DeKalb Board meetings today – back to school preparedness


The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following meetings on Monday, August 5, 2013:

2:00pm Work Session and Executive Session for a legal matter and
personnel matters
– Cabinet Room

5:45pm Community Meeting for Public Comments – J. David Williamson Board Room

7:00pm Business Meeting – J. David Williamson Board Room

All meetings take place at the Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083

The revised meeting agendas can be accessed online by going to:, click on Leadership, go to eBoard Home Page and click on the date for the meeting agenda\information.


The agenda is pretty straightforward with many ‘memorandums of understanding’ and operations initiatives.

Additionally, there are several policy changes on the table we found interesting:


1. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy AD (School Attendance Areas)
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

2. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy DK-R (Student Activities Funds Management)
Presented by: Mr. Marshall D. Orson, Board Representative, District #2

3. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy GAMA (Drug-Free Workplace)
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs

4. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy IDCH (Dual/Joint Enrollment Programs)
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs

5. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy IC (Curriculum Development)
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs

6. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy JGC (Student Health Services)
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs

And then there are items C-11 and C-19:

11. Class Size Flexibility Resolution
Presented by: Dr. Alice A. Thompson, Interim Deputy Superintendent, Division of School Leadership & Operational Support

19. Strategic Planning Professional Services
Presented by: Ms. Ramona H. Tyson, Chief of Staff, Office of the Superintendent


Pre-Planning in the Schools, Monday, August 5 – Friday, August 9, 2013

District-wide Summer School Graduation, 10:00am, Friday, August 9, 2013, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

First Day of School, Monday, August 12, 2013

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52 Responses to DeKalb Board meetings today – back to school preparedness

  1. concerned citizen says:

    What are the plans to open school with as of 9:45 AM Aug 5 with 35 elementary teachers, 18 mid school, 51 hs teachers, and spec ed teachers over 50? These numbers don’t include key personnel like lunchroom, custodians, bus drivers, etc Who will be in these classrooms with the students? WHAT ARE THE PLANS? One of the posters wrote about a classroom that was untaught for one whole year, with the custodian monitoring. I was in a school where there was no teacher from Aug – April, when a certified sub in the field came in! Crazy schools! Who is in charge of these schools?

  2. dsw2contributor says:

    Welcome Back, remaining DCS Teachers!

    “concerned citizen” @August 5 at 9:45 AM referred to all the unfilled DCS teaching jobs that are listed on “Anita Job” (

    Many of these unfilled jobs were just posted to PATS last week: Cedar Grove Middle needs eleven (11) teachers, seven (7) of which were posted on SATURDAY, August 3. Lakeside High needs five (5) teachers, four (4) of which were posted last week. McNair Discovery needs six (6) teachers, all six (6) of which were posted on FRIDAY, August 2. McNair High needs seven (7) teachers, of which four (4) were posted on FRIDAY, August 2. Etc., etc., etc.

  3. dsw2contributor says:

    I just noticed that Cedar Grove HIGH needs 8 teachers, including 4 Math teachers. These math teacher vacancies were posted to PATS on SUNDAY, August 4.

  4. momfromhe11 says:

    Looked at PATS and noticed that there are only three postings for our high school (miracle), but two of them are for positions that were vacated at the end of the 2012-2013 school year ,which would have been end of May. I know this because there were farewells for both teachers, and their departure was reported on the June HR report. Yet they were posted 7/25 and 8/4.

    I don’t know about any other schools – does anybody else. Seems terribly late to be posting them…

  5. concerned citizen says:

    momfromhell – rest assured there is something going on; I’d speculate that the non-posted positions were filled a while ago and are just being held in reserve. (I’m not sure….but something)

  6. Concernedmom30329 says:

    The Cedar Grove Math teachers are listed as Title 1. These would not be regular classroom teachers but rather teachers to support math instruction. I am thrilled to see Title 1 monies being used for teachers to actually teach.

