State interviews candidates for DeKalb board. Replacements may come this week. Thurmond in Dunwoody.

Some news first: The governor’s handpicked nominating committee notified DeKalb school board applicants late Sunday night to show up today for interviews. Of the initial 400 applicants, 300 of them followed through and responded to the email questionnaire.

Out of those 300 questionnaires, the committee chose 60 applicants to see. Questions focused on the ability to work with diverse groups of people, vision for the district and ethics.

A nominating panel worked all weekend with the goal of producing a list of 12 finalists to present to Gov. Deal later this week.

DeKalb Superintendent Michael Thurmond told the AJC: “I’m expecting by the end of the week to have a quorum, which is at least five if not nine” members.”

According to the AJC: The five-member nominating panel has said it will weigh each candidate’s race and background as it decides who will lead Georgia’s third-largest school system. Each applicant will be rated on how they “represent the diversity of the community,” along with their education experience and vision for the system, according to a scoring document.

Last night, I went to the Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting to hear interim school chief Michael Thurmond speak. I returned home and started to write about the meeting when I realized that I hadn’t heard anything new from Thurmond.

I’ve heard him speak several times since his appointment last month and talked to him one-on-one at length.

There was nothing Thurmond said last night that he hasn’t said before and in similar fashion. So, I give him points for consistency and staying on message no matter the audience.

But I think Thurmond needs to move beyond the platitudes and the generalities and speak in more detail to DeKalb citizens.

Both he and the 104 members of the audience last night were polite and deferential to one another. They seemed to be sizing each other up – I think Dunwoody parents liked what they saw in Thurmond. He didn’t criticize them for exploring the possibility of a constitutional amendment ending the prohibition on new school districts and thus enabling the  City of Dunwoody Schools in two years.

Do what you have to do for your kids, Thurmond told the parents. You only get one shot.

(And that was all he could say considering he pulled his own child out of DeKalb schools and sent her to Woodward Academy.)

But while that process is occurring, Thurmond said, he still has to educate their kids and he wants to do a good job.

In general, these parents have heard much of what Thurmond said from his predecessors. (DeKalb has had a revolving door of school chiefs in the last decade.) All of those school chiefs also proclaimed that the classroom was sacrosanct, that cuts would come from the central office.

But classrooms  were cut. And one reason — which Thurmond failed to cite — is that the state cuts have been deep and corrosive and unrelenting.

Perhaps, it was the presence of all the state-level elected officials in the room, but Thurmond didn’t mention state cuts. Instead, he focused on the money that will be saved from his tightening of legal spending, something he pledged will be part of the 90-day plan he will unveil when the school board is intact.

“I am an attorney by profession. We are spending way too much money on lawyers…That’s going to change. That will be part of the 90 day plan,” he said. “In a school district that can’t buy every child who needs a textbook a textbook and can’t give our teachers raises, we can’t afford to spend that kind of money on lawyers. We can do better. We will do better.”

Among his other comments:

“I come this afternoon to remind to you that the challenges are great, but the opportunities are greater.”

“I have an assets-driven philosophy. I first looked to see what assets did we possess. And there are many. Our No. 1 asset — our intelligent, incredibly bright boys and girls, 98,000 assets.”

He revisited textbook-gate, saying, “I am happy to report that in December we knew where the textbooks were. In January, we knew where the textbooks were. In February, we knew where every textbook that was ordered received and placed in every classroom was.”

He said that while there is a hiring freeze on for the central office, he has no freeze “on anything that affects classroom. No hiring freeze on teachers or anyone else that has a direct impact on the classroom.”

Thurmond said he wants to decentralize power, vesting more of it in regional superintendents.

“I meet people every day..strangers come up to me and say, ‘I feel sorry for you.’ We are going to prove people wrong. They don’t believe Republicans can work with the Democrats even to save our children. They think partisan bickering  will supersede even the desire to educate our own children. They don’t believe white folks and black folks will ever sit down and create a school system that will serve all our children, and they are all wrong.”

On a question about Dr. Atkinson’s decision to adopt a balanced calendar with a shorter summer and more breaks during the year: “We are going to look at all pending policies, rules and regulations…The day it was announced that I was the new superintendent, I went out to get my mail, and my neighbor came running out of the house and said, ‘My wife hates the balanced calendar.’  At that point, I wasn’t sure what the balanced calendar was.”

