State Board of Education has summoned the DeKalb Board to a hearing –

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
STATE OF GEORGIA

IN RE: SUSPENSION HEARING OF
THE BOARD MEMBERS OF THE
DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF
EDUCATION.

NOTICE AND ORDER

The Georgia State Board of Education (“State Board”) hereby gives notice to the Members of DeKalb County Board of Education (“DeKalb County BOE”), that the State Board will conduct a hearing pursuant to O,C.G.A. § 20-2-73(a)(1) regarding whether the State Board should recommend to the Governor that he suspend the Members of the DeKalb County BOE. This notice is based upon DeKalb County being placed on the level of accreditation of “Probation”.

Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED that the Members of the DeKalb County BOE should appear on Thursday, January 17, 2013, at 1:00 p,m. before the State Board for a hearing and to present evidence as to why the State Board should not recommend to the Governor that he suspend, with pay, the Members of the DeKalb County BOE pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73,

It is further ORDERED that the parties confer in good faith and stipulate to as many possible facts before the hearing. Should either party desire to have a telephonic pre-hearing conference, the party shall make a request identifying the specific issues by Friday, January 4, 2013. The parties may submit this request by emailing the Hearing Officer at kpr@reddylaw.net.

It is further hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a witness list, which includes the telephone number of the witness and a brief description of the anticipated testimony of each witness; a document list; and any stipulated facts with the State Board. The parties shall serve a copy of these pleadings by email to the Hearing Officer and opposing counsel by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2013. The parties are further directed to exchange copies of documents by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2013. The parties are required to provide copies of all exhibits (tabbed, indexed, and bound) at the hearing for the Hearing Officer, the Chair, and each Member of the State Board.

SO ORDERED, this 21st day of December, 2012.

Barbara Hampton, Chair
State Board of Education

K.P. Reddy, Hearing Officer
State Board of Education

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Gallery | This entry was posted in Board of Education Meetings, DeKalb County [GA] Board of Education, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., Georgia Education, Georgia State Board of Education, Open Records Requests, SACS/Accreditation. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to State Board of Education has summoned the DeKalb Board to a hearing –

  1. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Everyone needs to email them about our county school system. They will make a recommendation to the State Sup who in turn will discuss with the Governor.

    zechmann@gmail.com,eragsdale@doe.k12.ga.us,hrice@doe.k12.ga.us,
    kmason@doe.k12.ga.us,bahampton@doe.k12.ga.us,mroyal@doe.k12.ga.us, wbarrs@doe.k12.ga.us,winter@doe.k12.ga.us,bburdette@doe.k12.ga.us, glewis@doe.k12.ga.us,arice@doe.k12.ga.us,mmurray@doe.k12.ga.us,
    state.superintendent@doe.k12.ga.us

  2. DeKalb BOE for dummies says:

    What can district employees do to show their support of ousting the BOE? I am sure that taking the 11th off would be unfavorable.

  3. noduh says:

    This hearing is one day before the 30-day period within which the state board must make its recommendation to the Governor. Doesn’t this feel like they already know what they’re going to recommend? They are giving themselves just 24 hours to mull all the evidence the DCSD BOE will be bringing to them?

    Will this be an open hearing?

  4. Concernedmom30329 says:

    They have 15 days after the hearing to render their decision. From the law/regulation:
    At the conclusion of the hearing, or within 15 days thereafter, the State Board of
    Education shall notify the Governor and the parties of its decision in writing.

  5. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Taking the 11th off would make an excellent statement…lol

  6. DeKalb BOE for dummies says:

    @ Embarrassed Employee…it would definitely send a message, especially if the AJC can get involved. It is not a critical day. We would be doing it for the parents, students, and citizens of DeKalb County. Enough is enough!

  7. concerned citizen says:

    I think the State Board and the Governor need to receive letters from teachers detailing the hardships they face in the classroom and issues they have personally witnessed.

