Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SPLOST IV Passes Handily

The votes have been counted and SPLOST IV has been approved by 62% of the voters of DeKalb. We had many conversations on this blog about the future of SPLOST and the terrible loss in public trust that has resulted from the mismanagement and corruption of past SPLOSTs. Dr. Atkinson has promised better oversight of new SPLOST dollars and we look forward to reporting as the spending numbers are released. We will all tread very carefully into the future, keeping an attitude of cautious optimism. We will still push for more transparency and continue to hope to get the Check Register published online. Best wishes to all of the school communities who have promised SPLOST IV projects!

For the record, click here to read the actual text of the referendum along with a list of promised projectsClick here to read the formal announcement from the board to the public.

From the DCSS Powerpoint regarding SPLOST IV promises:

SPLOST IV List: Elementary School Upgrades New Elementary School Facilities Include: • Austin Elementary School • Fernbank Elementary School • Gresham Park Elementary School • Peachcrest Elementary School • Pleasantdale Elementary School • Rockbridge Elementary School • Smoke Rise Elementary School Additions for: • Coralwood Diagnostic Center

SPLOST IV List: Secondary School Upgrades
Replacement of: • Ronald A. McNair MS • Chamblee HS Additions & Major Renovations At: • Comprehensive Arts School at the former Avondale MS location • Henderson MS • Redan HS
Major Renovations At: • Southwest DeKalb HS • Stone Mountain HS

SPLOST IV List: Other Improvements
• Stadiums - $ 10,200,000
• Technology Equipment Refresh & Infrastructure – $38,700,000
• Americans with Disabilities Act Improvements - $ 2,500,000
• Buses & Service Vehicles - $ 11,800,000
• Security Systems Upgrade - $ 2,500,000
• Local School Priority Requests – $ 5,500,000

SPLOST IV List: Capital Renewal Program
A $93.1 million Capital Renewal Program over five years will complete over 300 projects system-wide: • Roofing • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) • Electrical • Plumbing • Kitchen Upgrades • Environmental • Code Requirements

SPLOST IV Budget Overview

=== To read a CrossRoads News post on the results, featuring Jay Cunningham holding a sign promoting SPLOST, click here.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know yet if they're planning on rebuilding Pleasantdale in the same location or moving it?

Anonymous said...

You would think that the highly paid, supposedly talented new public relations people at DCSS would have released or posted on their web site a pre-prepared statement early this morning thanking the citizens of DeKalb for voting in the affirmative for SPLOST IV. Ya think?

Cerebration said...

As I stated elsewhere: There is a big plus to the passage of SPLOST. Legislators will not have to reword the new law. We can now look forward to dismissing two seats on the board. Most likely that will be Dr. Walker and Pam Speaks due to the fact that they represent "super districts". In addition, the districts will be redrawn according to population, which will shift board zones northward. The north end of the county, with the population growth reported by the 2010 U.S. Census will most likely take a board seat from the south end. Same goes for the legislature.

Paula Caldarella said...

I received this via email this morning. This is just beyond unacceptable and my head is about to explode with my anger with DCSS. Maybe the Friends of DeKalb will have a fundraiser so that the teachers at Chamblee can have computers.

"The trailers at Chamblee have experienced several burglaries resulting in the theft of computers and projectors. This vital equipment helps our teachers provide creative lessons that engage students. In addition to the other security solutions we have now put in place, we would like for teachers to use laptops instead of desktops so that they can remove the computers from the trailers each night. If parents can donate (or lead us to a company that can donate) used or new laptops for our teachers, please contact Shervette Miller at 678-676-7008 or

Cerebration said...

Geesh. Actually, teachers should ALL be using laptops. That is best for security. It's best for collaborative meetings and for file-sharing, communicating and making presentations. Also, it's best for taking work home and posting grades from home (as most teachers do overtime work from home quite a lot). Most corporate teams I work with provide each member with a laptop. Plus, the price of laptops has gone waaaaay down.

Cerebration said...

Of course, that is NOT to say that parents at certain schools that experience thefts should have to pay for those laptops - that's absurd!

Anonymous said...

That email is awful, Dunwoody Mom! Like, beyond words awful! Why is DCSS paying insurance? Asking US to donate? Well, let's see. Maybe because we're already triple-taxed - property taxes, SPLOST, and PTA-type contributions to our individual schools. Now they want us to just donate straight to the school system? HA!

