BREAKING NEWS! Judge Declines Restraining Order

Per Ty Tagami in the AJC:

“The state hearing that could unseat the nine members of the DeKalb County school board should proceed as scheduled Thursday morning, according to a judge’s order.

“Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly Amanda Lee on Wednesday declined DeKalb’s request for a temporary restraining order that would have halted the proceedings.”

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Tune in TOMORROW MORNING AT 8 AM and watch the meeting streamed live! Follow the reposted info below and leave your comments in the discussion:

State Rep Scott Holcomb took responsibility — without being asked — to make sure that the upcoming second hearing, scheduled for 8 AM, Thursday, February 21, 2013, would also be streamed live on the Department of Education website. Thank you, Scott!

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See you at 8!

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214 Responses to BREAKING NEWS! Judge Declines Restraining Order

  1. thedeal2 says:

    A nice turn of events…

  2. concerned citizen says:

    Any news yet about Thurmond’s mtg with Oak Grove parents? Thank you, Judge Lee.

  3. Concerned says:

    This hearing seems much like an impeachment hearing. Not at all unconstitutional.

  4. Guy Midvale says:

    I was at the ELPC meeting. Thurmond’s presentation was sad and he didn’t directly answer any questions. He kept saying over and over again, “I didn’t create these problems, but I am here to clean them up.”

    The audience started out respectful and attentive, but the more he spoke the more the audience turned against him. In my opinion, he is too much of a politician (read egotistical) to see what was happening. The audience wanted to give him a chance and he turned them all against him.

    Don’t forget, “Our challenges are great, but our opportunities are greater.” With Mr. Thurmond as interim superintendent our challenges got greater.

  5. Chamblee Dad says:

    Prediction: State decides to remove them tomorrow, they push on with the hearing next week, win, at least for now, get an order that prevents Deal from replacing them. More attorney fees are amassed, the fight drags on, more articles daily, Deal, Millar, Shutten, etc. are outraged, parents (like me) at wit’s end, posters from out of DeKalb poke fun, mock this pathetic mess (rightfuly so) while those of us who do have a dog in the fight continue to bash our heads against a wall. Talk grows for recall efforts, maybe some get serious, weeks & months drag on, the DCSS drops a budget timebomb on us right before school is out. The debate drags into the summer.

    Q. Do any of those selfish jerks really care about educating our children? Then PROVE IT & RESIGN!!!!! . . . . idiots . . . .

  6. Did anyone ask the interim why he missed the meeting with his front line employees, aka, the principals…..He says he was at a meeting with SACS. Excuse me Mr. SACS or Elghart, what reason would you want our interim to meet you, instead of his most important leaders of DCSS…..SACS is a fraud as much as DCSS.

    These DCSS folks have been robbing us blind for years. Billion dollar budget times 10 years equals 10 Billion dollars, give or take a few rounding errors like Clews legal bills, what does the DeKalb stakeholders have to show for it….NOTHING! I added the last 12 budgets and it adds to over 10 billion dollars. How much of that made it to the classroom. I bet less than 50%!

    Judge declines order, but the suit goes on and DCSS legal bills continue to rise. DCSS legal counsel and state legislator Ron Ramsey must be so proud.

    Looking at all the players in this mess one thing is strikingly evident. Most of the folks involved are current or former DeKalb-State legislators, looking after their own. Walker was right when he said he celebrates color when awarding DCSS contracts. In that regard Walker is being honest. How does SACS feel about that comment……

  7. Does he say exactly ‘how’ he intends to ‘clean up’? He doesn’t even know WHAT to clean up! And obviously he hasn’t bothered to ASK a teacher or a principal!

    If anyone else attended the ELPC meeting – please add your notes/recollections in the comments below!

  8. Ned says:

    Prediction 1: State Board recommends removal but Governor delays decision as long as possible, hoping the courts will block it and leave him looking like he wanted to help but just couldn’t do it.

    Prediction 2: DCSS BOE appeals Judge Lee’s order–which was made on the basis of DCSS not filing the required 5 days in advance–on the grounds that calendars are racist.

