What would you tell the state board today about the performance of the DeKalb school board?

Today, the DeKalb Board of Education appears before the state Board of Education to answer this summons:

It is hereby ordered that the Members of the DeKalb County BOE should appear on Thursday, January 17, 2013, at 1:00 p,m. before the State Board for a hearing and to present evidence as to why the State Board should not recommend to the Governor that he suspend, with pay, the Members of the DeKalb County BOE pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73.

Once the state board hears the evidence, it has two weeks to send its recommendation to Gov. Nathan Deal. If the governor opts to suspend the DeKalb board members, he must suspend all of them and appoint replacements. The replacements would serve the remainders of the term of the members they replace, so their tenures would vary.

I asked DOE to check with its legal folks on whether Deal can choose to reappoint current board members since three DeKalb board members are brand new, Melvin Johnson, Marshall Orson and Jim McMahan.

It appears he can. Here is the response from Gregg Stevens, DOE Deputy General Counsel: I am unaware of any provision in law that would preclude the Governor from reappointing a board member that was removed from office as part of the proceedings under O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73.

In 2010, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue removed Warren County’s school board, but the state Supreme Court overturned that decision. In response, the General Assembly passed a law in 2011 that gave the governor the legal power to remove errant school boards who jeopardize their district’s accreditation.

Last year, Deal used the new law for the first time to oust the entire five-member Miller County board and appoint all new members.

My prediction on DeKalb: The state board will grant the DeKalb board members more time to respond to concerns and to offer up a corrective plan before it moves to advise the governor to oust them.

There is a precedent; the state board twice summoned the Miller County board to Atlanta for hearings to discuss the problems. It was only after the second hearing that the state board voted unanimously to recommend that Deal dissolve the board.

I can’t imagine that the state board would not afford the DeKalb County board the same opportunity to reform itself before taking the dramatic action of overriding county voters and removing elected officials.

While anyone can attend today’s 1 p.m. hearing in downtown Atlanta, the state board will not take public comment. Get there early if you want a seat in the main board room. I understand there will be overflow accommodations.

A reader sent this request:

I am one of the concerned taxpayers and community members in DeKalb. I am also a longtime resident who is witnessing the county’s complete erosion due to horrible administrations and self-serving boards.

I was wondering if you could put a blog post out today asking DeKalb residents what they would tell the State Board of Education members and jurors at tomorrow’s hearing for the DeKalb Board of Education members. Would they request unseating all the members (I hear that it is an all or nothing option) or would they give these current board members more time to get their act together?

The State BOE needs to hear loud and clear what DeKalb wants and understand that the Board cannot do its job because of the issues in the administration, but a decent Board can set policy to help stop some of the abuses in the administration. I know that the state education honchos read your blog, so I thought it would be a great reference document.

What would you tell the state board if you had a chance to address the members at their meeting tomorrow?

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

126 comments Add your comment

Dunwoody Mom

January 16th, 2013
10:57 am

More time to respond to concerns? Seriously….Good Grief…this BOE has had 2+ years to straighten up their act. Do you really think a few more months is going to do anything? The children of this school district CANNOT wait another minute for something to occur to shake up the educational issues facing this county.

Catlady

January 16th, 2013
11:08 am

Suspend WITH PAY? Ya godda be kiddin!

And more time? Like they did with B. Hall in APS? At what point do you think they will do better?

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

January 16th, 2013
11:08 am

Though I completely understand the vitriol and calls for the removal of Dekalb’s Board, I would tell the state BOE to allow the current board – with three new members who were sworn in Monday – a six-month period to develop and present a plan to address SACS’ concerns and get back in good standing. Despite calls to turn the apple cart over, a state takeover of Dekalb’s system may not be the best scenario. Walker, Cunningham and Copelin-Woods need to go, but voters in those districts should be the ones to send them home, not Nathan Deal. I know many here will disagree with this assessment.

10:10 am

January 16th, 2013
11:25 am

I’d tell the state board that real solutions await the state’s full support for parental choice.

JohnA

January 16th, 2013
11:27 am

Fire the entire Board. Hire Nancy Jester as the new superintendent.

