Candidate Announcement: Jim Kinney, District 4

As we receive these candidate announcements, we will reprint them on the blog.  This first one comes from Jim Kinney, who is running against Paul Womack in District 4.

It is with no small degree of impending community and personal responsibility that these words are written. As I have been involved with the lives of many people over the more than 2 decades living in DeKalb County, involved with the upbringing of my own children, involved with education both of myself, my wife and my children and the children of others, I know solidly that there is little else we do as adults that has more importance than to prepare the next generation for the world they will inherit from us. To this end I have worked with the graduates of DeKalb County School System at Georgia State University, Emory University and Georgia Perimeter College as an instructor of physics and astronomy. I have seen first hand many of the strengths and weaknesses of our county school system both in the students I have taught, my own children, their friends and the children of friends as well as in my interactions with school officials and teachers over the past 20 years. I have weathered the divisiveness of power during a fight for school control that resulted in forced faculty changes and parents pulling their children from the school to avoid recriminations from the teachers that won. I have been compelled to act on behalf of faculty, students and staff when central office processes had totally failed and health and safety issues were putting all school members at risk.

As I discussed my views and convictions surrounding the DeKalb County School System with my family and friends, I discovered a community of supporters encouraging my greater involvement. As my resolve steeled with the rising awareness of the work ahead, the circle of supporters widened. Speaking briefly of intentions with parents, community people and teachers within the school system has provided the final conviction that the level of effort is recognized by more than just a few and I am not alone in willingness to work towards the betterment of DeKalb County School System for the benefit of all.

To this end, I announce my candidacy for the DeKalb County Board of Education District 4 for the General Election on November 6, 2012


James P. Kinney III

As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.   – 2011 Noam Chomsky

 

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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86 Responses to Candidate Announcement: Jim Kinney, District 4

  1. dekalbite2 says:

    Look what Maureen Downey of the AJC says about Fernbank Science Center. Is she a Fernbank “hater” as well?
    “The bickering school board continues to blink when pressured by well-organized special interests, as evidenced by the immediate retreat last week from the proposal to close Fernbank Science Center.

    (There may be compelling reasons to maintain the center, but, after a year-long review, a community task force in 2006 concluded that it couldn’t establish “what Fernbank Science Center actually does, and who its target populations are.” There is no real student performance data substantiating that DeKalb gets improved science learning for its annual $4.7 million investment in Fernbank.)”

    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/06/02/of-all-dekalbs-problems-the-lack-of-trust-may-be-hardest-to-overcome/

  2. @Dekalbite2

    Could you be more specific in your use of “most”? How many is “most”? And where do you get your figures?

    How many seniors in DeKalb County? How many of those can you document take the Senior School Tax exemption?

    There are 9 members on the school board, so 2 of them do not equal “most” yet that is what you claim. As far as I can tell by checking with the Tax Commissioner, only Paul Womack (who constantly brags about his income) takes the Senior School Tax exemption. Apparently illegally.

    Do you even have a clue about the requirements to exempt paying school tax? No. You don’t.

    I am really tired of people like you who have very little information speaking out like you know what you are talking about. You don’t. The rule for this blog is to document what you claim as fact. Hearsay is not documentation. Please have your documentation before you post a comment again.

  3. wiserthanmyself says:

    I do understand your points, at least many of them, and agree that that big FSC chunk of the budget ought to have something to show for itself. I’m a DeKalb taxpayer, too, and often wonder where my education portion goes when I see English teachers who can’t explain basic linguistic devices and math teachers who insist that errors in the textbook are correct because “they’re in the book.” However, given the history of DCSS, I’m wary of any version of “take money away from X and give it to Y.” Usually it ends up gone forever, as with the Board TSA. The NAP (National Academies Press) and other organizations that study how to improve science learning using proven (evidence-based) methods state that a commitment to science education by the whole school district is essential for success, partly because science presents unique problems in teaching. For one thing, it costs a lot because of supplies, equipment, and needed space. It’s that commitment that is lacking in DCSS, and has been for a long time. I’d rather see an approach to reform that strives to use what’s already there–in this case, FSC resources including teachers and yes, even the cabinet-maker and designers (because kids approach STEM in so many ways)–to make learning better. It would do absolutely no good for students to add 15 more science teachers to an already-dysfunctional system, but it might do a lot of good to have those same teachers lead the move toward the Common Core standards (which don’t come in for science for a few years yet). Why not try to keep the experts we have, and work together to help redesign the science center’s role in teaching science across the curriculum?

