Monday, January 9, 2012

Board Meeting Tonight, Jan 9 at 6 pm - Tune In!

Attend the board meeting or watch it live on Comcast 24 tonight at 6:00 pm. You can review the agenda by clicking on our link to "Meetings & Announcements".

I noticed Khlid Farrakhan is on the list of citizen speakers. I am always offended by this man's remarks. I always hope that Tom shuts him down and stops allowing him to rant his racist (against whites and Hispanics) and anti-semitic remarks. However, Tom always lets Farakhan spew his hatred. All I can say is that if a white person said one tenth of what Farrakhan says, security would usher them from the room. Last time I reported on him, Mr. Farrakhan Something about "America needing to repent from her sins. Frogs and locusts overtaking towns...? God will destroy the wealth of America in order to deliver us to the promised land. My children no longer attend your public schools. Homeschooling is better. That's a fact." In the past, he has requested that the school system stock schools with books stating that the Jews are the cause of black people's hardships. He wanted this taught in the curriculum. Tom's reply? "Thank you Mr. Farrakhan." So disappointing.

Interestingly, the agenda for tonight is very short. However, the biggest item is choosing the new chair. It could be boring - or it could be very interesting. See you at 6!


6:10 - Tucker Tigers honored for winning the state football championship!


1. Wanda Roberts {Warren Tech was a wonderful life changing event for her] Standing O from the crowd!
2. Jenny Horton [PTSO co-pres] good things happening at DHS due to great parents and teachers extra hard work - ranked #23 great high schools ATL magazine
3. Loreen Booker-Brown - brought up the grand jury investigation. admonished the board for excessive lawyer fees - suggested outsourcing internal affairs - asked the board to voluntarily resign immediately
4. Julius Brown - SW DeKalb - takes AP art - wants help to go to GA Perimeter College in Clarkston. Showed some art [really was quite good!!]
5. Ayesha Lakes - loves to spend time volunteering in child's elementary school - parents must demonstrate to their children that education is important
6. Ronda Ward - parent of 3rd grader at Meadowview. Good things happening there. Despite some board decisions I don't agree with, the principal has had good results. You need to acknowledge teachers who go above and beyond - provide extra help - to buying socks for poor children. Please support and commend them.
7. Sandy Purkett - Redan Blue Thunder Band members earned $6 million in scholarships. Named all top level administrators who helped. Jan 17 Federal Financial Workshop. South Carolina State taking applications Jan 24 in the media center.
8. Khalid Farrakhan - Greetings "In the name of Allah." Mentioned Gwinnett's math worksheet talking about slaves picking oranges. Mocked black fathers saying they're hurt. They deserved it due to agreeing to integrate. Quoted Lincoln saying races are different. Why is this not in the history books? Jefferson said blacks should be colonized. True sentiment of former presidents that hopefully 2012 Republican presidential candidates will [heed?]... ramble ramble...
9. Karla Pierce - Wadsworth Magnet School - cited academic awards - robotics team took 1st place in DeKalb. 3 students took honors at DeKalb SS Fair. Many more Wadsworth student achievements were listed. 6th graders taking a trip to Puerto Rico for language immersion... [wonder if Farrakhan was listening to Karla...]
10. Ilene Farley - Tucker HS - children first. Highlighted achievements. Great things happening.
11. Janice Clark - absent
12. Greta Mason - FAMU hazing. Certain schools, primarily SW DeKalb targeted in the media. Glamorized. Legacy of leaders distorted. Restore the morale that has been tarnished in the media. Trust needs restored. Communicate what needs to happen to go forth. Students need to know that you support them. Lift the suspension.
13. Luci deJesus - Hawthorne ES parent. Teacher has been suspended for mishandling a child. Long term sub in place. 4-8 weeks or longer. Tearfully reported that there has hardly been a familiar face in the classroom so far. Understands teachers rights to fair trial - but don't children have a right to a good education? Students are not learning. HR needs to make a decision and send us a teacher! [Bowen asked to have info passed to Tyson]
14. David Schutten - ditto on Meadowview. We are part of $2.2 million Gates Foundation grant. (Not sure what for.)
15. Keith Sailor - Concerned parent. Dr A - rumored that you may be in over your head. I tend to agree. People and persons responsible for your transition have done a terrible job. Communications is terrible. You have yet to speak with anyone about the band suspensions nor revealed the nature of the investigation. Members of your staff say band parents have too much power and need controlled. You have the appearance of being manipulated. They are keeping you out of the schools. You have done a poor job of taking control of the situation. You have made all of our kids suspects in a criminal investigation. You are wrong if you think this won't effect their chances for scholarships. We got $21.5 million last year - from our reputation alone.
16. Kerry Banton - SW DeKalb PTA/School Council. Disappointed in the band suspension. Disappointed in Atkinson. Band parents are some of the most dedicated. We have no pass no play rule for band. Band breeds good students. I assure you I can't think of a safer place for my son after school. Requesting a letter of explanation from Dr. A.
17. Willie Pringle - "Praise given to God"... I come as a parent - as a volunteer - for all our children not just my daughter as SW. In the news - DeKalb school board should be investigated. This new year should be about our children - not focused on the continued dysfunction of our board. God is watching. You all have to be accountable because you have been entrusted with the leadership of our schools. Cunningham - you need to come to our school and listen to our parents. It's time to get serious with our children because they are being short-changed.
18. Dan Schafstal (?)- Support 18 kindergartners at Hawthorne. HR has allowed the classroom to go without a certified teacher for an extended period of time. Need to find ways to speed up the process. Principal says only HR can do anything. Need to give principals more hiring flexibility. Lack of communication between the school and the families has been very lacking. Very involved parents who can't get answers for their children.
19. Jacqueline Belton - 2nd best kept secret - DeKalb HS of Tech South. Provides students with marketable job skills. Very pleased with the education her son is getting there.
20. Natasha Walker - Issues and concerns for DeKalb Elem School of the Arts. Vandalized again. Copper removed a third time. Portion of school without heat. How many times are going to have to occur before something is done? How would you feel if your child had no heat in their classroom for over 2 weeks? We asked for a crime assessment of the area you moved us to. Building was no better. More resources needed to assess the buildings. Some schools get tens of millions of dollars like Tucker HS - but we continue to get nothing. Make a plan - we are wasting money with all this moving around.

JAY - personal privilege. "#1 -- everybody have a right to their opinion, but at the same time period I'm not going to be threatened or bullied. You can vote for whoever you want. We met with the SW DeKalb band booster president. Me, and Mr. Walker and Mr. Atkinson." [Interrupted by Bowen but Cunningham continues to push back - saying it's "ridiculous".]

He then nominates Gene Walker for board chair

McChesney nominated Pam Speaks


VOTE - Walker - Yes - majority win for Gene Walker for chair

Vice- Chair nominees

JAY - nominated Tom Bowen

McChesney nominated Pam Speaks


VOTE - Yes - majority win for Tom Bowen as vice-chair


Gene - He is humbled and honored. Says his objective is to improve the education of every child in DeKalb County Schools.

Speaks says 14 policies were reviewed and discussed in the committee mtg. The meeting was one hour long, so I've calculated that's about 4 minutes a policy,

Dr Atkinson's report - says she, Dr. Walker and Jay met with leaders at SW DeKalb regarding the band. She also said that the intention was to keep the good reputation of our bands intact. The edict to principals was not to cancel all events, but to submit approvals for events over the holidays - all that were submitted were approved. Also, stated that once internal investigation is complete she will communicate the plan. Wants to keep our bands in good standing publicly. Proud of our programs and our children. She will be grand marshal of MLK Day parade. Join us in celebrating Dr King's legacy. 90 day plan comes to an end Jan 24. Next step will be to present blueprint to the board, and then to the community. Plan to move systemwide to a district of excellence. We are up to the task.

Gene added comment: Jay and I met with SW school council members. We had heard the explanation. We agree. Zero tolerance for hazing or bullying. Wanted to be proactive - not to inhibit. Wanted procedures and protocol in place. Dr. A made it clear that if any student encountered difficulty with a scholarship (specifically SW DeKalb) she would personally intervene. She said in that meeting that she would come back and speak to members of the community after the investigation. We do not take lightly our responsibility for our student's safety.


Board meetings for 2012 calendar: APPROVED

Financial Report -- Ms. Susan M. Hurst, Director, Budgets Office: Jester: Spent $7.8 million on electricity - budget was $4.5 million - Need more realistic budgets. Legal fees are under for the month which is good - need to move that line item elsewhere in the budget. Atkinson says she asked Ms Hurst to provide 5 year history on electricity etc. Will have this for our zero based budgeting. Womack - I don't know how we can not overrun the electricity. There were 2 or 3 increases we weren't clued in on. Edler - looking at block vs 7 period model... wondering where we have decided to go - and impact on budget. Walker - take to the budget committee. PASSED.

Excess Worker's Comp -- Mr. Michael S. Florio, Director, Office of Risk Management Services: $174, 150 Star Insurance Co. Don: bothered a bit. Second time for this discussion. Policy is already a month late. Fiorio - had it extended. McC - try to get it on time in the future. Also, there were 6 other companies. F: No others agreed to carry this. Mc Chesney - please, as I've told many people, give me all the info I need to make a decision. Dr. A - we're going to change some of these processes. Need three months to get a broker (can't buy directly from insurance co). Will start earlier next time. But have to do this now, or we'll be out of insurance. Jester: historical Q. We were told that part of policy that stipulated we can't get competing bids. F: Not the case here. J: So, it's that we need a different broker.

HR Report -- Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Director, Staff Services, Division of Human Resources: Cunningham: ask that we not have as many long term subs. [not sure how to do that...people get sick, have babies, etc] Edler: 3 vacancies - all have been filled? Yes. Edler: Does that cover the Hawthorne kindergarten. No. We're not aware of a teacher vacancy at Hawthorne. Walker: We would like for them to be fully staffed. Jester: known about this problem quite some time and I have communicated it - the system is aware. We're making adult problems the problems of children and I'm pretty mad about that. The children are already missing 2 report cards. One bad school year takes 3 good years to overcome. This is a systemic breakdown. When a teacher is removed, there is no vacancy - we hold it open while we investigate. We need to replace with a permanent qualified teacher. If the case is resolved, the teacher can be placed elsewhere. A from Ward-Smith: We have a list of 225 certified substitute teachers we can pull from. Jester: this should have been a 'vacancy' - it's not ok to place a sub. Not ok to make children suffer to protect adults jobs. Dr A: we have been auditing divisions - one of them HR. We are trying to understand where we have holes. It's more than an HR issue - it's a leadership issue too. Need a 'rapid response team' to address these kinds of issues - which we will be putting in place. This is on the top of the list for the morning. Sarah: We need to investigate how other schools are faring. We've had this discussion many times. Legally, can we replace a job that's not vacant? Ward-Smith: Internal Affairs does not have to be complete to replace a job. Sarah: Can't make a rash decision and have to watch out for people's jobs. We do need to see how long subs have been in place around the county at all of our schools. Jay: subs can't come to meetings, can't get emails, can't communicate w parents. We can at least look into these things quickly. Need a report on the Star program. Want to know where we are. Some schools have subs and they're not counted in the program. Arabia for example. Need more cafeteria subs. They are short when we send some of them out for training. APPROVED

GADOE Charter Facilities Grant Contracts: Walter Woods - Sarah: Could you slow down and explain again? Woods: items purchased by the state go back to the system if charter goes away. McChesney: Different amounts - who determined? A: the state. Museum School ($75,000), PATH Academy ($70,000), Destiny ($65,000) and International Community School ($65,000)

The rest is all approved... check the agenda for details...

