funds are not treated as monies for capital improvements, but rather as additions to the general budget. It's like they can continue to overspend on central office salaries, confident that they will get extra dollars to pay for tech additions. I know it's "for the children," but I just can't do it. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice (and three and four times), shame on me.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

No vision, but definitely a plan to spend more money. Gee, I wonder how much they will assign to the Central Office, AFTER the plan passes an election? Remember folks the Palace was built with SPLOST FUNDS that were never allotted to the Palace. Our kids should have a great place to learn, but what happened with the past SPLOSTS? No more Ms. Tyson, it's time we stick a fork in the DCSS leadership, you guys are done!

See once the funds are in these feckless idiot's hands they claim they want what's best for our kids but most likely will spend the money somewhere else and most likely will be voted on in the dark of night. July 4th weekend?

Since the moronic leadership at DCSS has decided to release this plan late Friday of a holiday and the online remarks will close the following Tuesday afternoon, it's obvious to me this BOE and CLew's inner circle of leaders do not want to change the perception, they just want to keep on hiding things from us. I'm sure Jeff Dickerson, who I have lost all respect for, will come out and say, we gave DeKalb stakeholders a chance? No Jeff, it's just more of the same.

DCSS = Crime Syndicate

Everyone who remains today from the CLew/Pope days should resign. Once that happens, I might vote for another SPLOST.

Anon said...


I could not agree more. I also think it is purposely vague.

In addition, we just spent 10 million dollars modifying Avondale High School for DSA, now we are going to spend 4 million more so they can move with DESA to Avondale Middle?

I am disappointed in this plan. In 10 years, we will have nearly the same number of small elementary schools as we have now.

September is correct, we have a lot of really low quality buildings, but as someone whose children have attended a school that has gotten a new roof, bathrooms and perhaps some electrical, I have to tell you that the building is still in pretty bad shape. This proposal won't improve the overall quality very much.

Anon said...

O and T

For once, I don't think the timing of this is DCSS' fault. The Atlanta School System is trying to get theirs passed in the next few weeks because Dr. Hall is leaving. (Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, and Decatur must all pass the same resolution. The law is flawed.)

The Atlanta system is also worried that their entire board could be replaced by the Governor on July 1. (This is now unlikely because Chairman El has agreed to step down.)

The bureacrats felt like if they had an entirely new board they could not get it passed by the mandated date in August.

Thus the rush.

Cerebration said...

That is true. Atlanta is a mess and is driving the schedule for the SPLOST vote. However, in the end, a SPLOST yes vote is a vote of confidence in the leadership of a system. I don't have that confidence.

This is not a now or never vote. Why not just let it all sit for a couple of years while we get new leadership in place, formalize and create a more detailed SPLOST plan of action as well as the educational vision to go with it? It would be nice in this economy to cut back on the penny sales tax for a while. We can revisit SPLOST the next go round. (And no - I don't even think that we need to increase homeowner taxes to complete these goals - that's a political threat.)

In fact, I think that by waiting, we could develop a plan that would address all of the key issues necessary to move forward in a construction plan that goes hand in hand with an educational plan with a timeline that in end, beats the one currently on the table.

Leo said...

There's nothing in this plan that gives any explanation whatsoever of how it reaches the plan's goals. For example, the "plan" says it wants elementary schools with 900 kids. Looking in my cluster, it appears as if Huntley Hills and Montgomery will get new facilities at some point in the future, but this way down the line (2023 +) it shows rennovations to Ashford Park. To me, that suggests that all of the schools in the cluster will remain the same. How does that get us to 900 kid schools? If instead, is showed rebuilding the first two schools in the next 5 years and then closing Ashford Park, that would suggest that we're moving towards bigger schools, but this just looks like a way to raise some money to build stuff but without a long-term plan of where that will get us.

Anon said...


I totally agree with you. This plan seems to make very little progress. At most, at the end of the next SPLOST we will only have 7 fewer elementary schools, presuming one school is closed in each of the 6 areas where the new school is being proposed plus 1 more in the McNair area.

It seems like we are making very slow progress in reducing the number of facilities we actually have.

Cerebration said...

