Fourth time the charm for CCPS?

The Clayton County Board of Education will hold two meetings today (at 1058 Fifth Avenue, Jonesboro) to discuss various financial issues they face.

The first will convene at 4 p.m. to address potential cuts of the local supplement for teacher salaries in the proposed 2010 budget. As per the Clayton News-Daily, “One result of such a cut would be that, while teachers would move up a step on the state’s salary scale, their salaries would remain the same as they are in the current fiscal year.” Public input will be heard on this issue.

The second meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. will deal with a fourth Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax sought by Clayton County Public Schools, concentrating specifically on school repairs and maintenance. This new SPLOST is expected to generate about $268 million in revenue. If the vote passes, our BOE will need approval from Clayton’s Board of Elections and the U.S. Department of Justice in order to proceed. Residents will then be asked to vote for SPLOST IV on Sept. 15.

In addition, our BOE tentatively approved a $574 million budget recently, which could result in Clayton residents paying the full 20 mills for school related property taxes. This comes at a time when many taxpayers are in the process of appealing to have their property assessments lowered.

Your thoughts?

Along the lines of CCPS, what are your thoughts on former BOE Chair Ericka Davis’ appointment to the Clayton County Community Service Board (Mental Health, Developmental Services, and Addictive Diseases)? It’s been a litle over one year since she resigned amid a firestorm which eventually led to CCPS’ accreditation loss. Should one job have anything to do with the other? Do you care?

60 comments Add your comment

Clayton Resident

June 15th, 2009
9:13 am

I’m torn on the SPLOST mainly because I’m torn on this board. They’re an improvement over the last group but I’ll need more info before voting in favor of this splost. As far as Ericka Davis she should never be allowed to work in, for or on behalf of this county ever again and we should remember all of the commissioners (unanimous vote) who opened the door to let a snake slither back in let’s pray we get a better seleciton for commissioner chair next time around.

Mike Harmon

June 15th, 2009
9:31 am

Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

Oh please

June 15th, 2009
9:36 am

Well, I’m confused. Aren’t we already paying a SPLOST? Does this mean sales tax could go from 7% to 8%? Not voting for an increase, but I’ll keep the one in place. As for Ericka Davis, I’ve never met the woman, and I can’t speak for her past, but she probably should have stayed out of Clayton politics.

Black Woman In Clayco

June 15th, 2009
10:21 am

No more tax increases and as long as Davis does no more harm I don’t care what she does.

Larry OKeeffe

June 15th, 2009
11:24 am

Teacher’s salaries are made up of two components. The State mandated rate and a local supplement. The system is required to pay the state portion of the salary but the supplement is discretionary. Some smaller rural systems do not have a supplement as they lack the funds to pay one. The supplement is what the district is proposing a change to. The proposed change negates the increase and rolls back all steps one level. For example teacher with a Bachelors Degree BT-4 at step 10 with not step increase due was scheduled to receive $37,286 this was reduced $150 to $37,136. If a teacher was moving from Step 10 to Step 11 they were scheduled to receive $37,436 they would now remain at $37,286. This is what is apparently meant by “No Increase” but for some it is in actuality a decrease.

This Salary schedule is titled “No Increase Granted”. This is reportedly in response to a mandate from the board to rescind the 1% increase scheduled to be given this year to teachers. The realities of this change do not in my opinion fulfill the Boards intent. I was at the work session where this decision was made. The way it was presented to the Board was that all contract teachers were scheduled to receive a 1% increase. The Board asked that the budget be reworked with out the increase. Their intent, as I perceived it, was to keep the salary schedule as is. The Salary schedule presented yesterday did away with the 1% but also negated any step increases. To my knowledge the Board never intended to take away step increases. Step Increases are longevity increases based on length of service and as I understand it granted every two years to an employee. Thus the salary schedule as presented is inequitable as it affects employees differently depending on whether or not they were due a step increase. Any employee that was not due a step will in fact have their pay reduced. Employees that are due a step increase will remain at the same pay rate.

If it becomes necessary to cut teacher pay, and this is a real possibility considering the current economy, then the equitable method would be to cut all supplements by a set amount or percentage. This would then affect all teachers equally. Hopefully it will not come to this but other districts in the state have already had to consider it.

Wage freezes are a fact of life in today’s economy. My salaries is frozen this year and has been on an off for the past ten years, my last increase was in 2005. Unless there is a sudden and dramatic change in the economy I foresee a need to extend this business community fact of life to the academic community. However if it becomes necessary it must be done in an equitable fashion equally impacting all system employees.

Pray for our Schools
Larry O’Keeffe

Ernest

June 15th, 2009
1:17 pm

Good post, Larry! Rescinding step increases is a reality that most school systems have already dealt with. Heck, some districts like Cobb and Fayette will institute across the board salary reductions for all employees. Teachers will complain (which is their right) but at the end of the day I hope they acknowledge the options would be to lay off employees, cut/eliminate services or increase taxes on all citizens.

Regarding SPLOST, obviously the existing one is about to expire. SPLOSTs last for 5 years before going to the citizens again to ask for a continuance. If Clayton citizens reject SPLOST, your sales tax will go down to 6%. It would also mean less maintenance on schools as that would need to come from the operating budget. State law caps sales tax in each county at 7%. The only exception is City of Atlanta which got a waiver from the state to go to 8% (additional penny helps to fund sewer repairs).

Peggy Sue Davis

June 15th, 2009
3:20 pm

I am voting no. They do not deserve more taxes until they better manage our monies. Student enrollement is down anyway. Make due, is what I say.

Sgt Rock

June 15th, 2009
3:58 pm

Larry & Ernest…Great posts both.

What you are saying is one of the underlying fundamental issues and mindsets that has plagued Clayton County (and other Counties) over the years. As the cost of living goes up, elected officials are reluctant to raise taxes accordingly. The answer is always to cut capital or operational costs. Private business knows all to well that it is detrimental to do this and at a point, is no longer an effectual means to reduce cost putting the business in jeopardy.

A more rational approach is to raise taxes according to Cost of Living indicators to keep pace with higher prices. Clayton County has chosen NOT to do this. This choice was made at all levels of county government many years ago creating the financial trouble we have today. Clayton County had a reputation for the lowest taxes in the Metro Region. They reputation, while good for a while, was really foregoing the issues that we face today. Taxes need to keep pace with cost…bottom line. Now there is a deficit and it will take years of tax increases just to catch-up with the “good ole days”. This not only applies to the old BOE’s but to the BOC’s as well.

Erika Davis’ appointment…a unanimous vote by the BOC. This single vote will come back to haunt each candidate come election time. Each voted to appoint an inept individual that along with other conspirators conspired to bring down the Clayton County School System through gross incompetence, negligence, graft and corruption. She will be watched as will the actions of the Commissioners. This is inexcusable.