RCB

January 16th, 2013
11:28 am

I would tell them to disband the Board. Enough time already! You could have an election tomorrow and Walker, Cunningham and Copeland-Woods would be re-elected. They are incompetent, but the voters who keep putting them back in office are uninformed (putting it mildly) and nothing will change until this school district is separated into 2-3 smaller districts. Those of us who try to elect decent Board members don’t have a chance. But hey, education is still getting 64% of my property tax.

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
11:49 am

Everybody is piling coal on the head of teachers and building administrators, but regulation of school boards and “light” and “liberal” and “will govern itself” or somesuch. Things are so out of balance these days with so many people passively accepting a caste system.

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
11:50 am

I would tell the regulators that misapplication of funds is criminal and people who do finance fraud with public monies ought to be treated as criminals and jailed.

20/20

January 16th, 2013
11:52 am

To fire board and supt and do the same thing in Atlanta Public Schools. They are just as corrupt and dysfunctional as Dekalb.

curious

January 16th, 2013
11:59 am

Dear Members of the State Board of Education and Superintendent Barge,

I am a DeKalb County taxpayer and parent of a school-aged child. I also have a child who graduated from XXX High School in May 2012. I am writing to urge you to recommend that Governor Deal remove all members of the DeKalb County School Board.

As Advanced Ed wrote in its report placing the system on probation status, the school system’s problems are really too numerous to list. As a taxpayer, however, some of the problems that are most serious to me are those stemming from the board’s failure to oversee the budget. The idea that the system, for multiple years, spent tens of millions of dollars beyond the allocated budget — and that the board failed to discover this problem or to hold any person accountable — is infuriating. As a parent, the problems most serious to me are those stemming from the board’s failure to focus on its ultimate priority, educating the children of the county. When former Superintendent Crawford Lewis and former Board Chair Thomas Bowen each assured the public that jobs would not be lost in spite of the down economy, I could have screamed. Predictably, those jobs were saved by packing classrooms with more students than teachers could safely and effectively teach, by failing to ensure that students had the materials they needed, and by other sacrifices made by the students. This is the perfect example of the board and the administration putting the needs of the adults above the needs of the children.

The board’s failure to remedy the deficiencies found by SACS two years ago indicates an inability to take the necessary steps to bring the district back into full accreditation. Dr. Eugene Walker’s comment upon the release of the report that SACS found “nothing eregious” indicates a failure to understand the gravity of this situation. Although not all board members are incompetent, my understanding of the law is that all members must be removed or no member can be removed. If this is true, then it is absolutely essential that all members be removed.

I thank you for your service to the state of Georgia, and I appreciate your taking the time to read my email.

Returning DCSS Parent

January 16th, 2013
11:59 am

I would tell them to give the board no more than 6 months to make the required improvements. Getting rid of the entire board and not knowing who will replace them does not help the students at all and inevitably, the parents and voters of DeKalb will have an issue with the new board as well. If after 6 months, there is no improvement, replace the ones that need to be replaced and put new members on the board.

@RCB
Stop with the criticism of people you don’t know. I live in one of the districts you are referring to and I am far from being uniformed. Stick to the topic at hand and keep your racist, uniformed (putting it mildly) comments to yourself.

Angela

January 16th, 2013
12:00 pm

I would tell him to fire the replace the incumbents and let them work with the three new ones. DCSS is horrible. We wish that we could sell our home and move away. We moved to DeKalb County years ago to be closer to our jobs and for the “great” school system. After reading the SACS investigation, the board members are looking out for themselves and family members, not the children. Some people can’t handle power. It goes straight to their heads.

Dr. John Trotter

January 16th, 2013
12:03 pm

I would suggest to the Georgia Board of Education to allow the voters of DeKalb County to deal with the DeKalb Board of Education. This is how a democracy works. A Gnostic oligarchy allows “the knowing ones” (viz., the enlightened ones) to make decisions for us pedestrian voters. If the voters of DeKalb County are satisfied with their elected school board members, then so be it. Leave them alone.

What has changed since the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in May of 2012 that Governor Deal overstepped his authority by removing the Miller County Board of Education members? This is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know. Maureen posted a blog back in May when the Georgia Supreme Court stated that the Governor’s move was unconstitutional because school board members hold Constitutional Offices in Georgia and were not subject to the statute that was used to remove these school board members. Was there a constitutional amendment passed that now allows the Georgia Board of Education to recommend to the Governor to remove the board members and then allows the Governor to do this? I am really in the dark on this. Here is the link to Maureen’s blog on that issue in May of 2012.