This is from Nancy Jester's email newsletter -

In addition to the SPLOST IV presentation on Wednesday, our agenda includes a presentation on the 2011-2012 budget.

Click here to view the proposed budget.

September said...

So, if we do nothing at this point about our crumbling school buildings and wait 10 years to start replacing them, will we be able to afford it then? I think it just makes the problem worse in the long run. If you think your property values are bad now, imagine what they will be like when we have even more school buildings in a state of serious disrepair. School quality drives property values and the condition of the school building is part of that assessment. Why would I choose to send my child to a school with a leaky roof and not enough restrooms? I guess that we could just have another bake sale, or raise the PTA dues to pay for repairs.

There is no question in my mind that we need new leadership in the county office and on the school board, but waiting to act on infrastructure improvements isn't going to make this process any easier. Fixing this school system means attacking the problems on many fronts all at once. We will get faster results that way. We need a superintendent. We need better school board representatives. We need to clean house at the top administrative levels. We need to fix a lot of things and the process is taking more time than I would like. I'd really like to see everything fixed by tomorrow. The most important thing right now is that the School Board, interim superintendent, and county office personnel need to know that we are watching their every move. Having this money approved when the new superintendent starts work, might just be a good thing.

Keep in mind that the SPLOST proposal is a political document designed to get buy-in from the many different communities that make up the school system. I don't really want to pay to upgrade stadiums when we have so many other needs, but if I were sitting in an area with a brand new school, I might be willing to vote for SPLOST to get the stadium upgrade. I hope everyone has responded to the survey with their suggested changes.

unknown said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but is the plan to build 4 new elementary schools in an area that doesn't have full schools as it is? I get that you can consolidate but why not build where you need the seats first? This plan seems to be designed so that half of the county will vote against it. What kind of plan is that?

Anon said...

In at least one case, you will be able to close 3 schools when you build that 1. That is a good thing.

You can't do that as easily when you have schools sitting at 6-700 students right on top of each other.

Kim Gokce said...

I'd more readily vote for a $2 billion SPLOST IV AND take a mil increase on my property taxes before supporting this plan.

For too many years the same arguments have been made to support SPLOST referendums ... "It's for the children," "We have to take care of the buildings we have or no one will send their kids there," "We have big problems and we can't solve it all at once," etc, etc, etc.

Step through this with me ... our enrollments seem poised to continue to decline overall, by all accounts we have far more schools than we needed even for 100k-plus enrollment, families leave DeKalb every month primarily for public education choices, many families that stay claw, scratch, and fight to find a way into a lottery for "choice" programs and those that can't sell their organs to raise money for private options and WE WANT TO INVEST MORE IN OUR CURRENT WAY OF DOING BUSINESS?

I have the slogan we should use for SPLOST IV (and apparently the 2020 Vision Plan):

"Kicking the Can Down the Road for The Children of Tomorrow Because They Aren't Here Today to Kick Our Asses."

Our newest schools are not rating "A" or "B" in the facility assessment? Only those that are below "F minus" will get replaced? We're going to spend hundreds of millions on our "D" and "C" schools to keep them from becoming "F" schools?

I've completely lost my mind and do not know what to say about this "vision" ...

Passionate... said...

Monies should be set aside for maintenance. Our buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, concrete outdoor steps are in desperate needs of repair. I recently visited a small town where people maintained their buildings: houses, factories, offices, etc. I was amazed at how well the maintained buildings looked outside and inside. Other counties maintain their facilities much better than DCSS. DCSS wants to build new. That's great for that community. Meanwhile, students, parents, teachers trip over holes in the parking lot or sidewalk of other schools; can't use sinks in bathrooms because they have fallen off the walls; and/or sit in extremely hot classrooms because the air conditioning has failed once again. SPLOST monies are great, but it takes years for approved projects to be started, let alone completed. It doesn't make sense! Our students are our customers! They are our important clients! They are our future!

Anonymous said...

"I am disappointed to see that they evidently plan to continue with all the "pet" projects like Destiny, DeKalb Night school, etc. that just suck up tons of resources."

I saw that Eddie Long was the founder of Project Destiny:

Rodney Mayfield was the Executive Director in 2004 according to USA Today.