Also to be watched is the Clayton county Legislators that recently introduced and passed House Resolution 1073 in the Georgia House Assembly http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/fulltext/hr1073.htm recognizing the Former District Attorney Jewel Scott as a “Notable Woman of Achievement” and “evidenced dramatically by her superlative service as District Attorney for Clayton County”.

Abdul-Salaam, Jordan, Glanton, Johnson, Sinkfield and Glenn will all need to prepare to answer for this Resolution Sponsorship. Scott, in the same mold as Hill and Davis did nothing but immeasurable harm to the County and deserves NO accolades whatsoever. The only things deserved are indictments for each.

Ernest

June 15th, 2009
4:52 pm

Sgt Rock, I don’t mean to ‘hijack’ this blog but you are absolutely right with your assessment with taxes. Municipalities must make regular investments in their infrastructure albeit roads, bridges, sewers, schools, etc. Short changing any of them could come back to haunt you in the future. Look at the City of Atlanta and their sewer situation. Mayors did not step up to the plate and request tax increases to address the problem because it would have been politically unpopular. When the situation came to a head, Mayor Franklin and the citizens asked for a bailout, from the state and federal governments. In retrospect, they had the ‘benefit’ of not addressing the problems along the way and found themselves with a major bill that they are paying for today and tomorrow.

Peggy Sue Davis, I don’t have a dog in the SPLOST discussion for ClayCo but I hope you would reconsider your position. At the end of the day, you are one of the ‘owners’ of the schools in your county. Having a leaky roof in a school is like having one in your home, you have to address it. SPLOST revenues (limited to refurbishing or new buildings, technology procurements, or paying off bonds) shifts some of the burden from property owners to those who make purchases in your county. It is estimated that 40% of the revenue generated would come from those that do not live in Clayton. The alternatives if SPLOST is not passed is that property taxes may increase and/or bonds may need to be issued, especially if the schools need major maintenance. I would think most property owners would prefer SPLOST over tax increases.

What should should expect from your BoE is a prioritized project list that maps the project costs to expected dollars from SPLOST. The project list should be ‘needs based’ and discussed with all citizens in your county. At least if you have this, you’ve got something to hold the BoE members to. Think what happened in Cobb County with the proposal to purchase laptops with SPLOST monies. Citizens were adamantly against that. The superintendent resigned and several board members lost their seats. Had Cobb explained to citizens up front how they wanted to use the monies, it may not have come to that.

What you deserve

June 15th, 2009
7:05 pm

Has the board, comprised of current and former teachers who know first hand the primary importance of supporting teachers in matters of discipline, addressed the issue in such a way that will provide a direct and tangible benefit in the classroom?

Have the voters held them accountable for doing so?

If the answer to both is no, then SPLOST will go splat, the 20 mills will be paying for what will essentially be diploma mills, and Clayton will continue to get the school system it richly and fully deserves.

Hindsight 20/20

June 15th, 2009
10:46 pm

Cut off your nose to spite your face is what you did! The Political Talking Heads here should’ve thought about the aftermath when they ran to the school’s accrediting authority and the Gov to take accreditation to spite the old final four BOE members, costing the school district 44 Million per year! The bottom line is public education is a publicly funded resource that is supposed to provide equal educational opportunities for all American children. We have to be fair in how we distribute resources and always mindful that we are not unfairly rationing opportunity. Unfortunately, fairness for some can have detrimental outcomes for others and we would be incredibly disingenuous to pretend that race and income are not a part of that formula. Elgrin is setting up Ericka to take over the BOC chair! Say, TOTAL DISASTER!!!

Agnostic

June 15th, 2009
10:58 pm

Now, the people who took accreditation and cost the kids over 44M per year wants another SPLOST to make up the difference. All this against the majority of the voters in the county! What a disasterous political move. The BOE won’t spend the money on school maintenance anyway, they do everything but right! This SPLOST is for Aristocracy.

Nospin

June 16th, 2009
12:03 am

Sgt. Rock has it right. Taxes have to go up to keep pace, or the county will stay in the abyss it currently is in. You get what you pay for.You can go first class school system, or a bottom of the bucket school system. I prefer somewhere in the middle for now, with a goal of moving up quickly. All the crap about discipline can be dealt with if parents and taxpayers demand action , and become involved. Its no reason to hold off what needs to be done. If the entire BOC voted for Erika Davis, everyone of them needs to be put out of office! Anyone who had anything to do with this below, also needs to be shown the way out of office. The nerve of these so called “representatives”, Abdul-Salaam, Jordan, Glanton, Johnson, Sinkfield and Glenn!
http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/fulltext/hr1073.htm

John Stewart

June 16th, 2009
11:29 am

I don’t like my taxes raised like the next man but its an unfortunate reality that this has to occur. Don’t blame the current board of having to make the hard decision to do so. Unfortunately raising the school millage rate is continued fallout from the previous school board selfish, childish antics. What I would hope is that our county commissioners had the ca hones that the school board has and would make the hard choice to raise taxes. Instead there is going to be a proposal tonight to make cuts to the Clayco PD an essential service as Sgt. Rock so eloquently put it in a prior post. How intelligent of a move is that during a time of recession when the crime rate has risen? Our Sheriff’s office needs more deputies as well as our PD (Commission put a freeze on hiring some time ago) and they want to cut the PD even more?

Here We Go Again

June 16th, 2009
1:57 pm

Once again, teachers find things out in the newspaper, not from their home schools. If salaries need to be frozen, I can understand that. But I can’t understand why a veteran teacher will end up taking a pay cut, while those with less experience will remain at status quo. Does this board have any common sense? And hello, there are former educators on the board. DISCIPLINE and MOTIVATION remain an issue, but really, don’t those two virtues have to start their development in the HOME? Parents need to be involved and accountable. Too many don’t see the education of their child as a partnership. Administrators have to develop a spine. And finally, I was hoping we’d never see Ericka again. Shame on you Eldrin, you are so transparent.

What you deserve

June 16th, 2009
2:04 pm

As long as people think it’s “crap” for the BOE to address discipline problems, and as long as people think that you can fix CCPS by throwing more money at it, the people are getting, undoubtedly, the school system they fully and richly deserve.

oldtimer

June 16th, 2009
4:38 pm

Throwing more money at education will not help improve schools. EXPECTING more from students will. Those students who come from families that EXPECT success and enfore rules and resposnsibilities on their childern will get good results in even the worst of schools. Also, spending more on more “programs” will not help—never has.Let California keep their experimental programs. Community schools with parent involvement, and good hard nosed teachers will make a change.
Cut the pay equally. The experienced teachers are needed more than ever.

SynamonSays...What do you say?

June 16th, 2009
8:06 pm

Clayton County Taxpayers,
Yes, we need to raise taxes to insure quality living. Raising the taxes is not the problem. Holding those elected officials who make these decisions accountable is the problem. Clayton County operates at such a low level because the citizens are far too apathetic and unengaged. Add to that the fact that it is going to take two more election cycles to get it right in Clayton.
Unfortunately, we have to dance with the ones who brought us to the party for now. In the meantime we must work on ourselves, we the citizens have the power but do we have the will? I know this sounds like a broken record but, you must attend the meetings, speak out and participate. The BOC meetings are not televised (need to change that folks.)

