Monday, Feb 3 DCSS Board Meeting

school-board-meeting1

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following meetings on Monday, February 3, 2014:

2:00pm Work Session & Executive Session for the purpose of discussing legal matters – Cabinet Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083

5:45pm Community Input Session
J. David Williamson Board Room

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

Meeting agendas can be accessed online by going to: www.dekalb.k12.ga.us, click on Leadership, go to eBoard Home Page and click on the date for the meeting agenda\information. Click here to go directly.

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Business Meeting Agenda:

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT

a. After School Funds Audit Report
Presented by: Dr. Michael J. Bell, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance

b. Gifted Program Audit Overview
Presented by: Dr. Alice A. Thompson, Deputy Superintendent, Division of School
Leadership & Operational Support and Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum & Instruction

c. Introduction of 2nd Semester New Principals
Presented by: Dr. Alice A. Thompson, Deputy Superintendent, Division of School Leadership & Operational Support

C. ACTION ITEM

1. Establishment of Date & Time of DeKalb Board of Education Meeting for April, 2014. Presented by: Dr. Melvin Johnson, Chair

D. CONSENT AGENDA
It is requested that the Board of Education approve the February 3, 2014 Consent Agenda Items.

1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent
2. Approval of Financial Monthly Report
Presented by: Dr. Michael J. Bell, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance
3. Approval of Monthly Human Resources Report
Presented by: Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer, Division of Human Resources
4. Approval of Southern Behavioral Group (SBG) Contractual Services
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum &
Instruction
5. Medicaid Billing Services (RFP #14-463)
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum &
Instruction
6. Purchase of Advance Placement (AP) Exams for the May 2014 Administration
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum &
Instruction
7. Approval of 2014-2015 School Calendar
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum &
Instruction
8. Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Services
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
9. Briar Vista Elementary School KaBOOM! Playground Donation Equipment
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
10. SPLOST IV Project: Chapel Hill Elementary School HVAC & Other Improvements A/E.  Design Firm Approval. Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
11. SPLOST IV Project: Miller Grove Middle School HVAC, Ceiling, Lighting and Emergency Generator Replacement A/E Design Firm Approval.  Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

E. AMENDMENT TO THE BYLAWS & POLICIES: READY FOR ACTION
1. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy GCB (Classified Personnel Positions)
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs

F. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)

G. ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. Student Advisory Council Meeting, 9:00am, Wednesday, February 5, 2014,
Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex,
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

2. DeKalb Board of Education Retreat, 9:00am, Saturday, February 8, 2014,
Cabinet Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

3. Schools & Administrative Offices Close, Monday, February 17, 2014, in observation of President’s Day

4. District-Wide Administrators Academy, 8:30am, Tuesday, February 18, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex,
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

5. DeKalb Council of PTAs Winter Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, February 20, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex,
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

6. SPLOST Oversight Committee Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, February 27, 2014, Conference Room, Sam Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker

7. DeKalb Board of Education Work Session (2:00pm, Cabinet Room), Community Input Session (5:45pm, J. David Williamson Board Room), and Business Meeting (7:00pm, J. David Williamson Board Room), 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

H. ADJOURN

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39 Responses to Monday, Feb 3 DCSS Board Meeting

  1. Fred in DeKalb says:

    Item #6 from the agenda is an interesting one. For many years, DeKalb paid for ALL the costs of the AP exams for students. Due to the great recession, cutbacks were made in this area where the district now only pays for one exam (The state pays for one for students who are served by the Free & Reduced Lunch program). I wish it could be more however I understand this tough decision.

    Looking at the data of participants back to 2006, it is noticeable that some schools have far more students taking the exams than others. This was an area that Brown attempted to address to bring more equity with respect to access of AP classes in all schools. If DeKalb and other school districts want to focus on college prep curriculums, greater access is needed for AP classes. If we want to provide greater access, schools also need to do a better job in preparing students for these rigorous classes, starting in elementary school. I’d like to see steady increases of AP exam takers in schools that have not had long histories in AP classes while not compromising the access to AP classes in the schools with long histories. I believe schools can only succeed if there are stronger partnerships with parents. Schools cannot do it alone.