    Prediction 3: In the next election, fewer than half of these bozos get turned out.

  9. dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW
    You are absolutely right.

    Quote from Mr. Thurmond in AJC:
    “I am reaching out to stakeholders that have not had a special relationship with DeKalb Schools, including the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. I had a great initial meeting with them. I reached out to the DeKalb delegation. I was scheduled to meet with the DeKalb County Commission this morning but had to cancel. I met with Mark Elgart [head of the accrediting agency] today and had a great meeting with him. The lines of communication are open. People I’ve met seem to be at least hopeful that we are moving in the right direction”

    It is very telling that NOT ONCE did Mr. Thurmond mention the teachers as “stakeholders”. Why isn’t he meeting with teachers? It seems he met with everyone else. Aren’t teachers more important to students’ achievement than the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce?

  10. Mark says:

    Not a good start for Thurmond. From the North Druid Hills patch on the meeting today at Oak Grove:
    “Thurmond: Voters Partially Responsible for School Board Strife”
    http://northdruidhills.patch.com/articles/thurmond-voters-partially-responsible-for-school-board-strife?ncid=newsltuspatc00000003

  11. What stakeholders want to hear…. I will sit down with teachers, students and their parents. Find out what is good, what is bad and what must be changed.

    Instead we get… Edukalb, how did that work out DeKalb Chamber….. State delegation…really! SACS….Elghart instead of principals! Unreal….No sit downs with teachers and school house leaders, WITHOUT Tyson or anyone else for that matter, in the room. This stakeholder is not enjoying what the interim-interim is bringing, but is is very telling.

  12. teachermom says:

    I am glad that they will not get the delay. However, I feel like the evidence is there and just below the surface, for mismanagement of funds. I just feel jaded that I did not recognize how political this situation is and how it may never be resolved. I am trying to believe in justice but this whole situation has become outrageous. I again lay it at the feet of the watchdogs. I can’t do it as a teacher but the corruption is here and has been documented here on this site, and by SACS and even the Grand Jury. No, this is not a voter mistake. This is corruption, not just mismanagement and bickering. Thurmond is a joke if he thinks this system is about the board, it is not, it’s about the kids, failing the kids that is. I hope we have at least a few minutes of relief when they take the board down before the lawsuits start flying…

  13. OGParent says:

    Thurmond squarely laid blame on everyone else, and said he’s here to fix it. But when pressed on what he would specifically do to fix anything, he punted time and again using typical platitudes about ‘great challenges and greater opportunities.’

    No commitment to a forensic audit to locate mismanagement of funds. “i very likely might”
    No commitment to dealing with the bloated central office. “everyone deserves to be heard”
    No commitment to pushing more dollars to schools and teachers, despite 4 years without raises.
    No commitment to holding the board accountable, or even questioning their actions. He said it’s not his place.

    As best as I can tell, this is his commitment:
    1. Take $275k, plus stipends, county car, etc. Plus anything else he can wrangle in the next 12 months.
    2. Prevent losing accreditation by leveraging every political connection he has. Not fixing anything.
    3. Leave as a hero (in many minds) while not addressing any fundamental issues in the system.

    I was at the meeting at Oak Grove and found it painful at best, pathetic at worst. The parents were largely calm and asked pointed, deliberate questions. But as the political-speak droned on, the agitation level rose. When Thurmond started blaming the voters, people were stunned. When Thurmond acknowledged that his kids didn’t go to Dekalb public schools because they weren’t good enough…respect was gone. And his subversive sub-text that the problem in DCSS is somehow due to parents across the county not banding together and breaking down racial lines and equal opportunity, I think we all realized that this ship is going to go under.

    If the governor can’t suspend the board, then a recall election is necessary. But will the outcome be any different? It’s tragic.

  14. Parent of 3 says:

    If you are planning on attending the hearing tomorrow, please note that it is Disability Day at the Capitol. The events start at 9:00am with the rally at 11:00. Governor Deal is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. This is typically a well attended event so be prepared for traffic and possible challenges with parking and maybe street closures.

