BREAKING NEWS! Nancy Jester Will Live Blog Today’s BOE Meetings at 2 PM

Nancy Jester will go live with her blog covering today’s (April 1, 2013) DCSS Board of Education meeting beginning at 2 PM.

DeKalb County School District Board Meetings
2:00pm Work Session
3:00pm Committee of the Whole – Discuss “Board Norms” (below)
5:45pm Community Meeting for Public Comments
7:00pm Business Meeting

2:00 PM – Open Real-time Blog
6:45 PM – Patch Interview With Nancy on Real-time Blog
7:00 PM – Open Real-time Blog

Is it just us or is anyone else concerned that a BOE Work Session has been scheduled for 2:00 PM when the public cannot watch and be involved?

Is it just us or is anyone else concerned that the BOE will have yet ANOTHER Executive Session?

Is it just us or is anyone else concerned there is literally NO time between the Work Session and the Business Meeting for the public — you know, the taxpayers … those who foot the bills — to communicate with BOE members regarding concerns raised by discussion at the Work Session?

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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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37 Responses to BREAKING NEWS! Nancy Jester Will Live Blog Today’s BOE Meetings at 2 PM

  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    Yes, I am very concerned but not surprised.

  2. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    One of the board members asked Perone to explain what QBE is. So we have that going for us.

  3. bettyandveronica1 says:

    They just approved the public mtgs. When did they advertise the dates? How do I not know abt th mtg?

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    Who is the lady in the red suit? It’s puzzling because she seems to indicate she is working for DeKalb. Is this a consultant? It’s sure a lecture.

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    Ramona, you just don’t get it!

  6. Concerned Citizen says:

    MJ: …(referring to the Supt) “how he want this done”… It is not OK for the chairman of the board to be making this kind of error…the example to the children and the insult to the staff is devasting.

  7. Chamblee Dad says:

    @DIO, not even lurking on NJ’s today, just got back from 2 hour meeting w/my kid’s teacher & principal,so no time, but please you & others provide summary. Thanks!

  8. Are you talking about the woman wearing a dark pink (that’s what it looks like on my TV) suit and white shoes? She is a new BOE member.

  9. Why did this year’s SPLOST oversight committee have to sign non-disclosure agreements? Isn’t the whole point of an OVERSIGHT committee that they communicate to the public if they find something wrong???

  10. Earnst and Young?? Oh good, he can verify the salary audit that told ud about the duplicate jobs, among other things.

    Does it matter that the already spent the SPLOST funds and NOW the decide to introduce the committee??

  11. dekalbite2 says:

    @DeKalb inside out
    From your question on Nancy Jester’s blog:
    “DeKalbInsideOut: DSW, who did the teacher/administrator ratio analysis where dekalb had more administrators to teacher than anybody around?”

    Here is the link showing admin and support certified personnel to teachers in DeKalb compared to the other metro systems:
    “Too Many Chiefs and not Enough Indians”

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/02/too-many-chiefs-and-not-enough-indians.html

    This analysis was done in 2011, but DCSS has not appreciably reduced the numbers so it’s still a valid comparison. This is exactly the data that the new BOE members need to be asking for.

  12. Thank you for digging up that link, dekalbite2. The search bar at the old blog is a great tool. If anyone is looking for history, please go there and enter your search terms in the box.

    Again – here is the employment overview for the past several years:

    Please click on the pages under our tab at the top of the blog marked DCSS FILES. There is a lot of info there – real verifiable info. For instance, below is what we have cobbled together regarding the budgets. There is ALWAYS a lot of talk about CUTS and they manage to cut quite a few teachers (mostly by way of attrition) but then when you look at the end of year actual dollars spent – it rarely shows much of a decrease. It’s a mystery! Bottom line: Don’t believe what they ‘say’ – always check the facts.

