Important Board Meetings scheduled for Monday


The DeKalb Board of Education Committee on Budget, Audit, Finance & Facilities will hold a meeting on Monday, June 11, 2012 at 10:00am in the Cabinet Room in the Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center at the DeKalb County School System’s Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain. The purpose of the meeting is to review Board policies and system-wide operations as it relates to the budget.

[There is an opportunity for citizens to comment at this 10:00 am committee meeting which will be followed later in the day by the board’s business meeting at 6:00 pm (no comments at this meeting, just voting on action items discussed and commented on at last week’s work session).]

AGENDA for 10:00 am Committee Meeting on Budget, Audit, Finance & Facilities

A. Call to Order
By: Mr. H. Paul Womack, Jr., Committee Chair

B. Discussion Item
1. Budget FY2013
Presented by: Mr. Michael J. Perrone, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance

C. Citizen Comments

D. Adjourn


Monday, June 11, 2012
J. David Williamson Board Room
Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center

AGENDA for June 11, 2012 board business meeting @ 6:00pm

1. Approval of DeKalb County School District Budget for 2012-2013 (FY2013)
Presented by: Mr. Michael J. Perrone, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance

2. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: READY FOR ACTION – Board Member
Compensation and Expenses, Descriptor Code BBBE
Presented by: Dr. Cheryl L.H. Atkinson, Superintendent

3. City Schools of Decatur 2012-2013 Transportation Agreement
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

4. Martin Luther King, Jr. High School Additions & Renovations Construction
Management/General Contractor at Risk Contract Award
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

5. Approval of Settlements
Presented by: Mr. Laurance Warco, Attorney, Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP

It is requested that the Board of Education approve the June 11, 2012 consent agenda

Motion by: ___________________ Seconded by: __________________ Vote: _____

1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Dr. Cheryl L.H. Atkinson, Superintendent

2. Financial Monthly Report
Presented by: Mr. Michael J. Perrone, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance

3. Approval of Non-Resident Tuition
Presented by: Mr. Michael J. Perrone, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance

4. Human Resources Monthly Board Report for June 2012
Presented by: Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer,
Division of Human Resources

5. Personnel Recommended for Employment Contracts for 2012-2013
Presented by: Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer,
Division of Human Resources

6. 2013 Perkins IV Career Technical and Agriculture Education (CTAE) Instructional
Improvement Plan
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

7. 2012 Textbook Adoption Recommendations and 2012-2013 Textbook Purchase
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

8. Purchase of Professional Services from Pearson, Inc. to Support Curriculum
Mapping into IDMS
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

9. Purchase of Professional Learning Services from Curriculum Designers, Inc. to Support
On-Going Curriculum Development and Revisions Supporting the Common Core
Georgia Performance Standards
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

10. Agreement Between the Metro East Georgia Learning Resources System (MEGLRS) and
the Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency (MRESA)
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

11. Payment of Yearly AdvancED SACS CASI dues
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

12. Ultimate Fighting Championship Donation to the McNair High School
Presented by: Ms. Kendra D. March, Deputy Superintendent, Division of School
Leadership & Operational Support

13. Cellular Carrier Annual Contract Renewal
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of
Management Information Systems

14. Recommendation for Approval of Hearing Tribunal Members
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Chief Legal Affairs Officer, Division of
Legal Affairs

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53 Responses to Important Board Meetings scheduled for Monday

  1. Give the woman a chance! says:

    I hope that they are taking notice of all the people leaving DeKalb because of pay. I know that the best teachers in my school are looking toward Fulton and APS. Several of them have already left. All the teachers we are going to be left with are the ones who couldn’t get a job there.
    And, of course, people like me to whom inertia is not just a principle of physics but a life philosophy.

  2. Weary worker says:

    Many of those in charge can’t tell a good teacher from a bad one. So they can’t even see the problem.

  3. educator90 says:

    Weary Worker, you hit the nail on the head. A principal, vice principal and any administrator making curriculum decisions should be the districts’ very best educators. They should be the people who have proven themselves to be the best of the best, know how to reach children, and have excellent results year after year. The advanced degrees really aren’t necessary, especially when many administrators have degrees from “universities” whose cost is much more than the degree they give out are worth.

  4. dekalbite2 says:

    @ Weary Worker”

    “Many of those in charge can’t tell a good teacher from a bad one. So they can’t even see the problem.”

