Tune in to the very important September 9, 2013 Board meeting

Tune in to another day of marathon meetings at DeKalb county schools headquarters. This is essentially the first meeting of FY14 (the 2013-14 school year). This will be our first look at the budget in detail as well as HR news and curriculum and technology plans. This is the beginning of Michael Thurmond’s official term and his budget.  From here out, he owns 100% of what happens in DeKalb schools.

The main meetings are broadcast on Comcast 24 and streamed on the DCSS website here. You can participate in Nancy Jester’s live blog for the meetings beginning at 2pm. Click here for the link. We will try to stream it here on the right side panel of the blog. Follow along and join the conversations – both at the live blog and here in the comments.

Here’s the schedule for today’s meetings: Work Session – 2:00 pm Click here for the agenda.

Public comments – 5:45 pm (New, Town Hall style) (J. David Williamson Board Room)

Business Meeting – 7:00 pm (J. David Williamson Board Room) Click here for the agenda. Below is the agenda for the 7 pm business meeting: Meeting Agenda (click here to see details)

A. CALL TO ORDER 1. ROSTER 2. INSPIRATION & PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE 3. RECOGNITIONS a. Special Recognition ~ DeKalb Early College Academy, 2012 Georgia Schools of Excellence in Student Achievement Award Recipient b. Industry Certification Recognition

B. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA 1. SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT a. Safe Schools Initiative b. The Bridge Initiative c. School District Flexibility & Accountability in Georgia d. Strategic Plan Report

C. CONSENT AGENDA 1. Approval of State Mandated Local Board Training Plan 2. Approval of Minutes 3. Approval of Monthly Financial Report 4. Approval of Human Resources Monthly Report 5. 21st Century Community Learning Centers 2013-2014 Grant Award 6. Purchase and Year Two Renewal of PD360 from School Improvement Network 7. CaseNex Professional Development Extension Agreement (ESOL) 8. CaseNex Professional Development Extension Agreement (Gifted) 9. Procurement for all Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) Materials and Scoring Fees 10. Approval of Tapestry Public Charter School, Inc. 11. Approve Race To The Top (RT3) Funds for Executive Leadership Academy 12. Purchase of National Computer System- (NCS) Pearson, Inc. School Achievement Services for McNair Middle School, McNair High School and Towers High School 13. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) and the City Schools of Decatur regarding regular education students attending the DeKalb Alternative School. 14. DCSD Middle School Telecommunications Hardware Refresh (Year 2 of 5) 15. Flip-Top Computer Desks, Bid #14-246 16. 21st Century Classroom Technology 17. District Wide Cabling and Wireless System (Year 2 of 5) 18. SPLOST III Project: Knollwood ES HVAC, Ceiling and Lighting Replacement, and ADA Improvements Contract Award 19. Bid No. 14-25 Purchase Cold Storage Services 20. Chamblee Charter High School Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) Package 21. TRANSPORTATION a. Monthly School Bus Inspection Contract Extension (RFP 13-456) b. CMAQ Early Bus Replacement (Grant) c. School Bond Bus Purchase 22. Naming of Baseball Field at Tucker High School

D. ACTION ITEM (Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: READY FOR ACTION) 1. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy EEE 2. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy GAMA (Drug-Free Workplace) 3. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy IC (Curriculum Development) 4. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy IDCH (Dual/Joint Enrollment Programs) 5. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Policy JGC (Student Health Services)

E. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)

F. ANNOUNCEMENTS

G. ADJOURN

Click here for the monthly budget and vendor reports. This is the first report of FY14, so it is an important one.

Click here for the monthly HR report. It looks like over 1,100 people were hired in July.

In addition, click here for the July, 2013 SPLOST report (not discussed at this meeting)

As far as the vendor report goes, we found it very interesting that only three law firms were paid from the budget.