Board Comments

Pam Speaks: Update on work of elementary student - Smile Train. Cleft condition. Andi Kezh. Started a FB Page - Andi's Smile. Raised enough money to pay for 4 surgeries for other children. Now has made a difference in the lives of 40 children. Very proud of Andi!

Nancy Jester: Reiterate our need for a regular report from safety dept. Property loss, damage and incidents. Lots of burglary and vandalism. We're self-insured and we need to know our risk and cost. Chief of Police in my district says they are often called in to take reports of violence so that they aren't recorded by the school system. That should be stopped so that we can have a realistic view of crime in our schools.

Cunningham: Columbia HS - first place in a national competition for [not sure] -- brought economic dev to the county as visitors shopped. Sponsored by Converse. Thanks Dr. W and Dr A for going with me to meet with PTSO and school council at SW DeKalb on the band issue.

Sarah: MLK parade is going well. 5 bands to play. MLK, Stone Mt. Cedar Grove, McNair and Clarkston. Cheerleaders, ROTC coming. Open to anyone, no fee. Sign up at 11:30 4th street Stone Mt at the MARTA station. Call Sarah for more info.

Dr. A - introduced Dr Ralph Taylor. Assoc super for ?? Discipline, alternative programs,etc...


1. Schools & Administrative Offices Closed ~ Monday, January 16, 2012 ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday

2. DeKalb NAACP 10th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Rally, 1:00pm, Monday, January 16, 2012, downtown Stone Mountain

3. Title I Mathematics Summit; 8:00am, Saturday, January 21, 2012, Miller Grove High School, 2645 DeKalb Medical Center Parkway, Lithonia

Adjourn. 8:58


Anonymous said...

I agree Mr. Farrakhan can be offensive, but I hope Tom lets him spew his venom and hate from now to eternity. To a degree, it is like letting Mr. Walker look into a mirror.

Anonymous said...

Bet the BOE phones have been buzzing this week as they make deals and vy for their personal choice for chair and vice-chair. A lot goes on behind the scenes when it comes to these January elections.

Cerebration said...

Well, if it's a slam dunk with little public discussion, we'll know that's what happened.

Anonymous said...

Interesting - has anyone seen the five-year local facilities plan that they are recommending be extended? When reading the bare details which is all that they ever give the public, it sounds like it is actually a maintenance plan for the upkeep of buildings (novel idea) but I would be shocked if such a thing exists. However, given that Carlton Parker is presenting, not Steve Donahue, and it refers to ending in June 2012 and thus needing to be extended, that suggests it is related to SPLOST. If so, what does extending it mean and what impact does that have on SPLOST IV and projects?

Anonymous said...

I think that the plan the facilities plan that is being referred to is the one school systems turn into the state and it sounds like Dr. Atkinson hasn't had time to really review it, thus the need to ask for an extension.

Also, Parker is just an interim, perhaps Atkinson wants to wait until we have someone permanent to review it. I know that the state, in the past, has had their concerns with our facility plans.

Anonymous said...

Where would one find the facility plans that have to be turned in to the state?

Cerebration said...

Wouldn't you think that a committee charged with overseeing a $1.2 Billion annual budget would meet for more than an hour and a half a month?

The budget committee minutes state that the meeting began at 9:11am and adjourned at 10:42am.

Cerebration said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Tom has never exhibited leadership before, why would he start now?

He didn't even flinch last year when Zepora, as a member of the public, went off about the info. she was leaked during the supt. search.

Anonymous said...

Cere, do you know what those legal fees are for? Past board members? WOW

And what is the Special Revenue?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the agenda....I agree....the new format is more compact and doesn't have near the quantity of items. Will be interesting to see if this is only for January, or if each month of the new year will follow suit. Normally a combined meeting has 20 speakers, numerous recognitions and 20+ items to discuss. And, normally, the election of the chair and assistant chair is orchestrated in the hallway--way before the meeting. The vote is just a vote.

Anonymous said...


The board budget you are referring to is inaccurate.

Here is how I read it.

November 29011 Actual MONTHLY
Salaries $598,430 is for the entire "General Administration" for the month of November 2011.
The annual budget for General Administration is $6,480,120.

Legal fees for the month of November 2011 was $263,030. The annual budget for legal fees is $3,402,816.

That is insane to spend that much money on attorneys! I think only the mafia spends as much on attorneys!

I do question the annual budget for BOE members salary. $4,000?
I thought it was $24,000 per year per board member.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for Nancy Jester to read Womack's written statements?

Womack butchered his written proclomation for Tucker HS!

He can not even read the text correctly in front of his face!

Instead of stating, "We acknowledge the GREAT athletic accomplishment of the Tucker Tigers"

He stated that, "We acknowledge the GRANT athletic accomplishment of the Tucker Tigers."

He also called the head coach Stephenson, instead of Stephens.
The written print states STEPHENS, not STEPHENSON!

Does this make you wonder what else he can't read correctly?


Cerebration said...

Tucker is in Womack's district.

Anonymous said...


If you go to the Financial Monthly Report action item, click the pdf of the report, and scroll to pp. 20-something, you'll see individual travel statements showing Cunningham and Walker attending a conference in New Orleans in November. Bowen attend a much cheaper one on St. Simons.

That seems kinda cheap for the New Orleans trips. Wonder if someone else also footed the bill. Just speculatin'

Anonymous said...


If I worked hard for the past few years in accomplishing a STATE CHAMPIONSHIP in football, I would appreciate that MY school board member could actually READ the memo and congratulate our team without misreading the statement.

What a shame!

Maybe we should require board members to actually be able to see and read coherantly prior to an election.

Anonymous said...

Farakhan talking about the Gwinnett math test.

Give it a rest Khalid!

Sad, but why?

Isn't the board supposed to vet the questions prior to the meeting?

Anonymous said...

Another parent complaining about the office of "Internal Affairs"?

Imagine that!

Hawthorne ES and their Kindergarten teacher is under "Internal Investigation" and it has been over 2 months since the office of "Internal Affairs" has sat on this case.

Now Ramsey is in the legislature and a parent is CRYING to the board about the lack of action from the office of Internal Affairs!

Ramsey needs to go!

Bowen asked the parent to amke sure that Tyson has the information and will procedd with the case.

I think we need to follow up on this matter! This may be the "Straw" that breaks Ramsey's back!

Let's help Hawthorne and hold the office of "Internal Affairs" accountable for their lack of action!

Anonymous said...

Obviously, Cunnigham does not realize he CANNOT confront or address citizens comments.

He has only been on the board for 6 years and doesn't know this yet?

What a shame!

Anonymous said...


Tell me it ain't so!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Chairman of the Board.
Cunnigham nominates Walker.

McChesney nominates Speaks.

East side for Walker including Womack!

6 to 3 in favor of Walker. The mafia is in tact!

Vice Chair.
Cunnigham nominates Womack.

McChesney nominates Speaks again.

Same mafia votes for Womack!

Speaks, McChesney and Jester all voted with their heads.

The rest voted with their wallets.


Why did Speaks Super District get removed and Walker Super District grant him a new district?

I think this needs to go in front of the Justice Department for vetting from the Voting Rights Act of 1965!

Anonymous said...

Speaks, Jester, and McChesney stand as the "no" votes in both chair and vice chair voting...

Cerebration said...

Sorry - I messed up my earlier comment on the board budget.

Well, looks like we're moving forward with Gene Walker at the helm and Tom Bowen as first mate.

Cerebration said...

Did I hear that right? Cunningham nominated Bowen for vice chair right? Not Womack -

Anonymous said...

IMHO, Speaks is playing to her voerts/potential voters. You may not want to beieve you are cattle but wait until the election -- you are being herded in the right direction, right now. (and if you are upset with the F&FP you need to look deep into the career of Dr (where did it come from) Speaks. Don't be naive.

Anonymous said...

sorry - voters... I haven't figured out the concept of spell check with this blog.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

My wife made me stop watching, getting ready to watch football.. Good grief!

Anonymous said...

Well, look at the bright side...given Dr. Walker's propensity for inappropriate commenting, it may be sooner rather than later that the whole board is replaced.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for not understanding Cunnigham's nomination.

He nominated Bowen and not Womack.

My fault.

Anonymous said...

Can we have a new post on Eugene Walker talking about a ZERO tolerance policy on bullying?

By the way, that is Eugene "The Dancing Machine" Walker duaghter in law up there with him.

Dee Brown is married to his son, who is Chairman of the DEKalb Housing Authority!


Family & Friends?

Cerebration said...

This may take a while... a little on the job training going on as Walker now leads his first meeting...

Anonymous said...

Why are all three white people on the board all put together down on the right side of the panel?

Anonymous said...

I heard the new Chairman wanted to put them in their place!

Anonymous said...

Well, he's on record as saying he does see race.

What a forward-looking board we have

Anonymous said...

Ann. 8:05
Generally Board members sit by their district numbers --- Jester (1); McChesney (2); Copelin-Wood (3); Womack (4); Cunningham (5); Bowen (6); Edler (7); Speaks (8) and Walker (9). The Chair and Vice-Chair get shuffled when they are elected and their predecessors take their old seats on the board. Districts 1, 2, and 4 are the white folks on the Board so they would be sitting very close to each other. Nothing unusual about this.

Anonymous said...

So it's Sarah who doesn't want to sit down there.

Anonymous said...

Are these people saying that teachers who go out on maternity leave or have cancer surgery will be re-assigned within days of maternity and diagnosis?

What is that teaching the children?

Anonymous said...

Sarah is crazy....

Cerebration said...

This situation at Hawthorne apparently involves a teacher accused of physically harming a child. Internal Affairs is investigating (and apparently taking quite a long time to do so). While they investigate, the class sits in limbo with a series of short/long term subs.

I would imagine that if you go out on family medical or maternity leave, some pre-planning is done. Probably not the same, but the wording of the new policy will be tricky...

Anonymous said...

DCSS version of Gwinnett "slave" test question:

If 5 BOE members have 9 family members employed by DCSS and each can get two more a job with DCSS, how man BOE family members will DCSS employ?

Very politically correct.

Dr Gene should be a hoot as Board Chairman. He will protect his and Jay's family members. Wait until money issues come up and money is to be spent in North DK.. All hope for DCSS is now gone.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:35 Yes, that is what they are saying. I had to fight with my principal when I went on maternity leave and didn't want to finish out the last two weeks of school. I was told that if I wanted to work at that school I would come back. I came back and was treated like crap by the students who had threatened to hurt my unborn child prior to my maternity leave. I had a great sub and team who kept the sub on track. The sub inputted grades for the lessons and so on. The system is really screwed up. If one does harm, they should not return to that school and those kids should have a real teacher. Pay a sub more for being the real teacher, but something should be in place. This is not acceptable and neither is the treatment of teachers on maternity leave.

Cerebration said...

It's a slippery slope for sure. I think the big mistake here was made by the principal. He should have worked very hard to find the very best long term sub he could have. He should have kept that sub and the parents informed and monitored the class very carefully. I put a lot of blame on the school leader - the principal.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Cerebration, as always, you are right on the money about the situation at Hawthorne

Anonymous said...

Walker's seeeing color is no different than anyone else who is not blind. Seeing color and be racist or prejudice are two different things. Actions speak louder than words whether you are racist or not.I certainly see different races and I am in an interacial marrage with children. Can we leave race out of the many problems we face in this school system?
Hawthorne seserves a teacher for every class just as the many classes in South DeKalb who have had long term subs in math since school opened. Every school should be treated equally. I would have liked to have seen Womack as Vice Chair. This school system can come back anf yes Internal Affairs is a waste of money. Any good administrator and Area Supt. could have solved this problem ASAP WITHOUT having to get the approval of double dipping Senator. How can he be in two places at one time?

