Yesterday’s Dunwoody Crier is chock full of reports about our school issues.
In it, we learn that:
Long-time board member Paul Womack, who was defeated for re-election, took to WSB-TV to point to an audit by KPMG that found $200 million in spending by the school system before approvals were granted. …
Last week, DeKalb District Attorney Robert James said he would take a few weeks to consider whether to ask judges to allow him to empanel a special purpose grand jury to look at school issues. …
Nancy Jester had been out of the country when SACS took action, but when she returned she wrote blog posts that were almost equal attacks on the board and SACS.
“How ironic that I may be removed from office exactly because I discovered and made public the financial misdeeds of the third largest school district in our state,” she wrote. “What message does this send to board members around the state or to future board members in DeKalb?”
Jester reminds that she was the board member who for almost two years has identified and discussed financial issues discussed in the SACS report. She tells of having the support of only two board members in her analysis and being publicly misled by the administration.
“I have written that it appears to me that our budgets for the past six years were, at best, a weak suggestion of how to spend money and, at worst, a document based on deception.”
In addition, Tom Taylor wrote a column for the Crier outlining exactly what it would take for Dunwoody to create their own school system:
It looks like he’s going to give it a serious go… backed by a unanimous vote of approval by the Dunwoody City Council.
The first thing that your legislative team needs is a Carl Vinson Institute study showing all of the financials. The state has indicated that they will not fund one, so either the city of Dunwoody or another independent group would have to commission that.
After the study is complete, I would drop a bill and ask for hearings. As with all constitutional issues, we would have hearings on it in year one (2013) of the biennial session and could possibly vote on it in 2014. If it passed everything in the General Assembly, we would need to mobilize a statewide marketing effort, because again, it would be on every ballot in the state and we would need to be convincing someone on the other end of the state why Dunwoody needs our own school system and why they should vote for it.
I was at the “point of the spear” in the legislative efforts that successfully got the incorporation of Dunwoody done and later on the transfer of the parks for $100 per acre. We were fighting just DeKalb County at that time. I expect a lot of other counties to join them in opposing this legislation fiercely. This will be harder than cityhood to accomplish, so I just want to manage the expectations for the community of the amount of time, money and effort this will entail.
And a letter in the Crier from Fran Millar a few weeks ago described why the school board has back away from redistricting right now:
It has been stated by DeKalb County Schools that if DeKalb does not redistrict, then the county will lose $40 million.
Here are the facts directly from the State Department of Education:
- Every school system must submit a five-year facilities plan to the DOE for capital outlay money
- The plan must include how the district will be organized regarding grades in schools such as 9-12, 6-12, etc.
- The plan also has a priority lists for projects
- The plan is then submitted to the DOE for review and a validation team visit the district to review the plan with the superintendent and staff members, usually a one day process.
- The plan is then approved by the local board and submitted to the state board for approval
This process must now be completed by June 2013. DeKalb has actually been given a one-year extension to complete the plan.
Approval is not contingent on DeKalb redistricting and DeKalb can actually amend an approved plan at a later date.
Many thanks to the Dunwoody Crier for keeping us informed!