Who is Keeping Score?

The Balanced Scorecard for Outcome Measures that set quantifiably measurable objectives for improving DeKalb student achievement appears to have been developed by Kendra Marsh and Kathleen Howe for the past school year 2012-2013. Click on the link below to view DeKalb’s Balanced Scorecard for Outcome Measures:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/superintendent/balanced-score-card-(3rd).pdf

As Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Kathleen Howe was responsible for ensuring DeKalb’s instructional program met student needs in order to maximize student achievement. However, the superintendent, the BOE and ALL of the upper level management team must also be held responsible for meeting the student performance objectives.

Balanced Scorecard CRCT target scores were set to assess upper level management’s ability to increase student achievement. The percentages are based on the number of DeKalb students meeting academic expectations in the content areas for grades 3 – 5.

See below to measure how well DCSS upper level management performed for our students on the objectives they set:

who-is-keeping-score-chart-1

It is easy to see that most of the student achievement objectives were NOT MET, yet Mr. Thurmond has kept most of the same upper management team members in place.

Note the utter lack of critical thinking skills that went into this process for setting quantifiably measurable performance objectives. The administration merely took the scores from 2012 and added 3% for EVERY subject in grades 3 – 5. How much thought did that take? Don’t our students deserve better? Does this data show why SACS cited student achievement as a major concern for DeKalb accreditation?

Also note the total lack of follow through with respect to this most important measurement of school system’s administrative performance. The actual performance for 2013 has been left off of the entire document. The data in the chart above for the 2013 Actual performance was obtained at the Georgia DOE website and has been included in this post:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Assessment/Pages/CRCT-Statewide-Scores.aspx

Stan Jester has posted an interesting video clip of Dr. Howe’s testimony for Dr. Walker’s hearing regarding her viewpoint of student achievement in DeKalb Schools>>

The superintendent and the BOE set all policies, procedures and programs for the DeKalb County School System. Jointly, they recommend and approve every employee hired to teach the students. The upper level management personnel who advise the superintendent and develop and recommend the school system’s policies, procedures and programs MUST have consequences for the lack of student achievement, otherwise we will not see improvement. Mr. Thurmond’s main job as superintendent is to improve student achievement. Perhaps he could start by reconstituting his upper management team. That would be Score 1 for the students.

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You may also like to read>> DeKalb’s new CCRPI scores: 66.4, 73.5, 71.2

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This entry was posted in Board of Education Meetings, Budget Cuts, Education in the South, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., Michael Thurmond, Testing & AYP, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Who is Keeping Score?

  1. H.A. Hurley says:

    It is obvious from the target scores chosen for the CRCT, that DCS hasn’t a CLUE about testing, or what it tKes to increase achievement.
    With the new school year starting, the system has more vacancies than one can fathom, we have absolutely no time to waste, but hit the ground running. Having said that, HOW?
    Same old, marginal at best, top administrator$, same $uperintendent, $ame Board, fewer certified teachers and 100,000 eager kids who want to learn and to whom we owe the best education. Anybody in DCS sweating bullets? We are, and we can’t step in to help.
    Incompetence and refusal to improve ought to be ILLEGAL. But, there appears to be an endless supply for the children and teachers in DCS.

  2. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Obviously there is some serious deficit going on in grade 3, no in every category? DCSS needs to stop thinking that they can test their way to success. Some of these schools need intervention. The 2 worst school in each level need to be going year round, it just needs to happen. This is not an appropriate action for all just for those that need ongoing, critical care. Where is the leadership on improving these “worst” schools? Driving around in one of our new cars.
    How about if we see one of those cars on the street or parked we make it our business to find the driver and give him/her a piece of your mind on the state of our school system…that will definitely keep them from getting behind the wheel again. The county doesn’t realize it but they just told us who we can inform with our concerns on a local level. Obviously if the person is driving the car, they are working and must therefore be accountable for the job they do or not. Nothing like advertising to the rest of us for free just who we can talk to.
    Thanks DCSS. See someone getting in/out of the white car, .POLITELY stop them and let them know how you feel and what needs to be changed. Especially it it is at Dunkin Donuts, Panera, Kroger, Publix or a Dr.’s parking lot.