I think it's a brilliant idea to ask Friends of DeKalb Schools about this. Oh, wait, Fernbank doesn't feed into Chamblee. You're out of luck.

Anonymous said...

Context: the email requesting laptop donations is from the Chamblee PTSA, and the contact person named in it is a teacher. The laptop request is one of 7 items in today's PTSA email newsletter.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I can't wait to see the re-drawn lines should be fun to watch. I look forward to helping out, for the future of our schools

My only problem with all of this, 2012 is going to be a historical year for DCSS(D?). Trials, lawsuits, audits, resulting reorganization, and the 9 to 7 election. All this and we haven't even started to talk about EDUCATION, the actual mission of DCSS(D?). I hope Dr. Atkinson and her newly hired can focus on that part, while the long timers re-live their past failures.

Anonymous said...

I really doubt that the Friends of [one wealthy corner of] DeKalb have slept off the champagne yet.

Anyway, what stuck me is $10.2 MILLION FOR STADIUMS on that list. Maybe it's just me, but shoudn't football be a lower priority than academics, and stadia only paid for when classrooms are all up to snuff?

Anonymous said...

Do the SPLOST funds have to be used for a community? I am an Austin parent who doesn't want a 900 seat school to be built. What can we do to prevent this?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:43: Just wondering...a 1000 seat elementary school is OK for some in the Dunwoody community but a 900 seat school is not OK for the Austin kids? I've been trying to figure out why the Austin community is so against a brand new building. Plenty of families throughout the county have had to travel significantly farther to get to a different school after this last round of redistricting. Any potential new site for Austin wouldn't be more than a couple of miles away, so moving the school from its current site wouldn't be a hardship, just an inconvenience. Could you explain the passion against the new school building?

Cerebration said...

Anon, this is exactly why Nancy Jester voted No on the SPLOST plan. While she stated that she agreed that another elementary school (most likely a fairly large one) will need to be built in Dunwoody, she was not willing to commit to the location being Austin. She pointed out that the growth in Dunwoody is far greater than elsewhere in the county and the school would likely need to be built in a more accessible area.

Now, the SPLOST IV boxes in that choice to the Austin replacement only. However, I did hear Fran Millar say (to paraphrase) 'unless' some kind of issue is found with the land - say, a dangerous underground gas line - that would prevent expansion on the property is found.

Cerebration said...

I wonder if the old "Shallowford" ES (also formerly Chamblee MS) could be torn down and replaced instead? Dunwoody is very congested - it's hard to find a road to place a school that would hold 900 students that wouldn't cause nightmarish traffic jams.

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, what stuck me is $10.2 MILLION FOR STADIUMS on that list. Maybe it's just me, but shoudn't football be a lower priority than academics, and stadia only paid for when classrooms are all up to snuff?"

Athletics take priority in DCSS. Our school board voted to fund varsity lacrosse teams and while at the same time voting for teacher furlough days (less pay for teachers). And we wonder why academic achievement in DCSS continues to decline.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, DeKalb has 5 stadiums all over 40 years old. It is used for Varsity and JV football in the fall, Boys and Girls Soccer, both Varsity and JV. You think spending an average of 2 million dollars for each facility that so many of our students use is too much? Given this kind of wear and tear, don't you think something should be spent on upkeep? Would you prefer they kick rocks?

Anonymous said...

Anon - 1:56 is right. Young families are pouring into Dunwoody. To allow for this growth (and potential new growth), Dunwoody will definitely need a large school. It will be a collosal waste to build a school here that's not at the recommended 900 seat capacity The Shallowford campus might work as it's not too far from Austin and is not in a congested area.

Paula Caldarella said...

Yes, I know it is from the Chamblee PTSA - that is irrelevant. Teachers should NOT have to get their own lapstops AT ALL!! DCSS should be replacing these computers, not the Chamblee PTSA.

Paula Caldarella said...

The current Austin campus is not large enough for a 900-seat school. The State DOE would have to okay this site as they did for Chamblee HS. However, DCSS did purchase the apartments that reside next to Chamblee to add more land. Is DCSS willing to buy out homes near Austin? Will those homeowners be willing to sale?

Anonymous said...

I'd prefer to pay for them to learn about rocks before I pay for them to kick them.

