The Monday, March 3, 2014 DeKalb School Board meeting

Follow Stan Jester’s live Realtime blogging during Monday’s monthly board meeting. CLICK HERE to listen and chat with Stan beginning at 2:00pm.

Below is the business meeting agenda >>

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following meetings on Monday, March 3, 2014:

2:00pm Work Session
Cabinet Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083
5:45pm Public Budget Input Meeting & Community Input Session
7:00pm Business Meeting

C. CONSENT AGENDA

1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent

2. Approval of Monthly Financial Report
Presented by: Dr. Michael J. Bell, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance

3. Approval of Monthly Human Resources Report
Presented by: Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Office, Division of Human Resources

4. Approval of Catalog Discount – Art and Photography Supplies & Equipment, BID #14-133. Presented by: Ms. Stacy Stephney, Director, Electives & Special Programs

5. Approval of Computer Workstations, Laptops and Services Extension, RFP #13-10. Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information Technology

6. District-Wide Cabling and Wireless System, RFP #15-07
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information Technology

7. Network Switches, Accessories & Services, RFP #15-474
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information Technology

8. SPLOST IV Project: Subregion 3C: Hambrick Elementary School, Indian Creek Elementary School, Stone Mill Elementary School, Allgood Elementary School, and Stone Mountain Elementary School – Capital Renewal A/E Design Firm Approval. Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

9. SPLOST IV Project: Subregion 1D: Montgomery Elementary School, Cross Keys High School, and Warren Technical School – Capital Improvements – A/E Design Firm Approval. Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

10. Request for Board approval to relocate the replacement Gresham Park Elementary School Facility (Project #504-422) to the Clifton Elementary School site. Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

11. Request for Board approval of Budget Amendment Request for the replacement Fernbank Elementary School Facility (Project #503-422)Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

12. Request for Board approval of Budget Amendment Request for the Renovation and Addition at the Redan High School Facility (Project #513-422) Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

D. ACTION ITEMS

1. READY FOR ACTION ~ Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy DKA (Extended Program Funds Management) new policy
Presented by: Mr. Marshall D. Orson, Board Representative, District #4

2. Inclement Weather Plan for Make-Up Days
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent

E. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)

F. ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. Student Advisory Council Meeting, 9:00am, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

2. South DeKalb Parent Council Meeting, 10:00am, Saturday, March 8, 2014, Redan High School, 5247 Redan Road Stone

3. Teacher Advisory Council Meeting, 2:00pm, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

4. Exceptional Children’s Award Nigh Program, 7:00pm, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

5. Schools Closed ~ Teacher Workday & Staff Development Day ~ Monday, March 17, 2014

6. School Board Member Appreciation Week, Monday, March 17 – Friday, March 21, 2014

7. District-wide Administrator Academy, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

8. Auxiliary Advisory Council Meeting, 10:00am, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

9. SPLOST Oversight Committee Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Sam Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker

10. DeKalb Board of Education Work Session (2pm), Community Input Session (5:45pm) and Business Meeting (7:00pm), Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

11. Schools Closed ~ Spring Break Week (Monday, April 7 – Friday, April 11, 2014); Mandatory Staff Development Day for 12 Month Employees ~ Monday, April 7, 2014; and Work Reduction Day for 12 Month Employees ~ Tuesday, April 8 – Friday, April 11, 2014

Meeting information can be accessed online by going to: www.dekalb.k12.ga.us, click on Leadership, go to eBoard Home Page and click on the date for the meeting agenda\information.

Follow in the comments and post what you hear during the meeting as well as your thoughts.

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UPDATE:
There was a lengthy discussion about internet access and slow connections at this meeting. We received the following copy of a typed memo sent to schools by DCSS’s IT department in response >>

20140311_140519-1

In addition: We received a copy of a text message conversation regarding the cancellation of field trips >>

DCSD field trip

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122 Responses to The Monday, March 3, 2014 DeKalb School Board meeting

  1. Why is there a meeting scheduled for the South DeKalb Parent Council and no others? Is it up to the respective councils to submit their meeting notices to the district for posting?

  2. Of course! Same is true for us or the AJC or anyone. You have to submit your meeting announcements if you want them posted. We maintain a page here at the blog of announcements and meeting notices that we accumulate.

    Under the Meetings & Events TAB >> http://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/meetings-events/community-events/

  3. Sunny says:

    This is incorrect…Announcements: # 5. Schools Closed ~ Teacher Workday & Staff Development Day ~ Monday, March 17, 2014
    We do not have a workday on March 17th. Just checked the BOE agenda, it
    is not on that agenda.

