Former DeKalb board member on school chief search: Hidden political agendas and dubious choices

Former DeKalb school board member Don McChesney has a new essay on his blog criticizing what he deems the flawed and politically driven process that led to the 2011 hiring of Cheryl Atkinson to lead DeKalb schools.

McChesney raises his concerns now because he presumes that the DeKalb board will be embarking on yet another search because Atkinson appears ready to bolt. Neither Atkinson nor the school board will confirm her resignation, but it certainly appears that the board is interviewing interim candidates, including former labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.

(McCheseney lost his seat to Marshall Orson in November.)

Some of the machinations that McChesney describes are a normal part of any major candidate search. I also think it’s been shown that Lillie Cox, the front runner who withdrew from consideration, was not driven away by school board antics, but was more interested in a job closer to home. In less than two weeks of withdrawing her name in DeKalb, she took the top job in a North Carolina district where she used to work.

As for the overt political agendas that McChesney alleges, I covered three school boards, three city councils and assorted planning and zoning boards in my first years out of grad school. Hands down, the school boards were the most politically attuned and most politically motivated.

McChesney’s essay is long, but here is an excerpt. Read the full piece here.

As speculation mounts that we’ll soon be in need of a new superintendent, it’s a good time to tell you the saga of the last superintendent search. It’s a cautionary tale.

The superintendent search was the most arduous and difficult task I dealt with while on the Board. I almost resigned a couple of times due to the ensuing train wreck I was powerless to stop. I always thought reasoned argument amongst board members would win out in the end. I thought facts mattered. Alas, how naive I was.

Let’s start with our search firm Ray and Associates. Some of our board will tell you Ray and Associates did a poor job. I thought they were quite professional and delivered quality candidates that met our requirements. As the BOE reviewed candidates, some of my fellow Board members ruled out candidates that had top-notch credentials and solid records that clearly met the requirements we designed. With each ridiculous objection, the selection criteria morphed into something else. Ray and Associates grew very frustrated because the BOE had them chasing their tail. In our original criteria we wanted a superintendent with communication and media skills, success in a challenged school system, ability to raise student achievement, and capable of removing the bloat from the central office . I was looking for a clean break and preferred that we not choose anyone with ties to DeKalb County.

We met to study resumes. We spent hours reviewing stacks of applications and resumes. I learned a great deal about my colleagues’ study capabilities. We all isolated ourselves around the room and began to read. We did not have discussions with each other during the entire period. Representatives from Ray and Associates were in the room to answer any questions. I took notes on each candidate. Some Board members seemed to have difficulty staying on task. Attention spans were all over the place. Those who did not take notes had a very difficult time at the end of the process remembering who was who. That is when one of our members asked if we could have pictures of the candidates. I knew then we had a real problem.

After the ranking we came up with six candidates for the top of the list. This would be the group we interviewed. I did not like the list but my top two made the cut. Pam Speaks, Nancy Jester, and I talked after the meeting. We had each ranked the same candidate #1. We found out later that one other member also had this person first on their list. I was feeling optimistic.

Note that the person four Board members ranked number one was not in the final three.

In a fascinating set of events, the Board offered Dr. Cox a contract. One member sat in stunned silence with head in hands – speechless. The board had six or seven members in favor of offering the contract. I was surprised because, while Dr. Cox wasn’t my first pick, she was a solid professional. Ultimately I was happy the process had worked. In hindsight, I should have known better.

As the Board was in negotiations with Dr. Cox, leaks hit the media. The two or three “no” votes had their victory. They obstructed the majority of the Board from carrying out its will.

The remaining candidates were not viable to me. Four of us pressured to bring back the candidate that we had ranked number one. It was a hard fight. Two of our board members were vehemently against my number one. At a previous interview, one of these board members sat near the candidate and fell asleep during the questions. This candidate had the best interview I have ever seen. Members that opposed this candidate either purposefully tried to twist the candidate’s record or they weren’t capable of understanding the facts. Either way, the interests of children were not served well.