SUTHERLAND ASBILL BRENNAN LLP Total $262,583.26

ALEXANDER & ASSOCIATES $103,616.05

KING & SPALDING Total $1,216.47

Jeff Dickerson was also paid in July:

DICKERSON COMMUNICATIONS Total $24,000.00

+++

UPDATE: Read a pdf of the entire conversation during the Cover It Live blogging by Stan and Nancy Jester — here: All Notes — 09:09:2013 DeKalb Schools Board Meeting

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134 Responses to Tune in to the very important September 9, 2013 Board meeting

  1. concerned citizen says:

    We will never be rid of Dickinson. Like a bad penny, he keeps showing up, and we all know why.

  2. You Are Superman says:

    I will be addressing the board tomorrow night. Please advise as to what “new town hall style” means?

  3. @Superman: As far as we can tell, all it means is that the board will be sitting at tables on the floor rather than up at the dais looking down….

  4. Does anyone have a link to the online streaming video? It has disappeared from the main PDS 24 page. They only have archived videos – the latest ones are from July… http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/pds-tv24

  5. midvaledad says:

    Those invoices you listed for the legal expenses were left over from FY2013. There are a lot more invoices which were not paid and will be showing up in FY2014.

    Why did they drop the link to live streaming? It makes no sense to me.

  6. midvaledad says:

    Mr. Hudson’s phone number is 404.486.3710 and his email address is quinn_hudson@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us Please contact him and ask why the link to the live stream has been dropped.

  7. Stan Jester says:

    Plan B – Can somebody please record the meeting on Comcast? I can get if off your DVR and cut/edit the recording. –Stan (stanjester@gmail.com)

  8. concernedmom30329 says:

    So now the system’s website seems buggy to me. Slow to load, etc Anyone else having this issue?

  9. midvaledad says:

    Yes. The web site is acting weird this morning.

    This meeting is not listed on the DCSD web site anywhere I can find.
    “On September 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm, the DeKalb County Council of PTAs will host a Meet and Greet for the DeKalb Board of Education. The event will take place at the AIC Building at 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard in Stone Mountain.”
    http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1104332902534-102/Meet+&+Greet+Flyer-1.pdf

    Finally, I forgot to mention the Monthly Financial Report (on page 5) lists legal fees for July at $0. The numbers posted above are from the list of vendors paid (Vendor Spend Report) which is also attached to the agenda.

  10. concernedmom30329 says:

    I can’t imagine there were no legal bills in July. I am guessing that we simply didn’t pay them. Is that your take, as well, Midvale Dad?

  11. Comcast 24 seems to be down as well. Station is frozen. This is just not good.

  12. teachermom says:

    Why do I get the feeling that the new guy shut down the feed? Hope I am wrong.

  13. Stan Jester says:

    I have at least half a dozen serious issues with the budget report among other items on the agenda.

    Budget Trick #1
    Way over estimate QBE Funds. Check out the enrollment in the School readiness presentation.
    Projected: 99,676
    Today: 98,910
    At an average QBE earnings of $4K/student that’s over $3M in non realized revenue. It begins.

  14. bettyandveronica1 says:

    That 98K number is interesting What gives? “As of 8/20/13, the DCSD had 100,549 students which is the largest enrollment in our history.” news from district administrators meeting with MT per principal.

  15. Even if that were true, that is not the record. We were once up over 102,000 after we received so many students who fled New Orleans after Katrina. Check out our archived enrollment data at this link under the Facts & Sources tab: https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/facts-sources/fte-enrollmentcapacity-reports/ as well as the historical data produced by the AJC showing enrollment and racial trends over the years – https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/ajc-race-enrollment-historical.pdf

  16. Sarah says:

    I’d intended to be at the meeting tonight, instead I am sitting at the ER with my son. If anyone is able to find coverage of the meeting or is able to record it live, PLEASE send me a link or a copy, theprattsburgcenter@gmail.com. Thank you!