  3. concerned citizen says:

    So Howe and March prepared this far-from-good product, which shows what? Their work alone should get both of them fired, not re-shuffled. BTW, what is March’s new title again? Neither show any understanding of what they’re doing! What is it going to take to get Thurmond’s and the board’s attention? BTW, did they both get new cars? Meantime, we do have pre-planning next week and look at the PATS postings! I still don’t think all the positions are shown that are open. Now, why do I think HR and the Supt and other people at the Palace would lie to the public????DSW, who is the contracted HR employee you referred to again?

  4. Concernedmom30329 says:

    March is gone. She was listed as resigned/whatever on the HR report in July. (I have been looking for her name.) So not a fan.

  5. info says:

    A leadership coaching position funded by RTT has just been posted.

    Some lucky friend/educator will be earning $50 an hour to “coach” new principals.

    Seriously? If the principals need coaching (which should already be a concern), why aren’t the generously compensated regional superintendents, executive directors, directors, etc… assisting them? How many new principals do we even have?

    New teachers (and there will be many this year), on the other hand, get meager pay, few benefits, and large classes.

  6. The contracted HR person is Jeff Dickerson. He is a former AJC person – and now a guest on the Sunday morning show, ‘Georgia Gang’.

    Here’s his cost for FY2013 according to the Vendor Report:

    DICKERSON COMMUNICATIONS Total 132,000.00

    Look up anyone you want on this report – it’s for contracted vendors — the information Dr. Atkinson lied and told Dr. Walker it would take too much time and manpower to generate for him… although, it’s a report they have to submit to the GA DOE – and can be found there with a click of a button. (She didn’t want him to know how much she was really paying her contracted friends.)

    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/TempFolder/Meetings/April%202013%20Vendor%20Spends%20Report_453490qv1e04450ficzf55ifibytuh.pdf

    Here are some interesting ones:

    (Biggest) TURNER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY Total 28,476,316.48

    CHERYL L H ATKINSON Total 91,666.64 (exit package)
    DEKALB CO BOARD OF EDUCATION Total 3,084,540.69
    SUCCESS FOR ALL FOUNDATION Total 520,000.00
    KARATON SERVICES, LLC Total 69,064.24 (Atkinson’s friend, Barbara Dilligard’s company)
    WALTER E WOODS Total 39,999.99 (PR services)
    DICKERSON COMMUNICATIONS Total 132,000.00 (PR services)
    WILLIAMS SCOTSMAN INC Total 228,345.04 (trailer rental)
    KPMG LLP Total 191,692.50 (transactional audit)
    MODULAR SPACE CORP Total 169,227.17
    YANCEYS MOBILE HOME MOVING INC Total 58,630.00
    EDWIN MALEKEBU 42,420.00 (who is this?) check this and this…

    Law Firms:
    ALSTON & BIRD LLP Total 7,393.61
    ALEXANDER & ASSOCIATES Total 1,387,396.88
    SUTHERLAND ASBILL BRENNAN LLP Total 2,128,831.96
    ELARBEE THOMPSON & TRAPNELL Total 928,932.55
    GOODMAN MCGUFFEY LINDSEY & Total 167,472.70
    WILSON MORTON & DOWNS LLC Total 164,437.28
    DREW ECKL & FARNHAM LLP Total 155,896.90
    MCKENNA LONG & ALDRIDGE LLP Total 120,000.00
    ZIMRING LAW FIRM IN TRUST Total 101,717.19
    BALCH & BINGHAM LLP Total 57,471.20
    EUGENE A MEDORI PC Total 12,615.05
    KRAMER & ASSOCIATES Total 10,689.29
    THOMPSON LAW GROUP LLC Total 17,500.00
    STRICKLAND BROCKINGTON LEWIS Total 16,943.49

    KING & SPALDING Total $1,754,196.00 (Yes, yes, this was paid to King & Spalding – the law firm we are supposed to be not spending any money with since going to a contingency contract last year… uh huh…)

    LEGAL contracts total: $7,031,494.10

  7. Concernedmom30329 says:

    Ugh. I went down the rabbit hole
    http://www.webs911.com/

    designs websites and e commerce. Not sure what exactly he did for dCSS. Really question why this business was outsourced out of DeKalb.