I'm not saying the athletic facilities don't need work; I'm sure many do.

But my ideological view of a school system is that a certain basic level of quality in academic facilities used by all kids needs to be a priority for an academic institution before we address athletic facilities that, let's be honest, are not used by as many kids as the classrooms are.

Cerebration said...

In addressing the budget for SPLOST funded technology, Get the Cell Out Atlanta reps addressed the board regarding the dangers of placing children in a Wi-Fi environment all day as the SPLOST plan calls for children to use laptops with wireless internet. There is evidence that Wi-Fi emits high levels of microwave radiation - a type of radio wave that can cause learning issues and health problems in humans, especially children. In fact, wireless laptops emit three times the radiation of a cell phone.

To learn more about the dangers of microwaves and their possible harm to children, watch this video at Get the Cell Out.

Get the Wi-Fi Out! Vote No on SPLOST!

Although, obviously, SPLOST passed, you can still download the "Opt Out of Wi-Fi" form that you can sign and send to the superintendent if you don't want your child exposed to radiowaves. (Computers can easily be individually hard-wired for internet access, which emits no radiation.)

Cerebration said...

As far as preferences of renovating schools before stadiums goes - there was NO official priority list attached to this SPLOST, so the order of implementation over the next five years is apparently flexible. That said, if you have a preference, you had better be vocal about it to your board reps. Even then, you may be outvoted. They have been trying to upgrade the stadiums for years.

Anonymous said...

Students from over 40 schools use the athletic facilities throughout the year. Spending less than 1% of SPLOST money on stadiums is not going to break the bank, in fact may save money if the upkeep results in fewer injuries.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Barabra Coleman will do a fantastic job with the SPLOST constructions and renovations.

But if you trust Steve Donahue and the Samm Moss staff to properly maintain those buildings, you haven't paid attention to how Sam Moss currently maintains facilities.

Same goes with MIS. If you trust our MIS administrators to properly spend SPLOST dollars, you're not a DCSS teacher who's had to interact with this miserable department.

Anonymous said...

"Students from over 40 schools use the athletic facilities throughout the year. Spending less than 1% of SPLOST money on stadiums is not going to break the bank, in fact may save money if the upkeep results in fewer injuries.
November 9, 2011 2:59 PM"

You have no idea what you are talking about Anon 2:59. Proper turf maintenance, which DCSS doesn't do well now, has nothing to do with stadium renovation, as long as the existing drainage.

Improvements to the football stadiums are no way near as important as classroom failities and needs. Stadium improvements can be funded other ways. Also, the reason why the stadiums look as poorly as they do is because they are so poorly maintained by the Sam Moss Dept.

Anonymous said...

"Also, the reason why the stadiums look as poorly as they do is because they are so poorly maintained by the Sam Moss Dept."

Stadiums look poorly because we don't spend much money on them. You get what you pay for.

"Stadium improvements can be funded other ways. "

The turf at Hallford was partially paid for with a grant from the Atlanta Falcons. What other way would you propose paying for stadium improvements, selling naming rights? Next you will say that we should not have athletics and the stadiums sold to go back into the schools.

The athletics programs have helped many students go to college that might not normally go. Stadium improvements, though small, are a worthwhile investment.

Anonymous said...

Meant to say the stadiums sold with the money going back to the schools.

Cerebration said...

And thus the basic problem with SPLOST. We're at Day 1 and we already have adults arguing over how the money is to be spent and which projects are more important. Without a Priority List, this was bound to happen. All projects listed must legally be completed, so it's not a matter of 'if', but 'when'. The stadiums will be renovated. The rest of the list will be completed as well. We have five or more years to get it all done.

Anonymous said...

I believe that DCSS has to decide what are their priorities right now. Is their priority to educate our children, have jobs for friends and family, have sports for our kids, and so on.

Right now the powers that be are doing a fine job of keep jobs for friends and family,and in my opinion not much else.

Until we make education the focus of the district, stop the leaking roofs, and make our schools livable, not palaces, and then we can work on sports and other extra activities. What happens to the money collected at the gates for admission? Why can't that money be used to improve the fields?

betty said...

FYI - National PTA strongly urges no funds should be raised to be used to purchase technology or playgrounds. We should direct our energies to making the local governing school boards make these purchases.