  17. Sorry to hear that Sarah. I hope everything is all right.

    Tune in to Nancy’s live blog – http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=972cdf86fd/width=650/height=1050/entryLoc=bottom/titlePage=off
    or the PDS stream online – http://www.ecstreams.com/DekalbSchools/DekalbSchoolsLive.asx

    They are on break now. They will reconvene at 5:45 for public comments. Board meeting begins at 7 pm.

  18. firstgradeteacher says:

    Can someone please explain what is Cunningham talking about? DeKalb County Schools has left no choice but for parents and teachers to do what is best for them. If the county did what was best for all then maybe my response would be different… smh…

  19. curious says:

    Did you get Cunningham’s dig at the new board? Something to the effect that they shouldn’t be lulled by the fact that you can re-visit the charter cluster petition in 5 years because who knows who will be here in 5 years . . . . He, like usual, seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the charter cluster law.

  20. Niah says:

    Okay the questions was asked what has The County done to improve Pre-K…….Lies told by Beasley and Stephaney…..
    The real deal is that none of the Pre K teachers are certified to teach. All certified teachers were moved to other grade levels, if they wanted to keep their pay. They lower the amount of days for the students, and lowered the para and the teachers salary. So what did you do….nothing

  21. They should not spend too much energy discussing Pre-K. Pre-K is a Georgia Lottery funded program. It could go away as easily as it appeared. Pre-K students do not count as FTE (Full Time Equivalent) students. They do not get educational funding from state education funds via QBE. The board should separate the Pre-K program from K-12.

  22. Teacher32 says:

    They want pre-k teachers to be educators, not babysitters? Did they forget that they pay pre-k teachers like babysitters??? Oh wait…they pay all of us like babysitters. And they marvel that teachers are turning out in droves for staff development? We are jumping at any opportunity to earn money to stay above water because our salaries no longer keep us afloat! Teacher morale is hitting rock bottom…don’t be fooled by Beasley’s excitement!

  23. Teacher32 says:

    According to our leader students are not to be held accountable for their learning. It’s not their fault if they fail or don’t graduate or don’t study or don’t care. Unbelievable!!

  24. Read a pdf of the entire conversation during the Cover It Live blogging by Stan and Nancy Jester — here:
    All Notes — 09:09:2013 DeKalb Schools Board Meeting

  25. concernedmom30329 says:

    What a train wreck of a meeting. However, they did defund the PhD program. Only highlight in an otherwise pretty bad Monday.

  26. Now that’s weird. What are these people supposed to do now that they’re in the middle of working on a PhD? Not that I’m defending the spending… but geesh. Upstanding leaders honor their word. Add to that their aversion to funding the charter school for autism, when they continue to fund specialty magnet and other boutique programs as well as expensive charters like Destiny… There is not one ounce of consistency anywhere in this school system leadership!

  27. HA Hurley says:

    Nixed the Golden PhD Pilot Program! Need to keep our eyes on it…could be renamed and pop up under other RTTT shells.
    If these admins are serious about their jobs and doing research, let them pay the way the rest of us do. We surely do not have a shortage of EdDs from all types of programs and online U’s.

  28. midvaledad says:

    @dekalbschoolwatch,
    What are these people supposed to do?
    Write a check!
    Each of them makes over $100,000.
    Let them pay for their own education.

  29. ShooShee says:

    This was a mess. Starting with Thurmond’s comment about reviewing charters–as being new and in “unchartered” territory. Maybe new for him, but not for the school system. They (DCSS) administration still see charters as competition.

    I thought that with locally approved charters the dollars followed the child. So, what is the big deal about the number or enrollment. Better to be in a public charter than a private school?

    Receiving the Tapestry charter petition in May–and tonight when it is time to vote–seeing it for the first time, that is a travesty!! If I were this group, I would pull the papers and go straight downtown to the state. Then DCSD would have to work with them–like they had to absorb The Museum School.

    And, for Michael to keep patting his new management team on the back and laying on the compliments–incredible.