  8. Interesting chart showing the size allowances for classes – 2012-13 — up for board approval on Monday:

    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/TempFolder/Meetings/Proposed%20Class%20Size%20Chart%202013-2014_468839qv1e04450ficzf55ifibytuh.pdf

    Kindergarten: 24 (26 with a para)
    1-3: 26
    Early Intervention (self contained): 20
    k-5 gifted: 23
    4-8 core classes: 34
    4-8 others: 38
    9-12 core classes: 36
    9-12 others: 39
    vocational labs: 32
    band: 104
    chorus: 84
    ESOL: 15-24 depending on age and if there’s a para

  9. @info: If you’re a ‘leader’, why do you need ‘coaching’?

  10. concerned citizen says:

    This position is already filled,or it wouldn’t have been created. I’m positive. I’m going to investigate this one!

  11. bettyandveronica1 says:

    My question is this: if class size is 27 for a certain grade/level/program and there are 5 classrooms with 30 kids in each, shouldn’t they have to hire another teacher for that grade/level/program to bring the class size down? The schools were given even more teacher cuts (loss of fte pts) to be made at the end of 2012-2013. How can you mandate them to cut but then go above the board approved class size guide once it is approved?

    Just so everyone knows, the state no longer cares about this issue. I was told when I called them about this a few weeks ago that the legislature gave the controls back to the local school districts and while the state still shows this information on their website, the county can do what ever it wants now.
    They are free to disregard the state. This makes it important that parents stay vigilant especially with this bunch.

  12. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    I find it humorous the “with a para” comment on the kindergarten class size…as I recall, all kindergarten paras were “reassigned” last year, unless they were specifically working with someone with an IEP, which in kindergarten can take the entire year to happen.

    And as someone who has been in a classroom of 34 elementary school students–can’t imagine a high school classroom–the noise volume is ridiculous. One would hope that this would be changed. Of course, with so many teachers still needed to fill positions…who knows what will happen.

    Anyone tried to teach a class of 24 kindergarten students ALONE? Best of luck and all the positive energy in the world to all of our wonderful teachers this school year.

  13. And here’s another interesting item slated for Monday’s meeting:

    C. 19. Strategic Planning Professional Services

    Rationale

    AdvancED Required Action 11: Re-establish the district’s strategic planning team for the purpose of effectively implementing the DeKalb County School System Strategic Plan to guide the direction of the district.

    Quick Summary / Abstract
    Presented by: Ms. Ramona H. Tyson, Chief of Staff, Office of the Superintendent

    Summary

    The DeKalb County School District (“DCSD”) issued a request for professional services from highly qualified and capable offerors having Strategic Planning Process experience with K-12 school districts comparable to DCSD. The selected offeror will:

    (1) Work with district leaders and stakeholders to develop a sustainable strategic plan and management system.

    (2) Work with the district leaders and stakeholders to establish the key strategies for accomplishing the strategic goals.

    (3) Draft measures (leading and lagging indicators) to gauge effectiveness of strategies and progress toward school district goals and objectives.

    (4) Identify important district projects to support the strategic plan.

    (5) Develop a school improvement process that aligns with the district’s strategic plan.
    (6) Develop and implement strategic management training for district and school leaders as it relates to the sustainability and alignment of the strategic plan and school improvement process.

    (7) Design project management framework and oversight process to ensure successful completion of important DCSD projects.

    (8) Identify external and internal stakeholders from the business, civic, education, technology, ethnic and nationality, and faith communities.

    (9) Develop insight and recommendations for external and internal resource development for learning and support, internal controls and accountability, and organizational (internal) and community culture (external).

    (10) Develop a timeline for planning and execution of the strategic planning process.

    The selected offeror will manage all aspects of the areas listed above, including, but not limited to: creation and utilization of a Balance Scorecard; design and development of a Strategic Management Oversight Committee; and preparation of requested reports.

    STRATEGIC PLANNING TENTATIVE TIMELINE

    Tasks/Targeted Completion Date

    Obtain board approval for RFP selected vendor/August 5, 2013

    Finalize an engagement letter w/vendor/August 6-16, 2013

    Preplanning meetings w/vendor/August 19-30, 2013

    Select the entire strategic planning committee/August 19-30, 2013

    Begin Phase 1 of the strategic planning process/September 1, 2013

    Complete Phase 1 milestone/November 29, 2013

    Begin Phase 2 of the strategic planning process/January 6, 2014

    Complete Phase 2 milestone/On or before June 30, 2014

    Sign-off completion of strategic plan/On or before June 30, 2014

    Financial Impact

    Funding is allocated under budget code (101.48.95.00.000101.766.0000).