If your PTA purchases technology and said technology is stolen, the PTA is out the dough and the technology. The county will not remunerate for or replace said technology. If donated to the school and the same occurs, Dekalb has one of the lowest deductables in the metro area per school $100K. most are $500K. PTA is unable to insure this equipment separately, why I don't know but this is a fact.

If PTA purchases a playground, they MUST formally donate in front of the school board and ask the school board to accept. Which they must, otherwise PTA is still on the hook for liability, maintenance, etc.

Our board will always let us fund raise and buy whatever we want for our school, that just means they don't have to do these things.

The intention of PTA is to promote wellness, child advocacy, family involvement in the school. We raise those dollars cuz if we want to our kids to have these things available in our schools, we do it because the money isn't there or the board won't.

But reaching out to the PTA is NOT the place of the county, they have their hand out already and we just handed them a $451 million check.

Anonymous said...

As the first "Anon" on the subject of stadia (I think there's at least 2 others) I'll just state my position simply then leave.

The priority of an academic institition, such as a school system, ought to be academics, not athletics (or cushy offices & salaries for administrators, but I think we're all in agreement there).

Fix the classroom first, the ball field second.

Anonymous said...

"What happens to the money collected at the gates for admission? Why can't that money be used to improve the fields?"

Productive question that could be a blog topic. Athletics barely break even in DeKalb. Without question, the football gate followed by basketball generates most of the revenue for athletics. DeKalb splits all revenue between all the schools. Football powers like ML King, Jr, Southwest DeKalb, Stephenson and Tucker than have large followings share their gates with schools that may not have as many followers. Those schools have also been asking for a change in the allocation formulas knowing that they bring in most of the athletic revenue.

You also must consider the expenses such as transportation to and from games along with paying officials. Some of the smaller schools play football at a loss however they are subsidized by the larger ones. Also factor in the other sports that may only be attended by parents of the athletes such as gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, soccer, etc.

Our students go to other counties and marvel at their athletic facilities. While we don't have Taj Mahals, the athletic facilities should get regular investments. It is an important part of the overall school experience.

Anonymous said...

"Our students go to other counties and marvel at their athletic facilities. While we don't have Taj Mahals, the athletic facilities should get regular investments. It is an important part of the overall school experience."

Maybe then parents should be demanding that our county begin to spend it's money in a wiser fashion. The money for better schools, providing a better education and nicer sports fields is there, if we spent what we had in a prudent fashion.

While nice fancy fields are nice, they aren't keeping or bringing parents of young children like me to sending our children to DCSS. Only an huge improvement in the quality of education will bring my family and others to the county schools. Maybe that is what the district needs to focus on first, as providing a quality education should be the first priority of our administration.

Anonymous said...

@ Cereb 12:34 PM Ms Speaks always impressed me as being one of the more educational oriented members of of the BOE. I would hate to see her go. Maybe she could beat one of Cunningham, SCW or Edler.
If Dr Walker wants to stay, he will tell one of those three to get lost.

As to all of those lists of what is to be done and where, as they say in Brooklyn fugedaboutit. They were done only to sell the package. If you want a piece of the SPLOST pie for some project, the organize and pressure your BOE member. Start now. Do not feel constrained by anything on the list.

Anonymous said...

If Ms Speaks loses her seat on the board, I hope she well run for a School Board seat in another part of DeKalb.

NOT Waiting for Superman said...

Day One of the Next Five Years and already the squabbling has begun.

I'm just curious. How many of you "bought" what the DCSS Mafia was "selling" and voted "yes" for SPLOST IV?

How many of you bought into the guilt trip they were laying on thick and voted "yes" for SPLOST IV?

How many of you never bothered to ask -- before you voted -- why the sorry BOE and The Palace Friends-and-Family Corps feel no guilt or shame for what they are stealing from our teachers and students?

So you voted "yes" for SPLOST IV just like you were told to do?

Why do you think taxpayers should pay through the nose while the DCSS Mafia is laughing all the way to the bank? And nothing will change "for the children."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cerebration said...

Sorry. I'm not going to let this conversation devolve into a name-calling, race-baiting abomination.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday's AJC ... County is having a hard time financially. Housing tax roll is predicted to decline by another 5% next year. Look out for another tax increase.

Montgomery County in Alabama is declaring bankruptcy. That would be a good move for DeKalb County and DCSS. Maybe get some real managers in the place.