    History of the budgets:

    2008
    16,547 employees (17,885 total, minus 1,338 substitutes)
    proposed operating budget:
    actual operating budget:
    total budget for salaries: $682,700,557.50
    October FTE count: 98,815

    2009
    15,751 employees (17,376 total, minus 1,625 substitutes)
    proposed operating budget:
    actual operating budget:
    total budget for salaries: $685,513,110.53
    October FTE count: 99,406

    2010
    15,615 employees (16,668 total, minus 1053 substitutes)
    proposed operating budget:
    actual operating budget: $836,598,734.20
    total budget for salaries: $672,341,959.87
    October FTE count: 98,115

    2011
    14,962 employees (16,207 total, minus 1245 substitutes)
    proposed operating budget: $746.64 million
    actual operating budget: $807,823,774
    total budget for salaries: $645,373,862.33
    October FTE count: 97,313

    And here is Nancy Jester’s chart on the data showing that virtually NO cuts were made to administration – and in fact, administrative costs increased – even as other budgets decreased — proof that almost ALL of the cuts came directly from classrooms:

    Salary Category FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 (budget) % change from FY08 to FY13
    Instructional salaries 415,285,549 416,612,724 392,967,691 374,785,950 373,853,144 328,233,395 -20.96%
    Pupil services salaries 32,067,781 32,308,574 32,976,402 31,650,864 30,798,699 26,084,183 -18.66%
    Instructional services salaries 13,228,134 12,610,858 12,626,332 11,217,545 10,799,878 8,176,069 -38.19%
    General Admin salaries 6,083,571 7,568,035 7,654,011 6,641,160 6,759,728 6,961,900 14.44% The only salary component that has increased over 6 years
    School Admin salaries 51,144,189 50,835,527 50,384,018 49,201,490 46,147,591 42,212,907 -17.46%
    Transportation salaries 32,955,785 32,977,365 30,908,337 29,826,399 30,614,613 25,717,953 -21.96%
    Maint. & Op. salaries 44,066,056 44,121,903 42,321,098 39,814,969 37,524,036 31,773,747 -27.90%
    Supporting Services salaries 16,855,598 16,876,031 15,018,788 13,188,561 12,669,691 11,826,679 -29.84%
    Total Salaries 611,686,663 613,911,017 584,856,677 556,326,938 549,167,380
    480,986,833 -21.37%

    Now, click the tab at the top of the blog labeled DCSS Files and then choose Budgets and Audits.

    Scroll down to Nancy Jester’s chart:
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/dcss-files/budgets-and-audits/

  13. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Chamblee Dad…just got on myself, I was at the school assisting with rehearsal for this weeks Talent Show. 2pm work session and 6pm meeting, I will need to start recording on DVR next month. I need a life too…maybe a meeting about the meeting at The Bat and Ball!
    Headed to the patch to see what is going on!

  14. dekalbite2 says:

    So they are forecasting “only 7% to 10% of staff leaving”. My goodness this is over 600 teachers. Wow! And they are satisfied with this? How detrimental for students. How can HR and Mr. Thurmond be satisfied with a figure that is so obviously out of line with other metro systems and so negative for students?

    Comparing this to other metro area shows that the attrition rate for teachers in metro Atlanta averages around 4% a year (extrapolated from actual data over a ten year period of time – see link below). That means DeKalb’s attrition rate is forecasted to be double that of the metro area and no one on Thurmond’s team has a problem with that. The problems are reserved for the students, not the administrators. Look at the state study in Georgia regarding teacher attrition:
    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/09/20/state-study-suggests-georgia-teachers-are-not-fleeing-classroom-stability-highest-in-rural-areas/

  15. Bye bye says:

    What was perrones report on next years budget?

  16. Dekalb School Board for Dummies says:

    How many furlough days will teachers face next year?

  17. sam123 says:

    Can we trust what Michael Thurmond says. Recently, he said that he had not hired anyone under his watch. According to board meeting notes on the school website, 80..some people were hired the last month. Thirty-four were contract employees. So what else has he said that is inaccurate!