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/03/19/state-supreme-court-rules-that-governor-cant-yank-school-board-members/

I see that The Wall Street Journal published an article by Hank Brown this week in which Mr. Brown takes SACS to task for trying to run the universities as well as the school systems. When the Board of Regents at Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia decided to remove UVA’s president, SACS got involved and issued a “Warning” to the University of Virginia. Good grief. Mark Elgart really is a megalomaniac when it comes to control, it appears. Perhaps the DeKalb County Board of Education is in good company with the University of Virginia…and Wake County, North Carolina, a very sound school system. Perhaps a “Whiskey Rebellion” will groundswell and the peasants will metaphorically storm the SACS Castle in Alpharetta.

What are school board members to do when they are stonewalled on information by the educrats who are trained (intimidated is more accurate) by the superintendents to engage in obfuscation with the school board members. How can school board members be held accountable for the actions of the administration when they are kept in the dark? Why would someone like Nancy Jester on the DeKalb Board of Education be punished for simply asking some tough and pertinent questions? I might not agree with everything that Chairman Gene Walker or others on the board do or say, but I do believe in the democratic process, and think that it is up to the voters to deal with the DeKalb County Board of Education, not some appointed group of well-connected politicos who meet at the Twin Towers and who don’t have to face any voters in any elections. Last time that I remember two of the Georgia Board of Education members getting involved in the Clayton County imbroglio they traversed Jonesboro Road and met, along with “advisor” Glenn Brock and SACS’s Mark Elgart, with the Clayton County Board of Education behind closed doors in an egregious and flagrant violation of the State’s Open Meetings Law. Perhaps it is best to remove the log from one’s own eye before trying to remove the speck of dust from the other person’s eye.

These are just my opinions, and I think that I have the law and democracy on my side.

LOGIC

January 16th, 2013
12:09 pm

Seeing that this is a true hearing and that the Board members will have actual representation, I would show them the facts:
1. This Board, and many of the sitting members, were there when DCSS was under advisement 18+ mo ago – things have only gotten worse
2. There are 2, if not 3, DeKalb Grand Jury presentments requesting investigations into this Board
3. These Board Members, in the last two years, have voting records that reflect how they only have represented the few pockets of special interests and not the entire county’s student body (magnet bussing, coralwood shuttle)
4. These Board members do not know how to develop effective policy to manage their employee – the Superintendent
5. These Board members were responsible for allowing the district to pay for two Superintendent salaries at the same time – taxpayers footed the bill for over $500k in expense because they are bad contract negotiators – we had Tyson and Atkinson on payroll at the same time – wait, Tyson is still on the payroll
6. These Board members could not collaborate on getting the best superintendent for our 98k students and $1B budget. They were part of the leaks of negotiations through their Friends and Family channels to chase out two stronger candidates. So, we wind up with a Superintendent who did not disclose a family bankruptcy, who came from a low-performing school district and whose former district was happy to see her go. AND, we pay her top dollar.

The sad thing is, if I really thought about this, I would be writing forever. These are just the things that pop into my mind when I think about this Board.

Dr. John Trotter

January 16th, 2013
12:14 pm

I reviewed the link that I provided, and I see that the Supreme Court’s decision was based on Title 45 and the Ethics Law. This decision was handed down in March of 2012, not May of 2012. I am trying to understand how OCGA 20-2-73, albeit it was passed by the General Assembly and was signed into law by the Governor, could get around the Constitutionality issue. It is still giving one branch of the government the power to remove a Constitutional Officer. Perhaps this law should also be challenged like the statute in Title 45 was successfully challenged.