Cerebration said...

The Dunwoody Crier has a report that Barbara Colman and Dan Drake attended the Dunwoody Homeowner's Association meeting Sunday night answering questions about SPLOST before Tuesday's vote. Some Dunwoody homeowners and board members are saying that Kingsley and Chesnut schools are actually in worse shape than Austin, which is scheduled to be torn down and replaced with a 900-student model. Others worried that a new, larger Austin can't be built on its current site due to power lines and a pipeline.

Cerebration said...

FWIW, for those who think we're spending too much on stadiums, to put it in perspective, the budget allocates $10.2 million to renovate all five stadiums for all sports teams and high schools. Similarly, the budget also allocates $10.6 million for an addition to Coralwood school and $10.1 million for buses.

Anonymous said...

It's not a question of "too much" spent on athletic facilities. It's a question of priorities. A leaky classroom roof--every last one of them--ought to be repaired before we spend money on extracurriculars of any kind.

Cerebration said...

True that, however, the votes have been cast and the plans are thus cast in stone. Stadiums are 'in'...

Cerebration said...

Mark Your Calendar:

The DeKalb Council of PTAs is holding a legislative forum on November 17 at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education complex at 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

Members of the DeKalb County Legislative Delegation will be present to speak with parents about educational issues. Legislators who have confirmed their attendance are Rep. Scott Holcomb, Rep. Pam Stephenson, Rep. Simone Bell, Rep. Rahn Mayo, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, Rep. Elena Parent, Rep. Billy Mitchell, Sen. Steve Hensen and Sen. Ron Ramsey.

Anonymous said...

WOW. This is something that we really need to look into with how the money is spent.

Anonymous said...

70 million to non-school construction (about 15% of referendum)

$80 million to non-construction across the board (anothr 15%)

What was the original intent for SPLOST capital?

EAV Mom said...

While I certainly want money spent to improve education, I don't think we should limit education to reading and math. Extracuricular activities are important for the overall health of our children. The funds directed to the athletic fields are a fraction of the budget and I think it is a good idea to spend this money. Children in this country are now overweight/obese at a rate of 1 in 3 with childhood diseases like diabetes and hypertension skyrocketing. Our children NEED MORE physical activity in their lives and while we should find wise ways to spend our dollars, we should not forget the importance of physical education in our world of ever increasing obesity. Many dollars are being squander by DCSS. Let's demand those funds be spent wisely, and not give up fields that we should be able to afford if not for the wasteful habits of those running the palace.

Anonymous said...

Super happy that SPLOST passed so that the county can feel like it has an extra slush fund. More importantly, voters sent them the message that things are going just fine and no need to manage any money property.

Why, we're even paying people with a GED $53,000 as a secretary! Premier DeKalb!!

Anonymous said...

You probably already know that the one cent E-SPLOST is figured into your basic services- electric, gas, telephone, cell phone in addition to other things that you buy...

Cerebration said...

The leadership at DCSS has been historically unable to maintain sufficient paperwork to even capture the construction funds due to us from the state. (But yet, they would have us believe that we need cell towers to raise a mere pittance by comparison...)

Sloppy paperwork, missed deadlines cost DeKalb
schools millions
By Megan Matteucci
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
6:49 p.m. Thursday, May 6, 2010
Sloppy paperwork cost DeKalb County schools $25 million dollars last year and almost cost millions more again
this year, officials said.
The mistakes caused the state Department of Education to revoke $11 million in construction funds and
temporarily withhold another $14 million, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
DeKalb taxpayers ended up paying for the $14 million in construction projects with sales tax dollars, which
could have been used for other purposes.
Further, the district’s rocky relationship with the state almost cost the troubled school system another $27
million this year.
“We lost more than $20 million last year because of sloppy paperwork on behalf of the school district,” school
board member H. Paul Womack said this week.
The AJC has learned that DeKalb taxpayers have spent millions of dollars in sales tax to help build and
renovate schools, instead of relying on state funds as other districts do. State law allows for reimbursement of
up to 90 percent of construction costs.
“Taxpayers are having to pay more local dollars for these projects because they’re not getting their state
portion,” said Lynn Jackson, the Georgia Department of Education’s associate superintendent for business
operations. “Other projects could have lost out.”
The only reason the school system didn’t make the multi-million-dollar mistake again this year was because
State Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) intervened, securing a special extension that ended up bringing the
district $27 million in state funding, Womack said.
“Fran fixed it,” Womack, chairman of the board's budget committee, said about this year's state construction
funding. “But it shouldn’t have gotten to that point.” . . .

