State board gives DeKalb 30 more days to reform itself. Will continue debate on Feb. 21

After a hearing that lasted four hours, the state Board of Education delayed voting on recommending that the governor oust the fractious DeKalb school board, although some state board members were clearly exasperated with the situation.

At the start of the marathon hearing, lawyers for both the state Department of Education and the DeKalb school board urged the state board to sanction a consent agreement that would have allowed the trouble board three months to initiate reforms recommended by SACS.

However, the state board was reluctant to grant DeKalb its requested three months to right its ship. So, the state board instead gave them  30 days to report its progress rather than the April date sought by DeKalb.

The state board approved a consent agreement and then turned around immediately and told the DeKalb board to return on Feb. 21 to report on its progress at which time the state board could choose to vote on suspension if unimpressed with what DeKalb has done.

This gives DeKalb only 30 days to make some significant progress.

“If they’ve done a rock star job, we can give them to June,” says state board member Mike Royal. “Does that mean we have to vote to remove or not to remove in our recommendation to the governor. No, but April kicks this can too far down the road.”

However, the DeKalb board attorney maintained that 30 days is not sufficient to bring change, saying, “We believe a two month or a two-and-a-half month process is fairer,” said DeKalb attorney Rocco Testani.

He asked state board members to think about what nine board members could realistically accomplish in 30 days. He was assisted in making his case by the DOE attorney Jennifer Hackemeyer who warned that the DeKalb public may be confused if the state board signs a consent order giving the DeKalb board three months to make progress but then turns around and brings them back in 30 days and vote on their fates.

State board member Wanda Barrs raised thoughtful points on what will give the best outcome for DeKalb. Is it ousting the entire board, including three newly elected members, in a month’s time? Or is it working with the board through better guidance and monitoring over three months?

Note that the Clayton board was ousted and replaced by Gov. Sonny Perdue, but the problems in the district persist, just with a new cast of characters.

I covered the full hearing and posted live as it unfolded. For those can’t get enough, read on:

Original live blog that started at 1:

All seats taken at the state Board of Education hearing on suspending the DeKalb school board due to start in 15 minutes. About 50 people are in the 10th floor of the West Tower watching this online. Two hundred people are watching online from home.

Place is full of familiar DeKalb faces.

Word is that the state board will not act today as discussed in the earlier blog. The DeKalb board members are sitting in the front two rows.

DOE attorney Jennifer Hackemeyer is speaking, laying out the charges against the DeKalb board and ending with, At the conclusion of this hearing, whether it is today or sometime in the near future, we believe evidence shows that good cause exists for state board to move to send recommendation to governor to suspend all eligible members of the state board of education.”

Now, DeKalb school board attorney Rocco Testani is speaking. He is promising that the board members understand the seriousness of the issues at hand. “They understand and appreciate that time is of the essence and they seek the opportunity to improve as a board, and, in turn, improve the school system,” says Testani.

Testani wants the state board to approve a consent order giving DeKalb three months to change its ways. The order was overseen by both DeKalb and the DOE attorney, who supports the order.

While troubled by the SACS report and “what is happening in DeKalb County schools,” Hackemeyer says she believe “that the board members understand the seriousness of this matter and are committed to turning this situation around.”

She notes that the state board has given struggling school boards additional time.  She also pointed out that the DeKalb board has three new members who only took office Jan. 7th.

Hackemeyer endorses the consent agreement, which gives DeKalb three months to show progress.

Now, DeKalb board members will each make a statement.

DeKalb Chair Eugene Walker is speaking. He is promising measurable progress on the required actions set out by SACS for the district to avoid a loss of accreditation. “We pledge our total commitment to staying fully accredited,” says Walker.

He is getting questions now from state board members about whether DeKalb acted on a 2011 advisory report from SACS. Walker says the district did act on those advisory actions.

Now, state board chair Barbara Hampton is asking what process DeKalb has in place to ensure the district stays on budget. “Sounds you even when you have a budget, you don’t stick to the budget,” she says.

Walker says the district has adhered to its budget and only hit problems this year. But he says the board is looking at its monitoring policies.

Just responded to question why DeKalb hasn’t acted before this. Why no sense of urgency? Walker says neither he nor any other board member knowingly violated SACS regulations

Walker: “I am not quibbling with SACS at all…I am focusing in that which is most important, meeting the requirements of those actions that are stated,” says Walker.