At this time, you probably recall, Pam, Nancy, and I wrote a letter to express our frustration with the process. Our voices were being diminished by all means available to those on the board that wanted to further their hidden agenda. Nancy and I were summoned to SACS headquarters. We were told it wasn’t good form to announce one’s vote in advance of a meeting. We maintained that it was corrosive and hostile to leak information to thwart the will of the board until some hidden agenda is realized. At that meeting, I felt we were being nudged to “go along to get along”. Nancy and I held our ground because we felt that it was the ethical thing to do. It didn’t occur to me at the time but, the person, three of us viewed as the most qualified, came from a state that accredits its own schools rather than hand over that responsibility to SACS.

This is when Cheryl Atkinson entered the discussion. The entire board had previously reviewed her resume and took a pass. Come to find out Dr. Atkinson served on SACS committees before. I also sensed that SACS turned a fourth board member who had always agreed with me on the ranking of candidates. Soon, this board member began to speak out in favor of hiring Dr. Atkinson.

It is here that I had to acknowledge the hidden agenda in this whole process. The superintendent had to be African-American. Anything that interfered with this agenda was irrelevant. The majority had completely lost focus on the students.

The BOE did not pick the most qualified candidate. I did not say that Dr. Atkinson was unqualified. She simply was not the best candidate we had before us. I talked with some people from Loraine including a board member. The things I was alerted to became a reality: micromanaging, lack of information, and traveling with an entourage and driver.

So I say go ask the six who hired this lady to defend their position. I bet you will be met with silence.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

133 comments Add your comment

Dunwoody Mom

February 5th, 2013
9:16 am

Maureen, it appears that you are justifying this BOE’s behavior. Seriously?

Maureen Downey

February 5th, 2013
9:38 am

@Dunwoody, Not justifying but not pretending that DeKalb is the only board with political agendas.

George P. Burdell

February 5th, 2013
9:46 am

They are not the only ones with political agendas but you would have to look far and wide to find one that had let their personal agendas let down the children they are supposed to be looking out for more. As the parent of a 1st grader in the DCSS, I don’t have much faith this BOE even has the desire to improve the situation and I don’t have much time to make a decision about how best to make sure my child gets a good education. Right now it is working OK but it is only a matter of time before all of the issues that this BOE has caused will further deteriorate the quality of the education provided by DCSS.

Centrist

February 5th, 2013
9:51 am

Granted most politically elected or appointed school board members are political animals with agendas that sometimes don’t have anything to do with making schools better.

Trying to divert attention to disasters by saying they all do it is not helpful. Some school boards are much worse than others, and we have rampant examples ITP.

10:10 am

February 5th, 2013
10:02 am

Couldn’t it be argued that the DeKalb school board—so gloriously multiculti and dysfunctional—are ideal standard bearers for the unreformed public education this blog champions?

The Deal

February 5th, 2013
10:04 am

Should we go to our children’s schools and tell them the lesson of the day is, “Everyone else does it?” Sort of like the plagiarism lesson a week ago? And the “sleep during the meeting where you might lose your job” lesson a week before that?

I would place a considerable bet on the fact that the DeKalb Board of Education is THE worst sitting board in the entire country. I would also place a considerable bet on the fact that the DeKalb County School District is the school system in worst shape right now. There may be school systems with lower scores, but the depth and breadth of what is wrong here is unparalleled.

It isn’t just a financial management problem. It isn’t just a leadership problem. It isn’t just a board problem. It isn’t just a lack of funds problem. It isn’t just a corruption problem. It isn’t just a nepotism problem. It isn’t just a racial problem. It isn’t just a pure incompetence problem. It is all of these and more. We have it all here.

Maureen, I feel like your commentary makes excuses and makes light of the situation we are in. Shame on you.

whatever

February 5th, 2013
10:05 am

George, you are right to be losing faith. Walker’s statement to the GaSBOE that they have to deal with so much supposition and rumors is one of the reason why they have so many problems. This man is an idiot. If they were capable leaders the job would be done. They are not capable.
I blame the low info voters in the South that seem to support these people. They keep electing him, Copelin-Wods and Cunningham to the seats. Maybe now some of these folks will begin to doubt the audacity of their leaders and move to unseat them. Whether is supporting the cause and writing letters to the GASBOE/Govenor or finding a new person in 2014. What ever it is, just do it. Board should be elected individually county wide not as a particularly districted area. I can’t vote one of these fools out but their crap rolls down to my children.