Every year, school systems submit a plan to the state detailing the square footage of each school, building
conditions and anticipated enrollment. That information is then used to determine how much money the state
awards each district to build new schools and renovate existing facilities, Jackson said.
awards each district to build new schools and renovate existing facilities, Jackson said.
Deadlines must be met and paperwork filled out correctly, which is not a problem for most districts, Jackson
But it was for DeKalb, the state’s third-largest school system.

So - this was all blamed on Pat Pope, however, have we learned our lesson and now turn in proper paperwork? Anyone know?

Cerebration said...

It's unclear how much state funding DeKalb might have lost through the years.
Millar said he got involved last year after reading a news release from the governor listing the amounts districts
received. Cobb, Gwinnett and the other large systems had received $20 million to $30 million.
DeKalb got $1.2 million, Millar said.
A review of school records shows that last year DeKalb lost: $8.18 million for Arabia Mountain High School,
$1.7 million for Miller Grove High School, $525,000 for an unnamed elementary school, $1.23 million for an
unnamed high school, $858,000 for Columbia High School, $8.18 million for an unnamed high school, $4.47
million for Flat Rock Elementary, $890,000 for Stone Mountain Middle School, $297,000 for McNair High
School, and $733,000 for Peachtree Middle School.
Funding for the first four schools was lost altogether. The money for the last six projects was revoked, but it is
available for future school projects, said interim chief operating officer Barbara Colman.
“We didn’t get the paperwork until it was way too late and past the federal tax code deadlines,” Jackson said.
Millar said he met with Jackson, Lewis and other school officials last year.
“Sloppy paperwork should not be the reason that 97,000 students are punished” he wrote to the state
Department of Education last year. “If they let this happen again, and if I am still in the legislature, I will
barbecue them in the press.”

So, does anyone know if this has been corrected? Did Ms. Colman get our paperwork turned in on time? Were we awarded construction funding from the state this year?

Anonymous said...

Am I correct in my understanding that BOE members are not allowed to encourage people to vote "yes" or "no" on SPLOST?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Jay Cunningham really isn't as stupid as he appears to be. But then again maybe he did something wrong, unethical, or illegal.

This Crossroads News article clearly shows him holding one of the Friends of DeKalb Education signs which encourage people to vote "yes":

Anonymous said...

Look at this news article just published by the AJC:

DeKalb school ad for secretary draws fire over $72,000 salary

Anonymous said...

Cere, a bit off topic, but does anyone know where to find the October 2011 count numbers for school enrollments? I have a very hard time finding data on the DCSS website any more. And what data is on the webpages is often out of date.
So much for tranparency.

Paula Caldarella said...

The FTE data is on the Georgia DOE site, under the "Reports" section:

Anonymous said...

It is a good thing that Splost pasted. The heating and air conditioning systems are being replaced at our school that was built in the '60s. Teachers in some rooms are sick constantly. They leave and the next teacher is sick with colds, coughs, and nasal problems. Mold infests some rooms. Teachers beg for help and nothing is done. If the air conditioning system does work most rooms are freezing cold. When the service department comes out they say that nothing can be done. I have been at this school and this problem has been a constant nightmare.

Paula Caldarella said...

You want to be nauseous? Look at who is being honored at the Board Meeting on Monday...Yep, "Friends of DeKalb"...

It is requested that the Board of Education proclaim Monday, November 14, 2011 as "Friends of DeKalb Education IV Day" in support of the DeKalb County Board of Education and School System for the successful passing of the 4th Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

Motion by: ____________
Seconded by: _________
Vote: ________

Anonymous said...

AAAAAAUUUUGGGHHHH! My brain is exploding!

This certainly supports my despairing feeling that the whole system is a circle j**k.

Paula Caldarella said...

It's just a big "F-U" to the those of us who voted "NO", but hey, that's okay. This is just futher reflection, and not a good one, of this school board. I am proud of my "NO" vote. I am proud that I sent a message to this school board and school system that enough is enough. You've done enough damage to our students. "Friends of DeKalb" were only interested in a new Fernbank school, they could care less about the the rest of the DeKalb County students and for this organization to be honored is a farce.

