The Board of Education is expected to take action on the SPLOST IV joint resolution. To view the meetings, the proposals, the SPLOST IV proposed list of projects, and the facility condition assessments, click here and scroll down to "Updates".
Click our calendar icon to view the agenda or click here to access the eBoard agenda with supporting documents. We'll update this post as the meeting marches on (it will be long).
To view older minutes (through April) posted on the DCSS click here.
6:15: Awesome video produced by students. Called "I Need You" it featured students stating their needs for learning from every person involved in their education. These students tell us, "I need you to expect more from me and set high goals. It doesn't matter if I get a free or reduced lunch or am learning to speak the language or have special needs, I need you to believe in me. Teach me. Engage me. Care for me. Believe in me and I will learn."
6:20: Bowen promises a waiver to Museum and Peachtree Hope charter schools for one year. Schools can spend the year assembling their application for a DCSS sponsored charter.
* People are not hip to installing cell phone towers on school property.
* Zepora!!! She admonished the board for taking too long to look for a superintendent. She slammed them for looking for a "white" candidate because they think "you get more from whites"[!!!] Says, "We have the best in Ms. Tyson. Open your eyes and see what she's accomplished. Hire Her. Immediately. Permanently. The candidate that you're looking at has not been successful and his board has not renewed his contract. He is looking for a greener pasture and you are providing that pasture. Don't make that mistake." Then she goes on about budget recommendations.
* John Evans - my third grade grandson can't read. He failed the CRCT. He's on the list for Peachtree Charter cause they told me charter schools are better than regular. They told me to appeal his results. Why would I do that? He shouldn't go on if he can't read! He has LD and ADHD (Evans digressed and said that most black kids are labeled ADHD for some reason.)
* Advocate for Sky Haven and Meadowview
* Second advocate for the Museum School
* Peachtree Hope advocate thanks the board for special consideration - then goes on to reminisce about the Civil Rights Movement. "I went to sleep for 40 years and a lot of children today still need help." This charter school will help.
* Another Peachtree Hope advocate and his children.
* David Schutten: (ODE) Not spotlighting schools but there is not one place for parents to sit - unwelcoming. Some principals do a good job, others not so much. Understand budget cuts but disappointed. Disappointed that Womack would support a millage increase. 20/20 master plan. Says board never questioned 900 student schools but suddenly are questioning. Bait and switch. Understand Austin being rebuilt. Septic tank school needs rebuilt. McNair promises need to be kept. Dresden corridor - and Stone Mt predict enrollment drop due to anti-immigration bills.
* Theme school parent. "At the theme schools, we get it."
* DeKalb police are hosting a summer camp program. Summer PAL - summer athletic program. Added educational component. June - July. 4 weeks.
* Proud Cedar Grove parent - has seen some improvements, but Cedar Grove has not had major additions like an auditorium or cosmetology lab ("like Tucker and Lakeside") [??]
[NOTE: 7:20 - we're at an hour and we have 3 more speakers?!!]
* Sandy Purkett - Great Redan - PILOT program - earned $8 million in scholarships.
* Speaker states that SACS asked board to ensure they are following their own policies. In laying off (RIFs) board was supposed to use quality of employee. DCSS should strive to keep employees who have good servitude. She said her RIF was based on seniority, not job performance.
* Viola Davis (Unhappy Taxpayer) We are "anemic" - we need to stop redistributing wealth across the state. Her home was devalued from $160k to $78k. We need to demand what is due to us from the state. We can get it if we have a united front.
Tony Hunter: SchoolNet Update. Building level administrators have been trained in how to look at a global view of individual performance. Teachers subsequently trained. Can create individual school and district level benchmark assessments. PD Planner has been developed (Registers and tracks Professional Development-for all employees) Curriculum loading. Info accessible for SS and ELA. Working on math and science (July 1 deadline). Will also load common core standards. This tool will generate reports for RTTT. (A demonstration ensued.) Renewal of Instructional Data Mgmt System
Womack - Personal privilege. Tonight the board will approve the budget and tax levy. Addresses a misstatement on the part of a speaker (Schutten) - "Said I was supportive of tax increase - I am not. This board wants to do everything possible for teachers and staff - board took 10% cut - but Schutten doesn't appreciate. Has Mr. Schutten taken a pay cut? He needs to do that if he's criticizing the board." Point of order - (Donna) - asks that board members not address members of the public by name. [Blogger note: the rules are always read that the board will NOT RESPOND to speakers - Womack broke the rules. Tom should not have allowed that.]
Motion to increase taxes .5 mil. Donna moved for an increase to 1.0 mil - with a sunset in 2 years. Womack: county is looking at raising 2-4 mils. Won't vote for a tax increase. Period. End of sentence. Bowen pointed out that we have one of the highest millage rates and never put it back down in 9 years when times were good. Walker also declined to support. Jay is also concerned about county increase along with increase in water bills. Cuts are necessary to balance the budget. Won't vote for increase. McChesney endorses others points. We're in the 1st year of a 3 year water increase. Also Atlanta pushing us on a 1 cent transportation sales tax. Plus we're asking for SPLOST 1 cent sales tax. Most systems are limited to 5 mils -- we're one of the three highest in the state. In the real world, people are taking salary cuts, furlough days, getting laid off. Sarah: I think my fellow board members should recognize that all of us do not think the same way. Says, "If you don't agree, then don't vote but don't annihilate another board member. Think about how it effects another person the way you state your case (like, when you say, 'it doesn't make sense')." Womack: history of 25 millage cap: Due to DeKalb community college. Constitutional amendment from the state to raise to 25 mils. However, we have disposed of DeKalb college, but have not disposed of the tax. Donna withdraws motion. Turk has to read the original. Sets rate at 22.98 mils. PASSES. [This is going to be a long meeting.]