  8. Fed Up Faculty says:

    @ Embarrassed Employee……Why should we take a day off and use a much needed sick day OR take the day off without pay to send a message that we among other things, underpaid! There must be another way to send a strong message that doesn’t penalize us too! Should we all wear the same color to work? An acronym worn on a nametag……HOKAE “Help our Kid and Employees” ?

  9. insider says:

    Awesome!! Now what will be done about the Wicked Witch, her palace guard, and her imported evil flying monkeys? Atkinson and her intellectually challenged ethnically bankrupt minions must go in order for Dekalb to heal and rebuild.

  10. North Dekalb Teacher says:

    Insider…..I hope you meant “ethically bankrupt”……

  11. insider says:

    OMG. I did mean ethically. Most definitely NOT “ethnically” (which I did not even know was a word). Sometimes predictive text and spellcheck suck. My bad…

  12. DeKalb BOE for dummies says:

    The BOE doesn’t care about any of us. They wouldn’t care if we all wore purple to work, just as long as we are at work and nobody bothers them. Yes, we are all underpaid, but taking one sick day vs. the extra furloughs for next year is well worth it. The problem would be the kiss-UPS….the ones who go and tell everything…in hopes of getting a promotion and/or moving into the golden palace. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them didn’t come to this blog, just to report everything someone says.

  13. Embarrassed Employee says:

    That’s why we need a way to communicate offline with the people who really want to make a statement. I will give a day to let Atkinson and the dirty 5 know: I am emotionally exhausted. I have no morale about my profession. I am sick of everyone in the palace, everyone. I deserve a cola AND a small raise. Yes I certainly will give a day to send this message.

    Now allow me to be clear- I can not send this message alone. It will take at least 100 or more other employees- not just teachers, schoolhouse employees, to send a message. Parents- I know some of you will be up in arms, crying for our heads to roll, but this is OUR livelihood, we took these jobs yes, but we also expected to receive fair and consistent compensation. A very important part of the new hire process was showing us pay chart with steps and pay increases according to your years of service etc…. This chart has been thrown out the door, while we CAN easily afford to pay TWO supers, buy cars, and continue to hire F&F at will.

  14. Embarrassed Employee says:

    .@ DSW -The content of this blog is evidence of the corrupt system and the hopelessness that employees feel. This is a real story that some journalist would love to tell. Have you ever been approached about the use of the comments by a journalist? One way to skin a cat is to bring shame to Atkinson and the dirty 5.

  15. @Embarrassed. We don’t quote comments nor do other journalists we interact with. What we do – and what they do – is track down evidence. Yes, we have turned a lot of evidence over to a variety of people when asked. It’s just that there’s no real evidence of criminality here so there’s nothing to really report except incompetence – which you’re correct, is embarrassing for DeKalb citizens.

    This is why we simply try to educate people [voters] so that hopefully better qualified people will run for school board, get elected and take the job of fiscal responsibility seriously. As we read through the demands of this summons, we wonder if Donna Edler as board chair [which she is campaigning for strongly] really has what it takes to respond and lead the board through these kinds of very serious state level proceedings. We wonder if our board as a unit, has what it takes to respond to this summons. We simply think that the board is about to pay dearly for the majority vote to hire the wrong superintendent and then never question her moves or the staff reports [and in fact, belittle Nancy Jester when she did] until we were just about insolvent, which the current board chair continues to deny.

  16. Embarrassed Employee says:

    I have read articles and exposé with less hard evidence and less drama. This blog is full of comments that have some level of truth that deserves to be investigated by a hungry journalist. It could be a graduate student looking for a break. Time and time again employees were told, “we are operating within our forecasted budget, we do not foresee furlough days for the upcoming school year, blah blah, blah, and year after year furlough days has become the new norm.

  17. Well, no argument there. It really is a mystery as to why there’s no true interest in an in-depth report on DeKalb schools. In fact, it would have a national interest as this kind of pilfering of the public troughs is standard operating procedure in much of the U.S. these days. The people must put their collective feet down. Good people need to take back control of the public systems. People need to care about our public schools and the government’s integrity and take action.