As to whether he will urge suspended board members to give up their legal challenges, Thurmond says these are important and historic issues to those board members mounting the legal fight:  “When you deal with individuals not having the right to vote or having that right abridged, taken away or denied, and you’ve seen individuals brutalized trying to get the right to vote, it supersedes every and anything else.  If that right is diluted, it dilutes not just school district, but it dilutes democracy. They believe it honestly and believe it sincerely.”

Parent comment:

“I went to a meeting with Dr. Atkinson when she was first brought in and she spoke a good game and we were all let down. And you are here speaking a good game,” said one man. “Please, don’t let us down again.’”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

63 comments Add your comment

Chamblee Dad

March 11th, 2013
5:59 pm

“They seemed to be sizing each other up – I think Dunwoody parents liked what they saw in Thurmond.” Likely true . . . “keep your enemies closer.”

But they don’t have to be opponents. Even if in 2 years Dunwoody does pull it off, during those 2 years there is a lot of school left to do. Work with him & new Board, I say.

Rush

March 11th, 2013
6:17 pm

Attorney by trade….hah….politican by trade….he figured out early on being a poltican was a whole lot easier than working.

Private Citizen

March 11th, 2013
6:36 pm

He makes sense and has heart for the kids. Maybe he wants to do his ground work and make sure he can pay the teachers before he warms up to them. He seems likeable and modern.

WhoIsJohnGalt?

March 11th, 2013
6:37 pm

Here’s a sneak preview of where we’re headed…

http://www.wnd.com/2013/03/suburbs-secede-from-atlanta/

Private Citizen

March 11th, 2013
6:39 pm

Good that the state has momentum. I hope when they get DeKalb school management modernised that they keep going.

SGaDawgette

March 11th, 2013
6:41 pm

But has he talked to the TEACHERS yet??????

wow

March 11th, 2013
6:46 pm

I say give him a chance. Why does one need to go over that fact we all know. The state has cut funding everywhere they can as far as for unfavored school districts, cities etc. I just hope that Maria and Jose and their offspring can get their voting strength high enough to balance out all of this nonsense at that capital. I say in 8 to 12 yrs
GA will change and other views besides those in power at the capital will have a voice.

DeKalb Graduate

March 11th, 2013
6:47 pm

Thurmond is a politician, a lawyer and was hired by the six politicians who are suspended, I’d dance a good jig as well. He is walking the line, tell them what they want to hear but lead them where you want them go. When Thurmond stands up for the children of DeKalb and not the BOE – by actions and not by rhetoric, then people may begin to believe him. It will take a while for the “revolving door of leadership” in DeKalb to create an environment of trust. When the Palace employs go through fiscal desk audit to determine if their jobs require the salary they receive. When teachers have a voice in the education of their students. When we can begin to clean house of the ‘family and friends” and appoint people based upon skills, abilities and knowledge then we may begin to rebuild a school system. Let us hope the State can select new BOE members who have the backbone to do the work and the ethics to allow them to sleep at night.

Catlady

March 11th, 2013
6:52 pm

Too bad he had to admit not knowing what a balanced calendar is. Too bad we know he pulled his daughter out of Dekalb PS!

He is going to throw out loaded words like”rights abridged”‘ hooboy! And ” individuals brutalized”. Plain old race-mongering

Did anyone ask whether the system would end paying for Lewis’ attorneys? If he is accused of acts OUTSIDE his lawful duties, as RICO would surely be, he has to know that there is no obligation for the system to pay those lawyers!

How did he know where those books are but others did not?

jarvis

March 11th, 2013
6:55 pm

“Please don’t let us down again.’” is a question?
Must be a Dekalb County grad herself.

Private Citizen

March 11th, 2013
7:05 pm

Jarvis, ¿It is if followed by a question mark?

Maureen Downey

March 11th, 2013
7:07 pm

@Jarvis and private — Folks change thoughts as they speak so I don’t think it is a big deal that the guy framed it as a question and then delivered it as a statement, but I am changing it to avoid confusion.
Maureen

dekalbite

March 11th, 2013
7:22 pm

“He said that while there is a hiring freeze on for the central office, he has no freeze “on anything that affects classroom. No hiring freeze on teachers or anyone else that has a direct impact on the classroom.”