  15. howdy1942 says:

    Just got back from the meeting of the Dekalb County Board of Education. Dr. Melvin Johnson is your new chairman elected by a margin of 7 – 2, with Dr. Pamela Speaks and Nancy Jester in opposition.

    The meeting began at 5:40 p.m. and was over at 5:44 p.m. The following occurred:

    -I could not hear clearly, but I think that Donna Edler nominated Dr. Melvin Johnson
    -Nancy Jester nominated Dr. Pamela Speaks
    -Dr. Pamela Speaks declined.

    That left one candidate. There was some brief discussion about whether the vote could be by acclamation or if a vote needed to be taken. I think that Nancy Jester spoke up and called for a vote. That vote was 7 – 2.

    Dr. Eugene Walker then introduced his “good friend” Dr. Melvin Johnson.

    I did have the opportunity to speak with Dr. Pamela Speaks and expressed my disappointment that, for whatever reason, she declined to be nominated. In response, she stated that her election would never have happened. Apparently, this vote outcome was very well rehearsed behind the scenes and it was made clear to Dr. Speaks by the “establishment” that they had sufficient votes to defeat her.

    There was no discussion of candidates, qualifications, etc. It was short and, depending on your view, it was sweet or a joke.

    I don’t know Dr. Johnson. I understand that he was employed for about 30 years in the Dekalb County administration. I think that is a very big concern of SACS and many people, so it appear to look promising to address the bureaucracy and staff bloating. I hope that I am wrong.

    I did have the opportunity to express to my representative and to two other board members the outrage that I feel about Dekalb’s lawsuit against the state. I referenced Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (LA) recent comments when I said the Dekalb Board needs to stop being the “Board of Stupid” and the only way it can do that is to stop being stupid. My sense is that the Board has little, if any, support of that lawsuit.

    I look forward to tomorrow’s meeting with the State Board.

  16. plusone says:

    So to sum all of this mayhem up in short order….
    Thurmond thinks we are paying him $300k with benefits to use his political strings to regain Dekalb’s accredidation. Hmmmmmmm
    That’s like. Hitting the lottery with $1.00.

    So no one is. Going to address the central office bloat, never ending legal fees,over crowded classrooms, or morale. Hmmmmmm

    Back to normal for Dekalb.

  17. bjy1946 says:

    Another chapter in the continuing drama, “As The Stomach Turns”……sad, sad!

  18. The ride on the Friends and Family Bus goes round and round, round and round, round and round…….. Tyson is sitting at Thurmond’s side, $600k for interim and past super annual salaries. You think DCSS could get it right by now…. Teachers not sure if you are going to like what is about to be balanced on your backs for the fifth year in a row…..drumroll…..THE BUDGET! This just makes me sick to my stomach.

  19. This just in —

    From State Rep Mike Jacob’s email news:

    Fire the School Board

    Tomorrow, Thursday, February 21, is the day of reckoning for the DeKalb County Board of Education.

    The State Board of Education will meet at 8:00 a.m. on the 20th floor of the East Tower of the Sloppy Floyd Building in Downtown Atlanta to decide whether to recommend to the Governor that the DeKalb BOE be removed for running our school system into a ditch and jeopardizing its accreditation.

    I am hopeful that the State BOE will recommend removal, and that Governor Deal will accept their recommendation and end the DeKalb BOE’s reign of terror.

    The Sloppy Floyd Building is located across Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from the State Capitol. The State BOE is meeting is open to the public. Alternatively, you can click the following link to watch the meeting over the Internet via the State BOE’s website:

    http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/State-Board-of-Education/Pages/Live-Webcasts.aspx

    The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) placed the DeKalb BOE on probation for myriad reasons: school board members meddling in administrative matters such as hiring decisions and financial resource allocation, school board members meddling in the day-to-day administration of local schools, children without textbooks, approximately $12 million in textbook expenditures without any books to show for it, an excessive amount spent “lawyering up” for various lawsuits, and on and on and on.