    I believe this should be balanced by also strengthening the vocational offerings in our schools. I heard State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler speak recently. He indicated that Georgia has many skilled jobs that are going unfilled, due to the lack of qualified applicants. He also mentioned many lack soft skills such as strong work ethics, manners, time management skills, etc. Again, this is an area that requires strong partnerships with parents and the community.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand

  2. I completely agree Fred! Not only is there a problem with ‘soft skills’ there is a problem with our criminal justice system. We have FAR too many young people whose lives are forever marked due to a minor mishap with the law. Especially minor drug charges. These kids have a very hard time getting a job with a record. Luckily – those in past generations were either sent home to parents or simply not caught – or at least not prosecuted as felonies. These baby boomers went on to mature and handle good jobs. Heck – one of them is now President!

  3. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    Item #7: “Approval” of 2014-15 calendar?

  4. Independent School District Hearing rescheduled
    February 2nd, 2014

    RESCHEDULED HEARING ON HR486:
    This coming Tuesday, February 4th at 1pm
    Room 515 in the Coverdale Building

    GLASS is encouraging people from all counties of Georgia to attend this hearing. HR486 isn’t just about education reform for today – it is about replacing needed flexibility in the Georgia constitution for independent school systems as our state grows in population over the next five, ten, fifty and more years.

  5. Not so casual observer says:

    I recall that last month, they voted for some employee to be hired, and this person was a relative of a board member. But, I somehow missed the name or relationship, etc. It was an action item.

    So, tonight while looking at the agenda, I went to the HR report for tomorrow night, and this is what they have listed. . . . on the contents page.

    1. Employment or Status Changes for:
      Relatives of Board Members Relatives of Cabinet Members 1

    But, if you go to the end of the report, this category and person’s name is totally missing from this month’s “official report.”

    How convenient. What are they trying to hide? They voted on it already, last month. Guess they figure we are totally stupid and are not paying any attention. To fiddle with an old adage. . . .
    “The Devil is playing with the details!”

  6. stanjester says:

    Realtime Blog – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
    I’ll host the realtime blog at the following link during the board meetings today. We can discuss these issues in realtime. Hope to see you there, Stan.

    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2014/02/1214/

  7. ok – did anyone notice the group of ‘new’ principals for mid-year? I found it astounding that an assistant principal for the DeKalb Early College has been promoted to principal. REALLY? The DeKalb Early College (with about 250 students housed in the school system’s administration building) need a principal AND an AP? Like we always say, why on earth can’t the DeKalb Early College Academy and the Gateway to College Academy (with 100 students who spend most of their time at Perimeter College) merge and share principals and other staff?

    This is the kind of stupid waste that makes me shake my head.

    Click here to see the chart showing school by school enrollment >> https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/schools-by-race-2013.pdf

  8. And in the news >>> “John Coleman, one of six people Gov. Nathan Deal appointed to the DeKalb County school board last year during an accreditation crisis, said he will not stand for election this spring.”

  9. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – you are quite right in citing the waste of taxpayer dollars. I think that if we could get that audit of the DCSS, list the job descriptions of everyone and identify duplicates, eliminate either the Atkinson holdovers OR the Lewis holdovers OR some combination, eliminate the salry of at least one superintendent, etc., etc., then I’ll just bet that we could find the dollars the dollars to not only eliminate all those teacher workdays and restore the contributions that should have been made in the TSA.

    On another subject, I went to a meeting tonight sponsored by Representative Scott Holcomb to listen to comments from those who live in the areas that are included in both the Tucker’s and Lake City’s proposed plans. The attendance was overwhelming – the room at Tucker’s Reid Cofer Library was packed with people sitting and standing along the walls – at least 200 there! There were strong and passionate statements from both sides. I did note that there appeared to be unanimous concern from those presenting on behalf of Lakeside about the fate of the schools that their kids are attending or will attend. I talked to a couple of them after the meeting and there is very strong dissatisfaction with the Dekalb County School System. There were many longtime residents of Tucker who cited the decline of the DCSS and stated that the school system is broken. It is very apparent that the Dekalb County School System can continue to ram its agenda through and not truly listen to the People and to not seriously consider their concerns or their issues. Many who voiced concerns defended the schools themselves – they just don’t like the way the school system is being governed or run. Until the DCSS does truly listens and, more importantly, addresses the concerns of such a widespread portion of Dekalb, the DCSS will continue to lack the widespread support in the community and it will ultimately. While the three proposed cities do have issues of overlap, they appear to be united in their opposition to the DCSS as it is being governed and managed today. Enough said.

  10. Tucker Mom says:

    Which calendar did they approve?

  11. Stan Jester conducted a live report during the meeting. We were unable to attend or even watch most of the meeting. And we apologize for not giving you the heads up about Stan’s blogging. FWIW – it’s always a good idea to check out Stan’s FACT CHECKER blog. He maintains a whole lot of information there. A great citizen!