The Deal

February 5th, 2013
10:07 am

whatever, unfortunately the Fernbank area had a lot to do with Walker’s reelection, not south DeKalb. I agree with everything else you said.

Disgusted in Dekalb

February 5th, 2013
10:14 am

Amen to The Deal’s 10:04 post.

Don't Tread

February 5th, 2013
10:19 am

Somebody got it right a couple days ago….the same people that hired Atkinson are going to choose her successor, and the cycle will repeat. And yet liberals are still against any form of school choice (including vouchers) to ensure status quo – THIS status quo – remains in place.

Dunwoody Mom

February 5th, 2013
10:26 am

Maureen, if you can read what McChesney wrote in its entirety and only come away with well, all BOE’s are political, then you and I took very different views of what was written. As far as I am concerned Don’s post was a further indictment of the dysfunction and corruption of this BOE. Wouldn’t you have been better as to frame your post “Former DCSS BOE Member Exposes Political Motives of BOE’s – what do we do to stop it”. Instead, the tone of your post is one that appears to be excusing the DCSS BOE because well, “they all do it”. I am shocked and disappointed in your view.

Digger

February 5th, 2013
10:30 am

Enter your comments here

Clutch Cargo

February 5th, 2013
10:30 am

We need to go to ELECTED superintendents.This political intrigue and constant infighting is shortchanging our kids. An elected super would have to perform,or he/she is gone after the next election.Cap their salaries and give them incentive pay for meeting tough (but doable) benchmarks.Include a recall provision in the law establishing elected supers so that they would have to do their job with the needs of the maximum number of stakeholders in mind.

Digger

February 5th, 2013
10:31 am

Political correctness is tyranny with manners.

Maureen Downey

February 5th, 2013
10:43 am

@Dunwoody, After 30 years of covering news and controversy, I can tell you that each of the nine board members will offer a far different account of that search. It doesn’t mean they are lying. It means each sees events through a personal lens.
I don’t take this single account as gospel. Nor should you. I take it as one person’s viewpoint.
I have had to cover a lot of school boards and a lot of elected officials over the last three decades. I have written about all varieties of dysfunction and outright corruption. As for extreme cronyism, DeKalb doesn’t approach what I have seen in small districts that have little to no news coverage. They are far more blatant in their nepotism and cronyism. (And even when the action is in full view of the public — see the recent hiring of Chip Rogers at GPB — some elected officials don’t care.)
I can’t help but put things in a realistic and larger context.
Maureen

Astropig

February 5th, 2013
10:47 am

@Clutch Cargo-

Excellent idea. BOE’s are just a snakepit of corruption and cronyism.There needs to be a check and balance on their power mad machinations.I would go you one better- Make elected superintendents answerable to the voters and only removeable from office with a 3/4 vote of the school board of if convicted of a specific set of crimes.Then the BOE will HAVE tow work together with the super.

Dunwoody Mom

February 5th, 2013
10:48 am

Disagree again, Maureen. McChesney’s information just verifies the belief of those of us who INTIMATELY followed the Superintendent search that ended with the hiring of Dr. Atkinson. I find it a little insulting that you think that I am taking Don’s “word for it” without viewing and seeing what occured with my own two eyes and ears and talking with other individuals involved with the school district.

The Deal

February 5th, 2013
10:53 am

But Maureen, don’t you think that the size of our county and the sheer number of students, teachers, and taxpayers affected by the DeKalb Board’s actions elevate our problems to a different level? There may be some slimy individuals in those tiny districts, but the actions of our board members have far more devastating effects on, really, the state of Georgia.

