It’s a small DeKalb after all!

Let’s play a game of Connect the Dots . . .

Dekalb__connect_the_dotsBy now, we all know about the 15-count indictment of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. We remember that a former DeKalb Superintendent and COO were indicted in 2010 and their cases are still pending. And, of course, the DeKalb Board of Education was removed after the sole accreditor, SACS/AdvancED downgraded the district’s accreditation status to “probation”, opening the door for the Governor to exercise his legal power to take drastic action.

Add to this mix, the recent formation of new cities (the City of Lakeside being led by a committee comprised of power players such as former DeKalb School Board member/State School Superintendent, Brad Bryant who is currently Executive Director of Georgia Foundation for Public Education), new areas seeking to incorporate and, talk of independent school districts forming – DeKalb County, GA is in crisis.

The DeKalb Crisis Connections Matrix:

A common thread in DeKalb’s various governmental issues is that the governmental executive, whether elected (DeKalb County CEO) or hired (DeKalb County School Superintendent), has unchecked operational and fiscal control. Let’s call this The CEO Model. With school boards and county commissions, there rests little power to robustly hold the executive or superintendent – the CEO – accountable.

The only tool the school board has is simply to hire and fire the superintendent. They have no other way to hold the superintendent accountable or even to get accurate data about district expenditures, staffing and programs – even as they are asked to approve expenditures of more than $100,000, approve hiring of staff, and approve a budget that may have no resemblance to financial reality. What is “financial reality”? No one knows. In the end, the only option the school board has is the nuclear option of firing a superintendent. Boards are hesitant to pull that trigger because it requires them to deal with all the perception problems, the contractual golden parachute dilemma, instability, legal entanglements, etc.

Let’s be clear, a strong executive system combined with a weak decision/policy making body increases the likelihood the executive has the opportunity to engage in unethical behavior (kickbacks, vendor favoritism, tainted information delivered to the board and obstruction and/or manipulation of facts and data).

The CEO Model for DeKalb does not work. The school system and county government are showing evidence of the “Curley Effect”. There appear to be no checks and balances that can counter this executive control. The SACS version of governance fails and we should all take special note of what Dr. Elgart said to ousted board member Sarah Copelin-Wood in her reinstatement hearing: “You’re not there to represent the constituents who voted you into office.” In quiet little corners while we were not paying attention, Dr. Elgart enshrined governance principles that disenfranchised voters. Yep, the board is gone, those naïve about DeKalb politics have been played and we all have to admit things won’t get better.

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This entry was posted in DeKalb County [GA] Board of Education, DeKalb County, Georgia, Education in the South, Fraud & Corruption, Friends-and-Family, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., SACS/Accreditation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

89 Responses to It’s a small DeKalb after all!

  1. PI says:

    In our haste to make things better, we inadvertently created the potential to ensure the status quo….

    I see a more polished school board now, even if they need to brush up on their ethics and business skills. I believe that if you’re trying to increase the quality of students coming from DCSD, then you need to communicate with a significant level of competence, and that was all too lacking from more than a few of our previous school board members. Speaking in their “vernacular” was and is completely unacceptable when you attempt to pass yourself off as an official.

    Do people care about quality anymore?

  2. ursokm16 says:

    the good thing about this is the way things work will soon become common knowledge–and the ajc will be forced to do its job. the last article about ellis noted that the recordings from Brown’s office were not filed in the indictment, while the conversations from the other two offices were. However, the article failed to mention their other report about Brown being appointed to vet school board applicants. of course, ajc never mentions what is public info–that brown is a contractor to all dekalb agencies, etc.
    the more these guys try to circle the wagons the more the noose tightens–eventually all they will be able to do is count on the judiciary for malfeasance…and that comes apart at some point too. why do you think all of these lawsuits and investigations are complicated and delayed? they run into each other and can’t be manipulated forever to hide the players.