    That is because many of the administrators have spent very little time in the classroom, even at the highest level in DCSS. For example, the former head of Teaching and Learning, Morcease Beasley, has 3 1/2 years of classroom experience from the 1990s. Ms. Tyson, the former interim superintendent spent 2 years as Business teacher at Lakeside in the 1980s. Look at many of the principals and assistant principals and coordinators and specialists to see they have very little classroom experience (some have NO classroom experience).

    Too many people want to be Chiefs – not enough people want to be Indians.

  5. dekalbite2 says:

    As a further note, Mr. Beasley is now head of Race to the Top in DeKalb County Schools, the federal multimillion dollar funding initiative Georgia was awarded. Race to the Top funding is to be used to improve student achievement in our lowest achieving schools. Does it seem logical to put someone in charge of this program who has 3 1/2 years in the classroom back in the 1990s?

  6. Reality says:

    Classroom experience is great to have as a principal and an assistant principal, but these positions requires many other qualities. You can be a principal/assistant principal/ coordinator who was the best classroom educator and be a poor and ineffective leader. It is more to the position than having classroom experience.

  7. dekalbite2 says:

    Absolutely. But since you are the instructional leader of your school, classroom experience is imperative.

  8. The Gift that Keeps On Givin' says:

    When DeKalb school official Ralph Simpson wrote a book about himself in 2007, he didn’t look far for a ready-made market to sell it.

    He sold more than $12,560 worth of copies of the book — titled “From Remedial To Remarkable” — to five schools in the school district where he works, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. Two of the schools were under his direct supervision.

    In the 70-page paperback, printed in large font generally reserved for children’s books, Simpson writes about his evolution from a high school student in remedial classes to an assistant superintendent with a doctorate degree.

    Now Simpson and at least three other school officials are under investigation by the school district, which also is asking the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to review the matter. The commission has the power to investigate and discipline educators.

    Simpson sold 605 copies of the book to the high school where he had recently served as principal.

    So, where are all of these books? Did anyone ever actually *see* them delivered or were orders placed and left unfulfilled or partially filled? No one will ever really know. And the gift just keeps on givin’. The system has spoken: He has served his time in demotion. Promote the man! Voila!

  9. concernforthekids says:

    I will be at the budget committee meeting and will report to the DSW2 when done.
    This will be a very important meeting because this is the meeting that the budget committee agrees on the “Cuts” to the budget and/or an increase in the millage rate for revenue enhancement.
    I guarantee you they are going to raise our taxes because they have already scheduled the mandatory 3 public meetings required by law. It is part of the announcements for the 6pm monthly board meeting tomorrow evening where the board will officially approve next year’s budget.
    If the public is opposed to the board’s recommended FY2013 budget then we need to sign up to speak at the 6pm meeting and voice our concerns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My other guarantee is that the expected drop in tax revenue is much greater than 6%!
    In my opinion it is more like 13% or more than double of their expectations!
    I’ll report back ASAP Monday afternoon. Hopefully by 1pm at the latest.


  10. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    “revenue enhancement” – you gotta love that euphemism! Thanks for offering to report, CFTK. We look forward to reading what you write. Anyone else who would like to volunteer to report on meetings (or alternate with someone else) please let us know by sending an email to the blog at

  11. justwatch says:

    Actually, CFTK, they have to have the meetings whether or not millage rate is increased, because someone in the system will have increased taxes because of higher assessments. All school systems and other entities that set millage rates are required to have such meetings, I believe.

    I do think they have the votes to raise taxes a mil, though. Sucks because then a legislator or two are then going to introduce legislation to lower the cap for DeKalb and we are going to be n a world of misery this time next year.

  12. justwatch says:

    Also, this is a business meeting — I don’t think there are public comments. Though at the millage rate hearings, there will be public comments.

  13. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    The first meeting is a committee meeting and there is time allotted for public comments. It’s called the Education Committee on Budget, Audit, Finance & Facilities and will be held on Monday, June 11, 2012 at 10:00am in the Cabinet Room. Later on, the same day at 6:00 pm is the regular board business meeting and there is no time for public comments as that was done at the work session last week. (The board meeting holds a monthly work session which allows 1 hour for public comments and introduces agenda items, but no action is taken and then they hold a monthly business meeting where those agenda items become action items and the board votes on them. Sometimes these meetings are held a week apart, sometimes at the same time.)