Thurmond may be correct when he says they are hiring classroom positions, but the positions are for subs, not teachers. This is a very cheap and dirty way to fill the classroom with a warm body. What math or science teacher or any in-demand content area teacher would pick DeKalb to work in when they are only being offered substitute pay – less than $15 an hour for a 40 hour work week which actually stretches into many more hours – when they can go to for example Gwinnett and make the pay of a regular teacher?

Thurmond’s response to the Dunwoody parents was very misleading, and he knew exactly how to phrase it. He did not want to say that the DeKalb School administrators are trying to get by as cheaply as possible to staff the classrooms. He is not looking at the quality of teachers when he is trying to place subs in the classrooms, and he seems not to care if DeKalb students are getting teachers that can’t get employed anywhere else.

If Mr. Thurmond wants to save money, he should staff the classroom with some of the non teaching personnel who have teaching certificates and are on the payroll already. Looking at the state Salary and Travel audit for 2012, we are paying almost 140 non teaching Coaches (listed as Instructional Specialists) $10,000,000 in salary and benefits. We are also paying for almost 40 Graduation Coaches (and BTW we only have around 20 high schools) $2,400,000 in salary and benefits. We also have 133 Instructional Supervisors who could staff the classrooms. They cost us over $12,000,000 in salary and benefits. And let’s not forget the Staff Development another group of non teaching personnel who are certified teachers. We have 20 of them and they cost us almost $2,000,000 a year.

That’s around $27,000,000 a year we are paying for 333 non teaching personnel who do not teach but could be sent back by Mr. Thurmond to teach students. We actually have MORE expensive non teaching personnel than ever – even in the middle of running a deficit.

How is it that we always have money for every position except to give students classroom teachers? Parents need to be asking Mr. Thurmond this question. And they also need to be asking who in the Central Office is giving him advise that is so obviously wrong for kids?

Look at the PATS positions for teachers to see that Mr. Thurmond is staffing the classrooms with subsitutes:
https://pats.dekalb.k12.ga.us/

Teach

March 11th, 2013
7:37 pm

Thurmond is going to talk to us starting this week.

The meet and greets will be held on:
• March 12 – 4:15-5:45 – Arabia Mountain High School Auditorium, 6610 Browns Mill Road, Lithonia
• March 13 – 5:30-7 – Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School Auditorium, 1804 Bouldercrest Road SE, Atlanta
• March 18 – 5:15-6:45 – Cross Keys High School Cafeteria, 1626 N. Druid Hills Road, Atlanta
• March 19 – 4:15-5:45 – Tucker High School Auditorium, 5036 Lavista Road, Tucker
• March 20 – 3:30-5 – Stone Mountain High Auditorium, 455 Central Drive, Stone Mountain

The question is who will speak up and talk about replacing our pathetic textbooks (most of which are completely destroyed and the covers/bindings are falling off). Who will talk about getting a fair salary without or limited furlough days? Who will talk about getting technology up to speed? (kids cannot access the wifi at school on their own devices, and the computers are so outdated that you cannot use them appropriately for research) Who will speak up about the TSA and Social Security fiasco?

If this is going to be run the way I think it is, it will be Thurmond doing the talking and questions screened and with your administrators and regional supers watching every word you say.

Gangsta politics.

dekalbite

March 11th, 2013
7:41 pm

“Who will talk about getting technology up to speed? (kids cannot access the wifi at school on their own devices, and the computers are so outdated that you cannot use them appropriately for research)”

This is the technology and wireless that Ms. Tyson told the State Board of Education was working well in DeKalb. Lack of access to technology was one of SACS main concerns.

dekalbite

March 11th, 2013
7:50 pm

Clayton County’s superintendent last year put many of their non teaching “Coaches” back into the classrooms to teach students in areas that needed teachers. Such an action would go a long way towards showing DeKalb parents/taxpayers that he is serious about redirecting resources back into the classrooms.

Fred ™

March 11th, 2013
7:59 pm

And that was all he could say considering he pulled his own child out of DeKalb schools and sent her to Woodward Academy

Wow. He is OBVIOUSLY a very intelligent man.

Tim

March 11th, 2013
8:11 pm

You notice how AJC reporters don’t analyze a judge’s decision as long as they agree with it? When the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the charter school law, the AJC reporters constantly wrote articles about it, and even prodded the state legislature to strengthen the law.

