FWIW

For what it’s worth …

“The DeKalb County School [System] has launched a web page dedicated to
providing our community with progress and updates regarding the AdvancED
SACS Accreditation Review. This website will be updated on an ongoing
basis as we complete the work needed to regain full accreditation.”

The website can be accessed here:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/advanced-sacs-accreditation-review

From DSW:  Don’t hold your breath waiting on updates …

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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13 Responses to FWIW

  1. dekalbite2 says:

    It definitely looks like they are raising the millage rate, but aren’t they capped at 25 by the state and we are at 24.75? How will this solve all of the problems?

  2. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Higher taxes won’t pay off the deficit, never has, never will. Why don’t these folks understand this? It has to be a balanced approach….yada, yada, yada.

  3. Refugee from DVDs says:

    Day late. Dollar short. That is all.

  4. howdy1942 says:

    I was at this morning’s meeting of the Dekalb School Board. They did unanimously pass the deficit reduction plan, but I confirmed from two sources that there is no tax increase in the plan. I have not read or seen the plan. However, you are correct – there is a 25 mil limit that can be imposed by the School Board and they are right at that limit. The Board has now approved a measure that would reduce the deficit by $3.6 million until it is gone. That plan must now go to the State Board who can either accept it or reject it. I don’t think this will be a slam dunk!

    All of these lawsuits, specifically the ones contracting with a a law firm to provide “governance” training and the firm who is representing the board in its suit against the state, could not possibly have been included. The former is at least $170,000 and the second must already be very expensive – probably exceeding $500,000 already. That will only compound this deficit.

    I wish that the State could “seize” the county’s budget size it is in violation of state law (it is running a big deficit) and bring all of these wasteful expenditures to an abrupt end. Since McMahon and Marshal both voted for both, I now view these two as a big part of compounding our problems.

    This board has been grossly negligent for years. and just since the beginning of this year it has continued to be negligent. As all of us who have been following this Board and for all of those who watched the State Board hearings, one can only be shocked by what has happened. This board does not deserve a second chance and I’m very disappointed in Thurmond for even working to get that second chance. Children in our county only get one chance. This board had complete control over its destiny – if failed, miserably.

    I do feel for Speaks and Jester – they are the ones who blew the whistle to SACS and probably to anyone who would listen – about what has been going on. They have been fighting this Board, voting repeatedly against these wasteful actions. In fact, they both opposed hiring that firm for “governance training” and they opposed retaining that firm to sue the State. Johnson, McMahon, and Marshal voted for those expenditures. I wish that the Governor had removed the entire board. The three who remain on the board because they have served only since January 1, 2013, have continued the same wasteful spending that got us into this mess. In fact, SACS cited at least one of them who are already “meddling” in the affairs of the school. Each new member, had they been aware of SACS’ previous concerns, should have know that behavior was not permitted, yet they did it anyway. I don’t expect that Johnson will change, but I hope that McMahon and Marshal start talking to their constituents For one, I certainly don’t agree with or appreciate their votes since they took office. Since being put on probation, I have been working diligently in our community to keep our residents aware of what is happening – especially how McMahon is representing him.

  5. dekalbite2 says:

    We should all be very bothered that the Board ran a deficit budge which was against state law and there has been no investigation or prosecution. This summer DeKalb had to borrow $90,000,000 (interest not included) from FUTURE tax appropriations because they could not pay the teachers who instruct students along with the other employees:
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/school-system-to-borrow-millions-for-daily-operati/nQW89/

    If you suck this $90,000,000 out of the future (which in reality is today), we are deeper in the hole forever. This was robbing Peter to pay Paul. That’s why it’s illegal to do this:
    http://www.audits.ga.gov/NALGAD/36812-6.html

    Nancy Jester told the BOE members they were underestimating many line items and they would end up with a deficit especially since they had spent down ALL of the Reserve funds. They did it anyway even after she showed them the math. That is why the state auditor was so concerned in the SBOE meeting the other day. He knows what they did was against the law. That seems to warrant at least an investigation to me.