The economic future of the metro Atlanta area and the state of Georgia greatly depends on the viability and success of the public schools in the third-largest system in the state. This isn’t some backwoods Hatfield and McCoy arguing going on. This is large-scale, high stakes political corruption going on. I just can’t believe how you are minimizing it. So disappointed.

Beverly Fraud

February 5th, 2013
11:00 am

“Hands down, the school boards were the most politically attuned and most politically motivated.”

Well I certainly hope that APS isn’t unfairly painted with that broad brush. Numerous 9-0 votes. Consensus. Award winning All of course leading to unparalleled success a success that propelled APS to the very apex of educational achievement in the modern civilized world.

Maureen Downey

February 5th, 2013
11:00 am

@Dunwoody, My final point on this: I don’t believe that the DeKalb board members set out to run down the district, that they are intent on bringing in poor hires and inept managers. Do I believe that their decisions are impacted by their personal biases and their own sense of what DeKalb needs? Clearly.
Do some of them lack the skills to run what is the equivalent of a multimillion dollar company. Yes — but I would say that for most school boards in the country. And most city councils, for that matter.
Maureen

Centrist

February 5th, 2013
11:00 am

Partisans put on blinders or make excuses for failures when their pet projects don’t work out.

Our forefathers saw democratic abuses and purposely set up our system of government as a representative republic – meaning that sometimes more intelligent/ knowledgeable representatives are meant to look into and fix problems. We need the Governor and Legislature to replace some school administrations which have been overtaken by outside issues, sloganeering, and pandering. Sure, liberal bloggers and posters will scream as if this constitutional action were bloody murder, but it simply needs to be done.

The Deal

February 5th, 2013
11:02 am

Centrist, don’t paint all of us liberals with such a broad brush. I’m as lefty as they come, and I want to see this board and superintendent gone, at this point, by any means possible.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

February 5th, 2013
11:03 am

Many thanks to Don for adding to the drama!!! The “two or three no votes” = Cunningham, Edler, Copelin-Woods? “Fell asleep during the interview” = Copelin-Woods?

DunMoody

February 5th, 2013
11:03 am

Just because internal politics are “business as usual” doesn’t make them less worthy of sunshine. McChesney’s blog gives credence (at least from his retelling) to DeKalb teachers’ and parents’ feelings of impotence and frustration. No doubt that MD’s long years of covering the politics of public education has made her somewhat jaded when it comes to stories like this because what’s happening here isn’t unique. Nonetheless, it’s important for advocates to maintain a can-do spirit and continue the good fight. The goal of quality education for ALL children is worth the effort. Don’t give in to a feeling of helplessness … keep fighting!

Patrick Edmondson

February 5th, 2013
11:06 am

As I retired Dekalb Teacher I was often worried by the central office staff’s reverse racism in their actions. They were not color blind in decisions justified as fixing past injustices. This was acceptable and correct until about 1980. There was an internal north-south, economic and racial divide. Funding from the county mainly went north where “it was appreciated” while less mauve schools had to make do . Opened McNair’s ‘new’ English books to find they had been used the year before at Dunwoody, which now got all new books since “those students will appreciate and care for books unlike your kids”.

Beverly Fraud

February 5th, 2013
11:06 am

“Do some of them lack the skills to run what is the equivalent of a multimillion dollar company.”

Some of these people couldn’t run a fever if they were infected with the Andromeda Strain, much less run a multimillion dollar company.

Pardon My Blog

February 5th, 2013
11:18 am

It’s not just the dysfunction of the BoE but of the group that Walker is a part of that has gained control of DeKalb, period. Collectively they have ruined what was once a great place to live, work, and go to school.

Ed Advocate

February 5th, 2013
11:23 am

And these same players are attempting to bring in Michael Thurmond. Not saying he’s a bad guy, but he’s not a good fit for this superintendency and is seriously lacking education experience. An well-seasoned outsider with a strong reputation is needed to restore public confidence. The board’s consideration of Thurmond smacks of cronyism and a last-ditch misguided effort to save themselves from replacement by the Governor. I predict it backfires.