    Now should be a time when the school board takes swift corrective action to save the accreditation that our school system is poised to lose in less than a year.

    But instead they have hired former State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, someone with no background whatsoever in public education, as our new superintendent of schools. Mr. Thurmond promptly pledged to make himself the only person to speak for the school board at tomorrow’s State BOE hearing. The board members should answer for themselves.

    The school board also hired the top-flight law firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge to provide “governance training” (no kidding) at a minimum price of $150,000.

    And yesterday the school board used your tax dollars to hire former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson to sue the Governor in Fulton County Superior Court for an injunction to prevent him from removing them from office. This is just plain offensive.

    All of this from a school board that SACS found to be spending too much on legal fees.

    As a parent of a child in the DeKalb County schools, I feel no need to sugarcoat this:

    Stop the insanity! Remove the school board.

    Please attend or tune-in tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. Our children and our community depend on the State BOE getting this right.

  20. no name says:

    Being the evening before the state BOE hearing, I would like to publicly tip my hat to all of the DCS employees who have submitted complaints to SACS and the federal DOE.

    I know several of you are central office employees who spoke up — you guys deserve a lot of credit for putting the children first!

    I hope that the Board’s removal will finally do away with the culture of fear and retribution that you have suffered under. I hope and pray that, once the board is gone, information about what has really been happening in DCS will start gushing out.

  21. no name says:

    Mark @ February 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM linked to the North Druid Hills patch on the meeting today at Oak Grove, which said: “Thurmond: Voters Partially Responsible for School Board Strife”

    Thurmond is correct. Just look back to how DSW2 endorsed Jim McMahan on July 29, 2012:
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/jim-mcmahan-for-dekalb-county-schools/

    How is that working out for ya’ll?

  22. dekalbite2 says:

    @no name
    So you think Womack was a better choice? Womack certainly didn’t work out well for my community as he stuck us with a cell tower – which by the way we are still fighting.

  23. John says:

    @no name; Good point.

    However, I believe it was the lesser of two evils. The options were to go with Womack who, in my view, was just as responsible for many of the decisions that led us to where we are today; or a newcomer who was born in the 20th Century, has children in the school district and was active in his home school. We all knew he was not a Nancy Jester. We were just rolling the dice, hoping that he wasn’t a Paul Womack. We crapped out!

    Jim McMahon is not a leader. He has proven that he is a total tool for Orson, Walker and the status quo. He has gotten his 15 minutes and we get to vote for a new rep next year. The problem lies with the candidate pool. Very few choices. I find it very disheartening. The last leader, and I do mean leader, we elected was Nancy Jester. Thanks to redistricting, we got Jim.

    It’s time to start fielding candidates.

  24. Pretty much all true, John. While we are relieved that Womack is off the board, we are unimpressed with Jim so far. However, he has only been serving on the board for about 6 weeks, So – Jim is definitely NOT responsible for the ‘strife’ Thurmond was referring to nor the associated elections. Truthfully though, we are disappointed in his voting record to date. We always hoped Walker would go along with Womack — WE KNEW when they were originally elected that it was going to be an old goat party…they have a looooong history – and it’s racially-based. Old School so to speak. But Walker has a spell over his voters that Womack obviously doesn’t enjoy.

    Also – it is true about Jim getting his seat after redistricting. When he filed to run in District 4, he actually lived in District 3. But after the new lines were drawn (as he was counting on) he ended up in District 4 and beat Womack. Why didn’t anyone else in the Lakeside/Tucker District 4 run against Womack? We have no idea… there certainly ‘should’ be hundreds of excellent candidates.

    Oh – the outrage!

    Oh – the apathy!

    Sigh!

  25. dekalbite2 says:

    @dsw
    There were 2 other candidates besides Jim and Paul Womack. I went to hear them debate. Sad to say but – IMO – Jim was as good as it got.

  26. dekalbite2 says:

    Didn’t the district Melvin Johnson came from get redistricted as well?

  27. John says:

    There will be a Lakeside Cluster Leadership Group meeting on Wednesday, February 27th at Henderson Middle School in the Media Center from 6 – 7 p.m.