State board chair Hampton is citing her own work experience where errant employees pledge to do better but then fall back to their old behaviors.  Over and over again, DeKalb has had problems pointed out by SACS and the district would correct them,  she says. But then the problems would reoccur and SACS would point them out again.

Hampton: “What is different about this particular time that you’ve gotten these findings from SACS and you have a plan? What will be different about this time?”

Walker: “This is the first time ever that DeKalb has ever been on probation.”

Now, DeKalb board member Pam Speaks is saying that she is angry and embarrassed that the board is in this plight.

State board member Wanda Barrs is asking why Speaks is surprised to find the board in this situation.

Does Speaks accept the SACS report? “I accept the report but I may disagree with the interpretation.”

Can Speaks clarify what she means by interpretation?

As an example, Speaks cites the SACS charge in its report that board members interfere with day-to-day operations of schools. She agrees that board members should not interfere or micromanage.

“That is an accusation that has been made. I need clarification if I have done that. The SACS report says some board members have done that. If I am guilty, I want someone to point that out to me. I certainly know that is not my role. That is not my responsibility. If I have done that, and I don’t think I have, I would like someone to point it out to me,” says Speaks.

Barrs is now asking about whether Cheryl Atkinson has the “capacity” to help the board. Is she up to the job?

Speaks: “I don’t think it is the superintendent’s role to fix our responsibilities as a board. I do think the superintendent has the capacity to work  in conjunction, in collaboration, with the present board of education to allow the board of education to carry out their role and responsibilities, as well as for her to carry out her roles and responsibilities.”

Speaks is blaming some of the problems that SACS saw on  a new school chief coming in and trying to create her own vision and plan.

“I am standing before you now based on the special review team report, being on probation for the first time now and our past ranking, which was accredited warning. Our accreditation warning status came from fact that we had things in place, but because we had brand new superintendent who came out with a victory in the classroom plan that she was in the process of putting in place.”

There wasn’t enough time,” says Speaks, to fully act on all the SACS recommendations as Atkinson was putting her vision in place.

“I just  know that I got a warning with regard to my students — that would have been my major wake up call,” says state board member Helen Odom Rice.

State board members are hitting the same themes: Hasn’t DeKalb been warned before by SACS? Why didn’t the board take action? Why did board member let it go this far? Why should the state board trust that the DeKalb board has seen the light now and will act more responsibly.”

Speaks is still at the podium. Her comments suggesting she disagrees with some SACS observations seems to bother the state board members, who appear to want DeKalb board members to own up to the problems identified by SACS. In fact, Hampton has just asked Speaks straight out: There are things in the SACS report with which you disagree?

Speaks says she disagrees with some of the SACS interpretations.

Now, state board member Kenneth Mason is asking Speaks “to give us your interpretation when necessary” of the SACS report.

Speaks offers another example where she sees something differently than the SACS review team cast it: SACS cites the harsh interrogation of district staff members by board members at meetings. Speaks says if asking school district staff tough questions is viewed as interrogation, she has to disagree with the SACS finding.

The board attorney clarifies something Speaks said: DeKalb has never been on accreditation warning, only advisement.

Now, brand new board member Marshall Orson is speaking, telling the state board that he’s only been on the board for 10 days. He is telling the state board why he ran and that he and other other new board members wants to build unity and create a spirit of collegiality.

He is giving a campaign speech of sorts, saying that school boards have a singular responsibility — ensuring children receive a high quality education. “There is nothing else that a school board has a responsibility for and it is in this light that I ran for the school board of DeKalb.”

Orson says status of school system was a factor in the campaign.

Now, the state board chair is asking Orson about reports that board members-elect are already visiting their schools.

“It is correct that post my election I did visit schools,” he says

Orson says he never considered these “my” schools. Without wanting to quibble with the SACS report, he says SACS never interviewed any of three newly elected board members on that  matter and he was surprised that the language was  in the report.

“What I did was done in full consultation with the superintendent,” he said.

State board member Linda Zechmann commenting on how often Orson mentions he is brand new: “Everyone needs to be aware that is not relevant to this body. We are charged to look at your board as a whole. I want to make sure you don’t belabor that point because it is meaningless to this body.”