  7. Concernedmom30329 says:

    Ward-Smith is claiming that we have fewer vacancies than this time last year. Discussion centering on contracts and why teachers can be released:

    promotion (apparently the Professional Services Commission does not simply consider a raise a promotion!)

    Ward-Smith is saying that we want teachers who want to be here, so they are not pursuing those who break contract. Several systems won’t hire DeKalb teachers currently under contract, but others will.

    Orson focusing on the need to fix the salary situation, because teachers may start here but move on after a few years because of salary issues (this was true even before furloughs?).

    Mayfield asking about the ability to quantify the types of teachers that are leaving. (He doesn’t seem to know that DCSS doesn’t rate teachers.) Howe explaining that Teachers Keys (new state evaluation tool) will allow them to do this. Mayfield very concerned about loss of AP certified teachers. Mayfield is asking for data and a plan to retain high performing teachers.

    Thurmond just said as we prepare to open school next Wednesday. Opps!

  8. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    Wondering if anyone is going to address the trailer situation at Vanderlyn…at least 1 full grade, maybe 2, have their homerooms in the modulars that were removed. Per Dunwoody Mom, principal sent word that modulars/trailers would NOT be available on the first day of school. Wondering what DCSS’ plan is?

  9. Concernedmom30329 says:

    Thurmond is saying that it is salary but it is more. Employees are feeling more hopeful (it wouldn’t take much, frankly). Many people are leaving because of salary but also because they have given up hope that things would get better.
    He believes that the new hires are here to help rebuild and work towards “a model urban school system.”
    Thurmond talking about needing to celebrate teachers who have stayed. (He is right.) But he acknowledges that the system lost some really strong teachers. Dr. Johnson asking Super to communicate to staff that we are working on plan to make things better.
    Other systems charge a fine if contracts are broken. Ward-Smith says system is considering this. (In response to Morley ?). Morley says teachers should be paid more. (Then she needs to lead discussion on what can be cut from system.)

  10. Concernedmom30329 says:

    And I am done. May try to come back for policy discussion…

  11. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Thanks Concernedmom!

  12. Thanks so much for the great reporting Concernedmom30329!!! We ALL appreciate it immensely.

  13. concerned citizen says:

    Oh, right, next Wednesday, when we’re missing 100 teachers….maybe Thurmond will “drop by” and say hello

  14. Word Wall says:

    What is the class size flexibility resolution? Classroom size is capped at 32 students in high school, isn’t that still policy?

  15. Instruction will begin Day 1.
    Schedules will be complete.
    Bus routes 100% accurate
    Central office supporting schools week 1
    Deploying staff to schools
    Daily debriefs at 4 pm

    New Leadership, New Vision, New Direction

  16. Wilkins: Action items —
    Asked board to adopt policies by number – but didn’t read them out loud.
    Orson moved, Irwin seconds.
    Coleman – asks for an update as to content
    Wilkins – something about attendance lines due to technology
    Thad: is there flexibility to make significant changes?
    Wilkins – no – can’t change by 1/8 mile or less – affecting no more than 5 students
    Thad: Could multiple actions take place or a series of actions without board knowledge?
    Wilkins: That’s a hypothetical
    Vote – 7 yes. 1 no (not sure who)


    FWIW – here’s the policy he didn’t read out loud:

    The purpose of this request is to update the policy with the use of new mapping technologies. The district transitioned from an address-based attendance zone system to a geographical-based attendance zone system in 2011. With the use of this new mapping technology, some residents were inadvertently assigned to a different school attendance zone. The purpose of this policy adjustment is to allow the staff to make minor adjustments in assignment to correct for this unintentional outcome.

    The current Board Policy AD (School Attendance Areas), Section A (Alteration of School Attendance Areas) requires that all attendance area alterations be approved by the Board, even for very minor corrections.

    Staff requests a modification in the policy so that staff can make such minor attendance area alterations where the attendance area for a student was/is inadvertently changed due to transition in mapping technology. Furthermore, this permission is highly-limited in that a minor attendance area alteration is defined as the displacement of current attendance lines by one-eight (1/8th) of a mile or less and a change in enrollment – positive or negative – of no more than five (5) currently-enrolled students.

