Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

What is going on with Duke University-educated Gene “Ain’t” Walker and the DeKalb County Board of Education?

It’s one thing if they have to meet behind closed doors to discuss their only employee – Atkinson.  But, meeting day after day after day behind closed doors?

As taxpayers, we would like to hear their discussions regarding SACS and their plans for the upcoming hearing before the State Board of Education.  In fact, we think that the Georgia Open Meetings Act gives us that right.  We don’t think we should be reduced to standing, hat in hand, outside closed doors and begging.

This is an open request to the only DCSS Board member who was willing to say that the Emperor had no clothes … the only DCSS Board member who is willing to be transparent regarding the people’s business … the only DCSS Board member who is willing to tell the truth in her blog … Nancy Jester.  Please, Nancy, tell us what is going on.

We are assuming that the DCSS Board members have been working diligently and collaboratively to resolve the issues brought up by AdvancED/SACS – nevermind that the AdvancED/SACS complaint was less than specific.  Doesn’t matter.  Something – or someone — put that burr under their saddle.  Atkinson?  She has been absent from all of this due to her father’s alleged illness and alleged death – never corroborated  by a death certificate or obituary.

The DCSS Board had better have spent all this time working out a plan to meet AdvancED/SACS’ requirements.  After all, they are the only accreditation DCSS has – unlike some other school systems who are also accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission and can tell SACS to take a hike. 

Having written this far with the sound of dead silence echoing in our ears one more frightening possibility has suddenly reared its ugly – and costly – head.  Do you suppose the morally and financially bankrupt DCSS Board is spending all this time behind closed doors because they are planning on taking costly legal action against the State Board of Education?!!  The last time the DCSS Board sued the state it resulted in 20+ years of federal court supervision leading directly to the mess we find ourselves in today.

Say it ain’t so, Joe … ah, er, Gene!

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42 Responses to Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

  1. Maggie says:

    Did you see Don McChesney’s latest blog post? Pretty eye opening. SACS looks to be as bad as DCSS in their favoritism.

  2. Hazel says:

    “Atkinson? She has been absent from all of this due to her father’s alleged illness and alleged death – never corroborated by a death certificate or obituary.”

    You might see the note you have above the comments:
    Leave a comment. Please be respectful.

    Is it the norm now that a death certificate needs to be produced when claiming a parent’s death?

  3. John says:

    @Maggie: All I have to say is OMG!

  4. Northlake Mom says:

    I fully expect the Board to challenge the constitutionality of the law allowing Gov. Deal to remove them, if he does so. What I want to know is, what right does the Board have to use DCSD money to pay for those legal fees? I understand it is appropriate for DCSD to pay for legitimate lawsuits that occur in the context of conducting the school system’s business. However, this would not arise in that context — we would still have a BOE, it would just have different people on it. The taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay legal fees for someone who’s failed to do their job but despite that is trying to keep their position. That is a purely personal matter to them, and not part of the BOE’s business — thus it is not an expense that should legitimately be charged to the taxpayers. If the individual members of the BOE want to sue to keep their jobs, that’s their choice but they should have to foot the bill personally. Who can we complain to to contest the charging of such an expense to the school system? SACS??

  5. educator90 says:

    I agree Northlake Mom. Those on the school board will not give up their power without a fight. It’s going to be ugly and we can expect to lose more good teachers. The board cannot give up the power that they have and have the truth come out, and they will do whatever it takes to stop the truth from being brought to the light.

  6. teachermom says:

    I also say OMG and again say, it is the so-called “watchdogs” who have really failed us. This explains a lot about why SACS has not stopped this train wreck. I am sick and tired of the politics of this mess. The State BOE better do their job, which is to FIRE this board, and the super needs to be removed. If they do not think there will eventually be consequences they are wrong, we are WATCHING and we vote and we pay taxes. An accrediting agency inserting itself into a Superintendent candidate search??? Surely this has broken some law, at the very least it is highly UNETHICAL.