  18. Acheolus says:

    When does school start? Has the new board done something intelligent and opted out of the ‘balanced’ calendar?

  19. John Hope says:

    sam123, you are being awfully harsh with your comment. If he said he has not hired anyone he means he has not hired any direct reports not staff members hired by others in the field.

  20. @Acheolus: Maureen Downey at the AJC has a post on the subject of the calendar. It looks like the new Board has voted to halt changing to the ‘balanced’ version.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2013/04/01/calendar-wars-dekalb-school-board-calls-truce-tonight-with-parents-delays-change-to-balanced-calendar/

  21. John Dewey III says:

    To: All DeKalb Employees
    From: Mr. Michael Thurmond
    Subject: Board Votes to Delay Implementation of Balanced Calendar
    Date: 2 April 2013

    Dear Fellow DeKalb County School District Employees,

    At its April 1 meeting, the DeKalb County Board of Education voted to delay the implementation of the district’s balanced calendar until the 2014-15 school year. With it, the Board adopted a Traditional Calendar.

    The proposed Traditional Calendar developed by the Calendar Committee contains the following features:
    · 180 student-contact days;
    · 189 teacher-contract days with the final day (Day 190) being comprised of four (two hours each/two per semester) conference nights during the year as scheduled by each local school;
    · Takes into account state-designated testing windows and dates;
    · Concludes the first semester before the Winter Break in December which prevents students from returning from the break with final exams and End of Course Tests; and
    · Schedules Spring Break April 7-11, 2014.

    The delay of implementation of the Balanced Calendar allows the district to explore additional calendar options and obtain further input from the community.
    Thanks again for all you do.
    Sincerely,
    Michael L. Thurmond
    Interim Superintendent

  22. Chamblee Dad says:

    Thumbs down for not “lurking” on the NJ like blog of the board meeting because I was meeting in person with my kid’s teacher & principal. I love this place.

    DIO, did I miss anything from NJ, not the meeting itself, but did participating in her blog bring new knowledge & insight? Funny – had to fix that, at first I typed “incite.” Maybe thinking of your Spring Revolution?)

  23. Updated info on the calendar – from Aha! News in Dunwoody…
    http://www.theahaconnection.com/2013/04/like-it-or-not-dekalb-votes-6-2-for-balanced-calendar/

    New DeKalb School Board reverts back to the traditional calendar

    At its April 1 meeting, the DeKalb County Board of Education voted to delay the implementation of the district’s balanced calendar until the 2014-15 school year. With it, the Board adopted a Traditional Calendar. The proposed Traditional Calendar developed by the Calendar Committee contains the following features:

    180 student-contact days;
    189 teacher-contract days with the final day (Day 190) being comprised of four (2 hrs.
    each/2 per semester) conference nights during the year as scheduled by each local school;
    Takes into account state-designated testing windows and dates;
    Concludes the first semester before the Winter Break in December – which prevents students from returning from the break with final exams and End of Course Tests (EOCT)
    August 12th is first day of school.
    Week of Thanksgiving is off
    Two weeks between Christmas and New Years is off.
    Schedules Spring Break April 7-11, 2014.
    May 23rd is last day of school.

    The delay of implementation of the Balanced Calendar allows the district to explore additional calendar options and obtain further input from the community.

    Click here for the link to the 2013-2014 school calendar as approved by the DCSS BOE.

  24. In other news…

    Duo to Urge Charter School Cluster Status at Tuesday Meeting

    Jim Redovian and activist Pam Tallmadge will appear at the Kingsley Charter School Council meeting, in Dunwoody, Tuesday.