Jesse Jay Cunningham is now facing questions: How much training do you have?  He says he underwent 15 hours this year.

Now, Cunningham is being asked if he agrees with the SACS finding: “SACS has refined different roles in the time period I have been on this board. I have seen this evolve. I have seen cultural changes in how we work together as a group, as a school system. We really need to work on that gray area on what are the responsibilities of the superintendent as well as the board members as well as where SACS is going.”

State board member Mike Royal: Why has it taken this report to create a sense of urgency?

Cunningham: The urgency has always been there. Also says there was a perfect storm but did not make clear what the elements of that storm were.  But then mentions superintendent search, media, “accusations being made,” constantly putting out fires.  He is suggesting events overtook the board and forced it to take its eyes off the prize.

State Board Chair Hampton: Do DeKalb board members yell at each other and cut each other off? Is that how you behave?

Cunningham: He says that is not how he behaves. There are differences of opinion.

(The comments from DeKalb board members and the questions from the state board are getting repetitive. There is a focus from state board on the depth of training that DeKalb school boards receive.)

Newly elected board member Melvin Johnson is now speaking.

Short and sweet: He is committed to the consent order that is being presented to the state board.

Have you been out to the schools?

I went to several schools since my retirement from the school system in 2004. I have been invited to many schools. I have gone to many school breakfasts and PTAs but only when I was invited. I would never go into a school and disrupt the educational process.

Taking a break and reconvening at 3.

DeKalb board member Sarah Copelin-Wood:

She is concerned about what happens to students and impact of a possible accreditation loss on them.

She says she has been on the board for 12 years. prompting state board member Mike Royal asked, “Why haven’t you been more focused on resolving these issues before?”

Copelin-Wood: “They were just recently presented to us. We thought we were working them out when we would go up to Alpharetta every month to meet with Dr. Elgart…We want to do the best we can. We strive to do that.”

She answers this question right: Who do you represent? Copelin-Woods says DeKalb County rather than listing her specific district.

“The point is the children are the focus here. It is not me. I would like to see our children have a chance. Whatever it is we need to do, I stand ready to do that,” she says.

What should your focus be to make those first steps to creating board that does the best for the children of DeKalb County?

Copelin-Wood: Hiring an expert in governance and getting all the help we can as far is that concerned. We need to look at some of the polices we have. Make sure they say the things they are supposed to say.”

What is role the board?

Copelin-Wood: “Based on laws you have passed, the board’s responsibility is to manage and control. The superintendent’s  responsibility is to handle the day-to-day operations.”

Asked about board conflicts and reports of staff intimidation, Copelin-Wood says, “You have to learn to disagree and not be disagreeable. Just because you read something doesn’t make it so.”

Does she send emails to superintendent a lot? She copies Atkinson on all her emails. If she gets an email from a parent, she copies to fellow board members and Atkinson.

School board member Nancy Jester:

Tells board that she is mom of three and ran for board because of “twin deficits” in public engagement/credibility and student achievement. But, once in office, also saw pending budget deficit. Began to warn of pending budget crisis at board meetings. Asked questions about it of staff and says she was often misled by staff in the answers given to her. Calls herself a watchful steward of the finances.

“I am certainly committed to being collaborative and to customizing a solution that fits a lot of unique problems we have in DeKalb,” she said.

Jester says she is struck by DeKalb’s low graduation rate. Says it is a state problem as well as a DeKalb problem.

She wants board training with district staff to build rapport rather than just generic leadership training. Cross pollinate with financial training.

Disturbed that while she was complaining about DeKalb budget, SACS failed to highlight the problems in its earlier reviews. Says Acting School Chief Ramona Tyson didn’t address financial issues, but did a good job at re-evaluating policies.

Did Jester alert her board members to budget issues?

She says: I wasn’t successful in getting the majority or the staff to look into that. Some tried to disprove me.

Now, Donna Edler is speaking, sharing her love of DeKalb and her decision to run.

Came on board at a time of challenges.  I have a background in business. I am a CPA. Confident system will address financial challenges.

Like Jester, Edler is giving a lot of credit to the district’s new CFO for improving recording and reporting of financial data and revamping budget.