There are only three ways money is raised in Clayton, our county taxes, our BOE taxes and the justice system. The proposal to cut positions, furloughs and layoffs is not the answer and it should be a last resort.

over taxed

June 16th, 2009
9:34 pm

No on SPLOST. Until they resolve the overassessments on property… until they spend past SPLOST on what they promised… until they show they actually need this SPLOST money….

Gadfly

June 17th, 2009
1:43 am

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. This is great advice if deeded! However, the same people that totally destroyed the school system to spite the old board members a year ago want to “Rise Our Taxes”! Their efforts also devastated the county! Say No to another SPLOST! The people in charge have been mismanaging the money for years! Vote NO, make them learn by example! Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. Here comes a paradigm shift Davis and Bell are setting us up for disaster! Wait and see! We have already been “hardscrabble” by the Aristocratic. The BOC and furloughs are more signals of “Money Mismanagement” at the county’s highest levels–not to mention all Clayton’s Delegation are “Tax Evaders”!! Catastrophic! Just like the “O”man said “it will get worst, before it gets better!!

Larry OKeeffe

June 17th, 2009
2:35 pm

Time to Pay the Piper

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The AJC is reporting Chairman Bell’s Clayton County Budget Woes.

The Clayton County Commission Chairman has reported to the county commission that the county tax digest has fallen 3.6% from last year. This is why I questioned the Board of Education Budget proposal’s Local Revenue Projection. The BOE budget projects the same local tax revenues as last year. And the School’s millage rate is caped at 20 mills so they will not be able to compensate.

Earlier this year the Blogs and e-mail circuits were all buzzing for citizens to contest their property assessments. This along with the annual review of property assessments has resulted in a dramatic decrease to the county tax digest. Granted property values have fallen drastically, many find themselves owing more on their mortgage than their property is worth. Assessments should reflect the fair market value, however tax revenues must remain constant or services will have to be cut. (TANSTAAFL) The cost to the county of providing the services we all depend on has not fallen; in fact the county is facing the same rising costs we all are. This will in all likelihood require an increase to the millage rate.

Theoretically if all properties in the county have been reassessed to reflect their current fair market value then a revenue neutral adjustment of the millage rate should not result in a change to the individual tax bill from last year.

However there is yet another issue with our property tax bills. This years tax bill will not include the HTRG credit we have become accustomed to seeing on our bills. So we are already set up for some tax bill shock. That is why the county needs to do its best to ensure any millage increase is revenue neutral at most.

The County also must thoroughly review all expenditures to eliminate any waste or duplication of services. Procedures and controls must be utilized to track and report to the commission regularly the status of the county’s finances. Each month the commission should receive a Comparative Operating Statement detailing revenues and expenditures as compared to the budget, the previous month, and the previous year. This tool would have the capability of pointing out any anomalies in time for corrective action to be taken.

Finally if cuts have to be made those cuts must be implemented in such a way as to minimize the impact on public safety and minimum quality of life programs. Each cut must be reviewed to determine its impact with an assigned priority relative to the public good. We must not allow the tactic of emotional blackmail by targeting HOT BUTTON issues such as Police and Fire protection. Quite frankly these departments should be off limits for staff reductions. We cannot afford to suffer the same fate as the City of Atlanta where public safety has been jeopardized.

Pray for Clayton County
Larry OKeeffe

Ernest

June 17th, 2009
3:36 pm

Another informative post Larry! Some wonder why did the assessed values of their home go down. The governor signed Senate Bill 55, which essentially allows assessors to take in consideration foreclosed properties to determine fair market value (FMV). In years past, foreclosures were seen as an anomoly but now they are occuring with greater frequency. As a result, many neighborhoods have seen the FMV for their house go down as much as 40%. I know some people that cheered intitially with the thoughts of a lower property tax bill. You said it best, “tax revenues must remain constant or services will have to be cut.” In times like this, the thought of cutting services like police and fire along with the affect it can have on the quality of like is making people realize the impact of the law change.

Based on several comments, I should point out again that SPLOST revenues go into a separate pot of money for the purposes I mentioned earlier. This is generated by the penny that is a part of the sales tax. If voters decided to discontinue it, sales tax will go down to 6 cents. If approved, the sales tax will remain at 7 cents.

I would caution citizens, especially property owners to give serious thought to the impact of a no vote on this. Schools were designed to last 40-50 years. Through proper and regular maintenance, the life of a school can be extended. A SPLOST spreads the cost of school maintenance to everyone the makes a purchase in your county. If it fails, maintenance will fall back to property owners. It could require a property tax increase or issuing a bond. I believe the citizens should make an assessment of the state to the school infrastructure, including future technology needs, into consideration for this upcoming vote.

The Screw

June 17th, 2009
7:56 pm

Inside the Clayton County jail is deplorable conditions. People with heart conditions are not getting their meds, diabetics are not getting their meds, there are no towels, soap, blankets for inmates. Inmates are eating cold sandwiches and sleeping on the cold concrete floors after taking a shower without drying off thus getting sick. Inmates are cramed into cells designed for two. Some cells have six inmates per cell. All of them smelly from not having basic soap, towel, toothpaste etc. The conditions are draconian! Before you pre-judge the inmates, keep in mind that most of these inmates have not been convicted of a crime. Inmates in the prison system, have allready been convicted. Inmates in county jail have not and many of them will be found not guilty by a jury of their peers. A federal lawsuit is being prepared. The question is, can Clayton county afford to lock up people at the rate they have been?

In Plain Sight

June 17th, 2009
10:29 pm

Dejectedly, we paid $18,500 for the BOE to go to San Diego for training/fake interview. Now, we know that were never 60 candidates for superintendent; only 1 Heatley, by spoon fed to the BOE by the “Southern Aristocrats”. The BOE done what the “Nobles” told them to do. Meanwhile, we’re paying out “Hundreds of Thousand Dollars, maybe millions on charades that ran the likes of Thompson, Lewis and many others out of the system. We should feel silly and deceived! This whole thing started with the Clayton southern aristocrats costing the children 44 million playing reckless politics. Now, you want us to pay another SPLOST to make up for your “Dilapidating Failures” which can be felt countywide. “No” to SPLOST! You’re not “Prudent Stewarts” of the “Taxpayers” dollars! Your BOC has suffered the same faith! They have “Disemboweled” the county.

Jborodawg

June 18th, 2009
11:39 am

Ditto Oldtimer….”Throwing more money at education will not help improve schools. EXPECTING more from students will. Those students who come from families that EXPECT success and enfore rules and resposnsibilities on their childern will get good results…” That is so true and should be most evident to every tax payer by now. Billions spent by the fed DOE with not much to show for it. Millions spent on some schools and programs with not much to show for it. But, many stories of under-performing schools being turned around. Not by money, but by principles and/or teachers; and begrudgingly sometimes with help from parents.