  25. @Bye Bye: Click these links to download Perrone’s Financial reports:

    The Budget:
    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/TempFolder/Meetings/2013_02%20DCSD%20Board%20Financials_4392105q010unoxc5erxfwkgpqwavd.pdf

    Contracts:
    (This is the kind of report we asked for, as did Dr. Walker and were all told by Atkinson that it would take staff too much time to generate, although we found it at the state DOE website, as the system has to submit these reports to the state.)
    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/TempFolder/Meetings/VENDOR%20SPENDS%20FY2013%20-%20FEB_4392115q010unoxc5erxfwkgpqwavd.pdf

    And FWIW, this is the link to the March HR report:
    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/TempFolder/Meetings/Human%20Resources%20Monthly%20Report_4402155q010unoxc5erxfwkgpqwavd.pdf

  26. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    Chamblee Dad,
    I thought the real-time blog was very productive. Here are some highlights. Peruse through the whole thing if you get the chance ….
    http://whatsupwiththat.nancyjester.com/2013/03/28/377/
    * Majority of viewers prefer separate days for Session and Board Meetings
    * Majority of viewers don’t think that adding “Friends and Family” verbiage to hiring practices will help
    * NJ concerned that the board doesn’t know what QBE is
    * Teacher contracts show hourly rate and not annualized salary
    * NJ “calendars don’t correlate to different (better) student outcomes. I made that statement last year but the former Superintendent insisted that a “balanced” calendar would translate into better achievement results.

  27. And in still more other news…

    Atlanta test cheating: Tip of the iceberg?

    It would be easy to think that the Atlanta cheating scandal by adults on standardized tests is the worst we have seen, given last week’s startling indictment against former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 others under a law used against mobsters.

    But you shouldn’t.

    Read more>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/01/atlanta-test-cheating-tip-of-the-iceberg/

    Looks like Cox News Washington Bureau influenced the NCLB people to look into pervasive cheating.

  28. Chamblee Dad says:

    @DIO Thanks! So I guess that’s just what I need – more school stuff to read, was half hoping you would say nothing worthwhile. But really not. I think it could be a good resource over the coming months.

  29. howdy1942 says:

    @John Hope – Then Superintendent Thurmond needs to be more careful on what he is saying. Perhaps he is saying that he, personally, has not hired anyone lately – but “he” is really Dekalb County Schools.

    On another note, I’ve been impressed with how Dr. Erroll Davis has cleaned out and clean up the Atlanta Public School System. He didn’t waste any time calling people who had caused the APS mess to account and separating them from the school system. I hope that we will see this happen in Dekalb County. We just didn’t happen into this humongous mess – people got us here! I can’t help but believe that Crawford Lewis and Pat Pope are but the tip of the iceberg. A lot of people on this blog are saying that many in the administration should go, especially at the top. I would say that there is a lot of smoke coming from their rooms and Superintendent Thurmond needs to see if there is a fire.

    I said a long time ago that neither Crawford Lewis or Pat Pope will ever be convicted in Dekalb County. I just hope that there is at least a trial.

  30. Concerned Citizen says:

    What did anyone think of the content of the board meeting April 1, at what was accomplished? I think Thurmond must answer as to why he has not made good on his promise to present a plan by March 15. I think the reports made by Tyson, Howe, Perrone, Thurmond, and Smith were very revealing as to their ineptness in their positions. Several board members rather mildly admonished them for not having everything together. It might have sent a message to Thurmond, not sure.

  31. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    4/1 – Board Meeting Thoughts
    * QBE – At least one board member doesn’t know what QBE is.
    * Most people don’t like Works Session and Business meeting on the same day.
    * Board asked for things they won’t get: more budget details, comparison and analysis reports, guides and research on various educational issues, etc …
    * Dr Morley and Carter regarding board norms and behavior was embarrassing.

    We need to be united in our positions
    Dr Morley and Carter stressed the board needs to have a unified position on the issues. This disturbs me the most. If it doesn’t disturb you, would you expect the legislature to have a unified position on the issues?

  32. @Howdy: Compare Erroll Davis’ bio — he is an educator and a businessperson with vast experience. Thurmond is a politician.

    On July 1, 2011, Erroll B. Davis, Jr. was appointed superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, a system of 50,000 students and 6,000 employees with an annual operating budget of $578 million. Prior to this position, Davis served as chancellor of the University System of Georgia. As chancellor, he was responsible for the state’s 35 public colleges and universities, approximately 302,000 students, 40,200 faculty and staff, and an annual budget of approximately $6.3 billion.