fed up with it all

January 16th, 2013
12:16 pm

I know that this blog is about Dekalb, but let’s pose the same question as it relates to the CCPS board, particularly its board chairwoman, Pam Adamson. Pam Adamson is the problem with the board. The system is in shambles; teachers are talked to like animals by some new and inexperienced principals. Moreover, the county is offering remediation, but they do not want to pay teachers until May. Who does this? Who asks teachers to render services without receiving pay for several months? Where is the money in CCPS? True, property tax collection has decreased, but that is not the main reason behind the lack of monies. Money was squandered to scratch the backs of corporate CEOs. What is Doug Hendrix’s job now? What is his wife’s job? Is she still the “lead counselor?” Pam Adamson, as the chairwoman, was/is well aware of the unethical things that are happening in Clayco. Instead of trying to get the governor to rid the board of Jessie Goree, maybe she should step down. She is the head.

abcd

January 16th, 2013
12:17 pm

LOGIC

January 16th, 2013
12:22 pm

@Dr. Trotter

How would you go about “impeaching” this board for negligence and the entire host of issues? I wish that the law would be more forceful to not let some of these folks run again based upon the (factual) findings.

How do we ensure that the elected individuals are doing their documented job? I will never again on what one person thinks should be done v, what I think, but we should all be able to agree that this Board has not done their job and were already under advisement for not doing it.

Another point to add – the SACS report was informed by employees, Board members, parents and community members – SACS is not making this stuff up on their own. I am not a SACS fan, but the documentation shows that they are incapable of fulfilling their elected duties.

This isn’t about circumventing the electorate, but ensuring that there is some accountability and stewardship of our tax dollars, in addition to proper representation.

Concerned DeKalb Mom

January 16th, 2013
12:25 pm

I have to say…I am so deflated and disappointed that I don’t even know what to request.

Simply put, our children need help. Informed voters can’t get it done as we cannot vote for EVERY board member. Board members elected in parts of the county in which I do not reside have just as much say over my children’s experience as board members I have the power to vote in and out.

This board cut paras. This board increased class size. Any of them been in a kindergarten with 24 students and one solitary teacher? A fifth grade classroom with 34 students and NOWHERE to store bags/coats/lunches? Anyone been in a high school science class with 40+ students? And then tried to do ANYTHING productive for those children?

Until these people vote FOR the children of DeKalb…and that includes the state board who had to OK waivers on class sizes…there’s really nothing I can say that changes would change the status quo.

Dr. John Trotter

January 16th, 2013
12:25 pm

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
12:29 pm

One might ask, “What is enabling basic financial mismanagement?” What mechanisms allows such “light regulation” or those who control spending public money? There is no “light regulation” for property owners. If you don’t pay the property tax, the government takes the property and sells it. Tax payers should be much more fierce in protecting the monies they pay. Seems like a double standard. Property owners are held to the fire, school finance people do what they want with huge sums of money. It’s crazy. The individuals / public are marginalised, the school system managers are given a free pass with “other people’s money.” And it goes on for years and years and cumulatively, in aggregate, hundreds of millions of dollars.

jennchiz

January 16th, 2013
12:32 pm

There needs to a standard set of minimum qualifications to be eligible to run for the Board of Education. Having college education should certainly be among those qualifications. I’m amazed that some members of the BOE are not educated, but yet the set tone and standards for educators.

living in an outdated ed system

January 16th, 2013
12:36 pm

I would tell the state board that the Dekalb Board of Education has failed. They have been a barrier to reform efforts and the students have suffered. It needs to be fixed. I would be open to seeing the Governor reappoint the three new members – they may be the new voices the board needs.

And it’s not just their fault – Atkinson also needs to be held accountable because this has all happened under her watch.

I suspect that Dekalb could become a precedent decision for the Georgia DoE.

Dr. John Trotter

January 16th, 2013
12:37 pm

@ LOGIC: If you don’t like how the individual school board members are acting, you vote them out of office. If these same members engage in illegal activities, I believe that DeKalb County has a very fine District Attorney. I think that I remember his name as Robert James. Mr. James has demonstrated that he is not a political hack but a very fine and conscientious District Attorney, and he knows how to go about getting an indictment.

“Advisement” from SACS? Wjat a joke. SACS is a private, jaded, money-grabbing organization (with absolutely no accountability) that at best arbitrarily and capriciously applies its so-called standards. I have written on this extensively. Just wrote another article on the “fakeness” (I like this quirky word) of SACS. SACS has long since worn out its welcome in Georgia and elsewhere. It is a meddling and controlling organizating, hell-bent on taking away local control. What some can’t accomplish at the ballot box, they try to use SACS to do its work for them.