Anonymous said...

Who are Jay Cunningham's relatives who work for DeKalb Schools? What positions, how long and are they qualified? Just asking?

Cerebration said...

The AJC has a story up on the board chair already.

DeKalb school board picks new chairman, a former state senator and teacher

Walker said after his selection that his goal was to "unite the entire board ... to act in the best interest of the school children."

Let's hope that's really true and possible. I would expect that of all people, Gene Walker should care deeply about the educational well-being of tens of thousands of young black children. I hope he simply focuses on that and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Gene Walker is a disgusting, vile human being. He will lead DCSS to losings its accreditation. Which BOE members voted for this clown?

Parole board member on trial for sexual harassment

State paid $190,000 to settle earlier sex harassment suit

Streat's lawyers file another motion on AG
Lawyers for Sen. Van Streat are seeking ``detailed affidavits'' from Attorney General Thurbert Baker and two others they accuse of conspiring to destroy official records.

Suit accuses parole board member of sexual harassment
A former secretary claims in a lawsuit that Pardons and Paroles Board member Gene Walker sexually harassed her and eventually had her moved to another job.

Anonymous said...

There is no one worse for the position of chair than Walker.

Anonymous said...

Gene Walker took a $20,000 campaign donation from the Sembler Corporation when running for school board, while also serving on the DeKalb Development Authority, the same Authority that Sembler was requesting over $50 million in tax credits, 60% of which come from the school taxes and would need to be confirmed by the school board. Worse, Walker failed to report the donation until after he won the election.

"DeKalb County school board member Gene Walker, for example, raised about $20,000 in 2008 from campaign donors associated with the Sembler Co. as it sought a multimillion-dollar tax break from another county board that Walker chaired. Walker disclosed those donations two days after winning the school board seat."

lakezzy said...

Proud parent of Andi Kezh here. She has raised enough money to fund surgeries for 41 children with cleft lip and palate via Smile Train (over $10,000). Andi is ten-years-old and a fifth grader at Oak Grove. She was born with a cleft lip and palate herself and has been raising money for others with the same condition for two years.

Cerebration said...

What a wonderful child! We are all very proud of Andi. And thanks for writing - I can now fix the spelling of her name!


Anonymous said...

Eugene Walker failed to disclose nearly $20,000 in campaign donations from a developer seeking a multimillion-dollar tax break until after his Dec. 2 election to the DeKalb County school board.

The donations – and Walker’s service on both the school board and the DeKalb Development Authority — have become a focus of community opposition to the Sembler Co.’s request for a 20-year, $52 million property tax break.

Last week, the authority tabled the proposal and Walker, its chairman, recused himself from the deliberations. He insisted the money from Sembler interests had not influenced him and had been fully disclosed.

Anonymous said...

The DeKalb County Housing Authority -- already beset with questions about gifts of money or services from vendors -- may be about to hire another vendor as its next executive director.

If Eugene P. "Pete" Walker Jr. becomes DeKalb's new public housing chief, he will oversee the job performance of his current employer, Mercy Housing Southeast, a nonprofit paid to manage several of the authority's properties. He's currently Mercy's president.

Walker, one of three finalists for the housing job, also runs Millennium Development Partners, a for-profit company that does financial and bond consulting for the housing authority.

Walker declined to talk last week about how he would manage any potential conflict of interest with either business, or whether he would even have one. So did Glenwood Ross, chairman of the authority's board, and board member George Maddox

Walker has his own political connections in DeKalb. His father, Eugene Walker, is a former state senator and former member of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The elder Walker, because of his own actions, is also a former chairman of the DeKalb Development Authority. He had to step down last year following revelations that interests seeking a $45 million tax break from the authority had donated $20,000 to his campaign for a school board seat. Most of those donations went undisclosed until after the election.

Anonymous said...

And since then, Walker's power has only grown stronger. What's the lesson here?

Anonymous said...

A combative Eugene Walker on Monday talked the DeKalb County school board into holding off on discussing a proposed ethics code for board members.

Walker, a former state senator, took a shot at state Rep. Kevin Levitas in doing so. Levitas last month proposed a state law giving the DeKalb board “a clear set of principles” to follow.

“It baffles me to no end,” Walker said, “that because a legislator really of no standing is saying he wants to pass an ethics bill against the DeKalb school board, this board is going to get upset and act on it.”

At Walker’s request, the board tabled consideration of a six-page code of ethics before school board attorney Judy O’Brien even had a chance to make her presentation on it. Approval of the code could pre-empt Levitas from pursuing his own ethics proposal with other state legislators.

Walker said any ethics proposal should be reviewed by the proper board committee and consultants before the full board gets a crack at it.

Levitas’ bill, Walker said, should be ignored.

“We oughta throw it in the trash,” he said. “I don’t want to hear anything about it.”

Anonymous said...

Remember when the DCSS and the BOE sued Gene Walker??

Anonymous said...

They want him in there. There's nothing more to do.

Anonymous said...

Walker has the cahones to have gone to the press to sabotage the Dr. Cox hiring. I'm not so sure too many of them really would have done it.

Anonymous said...

Womack voted for Gene Walker and Tom Bowen - not thinking his constituents will be thrilled.

Anonymous said...

10:33 George Maddox died on Jan. 1, 2012.

Anonymous said...

I have had time to think about tonight's meeting and realize that there is little hope with improving the board and pray that all board members will go up for re-election when the number of board members is lower. If this does not happen, we are in serious trouble.

I want to thank the board for making me know that my decision to homeschool my son, is the right thing to do. An education is a terrible thing to waste.

Anonymous said...

Introducing Dr. Ralph Taylor, Dept. Superintendent for Support Services (formerly McGibbony's old job that Moseley then had):

Anonymous said...

meant Felicia Mayfield's job..not Moseley

Anonymous said...

Now watch -- Womack will now be Chair of the Budget Committee. Womack was interested in Board Chair, so I believe that this was tit for tat exchange.

However, it is a bit puzzling to me. Womack will oppose tax increases and Walker will want one.

I guess time will tell...

Anonymous said...

You are probably right! Womack voted for Jay's nominees, voted to elect Gene as chair and in all likelihood was in exchange for their votes to elect him to be budget and finance chair. They don't want Nancy Jester to be on the committee much less chair. Her finance skills are a threat. Stay tuned - it's not looking pretty. As a matter of fact, electing Walker with all his baggage is further embarrassment for our county and school system. Word from those at the meeting - during the break Dr. A was chummy with Walker after his election. Oiy.

Anonymous said...

Dr A traveled with Walker and Cunningham to a meeting in New Orleans not too long ago.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Please explain the difference in these two situations for me:
Principal (Lakeside) terminated because he allowed an employee to leave school for a second job (is this correct?)....Director of Internal Affairs(ramsey) leaves job for months to work at a second job?????

Atlanta Media Guy said...

The BOE members who voted for Eugene have placed their bets on the future. The latest Grand Jury is still out, Clew and Pope trials are coming and Gene Walker is the BOE Chair. You better believe Dr. A is chummy with Walker. He's the boss, he'll set the agenda, he'll have the upper hand in re-redistricting to 7 districts and she'll need to proceed very carefully. I hope SACS is watching, however they are becoming more feckless as times goes on.

Anonymous said...

What Lakeside principal are you referring to?

When did this happen?

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I was just thinking.... dangerous I know.

Dunwoody folks uncover emails where Walker is obviously bullying a fellow BOE member for her vote against the SPLOST list. Wasn't Walker one of the BOE members, who walked out of the meeting while McChesney, Jester and Speakes were explaining their no vote on the SPLOST list? Let's not forget his on the record comment about "seeing color" when looking at law firms or vendors of DCSS. Cere, is that the right context for the "color" comment? now this guy wants to "unite" the board? Really?

Walker will now have his hand in drawing out the 7 districts that will shape the future of DCSS.

I look forward to the release of the audit. Will we see the actual document from the auditor or will we see a slickly written piece by the DCSS staff? Just wondering if anyone can shine a light on that.

Anonymous said...

“I want to thank the board for making me know that my decision to home school my son, is the right thing to do. An education is a terrible thing to waste.”

Anonymous 01/09/12 11:56 - Regrettably, I have come to the same conclusion. Public education nationwide is not what it used to be and shows no sign of changing for a number of reasons. Politics, discipline, text books that are not relevant, accurate and complete, lack of skilled teachers, are just some of the reasons to seek alternative schooling for your precious children. The current economic state of our country very possibly may take years to recover and today’s students will need to be at the top of their game as job seekers.

DCSS is not going to change until all of its voters elect more than just political clowns for BOE members. Once a competent board is in place, it will take years for them to guide this ship in the right direction. Given the right conditions, students entering the first grade in 2012 will be young adults before complete corrections can be made. Concerned parents are not going to gamble with their children.

Cerebration said...

Walker's comment in the AJC article is below:

“I am a very, very race-conscious person,” Walker said in October 2009. “I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color.”

No message sent to the school board

Cerebration said...

In that same article, just after the election
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2010, Bowen is quoted as saying,

“The election results were all over the place with no clear message being sent from the public,” Bowen told the AJC. “There was no visible anti-incumbent message in the votes cast and the publicized endorsements did not seem to carry any weight. The voters made up their own minds. “

Cerebration said...

And then,

In fact, one email campaign in support of Sarah Copelin-Wood summed up the anti-"north" racially divisive sentiment quite honestly -

Do not be so "gullible" to allow these groups, mostly comprised by Dunwoody, "to tell you how to think," "what to think" and "what to do." You just try to attempt to go to Dunwoody and tell them "how to think" or who to "vote for" - Dunwoody would object your presence and reject your opinion. If the people in Dunwoody wanted to be a part of you, they would not have created their own city.

Anonymous said...

Dr Gene and Jay's relatives are now safe. Dr A will have to cater to Gene to get anything done. This is even worse than having Bowen as the chair.

Spaced out Womack as chair of the budget committee is laughable if the report that I saw here is correct that he pays no school taxes.

Gene will be pushing for a tax increase. County Districts 1 and 2 now pay about 2/3 of the taxes because of the devaluation of property values of Districts 3,4,5. I would bet that many homes in Districts 3, 4 and 5 have school tax exemptions based on low income. So suck it up District 1 and 2 taxpayers. Democracy in action.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:03 pm, there is no such thing as property tax exemptions based on low income in DeKalb County unless President Obama recently changed the rules. Please post responsibly.

Cerebration said...

No. I think there is one for people over a certain age (70?). They can get away with paying no school tax at all. Zepora pays less than $300 a year for her property taxes, while her neighbors all pay $900-$1200. Also, on MapQuest, her home is identified as a DeKalb county school - that's odd.

Paul Womack pays several thousand less than his neighbors - I have to believe he is exempted from school taxes as well.

There is some kind of age - to income formula.

Anonymous said...

So Gene Walker is board chair? No matter.....

No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anonymous said...