  4. wiserthanmyself says:

    Asking the administrators, if that’s who you mean by “the ones pulling in the big bucks” about how to educate kids is, indeed,what should happen. However, the present superintendent has not issued a single statement about curriculum or about how she proposes to improve learning in the County. It’s all been about money. Yet there is a lot of evidence out there about what works. As a teacher, my question is: why aren’t we being encouraged and empowered to use instructional methods that work? And why are class sizes being allowed to reach a level where only the very best students, with maximum home support, will be able to succeed. It’s not an ultimatum, to ask the community to come up with a better plan…it’s a plea.

  5. Dekalbite2 says:

    “FSC resources including teachers and yes, even the cabinet-maker and designers (because kids approach STEM in so many ways)–to make learning better. It would do absolutely no good for students to add 15 more science teachers to an already-dysfunctional system, ”

    Is there any taxpayers in DCSS besides the Fernbank Defenders who are satisfied that we are spending almost $500,000 a year on compensation for five Exhibit Designers and one Cabinetmaker while our Physics teachers with PhDs and 30 years of experience do not make as much as the top rate of these Designers?

    Fernbank Science Center has 28 teachers – not 15. Place them in the Middle and high schools where students are struggling the most and let them help bring mastery of science content to these students. Do you not think 3 or 4 extra science teachers the caliber of the FSC teachers would make a difference? I’ll bet the principal would love to have these teachers and so would the parents.

    Serious changes must come to the way science education is delivered in DeKalb or we will not see improvement in student achievement in science.

    ” ….it might do a lot of good to have those same teachers lead the move toward the Common Core standards …..Why not try to keep the experts we have, and work together to help redesign the science center’s role in teaching science across the curriculum?”
    This sounds an awful lot like the non teaching Coaches to me. We need boots on the ground in the classrooms teaching children DAILY science instruction. We do not need more highly paid non teaching personnel telling teachers in overcrowded classrooms how to teach.

  6. Dekalbite2 says:

    Oops! Sorry for the typo. Should read:
    ARE there any taxpayers in DCSS besides the Fernbank Defenders who are satisfied that we are spending almost $500,000 a year on compensation for five Exhibit Designers and one Cabinetmaker while our Physics teachers with PhDs and 30 years of experience do not make as much as the top rate of these Designers?

  7. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    That is exactly one of the reasons we were against SPLOST IV. There was not a formal, educationally sound plan for construction. There was just a hodge-podge of pet projects. The consultant from MGT America we paid so much money to to recommend a building plan stated emphatically during his presentation that the construction should be driven by the education plan and goals. We have not seen that plan nor those goals. Thus, we could not support a random construction program costing a half-billion dollars.

  8. Curious says:

    Nice way “to unite DeKalb” by bashing the Fernbank Elementary School community.

  9. bu2 says:

    I see a lot of pitting neighbor against neighbor here. Wiser is saying to be for something, not merely against. Simply eliminating FSC right now does nothing but reduce an existing deficit. It does nothing for science education and damages it in the short run. This “get FSC” is simply eliminating $4.7 million that contributes to some extent to science education. This really seems to be a board attempt to pit people against each other and ignore other issues. Like why does Atkinson’s list of proposed reductions contain no proposals to further reduce the central office? They seem to be trying to generate support for a tax increase while maintaining a lot of the central office status quo.