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
12:37 pm

The whole school board system is crazy when you take people untrained in public administration and give them great power to mess up and “do it yourself.” Meanwhile you have to be licensed to be a plumber or electrician so you don’t leave a trail of wreckage in your wake. Can’t make sense of it, the lack of governing in Georgia. It is like there is no such thing as a government crook in Georgia. In other states, the state regulates financial management. In Georgia, it is subcontracted out to laissez faire private management consultant who may or may not be home. It is not governance, it is something else. And blowing $100 million is treated lightly. Naturally, the dysfunction perpetuates. The basic regulatory mechanism is not solid, simple, or direct.

Truth in Moderation

January 16th, 2013
12:44 pm

This is a coup! An overthrow of duly elected officials! If they have committed a crime, then arrest them and charge them. If this goes through, all pretense of “public” schools is gone. Ignorant and foolish citizens!
Of course, I’ve always contended that so called “public schools” are not provided for in the Constitution.
If everyone home schooled, paid their own way and helped the less fortunate to educate their children, ALL THE SCHOOL PROBLEMS WOULD GO AWAY, AND WE WOULDN’T BE IN DEBT!
Bigger centralized government has proven NOT to be the answer.

Catlady

January 16th, 2013
12:47 pm

Dr. John: Fake-icity is the noun. SACS should be denounced and dis-accredited!

living in an outdated ed system

January 16th, 2013
12:49 pm

@Truth, I strongly recommend you read the book “Cheating our Kids: How Politics and Greed Ruin Education” by Joe Williams. Then tell me if you still support your comment.

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
12:52 pm

Isn’t there anyone trained in financial auditing and enforcement? Why is this a loophole in Georgia? Where does the governor stand on this issue? It is like the proper role of government has been de-powered and in the corporate system, governance is subcontracted out and expected to take care of itself. What we are seeing in the dysfunction of privatization where a private firm is expected to do governance. The whole mechanism is backwards, but is what happened when the public allows government mission to dilute and believes the marketing that private hired-regulation will protect the public.

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
12:55 pm

This is a byproduct on the concept that Georgia is “corporate business friendly” and “regulation weak.” You went along with it because you thought corporate business would bring you prosperity. So how’re you liking that “prosperity?”

oldtimer

January 16th, 2013
12:56 pm

I think each community in Dekalb needs to search long and hard for new board members. Encourage more to run. Do away with party labels. Surely some one in Dr. Walker’s community would bring new blood to the board. He has been there forever! Democracy will work when people step up to the plate…run…vote….
I guess the same could be said for Clayton County.

Neal Johnson

January 16th, 2013
12:58 pm

Idiots have been in charge of dekalb County for decades!!

skipper

January 16th, 2013
1:04 pm

The first order of business would be to congratulate them on a level of incompetence seldom experienced by any board of any given entity. Somebody has to be the worst, and apparantly this board is vying for that “coveted” position. But seriously, folks……………………

concernedmom30329

January 16th, 2013
1:05 pm

DeKalb school board elections are non-partisian and while Walker is old, he hasn’t been on the Board long.
He won because he promised the Fernbank community not redistrict them– so it isn’t just about S. DeKalb making bad choices.

LOGIC

January 16th, 2013
1:06 pm

@Truth

The real “coup” is by the actual Board Members. They are elected to represent DeKalb’s children – yet, it is well documented that their representation is only for a select few and the children are suffering. For taxpayers whose children do not have books in the classroom, this Board has effectively created taxation without representation. Each one of these seats has an impact on what happens in my local school, regardless of who I voted for. This Board has gone behind the scenes and jockeyed to get enough votes to pass what they want and leaves others in the dark.

Dr. John Trotter

January 16th, 2013
1:11 pm

@ Catlady: I can go along with “Fake-icity.” Ha! Thanks! But, “fakeness” sure does sound cracka-proof, and you know that I alwayscarry my Cracka Card, even down here in Brazil. But, I don’t picket down here. They don’t have the same blessed guarantee of free speech protected by the First Amendment like we have in the good ole USA. By the way, we have a good, juicy picket lined up for Middle Georgia tomorrow. Then we head back out to DeKalb. I think that you can see that I think that the real problems in the schools are the small-minded and weak-kneed administrators, not lay school board members who might have common quirks which irritate some voters, but our Constitutional system guarantees a government for the people, of the people, and by the people, and when the people actually grow weary enough of the elected ones, then they can throw them out on their proverbial ears.