A Conservative Voice

February 5th, 2013
11:23 am

@Maureen Downey

February 5th, 2013
11:00 am

Do some of them lack the skills to run what is the equivalent of a multimillion dollar company. Yes — but I would say that for most school boards in the country. And most city councils, for that matter.
Maureen

Maureen, you just absolutely refuse to condemn one of the most inept BOE and School Administration in the metro atlanta area. Is this part of your job description? writing for the AJC? Are your editors pulling your strings? Something is amiss because you aren’t seeing what most of the people in DeKalb County that care, see. In my view, in your position, you are acting irresponsibly and are not tuned in to the realities of the situation. The realities are if this school system doesn’t get fixed shortly, the whole of DeKalb County will begin to feel the effects and will finally be bankrupt because all of the highest tax paying citizens will be moving out and no new businesses will be moving in because of the school system. So you see, you have become a small part of the problem with your rosy blogs.

Dunwoody Mom

February 5th, 2013
11:27 am

Maureen, I guess you have to be a parent in DCSS to see the “real” picture here.

bootney farnsworth

February 5th, 2013
11:28 am

the real criteria in the search:

-what can they (the finalist) do for ME?
-how much can I control them?
-are they the proper gender/race currently in political favor?
-do I owe them, or somebody who supports them?

bootney farnsworth

February 5th, 2013
11:31 am

most distressing is the implication/accusation that SACS was actively involved in wonking up the process to get Cheryl into place.

its an ugly, incestuous process.

Dunwoody Mom

February 5th, 2013
11:32 am

@bootney…that’s pretty much the search critieria….

Mountain Man

February 5th, 2013
11:35 am

“It is here that I had to acknowledge the hidden agenda in this whole process. The superintendent had to be African-American. Anything that interfered with this agenda was irrelevant. ”

This about sums up the actions of the Board.

DunMoody

February 5th, 2013
11:40 am

I believe that blogs like Get Schooled and DeKalb School Watch Two, social media, and commenters able to post anonymously are the reason DeKalb power brokers and “business as usual” in DCSS are finally getting much-needed scrutiny. I have watched DeKalb schools implode with ever-increasing rapidity over the fourteen years my children have attended public school here. At the same time, social media has erupted as a mechanism for sharing inside information that doesn’t always hit the “guaranteed readership” goals of electronic and print media.

For many years, parents and teachers were able to buffer the classroom from the stupid decisions made in the Central Office with volunteers filling in the gaps, fundraisers to augment cuts in budgets, etc. Those efforts became ineffective when the School Board and Central Office decided it was okay to cut teachers’ salaries, increase classroom populations, delete gifted education by mixing it with accelerated classes and calling a ‘code” adequate to meet federal guidelines, took away parapros in elementary schools and special education classrooms, etc.

Which comes first? The insider comment on a blog or a reporter’s coverage of public education news? They’re intertwined.

So while I may not like the tenor of MD’s post, I nonetheless value it for catalyzing these discussions and updates.

bootney farnsworth

February 5th, 2013
11:48 am

there’s a broader issue here. the relationship between DCSS and county management. don’t think for a moment they aren’t scratching each others backs intensely.

face it. the whole of DeKalb county management is corrupt. best to treat it like Escape from New York. wall it off, cut off all ties, and let it hunger games itself.

since state law is fuzzy on creating new counties, parts of DeKalb should petition to join Gwinnett.