Ditto Ernest…”A SPLOST spreads the cost of school maintenance to everyone (that) makes a purchase in your county. If it fails, maintenance will fall back to property owners…”
It will be earmarked for maintenance and repairs. As long as the sales tax remains at 7%; no to any increase.

Teacher pay should be ‘maintained’ not cut nor raised during these times. Most of private industry is in this mode, if not in a pay cut/personnel cut mode. The CCPS system should be doing the same right now. Many teachers and para-pros have already been ‘layed off’. It’s just highly unfortunate that the BOE is having to do this while paying a new super such a high salary. If he had any b*lls, Heatley would volunteer for a pay cut. They should also look very very closely at the number of administrators and they’re pay. Which is more important; a planner or a teacher?! The classroom is the bottom line.

What you deserve

June 18th, 2009
1:04 pm

The BOE is asking for a $574 million budget, yet the current and former teachers on the board can’t get out a sheet of paper and write down a discipline policy that gives teachers real authority, and administrators real accountability for making sure the teacher’s authority is supported?

Let me ask you people something. Do you think if you spend $574 million on law enforcement in Clayton, but law enforcement refused to enforce the law, that you’d have law and order in Clayton?

Then what makes you think you can spend $574 million on schools, not enforce the rules that maintain the integrity of the learning environment, then expect learning to take place?

Until the public can come to grips with that, and more importantly demand that the current and former teachers on this board come to grips with it, the public will continue to get the school system it fully and richly deserves.

Jborodawg

June 18th, 2009
5:32 pm

“…look very very closely at the number of administrators and they’re pay…”

I’m embarrassed. Should have been “their”.

J.T Rapier

June 18th, 2009
6:11 pm

The County’s Aristocrats caused a “Domino Effect” last year! You Aristocrats call for accreditation to be pulled thus causing over 3500 students to leave, costing the district 44 million dollar educational shortfall, which cost over 200 teachers their jobs. However, the dominos continue to fall causing residents to flee, causing high foreclosure rates, causing property value to fall, causing property tax to skyrocket! Now, you want us to pay for it! We didn’t “CAUSE” it; you did! I thought you knew about “Cause & Effect”. You fix it, Plutocracy which means governance by wealthy, or a wealthy social class that controls or greatly influences the governments of a society!

Rick

June 18th, 2009
6:16 pm

No to SPLOST!
BOC can’t spend wisely with what they got. Don’t ask me for anymore of my hard earned money! Where is my “stimulus”. Your failure to plan and spend accordingly has us in this condition! And why in God’s name did the entire delegation give accolades to Jewell Scott? Bad move! I will remember this when I cast my ballot!

SusiQ

June 18th, 2009
6:19 pm

The BOE could have cut the administrators pay in the big house and cut back on all the contracts they continue to fund the big white flight of the county. Now that Erica, Rod, and Eddie is out they did save a few dollars from going to the county and other contractors. The BOE could also cut the number of retirees working and getting paid double and they should have never cut Teachers pay. Teachers work to hard and they put up with so much mess and they should have been given a raise.
They should have gotten rid of that Unconstitutional Ethics Board paying them because Okeffe want a job and paycheck and they should have gotten rid of that phony Parliamentary leading them down the wrong path and cut Brock pay in half since he is bilking the system. Therefore, we should say NO to SPLOST because they are not using it correct.

Evan

June 18th, 2009
6:43 pm

CBOE did you all look at the administrators pay. You are paying two Superintendents and still paying Thompson. You are being sued left and right because your attorney is sending you all down the wrong path therefore you will need more than SPLOST money. Students will continue to leave over the summer and teachers and administrators that can leave will to somewhere they can have a future. You all are continuing to add administrator jobs paying upwards of $65,000 but you will cut Teachers pay. This is a shame and disgrace and the SPLOST will not help give teachers a pay increase. Teachers are the lowest on the pole and they do all the work. They are the ones that deserves the SPLOST money. They cut out the Graduation Coaches but are still paying an Ethics Com. with Larry Okeffe the Chairman – the one who is making the budget cut decisions and paying a Parlimentary $80,000 should have and still need to be cut. The BOE need to get on the ball and cut out all the loose contracts and people out. Wake up CCBOE give the teachers back their pay raises. NO SPLOST give the teachers, nurses, cafeteria workers, and janitors a pay raise. NO SPLOST use the money you have wiser.

Clayton Resident

June 18th, 2009
8:47 pm

I agree with Jborodawg-

Absolutely look at the pay of administrators. Clayton is one of the metro areas top employers? How can that be with only about 48,000 students? How can Clayton County Schools have so many employees, with so few students and such poor results? And most importantly, why are taxpayers so silent about it? Force them to reduce staff and only THEN consider a tax increase.

Every year, the Atlanta Business Chronicle lists metro Atlanta’s largest employers; and every year, Clayton cracks the top 20 with companies like UPS and Home Depot. That’s ridiculous!!!

And finally, about the BOC’s reluctance to furlough staff. I take furloughs days from my job, as do many other Clayton County residents. If I were a Clayton County employee, I would rather take a furlough day than be unemployed. Suck it up and do what the rest of us are doing. Most of you don’t live in the county anyway!!

Jimmy

June 18th, 2009
10:48 pm

Ericka Davis??? Not a joke; just a total disaster. She was the only one on the school board when SACS invaded and took over the school system in 2003 and 2007-09. But, Ericka Davis and Rod Johnson invited SACS to Clayton County because these two selfish individuals could no longer get their own ways. Before the election of 2006, it had been the Ericka & Rod Show. They had shoved good ole Eddie White to the side. Ericka Davis and Rod Johnson were the main culprits on the school board. Eldrin Bell has some real chutzpah to appoint Ericka Davis to ANYTHING. She and Rod Johnson single-handedly did more to destroy Clayton County than anyone else. Millions and millions in property value loss can be directly attributed to these two selfish individuals. If their running to Poppa Mark Elgart for help was motivated to save the school system, then the cure was much worse than their own self-inflicted disease (selfishness). All of the commissioners ought to be thrown out of office for this act alone. What do you think about this, Larry?

The Screw

June 19th, 2009
11:35 am

The Air Conditioner is out of order at the Main Jail on Tara Blvd. Inmatesand Correction Officers are baking inside those concrete pods! The last temperature reading was a sweltering 98 degrees! I took that at 10:55 this morning.

Sadie

June 19th, 2009
6:22 pm

The jail is steaming hot because the air is out and the county is steaming hot because of the leadership. People losing jobs, houses, and taxes still going up which is steaming to the citizens of clayton county. Everybody is steaming hot but the politicians because they are comfortable in their nice cool houses. Get the air fixed in the jaill the workers need to be comfortable they are not criminals.