  3. concerned citizen says:

    We are looking at the facts when we connect the dots. This is an amazingly accurate depiction of what has happened and who has done it. I doubt if these players even know what they’ve done to the schools, let along other functions. They have been blinded by power and encased in the security of friends and family. Elgart has played a duplicitous role with Adkinson, Walker, Brown, Bryant, Deal, Thurmond, Lewis, former and current board members,former superintendents such as Freeman and Halford, Melvin Johnson, Bouie, Ramsey, Smith, Turk, Perrone, everyone especially the taxpayers who thought mistakenly that Elgart was here to clean up the DeKalb School System. NO, not so, not at all! Deeper and darker into the money game and protecting the status quo at all costs is where he is. Unless DeKalb breaks off or the taxpayers rebel and kick every one of the gang out, we can only look for more and more (is it possible?) corruption. WE all have had blinders on. What a revelaton this article is! Where to go from here? This is a brilliant piece of work that takes us from rumors and simple stupidity to actionable perjury and fraud.

  4. I suspect the author of this article is GetTheCellOut, whose previous posts, blogs and comments on this board and the Patch connect all dots back to schools and cell phone towers.

    I would like to correct and clarify this post: Brad Bryant is not on the board or leading the Lakeside City Alliance, and has never been on the board or involved in the LCA. He and former DeKalb Board Member Terry Morris are long-time residents of this community, support the effort and did co-host a fundraiser at my home on May 3. I have been friends with Brad and Terry for 20+ years, and asked them to co-host the event because of these friendships and our shared interest in potential cityhood for this area and a better DeKalb County.

    While I appreciate your consideration of the leaders of the LCA board as “power players”, the fact is that like many of LCA’s supporters, we are longtime residents of the community who have been active in school, civic and other activities in our community and in a desire to see our neighborhoods preserved, protected and improved, are exploring the potential of cityhood in this area by raising funds to commission the required feasibility study to determine if cityhood is economically viable.

    The basic reasons we are interested in exploring cityhood for this community:

    1) To provide local control to our community.
    2) To efficiently manage our tax dollars.
    3) To provide a voice to tens of thousands of people in this area who, in the opinion of many, have not a significant voice in the administration of lives.
    4) Instead of seven people representing 700,000 citizens, a city might have one representative for every 7-10 thousand, and these would be people who live, work and play in our community.

    We are not exploring cityhood to create a new school system, and make this very clear in our presentations and on our website.

    For more information, please visit our website at http://www.lakesidealliance.org. or feel free to contact me at info@lakesidealliance.org or call the LCA voicemail number – 404-939-1638

  5. Hopespringseternal says:

    I’ve wondered the past few years whether a superintendent has undergone the annual evaluation process which I believe is required by law. The commissioners don’t evaluate the CEO but the board evaluates the superintendent. I don’t know if interim superintendents are evaluated; if Atkinson was here long enough for an evaluation; or if the past few years there’s been any evaluation outcome which points to a super not meeting the stated goals. (The establishment of those goals is presumably a predecessor process, agreed upon by board and super.)

    If we insert reason and logic here, the idea is simple: have our past supers established and met goals, yes or no? Budgets, staffing and assessment goals are the obvious ingredients for such an evaluation, so it makes me wonder about what any super has as a stated goal in this district. While the actual outcome of an employee evaluation is not for public consumption, I believe the public deserves to at least know if the board is churning through superintendents because it hung its hat on stated, measurable, actionable goals.

    Doesn’t look like it.

  6. Thanks for the clarity Mary Kay. FWIW, No, Cheryl did not write this post, nor does she write any opinion posts for this blog – she has her own blog. We sometimes offer links to her blog, but that’s all. She has a more myopic agenda than we. Was there mention of cell towers in this post? Not sure where you made that connection. This post was merely pointing out that in fact, DeKalb is a very, very small world.

    Question: What exactly is not being ‘preserved, protected and improved’ in the Lakeside area? Do you have examples of where your voice was not heard or ignored? Are you saying that Jeff Radar is ineffective? Not being a pain – just wanting to know more details. Your reasons for incorporating aren’t really clear to us. Also, will you have enough business in the city to hold the property taxes down?

  7. Betsy Parks says:

    Really?