    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/

    Click here for Stan’s written report and a clip of the video discussion on the calendar >> http://factchecker.stanjester.com/recorded-meetings/board-meetings/02032014-workbusiness/02032014-school-calendar/

    Here’s the calendar part of the conversation >>>


    Stan Jester:
    D. 7. Approval of the 2014-2015 School Calendar
    4:25

    Stan Jester:
    Stacey Stepney – There was a calendar committee.
    4:26

    Stan Jester:
    Stacey Stepney – the committee came up with two potential calendars. They put together a survey for public input.
    4:28

    Stan Jester:

    Orson – We are always the last system to get the calendar up. It makes planning difficult for families. We have a substantial number of employees that cross district lines. I applaud trying to align our calendar with other district calendars. How did we get his start date?

    Stepney – we looked at 7 other districts. There was no consistent start date, so we looked at the survey input.
    4:33

    Stan Jester:

    Coleman – Gwinnett and APS are starting earlier.

    Stepney – They are incorporating more breaks. We haven’t released the results of the survey yet.

    Orson – How do weather days work?

    Stepney – The state allows 176 – 180 days without penalty. The calendar has 180 days, so we have 4 days for weather or financial emergencies. Or, we can request a waiver from the state to exceed the 176 day minimum number of days.
    4:41

    DeKalbInsideOut:
    I don’t recall the parents being split on a balanced calendar.
    4:42

    Stan Jester:

    Campbell – Did we consider a Fall break?

    Stepney – Yes. We would have to start a week earlier. The parents were split on that.
    4:42

    Stan Jester:

    It’s been contentious because the administration historically wanted to do something different than what the parents wanted. This isn’t rocket science.
    4:44

    Comment From Mom of 4
    I think we all know that they will make the survey lean in whatever direction they want to back up their choice.
    4:51

    Stan Jester:
    When they couldn’t do that, Dr. Atkinson just did another survey. She was really pushing the balanced calendar and early release on Wednesdays.
    4:52

    Comment From Mom of 4
    APS: August 4, Gwinnett: August 6, Fulton: August 11, Cobb: August 4, Decatur: August 7
    4:55

    DeKalbInsideOut:
    Is that the start dates for the various school districts?
    4:57

    Comment From Mom of 4
    Yes, sorry. Trying to show the differences. Interesting that Decatur is later given their year-round attempts.

  12. Basically here’s the calendar >> (THANKS STAN!)

    02/03/2014 – School Calendar

    Approval of the 2014-2015 School Calendar

    180 days of instruction – 88 in first semester, 92 in second semester
    189 teacher-contract days with the final day (Day 190) being comprised of four (2 hrs. each/2 per semester) conference nights during the year as scheduled by each local school
    5 teacher workdays before the first day of school
    Takes into account state-designated testing windows and dates
    Holidays for all – Labor Day, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Day, and President’s Day
    Thanksgiving break – November 24-28, 2014
    Concludes the first semester before the Winter Break in December – which prevents students from returning from the break with final exams and End of Course Tests (EOCT)
    Winter break -  December 22, 2014 – January 2, 2015
    Post planning 1st semester/Pre-planning 2nd semester – January 5, 2015
    First day of 2nd semester – January 6, 2015
    Spring Break – April 6 – 10, 2015 (coincides with most metro area districts)
    Last day of school for students – May 22, 2015
    Post planning 2nd semester – May 26-27, 2015
    

    PLEASE NOTE: No calendar has officially been posted by the school system and no calendar was attached to the documents for this agenda item on the Eboard.

  13. On another note, here’s a good quote from Jim McMahan last night — the guy some of you ‘think’ asks questions. Well, he does, but he never gets answers and he’s ok with that –>


    Stan Jester:
    The montly financial report was fascinating. Some of the board members were poking around what Dr. Bell was pulling, but could never get to the bottom. I’ll try to cut and post that video this evening.
    4:54

    McMahan – I support 70% of this allocation going to students and transportation. Back to what Mr. Mayfield was saying, I’d like to see a more detailed explanation. I can approve it today, but would like to see more details in the future.