  4. Interesting Sunny. These announcements were copied and pasted from the document sent out by the Board secretary.

  5. Partly Cloudy says:

    Aside from delaying the administration of the CRCT, I see nothing useful about this calendar decision. The three days tacked on at the end won’t improve student performance, and the recommendation that teachers adjust their lives to return for “valuable” professional development after Memorial Day is inconsiderate to the many teachers who had already made plans based on a calendar in place for over a year.

    I strongly support a full 180 day – or longer- school year, and a properly planned calendar that allows for a few snow days, hurricanes, locust plagues, or other events that close school for a few days. In the rare year like this one with many lost days, the damage would be minimized. This last minute reaction is not going to benefit anyone.

  6. Teachers matter says:

    Many of us worked from home on those snow days just to keep our heads above water. Not to mention the hours we put in after each school day ends. (And, whoever believes we don’t do work on furlough days is a moron.) I’ve said this to demonstrate why I do not feel that I owe the county any time because of the snow closings.

  7. howdy1942 says:

    I live in Tucker, but I saw Kim and others talking about the conditions at Cross Keys, I sincerely hope that the Dekalb County School Board will move to rectify that situation at this Board meeting. I have seen Cross Keys, but if what I heard is true, then this needs to be given priority attention – and now! I couldn’t believe that this situation had gotten so out-of-hand. Who in the DCSS was supposed to have been monitoring this? What did he/she do in response? Did anybody in the DCSS talk to the people in Cross Keys?

    I don’t know how SACS feels, but I think that it is entirely appropriate for the member of the School Board representing that district to be walking around in the schools and, at a minimum, bringing that to the attention of the superintendent and insisting that he take action. If SACS sees that as intrusion, then we need to look for another accrediting agency. Things that broken need to get fixed regardless of the feelings of SACS.

  8. Word Wall says:

    Again, an eerie silence on ALL issues of significance discussed in public forums … $ocial $ecurity equity?…classroom size limits?…teacher pay itself? … the slew of abandoned buildings? … Do the Palace guards and their “reform” board even live in this Galaxy? They might as well be on Alpha Centauri…no wonder every village in Dekalb County wants to take schools back !

  9. Tucker insider says:

    Sunny is correct. I have never seen Monday, March 17th as a day when schools are closed.

  10. It’s definitely on the agenda sent out by the board secretary. Maybe it’s a new day off to celebrate School Board Appreciation Week!? :)

    Announcements >>

    1. Schools Closed ~ Teacher Workday & Staff Development Day ~ Monday, March 17, 2014

    2. School Board Member Appreciation Week, Monday, March 17 – Friday,
      March 21, 2014

  11. concerned citizen says:

    I don’t choose to celebrate this board on any date. They’re as sorry a lot as we could have..they have done as much damage as they could possibly do, and that’s just what teachers need and want: another day of endless meetings about NOTHING based on the reality. I think I’m going to have to have a sickie.

  12. Mr. Chips says:

    “In addition to the calendar revisions, the district will provide enhanced support and resources designed to improve academic growth and achievement for teachers, students and administrators. Teachers will receive in-service professional learning including Saturday sessions, on March 15. Also, workshops for parents and families to support and strengthen home-school learning will be scheduled.”

    Here’s what the teachers were told on Friday.

  13. exhausted teacher says:

    So, now we’re working on furlough days… and yes, I worked from home on the snow days. We have an agenda being put out by county employees who apparently have been told that we have March 17th scheduled as a teacher workday/inservice day. That’s news to me! No one at my school seems to know that. The more things change in DeKalb, the more they stay the same.

  14. concernedmom30329 says:

    The March 17th date was a mistake on the agenda — a friend emailed the board secretary made a mistake. It is no longer on the agenda that I can see.

  15. Thanks ConcernedMom30329. There has not been a correction emailed out. So, you all should double check.

  16. Announcement

    Senator Fran Millar and Mike Jacobs will host a town hall meeting on state and local issues next Monday, March 10, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Chamblee First United Methodist Church, 4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, between I-285 and Peachtree Blvd.

  17. And, according to Mike Jacob’s newsletter>>

    One month ago, the school accrediting agency SACS took the DeKalb County School System off of probation, which is the status one step away from complete accreditation loss. The system had been placed on probation approximately one year earlier for mismanagement, dysfunction and other shortcomings of the school board.

    As a result of the school system being placed on probation, and pursuant to state law, Governor Deal replaced six out of the nine members of the school board with individuals who have conducted themselves in a professional, even-keeled manner. Governor Deal deserves credit for setting events in motion that are causing our school system’s accreditation status to be restored.