    We have been reporting on the absolute blowtorch elimination of teachers in DeKalb – in favor of Educrats. Check out a posting from the old DSW blog – where there is plenty of good information and a very easy to use search bar.

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/where-have-all-our-teachers-gone.html

  18. DeKalb BOE for dummies says:

    @DSW, I would love to be a fly on the wall at the hearing. I am sure that ol’ EW would surprise us all with his lies. @ Embarrassed, not all employees will take off, but it could be enough to send a message.

  19. concerned citizen says:

    Is the hearing open to the public? Taking off on the 17th and going to the hearing would make a very loud statement. But, you already have the State’s attention. If the State doesn’t do what it needs to do, then walk out because all hope will be lost.

  20. Marney Mayo says:

    @DSW you have answered your own question with your last post…

    Something that is “Standard Operating Procedure” on a national scale is NOT news. It must be different in some salacious way..and preferably simple enough to be described in a 3 minute newscast or a 500 word article.

    “They are hiring based on relationship not merit…” “They are wasting taxpayer’s money…”
    “They are making life miserable for teachers…” These complaints put people to sleep.

    It isn’t until it is affecting people’s pocketbook directly thought either taxes or declining property values or our own children directly in a way that we see that we care. Newspapers are nearly gone..blogs are only opinions unless supported by verifiable data or identified witnesses…TV news needs a visual and soundbite only. And while there may be a Pulitzer worthy story in the web of mutually reinforcing behaviors and individuals that got us here–it is not the kind of puzzle that is easily snapped together.

  21. Sandra from Redan says:

    What’s the over/under on which board member plays the “card” first. The Doc, the felon, the non-college grad?

  22. DeKalb Observer says:

    For a long time, I ascribed to the belief that the complicated issues in Dekalb were the reason reporters were not covering this beat. But once Crawford Lewis was indicted – and a feeding frenzy of reporting did not immediately ensue – it was clear there was more going on here. Consider: Jay Cunningham’s bankruptcies and Ron Ramsey’s absence from the school system to serve in the Legislature. These are not complicated stories and are just the kind of thing TV reporters routinely report with great bombast. But I think they are afraid. The reporter who confronted Zepora “I’m gonna slug you” Roberts should have rubbed her hands together with glee: here was a crazy board member issuing threats. What a simple, easy to tell story!But after the first pass, the reporter dropped it. With the corruption in hiring and misdirection of literally millions of dollars away from student needs, and toward Central Office perqs, the stakes are enormous for those who currently hold the power. The insertion of scores of unqualified persons into jobs in DCSS (D) is a way of life in the county. If you and your children/inlaws/cousins depend on this patronage, you will not give it up easily. Think of the competent, articulate BOE members who have left the board. I believe that each ultimately recognized what they were up against – that it wasn’t a matter of good decision making and wise expenditures. There is no getting past the evildoers who have used their roles in the school system for their own gain. These are not kind educators: these are thieves with leverage to protect. Think I’m wrong? Consider the pronouncement of the Grand Jury that was not pursued by the D.A. – who stood next to Gene Walker and said “The BOE can police itself.” The reporters failed to pursue that too, but they’ve reported every detail of APS teachers fighting for their jobs in the CRCT cheating scandal. Then there is Derwin Brown, shot and killed when he beat the incumbent sheriff in an election. That culture still exists. “If you threaten my power, you will pay.” TV and newspaper reporters who are perhaps just passing through to larger media markets have no interest in getting involved in something like this.

  23. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Wow…..

  24. Concernedmom30329 says:

    Even the articulate board members who have left, have meddled, hired relatives, etc. DeKalb is a wholly mess. Crawford Lewis got the job because of a couple of long time board members who didn’t like that they could not control Johnny Brown. And these were smart solid board members, not some of the below average one. Another former board member meddled so incessantly in the locating of a school, that Lewis gave in and it has created huge problems.
    The problem is that this is the way business has always been done in DeKalb. This is why we need a clean slate — appointed board members who will hire a new, competent superintendent.