New DeKalb school board member Jim McMahan: Very familiar with schools through my volunteering. But did not visit schools as newly elected board member. Thought the SACS report made it seem like newly elected school boards were going into schools and disrupting process. Concerned about how that came across to the public.

Closing with a question for Eugene Walker: How could board not be aware of the $12 million in textbook funds that was purportedly spent on other things.

Walker says the money did go to textbooks. Canceled checks are at the school system, and the invoices can be found at Bank of America. He doesn’t understand why there is this perception that DeKalb lost a large chunk of money and doesn’t know where it  went. He called it mean-spirited. He assures board that the money went to textbooks.

So, where are the textbooks?

Walker: Doesn’t know where each textbook is, but could be tracked by following the invoices. “We have had a number of rumors that confounded our ability to govern. People would rather listen to the rumors than look at the records. I admit at times we can be cantankerous but we have honest and decent people on that board. We don’t have people taking money.”

Yes, Walker says he and Jester debate the under budgeting of legal fees and utility costs. “But we do it in great spirit,” he says.”We inform and we engage. We take serious the task and role we play. We are appealing to you let us go with this consent agreement and watch how we address these issues.”

“We have not known that we should not do something and do it anyhow. That’s not us.”

Zechmann asked more questions on books and Walker’s contention that the books were bought.

Zechmann: You wouldn’t know that unless they (the books) were received. We don’t go to schools to see if books landed there or if they are in the warehouse. What I am suggesting to you is that they are in the system somewhere.”

State board tells Walker: Find the books and verify them and get the allegation struck from the SACS report.

Discussion by state board:

State board member Brian K. Burdette wants a list of each DeKalb school board’s member training, telling them: “Everyone says they had the training. If they had it, it didn’t work. If it had, we wouldn’t be here. As a board  member, you are supposed to know what you can and cannot do. If you don’t know, it is up to you to find out and police yourselves. It is incumbent on you all. It is not incumbent on SACS. It isn’t incumbent on this board. It is incumbent on you to fix it. ”

State board member Mike Royal is not keen on endorsing a three-month consent order, saying that DeKalb’s problems have been on the horizon for a long time. He would prefer to vote today on suspending the DeKalb board but he understands the need for due process.

“This is a critical situation that is upon us now. It is not new and there are 98,000 children in DeKalb County depending on us now,” he said.

Royal made a motion to continue this hearing on Feb. 21. The DeKalb board would have to come back then and demonstrate progress.

The DOE attorney is now telling the state board that it ought to consider the consent order in front it and vote it up or down rather than create a third alternative to which neither party has agreed. “I understand your concerns. I understand the tone and the seriousness of the SACS investigation….and suggest to you that you have two choices.”

So, now the state board is considering approving the consent order, but require that the DeKalb board comes back in February. It approves a consent order and then tells DeKalb to return in a month to continue the discussion.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

77 comments Add your comment

Georgia

January 17th, 2013
1:13 pm

Well, where is the pod cast? I have to see this. This is must see pod cast tv.

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
1:16 pm

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
1:16 pm

This is malarchy. They have been rewritting policies for nearly two years. Nothing has changed.

living in an outdated ed system

January 17th, 2013
1:25 pm

watching the podcast. It seems that they have pre-empted the meeting and have agreed to a consent order giving the board a very short window of time to fix the problem. They want the board of ed to approve the consent order.

Can’t wait to see it – they mentioned the key points at the beginning of the hearing. We’ll see what happens

living in an outdated ed system

January 17th, 2013
1:26 pm

also shows the dysfunction of local school systems that Atkinson is NOT in attendance, or maybe she is there, but not speaking to support her district. Shameful.

living in an outdated ed system

January 17th, 2013
1:36 pm

I suspect this is just typical hearing formalities. Maureen, wouldn’t you agree that the board will likely support their lead attorney who is recommending the board accept the consent order? Sounds like it was negotiated before the hearing.

Seems the discourse now is focusing on the board asking why they should continue to give the board more time, since they have a history of saying they’ll fix things and not doing it. So they are questioning their trust in the local school board, kind of like “The boy who cried wolf.”

Despite the validity of their concerns, I expect the board to give them the 3 month waiver. If they go against their attorney, that would be equally stupid.