    I know there will be representatives from Hawthorne attending. I will be suggesting that a top agenda item would be to begin recruiting a candidate that shares the values of our parents, teachers and students. One that will focus on decentralizing the power and putting it in the classroom. Specifically, a candidate that embraces a Portfolie District type approach.

  28. walk to school says:

    Hmmm. I am just wondering what type of teachers Dekalb will be able to attract with the continuing drama and more drama and then more drama. Teachers are people and most people with any sense are looking for a job with a future, where they can anticipate good or improving working conditions, adequate equipment and materials (We’re talking basics -soap and paper towels for kids and copy paper), raises- especially since the workload (paperwork and numbers of students per teachers) continues to rise, appreciation for work well done, and a focus on what they have trained to do in this case educating children. I’m afraid Dekalb may be losing teachers in droves and I’m not sure what kind of teachers will move to or stay with a system that continues to take away from the classroom each year to cover what was originally thought to be economic decline and is uncovered as poor management of resources, inappropriate use of funds, and legal fees on a what feels like a weekly basis.
    I’m worried about the erosion of experienced quality teachers and their classroom supports. Who will be teaching my child next year?.

  29. Concernedmom30329 says:

    I don’t think that Johnson’s district was impacted much from reapportionment.

    I intensely dislike Womack. In fairness, there were (and maybe still are) folks within the Lakeside community who wanted that tower.

  30. Exactly right DeKalbite. So, on Thurmond’s point that voters have culpability, we agree. Heck, we promoted Shayna Steinfeld over Womack back in 2008 but voters didn’t listen. She is a bankruptcy lawyer and former President of the Atlanta Bar!! Also, we endorsed Ernest Brown, who ran against Gene Walker in 2008 – but voters went with Walker. Had we elected Steinfeld and Brown perhaps we might not be in the predicament we’re in today. Just sayin’… Thurmond has a point here.

  31. Quoting Luke 23:34
    Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

    I was taught that what’s done in the dark will always come to the light. I truly believe that. Everyone had done what they could- signing petitions, writing letters, passing the word to friends and family- Uniting for a common cause. If anything, we should all be proud to know that we can come together to work for a common cause-

    Now is the time for serious prayer.May whatever higher power you believe in be with us all in prayer and in spirit -and may they see fit to do what is in the best interest for the children of DeKalb County Schools.

    Keep positive and in prayer!

  32. John says:

    No disrespect Denise, but we are going to need much more than prayer to get us out of this cluster.

  33. Ha! So, someone finally told the board “no”??? Oh my, that must be a first. Applause to the judge who told them to get over themselves and take responsibility for your actions. I hope it’s not true nor allowed for Mr. Thurmond to speak on the board’s behalf. He has NO idea what’s going on and would only offer his political/legal jargon/smokescreen (and likely fool everyone). Whoever is leading the meeting Thursday should certainly not allow it and make them (the board) answer for their own actions. I find it ridiculous that our new “super” has spent the majority of his first week in office focusing solely on this mess and not the true needs of the district (student, teacher, and school well being). I am not the least bit surprised, however, as he “owes it to the board” for his handsome pay day. I suppose the students and teachers really have nothing to offer him…?

    Would 77.7777% of this sad, egocentric, dilapidated, broken, irreparable board please step away from the children…teachers….schools…..

  34. Terry says:

    Is the live streaming open yet? Can’t seem to get it moving….. Maybe my computer is old? But it’s Win 7 with all updates… Is there an alternate way to watch?

  35. thedeal2 says:

    Terry, you should at least see some sort of introductory screen with “State Board Meeting” on it.

  36. thedeal2 says:

    Webcast is up and going now.

  37. Dun says:

    RealPlayer not working yet for me either. Perhaps they have not started broadcast yet

  38. plusone says:

    Is anyone providing updates? I cant stream from work.

  39. Dun says:

    i had to start using Internet Explorer instead of Firefox browser

  40. Dun says:

    dunwoody patch is blogging glive now

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