    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/notes-from-the-may-6-2013-dekalb-delegation-meeting-on-city-formation/ We don’t always agree with Ms Miller. But, she did take her time to go to the meeting and send us a complete report. We are volunteers with jobs, families and other commitments — in addition to everything the blog requires. We cannot go to every meeting and we are always grateful when someone does and sends us a report. We will publish their report in the interest of keeping our readers informed. If you would like to cover a meeting of interest to our readers, we will be happy to consider publishing it, as well. We are grateful for the help.

    Looks like she does to me.

  8. @Betsy: If you were to go to a meeting and write up a report and send it to us, we would publish it as well.

  9. PI says:

    And my FWIW to throw on the pile:

    Anyone that has taken a long, hard look at their community’s needs and finds an area wanting (education, services, representation, etc.) and actually steps up to do something about it – even organizing cityhood movements -deserves praise for their efforts. It seems to me like some on this posting board are vilifying the City of Lakeside organizers for being concerned citizens and actually doing something to make their community stronger and their children’s futures brighter.

    Anyone that wants to counter this with Lakeside’s inclusion/exclusion zones or their disdain for the social circles running this movement should realize that this cityhood issue didn’t start with the idea of excluding people or creating new social stratification in the area, it started with the simple premise of increasing their quality of life and developing a business model to make it happen.

    Given the proper resources, who wouldn’t want to make life better in their community?

  10. Betsy —
    Here’s an opportunity: The DCSS Administrator’s Leadership Conference will be held, beginning tomorrow, on Monday and Tuesday, June 24 & 25? These people are all on the public payroll — paid for by our tax dollars. They will be discussing administrative leadership for the coming school year in our tax-supported public schools. This meeting should be open to anyone from the public who is interested.

    Would you be willing to attend and report on this meeting? You don’t have to stay for the whole meeting. Just pair up with a friend or two or three and do a relay.

    Send us your notes and we will write them up, get your approval that we have interpreted your notes correctly, and publish them — with or without your name — your choice.

    How about it?

  11. @PI and all – I have no issue with citihood – and tend to support it – northern states are full of cities and small towns – not big counties as sole governmental agencies. I just thought Mary Kay and LCA’s reasons stated seemed vague and lacked specifics (as does their website, IMO). But more than that, this post was not about citihood – pro or con – just a post showing ‘relationships’. Also, Ms Miller has nothing to do with the comment, the post or this blog – except for her posted report on a meeting on the subject (Notes from the May 6, 2013, DeKalb Delegation Meeting on City Formation).

  12. Post Writer says:

    As the author of the blog, I would like to let readers and commenters know that I didn’t write this article to express any opinion about the cityhood efforts. I am supporter of the various cityhood efforts. I live in an already incorporated part of DeKalb. The purpose of the article is not a commentary about cityhood in DeKalb (I’m a supporter). The article was to draw attention and examine the connections between the recent indictment of the DeKalb CEO, a former Superintendent and COO, and the accreditation saga of DeKalb schools. I hope that everyone will stay focused on the connections that the media and our leaders have not researched and/or shared with the public.

    It should be alarming to us that Mr. Brown was named a co-liaison to DCSS. When he was a board member at Grady his company received millions of dollars in contracts with the hospital. His firm bids and secures contracts with DCSS. He was involved with the “Friends of DeKalb” and gave advice on vendors. Why are we not outraged that he has been placed in a position of importance advising the Governor and the Board of Ed? Isn’t this a massive conflict of interest? Compare that to the public outrage with Jay Cunningham and the much smaller amount his pizza business is said to have made selling pizza to schools. I’m not defending Cunningham but I am pointing out the convenient double standard applied to Mr. Brown. Strike that – there are NO standards being applied to Mr. Brown. You cannot replace poor governance by utilizing the advice of people that have a record of being involved in even larger governance failures.
    The end result of the ousting of the former board is that the powers that have pillaged our community and destroyed our schools have risen like a Phoenix from their ashes. With Thurmond and the former Lewis staff back in charge, we are poised to see even more destruction. How long before Marcus Turk is brought back? His mother lives next door to Michael Thurmond! The Friends and Family Crew must be laughing at us all. Their “go to person”, Ramona Tyson, has Mark Elgart, the state DOE and others wrapped around her finger. The joke is on us and so it goes.