I hate appointed-anything. I don’t like school boards appointed by the governor. (I didn’t like school boards which used to be appointed by grand juries here in Georgia.) I don’t like appointed State School Board members and appointed superintendents, but we will have to change the Georgia Consitution to change this. The biggest problem that we have in public schools in Georgia now is that we have appointed superintendents. In the old days (before the change in 1993), most superintendents in Georgia were elected, and when the people got tired of these superintendents, they voted them out of office.

I suspect today that the State Board will slap the DeKalb School Board’s collective wrist and give it more time. I think that it is ironic that an appointed board is taking an elected board to the woodshed. Something about this just ain’t fittin’.

Why, by the way, do the Fulton and Cobb school boards get away with so much. Don’t think for a good second that their actions are white as the driven snow. Hmm. That last statement was pregnant with implication, heh? I might have to call on my cousin, Earl of Ft. Liquordale (or is that Liqourdale?), to carry on a dialectical on that matter.

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
1:15 pm

Pretty good trick when a school board can mismanage and then use public money to hire lawyer counsel to represent them for doing questionable activities.

To reverse engineer, what is the definition of “mismanage” and what is the remedy or accountability? -Be thorough, it’s like bridge design. If someone messes up, cars are going to end up in the river.

bu2

January 16th, 2013
1:15 pm

I agree with Bill & Ed and Returning. Give the board 6 months to make progress. 3 are new, 5 of the 9 have less than 2 years on the board and all will be up for election in 2014 in new districts when the board is reduced to 7 members. Less than half of the current board is truly responsible for the existing problems. Support local control and the democratic process even if it sometimes takes a while.

Do insist on a nepotism policy with disclosures for board members and top officials in the administration. Also make sure the Director of Internal Audit reports directly to the board and not somebody 4 layers down in the administration.

Marney

January 16th, 2013
1:16 pm

This is what I sent to the three board member I know a few days ago:

I imagine that you have gotten many e-mails on the subject of Dekalb finally being put on probationary status by SACS, but I wanted to write just the three of you, because I feel that you know me from the many Charter School Subcommittee meetings I have attended over the years.

I have been watching the Dekalb board closely for over 10 years now. When I first started, my children were too young to be left at home–so I would bring them with me to many of the meetings. Once they could read they would only pay attention when the citizen speakers or debate got heated. I remember when my daughter, who was in early elementary at the time, looked up at me and asked: “Mommy, what is nepotism?”. That was 7 or 8 years ago.

As they got older they didn’t want to go. I remember one month that I and another ICS parent were on the citizen speaker’s list, trying to talk about the logic of ICS being allowed to rent the soon to be vacant Forrest Hills elementary building. When I went to pick her up, my fellow speaker had strep throat–but offered babysit the kids. Before the meeting I had an opportunity to tell an associate superintendent that my kids would rather risk strep throat than come to one of these meeting. He responded; “At least strep throat can be cured with antibiotics.” That was about 5 years ago. One of the reasons I came to so many of the Charter School Committee meetings over the years was that the reasoned logical dialog was such a hopeful foil to the politics and illogical decision making of both the board and administration in Dekalb.

I have seen a complete turnover in the persons on the board, and have some familiarity with the newly elected members. While there are individuals on the board that may be doing what they think best, I urge you to recommend that the Governor remove the entire board immediately. In my opinion, and this is stated with much observation, the personalities, values, and intellect of the board as a group are not capable of changing the cultural norms and paradigms that have brought us to this juncture. New members notwithstanding–6 more months of a grace period, as you gave a number of other boards, will only increase the likelihood that we will loose accreditation next year. Both the members and the structure of the board needs to be reconfigured. I would recommend 5 members with significantly larger overlapping districts(I recommended this to members of the legislative delegation 2 years ago).