    And, I didn’t agree with the PH.D. funds in the first place–from the Race to the Top funds, but the “no” vote last night was wrong. De-funding something that was already promised and that eight people have already put in over a year’s worth of time and effort was wrong and damages the system’s trust with staff. From what I heard, Dr. Jose Boza said that the applicants went through this process–to be selected, etc. Had to jump through certain hoops, and over hurdles to “win” a spot. They did sign an agreement that they would re-pay the system if they wanted to withdraw. It could even be viewed as a legal contract – both ways. To me, the system—regardless of the previous superintendent made the deal and should honor their word. Just look at all the bad deals Crawford and Ramona made—before Atkinson. They should fund this item through the three year commitment that was made. I have a feeling one of the “group of eight” is already talking to their lawyer. In the end, it will be cheaper to use RTT3 funds, rather than to incur legal funds for lawsuits from the general budget! Not to mention, this will make previously Premier DeKalb look pretty stupid with the Mercer University Department of Education!

    And, will you please get them back up behind the big wooden, paneled dais? Where the microphones work and don’t have to be set up and held, And they don’t have to clean table cloths and drapes and we can actually see the votes. They didn’t know who was voting for what. Pat spent the money on the BOE room–with the pole in the middle–so let’s use it. The microphones, sound and visual system will be obsolete or fail from lack of use. So, guys and gals–get back up in your “high” chairs and act like adults.

    And in conclusion, all I can say is that Morcease must have read Ralph’s book.

  30. Concernedmom30329 says:

    I am incredulous that Tapestry was so mishandled yesterday. I do believe this board is overly concerned with cost that impact students while not concerned enough about spending that does not. (ie the cars vs Tapestry) What they seem to be missing is that all these incidentals add up to a ton of money.
    I am very pro charter. . DCSS has made me that way. However, charter school funding is a complicated subject. Yes, in many ways dollars follow the child. The impact on systems is because students don’t leave schools in numbers that allow the school to reduce staffing.
    What happened last night, was mostly about the majority of the board not understanding what charters are and how they work. While I think there’s value in asking and learning. I think this meeting structures stinks, and really came back to bite Marshall last night. Imagine, if you will, for both the charter application and the PhD program, if the staff had time to come back a week or two
    later with answers to questions.
    I suspect tapestry will be approved at the next available opportunity. However if I were the applicant I would seriously be considering going the way of a state commission school. DCcs is not a good partner.

  31. Concernedmom30329 says:

    I want To add a few comments about Globe Charter related to what showed up on Nancy’s live blog. Seems to be some misunderstanding that charters have a choice how they spend their dollars. Globe has made a decision to have a significantly smaller teacher-student ratio. Therefore, they choose to spend their dollars that way. There are charters that offer transportation. This probably means they have larger class sizes than globe.
    Start up charters received lump sum payments from the system. It is their decision on how to use those resources.

  32. thedeal2 says:

    There is no commitment greater than the commitment to our students. Spending RTTT on a very small group of administrators who never come in contact with a student is anything but a commitment to our students. This school system does not pay one penny of our teachers’ health insurance, but they pay for administrators’ PhDs? Those adults are adults and can deal with the termination of a free PhD program. The rest of us in the real world out here are dealing with pay cuts, cuts in our hours, cuts to our benefits, no contribution to 401K, real world, people. These paper pushers earn well over six figures on our dime; they can pony up the money themselves. Remember, they are earning a degree WHILE WE PAY THEM $100K+. They should be grateful they have one free year of a PhD under their belts. Who else has the luxury of being paid an executive salary while you earn a free PhD in a taxpayer-funded entity? They were probably doing coursework during the time they were supposed to be working anyway. Commitment to them? Give me a break. I bet some of this group is in the new car group, too. 100K+ salary, free PhD, and free car. Are we Goldman Sachs or a school system? Kudos to this board for having the guts to cut the gravy train. No way this kind of expenditure is even morally acceptable in the face of leaky trailers, waivers on class sizes, and PTAs paying for basic building supplies.