DeKalb School tax exemptions

H3 – Senior or Disability Exemption
Homeowners who have reached the age of 62 as of January 1 OR are 100% totally and permanently disabled
may be eligible. There is a household income limit of $10,000 (Georgia Net Income). Social Security benefits and most retirement income up to $60,312 may be excluded when calculating income. Exempts the recipient(s)from all School taxes, and maintains the exemption of $10,000 for County levies (except bonds) and $2,000 for
State tax. It grants the freeze for the county assessments.
H7 – Senior or Disability Exemption
Homeowners who have reached the age of 62 as of January 1 OR are 100% totally and permanently disabled
may be eligible. There is a household income limit of $16,000 (Gross Income). Reduces taxable value of property by $22,500 for School taxes, by $10,000 for County levies (except bonds) and by $2,000 for State tax.
It grants the freeze for the county assessments.
H4 – Senior Exemption
Homeowners who have reached the age of 65 as of January 1 may be eligible. There is a household income
limit of $10,000 (Georgia Net Income). Social Security benefits and most retirement income up to $60,312 may
be excluded when calculating income. Exempts the recipient(s) from all School and State taxes, and increases
the exemption to $14,000 for all County levies and grants the county assessment freeze.
H6 – Senior or Disability Exemption
Homeowners who have reached the age of 65 as of January 1 OR are 100% totally and permanently disabled
may be eligible. There is a household income limit of $15,000 (Georgia Net Income). Social Security benefits
and most retirement income up to $60,312 may be excluded when calculating income in certain instances. Increases the exemption to $16,500 for School and $14,000 for County levies and exempts all State tax. It grants
the freeze for the county assessments.

It still would be interesting to know how much in school taxes that each County District pays.

Anonymous said...

I am aware of the exemptions that DeKalb County allows. The comments by anon 1:03 pm imply that there are low income tax exemptions for district 3, 4,and 5 property owners exclusive of exemptions allowed for seniors and the disabled. Here is the link to the DeKalb County Tax Digest for years 2005 to 2011 broken out by tax district.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:22
Dr. Chelf , who had served as Asst Principal under Mr. Lee, then appointed principal when Mr. Lee left, was let go by Crawford Lewis around 2005/6 as the result of a racial discrimination complaint by one of the librarians. Her complaint was that he was letting one of her librarian co-workers leave early and that it was based on race (she was black, co-worker was white). Turns out the co-worker had a disabled child and had arranged with Chelf to come in early and leave a little early to facilitate picking her child up from school (I thought – I didn’t think it was for an second job). The racial discrimination claim trumped a reasonable arrangement Chelf had made, so Lewis canned him and installed a “friend,” who has since gone away.

Cerebration said...

You're right - the tax collections in south Dekalb have dropped due to a drop in home values - it's not correlated to income - except where listed above (mostly seniors).

Anonymous said...

Remember, Lewis tried to can Chelf, but there was a big showing of support (lots of TV news coverage) by students, both black and white. Lewis had to come to the school (or had a representative come) and interview students who said they felt no racial discrimination at the school and they felt safe at the school. I would say a majority of the students really liked him. He had to reinstate Chelf and allowed him to finish out the school year. Then he brought in the replacement who was there a few years (and rarely left her office, rarely came to school events) until she was "promoted" - transferred with a bonus for being such an "effective" principal to Lithonia. I don't think anyone at Lakeside was sad to see her go.

Anonymous said...

I actually did see her at school events. I actually traveled on a pep bus with her to South Ga to a soccer game when we were in the play-offs.

I understand Chelf was let go because of a money issue. Schools do not allow the money not to balance.

There were also problems with returning parents phone calls and many other problems if you were not in the click of parents that run Lakeside. Chelf was not liked by many parents. I am one who did not care for him at all.

Anonymous said...

You’re right – I had forgotten that Lewis dismissed Chelf immediately, really stuck his foot in it, and had to back off. Chelf was so well respected professionally and liked by both students and parents, he probably could have fought and won, but he was smart enough to simply leave DeKalb all together. Our loss. Thank you Mr. Lewis – can’t wait for your trial to get cranked up.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know more details about the Hawthorne situation? I have two children at the school (not in kindergarten) and I am shocked that the school has not communicated about this situation directly to all parents. It is the type of situation that seems destined to end up in the media (and I hope it does, given Dekalb's apparently poor handling of it) and it seems the school would want to get out in front of it. Kindergarten, especially, would seem to require the hiring of a certified teacher as a longterm sub.

This lack of communication is typical for Hawthorne. There are blithe nice statements but no follow-up or specific action.

I am also curious about the process of assigning new teachers to schools, especially after school has started. Do principals have the opportunity for input or interviews? I have seen concern on this blog about principals having the power to hire and fire. While I can see the dangers, from the Hawthorne perspective we have received teachers who were displaced from other schools after the first full-time enrollment count. At times they have not seemed at all suited (or even qualified) for the classes they were sent to teach. Our kids suffer while the principal says his hands are tied.

We have many truly excellent teachers at Hawthorne. It's a shame these K kids are missing out on that.

Anonymous said...

All you commenters on the Chelf situation: he was originally demoted for a number of reasons, which included the situation with the employee. He was reinstated at community request (demand), had one year to remediate, and failed to hit the marks set. He opted to take another job rather than take a demotion.

Please note that the school he went to (Dawsonville HS) brought action against him for inappropriate contact with a student, filed to have his professional cert removed, and he ultimately resigned. He no longer works in education.

Anonymous said...

Dawson County High principal resigns

Anonymous said...

In my early years in public service, I respected Eugene Walker. I thought he did good things as a legislator and a state government official. Clearly he was not on my public radar as much as he is now.

Maybe because I've seen him in action on the Board and have had to suffer, through several layers, the trickle down torture of some his and his cronies' decisions, but my respect for him has vanished.

I'm now disgusted.

He has the power and authority to do some good for this county, but he's become too full of himself and clings to too many of his old, anachronistic certainties--certainties that are just no longer valid.

And you know the old saw about the corrupting power of power?

The Board is about to sink lower, and with Tom Bowen taking over when Walker's not in charge, nobody's gon' be baling out the boat.

Anonymous said...

Lee and Chelf were at Lakeside?

Lewis brought in Mouton, I do remember that travesty!

Is she still around sucking a paycheck from the school system?

What a waste of our childrens education.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 2:18

Right on!!!!

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Anonymous said...

I am still surpirsed that the African American community has not figured out what a hypocrite Gene Walker is. He won his Board seat by having his campaign financed with over $20,000 of funds from the Sembler family- real estate tycoons who build shopping centers. Mel Sembler is a very prominent and one of the nation's top fundraisers for the Republican Party. He is one of the top contributors/organizers for the huge Republican Politcal Action Committee (PAC) that puts out the horrible attack ads. When the general election comes up, this Sembler financed PAC will attack President Obama relentlessly. How can anyone, especially a black citizen, vote for a man who is in the Sembler's hip pocket?

Anonymous said...

The stuff Wayne Chelf lost his job for at Dawsonville High School was the same kind of stuff he pulled as Lakeside principal. They just have cojones in Dawsonville and acted sooner rather than later. Chelf had his fans because he gave certain parents benefits he did not bestow on others. Same with the staff: he had his faves who could break the rules.

Anonymous said...
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Cerebration said...

It is very odd that Walker would associate with someone like Mel Sembler & Co. Sembler was appointed Ambassador to Australia by Bush Sr and Italy by Bush Jr. He also made a lot of money from the 'war on drugs'.

From Wikipedia

Sembler has been a Republican fundraiser since 1979, raising a record $21.3 million at a single dinner in April 2000.[4] During the 1988 Presidential campaign, Sembler served on the National Steering Committee and the National Finance Committee for the George H.W. Bush for President campaign. Additionally, he was Finance Co-Chairman for the state of Florida for the George Bush for President campaign, and played an instrumental part in raising funds for the Fund for America's Future. He served on President Reagan's White House Conference for a Drug-Free America and was an advisor on drug policy to President Bush and to Florida's former Governor Bob Martinez.

. . . In 1976 Sembler and his wife founded Straight, Inc., an adolescent drug treatment program which has treated more than 12,000 addicts. The program is said to have resembled The Seed, an earlier program suspended by the U.S. Senate for its treatment of patients.

Straight Inc. also became embattled in allegations of abuse, ranging from sleep deprivation, starvation, over exercise, beatings, denial of basic health needs, sexual assault, deprivation of liberty and speech and psychological torture.[7][8] One publicised case was that of Samantha Monroe, who claimed she endured beatings, rape, forced hunger and was locked in a janitor's closet in pants containing her excrement. She claims her mother was told her daughter was a liar. Critics of Sembler admit that these claims are all made by former and/or current drug users and have never been substantiated in any court. [4]

After these claims, the United States Senate revoked the license of Straight, Inc. in 1993, citing that the government should not be financing "cruel and inhuman behavior modification." It has been suggested prior funding was provided under pressure from Sembler and state senators [9] Sembler's Drug Free America Foundation continues to campaign for hard-line drug policy. Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, the brother of President George W. Bush, Former Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Karen Tandy, and Congressman Dan Lungren of California are on the advisory board.[10]

Anonymous said...
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Had_Enough said...

Integrity in DeKalb?

To those that have any illusions of 1) the Grand Jury investigation going anywhere but on a shelf, or that 2) Pope and Lewis will ever get convicted, well, I am sorry to rain on your parade.

If the DeKalb County DA didn't even so much as make a statement (from my recollection) of the improper and unethical campaign donation to Walker during the election, the improper and illegal breach of Executive Session orchestrated by Bowen; well, it ain't gonna happen. Robert James isn't going to disturb the power base of Black Dekalb. He is one of them. If Burrell Ellis is so concerned about Economic Development, why has he been virtually non-existent in this debate about ethics on the BOE and steadily declining quality in education in DCSS? He is one of them. A true leader would have stepped in and taken a stance and affected REAL change (ie: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed)

People speak of the utter and completely entrenched corruption of Daley's Chicago Political Machine back in the day (and the remnants of which still exists today). Well folks, since Dekalb County is devoid of any strong, ethical politicians in this 90% African American County, it creates a vacuum.

To see Walker become the Chair with a 6-3 vote is almost laughable if it were not so incredibly bad for our children and our community. And to piss on this parade a little more, people are completely delusional if they think SACS really cares what happens here. They have already cashed their $80,000 check. Mark Elgart is one in the same. He is an unethical businessman just getting some of the action.

I think every elected official in this County should be ashamed. It is truly an embarassment.

Anonymous said...

Had Enough is spot on in most of his comments. Walker has influence over CEO Ellis and will block the grand jury investigation that DA James never wanted to do in the first place.

Cereb asks how can Walker associate with Sembler. Simple answer... follow the money.

As to DKC elected officials being ashamed, fugedaboutit. They laugh at the South DK people dumb enough to vote for them and laugh even harder at the North DK taxpayers from whom they extract money to pay for their wasteful excesses. North DK taxpayers are afraid to complain because they know that the race card will be played.

DKC exhibits Thomas Jefferson's worst fear of democracy. It will work until the non-producers realize that they can vote to have the producers pay for their wants. DKC has reached that stage.

North DK should really start on the path of trying to set up a separate school system. I know that it is difficult, but things will not get better. Another alternative is to push for Milton County to be formed and join up.

Had_Enough said...

Just to clarify my comments a bit...

This issue of ethics (or lack thereof) is not just a DeKalb County issue. The DKC power structure is taking full advantage of the corrupt political system perfected over the years by their counterparts statewide...leading all the way up to our esteemed Governors. Corruption isn't a black or white issue. It is the color of money.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I hope Milton Co. forms and north DeKalb can separate itself and install a different school system. DCSS won't ever heal. EVER.

Anonymous said...
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Cerebration said...

Backing up -- please do not name principals, counselors or teachers etc by name. It is ok to name 'cabinet' level or board level people, but others are off-limits by name. I'll have to go back and delete comments that name names of regular staff.

Anonymous said...

The Gene Walker as Chair election is about one thing:

It's about the BOE sending a mesage to Atkinson that they want to continue the friends and family way.