So let’s revisit what U.S. District Judge Richard Story said with his decision to uphold Governor Nathan Deal (who was almost indicted himself) being allowed to remove other elected officials:

“The harm from the loss of accreditation to the school district and the resulting harm to the students in the district are profound,” Story wrote in his decision. “To permit the board members to continue to serve while their individual claims are resolved risks substantial consequences for the school district and its students. The court finds that this risk of harm far outweighs the risks to the board members.”

Really? Judge Richard Story, the lawsuit was not about you protecting the students, you were supposed to rule on whether the law was unconstitutional! This is the sentence that stands out:

“To permit the board members to continue to serve while their individual claims are resolved risks substantial consequences for the school district and its students. The court finds that this risk of harm far outweighs the risks to the board members.”

So he based his decision on what he felt is best for the district? That’s not his duty. He is supposed to decide whether the 2011 law giving the governor the power to remove school board members is unconstitutional. Period. It’s like his entire decision was based on saving the kids, which is not his job! And notice how he made it about the “board members saving their jobs”, instead of whether or not they have a valid justification for challenging a governor having the power to remove them when they were elected by the people. He just minimized it as if democracy means nothing.

Seriously, there has been no examination of this ruling by AJC reporters. U.S. District Judge Richard Story was supposed to rule on the legality of the law, and not base his decision on the consequences for the children. What, does he think he’s a part of the Executive Branch like the governor? Isn’t his job simply to rule whether or not the law is constitutional?

OriginalProf

March 11th, 2013
8:29 pm

@ Tim. I think that all of the issues you raise are going to be considered when this case gets to the State Supreme Court, where it is clearly headed. I wonder if Judge Story foresaw that when he made his ruling. To me, the constitutionality of this law is something to be decided by the state’s highest court rather than a federal judge anyway.

Melanie

March 11th, 2013
8:33 pm

Tim, you are 100% on point!!!

Nikole

March 11th, 2013
8:38 pm

@ Teach— I will. I’ll speak up just like I did at the sessions Dr. Atkinson held and at the 1 board meeting I spoke at. I’m tired of teachers shuffling around scared with their heads down. If you do your job and speak the truth, you’ll be alright. I’ll be at Wednesday’s meeting.

S.

March 11th, 2013
8:45 pm

“He said that while there is a hiring freeze on for the central office, he has no freeze “on anything that affects classroom. …”

Something is fishy because a lack of supplies affects the classroom.

Teachers at SWD received this email Friday afternoon (a furlough day):

PLease be advised, per the Superintendent of Schools, ALL SPENDING FROM THE GENERAL FUND HAS CEASED. This means if you have not received your supply requests, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. I just got the memo today (3/8/13). I don’t not know if orders that was placed will come to pass. I repeat, I DO NOT KNOW. I will relay information as I receive it.

The initial deadline has become null and void. As of right now, There will be no orders placed. Please use your current supplies WISELY. Do not waste paper and print unnecessary items. Please be careful.

Thanks for your cooperation.

p.s. (I repeat, I DO NO KNOW. If you have not received what you have requested, chances are, it will not happen. I repeat, I DO NOT KNOW)

Thanks again!

William T. Stephens, III, B.M., C.A.
Bookkeeper II
Southwest DeKalb High School
2863 Kelley Chapel Road
Decatur, GA 30034-2298

Blaktaxpayer

March 11th, 2013
8:49 pm

I am Black and in this case of Dekalb I wish the NAACP would shut the hell up. Colored people are not being advanced by holding on to a broken school system just because the leadership is a bunch of self serving thugs AND colored went out with the 60s! NAACP is out of touch!

Michael

March 11th, 2013
9:01 pm

Maureen – Can you clarify whether the interviews today (the couple of dozen) were callbacks from the weekend interviews? Or, perhaps, in addition to the weekend interviews? Thanks.

mountain man

March 11th, 2013
9:05 pm

“Make sure you look at the color of the skin and not the content of the character” that is what the NAACP is saying.

mountain man

March 11th, 2013
9:11 pm

What if an association of white people came to the governor and said ” you removed a mostly white Board, so you should reappoint whites to those position, even if there are more qualified black candidates”? There would be marches all over Atlanta. Why is it then OK to do the reverse?