My eldest is now in 10th grade. She is taking AP World history and knows what nepotism is. She wants to go to Georgia Tech. She is on track to get a Zell Miller scholarship, but knows that the actions of adults are putting that scholarship at risk. Replacing the board without delay is the correct decision.

Respectfully,

Marney Mayo

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

January 16th, 2013
1:16 pm

Oh, concernedmom, this post about DCSS just wouldn’t be complete without you or Dunwoody mom pointing fingers at Fernbank. Would it?

Private Citizen

January 16th, 2013
1:18 pm

Certainly there are some qualified consulting firms (on a national level), with a track record of achievement, that can specify what a school board should be doing, or how a district can be run in an efficient and productive manner. One remedy is for the governor to specify hiring such a firm and requiring their specifications to be put into action.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

January 16th, 2013
1:22 pm

I’d actually be fine with dumping all but the three new members, who should be given a chance, since they all ran on messages of change and fixing the problems within the system. Voters see the need for change, it’s just not happening quickly enough for SACS and a lot of those who follow things closely.

bu2

January 16th, 2013
1:24 pm

The elections are non-partisan. Walker was in one of the superdistricts that comprise half the county. He won comfortably against novice candidates in his last election. There need to be better candidates recruited.

We need help from the state legislature. The districts for the 2012 election weren’t determined until the last minute, reducing the possibility of good opposition candidates. Both sides of the board were gerrymandering trying to make their districts safer. We need to get logical districts determined well in advance of the 2014 elections.

bootney farnsworth

January 16th, 2013
1:25 pm

1-fire them all
2-being RICO proceedings on them all, including the DCSS administration.
3-appoint a new temporary board from retired educators outside the south to get as far away from the
SACS cabal as possible
4-if possible, institute a RICO investigation against SACS

bootney farnsworth

January 16th, 2013
1:29 pm

oh, and create some realistic qualifications for the BOE to begin with

Dr. John Trotter

January 16th, 2013
1:30 pm

It appears to me that residents of DeKalb have three legitimate choices:

1. Engage in the political process. Recruit candidates or run on your own. Organize votes. Spend lots of time, money, and energy on campaigns. This is hard — very hard — work.

2. Send your children to private schools. This is a legitimate choice, and many choose this option.

3. Move out of DeKalb County.

Illegitimate Options:

1. Call upon an “outside influence group” (viz., SACS) to do your work for you.

2. Call upon the State School Board and/or the Governor to do your work for you.

3. Whine and complain (e. g., writing anonymously on blogs).

bootney farnsworth

January 16th, 2013
1:31 pm

this is a coop?
please.

Claudia Stucke

January 16th, 2013
1:34 pm

The current board and superintendent have inherited a financial mess from their predecessors. The former director of operations (Pat Reid), her former husband (Tony Pope), and the former superintendent (Crawford Lewis) all face criminal charges stemming from mismanagement of funds and their allegedly unethical conduct. However, it appears that “mismanagement” did not end with the departure of these individuals.

I continue to volunteer at the DeKalb County high school where I once taught. Taxpayers should visit their local schools and see where there money is going–or not going. Classrooms are overcrowded, which is problem all over the country; and textbooks are in short supply–to the point that students in many classes are not allowed to take books home but must share the same classroom set with students in other class periods. According to a recent SACS audit, however, the county last year requested and received $11,000,000 earmarked for textbooks, which it claims to have purchased, but there is no evidence of that purchase. The money is gone, and there are no textbooks. (See (See http://www.11alive.com/news/article/268748/40/DeKalb-County-DA-looking-at-SACS-report.)

Even before this news broke last month, outgoing board member Paul Womack, who in the past dismissed us teachers and our concerns and regaled us with his self-proclaimed business acumen (”I am the former CEO of a multimillion-dollar company!”) looked truly bewildered at a board meeting last year when asked about the DCSS’s financial shortfall–and millions of dollars in missing funds. “I just don’t know where it went.” Ineptitude or corruption? Or a combination of both?

bootney farnsworth

January 16th, 2013
1:36 pm

following up on Dr. John

when you vote, vote for the person who has the best thought out plan, not the person who looks like you, goes to your church, can make you the best promises.

(pigs will fly first, but wth?)

Claudia Stucke

January 16th, 2013
1:37 pm

Oops–I mean “their,” not “there”!