  33. Imagine, if you will, for both the charter application and the PhD program, if the staff had time to come back a week or two later with answers to questions.

    Exactamundo! We have always thought this new marathon day format was incredibly stupid. There’s just no other word for it – stupid. The schedule is ridiculous – no citizen can participate fully in this marathon day of meetings – and certainly the board is pushing issues and not giving agenda items the time and attention they require in order to make good decisions. Add to that, the stupid way they are sitting on the floor in makeshift tables with the dais hovering above them – along with the electronic voting machines. A show of hands – really? When we paid thousands of dollars for those machines? The whole thing is a farce. It wastes time and does not make the false impression that they somehow ‘listen’ better than the last board. They obviously do not listen at all.

    As far as the PhD program goes, we hated it when it first came up. We were very much opposed to spending money that way. But the former board and super got approval from the state and feds to spend RTTT money in this way. These 8 people have put in a serious amount of work and these yahoos just pulled the rug out from under them. It’s a sign of a lack of character and trust by this board. They will go back on their word in a second. You can’t believe what the DeKalb boards decide from one month to the next. They do not do their homework. They do not discuss items. They do not think about being honorable. They are a group of governor-appointed flakes. No better than the group of elected flakes the governor dismissed. (Nancy and Pam not included.)

    Rant over.

  34. H.A. Hurley says:

    thedeal2 & Care4DCS Folks ~
    Very well stated! The whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
    Many of us spoke up all along when this OhSoWrongDrPilotProgram reared its ugly head with Atkinson. But, she knew it ALL, and proceeded with this GoldenPhDGroup.
    Our kids are taught in a school system struggling to survive with 1980s practices, being evaluated and competing with 2013 standards. DekalbCountySchools: Remember…trying to put lipstick on a pig? Won’t work.
    Those GoldenPrincipals ought to be mighty thankful to having been given as much $$ from the backs of teachers, children, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, parapros…..I know, RTTT$ did not go to the bus drivers, etc. The example is to demonstrate that DCS ALWAYS finds $$$ to reward the TopPaidAdministrators, not the hard working folks who are already scraping by.

    Back to PhDs: I suspect that many of our Principals would not have been accepted in any other PhD programs at GSU, UGA, or Emory. This was tailor-made for this group. Now, they have to be REAL SCHOLARS on their own if they want this degree. There are always diploma mills that will accommodate them.
    Don’t think this was ever about scholarship and improving education for children and improving instructional leadership to support our teachers. Oh my….I was lapsing into an old dream of how things were and could be, if we were not now in DCS.

  35. midvaledad says:

    I watched the whole meeting last night and came away with several things.

    Dr.s Morley and Carter are just as bad as the former members who were removed. They have no understanding of DCSD’s history with charters or how DCSD works and doesn’t work. They have no understanding of the charter school “system”. They came to the meeting unprepared. I communicated with a Tapestry Board member last night who said most of their concerns, as well as Mr. Mayfield’s, were addressed in the application. The Dr.s are against charters and will not vote to approve one regardless of the validity of the petition or the needs of the students.

    With her concerns about class size Dr. Carter not only showed she didn’t read the documents attached to the agenda, but also she doesn’t know the first thing about special education. See item number 14. https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=478734&MID=31836

    Mr. Beasley was unimpressive whenever he spoke. It is sad that he and Mrs. Tyson are acceptable “leaders” of the district. In a place were positions are given based on qualifications, they would be hard pressed to get jobs as custodians.

    We could use a grammar test to weed the dead weight out of the central office. All we have to do is “axe” them 50 questions. Less than 45 correct(s) and they should be fired.

    Mrs. Tyson promised monthly updates on the strategic planning process. Fine, except she also promised monthly updates on SACS accreditation until we are off probation. That promise seems to have been forgotten as have so many others that came out of her mouth.