Maureen Downey

March 11th, 2013
9:37 pm

@Michael, The interviews today were the first-round ones for some of the seats. But some interviews were done over the weekend. The AJC says the nominating panel interviewed 60 people in person.
Maureen

Maureen Downey

March 11th, 2013
9:39 pm

@Tim, When this goes to the state Supreme Court, you can expect more coverage. The coverage of the charter school case was far greater when it reached the high court than when it was in Fulton.
Maureen

Centrist

March 11th, 2013
9:49 pm

The fact that the NAACP wants a racial quota in picking the replacement board members is disturbing if not predictable.

Centrist

March 11th, 2013
9:50 pm

By the way, we are on Daylight Savings Time now – even if this blog is not.

Michael

March 11th, 2013
9:51 pm

Thanks Maureen, as I understand it, they had in-person interviews over the weekend as well.

Tim

March 12th, 2013
12:25 am

@Original Prof I see what your saying. But it just seems that a federal judge should be able to rule on the constitutionality of a governor removing elected county school board members. No one really challenged or analyzed his ruling. People just said, “Well, the judge gave Governor Deal the power, let’s wait and see who he appoints.” It just seems that Judge Richard Story went with his personal opinion instead of answering the question, “Is the law constitutional?” And if the Georgia Supreme Court unbelievably upholds this law, the case could still go back to federal court. It should be a no-brainer for a federal judge to strike down this law. Because if our state supreme court goes along with it, what’s to stop the state legislature from giving the governor the power to remove city councils, county commissions, mayors, etc? Would a federal judge just sit back and not rule on the constitutionality of that either? Because if so, then we no longer have a Judicial Branch.

@Melanie Hey, thanks! I just don’t understand how a governor who resigned from the House of Representatives while under an ethics investigation could be the decision-maker in whether other elected officials get to keep their job. I want what is best for the students also, but I’m not willing to trample the constitution and voting rights in order to get it.

@Maureen But wasn’t the charter school ruling in Fulton by a Superior Court Judge? I just thought this ruling by a federal judge deserved more scrutiny. But hey, I’ll definitely be checking out future coverage.

Private Citizen

March 12th, 2013
1:21 am

the computers are so outdated that you cannot use them

You can remedy that for practically zero cost, except it can not be permitted because everyone is married to the “Windows” system. And guess what? The newer “Windows” softwares are inefficient and resource hungry, meaning that in addition to paying the licensing you have to have newer powerful machine simply because the software is so inefficient.

Pride and Joy

March 12th, 2013
6:57 am

Get Schooled is right. Same old tired rhetoric. Mere words.
Catlady is right, Thurmond is doing his same old race-mongering. He doesn’t care about voter rights. He cares abou the money he gets from being a lawyer to five Dekalb BOEs who are the black plague of Dekalb.
We don’t need Thurmond. We need pest control to rid ourselves of the five black plague members.

AP Teacher

March 12th, 2013
7:26 am

What are the odds that teachers hear Thurmond’s sob story in their meetings today? (I was this…I was that. I was the first…) yawn.

stop placating and serve your front line soldiers.

Atlanta Media Guy

March 12th, 2013
7:42 am

Thurmond needs to show parents action. Tyson is the one person who has been around for 10 years and yet she is treated like a star. Tyson must be shown the door! Her first response to SACS, as interim, was a joke! 10,000 pages of scanned stuff and it was unsearchable. Weak at best! Her leadership continued DCSS into the ditch of darkness. Mr. Thurmond sunshine and truth might bring the change you seek, however keeping the folks responsible for DCSS failures will only extend the nightmares for years to come!

Dunwoody Mom

March 12th, 2013
7:58 am

Directly from the DCSS PATS system postings. This is an open position for a Science Teacher:

“”Effective March 1, 2013, this position will be classified as a substitute position through the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.”

Dunwoody Mom

March 12th, 2013
8:27 am

CRCT are what, 5 or 6 weeks away, EOCT’s in early May? DCSS is filling open science and math teacher positions with substitutes. But, hey, students first, right?

Dunwoody Mom

March 12th, 2013
8:28 am

AMG, just a feeling, but I do not get the impression that Elgart will accept the same nonsense that Tyson produced during her tenure – especially after the attacks levied on him by BOE and Staff.