    Approval of this policy amendment will help address the very specific concerns of residents impacted by this new technology, without having to take the matter to the board process. Such technological edits do not indicate a redistricting process, as the proposed change is consistent with the primary and secondary criteria in Policy AD. Additionally, any change of a resident(s) attendance area would be reported to the Board for informational purposes. This policy amendment would improve constituent service given the change in mapping technology. For example, another anticipated technological change is the use of county property lines for future mapping. This may result in additional minor corrections to ensure residential attendance zone assignment consistent with the BOE intent.

  17. Interesting – they no longer use the electronic voting machines since they’ve moved their tables down to the floor. It’s back to a ‘show of hands’…

  18. Orson – poised for success with Thurmond’s leadership. Looks forward to a great year.

  19. Chair: Commends Thurmond and staff for looking at the budget in a different way and new ways to fund programs.

  20. Thurmond: As was articulated during the work session, FY13 ended in a deficit. Dr. Bell issued a spending freeze at Central Office (commends them) leveraged resources and found new money. Must be affirmed by the state.

    Eliminated a $14.7 million deficit. Closes the book on a difficult chapter. We have momentum and can expect revenues to grow. Scheduling will have a big impact on revenues. #1 priority to eliminate furloughs and address salary structure – losing ground against competing districts. Have to build the fund balance and then pay the people. 700 new employees – thanks veteran employees who are returning. We will build a model, urban public school district – one of the finest in the United States of America.

    As a politician, look at the people who are there during the tough times – I’m going to remember the people who stood by. But remember – the deficit is no more. (Much applause.)

    Adjourn (to Executive Session)

  21. concerned citizen says:

    Crap, crap, crap, wormword, wormword, wormword Look at this “As a politician” – don’t we just know it? “remember the people who stood by ____(did he mean or say ‘me’?)

  22. Actually, he said, ‘as a recovering politician’… I was typing too fast.

  23. This is from Ramona’s presentation —


    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


    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.


    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 (

    Ms. Ramona H. Tyson, Chief of Staff, Office of the Superintent

    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.

    Read below for another of Ramona’s timelines (the audit that never happened and never will):

  24. Wow – check out this lease for $0. for 5,000 sq feet of warehouse space — to store science exhibits! What?!!

    Click to access Lease%20Draft_457724fdsgqh45yzuvtpe4uqu5zu55.pdf

  25. And here’s one of those surveys the board asked for:

    Click to access Staff%20Technology%20Use%20Survey_457736fdsgqh45yzuvtpe4uqu5zu55.pdf

    30.1% found tech support “outstanding”,
    44.5% found tech support “satisfactory”,
    12.4% found tech support “lagging”,
    8.6% found tech support “frustrating”,
    4.3% didn’t use tech support.

  26. Embarrassed Employee says:

    First day back and here are my observations:
    Friends & Family benefits are still being cashed in.
    The motto is STILL roll with the tide and be glad you have a job.
    Morale continues to be an issue.
    Principals are more confident in their power to rule with an iron fist.
    And teachers are STILL waiting to hear from neighboring districts to hire them as of today!

  27. And here’s the new policy on student activities fund management:

    OLD – Board Policy
    Descriptor Code: DK
    Student Activities Funds Management
    Funds collected from students and from other sources for student activities shall be expended for the purpose of the project, including school-related incidental expenses incurred byteachers and other school personnel.
    1. School personnel shall have itemized receipts for cash purchases; other purchases shall be supported by purchase orders or contracts and paid only upon receipt of
    original invoices.
    2. School personnel shall not require the collection of funds from students for expenditures that are included in the school system’s budget.
    3. School personnel shall maintain a clear audit trail from receipt of the funds to
    the disbursement of the funds.
    4. The School System shall provide for an annual audit of student activity funds by either an internal or external auditor.
    5. The School System shall return to the contributing students any surplus funds from a completed project. Deficits in funding shall be managed by the schools(s) involved.
    6. The School System shall use an accounting system that complies with generally accepted accounting principles and rules issued by the department.
    7. The School System shall pay the cost of external audits from the funds being