    Davis took office as chancellor in early 2006. Previously, he had served as chairman of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation – an energy holding company with $8.3 billion in total assets and annual operating revenues of $3 billion at that time – since 2000. Davis joined Alliant in 1998 as president and chief executive officer. He retired from his dual roles as president and CEO in July 2005, and retained the chairman’s post until his move to the university system.

    Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Davis served as president and CEO of WPL Holdings from 1990 to 1998. From 1978 to 1990, he rose through the senior management ranks at Wisconsin Power and Light Company, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and president.

    Davis’ higher education experience includes serving as a member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994, and as a former chairman of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, of which he is a life member. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Davis earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965, and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Chicago in 1967. He is a member of the board of directors of General Motors and Union Pacific Corp., and serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) board and on the advisory board of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) along with numerous professional associations and civic organizations. He is a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board (2004-2008) and the University of Chicago Board of Trustees.

  33. ShooShee says:

    Bizarre moment of the day: At Special Olympics, Donna Edler walking through the crowd shaking hands with her fancy brass name tag saying her name and “DeKalb BOE”!!

  34. Concerned Citizen says:

    Thank you, DeKalb Inside Out, for verifying in my mind that I have not totally lost my senses through all the machinations of this school system. Yes, the dog and pony show was humiliating to any thoughtful adult. But what happened? The Board went crazy with the razz mu taz! I thought I was dreaming. Yesterday, I left a long comment on what I think of the meeting, and it was deleted. I’m really sorry, DeKalb School Watch2, because I do tremendously admire your work, but I am still able to think for myself and can recognize foolishness when I see it. The entire meeting, except the few parents who spoke, was outrageous and embarrassing.

  35. @Concerned: We did not delete a comment of yours. It may have gotten tangled up in spam… Did you ever see it post at all? If you copied and pasted it somewhere on your hard drive, try posting it again. We apologize if it got trashed. We try to clean the spam folder out carefully but sometimes we miss spotting real posts in with the rest of the spam – and there’s a lot!

    Also, you can contact us at dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com and re-send your comment.

  36. It disturbs us, too.

    Further, would you expect the members of the Georgia General Assembly to have a unified position on the issues because they were ordered to do so by an unelected potentate (Elgart) — or be removed from their elected positions because they didn’t “play nice.” We don’t much like to find ourselves in the position of agreeing with BOE members who have damaged DCSS. However, we also have a problem with an unelected nabob (Elgart) using undocumented claims (“we didn’t save our notes”) to put duly elected people out of office — especially when one of those people was a whistleblower (Nancy Jester) who brought to everyone’s attention problems that Elgart and his gang should have found years earlier during one of their “all expenses paid” trips to evaluate DCSS.

    From Don McChesney’s just-published blog post:
    (1) “Ponder this with me: Do you think anyone could get elected [to DCSS BOE] if they stated in public they did not know what QBE was? Would you vote for someone who didn’t understand how our state funds education? In addition to not understanding QBE, one of the board members didn’t realize that a number of teachers and paras were RiF’d last year. Where have you been? Right now you have six appointed board members and three elected ones. That is quite a mix. You have one third of the population properly represented and two thirds unconstitutionally represented. Tell me that our legislature and the governor really thought through this one.”

    (2) “I remember asking about Success For All (SFA). We asked if the teachers had proper input. Dr. Speaks specifically asked about the handling of the schoolhouse voting to approve the use of SFA. We were assured by a top member of the Atkinson team” (DSW note: Wasn’t that person Kathy Howe?) “that teachers got to vote regarding the use of SFA in their schools. Based on what a staff member said Monday, the previous Board was clearly, purposefully given incorrect information. Why? If we know this, what other information provided by the administration is false? Could it be that information in the SACS report is suspect?”

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