Dekalbparent said...

What continues to puzzle me is that the children will not stay at Fernbank forever - eventually they go somewhere else. As a parent, my energies went to the schools my children attended, and I suspect the energies of these people will as well.

It seems like such a lot of effort for a comparatively short time they will reap the rewards - those children are in second grade or above will never have the big, improved school that is described - they will have the school as it currently is, or the temporarily relocated school at Avondale, again without the promised amenities.

If the children stay in DCSS after fifth grade, the parents with the narrow vision will be contending with the same insufficient schools as we are describing here on he blog.

Anonymous said...

@ Dekalbparent
"What continues to puzzle me is that the children will not stay at Fernbank forever - eventually they go somewhere else."

Yes. But they will own their homes for many years afterwards. They know the value of their homes is greatly contingent on their school.

For example, Willivee Dr. is the next street over from Medlock (3 minute walk). For over 20 years houses on the side of Willivee Dr. zoned to Medlock and the opposite side of the street has been zoned to Fernbank (pretty long bus ride to Fernbank through some heavy traffic). They are small 1950s homes, pretty much exactly alike in looks, square footage, bedrooms (2 to 3), bathrooms (1 or 2). The side of Willivee Dr. zoned to Fernbank went for tens of thousands more over 20 years ago.

So I suspect much of it is about property values.

Here is information on a house on Coventry Rd. (near to the elementary school)
Square Footage 2,210
Condition Code Average
Quality Grade Good
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 3.5

Here is another one on Coventry:
Square Footage 2,586
Condition Code Good
Quality Grade Average Plus
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2

When you sell your house, if you want a premium price, you need to be able to sell to young families with children. The better the school, the more they will pay.

This is just IMO.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone really surprised that the Friends of Fernbank are being honored? I'll just bet Eugene Walker is behind this. The relationship between Walker and this group needs to be investigated.

Anonymous said...

@ dundevil
" Montgomery County in Alabama is declaring bankruptcy.."

No Jefferson County is declaring bankruptcy. That's the county that encompasses Birmingham. Montgomery County encompasses Montgomery. They are solvent.

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the info on the FTE count Dunwoody Mom!

FWIW - below is a list that I sorted from the state data showing the top 20 schools with the highest enrollment.

3060-Lakeside High School 1862
2055-Druid Hills High School 1809
1070-Tucker High School 1629
0610-Arabia Mountain High School - Academy of Engineering, Medicine and Environm 1566
0105-Miller Grove High School 1563
5067-Southwest DeKalb High School 1526
0103-Martin Luther King, Jr. High School 1510
5055-Dunwoody High School 1510
0497-Stephenson High School 1491
0797-Henderson Middle School 1475
5052-Chamblee Charter High School 1372
0189-Peachtree Middle School 1344
0605-Tucker Middle School 1316
4053-Clarkston High School 1311
2054-Columbia High School 1288
0202-Lithonia High School 1266
0176-Redan High School 1239
0203-Lithonia Middle School 1160

* Did you notice that Henderson MS has more students than Chamblee HS???!

Anonymous said...

Cere: Did you notice that Chamblee High school only has 1/2 a building for the next two years?

Let's provide all the facts.

But realistically, if the state obtains a waiver from the NCLB AYP transfer rules, then it will be interesting to see what happens to all the high school enrollments.

This is why I voted NO on SPLOST IV. There is still no long term vision or plan, especially for the middle and high schools.

Cerebration said...

You're right Anon, CCHS's enrollment has dropped a bit - I was just kind of taken aback at the size of Henderson MS...

BTW - these are the historical enrollment numbers for CCHS

Chamblee HS
2000-01 - 1,274
2001-02 - 1,301
2002-03 - 1,336
2003-04 - 1,340
2004-05 - 1,346
2005-06 - 1,401
2006-07 - 1,420
2007-08 - 1,393
2008-09 - 1,564
2009-10 - 1,512

OCT 2011: 1,372

Cerebration said...

And the historical enrollment numbers for Henderson MS:

2000-01 - 1,392
2001-02 - 1,317
2002-03 - 1,404
2003-04 - 1,395
2004-05 - 1,140
2005-06 - 1,235
2006-07 - 1,228
2007-08 - 1,235
2008-09 - 1,363
2009-10 - 1,324

OCT 2011: 1,475

Cerebration said...

