Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7 Board Meeting - PART 1

The citizen comments are about to begin.

The leader of the bus drivers is complaining that bus drivers are in distress - lowered pay, increase in insurance premiums, dropped retirement contributions.  She demanded a meeting with board reps.  She was pretty angry.
Hightower parent: the school is overcrowded. Need more buses. Need water offered at lunch in addition to milk and juice.
Teacher/parent: complimenting DCSS. Daughter is in the IB program at Tucker. Very happy with it. Earned 15 college credits. Is now at Kennesaw State.
Viola Davis: Investigated a school but was told that she should only be concerned with her own child's school.  Produced an Open Records Request. Wants the board to reconsider the cell tower agreement with T-Mobile.
Parent from MLK HS - IB Program. Cell tower is due to be installed at MLK -- a flawed decision in a flawed process. Haphazard notification.
Teacher at SW DeKalb - skeptical of new program with lesson plans.  He feels he is a professional and can write his own lesson plans. US test prep works.  Please continue to fund it. Let me do what I do best.
Lisa Morgan: (ODE rep and Kindergarten teacher) Good things: National Assn of black storytellers holding national conference this week. Tony E and MLK will host storytellers Thurs, Allgood hosting on Friday. Concern: Furlough days. Third Friday of Dec, teachers walk out of classroom and in high school, won't see same students on Jan 4 - when all reenter the building.  Teachers need that prep day that was taken away.  Does the system truly expect teachers to give a final on the last day and be prepared the next school day for the new group?
Parent: We need another Theme Middle School in the south end of the county. Champion has a wait list of over 500 students. Options are too limited. People are moving or sending children across the county.  They would rather their child ride the bus for hours a day than send their child to their home school. 36 of 86 DCSS ESs met AYP. 100% of theme schools met AYP. Board must be proactive and work with parents.
Parent - Wynbrook, Stephenson MS, and Champion, our hope for 6th grade. I was at the round table at Stephenson.  Board has funded schools elsewhere, Stephenson needs funding.  We need another theme school near Avondale. Avondale HS is only partly used for DSA, could use the rest for theme, or Peachcrest or Glen Haven (both closed). Consider bringing uniforms to all ESs. Parents want quality choice schools in the area - we don't have that at this time.
Marquis Frazier - product of DCSS (Sequoyah, MLK 2005). College at GA State. Works at United Way. TWAM (Together We Accomplish More) - a group he created. College students to speak to high schools about how to prepare for college. Left a video for the board's consideration.
Marsha Tolbert: Proud parent at DSA. Listed DSA's accomplishments so far this year. Nov 10, open Neil Simon's "Rumors". Is thrilled that the county wants to support and expand the program. But questions SPLOST IV plans. There is no theatre for the program.  No plans for where to house programs. New site only has parking for staff of a middle school.  Need parking for students/staff of a high school along with audience. Building a theatre would cost more than the SPLOST IV allocation for DSA.  Where will the money come from? What's the timeline?  Very glad you share the vision but want to see the plan.
Sandy Purkett: The Great Redan High School, The Pilot Program and the Blue Thunder Band. 25 students: Alabama A&M, all fees waived. Heavy vote Yes for SPLOST. Better facilities discourage dropouts.  The superintendent has "put out everything possible to make sure things are being watched." (?)
Paul Miller; I know you don't want to hear from me - it makes me sick to have to talk to you again about cell towers.  I am a physical therapist, I see cancer victims every day having endured bone marrow transplants. Polled his neighbors and not a single one was aware that the board planned to build cell towers on school property. Principal lied.  Put flyers in pre-K backpacks. PTA said they didn't know, but couldn't take a stand. NO positives except money.
Cheryl Miller: Learned a lot about cell towers and RF radiation.  I don't understand what cell towers have to do with education or why this burden has been put on us - had to deal with it over the summer break when we should have been enjoying family time.  We got Brockett taken off the list, but lot of people still don't know cell towers are going to be built at their school. The board needs to do a much better job of communicating with communities. -- The same issues they have heard about regarding radiation and cell towers are the concerns they will hear about with wireless in the classrooms. That why we will Vote NO on SPLOST.
Jeff Right: Homeowner in Briarlake community. My plan was to live in DeKalb county 10-20 years until I heard that a cell tower was being built.  Critical inconsistency in logic to remove three schools but leave others.  Cumulative accumulation of radiation is dangerous - esp to children. No safe threshold. This is a deal breaker. Will you measure the radiation? Let the county worry about cell coverage and let the board worry about education.
Tammy Macafie: On a committee seeking to establish another theme school to accommodate the over 400 on the waiting list.
David Schutten: SPLOST IV advocate. We have $2 billion worth of needs (Still?!)
Kalid Mahamod Ali Farakhan: Wants surplus supplies given to homeschoolers. Called each board member by name (shades of Romper Room) What do Caucasions know about educating African-Americans?  As long as my brothers and sisters get BMWs and Mercedes, they will look the other way... yada yada...
Willie Pringle: I have a problem with SPLOST. Schools are failing our children. We have some good schools, but the money we have spent in legal fees, unaccounted for - where is the money? I see you asking for another SPLOST when I see teachers, custodians, bus drivers not getting money, but those at the top continue to get pay raises. Cell towers: I told you not to support, but you did.  I told you to vote no but you didn't listen. We have a right to know where our tax dollars go. SPLOST IV should not go.  Millions still unaccounted for in III.  Six years - no audit.  What's wrong?