  13. hopespringseternal says:

    “How long before Marcus Turk is brought back? His mother lives next door to Michael Thurmond!”

    Oh my. See, this is what I get for looking for those pesky little buggers Reason & Logic. What’s more frightening is the dozen more thumbs-up that comment will receive. Sigh.

  14. Kenwoody says:

    When reading the blog post I inferred that that the author suggests there are fundamental problems with the “Strong CEO and Weak Board Oversight” model of governance regardless of whether “Mister Strong” is elected or hired. Could be wrong–it is just my inference.

    But to all those being enticed into Cityhood with the “one rep for seven thousand is better than one rep for seven hundred thousand” calculus I suggest you ponder the above point. The one thing all these New Cities have in common is “Strong City Manager, Weak Mayor & Council”. Regardless of how many others “your” councilperson also represents, the fact is these Cities are structured to ensure that your councilperson is largely powerless. You are much better off being golfing buddies with the City Manager than having “your” councilperson on speed-dial.

  15. Once upon a time about 8 months ago I posted on DSW that Get the Cell Out and I had stumbled across some big names, and some serious information. We had diagrams, and names, and It was at these meetings that we uncovered links and ties- which included many DeKalb County School Board members. all linking back to DeKalb County CEO’s office.

    As we began our fact gathering, we found that a company owned by my opponent provides out sourcing services for all of DeKalb County. We had interviews with people who point blank stated who supported and paid whom to run against me and things done to split the vote because I was not in the equation and a very unexpected “problem”

    In fact, my opponent knew in March that the job was his based on the financial and political path that had already been put in place by Dr. Walker again I reiterate that DeKalb County School Board Seat for District 6 was a done deal in March, but no one expected him to have any opposition.

    So we discovered this , but in digging further it became apparent the magnitude of the situation. What we pieced together started to become very scary as names started being connected, and money and companies behind it- (not to mention the strong arm of some of our former board members- you began seeing an upward chain of where that power was coming from- and when you got there we all the sudden stopped.

    We were both visibly shaken and scared – turned pale and suddenly we got really quiet. We made a decision not to talk about it on the phone or computer- but we both realized that this was a no joke serious thing ….So I have sat back quietly- We had diagrams names, and a lot of fear…We trended quietly keeping the information in the back of our mind….

    So once upon a time, about 8 months ago, I mentioned this very thing to you on the board- and you shot us down. Actually downright treated me as if I were crazy and pretty much attempted to put me in my place – You told me that this was in our minds- Specifically to present the evidence and that you did not believe us….It was at that point that I realized that this forum was very closed minded, and truly did not respect the opinions of others unless it was on the same mindset or philosophy that it’s moderator was preaching. It was at that point that I begun to become a SILENT observer of the comments on this board- only coming out to speak when I find it just too unbearable to keep my mouth shut.

    My Mom always said what’s done in the dark always comes to light..The dots have always been connected- it was just people were not willing to see them. When CEO Ellis’ house was raided I knew it was just a matter of time. We saw it 8 months ago, and boy oh boy I can’t but wonder how much we found then to be validated as well as how deep this really goes…

    Meanwhile maybe you need to be a bit more open minded and available to thinking that there are many thing that people know- but might not feel comfortable to say it just simply because of how they are received.

  16. September says:

    I grew up in a small town. We had elected officials, a volunteer fire department, and our own school system. We even had town meetings. In a small community everyone does not agree with every decision that is made. However, your elected town officials are a part of the community. You see them in church and at the grocery store. You don’t have to be a golfing buddy to speak with them. Smaller communities have smaller budgets and everyone is keeping track of their tax dollars. Directing business to your relatives and friends when another contractor is offering a better deal will not go unnoticed. What is happening in DeKalb is about politics and power and it is harming our community. I am not convinced that the large county governments we see in the metro area are superior to smaller communities. If a group or organization wants to do the work to become a city, I can support that.