  25. Has Atkinson left a path of destruction? First Lorain, now us?
    State taking over Lorain City Schools in 2012

    LORAIN — The state will take over Lorain City Schools next year when the district, which has a $12 million deficit, goes into fiscal emergency, according to school Treasurer Dale Webber.

    “We’ve already started the process (of preparing for fiscal emergency), “ board President Tony Dimacchia said.

  26. But our PR response in the Champion was this:


    DeKalb County School District spokesman Walter Woods defended Atkinson’s tenure in Ohio in a statement.

    “The DeKalb County School District is looking forward, not backward. Our focus is on enhancing student performance in DeKalb, not in other school districts,” according to the statement.

    “In her three years in Lorain, Dr. Atkinson instituted a number of achievements. And it was her record of achievement at a troubled school district that attracted the attention of the DeKalb County Board of Education.

    “In just six months, she has met and exceeded the expectations of DeKalb parents and the board. Dr. Atkinson will be judged on how she improves schools in DeKalb, not elsewhere,” according to the statement.

    http://championnewspaper.com/news/articles/1639atkinson%E2%80%99s–former-district–still-struggling1639.html

  27. howdy1942 says:

    Donna Edler is a definite improvement over Zepora Roberts. At least, she has not embarrassed us. My observations of her at Board meetings is that she is not as well prepared with facts and not as strong as Nancy Jester. I don’t have a strong opinion of Donna one way or the other, but I do think that Nancy Jester is by far the strongest of the existing board members to serve as chair. We need to set aside our personal feelings and preferences and support that person who can lead us out of this mess. Nancy could do that.

    I have not been impressed with Atkinson from the outset. The Board did not conduct due diligence and I think that then-chairman Bowen was just in a hurry to meet a deadline. It shows in his choice. Not only did the board fail to do due diligence, it leaked confidential information about other candidates that ultimately put them in a difficult position and led to their withdrawal. This board has yet to meet its commitment to divulge the source of that leak. With a vote of 6-3 to confirm, Atkinson was much less than an overwhelming pick. I know that I would never have accepted a position with that much less than a unanimous vote unless I was being pressured in my existing job, which now seems an increasingly likely prospect.

    I don’t know what latitude the Governor or the State Board has, but I hope that it can give those board members who have not served a full term and those that have been recently elected a chance. Those serving at least one full term should be removed. This would remove the influence of the so-called “Gang of Five”.

    I look forward to a New Year and a New Day for the Dekalb County School System.

  28. DeKalb Observer says:

    Give the recently elected members of the BOE a chance? Seriously? You mean the ones named in the SACS report as ALREADY having inappropriate contact with faculty and staff in the schools in their districts? They all have to go. Clean slate. Even Nancy Jester. Her good work and commitment to the truth helped get us to this point – and that’s probably the best service she could ever give this district. But they all have to go, or there will be charges of an unfair process. The only chance of improving the future of the 99,000 students in DeKalb schools is if the state BOE appoints a new board, that in turn appoints a new super. And seriously – reading about the issues in Lorain prompt me to remind DSW readers: the woman failed miserably in her last position, so we hired her here and gave her an astronomical raise, a home office, a couple of cars with chauffeurs to drive her around like she’s some kind of celebrity – all so she could help further devastate a devastated district.

  29. Weary worker says:

    One one level I can’t help but consider that Atkinson wanted this to happen. Maybe she saw the doom coming and saw this as a way to come out looking clean. The BOE may have had her between a rock and a hard place. The incident with Ramsey and the text messages could be leading to something really bad that would take her down. I think she will go elsewhere and we will never know the truth. After all the mess in APS Beverly Hall has never been accused or taken down. But DeKalb is a far worse house of cards than APS.

  30. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Atkinson must go. She is frequently seen behaving at board meetings like she shouldn’t be “questioned”. Although it’s her job to be questioned by the board. It is exactly her job to answer the boards questions. However, their incompetence at hiring in the last 12 years has led them down the path of becoming 9 defacto superintendents, each with their own agenda. Atkinson’s cabinet is well staffed with overpaid inexperienced buffoons. None of which could replace her. Her 1 year work product is dismal.