Truth in Moderation

March 12th, 2013
9:10 am

“Questions focused on the ability to work with diverse groups of people, vision for the district and ETHICS.”

ETHICS. REALLY???????????? LOL!
WHOSE ethics? And based on WHAT STANDARD?
Do you mean the EMORY ETHICS? Throw CHICK -FIL- A off campus because of the personal beliefs of the founder’s son? And by the way, HIS BELIEFS ARE MAIN STREAM CHRISTIAN BELIEFS. I do believe that Emory has a “seminary” that professes to teach Christianity.

Also, Emory has that LOVELY LULLWATER PARK. You know, the land donated by the Candlers (Coca-cola). DIDN’T CHICK- FIL -A PROUDLY SERVE COKE PRODUCTS? WILL EMORY CAMPUS ALSO BAN COKE PRODUCTS?

Oh, and I believe the President of Emory lives in that huge mansion on the Lullwater Estate, which formerly belonged to Asa Candler. HOW CONVENIENT THAT THE SURROUNDING PROPERTY IS CALLED A “PARK”. THE TAXPAYERS OF GEORGIA, INCLUDING CHICK-FIL-A PAY TO KEEP HIS LAWN WELL MANICURED!

If Georgia is looking for places to cut taxes, LULLWATER PARK would be a great place to start!
REMEMBER, IT’S FOR THE KIDS!

dekalbite@Dunwoody Mom

March 12th, 2013
9:48 am

“AMG, just a feeling, but I do not get the impression that Elgart will accept the same nonsense that Tyson produced during her tenure – especially after the attacks levied on him by BOE and Staff.”

So why would Mr. Thurmond pick Ms. Tyson to head up this SACS report, especially since so many of the budgetary problems can be laid at her feet? Ms. Tyson developed the 2010-2011 and 2011-12 budgets – her name is on them – that the BOE approved. Her budgets recommended eliminating the 200 paraprofessionals specifically listed in the SACS complaint as well as abolishing the teachers’ TSA (that’s a $50,000,000 error winding its way through court), eliminating over 300 teaching positions (and that’s just for 2010-11), and requesting a state waiver to raise class sizes to historical heights, etc.

Dr. Atkinson only developed one budget, the 2012-13 budget which she only implemented for 7 months. The 2012-13 budget was doomed to start with since it since it could not make up for the prior budgets Lewis and Tyson had developed and recommended and the BOE had adopted. Indeed after she came to DeKalb, Dr. Atkionson was immediately presented with a $45,000,000 shortfall that included a $26,000,000 omission of the interest DCSS owed on a capital debt, thus Ms. Tyson’s budget recommendation for 2011-12 was really projecting a deficit while she and the BOE said it was balanced. Dr. Atkinson had to “rebalance” the budget to account for the shortfall including the $26,000,000 in interest payments that somehow did not make it into Ms. Tyson’s budget recommendation.

Mr. Thurmond needs a new paid of eyes on the SACS problems and response.

Dunwoody Mom

March 12th, 2013
9:56 am

@dekalbite, I have no idea why Mr. Thurmond picked Ms. Tyson, other than perhaps someone told him she was in charge of the last response to SACS. I agree, a new, fresh pair of eyes is needed for the SACS report.

Private Citizen

March 12th, 2013
10:16 am

hey Truth, but yes that Chick-filet guy Truett gave millions to some anti-gay group. I’ve had students who thought it perfectly appropriate to go hunt down a gay person stranger on weekends and beat them to death (in class discussion – high school) so screw Truett Cathy and his salty pickle chicken sandwich. They also said Chik-Fil-A gay employees had to hear an earful from bigoted customers. Truett got the message and separated his personal religion / politics from his company. The issue is now resolved.

Leo

March 12th, 2013
10:45 am

@Tim
Judge Story was deciding whether to issue a temporary/permanent injunction which would have immediately stopped the governor from acting. The test for whether an injunction is warranted focuses on the likelihood of immediate and irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted while the remaining underlying legal issues are evaluated. This determination is made by balancing the interests of the various stakeholders at issue among other factors. So, actually, Judge Story got it right. He ruled only that he would not issue the injunction to stop the Governor from acting while simultaneously certifying the underlying legal issue (the Constitutionality of the law itself) to the GA Supreme Court for determination.