Back to the operations budget: $1 billion 235 million 105 thousand dollars. Donna asks for calendar modification of furlough days. Close schools over holiday break. Save on utilities. Allows employees vacation or sick days to use. [?] Tyson: Furlough days are a reduction in the work calendar by definition. That's the only way to capture savings. Turk: Value of sick leave or vacation day is not a budget savings. [Kind of basic Is there a reason they couldn't have discussed this before this meeting?] BUDGET PASSES. Unanimous.
Changed the name of the finance committee to include the word audit.
SPLOST IV Resolution: Tyson - wants to build an arts school at Avondale Middle. Shot down the idea to merge Hawthorne with Henderson Mill ESs. Moseley - November SPLOST referendum outlines $475 million in projects. Parsons study showed $3.1 BILLION in facilities needs. [is this above the $2 Billion we were told when we voted for SPLOST 1 years ago?] Jester - amendment - substitute language to say Dunwoody elementary school TBD instead of specifically naming Austin. Tyson: yield to attorneys on wording. Attorney says ok. Motion to write the language to say "for" an elementary school in the Dunwoody cluster. Bowen doesn't understand. Attorney explains - as written, a new school would have to replace Austin. New language gives more latitude. Bowen still questions. Walker questions the difference. Says, "Austin is not in Snellville, it's in Dunwoody." Tyson tries to clarify [this is beginning to look like an episode of Seinfeld] Walker still doesn't understand. Edler: The idea of not specifying a particular school is of concern to me. Says the spirit of this program is to identify 'projects'. That diminishes the work we are trying to do. Donna tells Nancy she's muddying the water. McChesney says it's clear - it creates flexibility. Does not preclude the named school but has a potential for an option because we don't know where numbers will end up. Seconded her motion. [Aren't they supposed to second things before they discuss?] Speaks understands the concept and understands comments. But says if things are in black and white, the citizens hold you accountable. So if there's leeway, it will just be in the Dunwoody area, not specifically for Austin. Is that interpretation the same for the other schools on the list? More discussion. Mosely says data shows that the Dunwoody area has a definite need for capacity. Staff recommended Austin due to it's low building score. Sarah mocks Jester for "picking" through projects. Says she'll do the same and have a "picking good time". Jay says no. Leave it as is. Motion Fails (6-3)
Jester - appreciates the time put into the SPLOST plan but is concerned about the time constraints. Voters should have more info and be allowed more feedback and discussion time. Special interest groups have been able to organize and advocate for their desires. There hasn't been time to make a formal building plan. Votes no but SPLOST IV Referendum PASSES (8-1) [This gives Coralwood their requested $10.6 million - click here to read our post on it.]
Turk - property taxes are above projections by $11 million [Really???!]
Turk: Annual tuition fee for non-residents: $3, 400+ (down from last year) Edler: Who pays? Turk: used for seniors who have moved, but want to graduate from the school they attended. Edler: Is it also an option for anyone to choose to attend DCSS? Moseley - it only applies to seniors.
Turk: Bank of America for 22 deposit accounts. Sarah: heard bad things about Bank of America on the news. Did you? Bowen: I would not admit it.
Wilson: Approve personnel for ALL 2011-12 contracts as recommended on the CD given to board members and in a binder in the board office.
Knollwood library - Target donation (>$5,000)
Contracts for web-based programs and other services (routine annual items)
Preschool special ed - 84 classrooms. Software to monitor progress. IDEA funds.
Gifted and professional dev online courses. Edler: do we charge the teachers for these online courses? No.
Stepney: College board - DCSS to pay for 9th grade PSAT exams - $95,000+
AdvancEd / SACS - yearly dues $72,600 (requirement) [!]
Annual Perkins Grant - Career/Tech ed
Communities in Schools of Atlanta - $885,000 for contracted services for 12 Title 1 high schools (Title 1 funds used) McChesney compliments the detailed info the board was given on this beforehand - would like to get this kind of info more often. Edler: Any volunteers or are they paid? All coordinators are paid but we do have volunteers.
Donahue: Capital outlay budget reallocations: [Bunch of them - check the agenda]
Chamblee HS - approve the new site [didn't realize there was a new site]
$52 million limit to Turner Construction
More money for the WBBC! Some kind of coolers... $802,000!!! Plus an additional MILLION for something else! Tyson explained in detail. [Didn't we just approve MILLIONS for this move last year?!! Here is a link to the project descriptions and here's a link to our original blogpost on the cost of the move.]
Replace the septic tank at Smokerise ES (the only one in the system)
New copiers for all schools next year!
Hunter: SchoolNet $900,000+; plus $179,975 for testing software;
Lakeside HS technology pkg: $705,000
Telecom equipment: Zeta technologies $221,000+
OTHER BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes) No one had a closing comment.