    We have no faith in the Board, their one hire Dr. Atkinson or the choices she has made in staffing her cabinet. Please can we have a state takeover now?

  31. Interesting that there is a history between Atkinson and SACS (Elgart?) According to her application, she served on the district review team for Cobb County’s accreditation.

    Her resume also points out that Barbara Dilligard was her supervisor at Charleston City Schools for 10 months from August, 2002 to June, 2003 – Atkinson’s entire tenure there as an Associate Superintendent at a salary of $96,000.

    Dilligard currently serves as a paid consultant to Atkinson. Her contract is just about $75 less than the $100,000 limit required to ask for board approval.

  32. Goodteacher says:

    I am almost weeping! I have been taking my much needed break from any Dekalb news and just got back in town. I will be taking the day off, no question about it. I pray for solidarity from all those that have been used and abused by our employer, the all powerful Oz. Their decisions have affected me financially, emotionally, physically..all which affected those that love and care about me. I will be writing, I will be off that day and if need be I will be seen either as a spectator at the meeting or on the sidewalk outside. It is time we turn the term Right to Work- in the favor of those that reap the downside of not being able to organize. Big question where is ODE? Where is my email giving me this information that I Thought I paid for?

  33. Embarrassed Employee says:

    @ good teacher…ODE…is in cahoots with the DeKalb Palace and SACS. Please send a clear message to David.@ ODE that his services are no longer needed. Whomever is your auto insurance provider can direct you to a company at provides coverage against legal issues.
    The public has no idea how BIG thing is….it has affected many families financially and emotionally. Most of us go in everyday with a positive attitude for the students,our babies, trying to do e right thing. we can’t hold our own heads up and answer the question that most often follows when someone finds out you are a teacher, “what county do you teach in?”.

  34. Are you kidding? ODE has not yet informed its members about DeKalb’s probation status?

    I just checked their website. The last newsletter there is dated December, 2010! And the blog posts on the home page simply list upcoming legislative Town Hall and the school board redistricting meetings. No commentary on anything else! With everything going on – they have nothing to communicate. Same for their Facebook page – no comments since June! Although their About statement says, “The Organization of DeKalb Educators is THE LEADING VOICE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN DeKALB COUNTY. ODE…ADVOCATING EXCELLENCE IN DeKALB PUBLIC SCHOOLS!” Really?!! We think you all are paying too much in dues to this “organization”.

    http://www.odegaenea.org/

  35. concerned citizen says:

    “The DeKalb County Schools system was put on probation this week by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and now the DeKalb County district attorney’s office has asked for copies of the agency’s report that expresses concerns about school board spending.”
    Atlanta Business Chronicle by Carla Caldwell, Morning Call Editor
    Date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 5:50am EST

  36. TIME2REPORT says:

    Contacts the FEDS, the only way these people will change is if you start taking the complaints OUTSIDE of Georgia…contact the FEDERAL board of education…

  37. From State Rep Scott Holcomb’s blog:

    What happens next and what can you do?
    The State Board of Education has called a meeting for January 17, 2013 at 1 PM pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73. This statute, which is pasted in its entirety below, spells out the procedures that will be followed.

    The hearing will be open to the public and it will be in Room 2070 on the 20th Floor of the East Tower Sloppy Floyd Building. The public is invited to attend but there will not be an opportunity for public comment at the hearing. If you would like to provide a statement for the State Board to consider, you can email it to either Justin Pauly at jpauly@gadoe.org or Brenda Turner at brturner@doe.k12.ga.us.

    At the hearing, the State Board members will hear evidence as to whether the State Board should recommend to the Governor that he suspend the DeKalb School Board. After the hearing, the State Board will make its recommendation to Governor Deal. Governor Deal then has the discretion to accept or reject the Board’s recommendation. If the Governor chooses to suspend the Board, by law every member of the Board would have to be relieved of responsibility. The Governor would have the power to appoint new Board members.

    Click here to read the rest…

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