Sha Na Na

June 19th, 2009
6:27 pm

Look like Clayton County doesn’t need a BOE because Larry is running it all by himself. Go Larry keep taking charge and running the County. Maybe it is time you become the Commissioner of Clayton County. You have my VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pogroms

June 19th, 2009
6:47 pm

Scholars Academy State Elementary in Riverdale was denied Charter Status due to academic and enrollment issues by the State Charter Commission. Why couldn’t the Clayton’s Aristocrats convince Sonny’s Charter Commission to approve the request? However, a charter in Norcross and Statesboro was approved! Clayton’s school was the only school “DENIED”! The CCBOE Ethic Commission should get the aristocrats and those four old citizens that took accreditation to get Sonny to give us our school funding he withheld and charter status! Poor Lil black kids.

Deborah Ybarra

June 20th, 2009
1:35 pm

I will absolutley not vote yes for splost. Until the board and principals and teachers learn to work for their money they do not deserve anymore at all. So lets see we have many superintendents that are still under contract that we have to pay them this year. I do not feel i want to have my taxes raised so we can make up for all the damage done. As far as i am concern we have overpaid glorified babysitters.

I look around at the equipment and yes the maintance of the buildings and see run down places, nothing changed for the better since the 80’s. I thought a new school would be better like jonesboro middle but no they moved the old to the new.

I feel that if we would have our teachers teach durning the day and have teacher learning time and school meetings durning weekend and summer not durning the school day of instruction, this would eliminate schools full of subs. So we pay the teachers and subs to work on same day. Double dip.

We pay principals not to be around to oversee staff (Meetings). We pay teachers to change grades and give wrong grades. These people in clayton county school have to much control of money, students grades and students futures and the misuse of it and until they get a handle on what they have then NO.

Example: (year end awards) each school orders on an individual basis. why? It cost more you know All the schools know the dates awards are to be presented.
It’s Called an order form for the entire county. Bulk is cheaper and easy on the vendor . It cost more to piece mill.

So until we can get together with people that know how to purchase , run classrooms and students we do not even need to play the money game. Hell i wish i could get paid 35,000(Plus benifits) and play on the comuter and let my room attendent do the work .

This is what i see. I have been on an up hill battle with the schools and asst superintendent. So until i see we can actually get help and movement with what we have i suggest we stop giving them what they want.

I can put trash and debris in my front yard. Put a junk car on blocks, put on old rags and act like the world is over and i have nothing and con you out of paying a bill, feeding me and or just giving me money meanwhile i have a beautiful home and i spend your money going out to eat. BINGO that is what is ses is being done to us.

Stop the POOR ME act. Do your job. Then we will talk about money. Everyone gets paid according to their works in this world. No one gets paid today then ask to work later.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO to SPLOST

Larry OKeeffe

June 20th, 2009
9:13 pm

I do not normally respond to comments and will probably regret this but I wish to clarify a few points.

1.I am not the chairman or vice chairman of the ethics commission just one of 7 members.

2.I do not do this for the paycheck. Commission members do receive a $50 stipend voted to them by the board. (big Paycheck)

3.I do not run Clayton County Schools; all I do is publicly voice my opinions and recommendations. It is up to the Board and Superintendent to accept or reject them. Every citizen of Clayton County can have the same input as I do just by actively participating at the local school and district level. I have always encouraged positive parent and community engagement. This is the greatest challenge our education system faces nation wide.

4.The act creating the ethics commission was written by the Georgia General Assembly’s Legislative Council, a group of lawyers tasked with the responsibility of drafting legislation to conform to the Constitution. The act was then voted on and passed by the Georgia House and Senate. Until a court rules otherwise this act is the law of the land and it is the duty of the members of the Ethics Commission to act accordingly. They do not have the authority to decide the constitutionality of the statute that created them, all they can do is take action on any complaint before them within the confines set forth in the enabling legislation

5.This commission was created in an attempt to prevent any reoccurrence of some of the actions that led to the SACS sanctions. It should never be the responsibility of an accrediting agency to act in an enforcement capacity. The only punishment they have at their disposal has the greatest effect on those least responsible for any policy violation or lack of functionality, the children.

Pray for our Schools
Larry OKeeffe

Deborah Ybarra

June 21st, 2009
12:32 am

No way shape or form would I approve of any tax increase to help pay for their mistakes.

A question for Mr. O'Keefe

June 21st, 2009
11:44 am

Mr. O’Keefe,

I apologize if you have addressed this, and I haven’t noticed. But in all of your public comments on the school system, I’ve never heard you address the systemic lack of administrative support for teachers in matters of discipline. I’ve never heard you address the fact that, despite having a BOE comprised mostly of current and former teachers, they have yet to address this issue in a real and tangible way.

With an ear as close to the ground as yours, surely you’ve heard the stories. The high school teacher who was assaulted and it swept under the rug. The school where teachers were put on Professional Development Plans-the first step towards dismissal-if they send even so much as two students to the office-in an entire year! Surely you are aware of the violations of state grievance law when it comes to teachers attempting to use the legally approved process of bringing these issues to light as well.

And undoubtedly you know, because this has been publicly acknowledged by CCPS itself, that lack of administrative support for discipline has been a key reason cited by teachers when they leave the school system.

My question to you is this. Have you ever gone on the record and publicly stated that CCPS administrators need to do a better job when it comes to supporting the teacher’s authority to enforce discipline?

And if you haven’t addressed this, this dysfunction in the system, this issue so vital, so central, so fundamental to what hampers instruction in CCPS, how can we believe you truly have the students’ best interests at heart if are silent on what, now that accreditation has been restored, is likely the biggest detriment to their educational experience, the lack of support given teachers in matters of discipline?

Even giving credit for all you have done to advocate for a better school system, I think you must admit being silent on the lack of support teachers in CCPS are given when it comes to discipline-again I apologize if you have addressed this-does raise some question marks as to whether you are willing to step up and hold accountable those in the CCPS power structure, now that you are what would be considered, part of the loop.

I would strongly urge you, for the sake of your credibility, and most especially the sake of the students, to address this fundamental issue.

Ernest

June 21st, 2009
4:27 pm

Ms. Ybarra, you do realize that by approving SPLOST, your sales tax remains the same? It would not increase.

Interestingly, I have not seen anyone post regarding how your school system has been irresponsible with SPLOST revenues in the past. How has this school system done with SPLOST projects?

Larry OKeeffe

June 21st, 2009
4:44 pm

Once again I usually regret rising to the bait and answering challenges on the blog and probably will this time. I am a fat old man and my time on this earth is short so I tend to speak my mind without any thought to PC and as my father used to say “Suffer fools and idiots poorly” So please forgive me if my answer offends, I have a high regard for educators and this answer it is not directed at any individual.

That being said I will answer “A question for Mr. OKeeffe”, and I have addressed this publicly before, just maybe not recently.

First let me say that I do not condone or tolerate any form of physical assault in our schools. Whether it is Student on Teacher, Teacher on Student, Teacher on Teacher, or Student on Student, it must be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

RE: My question to you is this. Have you ever gone on the record and publicly stated that CCPS administrators need to do a better job when it comes to supporting the teacher’s authority to enforce discipline?

