It looks to be a busy month!

Clear you calendars – there is a lot to do in DeKalb county this month!

FIRST UP:  A Called Meeting – a Big One! 11/11/2013 – 7:00 PM
Presenting — The Druid Hills Charter Cluster, Inc. Charter Petition
J. David Williamson Board Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083

The Druid Hills Charter Cluster (“Cluster”) proposes to implement a high school cluster in DeKalb County to develop college and career ready students by providing continuous learning pathways for students from K-12. The Cluster asserts that it will implement a school choice program of learning pathways such as International Baccalaureate, Montessori, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (STEAM), and Advanced Placement choices to parents and educators amongst seven schools currently operated by the District.

The Druid Hills Charter Cluster proposes to serve grades K-12 during all five years of the charter term. The school’s proposed location(s) are:

1) Druid Hills High School, 1798 Haygood Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
2) Druid Hills Middle School, 3100 Mount Olive Drive, Decatur, GA 30033
3) Avondale Elementary School, 10 Lakeshore Drive, Avondale Estates, GA 30002
4) Briar Vista Elementary, 1131 Briar Vista Terrace NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
5) Fernbank Elementary, 3131 Old Rockbridge Road, Avondale Estates, GA 30002
6) Laurel Ridge Elementary, 1215 Balsam Drive, Decatur, GA 30033
7) McLendon Elementary, 3169 Hollywood Drive, Decatur, GA 30033
8) Avondale Middle School, 1192 Clarendon Avenue, Avondale Estates, GA 30002

Financial Impact
The District has determined that the Cluster’s financial impact for the 2014-2015 school year will be approximately 29 million dollars in District revenue during its first year of operation, if it is determined by the State Department of Education to be a Conversion Charter Cluster. The financial impact will be approximately 40 million dollars if it is determined by the State Department of Education to be a Start-up Charter Cluster. Therefore, it is estimated that the Cluster will utilize nearly 150-200 million dollars of District funds for the proposed five-year charter term. Transportation and facility costs are not included in this estimation.

Read the AJC’s report on the subject >> DeKalb parents demand local control as ‘charter cluster’ petition reaches school board



Districtwide Title l Parent Involvement Conference
Guest Speaker – Glenda Hatchett
Former Juvenile Court Judge, Author & Speaker
All Parents of Title l Schools are Invited!!
Saturday, November 16, 2013
8:00 am – 1:00 pm

DeKalb County School District
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083
For additional information contact:
Brenda Williams, Office of Federal Programs, Title l Coordinator at
678.676.0312, or email
or Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, Executive Director for Curriculum, Instruction, Professional Learning and the Office of Federal Programs Division at 678.676.0329



Are you the parent, guardian, or mentor of a child in the DeKalb County School District?

You Have a Voice; Make the Choice to Attend the
“Parent Educational Awareness & Empowerment Conference”
Saturday, November 23, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The Conference Center at Georgia Piedmont Technical College
495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021
For more information call: (678) 676-0381
Moderator: Donna Lowry, 11Alive TV

“A Bridge Initiative Strategy”

Workshops-Entertainment-Food-Media Personalities & More

To register visit:


Of course,  the trial of Pat Reid (Pope) and Tony Pope continues – starring Dr. Crawford Lewis – the new witness for the prosecution due to his plea deal.  Tune in to our page on the subject “The drama begins… (or continues)” – we will try to keep it updated.


AND LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: If you happen to be in Dunwoody tomorrow, Monday, November 11 at 3:30, stop by the playground at Brook Run Park… Nancy Jester will treat you to some great news!

About dekalbschoolwatch

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53 Responses to It looks to be a busy month!

  1. Dekalbite2 says:

    Well the magnets are getting more money per pupil due to transportation and extra teachers. Many of the Central Office personnel send their children to magnets as well as theme schools (not sure about any extra cost for theme schools) , but they do strip off good students and leave the rest (generally students with low income less involved parents) behind in the zoned schools. Mr. Thurmond has no problem with giving the schools with special programs OVER the per pupil allotment. Not to mention the million a year spent on Fernbank Science Center which also sucks up per pupil funds without having pupils. And then there are all of those Coaches, Coordinators, Directors, Managers and parent center people Thurmond hired back, not to speak of the lawyers and public relations people and terribly overstaffed security group. They suck up per pupil funding as well. So he’s right. DCSS cannot continue to operate the same way if they give students in the Druid Hills Cluster the per pupil funding allotted for each of their students.

    It will be interesting to see what the Druid Hills community does now. They have always worked within the system to get what they want. I’m sure they dotted every i and crossed every t on this petition, and no doubt the students would have had more money spent in the classroom on instructional needs such as smaller classes and more learning equipment and supplies. Will they find some alliances now with other parts of the county who want to be free of the Family and Friends inefficient and ineffective admin and support group that grew so exponentially under Lewis and has been continued under all of superintendents since him?

    This pretty much laid bare the desire for the upper level managers to keep the status quo of control of the money in place while ignoring student achievement woes. Thurmond has been woefully remiss on any meaningful plan with quantifiably measurably achievement objectives and benchmarks to meet those objectives while the Druid Hills Cluster petition has been very forthcoming on those objectives.

    Mr. Beasley has so scant and long ago teaching experience and his track record on improving the rate of student achievement when he was DCSS’s head of Teaching and Learning that he shouldn’t have even been given any time to speak. He has a terrible track record that effectively helped the student achievement rate to decline.