  17. PI says, ” … this cityhood issue didn’t start with the idea of excluding people or creating new social stratification in the area.”

    I would like to add that the exclusion of people is exactly why the Tucker community is so outraged over the Lakeside City movement. The organizers did not include anyone from Tucker in the planning stages and only let the residents know what was happening when they made their map public. Initially, it reached across 285 and took in the majority of Tucker’s commercial areas, included Henderson park, two schools, the public library, and went right up to the back door of Tucker high school. They took only the residential areas that were determined to have the highest household incomes and left out the areas with minorities, retirees or lower income families, even some in the attendance zone of their own feeder school, Pleasantdale, because the area included some apartments that are rented by members of the Hispanic community.

  18. From our emails:


    Help Expose Corruption in the Dekalb County Government
    A reporter for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution is doing a piece on the corruption in the Dekalb County government. She would appreciate hearing from anyone with knowledge of corruption or direct experience with corruption. If you have such information, please contact me and I’ll give you her contact information.

    Thanks,
    Boyd Leyburn
    BoydLeyburn@Comcast.net

  19. concerned citizen says:

    DSW: Does this include the school system?

  20. We would assume. The school system budget is about double the county budget.

  21. dsw2contributor says:

    dekalbschoolwatch @ June 23, 2013 at 8:15 PM : “The DCSS Administrator’s Leadership Conference will be held, beginning tomorrow, on Monday and Tuesday, June 24 & 25?”

    NEWSFLASH: Michael Thurmond SKIPPED the DCSS Administrator’s Leadership Conference.

    Instead of meeting with DCSS’s leaders (Principals, Area Superintendents, Central Office Administrators), Michael Thurmond went to Savannah, to attend the Georgia Municipal Association’s Annual Conference. He served as a panelist for “General Session: Understanding & Defining the Role of City Officials in Education”

    I am NOT making this up. See Page 9 of GMA’s conference agenda:
    http://www.gmanet.com/assets/pdf/2013_annual_convention_agenda.pdf

    DSW2, it is time for the blog to publicly call for Thurmond to resign.

  22. So strange a choice by Thurmond. Has he addressed school leaders at all yet?

  23. The original wording in the GA Constitution prohibiting new school districts was added in the 1950s I believe. It can just as easily (or perhaps more easily) be removed. Personally, I don’t see this as the major obstacle everyone presents it as. It’s certainly very doable to either rewrite that section or delete a critical sentence from the state Constitution. It was written to encourage very small, rural systems to consolidate in order to share resources. At the time, I don’t think the writers considered that they would be standing in the way of 100,000 student systems from breaking up.

  24. @Denise: As I recall the events you mention, we did not “shoot you down”, you simply would not share details and facts with us – and true to our blog rules, we don’t and won’t publish theories with no details or facts to back them up. It’s not that we didn’t believe you, it’s that we really do demand facts and proof. There’s a liability to be considered. If you have facts to share and proof of misdeeds, please, by all means, forward it to us.

  25. Cedar says:

    Break up the school system. It is too big and it has been played. More local control. Smaller districts. Break us DCSS. Let the local communities, be they rich, poor or middle class handle their own affairs as they see fit.

  26. PI says:

    The people who got the ball rolling on the cityhood movement weren’t required to consult anyone in their process. They started with a problem, they hypothesized a solution, and built a model off of which to work. [It’s up to those planners to convince affected residents/businesses of the merits of their plan.]

    What you are implying is that someone in this group basically said, “We’re going to build a special club, but we certainly don’t want Mr. and Mrs. Jones there or any of their lower class friends.” Now, it’s possible that the areas you are identifying fell outside of their business model. Every startup operation has to identify and work within a certain set of parameters. This is the way a responsible business operates. Additionally, the human brain has a knack for creating patterns in data that held no (conscious) relevance to the authors of the plan.