    Contacts
    Ms. Ramona H. Tyson, Chief of Staff, Office of the Superintendent, 678.676.0010

    Requested Action
    It is requested that the Board of Education award the Strategic Planning Professional Services to Georgia School Boards Association, the most responsive responsible bidder, in the amount of $250,000.00.

    +++

    ha ha! Call me crazy – but hasn’t Ramona already gone down this rabbit trail?!! Is she kidding??? Is she counting on the fact that most of this board doesn’t remember the ‘charrettes’ and the ‘2020 vision’ and MGT America and and and…

    We need to get rid of Ramona!!! That would be an excellent cost saver – not only for her uber-inflated salary – but for all the contracts she lets out to hire people to do her job for her!! (Over and over and over…)

  14. Another comment says:

    I don’t know why any teacher with a license needs coaching? Other professionals with licenses do not need coaches. Only interns. Then interns in other professions are usually done by more senior professionals as part of their normal positions. Not as stand alone coaches jobs. If a professional can not mentor a new intern to the profession, then they should not be called a professional in the profession either. Their should be no coaching jobs. These are just Friends and Family jobs. Either you are ready to go when you are issued your professional license or you should not be issued a professional license yet.

  15. Dekalbite2 says:

    It is pitifully obvious that the upper management just took the last year’s score for every subject in every grade 3-5 and added 3%. Absolutely, the WORST student improvement forecast ever. This shows how utterly incompetent the past administration which is also the present administration is to establish MEANINGFUL, REALISTIC and ATTAINABLE academic achievement objectives for students. These charts could have been done in less than an – just slap 3% in increases on everything. Literally tens of millions in a year salary for Coaches, Coordinators and Directors and tens of millions more in the Student Data Management System and this is the result.

    And when it doesn’t work out for students, the results are left off in hopes no one notices.

  16. TeacherK says:

    @Concerneddekalbmom, At my school, we taught Kindergarten with 27-28 students all year last year by ourselves. There are two issues, if you read the resolution with that class size chart, it says DeKalb will allow up to 2 additional students to deal with new enrollees at the time of the FTE count. In reality, DeKalb ALWAYS adds those 2 additional students. The second issue is class size averaging. The district takes the total number of students in that grade level throughout the county and divides by the number of teachers for the average class size. If there’s a teacher somewhere lucky enough to only have 22 students, someone somewhere else has 26 and voila, the average is 24.

    The legislature will undoubtedly consider extending the allowance of waivers for class size. Parents really need to speak out and make it impossible for them to do so when they convene in January.

  17. concerned citizen says:

    Ramona is the worst! Why are we paying her the extraordinary salary she makes? I have seen her in meetings, and she is totally lost and clueless, as is Kathy Howe! It seems they join forces to stay in their jobs, doing nothing and incapable of responding to the simplest questions, like “where are the books?” When you see both of them in person and try to listen to their flutterings, it’s a real downer. They both have got to go – how much longer? Ramona is killing DeKalb. Howe is just helpless and dumb. Yes, they do have to go!

  18. concerned citizen says:

    DSW – Do you know what Dickerson’s qualifications are for Human Resources? This sounds like another friends and family, and I’m willing to bet on that!

  19. @concerned: Dickerson does not work in HR – he works in PR – Public Relations. They think he can manage their public image…

  20. dekalbite2 says:

    @ DSW

    Ms. Tyson has been either the superintendent or one of a handful of direct reports to the superintendent in DeKalb since 2008. Before her promotion by Dr. Lewis, she was in charge of technology for the school system. She has introduced numerous “strategic plans” that have not had the slightest impact on student achievement, and in fact the rate of student achievement in DeKalb has DECLINED precipitously in those years. If Ms. Tyson knew how to move students forward, she would have done so during these many years. Looking at the data, all of her “strategic plans”, “milestones”, engagement of “stakeholders”, etc. have not been effective for students.

    The logical conclusion is that Ms. Tyson’s efforts to “develop a sustainable strategic plan and management system” have not had the critical thinking skills behind them or the quantifiably measurable objectives in front of them to positively impact student achievement. This begs the question as to why Mr. Thurmond would choose her to yet again “for the purpose of effectively implementing the DeKalb County School System Strategic Plan to guide the direction of the district.”