    On another note, how can the Superintendent be out of the office for so long and not answer to her constituents? Why hasn’t the board explained where she is (in a manner that is more believable)? Why is all of this drama occurring in the middle of a school year? FIx us somebody….

  7. Concernedmom30329 says:

    I think Atkinson is on leave for a family emergency (her father was ill and then died this month)

    I believe the exec sessions are for interviewing potential interim supers.

  8. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Wowers….
    It seems that the end is already here for Atkinson with this post by Don.

  9. don't believe the crap says:

    Nancy does not get off the hook because she is squealing like a caged small rodent. She voted with the rest of the bigger, older rodents. She never spoke out prior to the house falling down. Remove them all.

  10. Undercover Reformer says:

    Concerned mom – yup

  11. A death certificate needs to be produced if you don’t show up for work and claim that your extended absence was because there was a death in the family. This is not unfeeling or unkind. That typical employment requirement, among other reasons, is why undertakers, coroners and funeral directors routinely prepare 10 – 20 copies of a death certificate for the family. Atkinson appears to have abandoned her job.

  12. Embarrassed Employee says:

    We may not be privileged to that specific information but I am sure someone received it. Personnel issues are not privy to the public, is what I have always heard.

  13. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Michael Thurman is being interviewed for the interim super….according to wsbtv…..

  14. howdy1942 says:

    I appreciate Maggie sharing the link to Don McChesney’s blog – I read the entire thing. Unbelievable!

    This school board promised before Atkinson was hired that they would get to the bottom of the leaks of information regarding the other candidates. That was over 18 months ago and they have not. It is now time to insist and – to use a word that I don’t like to use – demand that this promise be kept. How do you feel?

    Northlake Mom – I sincerely hope that this Board is not even remotely considering a legal challenge to State law. I would openly oppose that and work through our Legislature to oppose it. That would be the most destructive, divisive, and selfish act that I could imagine. I think that there would be universal outrage in Dekalb County.

    Personally, I am looking forward to February 21, 2013 – it is time for this Board to go!! I wish that we could keep Speaks, Jester, and the three who were recently elected. But the law does not appear to allow for that. The greater good of removing Walker, Copelin-Wood, and Cunningham trumps any other factor.

  15. It's about the kids! says:

    Michael Thurmond? Former Georgia Labor Commissioner interviewed on Channel 2??? Interim?

  16. @don’t believe the crap: Nancy never voted with the block. Check her record, she is almost always recorded as a NO vote. She voted NO to hiring Atkinson and read and published a statement about her reasoning. So did Don and Pam. While they read their statements, the other board members childishly turned their backs – and/or left the televised board meeting. One in particular exhibiting this divisive behavior was Donna Edler – and she is now campaigning hard for the job of board chair.

  17. John says:

    @don’t believe the crap:
    You should go back and actually look at the record. You are completely wrong.

  18. educator90 says:

    I am not surprised. I had a sneaky feeling that this would end up being the case.

    Good detective work Michele.

  19. thedeal2 says:

    From the AJC story: Thurmond, who served with Walker on the Democratic side of the Georgia Senate in the 1990s, said he assumed Walker had invited him to the meeting.

    NO TIES TO ANYONE ON THE BOARD OR THE TOP 2 LEVELS of ADMINISTRATION, PLEASE!

  20. Concernedmom30329 says:

    This is bad. If Thurmond wants the job, he should have to get Walker to step down…

  21. gr says:

    To: don’t believe the crap says:
    February 4, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Just adding a note:
    And several members voted against state funding for Austin ES too.

  22. educator90 says:

    Sorry Michael! Thank you!

  23. bettyandveronica1 says:

    What the heck? Thurmond? He is a career politician, lawyer and longtime colleague of Walker’s. That is not at all what we need!!!!! What the hell business does he have sniffin’ round the school system? Not only that but from the cited information in the other post, he is very familiar with Cynthia McKinney and her ilk. That alone should make us all terrified of this man. He has no, NO BUSINESS INVOLVED IN DEKALB SCHOOL SYSTEM, not even for one paychecks worth! Frying pan and fire time here folks. This makes me sick.