    Date Adopted: 9/11/2000

    – Policy DK –
    A: Monies generated at local schools from after care programs
    Funds collected by local schools on behalf of or for the benefit of students in connection with the provision of after care, extended day and academic enrichment programs (“Program”) operated by the local school shall be managed by the local school under the following conditions:
    1. From such proceeds, the direct expenses of the program shall first be paid. Such expenses, as well as the payees of such expenses, shall be in accordance with the policies of the DeKalb Board of Education or administrative regulations issued by the Superintendent.
    2. Of the remaining proceeds, ten percent (10%) shall be remitted to the DeKalb County School District Office of Finance and ninety percent (90%) shall be retained by the local school. The local school may elect to have the Office of Finance maintain the local school share and such share shall be maintained, for bookkeeping purposes, in a separate coded account. If the local school retains such funds locally, such funds shall be maintained in a federally insured bank in an account separate from other school funds. Written records shall be maintained in accordance with an administrative regulation issued by the Superintendent.
    3. A local school may expend its ninety percent (90%) share for purposes that support either the Program or the academic program and mission of the local school. However, such funds may not be spent until the academic year following their receipt. The local school shall have the right to transfer funds to another unit of the DeKalb County School District to support such unit’s academic program but such transfer may not occur until the academic year following receipt of such funds. The Superintendent shall issue an administrative regulation defining permissible expenditures in support of a school’s academic program.
    4. For the purposes of fiscal management, any expenditure of five thousand dollars ($5000) or more or shall require the written approval of the Chief Financial Officer or the CFO’s designee but such approvals may only be withheld if proposed expenditures are inconsistent with this policy or insufficient monies are in the Program account. Such approvals shall be issued on a timely basis.
    5. School personnel shall have itemized receipts for cash purchases; other purchases shall be supported by purchase orders or contracts and paid only upon receipt of original invoices.
    6. School personnel shall maintain a clear audit trail from receipt of the funds to the disbursement of the funds.
    7. DCSD shall provide for an annual audit by either an internal or external auditor.
    8. DCSD shall use an accounting system that complies with generally accepted accounting principles and rules issued by the Superintendent.
    9. This policy shall apply to monies currently on account and monies collected in the future.

    Proposed 5/8/13

  28. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Were the trumpets sounding when he finished this speech? A heralding choir of angelic voices?

  29. And here’s the Class Size Flexibility (I’m assuming it passed – I missed it).

    The addition of a 2-student buffer on the 2013-2014 class size maximum is necessary to ensure that full funding is captured for all classes. In previous years, this buffer amount was referred to as a class size waiver. The GaDOE has asked that school systems put all class size maximums and FTE buffers into the single resolution document for 2013-2014. This addition will not be used to determine class maximums throughout the year, but will be used only in the event that a class enrollment exceeds the DCSD maximum class size close to the FTE Count Date to ensure that no FTE funding is lost.

    Financial Impact
    As this resolution will not require an increase or decrease to current class size maximums, it will not have an impact on the 2013-2014 Budget.


    Download the chart here >>

  30. In the board resolution regarding class size it states,

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that effective for the 2013- 2014 school year only, the DeKalb Board of Education authorizes the Superintendent of Schools to increase the class size maximums to exceed the levels identified in Rule 160-5-1-.08 CLASS SIZE by:

    1 to 8 students in grades K-12 in Regular Education,
    1 to 6 students in English Language Learners (ELL),
    1 to 8 students in Gifted,
    1 to 8 students in Early Intervention Program (EIP),
    1 to 8 students in Remedial Education Program (REP),
    1 to 6 students in Vocational (CTAE),
    1 to 6 students in Alternative Education Program (AEP),
    1 to 4 students in Students with Disabilities, Group I
    1 to 4 students in Students with Disabilities, Group II
    1 to 4 students in Students with Disabilities, Group III
    1 to 4 students in Students with Disabilities, Group IV
    1 to 4 students in Students with Disabilities, Group V