  10. bu2 says:

    No “pitting neighbor against neighbor” here!

  11. justwatch says:

    I understand that further cuts can be made at the central office. That is a given. (And I believe that deep cuts have been made in Title 1 funded positions, which does nothing to fund FSC but works to put Title 1 funds back in the local schools.)
    At this moment, it is a choice between cuts A and cuts B, for example, from a list provided by the superintendent. I find it difficult to swallow that my child’s class size will increase again, my child’s teacher will lose more pay, etc, to keep FSC open. Why is that so hard to understand?

  12. bu2 says:

    It is probably against state law. It is certainly against the intent of the SPLOST.

    This hodgepodge seems to be the pattern here. The Transportation TSPLOST is the same type of hodgepodge.

    It would seem like they would make a plan to deal with the magnet schools and underutilization of HS and MS buildings before coming up with a construction plan.

  13. bu2 says:

    Because that is not one of the choices they are offering.

  14. bu2 says:

    And a lot of the anti-FSC rants have been going on for some time as an objection to that method of delivering science education. That’s a good debate. But those people can’t seem to get it out of their head that it is not an option this year of FSC or some other method of science education. Its simply cut FSC.

  15. dekalbite2 says:

    @ Curious
    No one is bashing the Ferbank Elementary School community. But the Fernbank Elementary School community has come out publicly for no cuts to Fernbank while asking for tax increases. They interjected themselves into the discussion when they as an entity wrote an open letter to the BOE asking them to protect Fernbank Science Center from any budget cuts. When the Fernbank Elementary School Council comes out as official body lobbying for the science center, the community is exerting its considerable influence in keeping the science center exactly the way it is while urging taxes be raised.
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/letter-from-fernbank-elementary-school.html

  16. justwatch says:

    It actually is a choice that they have. They have a multiple of ways to get to 73 million. Lots of different combinations.

  17. The Other Anon says:

    The date on this letter is March 2010. This is not in response to the current situation and was written a year before redistricting even took place. Do you have anything relevant from the Fernbank School community?

  18. dekalbite2 says:

    @bu2

    When class sizes are increased then teaching positions are eliminated. Many of those teaching positions are science teachers, and of course the science classes will increase in size as these teachers are eliminated. Cutting Fernbank along with a small cut to another non teaching area would allow us to retain those 100 teaching positions we are eliminating. $7,000,000 is saved if you increase class sizes by 1 because you can eliminate 100 teachers. Almost $5,000,000 continuing to be spent for Fernbank means those 100 teaching positions will be lost to our children.

    It’s shameful that we can spend $500,000 for five Exhibit Designers and one Cabinetmaker at Fernbank, but we have NO problem cutting teachers (many of them science teachers) from the classrooms.

  19. I wasn’t trying to “bash” anyone. I love the Fernbank Museum. I have many friends who live in that area. My daughter says she enjoyed her visit to the Science Center. No one wants to see it closed. No one wants any of this, esp. considering the high taxes (property, sales and income taxes) we pay already. We should have a first rate school system for our children.

    What frustrates me is that the Fernbank community supporters can become so vocal when something like the threat of closing the Science Center directly impacts them. But, subpar education is something that is affecting all of us, and our children and the future of our neighborhoods and businesses every single day.

    The level of outrage and protest is understandable – it’s how we felt when we learned a cell tower might go up at our school – but we have to start pushing back on issues like these, not toward each other, but to those who should be held accountable. I am frustrated with everyone who voted yes for SPLOST, and I know that major campaign was headed by Marshall Orson b/c Fernbank was on the list. But, an independently wealthy community that is well educated themselves should understand the importance of not feeding a corrupt system, shouldn’t they? They should be teaching their children about how it sometimes takes sacrifice to do what is right for others, not just to get all they can for themselves, right?

    Shouldn’t the folks at Fernbank Sceince Center be looking at ways to compromise? Perhaps offering up some things that can be done to lower their annual operating budget in light of the supposed dire straights we are in?