  21. dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW

    Here is the link to the video to Kathleen Howe’s testimony during the Eugene Walker hearing. Somehow you have Marcus Turk’s testimony as the link.

  22. dekalbite2 says:

    “Kindergarten: 24 (26 with a para)
    1-3: 26
    Early Intervention (self contained): 20
    k-5 gifted: 23
    4-8 core classes: 34
    4-8 others: 38
    9-12 core classes: 36
    9-12 others: 39
    vocational labs: 32
    band: 104
    chorus: 84
    ESOL: 15-24 depending on age and if there’s a para”

    And this is why we have such poor student achievement.

    Ms. Tyson recommended these numbers to the BOE. It appears that overcrowded classrooms were part of her “strategic plan” for increasing student achievement.

  23. Thanks – I’ll fix the link right now.

  24. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Why Tyson? I bet she the heir apparent for his seat. Last time she was only ‘interim’ but with her years of ‘training’ and her remarkable work dealing with the SACS issues, her presentation at the ga boe hearings and her command of the troops as chief of staff she is being groomed. I seriously hope I am wrong. To these folks, she is aptly qualified to run this system.
    Remember during the state boe meeting, when she finished reading the pages of compliance with the sacs report, one of the state or members complimented her on her capable and thorough job. Not exactly what he said but the sentiment was the same. His comment was pretty surprising to me. But then birds of a feather flock together.

  25. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Sorry should read … one of the state board member.

  26. Word Wall says:

    Burrell Ellis is going to trial about three WEEKS after he was indicted… But Crawford Lewis– Three YEARS out on bond…..

  27. Dekalbite2 says:

    To Mr. Thurmond:
    Re: Ms. Tyson’s new strategic plan process

    DeKalb parents/taxpayers are beyond tired of “strategic plans” that have failed time and time again to produce tangible results for students. And they are tired of the shell game of yet AGAIN another “strategic plan” as the soon as the last one doesn’t work out. It is past time to admit that the administrators of DeKalb even though they have been managers in the system for a very lng time cannot move students forward. If they understood what was necessary to improve the academic rate of DEKalb students, they would have certainly done so before now. In actuality, they just want to continue in their high paying jobs, meeting with each other, collecting data they do not have the expertise to analyze, developing plans that go nowhere, hoping that maybe if they throw enough against the wall, something will stick.

    How many excuses (NEW! IMPROVED! strategic plans) will we have to hear? An entire decade has passed as inept managers have driven student achievement into the ground. In school terms that is an ENTIRE generation of DeKalb students that have been lost in this process.

  28. Stan Jester says:

    Deja Vu All Over Again
    The Interim Superintendent toured Parent Council meetings last Spring perpetrating falsehoods that DeKalb Schools didn’t have a nepotism policy, when clearly we already had an Employment Of Relatives Policy. The video and transcript of the DCPC meeting show Don McChesney, former chair of the board policy committee, asking about the proliferation of said falsehoods.

    Fast forward to Monday where we will start the Strategic Planning process as if we didn’t already have one right here http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/strategic-plan. We are about to spend millions on the exact same process using the exact same consultants to get the exact same strategic plan with the exact same results.

    Strategic Planning – A Discredited Zeitgeist of the Past
    Read Nancy’s Evaluation Of Strategic Planning for an entertaining look at the efficacy of Strategic Plans.

    Free of charge, I submit DeKalb School’s new Mission Statement
    It is the mission of the DeKalb County School District to enable all students to become responsible citizens and lifelong learners in a changing global society. This will occur in an environment where diversity is valued and the potential of each student is developed to the fullest, with an emphasis on excellence in all endeavors. This can only occur as a result of a partnership between and among the school district, parents, and other community members and agencies.

  29. walk to school says:

    In Italy teachers do research as they work directly with children. They learn from each other as well. And, they get respect. Perhaps administrators should go back into the classroom for 2-3 hours per day to get back in touch with reality and teachers can learn to do 2-3 hours of administrative work. They could trade half way through the day. This would create a better working relationship and understanding between administrators and teachers. Coaching could even be a part of this -eliminating all those costly coaching positions. Parents (at least this parent) are tired of all the costly administrative positions, costly textbook purchases, and costly educational programs which take more and more away from the classrooms and the teachers working directly with students.Ultimately they serve only to use limited tax dollars which could be better spent to reduce teacher -student ratios in each classroom.
    If you really want to increase student achievement, reduce class sizes!