Walker's history is so tainted, whether by lawsuit, politcial contributions, ridiculous statements, etc., no sane board member would ever vote for him.

But Bowen, Sarah, Jay, and most of all Walker himself have friends and family working for the system, many in jobs in which they are not qualified for, and/or are overpaid for.

It's more important for this BOE to take care of their own than it is to make the changes needed to improve student achievement. Shame on us for voting in such incompetent people as board members.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested why teachers and regular staff aren't to be named? To me that takes away from this sites credibility. It's like you only want to bash Board members or cabinet members. I'd like to hear why your so bias about it. I say this in a non-confrontational way. I'd like an intelligent response back that doesn't come across defensive.

Anonymous said...

Public figures, such as elected officials as the BOE, and high profile public positions, such as the supt., are somewhat fair game, with exceptions, when it comes to media coverage, blogs, etc. By nature, they hold public positions and by default expect scrutiny, media coverage, etc. related to their office/position.

Non-public figures have more legal protections available to them. You just can't make a website trashing your neighbor and his dog with accusations that may or not be true, without having your neighbor take possible legal action.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you don't get it. This blog eliminates the need for having a hood and white sheet. You can make any anonymous allegation without regard to truth about a teacher, principal, or counselor (who are not public figures). There is no danger of legal action or retribution. Who ever thought that lynching was over in the south. We have met the enemy and it is us. Brave stand Cere, if you eliminate that kind of trashy post.

Cerebration said...

Ok people. So feel free to repost your comments - just leave off names. Try to generalize and make suggestions for Dr. A. Express your difficulties, but just say 'the principal I dealt with' or 'the counselor was no help'... ok?

I'm leaving the Wayne Chelf comments, as this is all Google searchable in news media from the time period.

The hood and white sheet comment was very offensive to me and goes over the top as well, IMO, but I'll leave it.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Hood and white sheet! Please! This blog keeps our elected officials a bit more honest. A lot goes on behind closed doors at the Palace. I'm concerned the current audit is going to be watered down and much like the one CLew/Tyson tried to pass off on us, by losing it.

We need an honest accounting and now that the BOE has selected their leader, I am less satisfied that a true and honest report is going to be released. The selection of Mr. Walker solidifies the friends and family plan for another year of contracts.

Anyone else think it was odd that Zepora Roberts and Jim Redovian were in the podiums camera angle? I honestly think the Walker 6 has an idea nothing is going to change, even though there is a grand jury investigation underway and the show trials are still waiting to be adjudicated.

No hope for any change in the near future at DCSS. Dr. Atkinson good luck!

Cerebration said...

Anon, you see this is the way blogs go - no matter if they are in the north or south - or if they are about blacks, whites, hispanics or asians or anyone else. Blogs are like cars - people are much more aggressive about their actions due to a feeling of anonymity.

In the future, please feel free to send an email to

to report an offensive comment. Believe it or not, people do this often and I remove the comments. This is all done without calling the blog names either.

Cerebration said...

I hope that you all also read our many postings on the good things that go on in DCSS schools. Many of these are never promoted by the school system's PR department as they are far too busy defending the board and former administrators in the press.

Dekalbparent said...

Like the competition at Cross Keys that Kim wrote about - and the remote program being run by the Moultie Tech professor - and the robotics team.

I wish all the schools had a Kim - or is CK the only place where this much impressive stuff is going on?

DHHS had two Gates Millenium scholarship winners in class of 2010, but I don't know about 2011.

Anonymous said...

By removing the blogs regarding the principal and the counselor over at the "R...bow" in the south end, does nothing to eliminate the truth that has been stated or told about those two people. But the proof will definately be in the pudding. Stop by and withness the disaster for yourself. Neither one of them are doing what they have been hired to do. Sitting in the principal's office or in the Title 1 coach office laughing, eating and gossiping about God knows what. When CRCT time comes around, wait on the results. Last year they did not make AYP. Now it's a waiting game.

Cerebration said...

perfect! thanks... see how you can make your point without saying a name?

Anonymous said...

In reference to Hawthorne Elementary vacancy: My principal held a vacancy open for months so her niece could finally (after numerous attempts)pass the certification test.

Anonymous said...

Why do APS and Fulton County schools salary is higher than Dekalb County. This is ashame when Dekalb is the largest among them all...hmmmmmmmm....Dekalb need a raise that meets the salaries of your surrounding school systems. Someone need to bring this to the table.

LaLaMeeka Chadwalli said...

So, is the grand jury really going to happen? I hope so. All this wrong needs to be corrected, and those responsible held accountable.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:00 pm: Translation please....

Anonymous said...

someone stated early that Lewis/Pope may never go to trail. Do you really think that could happen? I hope that these people will not get away with all the money they have taken from our children in dekalb. I must say that what you said has been something i had wonder about since it has taken so long. I have felt that something has not been right since before the old da left and now a new one not doing anything.

Anonymous said...


OMG. You do post good news Wanda Roberts, the first speaker at the BOE Meeting, was tremendous. What amazing courage !!!!!!
The Dunwoody parent was very good. I was amazed that some of the other speakers would have the nerve to follow those two.

Anonymous said...

The Lewis/Pope charges could be resolved with a plea bargain. Doubt the DA would just dismiss the charges. The Heery Mitchell lawyers would go crazy-they are counting on the criminal trial to bolster their position in the civil case.

If a Special Grand Jury is convened to review DCSS and BOE actions, these often are advisory and do not result in individual criminal indictments. For example, there was Cobb GJ inquiry into the laptop plan but I don't think any criminal charges resulted.

Had_Enough said...

To my point. No one will be held accountable. A slap on the wrist while the taxpayers are left holding the bag. Essentially that is what will most likely unfold.

Anonymous said...

Mark it--
Lewis gets a plea bargain. Pope gets "guilty".
DA has to bargain with Lewis atty because the case is an extreme overreach. A long trial would be 70-30 odds Lewis would get off. The plea bargain shortens the proceedings, keeps important players out of the record and ensures silence by Lewis, who knows where skeletons are. He may even get money from the big players to keep him quiet and not write a book.
Then, if he goes nuts via paranoia and starts takling--he'll end up face down in a roadside ditch with alcoho on his breath.
Its all about the skeltons, folks--DOWNTOWN.

Anonymous said...

Cere- I have been reading this blog for quite some time. Like many, I am usually upset over some shenanigans the board is pulling. I am losing track of what is really important and what is just plain irritatingly stupid.

I think we need a thread that clearly states what the citizens of DeKalb county want at this point. Let's hash it out on here. Come to a consensus and move forward. No little issues but lets figure out the 6 really big issues and utilize this blog to get a movement going. It's seems like there are so many piles of problems, it's too difficult to get started.

We need to clearly identify the main issues. Then encourage readers to email SACS, the BOE, All the neighborhood groups, DR A. and get moving on voicing the citizens top issues with this board and school district.

My first suggestion for something the citizens of DeKalb want to improve would be: Let's identify what we want the board members to concentrate on instead of themselves. Should we expect them to address academic acheivment/success? Aren't they really there just to handle the financial side of our district.
Are they doing this job and are we just being overly critical?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for removing the posts that are open, bitter, and unfounded attacks on school board and school system employees. There are many more posts that need to be removed by the site administrator. There are many teachers, principals, and central office staff members who do the right thing, and because they do the right thing, people dislike them. I see some leaders who I know on a personal level and would trust with my children insulted on this blog for no reason. I am troubled that insults are hurled on this blog with no respect for family members who may read the blog. Some of the comments are untrue, hurtful, and just wrong. Equally as disturbing is the fact that you do not find this kind of "airing of dirty laundry" in other school systems. Perhaps the problems in DeKalb are systemic in the mentality and comments on this blog. I do believe the blogger had better intentions that the gutter attacks that are being posted. Dr. Walker is a husband, father, son, as many of the anonymous posters are. Inquiries can and should be posted in a much more intelligent manner that what we are doing to ourselves. I would not want to read this kind of attack on my family member, and I feel sorry for the family members who are subjected to this. I am not defending wrong behavior by any means. If a board member pt s school system employee has engaged in an unethical act, of course it should be reported in the interest of children and taxpayer. That does not mean that we hurl degrading, negative, offensive or otherwise untrue comments about school board or school system employees. Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and other more successful districts do not have this kind of blog. There has got to be a better way, and Cerebration, we owe you an apology as I know this was not the intent of your creation of the blog. Let's not make ourselves a bigger laughing stock with the in fighting and insults. PLEASE take the advice of the poster who recommended that we choose 6 areas to address and move forward as a team. We need to continue reporting behavior that is unethical and illegal. Of course we do, but we need to follow the appropriate process. Cerebration, please remove the insulting comments about teachers, principals, and other comments that have no backing. You are so right that this is grounds for legal ramifications. Just because I dislike someone does not give me the right to insult them. The freedom of speech does not mean I can engage in slander, verbal abuse, and libel. I thank everyone for your attention and I hope we will move forward in a more proactive manner. Let's get to work on the six priorities. I will suggest that the first priority is student achievement. Cereb, please remove any and all offensive comments.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:06 I think that your idea is great, however the race issue is a very huge thing in this county. Going after black board members by people not from their area, will have them and many from the Southside, calling us racists.

I am not sure how the public can get our children a better education, as I do not see these board members willing to go or do the right thing. For example, the right thing, would be for all board members to be reelected when the number drops, but I do not see that happening.

We have people in very powerful positions who do not care about the education of the children, but are focused on keeping friends and family employed in high paying positions that they may or may not be qualified for. Now that they are being chummy with Dr. A, I am slightly worried that my optimism about her making changes was for not.

Anonymous said...

The only things that could improve DCSS is for the district to split into smaller districts (never going to happen) or for board members to be elected at-large instead of by district (never gonna happen).

To make matters worse, we now have, literally, the worst selection on the board as chair. Walker is a bully and a racist, and he is under the misguided impression that things are going well in our schools.

Despite the good news of Dr. A demoting several high-level administrators, I have never been more pessimistic about the state and future of DeKalb schools. Nothing good will come of Walker's chairing the BOE.

Anonymous said...

Despite Dr. A's good intentions, she may find her hands tied by the BOE just like Tyson did.

When the chair/vice chair elections occurred, the right thing to do would have been to elect a different chair and vice chair. Then, when Walker was elected chair, the right thing to do would have been for Tom to actually allow for a change in leadership (which he said was the reason he didn't run for chair), decline the nomination and allow Speaks to serve. This was all a done deal before they ever got to the meeting. Womack again sided with the 5 (superintendent hiring being the other time)in an effort to make it look less divisive (you know, the old 5-4 issue). Good grief, that strategy even got accolades in the ajc reporting on the Cobb BOE elections: The Cobb vote was not the only close decision recently determining school board leadership in metro Atlanta. On Monday, the Atlanta school board picked a new chairman and vice chairman with 5-4 votes. That night, however, the DeKalb County school board demonstrated a little more cohesion, selecting a new chairman with a 6-3 vote. AJC still has their head in the sand.

Anonymous said...

This from the thread in August 2011 titled “Defining Cheryl Atkinson”: (1) 8/18, 1:16 pm – “I’m going call it like it is….. this again is all about race. The South DeKalb folks want an African American, regardless of qualifications, regardless of qualifications…” and (2) 8/18, 1:20 pm – “You are absolutely correct, maam. If you don’t have the right skin color, forget about it. A real shame.”