    We’re getting taken advantage of so badly here. It isn’t just about a building that might be lost – think about your own upbringing and the importance of your education in getting you where you are today. That’s what is at stake for these kids. Think about what is right. Corruption is all about taking advantage of people and that’s a bad lesson for children to watch before their own eyes and see that there is nothing the adults in their lives are doing to stop it.

    Why can’t the wise also be willing to help our entire school system survive this challenging time with some solutions that will help over the long-term? You have to admit the cost-benefit ratio for the center does sound a bit extreme considering the crisis at hand. If we had some Fernbank “ambassadors” who would be willing to tour some of the other schools in our county, they might realize how unfair some of their demands sound to others. They might see things from another perspective.

    That’s one of the things that is supposed to make us a superior species, isn’t it? The ability to empathize, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes so that we can consider how it might feel from their perspective before we take an action of our own.

    I don’t think anyone who comes here should be “bashed” because at least we all are talking about these issues. That at least shows that we care. I’m frustrated by the volume of people out there who do not even know what is going on in our schools, or don’t care and don’t vote. We need to be finding ways to rally our communities to actually show up on July 31 and then vote their conscience.

  20. dekalbite2 says:

    @ The Other Anon

    The date on this letter is indeed March, 2010. If DCSS had eliminated Fernbank Science Center at that time, we would be $10,000,000 LESS in debt TODAY and we would not be increasing the class sizes by one student by eliminating 100 teaching positions. That seems relevant.

    The fact that the Fernbank Elementary School Council and Marshall Orson were terribly off the mark when discussing the budget – keep FSC just the way it operates, keep magnets just the way they operate, raise taxes, etc. shows that their/his budget ideas were not sound for DeKalb County Schools taxpayers and students.

    Mr. Orson and the Fernbank Elementary School Council laid out a budget plan for DeKalb Schools in this letter that assumed that closing some neighborhood schools and raising taxes would balance the budget, and the improving economy would take care of the rest of it. Mr. Orson is now running for BOE. I think it is interesting to see how his plans for balancing the budget – essentially the current BOE’s plans – have played out. It is rare that we can glimpse a budget plan like this and see it come to fruition two years down the road. Maybe no one else finds this interesting. If so don’t read the comments.
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/letter-from-fernbank-elementary-school.html

  21. The Other Anon says:

    Gosh, if only there were some group of concerned citizens from a broad number of schools who questioned how things are being done in Dekalb. Some group that represented the larger community and who advocated systemic changes that would benefit all the children of Dekalb. A group who could invite speakers from other systems to speak about what successful systems do differently. http://www.emory-lavista.org/

  22. dekalbite2 says:

    @dekalbschoolwatch

    “Could you be more specific in your use of “most”? How many is “most”? And where do you get your figures?
    How many seniors in DeKalb County? How many of those can you document take the Senior School Tax exemption?”

    9% of the population of DeKalb County is 65+.

    The median per capita income is $51,349.

    From the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner:
    “70 years of age or older
    If you are 70 years of age or older on January 1 st and the Federal Adjusted Gross Income (based on previous year’s tax return), plus municipal bonds, of both you and your spouse, does not exceed $80,124, you may be entitled to the Special School Tax Exemption. (H9)
    65 years of age or older
    If you are 65 years of age or older on January 1 st and the Total Georgia Net Income of both you and your spouse does not exceed $10,000 (based on previous year’s tax return) excluding Social Security benefits and most retirement income up to the maximum allowable under the Federal Social Security Act ($60,312 for 2012), then you may be entitled to a Senior School Exemption. (H4)”
    It would appear that most seniors in DeKalb do not make $70,000 to $84,000 in retirement income and excluding social security. How many would opt to NOT take their Senior Exemption since this lowers their tax bill by 60%?

    Since you do not allow over 2 links in a comment to support the data, please look at the subsequent post to see the supporting links.