  30. teachermom says:

    The best strategic plan does not involve any more high priced consultants. There is already a huge disconnect form the classroom and adding layers won’t cut it (pun intended). The solution–hire and retain high quality school house employees and let them teach. That’s all.

  31. Fantastic Mission Statement Stan!!

    I also like Fulton’s tag line in their logo:

    Fulton County Schools – Where Students Come First

  32. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Who is the troll? Great mission statement and it was FREE! Dekalb doesnt undertand FREE! Whomever the troll is go start your own blog!

  33. Concernedmom30329 says:

    Word Wall

    I think Ellis invoked his right to a speedy trial. I assure you Crawford Lewis didn’t.

  34. howdy1942 says:

    Does an outside firm better understand exactly what should be in a strategic plan than the management of DCSS? Can they reasonably be expected to “ramp up” and understand what should be in a strategic plan better than the existing management? If we need a consultant firm or contractor to do this, then we need a new management team in DCSS! The DCSS management team could seek the wisdom of a consultant to better understand what others in the country are doing and any tools that may be available to DCSS, but it is the responsibility of DCSS management to write the plan, set the measures for its success, implement the plan, and insure that it is properly executed and that expectations are attained.

    Second, we do not need anyone – no one – dedicated to developing anyone – that is the responsibility of the supervisor and the individual. My experience in industry indicates that this should comprise about 20% of one’s annual objectives. The reason is simple. If the individual is successful, the supervisor is successful! If the individual is not successful, then that will find its way (or should) find its way into the supervisor’s appraisal.

    Third, we need a short and succinct mission statement – one sentence – a few words – that everyone can learn and execute. Many years ago, I had the privilege of touring Federal Express in Memphis, Tennessee. In doing so, I met with a number of its employees and asked each of them what he or she did. Each responded that my job is to “Insure that packages are delivered by 10:30 a.m,” That may have changed over the years, but every one – each employee – knew what he/she was to do. In reading this blog and in attending the meetings of the Dekalb County School Board over the years, I have long had the feeling that DCSS is on the other end of the spectrum from Federal Express. (By the way, I also very high regard for UPS – not to slight them at all!)

    I am absolutely convinced that the administration at DCSS could be reduced by at least 20% – and that would not come from school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, school secretaries, etc. Given that Dekalb County ranks so low in student achievement in the metro area and statewide, we should immediately question why anyone in the top three layers of management in DCSS administration should be retained. We have two teachers who live in our neighborhood and they have become decidedly negative relative to DCSS in recent years. I know several retired teachers and all of them say how glad that are not part of today’s DCSS.

    Frankly, I’m tired of the troubles and issues with the School Board and with the administration. I’m not the least bit concerned about Eugene Walker’s individual rights nor those of any other member of the former board, but I am concerned about the education and the future of our children. I’m not concerned about new cars for administrators, but I am concerned about class size and about the perception of our teachers as to how they are being treated. I don’t care about lawyers, but I am concerned about attracting and developing the best teachers. I’m tired of hearing excuses as to “why we don’t have money to pay our teachers”. Dekalb County has the highest millage rate in the State – our people support our schools! There is enough money to do what needs to be done in Dekalb County! We have just done a very bad job of allocating that money and setting our priorities. There are just too many people – a grand jury, an accrediting agency, and the State Board of Education – talking about financial mismanagement, nepotism, dysfunction, excessive legal expenses, declining student achievement, excessive superintendent turnover, etc., etc. Clearly, something is very wrong. The old school board needs to go away and stay away. We need and new, competent, business-focused, ethical, and energetic superintendent and we need to replace the old, tired, incompetent senior staff that has failed. I don’t mind paying that superintendent – but the school board needs to hire someone it trusts with our children and get out of his/her way.