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
1:42 pm

Walker just lied. Flat out lied. We had budget problems for years.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

January 17th, 2013
2:13 pm

Like I said earlier today, no accountability. None. And now twice today me & the concerned mom agree. Dekalb has been in budget crisis mode off and on since at least 2009.

TheGoldenRam

January 17th, 2013
2:14 pm

Prediction: When she gets called up, that Nancy Jester lady is going to steal the show. I’ve read through her blog and she comes off as very intelligent. Her take down of SACS is also very convincing.

Fred in DeKalb

January 17th, 2013
2:16 pm

I’m not surpirsed that they will be given time to address the concerns though I expected a request for longer than three months. I also believe this was negotiated before the hearing, as with many cases similar to this.

Expecting the governor to replace a school board without giving them due process would probably result in litigation. This is the first time they are on probation and whether citizens like it or not, everyone is entitled to due process.

living in an outdated ed system

January 17th, 2013
2:23 pm

Unfortunately, I have to agree with @Fred.

bu2

January 17th, 2013
2:24 pm

The budget problems have been for a while.

I don’t like Speaks’ answers at all. She’s just not taking any responsibility. There are some things on the SACS report worth disagreeing about, but sounds like she’s just trying to blame SACS and Atkinson for the problems.

Walker’s avoidance of responsibility is his norm, so no surprise there.

bu2

January 17th, 2013
2:25 pm

And of course, Jester and McChesney have already proclaimed their victimhood. They have no responsibility.

living in an outdated ed system

January 17th, 2013
2:28 pm

I will reiterate, what is more damning to me is what @Maureen posted about a consultant who was a crony of Atkinson who plagiarized a report the district paid thousands of dollars for. I think some of the talk has to focus on whether or not the board will fire the superintendent. They need a complete “tabula rasa.”

bu2

January 17th, 2013
2:30 pm

All 4 of them have missed the point. Its all about them. They can’t see beyond their personal situation. They’re defensive. They’re right and everyone else is wrong.

HS Public Teacher

January 17th, 2013
2:31 pm

I do not understand this at all. Their past sins and crimes are forgiven? Even if they can ‘magically’ change in three months, does that mean that DeKalb taxpayers are just out the $12 million that seemed to have vanished?

Don't Tread

January 17th, 2013
2:34 pm

Somehow I don’t believe anything substantial will happen in Dysfunction County, barring some really drastic and completely unforeseen circumstances, such as a mass abduction by aliens.

agent

January 17th, 2013
2:36 pm

They haven’t changed in all this time. Giving them a few more months will not accomplish anything.

Georgia

January 17th, 2013
2:37 pm

Usually a team loses because of turnovers. The Dekalb team was saved because of the new faces. They HAD to give them some time. Turnover of employees. A technicality. We were so close to wiping out the entire population of ne’er do wells ruining our children’s lives but Noooo, a fumble, a bad call by the referee, too many plagiarizers going commando in the court room. Aww, you make up your own excuse. Now we gotta wait til after april fools day for justice. Go Falcons.

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
2:37 pm

They don’t understand this at all.
Atkinson and her perjurer needs to go.

living in an outdated ed system

January 17th, 2013
2:38 pm

Points well taken. As much as Deal needs to intervene, I truly don’t think he wants to do this. That is why, despite the theatrics taking place today, he is going to give them 3 months because he wants so badly to not have to take the political risk. Ultimately, I suspect there is a strong probability that they won’t make the 3 month deadline and he’ll have to intervene. If the Sunday alcohol sales and his stance on gun control are any indication, he seems to not make decisions and leaves them up to the localities. Time will tell, but the students in Dekalb County don’t have the luxury of time.

oldtimer

January 17th, 2013
3:16 pm

I think the citizens need to wake up and recall their board members. Afterall the democratic process needs to work. It is not really up to the governor to fix local issues.

Claudia Stucke

January 17th, 2013
3:17 pm

I hear board members saying that they’re ready “to do everything we can.” I don’t know if their “everything” is enough.

bu2

January 17th, 2013
3:18 pm

Zechman thinks its not relevant that 3 of the 9 are new and 5 of the 9 have been there 2 years or less? That Dekalb residents in 5 of the 7 single member districts have replaced board members in the most recent elections? Orson’s “speech” was what I wanted all 3 of the new board members to do. To say that the emphasis should be on the children and that they got that.

