There’s a chasm in DeKalb so wide that voters are unable to even get a glimpse of the end goal: educating our children. Instead, politics rule and the school system is all about money, power and jobs. Not education.
We currently have a majority board in place who value promoting (and giving raises) to people to levels called “Executive Directors” from their old titles of “Directors” – positions now left vacant, guaranteeing virtually no change in outcome, except on the newly re-named Executive Director’s pay stub. This same group approved major budget cuts to the classroom without insisting on being provided an actual budget to review first. This group put a stamp of approval on increasing class sizes while cutting parapros, media clerks, interpreters and special ed personnel yet choosing to keep bus transportation to special programs — along with keeping funding for those special programs — which disproportionately grab funding to maintain full staffs and smaller classroom environments for those special programs than for regular schools.
This attitude reminds us of a quote from the New York Times in a review of Our Kind of People by Lawrence Otis Graham, referring to the “peculiar position of middle-class blacks who dislike whites but dislike poor blacks still more.” The funny thing is that it is the poor blacks in South DeKalb who keep returning these people to office.
Fernbank voters put their stamp of approval on Marshall Orson as their rep on the school board, sending in a proven strong supporter of their community — and only their community — to the exclusion of all else.
Voters in South DeKalb have forced a costly runoff (paid for by DCSS) between Denise McGill and Melvin Johnson, powerful member of New Birth Church, former high-ranking DCSS administrator and founder of the Leadership Academy Charter School (for which DCSS pays New Birth Church big bucks in rent, even though DCSS has many empty school buildings. In fact, the lease to pay five years of rent to New Birth was signed before Leadership Academy was even approved. And the ironclad lease was not even contingent upon approval of the school.)
Pam Speaks won by a slim margin and it looks like Jim McMahan will be in a costly runoff (paid for by DCSS) with Paul Womack.
South DeKalb and Central DeKalb voters have sent a clear message: “Stay out of our business. We will elect any sorry person we want.”
Below are the FINAL returns:
Updated Aug-01-2012 07:59 AM 100% reporting (25 of 25 precincts)
DeKalb County – Board of Education – District 2
Marshall Orson 7,214 62%
Don McChesney Incumbent 4,396 38%
DeKalb County – Board of Education – District 4
Paul Womack Incumbent 6,705 47%
Jim McMahan 4,019 28%
Tom Gilbert 2,001 14%
Jim Kinney 1,617 11%
DeKalb County – Board of Education – District 6
Melvin Johnson 4,973 39%
Denise McGill 3,807 30%
Latasha Walker 2,551 20%
Terrilyn Rivers-Canon 1,262 10%
DeKalb County – Board of Education – District 8
Pam Speaks Incumbent 23,102 52%
Michelle (Mimi) Jenkins-Clark 21,618 48%
Dekalb County – City of Brookhaven Incorporation
YES 5,590 55%
NO 4,646 45%