    Bell – Sure

  14. Here’s another interesting exchange:

    Bell – Local property taxes are holding steady. We are falling a little behind expected state revenue. State QBE adjustments will be in March.
    Mid Year Adjustments
    Margaret handed out a t-sheet. [It’s not posted anywhere]. The original budget was voted on was $755 million. We would like to add an additional $8 million in anticipated local revenue. We would like to put it on the books and use it. We would like an additional $3 million in anticipated state revenue.
    I want to reserve $11 million for the fund balance. Half of that is $6 million from the Heery trial.
    It looks like we’re not getting $1.2 million in medicare reimbursements.
    Would like to add $2 million to the anticipated salaries. Add $500,000 to transportation.
    We had to pay the state $500,000 for comparability. That deals with how we staff schools.
    3:05

    $6 Million? What happened to the $7 or $7.5 they were first announcing? Did King & Spalding take some kind of additional fee? That’s a missing $1-1.5 million!

  15. Tucker Mom says:

    About the calendar–I can’t quite make it out. Is school starting August 11? And there’s no fall mini-break?

  16. concernedmome30329 says:

    If school is starting August 11 — then there would be no fall mini-break. To have the mini-break, school would have started the week before… I didn’t hear the discussion though, but that is what the survey said.

  17. Stan Jester says:

    Financial Report
    Report Summary of Dr. Bell’s report. I haven’t summarized the discussion yet.

    Highlights
    * Mid year revenue and expenses adjustments
    * $6 million from Heery settlement will be appropriated and spent this year
    * They are spending everything they can get their hands on

  18. thedeal2 says:

    Pigs at the trough, Stan. Thurmond rode in on his horse, announced that he found millions, and they proceed to spend it without proving we really ever had it.

  19. Another comment says:

    Some one needs to investigate these large school districts for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. it looks like they got caught with $1,000,000 in over billings for speech, physical, and occupational therapy of the special ed kids. I have always questioned this.

    My youngest daughter went to Catholic school in K-3. In Kindergarten and First grade, some one came over from the Atlanta speech school and did complimentary speech testing if you signed the forms. My older daughter had already noticed that she had problems saying, “curl”, “squirrel”, etc.. So of course it came back that my daughter needed speech therapy. I could not afford the private pay at the Atlanta speech school. I knew that my insurance plan covered speech therapy, but I had to have a doctor’s prescription. I took the Atlanta Speech school’s recommendation to my daughters doctor he then wrote out a prescription for an evaluation for the need for speech therapy and treatment plan at Children’s Hospital outpatient speech clinic.

    I found out my friend E, who is of Hispanic descent and her daughter B, had also been given a diag.,of a speech therapy. Her husband works for a fortune 100 firm with a salary that puts him in the top 1% far above me? But they never forget the rest of us. She had heard through her Latin women’s club to take her daughter to her local Fulton county elementary school! for free speech therapy. Of course, she walks in with this beautiful little Latin girl, who was born in the US. They automatically assume bingo this is a Medicaid or Medicare pay and they will get reimbursed by the US government. Wrong! Guess, daddy’s private insurance from the Fortune 100 company does not reimburse school districts.

    I asked the therapists about could. I take my daughter to Cobb county where I lived. She said they would tell you they would not do anything for your daughter until she was 8, which would be too late. She said she used to work for Cobb County and that was one of the reasons she quit. Was the 8 because I was white and Middle class, and not a chance for a Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement in Cobb County. is that what she meant.

    The federal office of Medicaid and Medicare have announced that they are automatically going to flag any provider who submits over $3,000,000 in billings. If dekalb got denied $1,000,000 from Medicare then they are on this list? Any Speech therapist, Physical therapist, occupational therapist who is allowing these school districts to bill under their licensee for a $40-$60k public school salary is nuts. Physical therapists right out of school are being paid $90k to work home health at the beach. They can all make these salaries working PRN.

    I as a parent wouldn’t want physical therapy and occupational therapy which equate to less than 20 visits on Medicare be done without me present and watching to make sure they are actually being done.

  20. Stan Jester says:

    Financial Report
    * T-Sheet
    * Moody’s Investor Service Article

    Note: The $6 million from the Heery trial has been appropriated into the general operating budget and will be spent this year. It’s curious how quickly this went from settlement to spent. If we didn’t have the Heery money, the budget would be $6 million in the red.

  21. whyamInotsurprised says:

    For the approved calendar – did anyone else notice that they haven’t actually finalized it? it still lists that they may change adding furlough days, which may actually change the last day of school in May 2015 and remove another instructional day Columbus Day.

  22. One of governor’s school board appointees out of election

    The DeKalb County school board last year during an accreditation crisis, said he will not stand for election this spring.