    “The rule for this blog is to document what you claim as fact. Hearsay is not documentation. Please have your documentation before you post a comment again………As far as I can tell by checking with the Tax Commissioner, only Paul Womack (who constantly brags about his income) takes the Senior School Tax exemption. Apparently illegally………”

    Can you to provide some supporting data to show that Paul Womack is taking the Senior School Tax illegally. I am not a Womack supporter – but IMHO – your statement that Mr. Womack is taking the Senior School Tax illegally is “Hearsay?” Where is your supporting documentation to claim that he is acting illegally?

  23. dekalbite2 says:

    See their organizational chart – page 12 of this pdf file
    Note Gwinnett only has 2 Assistant Superintendents while DeKalb has 5 Associate Superintendents and a Deputy Superintendent. Gwinnett has 160,000 students while DeKalb has 95,000 students.

    This is what is meant when taxpayers say DeKalb is top heavy.

  24. Do we have anything like this for us to view in DeKalb so we know what they are considering? Looking at Gwinett, it doesn’t sound like we are so unusual with the budget cuts and they are mainly state funding issues or NCLB. Is that what you noticed as well? It also said that they were still within state guidelines for classroom size. Do we know what those guidelines are?

  25. It might not be what SPLOST was intended for, but I bet it is what the voters would prefer. They should put THAT on the upcoming ballot… how we wish to use the SPLOST funds to pay our teachers and keep our schools maintained instead of tearing down and rebuilding… we want education… and teachers that know they are appreciated because of the paycheck they bring home and the retirement money that is waiting for them like they were promised.

    I must say I am sorry that I got pulled into the abyss of whether the Science Center should stay or go… I read a lot about it and it sounds really great. I am going to go there and visit it in person this weekend. It is there for a purpose and we need to all utilize it more often. They could likely charge more to the general public for entry that would be on par with other similar museums in the area, but the savings that closing it would have on a single year’s budget is not worth closing something that means so much to so many people.

    If we could only get those people to understand that they way they feel about their planatarium is how we feel about our neighborhood schools. We don’t want to see them abandoned. We don’t want them to be seen as failures. We don’t want them to be places where kids get stabbed, or teachers cheat or bullies drive their victims to suicide.

    We all pay taxes for public education. And it isn’t intended that our money be wasted on lawyers or double-dipping administrators or consultants to tell us whether or not we should sue the people we know are ripping us off or whether or not the folks who are making six figures should continue to be paid when they were fired six months ago.

    We don’t have the answers because we don’t have all the facts. If SACS continues to provide accrediation for this institution, and the state doesn’t step in, we may as well just turn over our paychecks and start packing up. They are going to rob us all blind and pretty soon we will be homeless, uneducated and left without our retirement funds. The prisons will be full. And the Walkers and the Womacks of DeKalb County will be long gone. Riding off into the sunset together.

  26. Miss Management says:

    SACS accreditation has no correlation to the quality of education. SACS only seems to care that school boards agree with each other on all issues and blindly support the superintendent.

  27. dekalbite2 says:

    @ Miss Management

    This is what SACS SAYS it does. It does not seem to be fulfilling its mission:

    “Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance developed more than 100 years ago by American universities and secondary schools, and designed primarily to distinguish schools adhering to a set of educational standards. The accreditation process is also known in terms of its ability to effectively drive student performance and continuous improvement in education. But such definitions, though accurate, are incomplete.

    While accreditation is a set of rigorous protocols and research-based processes for evaluating an institution’s organizational effectiveness, it is far more than that. Today accreditation examines the whole institution—the programs, the cultural context, the community of stakeholders—to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of students…….