  14. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    That’s my poor writing – that isn’t the way the notices were sent by the school system. I wasn’t clear. There is an opportunity for citizens to make comments at the 10:00 Committee Meeting but not at the 6:00 pm board business meeting. Comments regarding that agenda were made at last week’s work session. Monday, the board will take votes on the issues at the 6:00 pm meeting – including the budget discussed at the 10:00 meeting I assume. (I’ll try to make the post more clear.)

  15. concernforthekids says:

    I have heard from Nancy Jester that she WILL NOT support a millage increase until the budget has been trimmed of ALL EXCESS personnel. (Central Office). She, MCchesney and Speaks have stated that they thave heard that Dr. Atkinson is trimming the CO staff by 300, not reassigning them but ELIMINATING the positions. She has already reduced staff by 140-ish and has immediate plans to increase that number to 225 and then after July 1st (contracts for FY2013) the remainder of the personnel will be released to make the 300 figure. They do not have that in writing though…….
    I will definitely let the budget committee know my thoughts regarrding the budget at the committee meeting on Monday morning.
    On another thought, isn’t it Margaret Francois / Dee Brown’s JOB to publish the minutes from ALL of the board meetings? Isn’t this required by LAW? Remember we pay $129,000 annually for the board to have 2 secretaries! (One is related to Eugene Walker.)
    I have heard that a school board candidate for District 4 wants to have ALL board meetings streamed ALL the time so parents can watch them at home. He even wants them to be able to send emails during the meeting so that citizens can make comments from home also!
    It is Jim McMahan who is advocating for publicly televising (streaming or Comcast 24) all of the committee meetings in addition to the monthly board meetings.
    YEAH!!! Transparency and Accountability! That is a step in the right direction!
    Go get’em Jimmy Mac!


  16. justwatch says:

    They have not consistently been allowing public comments at the budget committee hearings because they have been lasting so long. No idea if they will have public comment tomorrow.

  17. justwatch says:

    The board’s bylaws require that at board member take the minutes from committee meetings. Those minutes are generally published as the committee report at the business (not work) board meeting following the committee meeting.

  18. dekalbite2 says:

    ““revenue enhancement” – you gotta love that euphemism!”

    Very funny. And a virtual reflection of Marshall Orson and the Fernbank Elementary School Council’s recommendation two years ago in their open letter to the DeKalb Board of Education.

    “Revenue enhancements may also be necessary, though we understand the challenges DCSS will still face in budget out-years. Such enhancements should not be in place of making changes which are needed but should be used to bridge short-to intermediate revenue shortfalls. In fact, the Board might consider sun-setting any increases if they are viewed as a stopgap measure.”

    Mr. Orson and the Fernbank Elementary School Council recommended to the DeKalb Board of Education EXACTLY what the BOE says they are now planning on doing – Raising taxes, but saying that the tax increase will only be for a few years.

  19. dekalbite2 says:

    I would like to see our BOE members say they will not support any tax increase that raises class sizes and in fact rolls them back. Until they hold the line on class sizes, the money will continue to flow OUT of the classroom.

  20. Miss Management says:

    There is no way that they won’t raise taxes. The votes are there. We have a strong group of 5 who are calling the shots: Walker, Cunningham, Edler, Copelin-Wood and Bowen.

  21. dekalbite2 says:

    “My other guarantee is that the expected drop in tax revenue is much greater than 6%!”

    Yes. Last tax year 2011 tens of thousands of homeowners appealed their assessments and many thousands took this forward to the Board of Equalization for hearings. By law, at the hearing the county assessor had to come up with 3 comparables to your house that had sold in 2010 in the neighborhood. In this depressed market it was almost impossible to find any home that had been sold and had not seen a decrease in value. If your house had been assessed the same as 2007 or seen an increase, there was most likely a decrease once you appealed because the tax assessor had to go off 3 comparables sold the year before in your general neighborhood. That’s why the revenues went down. The assessors simply could not find comparables that had sold in 2010 and retained their value. The comparables are driven by the marketplace, and in DeKalb, even in the wealthier districts, there has been a real erosion of property values in terms of sales. Those thousands of assessments that were lowered last year cannot be raised for 2 more years.