Anonymous said...

I could not find the live stream of the board meeting on PDS 24, using my computer. It is no longer going to be live?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Find your poll location in DeKalb County!

Get out and VOTE NO ON SPLOST!

If you want your money to be spent on education, give it to a kid!

Anonymous said...

6 years, no audit?? Wow!

Anonymous said...

Pringle does not know what he is talking about. Title 1 is audited by several agencies annually. Does that mean it is not audited because it does not appear on the website? Has he asked to see a copy of a SPLOST audit and was told one does not exist? SPLOST is audited annually by law. Look it up if you don't believe it.

Government entities are audited regularly. Gary Babst gave a report about schools that have audited yet he did not produce the actual audit. Does that mean he was not telling the truth?

Paula Caldarella said...

Gary Babst gave a report about schools that have audited yet he did not produce the actual audit. Does that mean he was not telling the truth?

Since no one, not even the board has seen Babst's audits, we don't know if he is telling the truth. He reports to Eugene Walker, so, who knows what the truth is.

Anonymous said...

"Since no one, not even the board has seen Babst's audits, we don't know if he is telling the truth. He reports to Eugene Walker, so, who knows what the truth is."

If this is the standard on the truth, this would suggest nothing should be believed unless you can see and verify it for yourself. How much time and money should we spend on being "truth seekers" in the school system over educating children?

Cerebration said...

No one should have to spend any time "seeking" the truth. This is about millions (billions) of taxpayer dollars. It is OUR money. We are entitled to see how it is spent.

That said - look what I found in a 12 second Google search -

Gwinnett - 2010 SPLOST Audit

All Forsyth Audits

pscexb said...

Good find Cerebration! I think this is more an issue of transparency in putting the audits online for citizens to review. I researched (and also briefly reviewed the Forsyth audits) and found that independent audits are required by law. I believe they have been done (foolishly perhaps) because the district would be out of compliance and perhaps subjected to penalties if they knowing violated the law.

I will call around to see if it exists and what it would take to have it posted similar to the way Forsyth does it. I like their layout, easy and simple.

Anonymous said...

6 of the 16 speakers spoke about cell towers - 6 months after they were announced publically. Get it? 6 - 6 - 6


I did check out and it has good information.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:58

"Pringle does not know what he is talking about. Title 1 is audited by several agencies annually. Does that mean it is not audited because it does not appear on the website? Has he asked to see a copy of a SPLOST audit and was told one does not exist? SPLOST is audited annually by law. Look it up if you don't believe it."

LOL - Look DCSS Title 1 audits up, but they're not on the DCSS website. Can you give us the web address, or do we need to guess?

Gifty Chung said...

Mr. Babst received his B.A. from Bucknell University in 1969 and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973, where he was Topics and Research Editor of the Law

Anonymous said...

Look on the state audit site for school system audits-these lengthy documents include Title funds and mentin any defficiencies toward the back. No serious problems are found in the last three years audited.

Anonymous said...

How about a link to these audits you claim exist?

Anonymous said...

While we do appreciate anyone wanting to speak out on bad board decisions, we were not particularly fond of the comment from Briarlake, "Critical inconsistency in logic to remove three schools but leave others."

This statement is faulty in logic itself. The speaker apparently just moved here so he likely needs time to catch up. But, if there is faulty logic anywhere, it is to present a proposal for a vote that has discriminated against 12 schools for no particular reason other than they are in areas deemed desirable by T-mobile, a company that is not contributing anything to the educational value of the schools or the enjoyment of the community or improvement of the home values by the people who live there.

The speaker was making a common mistake in the opposition's logic - don't criticize the board for the three they took off the list if you are trying to make the case that your school should be taken off, too. After all Briarlake has essentially thrown the other 8 schools under the bus using this logic because they have jumped on the bandwagon a little late and then attempted to hog as much of the media spotlight for themselves.

Wouldn't it make a better case for them to focus on how this issue is about children's rights to a safe and healthy school environment no matter which school you attend? In fact, more schools should really consider speaking up on this issue RIGHT NOW in case their school is the next one on the list the board is considering right now.

Don't get caught in the same circumstances as these desperate families. They are begging the board to reverse or reconsider a decision and we all know that will never happen. Why? Because that would meant they might actually have to admit they were w-w-w-wrong about something. And we all know that will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Uh, can someone please buy Dr. Atkinson a calendar? Or usher over her new $77K executive assistant and overpaid entourage the will likely come along for the ride?

While it is always refreshing to hear deadlines, we might have a big pileup of projects if she keeps throwing out random "sounds good to me" dates without realizing that she has too many people on too many projcts all scheduled to present their findings on the 1st or the 15th of any given month.

And, the presenters might be a little upset when they show up and realize that Jan. 1, 2012 is on a Sunday. And all the good board members are at church tithing your creffelo dollars.

Good luck with that!