    I live a stone’s throw away from the DeKalb County jail skyscraper. so maybe I’m too far removed (socially, economically, and geographically) from the controversy to adequately feel anything for the cityhood dissenters.

    I don’t care about names in this kerfuffle. I want to see that the community is doing something to solve their problems and they are.

  27. concerned citizen says:

    DSW: It is now time for us as a group to call for Thurmond’s resignation. Let’s do this. Let’s call on other groups to call for his resignation, too. He can’t just run away to Savannah anymore.

  28. educator90 says:

    Citihood is not solving any problems. The Druid Hills Charter Cluster isn’t solving problems. The way to solve problems is to have the DeKalb County Community sit down and have honest and frank discussion. This discussion probably would get ugly, as North vs. South have been pitted against each other by elected officials on the school board, and in the county for far too long.

    I believe that we definitely need to have smaller school districts with more parental control, but the new Common Core standards lead to more government control and much less parental and local control. So I’m not even sure that smaller school districts or clusters would even work.

    As one who has lived in DeKalb for 6 years, the corruption runs deep. The CEO model of government doesn’t work and a more efficient way to run things needs to be thought out and implemented. I realize that no form of government is without problems, but there have been too many in the 6 years that I have been here and enough is enough. Also the commissioners need to make cuts to people working in the county. Just as the school board needs to make cuts to people working in the central office and even in some smaller school offices. When I went down to pick up recycling bags, the 3 woman in the office there were having a dandy time chatting and not getting much work done. As a tax payer, I am left to wonder if 2 of those employees could be cut?

    We need more police officers and better pay for police officers and fire fighters, so that we can have retention, a huge problem here in DeKalb. Cutting garbage collection to one time a week and recycling and yard waste to every other week (as I have had everywhere else that I have lived) would be one way to save money. Cuts to office personnel for Commissioners and other service areas is another.

    Frankly, I am tired of school and government officials to go right for cutting teacher pay, services, and pay cuts for fire fighters and police officers, the first thing that is brought up, without taking a long, hard and difficult look at the inefficiencies in the system and making them go away. It’s easy to raise taxes, but it much more difficult to stop doing things the way that they have always been done.

    Also a superintendent search should be in the process by now.

  29. Mildred says:

    @Denise: You might have better luck with your pronouncements if you omitted the mean-spirited denunciations of anyone who disagrees with your or of anyone who does not do just what you want. I do not want to be unpleasant and hurtful, but you really come off as relatively unhinged.

  30. Stan Jester says:

    New Superintendent
    Coleman and McMahan are silent on this issue. Our only hope is to only support candidates next year that vow to find a new permanent Superintendent.

    What has changed?
    Silence and Capitulation. All board meeting videos have been published except most of the budget hearings. They are conspicuously missing. Thurmond has thrown after school money into the General Fund. What happened to finding a permanent Superintendent and the 600 central office employee cuts? The canaries in the coal mine have been removed and we are left with silence and capitulation.

  31. concernedmom30329 says:

    He addressed the principals yesterday afternoon. Wonder who paid for his trip to Savannah? I think he must have flown…

  32. hopespringseternal says:

    If Thurmond didn’t attend a summer leadership conference in favor of another event I would be as mystified as anyone else. Among other things, the summer leadership conference sets the tone for — well — leadership. Hard to ask your principals to be good leaders and keep their substitute teacher rates to a minimum when you play hooky yourself.

    As for a superintendent search, I’m trying to determine how this would work. At this late date where could such a person be found and how would s/he be onboarded without sending the district into more instability? Have you read about the absolute pain other districts in this state have undergone trying to find supers, and those are districts far more attractive than ours? I’m a realist. There may well have been an intention of “interim” at the beginning of the year, but as the events unfolded I think the key word here is steady, and that the “steady” mandate is coming from the governor or Elgart or both. If Superman arrived it would still introduce a level of unsteadiness. I think the best this faux-board can do is hunker down and set about evaluating this superintendent. At some point this board, if it still exists in a few months (which may be another reason it hasn’t moved on a super search), will have to risk biting the hand that’s feeding it — the governor, the liaisons and The King. Otherwise I just buttressed the argument of the unchecked CEO model.