ANSWER: I have never gone on the record publicly or otherwise stating that CCPS administrators need to do a better job when it comes to supporting the teacher’s authority to enforce discipline. I have not done so because I have never been presented with hard and convincing evidence that all administrators need to improve in this area. I will not condemn all administrators for the alleged actions of a few. Just as I would never go on the record stating that all teachers need to learn how to manage their classrooms because a few allegedly can not.

RE: And if you haven’t addressed this, this dysfunction in the system, this issue so vital, so central, so fundamental to what hampers instruction in CCPS, how can we believe you truly have the students’ best interests at heart if are silent on what, now that accreditation has been restored, is likely the biggest detriment to their educational experience, the lack of support given teachers in matters of discipline?

ANSWER: Please read all below,

I agree that the issue of order and discipline in the classroom is fundamental to the health of any educational system. I also recognize that this issue is complex and can not be addressed with simplistic rhetoric used to incite and inflame the members of the community to profit one group or organization. I have repeatedly heard these accusations but have yet to see any hard and convincing evidence that the practices cited in this question are all pervasive within the Clayton County Public School system. We can not blame disorderly and undisciplined student behavior solely on school administration; all share this responsibility, Board of Education members, Superintendent, Directors, Assistant Superintendents, Principals, Assistant Principals, Teachers, Para-Pros, Counselors, Students, and Parents.

Without a detailed appraisal, and a properly executed, responsive plan of action, addressing all of the factors involved, not just administrative support for teachers, we will never resolve this issue.

I have heard the horror stories and on one occasion witnessed what happens in some of our classrooms, and I am dismayed when on occasion the perpetrator is reintroduced into the same classroom environment without any corrective or preventative action. However I understand and take into consideration the realities that led to that action. I have also heard the stories about teachers that exceed the bounds of good judgment and misuse their authority inciting disruptive behavior. I hold our teachers in high esteem, unfortunately some of our less experienced teachers are woefully lacking in classroom management skills. You do not just decide to become a teacher, it takes years of education and preparation, classroom management is an important part of that preparation. Each teacher made an informed decision when they chose their profession.

As I said this is a complex issue and there is no simple fix. First we must develop options for our administrators. As I am sure you are aware, federal and state law plays an important role in what an administrator can and can not do with a disruptive student. Without constructive and effective alternatives, administrators often have no choice in how situations are handled. ADA and IDEA limit the actions that can be taken concerning students with disabilities. Currently administrator’s options are very limited, contrary to what is often stated they can’t just kick the student out of school, they must seek and use alternatives. Let us look at the alternatives.

ISS and OSS are very limited in effectiveness and duration.

Class reassignment just makes it someone else’s problem.

The tribunal process is also limited in scope and purpose.

The “Alternative School” is something that desperately needs to be addressed. The facility is woefully inadequate for the function it is serving. Remember this was an elementary school that could not even continue to function in that capacity effectively. The teachers assigned to the alternative school work under horrendous conditions and are seldom recognized for their efforts. Have you ever heard of a PTSA or LSC for the alternative school? What parent group is there to advocate for them? There is little chance for success at what should be a concentrated behavioral intervention and modification experience for the student. This is due primarily to the lack of sufficient resources to adequately address all of the issues. Each student is an individual and there is no one size fits all solution. It takes individually tailored intervention, if we are to have any chance of success with these children. The current solution apears to be to warehouse them and just wait it out. Either they are returned to regular school more “street wise” than before. Or they remain in Alternative School until they reach an age or severity of criminal action that enables the system to dump them onto the streets. Then it is still our problem because they will now inundate our overburdened public safety and criminal justice systems. We were on track at one point to address this issue unfortunately some individuals saw it as a personal financial opportunity rather than an opportunity to improve student resources.

Expulsion should be and often is the last resort. Expelling a student will not correct anything other than getting the student out of the classroom. Remember however if they are not in a classroom then they are somewhere else. Whether that somewhere else is in the criminal justice system or just hanging out on the streets the problem is just relocated not addressed. And in many instances the student will return after a period of time to the school system with even more issues that when they were expelled.

So if you want to know my position on classroom discipline, here it is.

I do not and will not support any effort that will lead to the school system treating children as disposable.

I hold all involved equally culpable, Student, Teacher, Administrator, Board Member, and Parent for failing to fulfill their individual responsibilities. To get to this point each individual involved failed to some extent.

I do not support the practice, if in existence, of penalizing a teacher solely based on the number of office referrals. Each case must be taken on its own merits. However excessive referrals can indicate many underlying issues including but not limited to poor classroom management skills.

I will support any program or procedure that addresses the basic causes behind disruptive behavior in the classroom, and actively addresses those basic issues with equal support and equal consequences for the Teacher, Student, Administrator, and the Parent.

Note that I included Parent; this is often the missing part of the equation.

This is Clayton County Public School System. It operates under a constitutional mandate to serve all children of the county. If you can’t operate under that stipulation then seek employment in the private sector and see what kind of support you get from the administration. The saying “if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen” comes to mind. If I told a corporate VP (aka administrator) that I could not control the behavior of my employees because he did not support me, I would be out so fast my feet would not even touch the ground. And he would easily, in today’s economy find eager and willing replacements.

In closing I hope that this has cleared any question regarding my commitment to all of the students of Clayton County Public Schools. Let me also add that while I have not said so publicly I have shared with individual board members and administrators the need for us to revisit this issue in the near future, particularly as it relates to the state of alternative education facilities and resources.

I am just an individual citizen and I believe many overestimate my influence, or I grossly underestimate it. However as always, I encourage all members of the community to take an active roll in holding our elected officials accountable. At the same time I also encourage them to become part of the “power structure” as active participants in a process of positive change. Seek solutions and make constructive and positive recommendations and comments. It is much easier to tear down than it is to build.

Pray for our Schools.
Larry OKeeffe

A question for Mr. O'Keefe

June 21st, 2009
8:16 pm

Mr. O’Keefe,

I give you credit for a tackling the subject with a thoughtful, detailed answer. Some points I hope you will consider in response to your post: (I can only hope the blog gods are listening, and this answer doesn’t disappear into cyperspace like many other posts do)

“I have not done so because I have never been presented with hard and convincing evidence that all administrators need to improve in this area.”

The evidence is there; I urge you to keep looking. For one, the system’s own exit surveys showed that a major reason for teachers leaving was the lack of support for discipline. What does that tell you? It tells me that it is systemic. When teacher grievances aren’t processed according to state law, it tells me that the lack of support for the teacher is systemic. While I would never call on anyone to condemn every CCPS administrator, I think it is fair to say the system is dysfunctional in that regard. The current and former teachers on this board know this. In fact some even featured it in their platforms when they ran for the BOE. That is why it is so disappointing that they have neglected it upon election.