    Accreditation is inextricably linked to institution and educational system improvement. The accreditation process asks institutions and systems to critically evaluate their vision, strategies, priorities, leadership, and programs and resources. The process of earning and maintaining accreditation provides institutions and educational systems with clear and compelling direction for implementing changes to move toward excellence.”

    http://www.advanc-ed.org/what-accreditation

  28. educator90 says:

    Why don’t people understand it’s difficult do any kind of science experiment from Elementary to High School when your class is over crowded and you have 50 cents worth of materials spent for every student that you have? That is what the regular ed teacher is facing, and why our science scores across the district are so dismal. I don’t blame the classroom teacher for not performing science experiments, and lowering class sizes would help ALL teachers to do a better job educating our children.

    Fernbank Science is not a need, it’s a want. We NEED small classes sizes, so that teachers can do their jobs to the best of their ability. Some WANT a run down science center, so that there isn’t an empty building in their neighborhood. More kids would be served better science education with smaller class sizes, which makes for a better allocation of financial resources.

  29. justwatch says:

    Upon reading SACs’ mission, it is clear that DCSS should, at a minimum, be on probation, instead of one step above that. In fact, how we still have accreditation at all, makes SACs look like a joke.

  30. justwatch says:

    We live in such a dysfunctional county, it is pathetic. How in the world does Ellis think this is ok?
    http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-soapbox-derby-project-1454402.html

    (For those of you who suggested (and I was one of them) that Parks Bond money be used to buy some DCSS vacant schools, well, I guess not.

  31. Miss Management says:

    Accreditation is inextricably linked to institution and educational system improvement. The accreditation process asks institutions and systems to critically evaluate their vision, strategies, priorities, leadership, and programs and resources.

    ha ha ha LOL

  32. Jim Kinney says:

    I am not deserving on the title “Dr.” as I have not completed a PhD in my chosen field, physics, or my alternate interest field of policy studies. I’ve taken time off from furthering my education to raise my children and support my wife in her graduate school work in geology.
    Sincerely,
    Jim Kinney

  33. Jim Kinney says:

    Unlike Mr. Womack, who was and still is opposed to raising the millage rate to restore the loss of revenue that is the bulk of the school system resources, I see the option of raising the rate vs. decreasing educational oportunities for our children as a Faustian choice at best. With the decline in property value, and the school funding based on that value, the out of pocket expense for each property owner that is directed towards education has taken a proportional decrease. The budget is in the mess it’s in because of prior board approved expenses, some were not in the budget at all, that were based on the phoney-baloney math that property values on the whole would always increase. My latest tax appraisal shows my house at just under 50% of its value in 2007. That means a corresponding 50% decrease in school funding from my property taxes.
    You will get no disagreement that on the whole, the school system should be doing more with the resources it gets and addministrative paycheck bloat eats classroom funding. Add to this a whoping $90M debt payment schedule, that appears to have kicked the contracted teacher retirement fund payments in the teeth, and it’s a disaster. By law, schools are allowed to raise revenues up to the maximum millage rate of 26 mills. Even if DCSS got that rate, it would not bring the budget problem to an end without slashing something important.
    And yes, I think dropping Fernbank Science Center is a “baby with the bath water” response.
    I am writing more of my thinking about the school system on my election site http://electjimkinney.org . I would appreciate feedback from District 4, both support and criticism, about the ideas I post.

  34. Mildred says:

    Why don’t you run on some plank that would actually affect the debt, you know, like DOWNSIZING the Central Office. Increasing the property tax so as to get more money for the loons in charge of the school system is hardly the answer. DOWNSIZE THE COUNTY OFFICE. Make all the cuts necessary to accrue the needed savings by sloughing off the skin that’s suffocating the body of DeKalb SCHOOLS. Children first, not educrats.

    It would seem that electing you would just amount to reshuffling the chairs on the deck of a sinking ship.

  35. justwatch says:

    Mr. Kinney

    While many in DeKalb are in your situation in terms of house values, for those of us whose homes have lost just some of their values, a a millage rate increase really stinks. Fernbank does not benefit my children. It doesn’t. The field trips are few and far between as are the in school visits (which having sat through two in the last two years, are really unimpressive and quite dull, and I have a keen interest in science).