  33. dsw2contributor says:

    concernedmom30329 @June 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM – “He addressed the principals yesterday afternoon.”

    That is incorrect – Thurmond DID NOT address the principals yesterday afternoon. While the attendees at the leadership conference were told that Thurmond would be there late in the afternoon, to “welcome them” to the conference, Thurmond did *not* actually show up!

    Thurmond abandoned his job in order to attend a state-wide political event. His action is unacceptable — it is time for him to resign and for DSW to lead the call for his resignation.

  34. Stan Jester says:

    In March, a survey was taken by the current board members. One of the questions:

    What priority do you place on finding a permanent Superintendent?

    Answer
    Melvin Johnson – I believe the superintendent search will commence soon.

    Marshall Orson – I place a high priority on finding a permanent Supt but also believe we need to make some progress on various issues before starting that process.

    Jim McMahan – Regarding finding a permanent superintendent, it was Mr. Thurmond’s initial request from the board that we hire a firm to conduct a national search for a permanent superintendent. It is our collective goal of the board and the superintendent to find a permanent superintendent in the near future.

    Dr. Joyce Morley – As a member of the board,I believe we will be intentional and methodical in every decision we make to ensure the educational success of our children; including the selection of a permanent superintendent. The school system has undergone several major positive changes in the past few months. To this end, I will strive with the other board members to do what is best for the children of DeKalb County as we ,move forward, including the time frame for seeking a permanent superintendent.

    Karent Carter – Didn’t say

    Michael Erwin – The board has not discussed finding a new Superintendent yet.

    David Campbell – While I think that finding a permanent Superintendent is very important, I support and will work closely with Mr. Thurmond while we taking on immediate challenges like SACS’ probation, developing a new effective board and developing and approving the new fiscal year budget. As we learn more and come off probation, I am certain that we will quickly focus on some permanency with the BOE.

    John Coleman – I believe making sure we have a highly capable permanent superintendent in place to provide leadership for the system is a high priority. I’ve had nothing but good interactions so far with our interim superitendent, and to be frank I’m not sure what the timeline is to consider this issue. I believe it will come after we’ve made progress on the budget and the issues we have to address for accreditation. I’m sure we will communicate to the public once we begin to address this issue.

    Thad Mayfield – I think I need to fully understand the current agreement, most importantly the contract period, performance commitments, and notable improvements in key performance indicators. If there are achievement targets with associated dates I don’t think it would be advisable to consider terminating an agreement before those dates unless there are deteriorating indicators.

  35. Betsy Parks says:

    Betsy Parks, Lakeside resident and LCA supporter’s view of Tucker Together Meeting: Kicking and screaming, Tucker Together asks folks to open their wallets and calendars.