If Johnson, Orson and McMahan didn’t visit any schools, I wouldn’t want them on the school board. There’s a difference between being informed and interfering. A good corporate board asks the CEOs tough questions. A good school board should as well.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

January 17th, 2013
3:18 pm

Agreed. What can this group accomplish in 3 months? Have two meetings?

Catlady

January 17th, 2013
3:21 pm

How many times do school teachers get to egregiously “mess up” before they are terminated? Year after year? No…I thought not. The Governor needs to put on his big boy boxers and end this stalemate! There is no hope for this board, as long as the returning members are on it.

Claudia Stucke

January 17th, 2013
3:25 pm

Kudos to Nancy Jester–finally some specifics!

LOGIC

January 17th, 2013
3:31 pm

Enter your comments here

Private Citizen

January 17th, 2013
3:42 pm

Oh, what’s a couple hundred millions dollars between friends?

Georgia

January 17th, 2013
3:47 pm

That’s the spirit. Rah rah rah!

Smoke Rise Mom

January 17th, 2013
3:51 pm

I would settle for the board recommending to suspend them and then the governor re-appoint all of them except Sarah Copelin-Wood. What pathetic testimony. And what an embarrassment to all of DeKalb County.

Atlanta Mom

January 17th, 2013
4:03 pm

I agree with bu2. What would be the logic behind replaced 3 brand new board members? And what is the issue with visiting schools? If I were on a board, I surely would want to have a look at the “product”

10:10 am

January 17th, 2013
4:05 pm

Give all DeKalb parents tuition vouchers—and this problem plus others will be cleared up, pronto!

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
4:14 pm

What Zechman said was that the State Board has no flexibility in their recommendation. It is either all or none. She then said the Governor has the flexibility to pull some or all.

Obviously, something happened during those visits that felt wrong to someone. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have made it into the report. Someone may have felt intimidated — which may or may not have been a valid feeling, but nevertheless something felt off enough for an educator to complain.

My understanding is that at least some of Melvin Johnson’s visits didn’t feel very friendly.

Teacher Reader

January 17th, 2013
4:36 pm

I don’t know who this guy is that wants to extend that vote until February, but he needs to go!!!! This board has had plenty of time to straighten up and haven’t done so. They need to go!!! Our kids deserve better!!! Our kids can no longer wait. This makes me want to move the heck out of Georgia, as the Department of Education seems to not care about our kids either.

Isn't Jay a Convicted Felon?

January 17th, 2013
4:38 pm

Jay is full of it. he is constantly rude and abrasive towards Nancy Jester. Jay, along with Copelin-Wood, have been on the board during these years of scandals and malfeasance. He is an embarassment, and is the problem, along with SCW and Gene Walker.

Oh yeah, here’s a fun Gene Walker tibdit:
Parole board member on trial for sexual harassment
http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=150517

State paid $190,000 to settle earlier sex harassment suit
http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=165732

Isn't Jay a Convicted Felon?

January 17th, 2013
4:38 pm

Jay is full of it. he is constantly rude and abrasive towards Nancy Jester. Jay, along with Copelin-Wood, have been on the board during these years of scandals and malfeasance. He is an embarassment, and is the problem, along with SCW and Gene Walker.

Oh yeah, here’s a fun Gene Walker tibdit:
Parole board member on trial for sexual harassment
http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=150517

State paid $190,000 to settle earlier sex harassment suit
http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=165732

Claudia Stucke

January 17th, 2013
4:41 pm

The point is well made during the last minutes of the meeting: Since Dr. Atkinson was unable (due to family emergency) to attend this meeting, it would have been wise to send a representative on her behalf, perhaps a deputy or assistant superintendent. I wouldn’t want to be in that position, either; but I think it reflects negatively on the board that another representative wasn’t sent in the superintendent’s place.

bu2

January 17th, 2013
4:42 pm

It is all or none. But the citizens have “recalled” 5 board members already. So its relevant that the citizens are changing the board. Deal and the state BOE shouldn’t disenfranchise the voters who have changed over a majority of the board.

Now if the same thing continues to occur and they aren’t making progress on getting out of probation, then Deal needs to act to avoid the loss of accreditation. But not giving the newly elected people a chance to make a difference is not fair to the voters.