    If we raise the millage rate two mils, we are done. That is the highest we can go. Which means, if things get worse in DeKalb, and I believe they will, we will have no source of new revenue and have continued to spend monies on luxuries we cannot afford.

    Please take some time to research schools in Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett. They don’t have a FSC and have far better outcomes in science than DeKalb.

  36. dekalbite2 says:

    @ Jim Kinney

    I’m in District 4.

    I have gone through the appeals process and IMO – the property tax assessments the county does are rushed and often inaccurate. So no – I’m not in favor of raising taxes when assessments are not accurate and timely. Nor should taxes be raised when DeKalb has 8,500 admin and support personnel to 6,100 fulltime and 400 part time teachers AND teachers are among the lowest paid employees.

    Fernbank Science Center is one of the most non teaching top heavy cost centers in DeKalb with 28 admin and support personnel to 28 teachers. DeKalb has the lowest science achievement in the metro area with the exception of Clayton County Schools. 49% of our eighth grade students do not know even the most basic science concepts.
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/06/in-comparing-standardized-test-scores.html

    In more practical terms the $5,000,000 that you advocate spending for Fernbank Science Center would buy us almost 100 highly qualified science teachers with a Masters degree and at least 5 years of classroom teaching experience. Look for yourself:
    http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/human-resources/teacher-salary-schedule

    Science is not a once or twice a year experience. Science and math are difficult for most students and mastery of the content occurs with DAILY instruction in the regular science education classrooms.

    Are you comfortable that DeKalb spends almost $500,000 for five non teaching Exhibit Designers and a Cabinetmaker while the entire science equipment and supply budget in the regular science classrooms last year was $55,000 (for 95,000 students this comes to 55 cents a students per year), and we have now increased class sizes in science to 38? Please note that each designer makes more than a PhD in physics that teaches in the classroom and has many years of experience (see DeKalb teacher salary schedule link above).

    Designer $77,381
    Designer $63,360
    Designer $84,073
    Designer $65,827
    Designer $69,178
    Total: $359,819
    With benefits – $431,782 for five Fernbank Designers
    Cabinetmaker $56,600 salary and benefits

    Look these figures up for yourself to verify:
    http://fsc.fernbank.edu/faculty/instructionalmedia.htm

    http://www.open.georgia.gov/
    (Salaries and Travel Reimbursements)

  37. Miss Management says:

    Vote for the guy if you’d like, but he will raise your taxes. And if you’re a business owner, look out! He thinks you should pitch in $100-$500 per employee to the schools! Here’s a quote from the Patch:

    Jim Kinney

    9:33 am on Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Start by culling all the positions between principal and superintendent. Then raise the millage to the maximum allowed. There’s no future that includes any public school getting “fully funded”. Next, and this is the hard one, start the pay cuts at the top. It’s not feasible to do across the board x% because the bottom end is already low enough. Instead, a top-weighted cut structure that reduces the top salaries down to what a 20 year veteran teacher makes.

    Cuts are not the better alternative when it deals with schools.The South has a long history of not funding schools well already. It should be obvious from the poll as most responses (58%) only want to cut education funds that there is a serious problem with our community as it views the merits of education. I have heard people who own businesses in DeKalb complaining about having to pay property taxes and in the same breath complaining about how under prepared their workers are out of high school.

    It’s time to start knocking on every business in DeKalb with hat in hand and say “cough it up for the schools”. Asking they pitch in $100 per hourly worker and $500 per salaried worker is a good starting point. If they can’t write a check right then, maybe a public radio/TV pledge process where they donate it over the next few months will make it easier. Make sure the churches are on the donation list as well. They don’t pay in at all as tax code stands now.