I’m in “South DeKalb”. I don’t appreciate anyone telling me what I think or how I feel or what I don’t want. When outright insults like this are hurled, it of course keeps up the thing we’d all like to put down. At this point, the fact that I (and I’ll bet the vast majority of “South DeKalb” residents) don’t feel the way the two posts above indicate, appears to be completely irrelevant, since it was decided by “people” that I don’t want the best qualified of anything – superintendent, administrators, elected officials. I’ll also surmise that this bigoted knife cuts both ways. Ignorance and hatred, after all, remain equal-opportunity.

So when I read the post from 9:11 above, which seems to conclude that I’ll be angry if anyone goes after black board members and call you racist, I heave a deep sigh. I’m sure this will fall on many deaf ears, but I’ll feel better for having articulated it myself. Here goes:

I (“we”) want quality. I (“we”) want the best public education can offer for our students. I (“we”) want the highest of expectations in both our homes and our schoolhouses, and I (“we”) think that although our home values, and therefore our property taxes were decimated, “we” still pay into this system of an amount which demands accountability on a scale with any other area of this county. I (“we”) battle intra-community issues just as any other area does, and I (“we”) realize that we have much work to do in singing off the same sheet of music. But I (“we”) will engage those battles head-on and eventually come together with an overall higher expectation of adults and children in our community. I (“we”), like those in other areas I suspect, decry those NOT of my community generalizing and supposing what goes on without knowing the facts.

During the superintendent search and thereafter, I (as a fairly active parent/county resident) talked to NO board member who indicated a desire for anything other than what was best for all students attending all of our schools. I heard nothing which indicated “seeing color” or preferring one ethnicity or the other in leadership. This of course will not matter to anyone who decided long ago what was in the minds and hearts of board members, but I wanted to share what I heard – and didn’t hear. For all you know, I (“we”) would like to see change on the BOE as well. And for all you know, I (“we”) would welcome the change we desire regardless of color, etc.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:53, I have no doubt about your passion and beliefs for an exceptional educational system in DeKalb County. Unfortunately, other voters in DeKalb apparently do not feel the same as you do. Judging by the way they vote, given the events over the past few years in DCSS, they just do not care. This is a really big problem. Unless the BOE is culled of self serving, ineffective, divisive, clueless members nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

What about when Zepora came and spoke at the public meeting and berated the board for trying to place a "white" superintendent?

Anonymous said...

What about the fact that Gene Walker is quoted in the AJC as saying "I see color" "I love color"?

Anonymous said...

Uh, what ABOUT it? Guys, we could play the "what about" game and keep at it until we're exhausted, only to end it in a draw. What about Lester Maddox, the MS governor who stood in front of Ole Miss blocking the entrance of the first African American student, or more recently in another metro county the super-smart words of Judy Manning, a sitting state representative, who said she still has trouble with Mitt Romney because he's Mormon, although that's "better than a Muslim"? C'mon.

If this is your response, then you clearly missed the larger point: generalizations are unproductive no matter their source. My personal view is that kooks and bigots exist everywhere. And if you wish to view it this way, please remember that one of those BOE members you referenced is no longer there. Due to defeat. By voters in her district. Also remember that the remaining BOE member you reference had a lot of support from those outside the black community in this county. So, uh, there's plenty of kookiness to go around. But why go? Just don't generalize. Period. Is it really that difficult?

Leo said...

Things will always be about race in Dekalb, unfortunately, but surely there are some things that parents of students of all races and socio-economic backgrounds can agree on are important to the successful education of our students. Let's find a handful of those things and advocate for change there. Little by little, and with the effort of a lot of people from all over the county, I believe we can make a lasting change.

Anonymous said...

We can demand and request change all we want, but until the general public is willing to vote in better board members things are not going to change.

There was little outrage of the public by the race bating and behavior of board members with the superintendent search. There is little outrage now, as status quo will stay the same.

Having worked in the district, those in charge don't want things to change, don't care if the children are educated and feel that they can do whatever they want, because the public is always quiet and keeps voting them in.

I have to laugh that people really think that demanding anything of this board is going to do any good for the children. Those in charge DON'T CARE ABOUT THE KIDS, IF THEY CAN READ, WRITE OR DO SIMPLE MATH.

Parents who care about education know this, as one poster said, it's going to take YEARS to change things, if the board is ever changed to people with a laser focus on educating our children.

Parents of young children that really care about education are not even considering their DCSS home school. I am not. I can't afford for my child to not receive a quality education, and I don't trust DCSS to provide an education to my child at any of the DCSS schools.

You see, the people in charge must want to change and do better, before any change can happen. Board members like how things are going for them right now and don't care about the children. It's obvious by their actions time and time again.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to what the requirements are to become a BOE member?
(1) Are there any education requirements (after all, they are the superindent's boss)?

(2) Are they required to be fingerprinted and have a background check (just as teachers are)?

(2)What about residency requirements (like actually living in Dekalb County)?

(3) Etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

“There was little outrage of the public by the race bating and behavior of board members with the superintendent search. There is little outrage now, as status quo will stay the same.”

Some folks just are not that concerned, they do not really care and support and vote accordingly. Folks that do care and were disturbed with the divisive behavior on the BOE are reluctant to make waves because they do not want to have the “race card” pulled on them. This is one the dumbmasses may ultimately win. Friends and family will continue to remain safe.

I am not normally so pessimistic, but this bad kabuki theatre has continued for far too long!

Anonymous said...

Cere, I totally understand. But I can say this, those post must have been read by a lot of people, even the them, before it was removed. Because people are talking about it and those two (the incompetent principal and the non-counseling counselor)over @ "R...bow" have been walking around putting on a horse and pony show for the world to see. FUNNY! You all will definately be kept informed of what is happening or should I say not happening on the south end of town.

Anonymous said...

If you and others are too reluctant to hold elected officials accountable because you worry about the race card, then I'll just say that if I felt that way I'd think I was exercising poor citizenship. Great example for the kids we all claim to fight for. What if the founding fathers or Rosa Parks remained reluctant?

I agree with last night's midnight poster. There's so much going on right now, we can pick about six major items -- and get cross-county support for addressing them. And yes, it's been tried before. So what? We try again. Only this time, try staying focused to the real things at hand. If we think there's too much bloat, let's not start naming names and harping on who's a family member. Also, stop calling people nefarious, dumb, criminal, unethical or anything else which has the effect of immediately alienating an entire swath of your hoped-for teammates. Stop with the "dumbmasses" comments and such. Stop letting really bitter and nasty people lead your charge. Of course in deferring some of these things you will delay gratification with them. Know what? If you conquer the cross-county issues first, you can eventually get to the other things you wanted. Because then you'll have that cross-county support, and you won't have to be 'reluctant' about the race card. It'll become a "quality" card. Do you know how many of us in South DeKalb are horrified by the sight of thuggish behavior in our classrooms, on the buses and along school walk routes? Have you ANY idea? You already HAVE your friends for your effort, but you keep over-purifying yourselves and declaring that we're the "dumbmasses". Great way to make new friends -- keep insulting them with generalizations.

And enough already with the Nov 2010 BOE elections. Here's one for you: the people of this county are a lot smarter than you think. All over the county. No one likes to have a small cadre of people hole up in a back room and then parade candidates before them already hand-picked, but some with as many warts or dumb or absent things as the incumbents themselves. I'll wager that what we saw was as much a vote against that behavior than for an incumbent. So put that one down, OK? Just move on.

Further, if you're wondering about the outrage from S. DeKalb over BOE shenanigans, know this: just because we don't start blogs and attract pure but reluctant people doesn't mean that we don't lodge our complaints. We just do it in a different way.

Go back to the midnight poster. S/He is onto something. If you have the fortitude, and if you can put down your 'reluctance' card.

And if you can't? Well, we'll fare without you. You want so badly to run from this instead of facing things like reasoned and compassionate people? Go. I'm not afraid or reluctant.

I wasn't reluctant when I was a student in this system and upon our move here the white flight was instant and intense; I wasn't reluctant when as a DeKalb high school student I gave what I suppose was a rather bold speech before the Key Club somewhere on LaVista Road and my mother and I nearly got booted out of there because they thought I was talking about having students of all races get along; I wasn't when the last of the white neighbors tried to run my little brother over in our front yard, yelling the "N" word; and I wasn't when my father presented himself at my high school several times a year to tell the counselor that I would not take the average classes they were instructed to place me in. What you folks don't seem to get is that there are a LOT of me's out here. We have many axes we could grind -- we just don't dwell on them.

I will, however, enthusiastically support maintaining company with both Cere and Kim. Now there's your beacon for reasoned and compassionate. ;)

Anonymous said...

January 12, 2012 4:25 PM

The only qualification to run for office for a board of education seat in the state of Georgia is to reside for one year in the district you wish to represent.

Once elected a Board member is required to register for Board member orientation and to annually register for a certain amount of training hours.

Sagamore 7 said...

Anon 4:25pm

The only requirement to be a board member of the DeKalb County Board of Education is to live in the specific district that you are running for.

Now that we will have 7 districts instead of 7 plus 2 super districts the legislature will decide and vote on 7 new districts.

From what I have seen the legislature are going to GIVE Walker his own district even though he was elected as a Super District rep.

Their rational is that he has not completed his elected term in office and whatever happens to the districts he should serve out his term. The odd numbered districts are in year 3 of a 4 year term and have until the 2014 to stay on the board.

Too bad for Pam Speaks, she was a Board member of a super district but she has to get elected again to be on the board.
Does this seem fair?
Who will challenge Walker on this?

I have suggested numerous times to be able to run for a board of education seat you have to pass a Credit Check and a Criminal Background check.

Representative Billy Mitchell asked my opinion last year and when he heard my response he laughed. I asked him what was so funny and he said, "If we make all elected officials pass this test we wouldn't have any elected officials."

Makes you think doesn't it?

I personally would like to see the board districts resemble the super clusters from redistricting last year. That was based upon schools in a geographic area and was equally divided into student population.

Anonymous said...

Cere, could we start a new topic about the legislation for revising our BOE from 9 to 7 members? Does this legislature have to pass more legislation to implement the reduction or is already a done deal? I am terribly confused as I originally thought the reduction would be made by eliminating the two at large seats.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion for one of the six:

The central administration needs to include some strong teacher voices in its decisions, especially regarding instruction. After all, we are on the front lines and we know the raw product and are responsible for the end product.

We are the ones who will be able to serve the needs of the students, given support, encouragement, and respect by the central office. It is difficult to teach in this county, in every school, while receiving patronizing insults and absurd non-teaching related directives.

We are treated as though we don't know how to do what we have been trained to do, and what many of us have many years of experience doing well.

We are professionals and members of one of the traditional noble professions. At least I see myself that way. In DCSS we are are just herded from one directive to another, unthinkingly, and from one mandatory meeting or training to another. And then yelled at if we'd prefer to be in class or preparing lessons or grading papers. Believe me, I prefer grading to papers to attending inane meetings at which other teachers are totally absorbed in grading papers. Of course, we spend another two hours at home after those meetings either grading papers or preparing lessons.

In DCSS, we are treated like spoiled, unruly children.

If the instruction dept at the county office were smart, they would ask seasoned teachers what needs to happen to boost our students' learning. If they acted on these teachers' suggestions, then Dekalb would be a mecca for teachers like it once was, rather than the sinking ship from which the good teachers are jumping.

Sandy Spruill said...

@ Anonymous 11:53 AM & All who post as "Anonymous":

If change is what you want, then why haven't you worked for and voted in change?

Of course, you may have tried to work for change. But, you won't give your name, so I am assuming you have done little or nothing. Or you are just another plant from the Palace.