“I have heard the horror stories and on one occasion witnessed what happens in some of our classrooms, and I am dismayed when on occasion the perpetrator is reintroduced into the same classroom environment without any corrective or preventative action.”

So you do know of which I speak? Yet the board, which will discuss everything else under the sun when it comes to discipline, won’t say a word about this? It might not be the only consideration when it comes to discipline, but it seems to be the only consideration that isn’t addressed. Why?

“The saying “if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen” comes to mind. If I told a corporate VP (aka administrator) that I could not control the behavior of my employees because he did not support me, I would be out so fast my feet would not even touch the ground.”

Fair enough. But can you tell me name even one corporate VP, in any profession other than teaching, that would refuse to allow a manager to discipline an employee who
A) refused to work B) disrupted other workers and C) verbally abused and physically assaulted the manager and/or other employees?

Can you imagine a corporate VP saying a manager has to promote over 90% of failing employees, because if you look at what happens to students who fail the CRCT in CCPS, that is exactly what happens. This does nothing more than set the next teacher up for failure; then we blame that teacher, and don’t address the system that sets them up. The current and former teachers on this board know this; why isn’t it talked about?

“Without a detailed appraisal, and a properly executed, responsive plan of action, addressing all of the factors involved, not just administrative support for teachers, we will never resolve this issue.”

I agree, but when I’ve seen anything on discipline in CCPS over the years, from uniforms to Pulliam’s Blue Ribbon Panel I see one common theme. Everything, and I mean everything under the sun is considered. Everything that is, except the lack of administrative support for teachers. Why has this never, ever, once been a topic of conversation?

“The “Alternative School” is something that desperately needs to be addressed. The facility is woefully inadequate for the function it is serving”

On this point, I totally and completely agree. As much as I believe that, for the sake of those students who make a conscious decision to behave, those who chose not to must be removed, it is simply not enough to warehouse them. For the extreme behavior cases the alternative school has to deal with, the staff needs to be given the leverage to enforce extremely strict structure and discipline as more often than not, these students are lacking in both. And yes, the last attempt to seriously address the alternative school situation was hijacked by turf wars and board politics. Hopefully the next attempt won’t be.

“I also recognize that this issue is complex and can not be addressed with simplistic rhetoric used to incite and inflame the members of the community to profit one group or organization.”

The issue is indeed complex. I agree. The only thing I would caution is that everybody who is concerned about discipline, isn’t concerned out of their own personal gain. Many are concerned because they see teachers, good teachers, leaving to go to places where their skills are better appreciated, and they are treated with more respect.

Many are concerned because they see students operating with no accountability for behavior or academic performance, and feel that the system is ultimately setting these students up for failure, as the real world will indeed hold you accountable in ways CCPS is simply not willing to. They see teachers who, if given the authority, could make a difference, but consistently, their hands are tied. Let me add here that it is a valid point that administrators’ hands are also tied at times. If administrators need more leverage, give it to them. But why aren’t administrators advocating for that, instead of all too often blaming the teacher by doing things like putting them on PDP’s after only the second referral of the year!

“In closing I hope that this has cleared any question regarding my commitment to all of the students of Clayton County Public Schools. Let me also add that while I have not said so publicly I have shared with individual board members and administrators the need for us to revisit this issue in the near future, particularly as it relates to the state of alternative education facilities and resources.”

In conclusion, thank you for stepping up to the plate and giving us your views. I hope you will take the feedback as constructive, and not critical. You seem to be uniquely positioned to have the ear of the board. What’s more, you are in a position to address these concerns without any fear of administrative retaliation. Unfortunately many teachers who know first hand of the issues raised in these post are not in that position.

But the current and former teachers on this board know of these issues first hand as well. It will probably take a lot of political courage to address these issues, as I can imagine CCPS administrators as a whole will not readily admit to the system’s lack of support of teachers, even as their system’s own exit surveys confirm it exists.

The administrative lack of support isn’t the only problem of course. But it does seem to be the only dynamic consistently overlooked when it comes to discipline. Fair statement?

It is indeed a complex problem as you state. It might not be the only problem, but one can make a case that it’s the only problem, if not addressed, that can render all other achievements moot. All I ask is you keep these thoughts in mind, as you assert any influence you may have with those who can address this.

Again, thank you for stepping up to the plate with a response. I hope nothing in my response was so untoward to you to cause you to regret it.

Larry

June 22nd, 2009
9:42 am

The CCBOE is voting on cutting teachers pay. Before you all cut teachers pay look at how much you have paid Brock and Clay. I am 99.9% that you all can find other things to cut than teacher pay. The teachers should be the last one to have any pay cuts. I am sure that you all will lose teachers and the students will have unqualified substitutes as teachers. I am sure Larry can help you all come up with a plan. Leave the teachers pay alone. Have you all cut out retirees working in the system getting paid twice, paying retirement benefits for individuals not teaching or working for the school system, paying Brock and Clay as oppose to paying one attorney Julie, cut the $80,000 salary for a Parliamentary, cut out the illegal Ethics Board, and cut the BOE pay but do not cut teachers pay. You all are still hiring people for administrators jobs making upwards of $60,000, cut all top heavy salaries by 10%. They still will work because they have bills to pay but leave the teachers pay alone. We need to attract teachers to come her by increasing their pay not taking money from them. Ms Chairman, you are a teacher so think about will you like to have your pay cut?

Larry OKeeffe

June 22nd, 2009
10:18 am

RE: A question for Mr. OKeeffe

Your response to my statements regarding my position on discipline in the classroom was constructive and positive. I thank you for this as I was expecting something less productive.

The points your raise do give me cause for concern and I will seek out the facts, and hopefully the answers to your questions. I am by nature and profession an annalist. I seek hard data and attempt to derive information and develop action strategies when trends indicate a need. One of my shortcomings as my father used to point out to me is that I rend to apply logic to situations that are by nature illogical, such as politics, School Boards, and County Commissions.

I do agree that we need to support our teachers; they are the front line combatants in our struggle to prepare our children for life in the real world. Without sufficient support they are frustrated and become distraught and dejected. I also believe we must support our administrators, for they also are charged with the education of the children in those same classrooms along with the children in the classrooms of every other teacher in their school, or district. We must continue to seek methods that are effective in accomplishing this task, and not sacrifice one group at the expense of the other.

I personally support a multidiscipline approach; we can not afford to get bogged down on one course of action at the expense of others. We must offer and vigorously support multiple career paths for our students. For those students so inclined we must offer vigorous academic challenges such as AP and gifted courses. At the same time we need to increase our support for CTAE and work to eliminate the differentiation that exists between the College Prep and Tech Prep. If we engage the students by offering what they are interested in, and demonstrate a method that relates directly to their experience then they will want to attend class and will not jeopardize their ability to do so by exhibiting antisocial behavior. At the same time we must put in place effective methods of intervention for those that do not respond to this approach. We cannot expect a one size fits all solution. That is the basic fallacy of NCLB.