    Download the whole resolution here >>

  31. bettyandveronica1 says:

    I was refering to Thurmond’s we are gonna rebuild stronger, better speech above…

  32. teachermom says:

    Teacher retention plan—More students, frozen pay, no retirement contribution/social security, no children in feeder pattern if you work in a desirable cluster (unless you work in CO)I can hear the doors being beaten down by qualified candidates, no wait, they are running OUT, not IN.

  33. concerned citizen says:

    @bettyand veronica – it’s on this page from DSW – central office deployed, etc. “deployed”, huh? At least he knows this is a battle…

  34. hadenoughof thebull says:

    Due to the fact that Dekalb County does not put any information in their “contracts” (no number of days, no pay structure, etc.) it is next to impossible to enforce this contract. If Dekalb County Schools want a firm commitment from their teachers, then they must give them a firm comitment. A contract is not a contract if it is all one way.

  35. Dekalbite2 says:

    I wrote every BOE member and Mr. Thurmond to advocate for funding the classrooms for students and then seeing what is left over for admin and support. We should not be spending over $10,000,000 a year on Security, $12,000,000 a year on non teaching Coaches and millions more on Coordinators, and $4,000,000 on Fernbank Science Center when we can’t provide high quality and decently compensated teachers for students.

  36. former dekalb parent says:

    I wonder if one of the HR issues was to bring Harold Lewis back to DCSS in transportation…F&F continue!

  37. Dekalbite2 says:

    @Former dekalb parent

    You are talking about Crawford Lewis’s relative – right? I didn’t know he was ever out of transportation. He came from MIS and was promoted under Lewis to transportation, but did he have any experience in transportation?

  38. Truth Seeker says:

    Has anyone else noticed this? Policy AD school attendance areas can be modified up to an eighth of a mile and five students without board approval. I would call this attendance line creep. When will the attendance line be finalized? How many times can it be changed? Once a year? Once a month? Once a week? etc. It appears to be opening a can of worms. Current policy before last night said that any changes had to be approved by the entire board. This is a safety factor. It would have to occur in a public meeting and board members would have to openly vote on it. Now a board member can influence the super. to change the lines or the planning director (Dan Drake) or gosh knows who to help out a constituent, a problem, or just a complainer. This policy has no end no finality. That is dangerous. One board member has a good friend that lives right on an attendance line. That person is on the Briar Vista side of the line and wants to attend another elementary school. What do you want to bet that this child goes to a school other than Briar Vista?

    Also what about the rental building for free to store science projects? I would be looking for a quid pro quo here. Watch out for buildings A and B , the old school offices and see what may happen in the near future. Why would anyone rent you a building for nothing?
    The policy seems to allow more secrecy and less transparency. This appears to be opposite of what the BOE and super have promised you.

  39. Yep. And Thad Mayfield eluded to that exact concern. But in the end, nobody wanted to rock SACS boat – so the majority voted to approve the new (flexible) policy. (Was Thad the dissenting vote? I missed it – they don’t show it electronically anymore – they aren’t using that newly purchased voting equipment at the meetings anymore.)

  40. Niah says:

    No deficit……..
    So the leaders of HR want to hire more Directors……
    Director of Professional Development,,,,,,,,for more poor illuminated sessions….thumbs down
    Director of Exceptional Education…… All of the knowledgeable people have retired. We have enough coordinators… we need anyone else at central office.
    OK, so what this means is no deficit for central office but deficit for teachers…..
    furlough days, no raises, more children in classroom, more rigor (really)…with no pay

    Let’s ask the board did they approve bringing all of these central offices positions to come back instead of taking care of the front line workers. Did they approve this or does the leader of HR want to bring in more fraternity, sorority, and friends?
    Help us SACS…not feeling illuminated or balanced budget for teacher’s pockets.

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