I am sick of reading this blog and seeing comment, after comment, after comment, after comment coming from "Anonymous" or from a pseudonym. As long as you are unwilling or too cowardly to use your real name and to stand up to the incompetents who have DCSS in a stranglehold they will continue to do just as they please, emptying the DCSS coffers without regard to actually educating our children.

If you post as "Anonymous" or under a pseudonym, then you have nothing of value to bring to the discussion on this blog.

Anonymous said...

At Anon 6:32 PM

Your post is very thoughtful. I admire your past actions.

Most of the people of North DeKalb want to see their tax money spent to educate children, no matter of what color. But it seems that a large number of the South DeKalb voters prevent this by electing Board members such as Walker, Jay, SCW and Zephora who are locked in the past and have their own self-interest in mind. This is not to say that North DeKalb voters have a perfect record in choosing their members.

Looking at the matter realistically, do you really think that Walker, Jay and SCW have had an epiphany and will turn over a completely new leaf? I think not. But for the sake of all of the children I hope that I am wrong.

I really find it hard to understand how people can stand in the way of affording the opportunity to all children to obtain the best possible education that can be afforded with the available funds. I did have some hope when Dr A was chosen as the superintendent, but even that is diminishing. The time for her reorganization review is over at the end of this month. It will be interesting to see what happens. I predict that one of Dr. Walker's relatives will be displaced from DCSS to give Walker credibility. That relative who get a job with the County, so nothing will be lost for him/her. You can say what you want to about Walker's views and actions but he is crafty and ruthless when it comes to achieving his goals.

The South DeKalb State representatives are doing their very best to redraw the districts so that Dr. Walker does not have to stand For reelection. This should tell you something as to how deep the problem really is. The North DeKalb taxpayers should be pushing their representatives to try to prevent this.

Anonymous said...

Sandy Spruill:

I just posted at 9:22. Does my post have any value?

Do you understand why I have no choice but to post as anonymous. If did not work in Dekalb, I would proudly have given my full name as author of my post.

Sorry, but I'm anonymously insulted by your post.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:32

"If the instruction dept at the county office were smart, they would ask seasoned teachers what needs to happen to boost our students' learning. If they acted on these teachers' suggestions, then Dekalb would be a mecca for teachers like it once was, rather than the sinking ship from which the good teachers are jumping."

Good, practical and noble thoughts. But for the past 10 years or so, the main mission of DCSS has been to create good paying jobs for as many people as possible, particularly friends, relatives and those in the power circle. Educating children only serves as the vehicle for the system to extract money from the taxpayers to achieve this mission. Sort of like one of those charities that collects money and spends 90% on salaries and perks and lets the remaining 10% dribble down to the
people for whom the money was raised to benefit.

I hope that Dr A can change this.

Anonymous said...

Board Members should be able to articulate clearly. Plus, how can you hold office with the personal track records that we now have. Stealing, cannot speak in complete sentences, and etc. Yet, these are the people making decisions for us.
Mr. Cunningham needs a basic grammar course

Cerebration said...

@January 12, 2012 8:31 PM -- I did write a post on this - as I understand it. Which is not well. But then again, no one really understands how the redistricting will play out. I can guess though - now that the legislators have pretty much given the school board the responsibility of drawing their own 7 districts.

Read the posting here -

much ado about nothing

And BTW - I encourage everyone to use the search bar on the right side panel of the home page - it's very powerful and will point out all of our old posts on any subject.

Anonymous said...

@9:22: Thank you! We have the first: Deeper and More Meaningful Engagement with Veteran Teachers.

Whew! Any more? I'm @ 11:53, 2:49 & 6:32 who appreciates any effort to recalibrate and promote a more global effort for what we all want.

We're guaranteed ugly; we don't have to look for it. But it takes courage to look beyond that. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:32,

I appreciate your comments; it is invigorating to hear someone from the south side of the county sharing these views. Unfortunately, the general voting population does not see things the same way you do. The minority of voters that have consistently showed their concern for the DCSS BOE through the years are overshadowed by the majority of those with less concern. Folks that continue to vote in unqualified, self serving BOE members are not my “teammates”. Hence, the dumbmasses are winning and have insured their leaders maintain control. You are right, “Great example for the kids we all claim to fight for”. Don’t lecture me the labels I place on careless voters; do not call my hand and make me show you the voting idiocy and its consequences in this county both in DCSS and county government.

Let’s be frank, when the “race card” is thrown and you are in the minority view both in general population and in power, it is damn hard to overcome unless there are like minded folks of all races willing to call the dealers hand. Clearly, the majority has already spoken. There is no reluctance and bitterness here; sometimes you just get tired of being in a wet dirty trench with just a handful of others fighting the battle. If there are so many South DeKalb parents upset with the various unacceptable things going on in and out of the schools, get them active and get them voting the right way. Just where the Hell are they any way?

Forget the 2010 BOE elections? Just move on? I do not think so. I will take every opportunity I can to rub in the results of this election and how its outcome just continues a half-assed DCSS wasting taxpayer money and producing inadequately educated kids. I want these voters to know the consequences of their poor decision making. Hard to believe these voters voted this way for their own children. The DCSS and its BOE are the result of the voting dumbmasses.

You mention Cere and Kim. Cere has involved herself with setting up a blog for our general use and related activities keeping up with what is going on in DCSS. This can be a very time consuming job with no compensation. Very admirable for her to do so. Kim is a very strong advocate of CKHS and the Cross Keys Foundation. However, Kim, well aware of many downfalls in DCSS and CKHS has publically stated his focus is on his chosen CKHS goals and does not want to be distracted by things he may not be able to change or that would impede his efforts. This man, without a child in this school, a school without an organized PTA, has actually changed the lives of several sharp, young people in a few short years. This is quite an accomplishment to behold.

If there are indeed parents and citizens you know that are not happy with the way DCSS is being operated or the quality of educated children and young adults it produces, are you willing to educate them? Will you show them the error of their voting decisions in past elections? Will these parents and citizens become involved in their local schools to the point that administrators become more responsible? Just wondering….

Having said all of the above, I have not given up completely. I am just waiting for the dumbmasses to finally “get it” and show that they are not asleep in the voters booth. For additional consideration: We are not founding a country here. This is not a social movement to correct the wrongs to a group of human beings. This is a corrupt education system managed by a majority of folks that are out of their league and it is time for things to change. There are educational alternatives to those unwilling to wait for the dumbmasses to get their minds right. I am looking forward to any positive change you can bring forward.

Ms. Spruill…. Thank you for letting me know where I stand with you.

Anonymous said...

Much what ails politics in DeKalb is people from different communities not knowing what's going on in other areas. From near Northlake, I find reading Crossroads News enlightening--news we can easily be shielded from when we rely on AJC.

The environmental battles have been historically the clearest case of the ill-informed being "divided and conquered".

Also, sometimes you can compare stories from Dunwoody Crier and Crossroads and find out that the pols make competely different represenations in different communities--soemtime fulminating racial strife.--works well for them.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 9:22 -

I agree that having a real voice for teachers is very important to improving the system, and I am assuming you are a teacher, so I want to ask you this:

When there was a Teacher Forum (I think that's what it was called) that was composed of teachers who wanted to be there (were they elected by the teachers at each school?), rather than the TOTY from each school, were they listened to the way you are describing? Was there ever a time when teachers felt they had a voice in DCSS?

If there was a time when it worked, there is something to work toward - a good basic structure. If not, then there needs to be brainstorming as to how the input group would best be structured.

And Sandy, while I respect your point, I think that teachers and other DCSS employees need to be able to post anonymously. This is not a sign of cowardice, as I see it.

Dekalbparent said...

We need a paradigm change here. Is it not possible that if there are a manageable number of specific items that we take action to address, some who have not appeared to be interested will get to thinking? If there is a high-profile vocal movement, composed of residents from all over the county, it will get attention. Neighbors will start talking to neighbors. It will be mentioned in local publications (well, maybe not all...). Sometimes, you just don't realize how important something is until it is clearly brought to attention. Life gets distracting.

And we absolutely have to keep away from divisive statements and assumptions. We need all the help we can get, and even if we are pursuing the same goals, doing it separately won't cut it. We need a united voice: "We ALL want these things". If people from all corners are asking for the same thing, nobody can say its racial.

And and believe me, there have been and still are board members from N and Central DeK who are not putting kids first. We all share this one.

Anonymous said...

The whole "coming up with ideas" and uniting the various areas of DeKalb sounds nice, but it is never going to work with our current BOE. Any headway we may have made with Dr. Atkinson is now at a standstill with Walker as the board chair. He loves power, he loves to hear himself speak, and he will never admit that mistakes have ever been made. Dr. Atkinson, who now reports to Walker, will have to do a song and dance to get anything done.

North DeKalb, esp. Dunwoody, you're not getting squat until Walker is out. Fernbank, you're golden. South DeKalb, you're just going to be ignored, as usual.

There is no need for a movement because Walker will not stand for anything that he did not create or take credit for. The word of the parents, students, and teachers does not matter to Walker, Cunningham, Wood, or Womack, and, like it or not, they are the bosses.

The only way you are going to get any action out of those 4 is to get actual signatures of a majority of residents and voters who promise that they will be voted out during the next election if they do not do x, y, and z. The likelihood of this happening is nil.

I am normally an optimist and a dreamer, but Walker's chair position has completely defeated me.

Had_Enough said...

Anon 12:25 AM,

I disagree with you. If there was an organized group, similar to the one started called Parents for Dekalb Schools, but with defined goals and objectives, I believe the Board Chair, regardless of who sits in it, would be forced to take notice.

The key is organization and inclusion from all over the County; keeping the message in the forefront and using social media to force the BOE to listen.

I understand the feelings of despair. But I also am motivated by posts like the one from Anon January 12, 2012 6:32 PM.

Hold them accountable.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:45

Getting people from all over the county together is going to be difficult to nearly impossible. Too many have something to lose if the friends and family hiring practices stop or if the number of non-teachers is lowered. These people are going to work against any change that could come out of this.

The same goes for people wanting their new school or their renovation. Too many in our community are only out for their projects and their children. Their kids go to Fernbank, the School of the Arts, Kittredge, or another magnet or special school.

Those thinking that Walker is going to listen to anyone not agreeing with him, simply doesn't understand that he only cares about what he cares about and will do anything to get his way. He is not an honorable man and will do whatever he has to get his own way.

With Dr. Atkinson getting chummy with him, we are in even deeper trouble as she will be rendered powerless to do what needs to get done. I believe that she has hit a nerve and it's only a matter of time before she is blackballed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of dumbass voters. I think Paul Womack is the most dangerous yet useless person on the board. I wonder if those voters will replace him with someone who has strong ethics and focuses on the children?

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is "Jamie Wilson has left the building."( Resigned or forced out)Can anyone verify this?

Anonymous said...

The board chair really does just have one vote, but it is clear that a coalition has emerged that is BAD.

Regardless of what happens with the redrawing of board district lines, Paul Womack will be up for reelection this Fall. It is essential that the communities in his district oust him. Having no one in his chair would be better than having him there.

Cerebration said...

Chances are slim that Womack will be reelected. We have four board members up for reelection in November (even numbered zones) - Womack, Bowen, Speaks and McChesney. That leaves 5 still serving until 2014. If the seats are reduced to 7, then that only leaves 2 seats for these 4 people to run for. Add in any new (hopefully!) opponents and chances are slim for reelection. Of those four, Womack is least likely to win, IMO.

Cerebration said...

Also, as far as I know, the board chair sets the agenda. That's pretty powerful.