    The new org. chart has her listed as Thurmond’s Chief of Staff. http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/organizational-chart.pdf I can not think of a worse person to be in that position.

    To those of you concerned about the poor administrators who didn’t get their PhD money last night, I say you need to think about all of the teachers who sign contracts only to have the BOE decrease their pay-after-the-fact. How about the teachers of Tucker High who were promised last spring that they would only have 29 students in their classrooms and now have 35 and more. I spoke to a young man over Labor Day weekend who said one of his classes at Lakeside has 46 regulars and 3 or 4 come and go.

    There were two things I was impressed with last night.
    There was a discussion about academic performance that was based on reality. They admitted some students are not doing well. The former board members refused to hear or admit that. The first step is admitting there is a problem.
    The second thing was BOE actually started discussing if money is being spent well. I am guessing they have read their emails.

  36. @Hurley: I completely agree with everything you say. Except – the thing was approved and the program was begun. There is most likely some kind of contract. It’s unwise for this board to go against the word of another. All promises and documents represent the school system. Going back on their word time and time again will not bode well for our reputation — which, as surely we’ve all noticed – hasn’t improved. I’m kind of floored that you all approve of pulling the rug out from under people. It’s akin to the public approval of removing the entire board due to the bad behavior of some. This is beginning to look like an episode of the Twilight Zone… pitchforks and all.

    Further, how ridiculously frustrating for Tapestry. This board has no idea how to do their job.

  37. Very valid points about teachers and school staff getting their rugs pulled out from under — hopefully you have noticed that we are equally as infuriated about that. However, RTTT can’t be used to restore furlough days or decrease class size – only better management of the budget can do that – and we are certain that there is plenty of money to do the job right.

  38. H.A. Hurley says:

    Dekalbschoolwatch ~
    I agree that promises, agreements & contracts mean something and should be honored. However, DCS is so discombobulated and operating by such different rules, it is hardly recognizable to be in our neighborhoods, right outside, in our schools…Trying to maintain all standards and rules makes us look like we are out of step and from another planet. Sure feel like it by now.

    The GoldenPhDs should not have taken the $$. Try that one on for size.
    When an administrator knows that kids and teachers have zip to work with, kids are sardines in our classes, teachers have lost tons of $$$ – an honorable administrator would offer to pay their own ride to PhDdome!
    No, I have not lost my mind, although, I am getting old enough. Professionalism is lost -gone- in DCS by our leadership. If they had an ounce of it, we would not be texting,tweeting,emailing,yelling,writing,convulsing,moving,chartering,high blood pressuring,etc…..
    The BoE is not prepared?Thurmond not prepared? This is about TOTAL LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM! Too much at stake for DCS. No excuses!
    We are still trying to make sense out of this mess and the people with ALL THE POWER could care less. And, if this is the best they can do….heaven help us!

  39. Stan Jester says:

    Dunwoody Chamblee Parents’ Council
    Tomorrow, Sept 11th, 9:15 am
    Dunwoody High School
    Speaker: Interim Superintendent (Thurmond)

    Refreshments and social time/networking start at 8:45 am.

  40. thedeal2 says:

    DSW, actually the structure of the Ph.D. program was that it must be renewed every year. The funding could not be guaranteed across multiple years, so it has to be reupped each year. Mercer, DCSD, and the lucky recipients were all aware of this. Dr. Boza made that crystal clear. In reality, this board did exactly what it was supposed to do. When this item came up for its yearly evaluation, they determined that the remaining $200K or so to spend could be better spent on RTTT-funded training that hits much closer to where it should, the classroom, and be much more widely distributed than a handful of wealthy people. I am still embarrassed at how they handled Tapestry, but their Ph.D decision was spot on. Those lucky 8 people now have a year of PhD training under their belt for free and can determine for themselves whether their fat paycheck can handle continuing it. That makes them better off than about 98% of the rest of us.

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