    DeKalb County is under a state mandate, adopted in 2011 but effective for the first time in this year’s elections, to reduce the size of the school board from nine to seven members. Fewer members is more efficient and reduces the possible agendas involved.

    The current school board is comprised of seven single-member districts and two “super districts” that each contain half the county. The current single-member school board districts are compact and logical, and to a significant extent follow school attendance zones.

    In the very short period of 17 days, I proposed, the House and Senate passed, and Governor Deal signed into law House Bill 979 (click for more information), my bill that will shrink the school board to seven members by peeling off the two super districts.

    WABE radio (click for story) explained why quick action was necessary. If HB 979 failed to pass, the school board election process that begins this Monday could not go forward.

    The DeKalb House Delegation responded by proposing a disastrous redistricting map for the school board. To view this proposed map side-by-side with the existing map, click on the graphic that is embedded in the WABE story linked above.

    The abominable redistricting proposal contains a series of seven long north-to-south districts. These districts would assure that most of the current board members won’t return.

    The proposed map flies in the face of the recommendations of Dr. Mark Elgart, CEO of SACS, who has noted that stability and continuity are essential to continued improvement in DeKalb’s accreditation status.

    The map also was put forward with no allowance whatsoever for public input. I am certain this is not the map that citizens anywhere in the county would endorse.

    Fortunately, the passage of HB 979 will trump all of this nonsense. With the accreditation of our schools on the line, now is not the time to redraw districts in a manner that virtually guarantees disruption of the progress the school board has made.

  18. John says:

    “School Board Member Appreciation Week, Monday, March 17 – Friday, March 21, 2014″

    Based on the appreciation I’m feeling for the current DCSS board, this event need not last longer than one hour.

  19. How about a minute of silence?

  20. Word Wall says:

    The Governor has the power to Appoint, but the new Board has the power to Disappoint…

  21. Murphey says:

    Item 12 of today’s BoE work session involves a $300K budget transfer from the SPLOST Program Contingency project code for renovation of the baseball fields at Redan High School. Board members had no negative comments about putting this on the consent agenda.

  22. Boy, this discussion of making up the snow days is painful! It’s going on and on and on. What is the big deal? Beasley is recommending all kinds of after school tutoring and Saturday school… Really? Well, that’s great for kids who can attend due to motivation or ability – but what about everyone else? The only person who asked that question was the student rep on the board!

  23. Now, Thurmond is telling us that ‘a transformation is taking place in this school system and the graduation rates and test scores are about to increase.’ And he continues… but I can’t say exactly what his point was. He believes in everyone – and we can make it ‘real’… ??? What???

  24. Now Jim McMahan is talking about his support of the tutoring program (‘let’s keep it rolling…’) He needs to know the start date. He starts to ask a question several different ways, but in the end, he wants to know how as a parent you know that your child needs this? Can you ‘broadstroke’ the communication plan?

    Beasley answers in another rambling weird string of words that have no point.

    “Start with the teacher, and of course, they can always go to the principal. Teachers have their own tutorials. Beyond that, schools have their own targeted tutorials. But if you start with the teachers, students will get the information they need.”

    ??? AAAaakkkkk!

    I can’t even watch anymore. These people make no sense. I have to transcribe this so that you can read it and understand how ridiculous this whole conversation is.

    All this does is remind me of the comedy skits mocking our southern snow storm >>>

    SNL interviews Buford Callaway, Atlanta “native” and “survivor” of snow storm:

    and, the Daily Show dissects “South Parked”:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-january-30-2014/south-parked

  25. OMG! Beasley just admitted that ‘in the past’ they simply threw darts and hoped for the best!! NOW (he says) they are targeted! (And we are to believe him now, why?)

  26. Shockingly, Beasley insists that money is not an issue to implement these tutorials, Saturday schools and the associated transportation… really?

  27. Marshall is pushing back and pushing back hard. He wants more detail and a more clear picture of how this will work. Thurmond is getting pissy at him. Telling him that this will benefit those “economically disadvantaged” students – and insisting this plan doesn’t have anything to do with the weather. It’s the same thing they would be doing without the inclement weather days. He says he looked at students who came close to passing the EOCTs and found that 80% of kids were not in a tutorial. So, if we didn’t have those days, 80% would still not have a tutorial. The proof will be in the pudding. And Dr. Beasley’s data analysis shows that growth is taking place.

    (So, basically, the inferred message is, if the board doesn’t approve this, they are against helping poor kids.)