Maureen Downey

February 5th, 2013
11:50 am

To Conservative Voice and company:
These are the same conversations and comments that accompanied the Clayton mess. A new board was put in place and the problems persisted.
The issue is greater than the school board. I am not minimizing the school board. I am speaking to the larger problems, problems common to any large urban system in the throes of transition.
At the same time that the federal and state governments have dramatically raised the expectations of student performance, some districts, including DeKalb, are dealing with a growing population of poor kids. On top of that, we are in the midst of a recession that has dramatically reduced the amount of available funds to meet the needs of students who require more services and resources to succeed.
Baltimore has one of the brightest superintendents and a compliant school board in place — appointed, not elected, by the way. And it is improving, but incrementally. (As is DeKalb, for that matter, relying on similar data that Baltimore uses to show its improvements.)
Those of you banking on a new board changing all of this are likely to be disappointed. The debate that is needed in DeKalb is the same one that is needed in New York and Chicago and LA. (By the way, New York has the portfolio plan that Nancy Jester advocates. See how that has worked.)
Again, I am not minimizing the problems in DeKalb or painting a “rosy” picture of the board. I contend just the opposite; those of you counting on a board change to suddenly change the county’s fortunes and future are the ones who underestimate the dimensions of the challenge.
The problems extend well beyond the board of education.
Have to go as I have to work on print stuff.
Maureen

Dunwoody Mom

February 5th, 2013
11:50 am

@DunMoody…So while I may not like the tenor of MD’s post, I nonetheless value it for catalyzing these discussions and updates

Oh, I agree. I totally disagree with Maureen’s view on this, but am glad I have an outlet to disagree. :)

Concerned DeKalb Mom

February 5th, 2013
11:54 am

Those who are advocating for an elected superintendent are fooling themselves if they think the issues surrounding elections for BOE members won’t exist for a superintendent election. Who do you think would be voting?–The same folks that voted in this BOE.

bootney farnsworth

February 5th, 2013
11:55 am

I disagree with McCheseney on one point. the board never lost sight of the students in its quest for appointing a black super above all else.

the board never had the students anywhere on their collective radar to begin with.

for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the GBI isn’t occupying the main DCSS palace doing a top to bottom investigation of the whole county. DeKalb is working the old 1950s Louisiana playbook. if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying. pretty soon a criminal record will be a political plus when running for office

A Dekalb Resident

February 5th, 2013
11:58 am

@Maureen

Remember when your paper printed confidential information about the negotiations with Ms. Cox and then protected the names of the board members who leaked that information to you?

Is aiding and abetting corrupt Board Members a ‘normal part of the process’?

While it is certainly convenient for the AJC to claim she never wanted to come to DeKalb in the first place, the more likely explanation is that we were competing for the services of a well-qualified and desired educator whose decision became easier when your paper printed sensitive details about the contract negotiation leaked by corrupt board members to whom you granted anonymity.

bootney farnsworth

February 5th, 2013
12:00 pm

totally agree with Maureen on one important point. the board is much more a symptom than the actual problem.

if the citizens didn’t de facto endorse this mess, those idiots would not be in place to begin with. the same criteria I posted above for super selection applies at the lower level of voters choosing the DCSS and their various corrupt elected officials.

DeKalb is a cesspool because the citizens WANT it to be a cesspool.

DunMoody

February 5th, 2013
12:01 pm

Actually, MD, I’m not counting on the potential School Board overhaul to “fix things.” I’ve said all along that’s just part of the solution. A Central Office overhaul, local school control (instruction and materials quantified and delivered for the specific needs of each school’s student population), and restoration of public education funding all have to take place. Gonna keep tilting at that windmill …

Mountain Man

February 5th, 2013
12:04 pm

Hopefully, the Dekalb County School Board will be replaced soon.

The Deal

February 5th, 2013
12:14 pm

A new board is only one part of the solution. Just because this one part won’t resolve the entire problem doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to happen. There is no silver bullet; if there was, we would have already done that.

The complication, convolution, and confusion surrounding who the authority figures are in this situation is part of why we can’t get it resolved quickly. There is no one throat to choke. SACS, DA, Governor, state BOE, voters, local leaders, state legislators, and media all have a part in how we got to this point, and they will all need to do their part in improving it.

I, for one, have lost my faith in this county and its future. With as many good people we have here, there are apparently more bad or apathetic. This county may need to implode and put a huge hit on the state’s economy and appeal before anything drastic is done. That won’t happen in the next 10 years while my kids are in school, which is a good reason to leave and watch from my rear view mirror.

bu2

February 5th, 2013
12:15 pm

“Our forefathers saw democratic abuses and purposely set up our system of government as a representative republic – meaning that sometimes more intelligent/ knowledgeable representatives are meant to look into and fix problems. We need the Governor and Legislature to replace some school administrations which have been overtaken by outside issues, sloganeering, and pandering. Sure, liberal bloggers and posters will scream as if this constitutional action were bloody murder, but it simply needs to be done.”