Those of you who are so anxious to get the board removed should remember the proverb. “Be careful of what you wish for, you may get it.” We may get a board selected by the chamber of commerce and representative Mosby.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

January 17th, 2013
4:45 pm

@Claudia I totally agree with you. Could an Asst. Superintendent not be present? Does today’s hearing not affect Superintendent Atkinson in her role?

Teacher Reader

January 17th, 2013
4:45 pm

One of the new board members has been doing some things like the current board members, so I think that they all need to go, and ASAP. Our kids deserve better. This didn’t happen over night and they have done little to make positive changes in the time that they have had since SACS first let the board know that they were not happy with what has been going on.

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
4:49 pm

Bu2
No, the Governor has discretion. It is the State Board, in their recommendation that doesn’t. It is also clear that individual board members can appeal.

Do you realize that the problems in DCSS are years in the making and span probably a total of 25 board members. Jester replaced a one term board member, who by the way, wasn’t such a bad guy. Edler replaced Roberts who was horrid.

Mosby will have very little influence in this process, nor will the chamber.

I think the three newly elected members should have a chance. The rest need to go.

paulo977

January 17th, 2013
4:55 pm

Fred in Dekalb “This is the first time they are on probation and whether citizens like it or not, everyone is entitled to due ”
__________________________________________

Where in Dekalb?

Teacher Reader

January 17th, 2013
4:57 pm

Does the state board realize that teachers are deciding if they are going to stay or go and have to sign contracts? There is no sane teacher that would sign a contract with the board and not know what is happening with the district.

Teachers are trying to decide if they are going to stay, go to another district, or leave the profession all together. The State Board needs to understand this, and understand that tax payers and parents have had enough and the board needs to go!!!!

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
4:57 pm

I also want to add that Edler hasn’t been very effective in using her CPA training. She has continually gotten mired in weeds and personality disputes. She is clearly not a fan of Nancy Jester and thus, doesn’t support Jester’s efforts for transparency in finances.
Additionally, she supported hiring Atkinson over a much more qualified candidate. That is sad and permanent and has done tremendous damage.
She doesn’t deserve a reprieve.

erin

January 17th, 2013
4:59 pm

This is the part that left me shaking my head regarding Susan Copelin-Wood:

“She says she has been on the board for 12 years. prompting state board member Mike Royal asked, “Why haven’t you been more focused on resolving these issues before?”

Copelin-Wood: “They were just recently presented to us. We thought we were working them out when we would go up to Alpharetta every month to meet with Dr. Elgart…We want to do the best we can. We strive to do that.” “

erin

January 17th, 2013
5:01 pm

Excuse me … SARAH Copelin-Wood. Not sure where Susan came from, except that it’s been a busy day and I’m tired.

Georgia

January 17th, 2013
5:09 pm

Okay, I’m just asking, I have no dog in this fight except that my own education was warped by GSU when I attended there, thank you. (and I didn’t get laid), despite what you read about online sugar daddies and the pool of talent available for any player). I am asking this: are we witnessing corruption itself? Corruption. you know, the explanation for failed third world countries listed in all of the text books that we’re forcing our students to read? Corruption. What is it? I don’t know. Is it what we saw today on that webcast about what to do with Dekalb County? Is there a connection somehow between the judge and the judged? I’m just asking because it seems to make no sense for all the participants. Who Paid Off Whom? Follow the money? Who bought a Rolex? Who bought a fake Rolex, (you know, to throw us off). Who bought a Cadillac? Who bought anything? Everybody is supposed to be dog broke. So this is what it’s like to live in Chili. Wow. You know what? I LIKE IT!!!

Concernedmom30329

January 17th, 2013
5:09 pm

There are a couple of easy things they can do immediately…

1. Find the textbooks.
2. Release the final audit as agreed to in the consent agreement. IT should have already been on the website, it should be on there by tomorrrow.
3. Schedule training in how to read a spreadsheet,

bu2

January 17th, 2013
5:33 pm

@concerned
Who do you think Deal will ask for recommendations of potential new board members? I suspect it will be the Chamber of Commerce and the Dekalb legislative delegation. Where else is he going to find people? Reminds me of phrases from a couple of 60s and 70s songs. “You say you want a revolution….” and “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”