    Plus, there have been terrible glitches in the assessments – thousands did not reflect the lowered assessments. 3,000 had to be resent. I’m willing to bet that the same data the school board is working off is also erroneous since they get it from the county.

  22. dekalbite2 says:

    Isn’t Tom Bowen running for county commissioner? Is he running on a “raising taxes” platform?

  23. Marney Mayo says:

    Even though “public comment” is on the agenda for the subcommittee meeting, I wouldn’t go if making one is your sole purpose because in these meetings it is generally at the discretion of the chair (Womack). The first one of these I went too, where there were only about 4 folks that weren’t staff or board, they asked for comments and I and the others made some which actually engendered some discussion, about 10 minutes total. By the second meeting there were about 10 citizens there as well as a bunch move staff, and the meeting ran longer. I’m not sure if Womack forgot to ask for comments, or if he made the intentional choice to wrap up the meeting without what would have been an additional 30-45 minutes.

    I’m just saying, ODE and DSW2 are both encouraging folks to go–It may be logistically impossible to give everyone there time to speak at length.

  24. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    As far as we know, Tom Bowen’s not running for anything.

  25. MsMerty says:

    IMHO, Simpson should have been fired and the State should have pulled his credentials…altho an Argosy Dr. is wothless.

  26. dekalbite2 says:

    @ Reality and Brasil
    I agree that Wilbanks has worked out well for Gwinnett, but remember his background has been exclusively in education and he was a teacher even if it was only for three years. Please name some captains of industry and ex military who have been successful as superintendents. Cobb County’s Joseph Redden was ex military and didn’t seem to work out so well for Cobb.

    I’m not sure why you can’t have someone with experience in both fields – education and business. The perspective you bring to education when you are comfortable in both worlds is priceless IMO. Your focus changes in the classroom as you understand what is at stake for students when they move from the classroom into the world of work. On the other hand if you have an educational background, you understand that students are not just numbers on a balance sheet, and teachers are the most important personnel of your core business.

    If I have to choose though, I’ll come down on the side of someone who has extensive classroom experience. Look at some concrete examples right here in Georgia.

    Rockdale’s Sam King taught science and math in the classroom for ten years in high school, middle and elementary before he became an assistant principal. IMO – he has produced the best student achievement rate in Georgia. 100% of Rockdale schools made adequate yearly progress, an achievement that only a handful of wealthy school systems in the metro area made – Decatur City Schools and Forsyth are the only other ones, and they are quite affluent. Most of Rockdale’s schools are low income Title 1. Looking at every index, Rockdale has invested in the classroom – much more so than Gwinnett under Mr. Wilbanks. The Rockdale School System is a model of efficiency with cost centers that always come in under other metro systems. Rockdale pays its teachers almost $2,000 more than DCSS, and its taxes are miniscule compared to our taxes even while its tax base is far from affluent (more Title 1 schools than DCSS). There is a reason Sam King was named Georgia Superintendent of the Year in 2011 and is the current president of the Georgia Superintendents Association. Can you believe that he was a candidate for DeKalb superintendent, but our Board of Education passed him over? He is leaving to be the superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools next year.

    And consider Emily Lembeck, Marietta City Schools superintendent and Georgia Superintendent of the Year for 2012. Dr. Lemback has run a school system that has an extremely large poverty rate but has presided over excellent student achievement. She was a classroom teacher for eleven years before becoming a Lead Teacher for 3 years. Her focus on directing money back into the classroom has paid off for her students, most of whom are low income.

    I’ve not been into Marietta City Schools, but I have toured Gwinnett Schools and Rockdale schools and IMHO – Rockdale is much more classroom centered and teacher morale is higher. Teacher morale is a large component of student success because the teacher and the student share the same environment. You can’t adversely affect teachers without adversely affecting the students and vice versa.

    These are some examples of superintendents who have very solid classroom teaching backgrounds and understand that student achievement begins and ends with a teacher and his/her students in the classroom.

    Can you give us some examples of those business leaders and ex military that have the student achievement record that these former classroom teachers have?

  27. anothercomment says:

    Perhaps it is because the other counties haven’t hired black for the sake of hiring black. Reverse discrimination is worse!!!