The idea that the people should choose and not some appointed or hereditary group is really pretty conservative in today’s definition and consistent with the founding fathers. The loudest voices for removing the board, however, interestingly, come from the most conservative part of the county. The idea that government knows better is really much more a liberal idea.

Home-tutoring parent

February 5th, 2013
12:16 pm

Maureen, great reporting, again.

Too few of us have “institutional memory”. I recall the last vestiges of the “original school board” model. Being on the school board represented community service. Boards were comprised of local business/professional leaders, pastors, sometimes college professors, sometimes their wives.

Then, following SCOTUS rulings that: forced “integration” through busing both black and white students all over “the checker board” and the children were indeed reduced to checker pieces, kids whose study, after-school work, and community-involvement diminution “didn’t matter” ; that outlawed school prayer, and any mention of God in history books. The “good people” fled to private schools, and school board membership morphed from performing community-beneficent voluntary service into a first-step opportunity to acquire the skills of politics, as preparation to statehouse legislative offices, and even Washington, D.C. ultimate career posts.

Cheryl Atkinson isn’t a villainess, Michael Thurmond isn’t going to “rescue” APS. But it makes for good theatre. “The play’s the thing.”

Betsy Parks

February 5th, 2013
12:23 pm

Maureen, I think you have let a little publicity go to your head and how dare YOU have a slightly different opinion. Geeeze, soon you, like me will be accused of being on crack or an angry **** for criticizing the only sunshine on the DKBOE or something like that… just kidding,. I feel you pain as I have challenged every members of the DKBOE even the sacred cows but I bet you are used to it. Maybe I’m wrong, but maybe not. I am entitled to my opinions and Deal can reinstate anyone he thinks will an asset. I want a chance at a reset.
I think you are probably right about GA corruption but wanted to bring your attention to “that” GA law that I think does more than remove BOE on probation. I can’t find any record of “Code of Ethics” for DCSS being passed at a BOE meeting as required or one being submitted GADOE. It was required by this law:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/External-Affairs-and-Policy/State-Board-of-Education/SBOE%20Rules/160-5-1-.36.pdf

and put in place by this timeline and checklist:
http://archives.gadoe.org/DMGetDocument.aspx/Local%20Board%20Governance%20Timeline.pdf?p=6CC6799F8C1371F615FE6F3477FAF0000FD1438D743784F32A9AA880E6E91735&Type=D

This is the ONLY reference I can find on an attempt to pass one at a BOE meeting.
http://atlantaunfiltered.com/2009/12/08/dekalb-school-board-tables-discission-of-ethics-code/

I am not a lawyer or an expert but I can read! I have called DCSS and asked for the copy… and left GABOE s message. Maybe you can look into this for us? Just saying not all states have this kind of corruption and this law, if enforced could force improvement and we can all get back to being normal ‘moms”!

bu2

February 5th, 2013
12:26 pm

I’ve got to defend Maureen on putting perspective to this. Its bad, but its not Clayton County.

One different perspective might be that Don, Nancy and Pam tried to cram their choice down the throat of others who had some serious objection to that person (which wasn’t necessarily race-maybe it was but we don’t know). Those 3 held a meeting and discussed superintendent candidates by themselves in a violation of the spirit if not the rules of the board and the open meetings laws. Ms. Cox was very young and inexperienced and that could be objectionable to some. Being white, bright, young and energetic doesn’t make her a good candidate. (now I’m not saying this is my perspective, just that there can be very different perspectives on the same situation. And from reading Don’s website he is about as far from objective as you can get).

bu2

February 5th, 2013
12:32 pm

School boards everywhere, unfortunately, get many aspiring politicians who see it as an easier place to win a first election than other elected offices and use it as a springboard to other posts.