  6. REMiNDER:

    NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS

    In accordance with SPLOST IV and the 2011 10-year master facility plan, the DeKalb County School District proposes to phase-out 12 instructional facilities over the next five years: Austin Elementary Facility, Avondale High Facility, Clifton Elementary Facility, DESA/Terry Mill Facility, Fernbank Elementary Facility, Meadowview Elementary Facility, Midway Elementary Facility, Ronald McNair Middle Facility, Pleasantdale Elementary Facility, Rockbridge Elementary Facility, Smoke Rise Elementary Facility and Wadsworth Elementary Facility. These schools will be replaced by the construction of new facilities and repurposing existing facilities in the out years.

    Public hearings will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26 at the DCSD Administrative and Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain.

    Any attendance lines adjustments for any receiving schools and their adjacent schools in order to accommodate the relocated students within each school’s capacity limits will be discussed the year prior to phase out. Fernbank Elementary is presently scheduled to occupy Avondale Middle during the construction period.

    =====

    CLICK HERE to download the DCSS 10 year master plan.

  7. Very good points, DeKalbite. There are always so many twists and turns that we often forget to follow up on the crisis of ‘last week’…

    So – did we repay this loan by Dec 28 as promised?

    School system to borrow millions for daily operations

    The DeKalb County School District is borrowing $90 million to finance operations during the fall semester.

    The full school board gave unanimous approval Monday to Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s request to borrow the money until Dec. 28 at a 0.6 percent interest rate.

    The school system has spent its reserves, and the borrowed funds will cover salaries and other costs until taxes are collected near year’s end. The cost for financing and issuance is about $330,000, according to finance chief Michael Perrone.

  8. Thanks, Howdy1942! We feel exactly the same way you do. Had we realized that the Jim McMahan we thought we knew was not the “real” Jim McMahan and he apparently has some unbreakable, sworn-with-blood allegiance Marshall Orson, we would never have endorsed his candidacy. In fact, Jim’s transformation to Marshall’s sidekick and yes-man is so disturbing to us that it has made us reconsider whether we will ever endorse another candidate.

  9. howdy1942 says:

    If I’m reading the tea leaves right, both McMahon and Orson will be in trouble in 2014. I’m sure that they will be reminded of their votes for the “governance training” law firm, for the lawsuit to sue the State to protect failed board members, for their votes to make Atkinson “leave” and award her with a huge severance package, for their votes to hire Michael “for the children” Thurmond, and pay him a $275,000 salary plus a monthly expense account of $2600 that requires no receipts plus a driving allowances of almost $800 per month, etc., etc. They have compounded the financial difficulties of Dekalb County in the short time they have been in office. For one, I think that the $3.6 million per year that this Board voted today to pay back each year will be woefully inadequate. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that property values have decreased even further – that means tax assessments are going to have to go down. With the State cracking down on accurate appraisals and with the large number of appeals most likely, budgets are going to have to be cut further or taxes increased. I don’t think the people are ready to give the Board of Education – especially the suspended Board – more money!

    I hope that you’ll continue to endorse candidates – just be careful – and I’m speaking to myself more than to you!

  10. Retired DeKalb teacher says:

    Yes, Jim McMahon is a disappointment. I am not in his district but had contacted before election telling him he could place a sign in my yard. I emailed him yesterday to express my disappointment in him. He probably doesn’t read his emails I bet!

  11. dsw2contributor says:

    howdy1942 @ February 25, 2013 at 5:13 PM: “I do feel for Speaks and Jester – they are the ones who blew the whistle to SACS and probably to anyone who would listen – about what has been going on.”

    While I do not want to downplay what Speaks and Jester have done, they are not the ones who actually “blew the whistle to SACS”.

    SACS themselves have said they came back in to DCS because of “confidential complaints” they had received. Jester’s blog posts are certainly not “confidential complaints”, nor are the other actions Speaks and Jester have taken.

  12. info says:

    This new plan appears to be much of the same stuff we’ve encountered before.

    Student achievement gets little meaningful attention. The benchmark data is dismal: 1-10% passing. Tutorials? Saturday school? If these things worked, we wouldn’t be where we are.

    Teachers don’t need more data to use in the classroom. The district needs to use the data to set class sizes, put more teachers in classes, and offer more types of classes. Focusing on these issues is difficult only when you’re more concerned about employing people out of classes, no?

  13. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    dsw2contributor
    SACS would never EVER admit they came in because of Jester. “Confidential complaints” is vague and unsubstantiated. Jester is communicative and backs her assertions up. SACS has no documentation whatsoever. SACS references research by KPMG and plagiarizes Jester.

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