    The Power Brokers that run DeKalb Schools have not/cannot/do not know how to move students forward, but they certainly do know how to stay in control. They are numerous and they control a billion in school funding. They figure they are drawing a nice safe salary and control the billions of dollars in resources to out wait their opposition. That opposition are parents and taxpayers who want a rate of student achievement that will allow their children to compete in a 21st Century World.

  2. hannah0921 says:

    @Kim along with the Cityhood movement for Lakeside, Druidhills, Tucker; followed by independent school districts for all.

    I would hope that the Govenor and his two selection commitee members will be calling in the 4 appointees who voted against this to his office and point out they were not elected, but appointed by him. They should then be strongly suggested to turn in their resignations tomorrow. Especially, Morely, who finds two meetings a month to be too much. After that, Thurmond should be called to a meeting with the Governor and his new Buddy Kaseem who Blew the Braves deal, sitting by his side, and strongly suggest to Thurmond it is in his best interest to resign as well. Do these moron’s not understand that you follow the signature legislation of the man that appointed you to a board. Are they that stupid.

  3. concernedmome30329 says:


    You are confused on many fronts. First, it is Orson who insists that they meet only once a month. When confronted, recently, by a group of parents who believe that the new meeting schedule isn’t working, I overheard him huffily say “it isn’t going to change.” By the way, the parents speaking to him had valid points.

    Secondly, Governor Deal had nothing to do with the charter cluster legislation. It was passed long before he was governor. He really won’t care about what happened in largely Democratic Druid Hills.

    Finally, I believe the arrogance shown by the DHCC representatives helped sink them. I have friends on several DeKalb charter (start up) boards and they all said it is unheard of not to negotiate when the system has concerns. DHCC has had attorneys ready to go since day 1 and they intend to sue the system. Great, more legal fees.

  4. @Concerned: Just a point of clarity – Morley said something during yesterday’s meeting about not being pleased about meeting two weeks in a row.

  5. DHCC Supporter says:

    “Finally, I believe the arrogance shown by the DHCC representatives helped sink them. I have friends on several DeKalb charter (start up) boards and they all said it is unheard of not to negotiate when the system has concerns. DHCC has had attorneys ready to go since day 1 and they intend to sue the system. Great, more legal fees.”

    Really?? The DHCC reps have tried for a full month to meet with the administration and the board to address any concerns and the system repeatedly refused the offer. There was a meeting scheduled for yesterday afternoon between the BOE and the DHCC representatives and the chairman cancelled it last Friday. The only arrogance on display in this process has been that of DCSS and the BOE refusing to follow the law.

  6. concerned citizen says:

    ‘DSW2: You’re on the money.
    Thurmond cannot stop his arrogance: he’s on the gravy train. He is so big-time arrogant that nobody can stop his roll to Godlike status. He’s one of the most stupid people I’ve ever seen, acting out his stupidity for his own audience. I would be embarrassed but have lived too long to apologize.

  7. Word Wall says:

    Dekalbite2 really understands the sad nature of this “new and improved” board and staff. The Druid Hills petition made them all lay out their cards on the table. We needed to break from the past….but more of the same won out. Sad day.

  8. Dekalbite2 says:

    Oops! Typo error. Should read:
    Not to mention the 4 million a year spent on Fernbank Science Center which also sucks up per pupil funds without having pupils. BTW – Thurmond is quietly refunding that cost center as well.

  9. concerned citizen says:

    If Thurmond does not speak “the King’s English,” that’s a problem for all of us, even others who know from someone’s speech…. Thurmond makes the DeKalb School System a mockery of education. He does not speak well because he hasn’t learned or apparently sought to learn how to talk. That would take study! And he doesn’t equate “study with money” because he has it all worked out: politic and ‘scaffold” your way into high office/high salary.
    btw, who is teaching Thurmond a little bit of “edujargon”? Why has he not taken the Special Ed course? Simply, he hasn’t because he doesn’t have to.

  10. hopespringseternal says:

    I’m no friend of anything or anyone related to this school system including Thurmond. But let’s see — he is (or was) a licensed practicing attorney who passed the same bar exam as every other lawyer in this state, right? He underwent the same rigor as other successful law students, right? And because he happens to carry a dialectical tendency which is a likely throwback to where/how he grew up, and is one of many tendencies among certain peoples in our great and diverse country (which is not unlike the Gullah or Pidgin dialects borne out of enslavement), he’s held up for mockery? With his performance in his job thus far, isn’t there enough to hold up for criticism without being downright evil about it? Guess not.

  11. State’s final witnesses take stand in DeKalb school corruption trial

    By Erica Byfield

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The seventh day of testimony in a high-profile corruption trial linked to the county school district is complete.

    … The state’s final witnesses included the former District Attorney’s Office investigator who built the state’s case and a forensic accountant.

    Clay Nix left the DeKalb County DA’s Office earlier this year to take a job with the Georgia Department of Corrections.

    While on the stand, Nix told jurors in the course of his investigation he conducted close to 50 interviews.

    Nix also discussed applying for a search warrant to enter both of the defendant’s homes, a business and a building owned by the DeKalb County school system.

    Reid’s attorney asked Nix several questions about former DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis. Lewis was indicted with Reid and Pope.

    In October, Lewis cut a deal with the state and agreed to testify against Reid and pope.

    Last week during Lewis’ testimony he told jurors he had an affair with a coworker and Reid tried to blackmail him.

    Nix testified Lewis told him something different in 2009.

    “He stated that he had not been blackmailed,” he said.

    “You asked him if he any extra martial affairs?” said Reid attorney Tony Axam.

    “Yes sir,” Nix replied.

    “How did he answer that question?” Axam said.

    “He indicated that he had not,” said Nix.

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