  38. Jim Kinney says:

    I’m excited to see that the vocal people on education are reading all they can get their hands on! Yes I write on Tucker Patch as well as my own election site at http://electjimkinney.org where no one wants to have a serious discussion about these topics.
    Miss Management, it it good etiquette to include a link back to the source of a quote. And when it is a full cut and past and not just a a quote, a full citation is is required. I learned that in public school.
    Yep! The school system is in a crisis of it’s own making. Everyone is pointing fingers to cut this or that program. The overall structural issues of school system funding are, and will continue to be, a dismal array of self-interest and petty squabbling as long as the “CUT EVERYTHING” mentality pervades.
    I am no fan of combative team sports. I think it encourages the worst aspects of modern society. I think it provides a dismal sense of false hope to the thousands of school kids who fanticize about making it big in the professional ball game world. Harsh facts are that a very, very few make a living playing ball.
    Yet I understand that team sports can be a positive experience for many students. Thus I support it being an ongoing entity in our schools.
    I think having students who are curious about food and cooking acting as part-time assistants in the school lunchroom is a good idea. Why? Because they might learn something! Scaling a recipe calls for math skills with fractions and a concept of time and heat transfer and… (I like to cook at home and my oldest grew up on the cooking shows on PBS before there was a cooking channel on cable)
    I like seeing students poking around under the hood of a car working to bring it back to life, or tending a school garden, or practicing a new language with a recently new student from that country, or rehearsing for a school play, or learning how to scale a pattern for a dress, or teasing apart connective tissue in a biology lab dissection class, or practicing a new maneuver in marching band, or assembling a new computer out of spare parts, or….
    I like all these things because it’s kids LEARNING! That’s the job of our schools. Not just make sure they can recite the Bill of Rights or integrate sin^2 y dy (If you don’t know what that last part was, it calculus – the math of science and engineering). Our _REAL_ job is to inspire a love of learning in our kids because that makes them limitless!
    So I proudly support RAISING YOUR STINKING TAXES TO THE LEGAL MAXIMUM so your kids have a fighting chance after they graduate. Don’t like paying for schools? It’s cheaper than paying for prisons. $9k per year for a student is dirt cheap compared to $24k per year to keep an uneducated criminal in jail. I challenge anyone who reads this to make the case that education is without cost and is not worth investing in. My parents fought, kicked and screamed to get the schools to do their job for me and my sister. It worked for me. The blinders were kicked off and thrown away. I see a bigger picture thanks to their efforts. I have only one child left in DeKalb schools but I see all of his classmates as part of my responsibility as a resident of Tucker.
    So why knock on business doors in DeKalb and ask for $100 per hourly worker and $500 per salaried worker? Because business has a vested interest in having a well prepared workforce. It’s not a mandatory tax (Should it be? A special annual fee in the business license that is earmarked just for education? Earmark this for career training and/or remedial assistance? Hmm.) but an emergency donation request to avoid a financial disaster. I donate to every natural disaster relief that comes around and I’ve kicked in extra money to the school. Maybe the local “job creators” can recognize the importance of investment in their own future? Maybe some specific companies can donate to sponsor specific programs in need. I know I donated cash and in-kind services when my consulting business existed.

    So, Miss Management. What do you want to do? Cut some real student benefit programs now and buy some jail space later at 4 times the cost or cut back on the lattes and vacations and maybe that cable TV bill and make a real difference in your world? I made my choice and put my neck on the line to work like mad to plant the seeds that will grow into a top-notch school system over the next 10-20 years. Do you want to help?

    My name is Jim Kinney. I proudly sign my real name to this bit of written opinion. I’m running for District 4 school board to see Mr. H. Paul Womack sent packing once and for all. I don’t do politics. I’m not in anyone’s pocket. I’m a physicist turned computer specialist with some professional exposure to K12 education who evaluates resources and solves problems because I don’t see a box. I only see solutions. If it’s not going to benefit education, I don’t want to see it happen. If it’s just going to line someone’s pocket or pad their resume or stuff their portfolio, they had better not be a school system vendor or school official.

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