Maureen Downey

March 12th, 2013
11:20 am

@To all, On the questions over whether there is a hiring freeze in DeKalb. The system just sent out this update:

For the fiscal year 2013, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is projected to be within budget. However, the district continues to pay down the deficit that took place in the fiscal year 2012.

In addition, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute projects that the governor’s proposed budget underfunds public education by $1 billion for the fiscal year 2014, so DCSD must also prepare for additional reductions in funding.

To help maximize savings, the district implemented a hiring freeze for all positions except those that directly impact the classroom. As long as funds are budgeted and staffing allotments are available, the district will continue to hire teachers, counselors, assistant principals, principals, positions outside the general fund and those school-based
positions that have direct instructional contact, like nurses,
psychologists and special education lead teachers.

The district also has frozen all non-essential spending, including travel,equipment and contracted services. Salaries and benefits for existing staff, payments for fuel and utilities and materials and supplies essential to instruction are not included in the freeze.

Chamblee Dad

March 12th, 2013
11:51 am

@Maureen Any timeline on when the certified question will/could be submitted to the GA SC? I haven’t seen any specific timeline & d/n think Judge Story’s order gave one. I’m just seeing possible scenario where we get new board members seated, quorum reached, actions taken & then GA SC rules ouster improper. Then we have the biggest trainwreck imaginable.

Chamblee Dad

March 12th, 2013
12:09 pm

@AMG “Thurmond needs to show parents action.” Agreed, but I come up short on exactly what I think we should reasonably see in the way of action. Housecleaning – Tyson, March, & the rest of the deadwood, etc. I want it as much as anyone, to paraphase Joker from the original Batman “the Palace needs an enema!” But I don’t think he can do it w/o a board to vote on it.

I do think we should be hearing by now something in the form of an action plan that will get going the mninute he has a board. And by that I mean strategic framework, if not details, but enough of the political platitudes. Palace staff should have a clear message from him “nobody is safe = get working on your resumes, I’m coming for you.”

But I get the clear impression Thurmond isn’t saying much of anything other than “we hear you, give us a chance” until the board is seated & they can start doing things. We are in serious limbo.

If Tyson remains in charge of anything to do w/SACS response once that gets going we have an early answer. In fact, more than that she needs to be 1st person shown the door. For now I think she’s a placeholder – he can’t say say noone is on that duty for now.

Seems he’s finally decided to meet teachers – long overdue, these missteps early on are not helping. And to me not a good sign.

Chamblee Dad

March 12th, 2013
12:26 pm

@Dunwoody Mom “Effective March 1, 2013, this position will be classified as a substitute position through the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.” Quickly clicking thru PATS that seems to be on all teacher listings, although I d/n check them all.

Q. to any that can answer, and I am NOT defending or explaining away the talk of freeze vs. hiring “subs” vs. “real” teachers (no offense subs), but I wonder how job posting are normally listed this time of year? I know we’ve a few “long-term” subs at our school to finish out the last 2 months or so, all were “real” teachers – some came back, some didn’t. Transition that way better than a different one each week, although normally not ideal. I think one we had recently turned out to be an improvement.

Is the main impact on benefits? which would be serious by itself, or more? Is perhaps true there is no freeze as he says, but only “in theory” because as a practical matter there really is one in practice. Any input from those whom would really know would be appreciated.

@dekalbite – the listing have a salary included – is it real?

Chamblee Dad

March 12th, 2013
12:36 pm

Back on PATS, perhaps the option on each posting “send this job posting to a friend” should be changed to “board members send this job posting to a friend/family member.” Or maybe that is a recent edit taking that away.

CJae of EAV

March 12th, 2013
1:11 pm

To the NAACP contingent who visited Gov Deal yesterday I have just one rhetorical question, “Where was you’re lobby fighting to protect voting rights two years ago when the state house was deliberating and voting on the very bill that now provides Gov Deal the latitude to do what he’s done in removing & replacing duly elected local board members???”

Oh I get it, it didn’t matter as much then because it was APS on the hot seat with SACS threaten to pull its accreditation and not DCSS so. Regardless as to the answer they would chose to give, for being so asleep at the wheel as to the implications of this bill when it was being voted upon, they should simply sit down and shut up already.