    Tucker long time spokesperson, Honey’s opening statements were clear. Tucker Together (TT) believes the closely nit historic community with vague and fluid boundaries was forced into this process by elitist land grabbing neighbors. Kicking and screaming and as a last resort they created Tucker Together (TT) to hold informational meetings and to protect itself. TT is now a 501C3, applicant like Lakeside.
    Two legislators at the meeting held in a church close to home base (Main Street) stated the legal established process of more localized control is moving too fast for them yet they filed or supported a placeholder too. No real mention of this genuinely rushed “effort” or as I see it, a knee jerk reaction. Later TT admitted Lakeside has been holding appropriate community meetings for quite some time and leaders supported other cities right to incorporate.
    TT feels the status quo, DeKalb County government is and would have continued to work just fine for them but they can no longer remain undecided or unengaged. TT leaders now believe Tucker must unite, volunteer, land grab and open their wallets or Tucker will be consumed and destroyed by evil. It was clear by the cheers and laughter most in the church felt the danger and evil around them was not ineffective government or the corruption of elected or indicted officials/representatives but neighbors who are supporting the new City of Lakeside. It was very strange to me.
    The small group of unelected, self appointed activist leaders have worked very hard and the community owes them a great deal of continuing gratitude. They feel they presented information only. They disclosed that even their small group of decision makers who created TT is not united on a particular path. They did not conduct any polls or solicit input in any organized statistically reliable way.
    The views of any residents outside of the loop or those who did not attend the three short informational meetings question and answer periods before creating the aggressive map (many in the audience had not even seen) were not considered in any real way. There was not support or any discussion of amending or listening to the input of say Neighbors’ of Lakeside group as Lakeside had done I believe twice. It seems proposed written on the map is there for show only. Honey said, “this (map) is what we feel are the boundaries of Tucker” and moved on. TT had one laminated copy that was passed around the possibly 100 people in attendance. With the help of the unnamed consultants and experts this TT small group admitted they had used their vast knowledge and opinions to alone in private create, approve and publish a map that included areas North of I85, all of Northlake, pretty big part of Stone Mountain.
    It should be noted this small group of self appointed people reference the “GA TECH STUDY” often but there was never a study done by any university or group of experts. Georgia Tech students studied the feasibility of a possible City of Tucker as a term paper around 2006. The students reported in the conclusion of term paper that Tucker would have to land grab Northlake Mall shopping area and perhaps others to be successful. It was debated if this report should have ever been published at all. To use it as an expert opinion should be done with extreme caution especially if it is used to solicit financial donations.
    Options:
    1. Incorporate- Tucker Together (TT) has determined “they” will be strangely enough be copying Lakeside’s choice in services. TT doesn’t think they would be able to match much less improve the current level of services provided by DeKalb County. They feel they have the ear of DeKalb County but thru volunteers they can protect what they feel is Tucker’s even if it means claiming areas north of Spaghetti junction or Stone Mountain. They made the claim that 95% of the people in Lakeside community don’t know what is going on. Michelle said TT was different than LCA’s group of seven elitists meeting in private and shelling out the big bucks instead of a grass roots effort like TT. Yet 14K they finally announced last night was from an anonymous or surprise big buck donors. Oh the irony. TT finally stated the 30K for the required by law study is just the beginning of the financial obligation. In order for Tucker to incorporate and successfully compete with City of Lakeside, TT will need to hire lobbyists, conduct polls and employ consultants. Money, money, money and they estimated an additional 40K would be needed for those efforts and organizational expenses. When asked, TT claimed that the structure of the city government could not be addressed at this time.
    2. Maintain Borders- TT stated this would be as expensive and required just as much community effort as incorporating. Consultants, lobbyists and lot of work but they felt up for the fight someone else, Lakeside brought upon them. They “just can’t swallow the name Lakeside”…“slimy, nasty pond scum”, the lady sitting behind me added.
    3. Do nothing-
    We left before the “vote”, if they had one laughing about a “slimy, nasty pond scum” earlier comment the lady sitting behind us made loud enough for everyone to hear. Maybe, we thought she did not know how much fun my children have had fishing and frogging on the many lakes that surround Lakeside community. Hopefully one day we will be able to hand them a City of Lakeside!

  36. Thanks Stan. Interesting responses. I find it astounding that the topic has not been discussed. Yet, everyone has some kind of run-on answer. Thank goodness for Michael Erwin – his answer is direct and honest.

  37. concernedmom30329 says:

    I guess Thurmond didn’t show yesterday. No worries though, Andrew Young is there with him today.

  38. @Georgia: No idea. Perhaps it went to the spam filter and we didn’t catch it to release it before purging the literally hundreds of spam comments caught there. We do our best…

  39. concerned citizen says:

    Thad, what do you mean? That’s the biggest bunch of nothing I’ve ever read! Wow! Foolishness!! Although yours was the silliest comment, no body but Michael Erwin answered the question. MJ, “commence” is a silly word – eliminate it from your “remarks”

  40. Stan Jester says:

    Budget Hearings – PDS 24 – A DCSD representative emailed me today.
    1. PDS-24 is moving their focus to telling stories of the folks working at DCSD.
    2. “The direction from the senior administration” was that budget hearings are not to be posted for review unless explicitly told otherwise.

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