  28. dekalbite2 says:

    Mr. Simpson did lose his professional certification for ethics violations so the State did follow thorugh:

  29. philipcapers says:

    Tom Bowen has withdrawn from the county commissioner race .Why he quiet the race , the world may never know.

  30. dekalbite2 says:

    Is Bowen running for school board?

  31. dekalbite2 says:

    “Let’s travel outside the confines of the the tri-counthy area, and better yet, out of the South. ”

    Can you provide some concrete examples – like names, background and school systems – and cite the data regarding the academic progress their students made? This is what I did with the superintendents in Georgia who have the highest rates of student achievement in low income systems.

  32. justwatch says:

    Bowen isn’t a strong yes, at all.

  33. DeKalb Observer says:

    Tom Bowen is indeed an educated man but his baffling behavior has impaired this school system and he is part of the reason DCSS has declined as it has. He has helped foster the chaos, as he blindly supported Crawford Lewis and put adult jobs and prerogatives ahead of educating children. Reasonable parents – former PTA leaders who brought their talents and resources to DeKalb schools – continue to seek alternatives and are opting out of DCSS in droves.The same holds for our best teachers who recognize the people “at the top” do not have the education, experience, training and expertise to effective plan, spend and operate the programs of this school system. Great people have been exiting the system since Johnny Brown was here – and those who remain are the gum-chewing crowd who are in it for THEMSELVES (our many “authors” for example) and do not have the gifts and skills to recognize what constitutes effective teaching. Look at DeKalb’s education culture: do you find a cadre of people who speak eloquently, are well informed and well read and bring the latest brain and educational research to bear on tough issues? No, you have a group of self-promoters eager to get out of the classroom ASAP so they can progress to administrative roles they are not qualified for, and therefore make outrageous salaries they could never earn in another realm. In the past several days, we’ve had a raft of violence in DeKalb – fatal shootings at a funeral, a knife fight at Columbia High, all with a backdrop of falling property values. Thank you, school system, for failing to educate our young people. Thank you, school system, for supporting a thug culture and for failing to inspire, teach, mentor, guide and TREASURE our students so that thousands now feel hopeless with no real prospects. While the sit up here staff has collected their paychecks, they have allowed our county to become more dangerous and less desirable – a downward spiral that has us on a fast track to becoming an urban wasteland. Don’t believe me? Come drive thru Lithonia – or Clarkston. You will want to keep your car doors locked.

  34. justwatch says:

    So the sorority connection is why there was no national search for a head of human resources? Shame really, I expected so much more of Dr. Atkinson and this position was probably as important, if not more so, than any other top position in the system.

  35. Miss Management says:

    You’re right. Bowen is not strong at all.

  36. dekalbite2 says:

    @ justwatch

    Agreed. There should have been a national search for the head of Human Resources. The head of Human Resources should NEVER have come from the inner circle of DeKalb Schools administration. Human Resources helped hire all of these admin and support personnel who have presided over declining student achievement. Internal Affairs was a part of Human Resources when it apparently missed the actions of Dr. Lewis and Ms. Pope/Reid that resulted in RICO charges. This department is extremely important to the school system. Based on past performance, why would you hire from within?

  37. Merry says:

    What happened this morning? I heard there was not a quorum for this morning’s budget committee meeting. Is that true? If so, what does that mean for tonight’s vote?

  38. The Deal says:

    No quorum, but it doesn’t affect tonight’s meeting. A budget proposal has already circulated through the board, and they are pretty much in agreement. Pam Speaks did ask a few questions about special program transportation, specifically if they could offer it to parents who wanted to pay for it.

  39. What about the students? says:

    I totally concur. I have 15 years vested in the district. Staying in the district is a matter of common sense, unless you love the school you’re teaching at….and most of them are schools north of Memorial Drive. It is this simple: the other districts are paying more, and they are . We would be fools to stay in DeKalb. I can almost guarantee you that the BOE will try to impose more furlough days on us. The district is no longer competitive with the others. Several teachers left my school 2 years ago. When those teachers left the school, they took thousands of years of experience with them. They were replaced by several TAPP program teachers. Discipline was completely out of control, and achievement was at an all-time low. Thanks BOE!

  40. Retired DeKalb teacher says:

    Does the “super” think her life is in danger? It sounds like a third world country where government leaders need protection! We are still waiting for the list from the “Palace” to see who received a new contract.

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