It's incredible to me, as Henderson is a middle school with only 3 grade levels and Chamblee is a high school with 4 grade levels... Henderson MS is quite large by comparison. It's surprising...

Cerebration said...

Peachtree, Tucker and Lithonia middle schools are right up there with Henderson and in fact as large or larger than many of our high schools. I think we all need to keep this in mind when we think about allocating funding. Many of our middle schools have as many students - and as much need as our high schools.

Anonymous said...

Hey has everyone heard Barbara Colman is leaving - horraaayyy! I for one am glad. Say whatever you like - but Barbara Colman - was in over her head and she took her way out before she was found out. I work with her so I know. Hopefully the Sam Moss Center will get what they need - true leadership!

Cerebration said...

Well now, there's a twist! I wonder who will take over...

Employee said...

For Now - a Jacobs Employee is taking over. His name is Carleton Parker - he is qualified in the Construction industry. The Parsons-Jacobs contract is up for renewal and has to go out for bid early next year.

Cerebration said...

Thanks -- all very interesting I would say...

Anonymous said...

Sam Moss Center is under Steve Donahue, a former Principal.

Anonymous said...

Yes and apparently, educators believe that once you reach the level of principal, you are qualified to do any other kind of job. No need for maintenance, construction experts, HR experts, transportation experts, or television production experts to apply for jobs in DeKalb. We've got it covered -- we have the all-knowing former principals! (And or/relatives of former board members.)

Anonymous said...

And it no wonder - a former Principal hired them all!!

Paula Caldarella said...

I want some of what Mark Elgart of SACS is drinking. This is from a an article in the print edition of the AJC with regards to the Atlanta school system being removed from probation.

He is asked about DeKalb: "...DeKalb's are more staff-orieted - the breakdown in oversight and monitoring and following their own policies. This board has been deeply committed to fixing the gaps and shoring up the monitoring of policies...In DeKalb we should be releasing findings between no and Thanksgiving."

Several board policies have been broken within the last 6 months and he thinks this is "shoring up?". Doesn't look like the teachers and students will be getting help from

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom
I read that and thought the same thing. Mark Elgart is trying how to figure out how to "pass" DeKalb even though someone on the BOE actually leaked the information on the interview with a superintendent who had been elected by a majority of the DCSS BOE.

Clearly this was a violation of Board ethics.

Paula Caldarella said...

I had to laugh during last night's board meeting. BOE Member after BOE Member patted themselves, and Friends of DeKalb, on the back for the SPLOST vote. I mean it was a mandate and a signel of confidence in the board - right?

Not so fast. I am still crunching numbers, but here is the voter turnout per BOE Member District:

Bowen - 8% Turnout
Copelin-Wood - 8% Turnout
Cunningham - 10% Turnout
Edler - 9% Turnout
Jester - 25% Turnout (Dunwoody Elections a big reason)
McChesney - 17% Turnout (Fernbank votes included)
Womack - 16% Turnout

No, sorry BOE, you have no mandate. We will be watching your every word, move and decision with these SPLOST projects.

Anonymous said...

We're going to need some of that new SPLOST money to redo the new Lakeside front parking lot! Another example of the ready, fire, aim strategy of DCSS and their contractors!

After the rain last night the front lot spaces are flooded and unusable!

Another EPIC FAIL!

Sagamore 7 said...

ANON 8:03am

This is definitely a contractor expense and NOT a DCSS expense.

I think this is a perfect example of costs that the taxpayers will NEVER know about.

I will go to Lakeside and check on the parking lot to see the damage, record the damage with photos and report back.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Lakeside- you already got your fair share of SPLOST! Where's your design team and SCORe team?Why aren't they advocating for Lakeside and holding the contractors accountable? Where's Mr. Reed? Oh have Hogan Construction- apparently well known in industry for not being so good- but good enough for DCSS!

Anonymous said...

Thanks S7! Take pictures of all the dead turf outside the cafeteria too - taxpayers paid for that large expanse of sod that was never watered and will need to be replaced with something. They also paid for fancy trough sinks with soap dispensers built in but they won't pay for the soap so they've gone back to the wall mounted dispensers. Geez.

In defense of the parking lot though- it is the rough pave, not the final pave, so hopefully they can grade it to drain off before the last layer is applied.