Click here to watch the video of the public comments portion of the September 9 board meeting.
David Schutten is against the Druid Hills Charter system petition.
Lyndsey (?) is also against the Druid Hills Charter system petition.
Both say that the charter board will have too much control of too much money. Charter will host 5000 students, 400 instructional staff. Thinks votes came from the inner circle. (Schutten pointed out that only about 16% of total possible voters turned out and they were a majority white, even though the school population is 80% minority.)
Ruth Primm examined the charter and says it doesn’t represent DeKalb.
Orvia Cushney speaking on disabilities. Son is in Druid Hills cluster on a transfer due to the fact that his needs aren’t being met at his home school. Grave concerns about special ed programs. Says the charter will offer separate special ed programs and they will be inferior.
Lorene Booker Brown concerned about nepotism. People are dying due to ramifications of nepotism. Leaders get their jobs due to connections and aren’t qualified. They have a sense of entitlement and use it to threaten and harass others. Sent Thurmond an email with recommendations to deal with it. Four heart attacks and deaths due to the stress of being harassed. Also disappointed that the new board blanket approved the budget. Fought hard to get former board removed but is sad to see this new board approved budget prior to learning their jobs.
Louis Cushney (son of former speaker – in special ed program) Has high test scores. Intellectual potential. Laurel Ridge ortho impairment student.
Matt Lewis – parent of two children – one in college, one at DHHS. Community of schools puts aside years of attendance line bickering and makes decisions based on putting teachers and classrooms first. They need to think and act at the schoolhouse level. Parents willing to help at all schools and advocate for all students. Finances are central to community trust. Community has decided to act and share the responsibility for educating all of its children. Pro Druid Hills Charter Cluster and asks for approval.
Kathleen Mathers – for DHHC – would be member of the board if approved. Teacher at Avondale ES, and worked at Governor’s office of achievement. Says research on charters is positive. (Gives many details). Says charter cluster will be good for students.
Mr. Bonder? Talks about waivers. Waivers do not carry a negative for the cluster.
Robert Thorpe – most recent past principal at DHMS and a proposed board member for the cluster. Not meant to be criticism but as a new way to create a world-class school system. Has seen a lot of change in DCSS that undervalued teachers. Millions on programs like Springboard, Americas Choice and Success for All – the emphasis on programs is a mistake. The charter will focus on processes – like IB. Cluster will offer several pathways. MEntions that the DCSS IB coordinator left the system and went to Cobb. Believes DHCC is the right change at the right time. Can help return DeKalb schools to their former prominence.
Teresa Bennett – daughter in DCSS. Heartbroken that we were placed on probation. The charter cluster is a ray of hope. Avondale ES – all parents want the same thing – a different way to educate. Diverse group and they all want the charter. Was secretary of cluster. Open meetings. Minutes online. Answered all questions. Totally accessible to communities. Asked everyone to sign up to be a part of the committee. Wants board to look favorably on the petition to empower parents and students. It’s about educating kids.
Alexander Fitzhugh – school uniformity. Chapel Hill MS PTA president(?). Council voted to be a school of uniformity. (Uniforms) All but about 15 students participate. Being out of uniform is causing disturbance. Wants to make sure the board has their backs when they administer consequences to these students for being out of uniform.
Darrell Fun – parent of 2 children. One with autism. Panola Way ES. Wants people to get involved with the special needs program. Principal has done a remarkable job. Parents of special needs students need support.
David Roberts – future board member of charter cluster. Son goes to private school for Kindergarten. Didn’t feel comfortable with DCSS. Missed a slot in the Museum lottery. Wants board to support Druid Hills Charter petition. It’s not based on chance and luck like the Museum School lottery. Hope and Luck are not strategies.
Becky Brickman – Briarvista Elementary School Council. Two children. Trying to preserve programs. Rivals with people promoting the cluster. Now they work together to create a cluster that works for all. Helped write the charter. Excited about the cluster – one large community that won’t need to fight for resources. Feels supported by the charter cluster community.
Lance Hammonds – NAACP area rep for DeKalb. Mission statement ensures the educational rights of children. Do not believe the petition vote did not represent minorities. Deprived families of right to vote and how children will be educated. Vote at DHHS – many could not come. Counted in secret – non-verified. DCSS was under federal court order for years to desegregate. This could resegregate schools. DeKalb NAACP asks board to deny petition until they are comfortable that the vote included all. Send it back for revision or deny it.
Michele Pinkava – 2 children – Tucker. Long journey to this place. Don’t know the conclusion or who will still be on the board in January. In order to move forward we must be innovative – even if there’s a perceived loss of power. Charter cluster is innovative and inclusive. Power at the school house level – vertical alignment. Obviously her children won’t attend but she supports their efforts.
Jesse Cunningham – (Ousted board member) “Education drive our economic development. It is a shame that we see during the 50th anniversary of the march that we see a petition for a charter cluster.” It’s a new school system for DeKalb county. It is wrong. It doesn’t even support the action plan for SACS. There is nothing unique about the plan. If voted yes, what’s to say that we won’t have 17 more charter systems? It will be the end of DeKalb schools. It will be a system of individual clusters. This was a 70% minority cluster and they didn’t even have any say so. Have you thought about the conversion program? Gives waivers, but holds DCSS board and superintendent accountable. “I ask you not to grant and move forward with this contract until you actually go back and look at different ways in order for this to be done. Charter schools do work but this particular petition does not work.”
Evette Hall – parent of 3 Columbia HS graduates. All attended college. We are happy and doing well at Columbia HS. Science, math and technology magnet leader. Gives accolades to several people. 400 new computers at Columbia. We trust that Brantley will take care of other matters swiftly. Waved a Columbia pom pom…
Mr. Harmon – Service center employee – says Sam Moss Service center lost about 80% of staff during layoffs. Very few mechanics. If people quit or retire, please post the position. A couple people have retired, but the positions have not been posted. Begged for super to post the position and hire needed staff.