An aside: I don't know how on earth Tom Bowen has the time to serve on this board -- this is from his bio on the board's website:

Mr. Bowen also represents Georgia’s 4th Congressional District and currently serves as Board Chair on the Georgia Student Finance Board of Commissioners. He was appointed to the GSFC Board of Commissioners in October 2004.

Bowen is an attorney and certified public accountant (CPA). He has extensive experience in the area of state and local tax counseling.

Bowen is Director of Tax with Hewlett Packard Company. Mr. Bowen oversees all aspects of the Company’s sales and property taxes.

Anonymous said...

"Bowen is an attorney and certified public accountant (CPA). He has extensive experience in the area of state and local tax counseling."

Forgive my ignorance but I was under the impression that both attorneys and CPA's have code of professional ethics. I do not believe these codes cease to exist after 5pm or on the weekends. As such, these codes of ethics even exist in the absence of a BOE or state mandated/drafted code of ethics.

Am I diving off the deep end here?

Do you see where I'm going with these questions?

Would not Tom Bowen be obligated by his professional code(s) of ethics to report any financial or legal irregularties occuring on his watch on the DCSS BOE?

Is a failure to report, disclose or act a violation of his code(s) of professional ethics as an attorney and CPA?

Anonymous said...

"Bowen is an attorney and certified public accountant (CPA)."

And yet the alledged Heery-Mitchell improprieties occured on his watch.

Yet the alledged Pat Pope improprieties occurred on his watch.

Yet tens of millions were spent by the Central Office on huge expenditures like America's Choice, eSIS, the Office of School Improvement, with NO RETURN On INVESTMENT.

Tom Bowen has a massive ego and little personal ethics, with the unmitigated gall to run for BOE Vice-Chair after serving as chair for three years. Shame on you Mr. Bowen. You are the exact opposite of a leader (and another BOE member with family working for the school system).

No Duh said...

Why all this nonsense about the south part of DeKalb not being politically active or astute?? If you think about it, they did a nearly impossible thing. They voted out Zepora Roberts -- an INCUMBENT.

The fact of the matter is, in ANY part of DeKalb -- north, south, east, west -- there are politically astute people who really know what's going on and pay attention to "politics" in their communities. They know who's smart, able and capable. They advocate for those people. They campaign for those people. They support them with their wallets. And they are just as disappointed as any other political advocate when their efforts come to no avail.

And why does the "kick the bums out" campaign usually come to no avail (particularly in big election years when major positions are being decided)? Because Georgia is one of a handful of states that allows the use of the (I) next to incumbents' names on the ballot.

All the politically active -- "in the real know" -- people in a community can't cancel out the "average voter" who will go to the polls to vote on the big races and then check all the boxes next to the (I) candidates for the "minor" races. The average voter does not understand that who they elect to be their School Board member will have FAR MORE power over their lives than the President of the United States ever will!

So if you really want to campaign for something that will help us (all of us) "kick the bums out," advocate for eliminating that little (I) on the ballot. But, hey, good luck with that -- the incumbents will fight to the death for that little "freebie."

One more thing. Before anyone from North DeKalb blasts South DeKalb for not getting their voters to do the right thing... let's see what happens with Womack and his little (I) in the next election. I really hope all of us astute politically active people can overcome the power of that little (I) -- but, if South DeKalb could do it with Zepora, maybe we have a chance.

Of course, now Donna Edler has the little (I)...sigh....

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the Code of Ethics for CPA's. Makes for some interesting reading.

Here's the link to the landing page:

Here is a link to Section 54
Article III entitled INTEGRITY

Cerebration said...

Integrity requires a member to be, among other things, honest and candid within the constraints of client confidentiality. Service and the public trust should not be subordinated to personal gain and advantage. Integrity can accommodate the inadvertent error and the honest difference of opinion; it cannot accommodate deceit or subordination of principle.

Feel free to email that text to members of the board, including Tom.

Cerebration said...

And the rest -

Integrity is measured in terms of what is right and just. In the absence of specific rules, standards, or guidance, or in the face of conflicting opinions, a member should test decisions and deeds by asking: "Am I doing what a person of integrity would do? Have I retained my integrity?" Integrity requires a member to observe both the form and the spirit of technical and ethical standards; circumvention of those standards constitutes subordination of judgment.

Integrity also requires a member to observe the principles of objectivity and independence and of due care.

Good find, Anon. These principles should apply to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Jamie Wilson is smart and took FML prior to his apparent reassignment or termination. He knew the legalities of an employee taking FML, being able to still collect his check, and NOT being threatened with loosing his job while he's out of the office.

Just another way to manipulate the system! It appears he wasn't too keen on letting his colleagues in on his little.plan (I.e. Turk, Berry, Taylor, etc.) Or I'm sure they would've done the same.

Anonymous said...

As a Dcss graduate and now employee it saddens me to see the state of our school system. There are so many positive employees in the county with great intentions who are so disgruntled because the powers that be will not allow change that does not benefit their pockets.

I am not a teacher but in my mind teachers should make a higher salary then damn near anybody else in the county. Provide them with continuing education, reward them for performing well, provide the with the basic tools (Textbooks, paper, pencils) to provide adequate instruction. It baffles me that a business whose sole responsibility is to educate children does not see the priority in its instructional staff.

Dr. A sounds intelligent, seems to be proactive, but is slowly sinking into the b.s. that is and will continue. To suffocate this county. Its a joke!

Sagamore 7 said...

Anon 9:48

Thank you for your concern.

There are many bright shining stars within the DeKalb County School System.

Don't give up hope or your positive energy.
Dr. A is pursuing her 90 day plan.
It will come to a conclusion next week. She has already reassigned numerous Central Office Employees whose contracts will be discontinued at the end of this school year.
She has brought in her staff to be accountable to the public.
We are watching and attending meetings to hold them accountable.

I completely agree with you that the highest paid employees should be the teachers with the highest academic performance by their students.
Not by cheating on their CRCT's but by following the students on their year by year academic grades.

The county has installed a "Longitudinal Student Database".

I think this is track to track the students to see how the students improve from year to year.

This is a much better way to track student performance than AYP.(NCLB)

We are in a transition year with our administration.

Please let Dr. A establish her foundation in the system. She has made many changes within a few weeks. She knows we are watching and going to hold her accountable.

Good Luck Dr. A! We have your back!
Remember, two words.

Transparency and accountability.


Anonymous said...

Sandy Spruill

RE: "If you post as "Anonymous" or under a pseudonym, then you have nothing of value to bring to the discussion on this blog."

This was a very mean thing to say. You know very well that as employees, many of us would be in serious trouble for participating in this blog. Further, if you are "sick and tired" of reading anonymous posts, then don't read them.

All I can say is WOW and not everyone is able be out as an activist.

Anonymous said...

FMLA gives a person time to look for a job while collecting a check.

Anonymous said...

Jamie wilson probaby has a year in sick leave and months of vacation. Most of the admin i know take time off and never do the paper work, so there times keeps building up. Wonder what his admin assistant will do now?

Anonymous said...

Jamie Wilson is part of the Family and Friends connection in the DCSS. He spent one day as an Assistant Principal in the county at Shadow Rock . Two days as a principal at Atherton.From here, his career took off to the county office, which later included being the person in charge of HR. This lead to many friends and family members being hired. His wife is a employed as a Coach along with his cousins and friends who are in other positions within the county.
In the HR department, for principal positions and assistant principals the jobs are already filled by the AKA principals sorors.
So, HR will use two or three dummy people to fill the vacant spots to make it appear that others were actually interviewed. knowing that the position has been filled. His wife (Jamie Wilson) is part of this same organization (AKA). She is confrontational and enjoys conflict among others. (Berry) hired her because she was part of this AKA organization and thus protected. But now that her beloved husband is no longer at the throne or Berry, HR will be a better place. Let us hope that Dr. Adkinson will use a company to do the hiring and this will surely upset the palace Family and Friends. Farewell , Jamie Wilson to another department, long over due!

Anonymous said...

The jobs on pats have always been a joke. You go out for a interview and later on you find out that they already knew who would get the job. Friends and family. It is a waste of time and gas. Over the years i have watch them move people around so a friend or family could get the best job. Maybe now that wilson is gone they will get someone that will be fair.

Anonymous said...

As for the jobs on PATS, many of our area directors (current) and former are also responsible for a lot of incompetent administrators being PLACED as toy principals and toy assistant principals. Do you remember the fake Delta Cohort and Alpha Cohort? Glanton and Debra White were told who to hire for candidates in the cohorts. For example, one is Frankie Calloway's son. He finished the cohort and during this time,several people in the cohort befriended him and landed assistant principal positions within the county. The principal at Browns Mill didnot go through the cohort process, she would leave her school (Wynbrook) and shadow the former administrators there.Which were poor leaders themselves and guess what,poor leaders breed other poor leadership people. Then on top of that, the teacher from Wynbrook became an untrained assistant principal and when the former principal turned Bookgate celebrity finally got caught stealing Title 1 money to buy books, Dunson and the former Bookgate principal recommended the current principal of Browns Mills. Guess what? She appointed a teacher from the school who wrecked havoc who caused confusion throughout the school to the position of an assistant principal. Guess what? The morale is so low and the assistant principal makes the decisions and demeans the teachers on a daily basis. It gets even better, when the assistant principal was employed as a teacher at the same school (Browns Mill), she broke every county rule in the book. But guess what? She now sits high and enforces the same rules on teachers under her leadership. So as you can see, Incompetent leadership breeds more Incompetent People in the role of administrators.

Anonymous said...

I pray that Dr. Atkinson realizes how much the sorority connections have hurt the school system.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jeff Dickerson (The Georgia Gang) thinks highly of Mr. Walker's new appointment. This is OK. However, there are many DeKalb voters that feel the same way. This is a problem.......

Anonymous said...

Walker has most of his relatives employed by DCSS including a on in the bloated Security Department. His family lives off DCSS and yet not one of them teaches a child.

Anonymous said...

Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. Thank the Almighty that your influence over DCSS is waning rapidly.

New Birth to reopen its academy with Aurora Day School

Anonymous said...

Another note the Sorority-Fraternity influence, a major announcement was made Friday to recognize AKA Founders Day!
At my middle school, which is in walking distance of the Palace, every Friday is Spirit Day. Staff are allowed to wear jeans as longas they wear a school spirt shirt. Now, most wear a shirt recognizing their Sorority or Fraternity. What's up with that?!?
If not to be sure everyone knows you affliation...........

Anonymous said...

Why would AKA Founder's Day be big announcement in a school over the intercom? This kind of foolishness is on the south end of the county. And has No correlation to improving student test scores.Let the taxpayers know if this announcement helped to improve CRCT scores in April.
Being and belonging to a Greek organization is a big deal in DCSS on the south end. You get to be recognized, you can wear your favorite T-shirt whether you are involved in a chapter or just pledged yesterday or last night, and everyone in the school gets a chance to see that you are somebody because you pledged in a Greek organization. These people should be pledging to improve student test scores.
Greek organizations for some people have really made them feel important and believing that this is how to be recognized . So Sad! I can only imagine how the founders of these organizations must be turning in their graves at the mockery that Greek Organizations have come too. It is about the thousands of dollars that people pay just to wear a special color T-shirt and most of these folks cannot even stand their sorors behind close doors. But in front of the public they pretend to be sisters for the public viewing. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

I remember all the "Deltas" being called to the front office so a group photo could be made....And this was during class time. So teachers (about 20) were out of class while they should have been teaching.
One teacher refused to allow a student in her class because the girl had on an AKA tee shirt and had not earned the "right" to wear it. Child could not come to class until the shirt was changed.
This is how ridiculous things have gotten in some schools.