  24. @Michael: Thank you so much for the link to the book with a chapter about Gene Walker and Michael Thurmond and their strong efforts to create a MAX BLACK plan for 3 gerrymandered to be majority black congressional districts in Georgia. What do you know, Gene Walker really does see everything in color!

  25. t says:

    Didn’t the DBOE violate the open meetings act and their own bylaws by meeting with Thurmond in private without letting the public in? I thought they went into executive session, which is reserved for legal, personnel, and purchasing issues only. Thurmond isn’t any of those….not a lawyer for the Board, not an employee, and to my knowledge isnt involved with purchasing. the public should have been allowed in, with an agenda published ahead of time.

  26. dsw2contributor says:

    On Friday, WABE reported: “Sources tell WABE that Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson is expected to resign her position and is negotiating an agreement with the DeKalb County School Board.”
    http://wabe.org/post/developing-dekalb-schools-superintendent-expected-resign

    That’s what is going on!

  27. If she returns, she may be facing felony charges as a result of what was in those text messages.

  28. Tim McGaughey says:

    Does anyone know what Michael Thurmond’s experience is in running a School System?

    Tim McGaughey

  29. @Cell: We think you are spot on. We think there must have been something in those text messages that was so egregious that the only choice she had was to delete them from any and all sources and then quit her job so no one would dig any further. Wonder if we’ll ever know…

  30. psdad says:

    @GTCO ATL You wrote… “If she returns, she may be facing felony charges as a result of what was in those text messages.”

    If you have heard something, please share. My sense is that there is a significant effort to avoid the release of those text messages and I’m still somewhat surprised that there has been no outcry over the administrations refusal to release those records in compliance with the open records act. Honestly, who is responsible for forcing compliance with those requests?

  31. @psdad: The administration does not have anything to turn over. The text messages no longer exist. Of course, Cheryl says they never existed, but most anyone who knows anything knows that Atkinson, March and crew texted each other all the time… what oh what did they say? It must have been a doozy!

  32. Maggie Paden says:

    The exclusion of citizens’ input — as practice becomes policy — prompts the exclusion of parental and students’ input in determination of services delivered to students.

    Transparency would prevent many problems including those where IDEA, SDA, OSHA and litigation could immediately drain funding. DeKalb schools are non-compliant in many areas.
    t

  33. psdad says:

    If the phone is available (hasn’t mysteriously disappeared) and If the SIM card was left in the phone, there is a good possibility that some (if not all) of the messages can be retrieved. If the phone was damaged (as claimed) I can’t imagine why the SIM card wouldn’t still be in the phone.

  34. We’ve been told that Brantley picked up all the phones and replaced all of the SIM cards. Not sure if that’s true, or if so, what became of them … ? It seems as though Brantley has colluded with Atkinson and he has now taken part in felonious activities. My, my … “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Words to remember from Sir Walter Scott.

  35. Okay, here’s how I understand it… correct me if I’m wrong … I believe there were text messages, faxes and emails turned over to the attorneys for the employee who wanted her job back just prior to the civil suit being dropped. Destroying (or not maintaining a copy of) text messages when you hold a public position can be used in court to mean the equivalent of “whatever the prosecution says were in them can be assumed to be true because you destroyed them or did not keep a copy as you are required to do.” So, what was assumed to be in the text messages was something about RIFing a bunch of employees and then hiring back less competent F&F employee for same job with a different title at a higher salary. With or without the text messages, this statement can be assumed to be true for civil purposes. If it were to be ruled that way in civil court, it would then be able to be used for criminal charges for not adhering to the Ga. law on RIFs.

  36. But, employee got her job back, dropped the lawsuit… but, what else is in those emails, Faxes and texts that Atkinson wanted to go through to determine if they were “personal” or business? If it is a phone that is paid for by taxpayers, then it should all be considered “business” and we should be able to review everything from it.

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