  35. H.A. Hurley says:

    Howdy 1942~
    I could not have said it better. Thanks for keeping our kids and teachers first.
    I suggest an even deeper cut with top administration. If we compare the administrative structure of neighboring systems, DCS is so top-heavy that it should sink. Oh, wait…it is sinking. Clean house! Too expensive and only keep the brightest and hardest workers in Central Office. Why did we need the fleet of new cars? So much FORM and so little SUBSTANCE in DCS.
    Losing teachers currently will be a massive blow, and will be felt around the system. This may be one of the last nails in the coffin. Our present milktoast superintendent may be a bandaid, but we need a Gen. Schwartzkopf at this time. Someone who rattles cages, rounds up the troups and has compassion. Pay that person more, if they have a history & delivery of turning systems around appropriately and attracts great teachers. Right now, any decent skilled superintendent and other educator would not touch DCS with a ten foot pole. Let’s pray for a miracle, TOO!

  36. Excellent points Howdy! Here at the blog, we have always said that there IS enough money! The consolidated budget is well over a BILLION dollars a year! The operating budget portion of that is pushing $800,000 – that’s $8,333 per student (based on 96,000 students) – just for operations!

    But we skate on budgetary thin ice — check out all of the RED numbers in the fund balances on the last pages of the 2014 proposed operating budget:
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/proposed-budget-2014.pdf

    The guy from MGT America summed it up after their long, detailed report on a STRATEGIC PLAN for DeKalb — he said, (My paraphrase:) ‘Mainly, I need to emphasize that you need to first decide what kind of school system you want to be – want kinds of schools will you offer? What kinds of high school programs? What will the classrooms look like/function like? – Only then can you apply a budget’…

    Ramona Tyson was in charge of that “plan”, Ramona has been in charge of the SACS responses, Ramona is in charge of the new “plan” — it appears to us that Ramona is actually functioning as superintendent — and that’s our problem.

    +++

    Reread some of these posts from the original DSW – it’s silly to rewrite the same old things:

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/01/first-board-meeting-for-2011-tonight.html
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/05/school-system-presents-proposed-master.html
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/11/newsflash-from-superintendent.html
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/11/ma-charrette-oh-la-la.html

  37. Dekalbite2 says:

    Ms. Tyson should not be in charge of any budgetary projections. She developed and the BOE approved her 2011-2012 budget that she stated had a “surplus” to the delight of the BOE. Atkinson came in the fall of 2011 and began to review the budget she had to work with. Dr. Atkinson found the 2011-12 budget Ms. Tyson had developed was not a surplus, rather it was a multimillion dollar deficit. Does Mr. Thurmond not know this?

  38. I think Thurmond chooses to believe Marcus Turk and Dr Walker (Thurmond’s long-time colleague) that there never was a budget deficit. They think Atkinson lied or something. Notice that the guy she hired to replace Turk is already gone, thanks to Thurmond.

    Folks — always remember — hiring Thurmond was the last major action the former board took – just before they were all suspended. Thurmond then spent his first few weeks using all his contacts and connections to try to save the board. Obviously, he failed.

  39. idabelle25 says:

    I am a teacher who is very concerned about the scores of our county and as I see it the school with the the worst scores usually have the worst attrition rates for teachers. As it has been pointed out many times on this site, it takes about three years for a new teacher to feel confident in his/her job so if we have invested in this young person and they leave because our county is not competitive in benefits, treatment, and salary to other metro counties guess who reaps the benefits to our investment. Not our kids. However, schools in our county who have strong PTA’s and smart principals have been able to fundraise and creatively help to support their teachers by helping them supply their classrooms etc….and that has helped in my opinion those teachers hang in there a little longer but if the administration was truly interested in turning scores around they would see the correlation on data to attrition of teachers and test scores at schools as I have notice. If we are supposed to be data driven then make a focused effort to be competitive in salary and benefits to other surrounding counties that is the only way we are going to improve our scores. Invest in your TEACHERS not in the next carpetbagger million dollar program. Good, direct instruction is the way to go and I am not saying to improve teacher conditions without a very high expectation criteria through an evaluative process. ALL of our kids in every school in this county deserve energetic, motivated and professsional teachers. If much is given, much would be required and I promise you our scores would go up and so would the reputation of the school system.

  40. Kiko Jewel says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen Howe speak without writing everything down on an index card…including introducing herself. The district superintendent of curriculum & instruction can’t recall if the district made improvements in the 2011-2012 school year, because she doesn’t have that data in front of her. Howe Has To GO!!! She should know this data for the past ten years. If she doesn’t know where we were before she came and while she’s here, how can she lead us forward?! SICK

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