NCLB has forced our education system to develop a generation of test takers. Our teachers are often forced to sacrifice the development of conceptual thinking in favor of learning by rote so as to increase test scores. This inordinate pressure to teach to the test is a demonstrable fact as witnessed by the incarceration of a principal and assistant principal for changing elementary school tests. This reform was mentioned in the last presidential champagne but I have yet to see any action on NCLB.

Once again thank you for the constructive dialog. This is the proper and effective method by which members of the community can become informed and active participants in the political process that has made this country great.

Pray for our Schools
Larry OKeeffe

A question for Mr. O'Keefe

June 22nd, 2009
2:02 pm

Mr. O’Keefe,

Thank you for the kind words on the constructive dialogue. I want you to consider a shift in your thinking on this point. I would ask that you read the words below, and then compare them to what you hear from the typical CCPS staffer; ask yourself would this be new and since the current CCPS approach clearly has not produced desirable results, would this not be a productive way to approach the problem?

Here is your quote, which though well meaning, I think underlies the problem.

“If we engage the students by offering what they are interested in, and demonstrate a method that relates directly to their experience then they will want to attend class and will not jeopardize their ability to do so by exhibiting antisocial behavior.”

Perhaps, but unfortunately, teachers can’t decide not to teach World War II and geologic processes to instead focus on MTV, BET, Jay-Z and the Jonas Brothers because the students happen to find those subjects more engaging.

Instead, I would encourage a paradigm shift on your part, because with all due respect, I think the party line from CCPS has it all backwards.

Instead of thinking how ways to instruct students can address discipline problems, I would urge you to approach it from the angle that students should be instructed, above all else, that antisocial behavior will not be tolerated.

Once you take antisocial behavior off the table as an option-and stop making excuses for it by saying it’s the teacher’s fault for not being engaging-what are you left with?

Social behavior. And yes, you can say that students could sit there, totally bored, acting in socially acceptable ways, but still disengaged.

But I submit to you that once you take away the fun of anti social behavior as an option-and yes it is fun to many; if you don’t believe me, ask Jerry Springer how he stays in business-you might find that students, are primed to find engagement in subjects they may otherwise have never thought engaging. But that can only happen when you unequivocally remove having fun by acting out in antisocial ways as an option.

All of it is part of the process no doubt, but we have it all backward, because we don’t have the political will to go forward. Meaning, you can’t work backwards from the curriculum, the materials, the teaching methods and the like to address the behavior.

As simple as this sounds, people by and large still don’t get that you address the behavior by-addressing the behavior!!!! When you address the behavior, I think you will find a large variety of approaches will work to promote engagement.

And if you don’t address behavior first, as CCPS has not, you’ll find yourself paying for and endless supply of approaches that don’t work, not because they don’t have merit, but because CCPS thinks that engaging instruction is some magic cure all to antisocial behavior when it clearly is not.

Think about it. A Toyota, a Ford, and a Chevy will all get you down the road, as long as drivers engage in social behavior like stopping at red lights and going at green lights, correct? But what happens if people refused to stop at red, and police refused to stop writing tickets? That in essence is what CCPS does with discipline.

Now how would you fix this? Would you change the method of transportation and spend millions replacing the Toyotas, Fords, and Chevys, with top of the line Mercedes, and BMW’s in the hopes that antisocial people would suddenly drive differently? Or would you demand the cops go out there, enforce the law, and if necessary impose some discipline by revoking some licenses?

Unfortunately CCPS does the former, and that’s why you the taxpayer has bought the Mercedes reform, the Lexus reform, and the BMW reform, but driving is still a nightmare because CCPS doesn’t enforce the rules of the road.

At the risk of those who would say this is simplistic; it really is that simple. It doesn’t take a cognitive genius to realize it, or implement it. It just takes a simple paradigm shift in thinking, and most importantly, some political backbone.

Deborah Ybarra

June 22nd, 2009
2:33 pm

Ernest,

I was there when the last splost was voted on and it was within this past year. So now are you saying we have two splost. One for county and one for school. The Splost was just voted on and approved this past year it is to be for 5 years.

Deborah Ybarra

June 22nd, 2009
2:51 pm

So now we have to vote on another splost. If so, what did we do this past year in 2008. So now there are two splost. One for county and one for school. Now when i read the paper and go to meetings about the propsed tax increase of 1% per county and school and now splost too. That will put us at 9% for the county. If you do not see the 2% increase then i am sorry for you. I have read on this and i know that it will be an increase on taxes and no i do not want it for the school. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors at the schools and we are going to pay splost to have this happen. To squander and piss off our money.

who do you think is paying for the contracts on the supers that left and still have years left in this mess all because we allow them to sign 3 year contract that lock us in to paying people that do not work, or live here. Hell i want a contract that guarentees me money every year wether i do a good job or not because clayton county school board is so trusting i will sign three year and do a crappy job get booted out still keep my pay. Wow who thought of this deal.

Until they get into the schools and make these teachers do their job i have nothing for them. I see on hear that we talk about disipline problems. Well if the teachers would play no games and do what the world is expected us to do and call the police since the pricinpals are not going to help have them arrested right in the class room and if the parents get enough tickets and or having to pay bail it will curb this problem.

I have two children in jonesboro and it is hellish just to get the principals, teachers, and asst super to even do the simpliest thing like call a parent if the child is failing, Or having the grades in daily.

I hear nothing but people talking about parent helping. Well i am a parent that is there and i get no help from them. So until i have the proper tools to help i cannot help. So quit blaming the parents and put the blame where it goes the system in a whole.

I have had experience this year of teachers giving out wrong grades tell me they are wrong but do not change them. I am talking about drastic problems Example: My granddaughter was to recieve a 100 on a project on paper she made a zero. Now the teacher, pricipal and asst superintendent said it was a mistake and it will be changed. Guess what it is never changed to the proper grade and now it is on her permanent record. Help me with this one please!. So you want me to vote for splost to help pay for shitty service. They have careers not a mcdonalds job. So act like career people.

Deborah Ybarra

June 22nd, 2009
3:06 pm

This is pissing me off. Everyone taling about the splost and all. You and i know that this is extra money to throw away. If you have not read the paper latley you will see it talked about us (Clayton county ) going to 9% taxes for the 1% for county and 1% for school.

I refuse to pay for contract for supers that are not working for us and still collecting.

I refuse to pay principals and asst superintendents, teachers anything extra or give them thinigs to make them comfortable. No way they have done nothing this year but squander

Do you know our teachers put in false grades and change grades from one day to the next. Do you know that they tell you one thing and make you feel as if the problem will be solved but lie to your face and let your child fail.

I have a granddaughter that made a 100 on a project but it was put in the grade book wrong as a 100 the teacher and pricipal and asst super said it was a mistake that grade was for another child and it will be changed. As of today the report cards came out the grade was not changed and now we are stuck with a false grade. These false grades can make or break your child. Matter of fact can do more damage because if the parents are not watching daily sometimes minute by minute then our child may be a target of failure