    Dr. Morley wants to see the boardroom when it’s no longer a courtroom. They gave the admin a charge and they came back and here we are beating them over the head. And we if we can’t trust the super and his admin to do their jobs, then we need to get rid of them and run the school district ourselves. We’ve only been in our jobs for a year. They have put together a plan and we are putting personal agendas ahead of what’s best for all students. Motivation has to be born in the child and their parents. (Ramble, ramble, ramble) Basically she is very angry and almost yelling (at Marshall) … on and on and on and on…

    AAAAAkkkkkk!

    She calls for a vote and an end to this madness!

    Passes – with only Marshall Orson voting no.

  28. Teachers matter says:

    Beasley never makes sense. I heard that Dr. Clayton is no longer with the county. Now, there was a man who knew his stuff and had the potential to make improvements and get things done. One might wonder if that was the reason he’s gone in less than six months.

  29. September says:

    Classroom teachers can identify students who would benefit from extra tutoring and schools do plan these programs for students who need extra instruction. However, I thought this discussion was about making up missed school days for every student. Not, just the students who are in need of extra help.

    When you have an after school tutorial, or Saturday school, you have to have transportation so the students can get to school and home. They might have that because we have missed a lot of school days. The simplest answer is that we missed ## days of school, so we have money in our transportation budget for ## make-up days.

  30. concernedmome30329 says:

    I hope Karen Carter runs against Jim, He kisses up way to often, has missed too many meetings (considering they only meet once a month) and generally is a big disappointment.

  31. CLICK HERE to go to Stan Jester’s blog and read the live report – or download a pdf of it in our archives here >>

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/board-meeting-march-3-2014-stan-jesters-live-blog.pdf

    Thank you Stan!!

  32. Another note of interest — Dr. Beasely acted as if he somehow just discovered USA Test Prep as a new way to access test readiness and practice online! DeKalb subscribed to this for years, but according to an entry on Stan’s blog —

    USA test prep was allowed to expire mid-year last year, due to complete ineptitude on the County’s part, or maybe the year before, at several schools. It was a real mess and scramble to get it back in time for kids to be able to use it to study for EOCT tests.

  33. intheclass says:

    USA Test Prep is set to expire at the end of this month. So it won’t be available this year in the months leading up to the tests.

  34. FWIW – here’s Gwinnett’s plan for snow make up days>>

    GCPS’ Plan for Snow Make-up days

    To date, GCPS students have missed 7 days due to inclement weather. Three make-up days (Feb. 17, March 14, and May 22) were built in the 2013-14 school calendar. The additional lost instructional time will be made up by extending the school day by 30 minutes for 48 days. This means that all schools will dismiss a half-hour later than their regular time, from March 3 through May 14.

    This plan allows the district to maintain 180 days of instruction, making up the time in a manner that has the most positive impact on instruction. Click here to learn more.

  35. Teachers matter says:

    So now teachers need high quality professional learning on May 28 because of snow day makeup. How does that help the kids? Lord, save us from incompetent people in charge!

  36. d says:

    The only problem with Gwinnett’s plan is at the high school and middle school level – only one of their high schools isn’t on block, so divide 30 by 7 periods and you are looking at 4 minutes per class period. Ask any teacher, that’s not going to make much difference in student performance.

  37. Nikole says:

    @ Teacher matter: Actually, we’d already added on another day for teachers prior to post-planning. Dr. Beasley used RT3 money to give us professional development and return one of our furlough days to us. The snow day now makes it fall after Memorial Day rather than the Thursday prior to Memorial Day.
    On another note: Dekalb is the only district to have 50+ instructional jobs listed all school year. We can’t keep teachers. Meanwhile, Atlanta has changed hiring practices. They note on their site that they have an influx of applications and you must now take a personality survey. They also have many former Dekalb teachers and principals. Quality seems to be going up in APS. Dekalb should take note of this.

  38. howdy1942 says:

    If Jim McMahan thinks that the DCSS is doing such a great job at restoring trust with the community, then why are so many in the community he represents so strongly seeking to become a city and form its own school system to get away from the DCSS?

  39. FWIW, as of yesterday, this website is blocked on school computers at THS. I assume that is the case with other schools as well.
    I am a little upset because of this, and plus, who told MIS they need to add this page to the “blocked” list? Why? Shouldn’t MIS be working on something much more important? I will check today when I get in to see if it’s still being blocked by the DCSD filter.

  40. teachermom says:

    Can’t wait to see the “high quality professional learning,” I will be pretty much brain dead by then and my classroom will look like a cyclone hit it but, hey, bring it on.

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