    The school board has overhauled district finances and operations, reformed governance policies and restored trust, Coleman said in a statement released to the media Monday, adding that it was a “difficult decision” not to run for the office May 20. Deal appointed Coleman to replace Nancy Jester, the elected board representative from Dunwoody, after DeKalb was placed on accreditation probation in December 2012.

    The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revised its assessment of DeKalb last month, lifting the district a notch to accreditation with “warning.”

    Sigh

  23. howdy1942 says:

    Who does Coleman think he is kidding? Restored trust? Really? Based on what I saw at Monday night’s meeting sponsored by Rep. Scott Holcomb and based on what I have observed in meetings held in Coleman’s own community, my observation is that little, if any trust has been restored in the communities represented. Why doesn’t Dunwoody just drop it initiative to form its own school system? Why did six of eight speakers from Lakeside cite schools as their major concern? Why did Druid Hills want to form its own charter? Why haven’t all three proposed cities dropped their cityhood proposals?

    This board has not overhauled the district’s finances nor has it overhauled governance. I can’t think of a single instance this past year when it has not done what Thurmond and this administration wanted. With the exception of that Druid Hills decision, it has focused on “being nice to each other” and not focused on doing what is right. Teachers still have all of those furlough days, the TSA suit has arrived in the courts, and the bloated administration is still in place and, in fact, has been expanded.

    I agree with SACS – this coming May’s election is critical. I think that if we can elect a completely new school board that is focused on restoring trust and overhauling finances, one that will fund a complete audit so that everyone can know where we stand, on that will restore emphasis on the classroom, one that will conduct a search for a new superintendent, and one that will hire the best candidate without any racial consideration or bias whatsoever – then we can move toward restoring trust, uniting our communities, improving teacher morale and achievement scores, and restoring the greatness of our school system. This board has done none of that. Based on the credentials of the individual board members, I had such great hope. But I don’t recall of ever being more underwhelmed.

    Then again, maybe Coleman doesn’t want to run against a candidate as formidable as Stan Jester.

  24. concerned citizen says:

    Anyone would be a fool to take on Stan; there’s a man who knows whatof he speaks, and he will tell what is really going on. I wish we had thousands of people who would listen to his solid statements of the truth. How Thurmond must fear him. Stan, that’s an awesome compliment! I’m sure pulling for you and Nancy. Talk about brains and dedication to education! Beautiful!!

  25. As it looks now, we only have Stan Jester and Jay Cunningham running for school board (and we’re not certain that Jay has filed the paperwork). So much for those “400” people the Governor brags about as caring SO much about DeKalb schools as to ‘apply’ for the job when he was appointing people. (Running for office is a WHOLE different thing — it’s a lot of effort – and a lot of debate – and a lot of time campaigning and knocking on doors.)

  26. concerned citizen says:

    Howdy, this board truly is underwhelming. They have done NOTHING but back the supt and the rest of the dummies at the Palace. If I had only known that their appointments were a done deal and the committee to pick them was a done deal, too, and Thurmond’s faux election was already set up, too, I would have acted to confront the dreadful Gov Deal, who is not worth a damn. It’s unreal the way it all went down. They have no shame at all. The whole deal was set up quickly and mission accomplished. Deal never intended to deal honestly with the population of DeKalb, and now we see he can’t even handle a snow storm with honesty. He’s a real loser. Every member of the board is a loser, too. It’s hard to say who is the worst, but maybe “the love doctor,” what do you think?

  27. MARK YOUR CALENDAR >>

    Information fair for special needs students

    he DeKalb County School District and Council of PTAs will host an information fair for special needs students and their parents and teachers.

    The event includes breakout sessions and booths and will cover topics such as transitioning from high school, executive function, coping with homework, navigating federal aid and estate planning. It is March 1, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Tucker High School, 5036 LaVista Road, Tucker.

    Information: DeKalb County School District Family Engagement Liaison, 678-676-0381, or DeKalb Council of PTAs, http://www.dekalbcouncilptas.org, dekalbcouncilptas@gmail.com.

  28. @Howdy, re: Coleman’s decision not to run for his school board seat:

    Again – I can’t emphasize enough — Coleman and the other appointed board reps – as well as the “400 applicants” touted by the Governor as being so concerned about DeKalb are all mysteriously missing from the scene at this critical election time.

    So far, we are only aware of Stan Jester announcing his candidacy and rumors that Jay Cunningham intends to run and was seen riding in the MLK parade as a school board candidate. THAT”s IT! Could it be due to the fact that so many politicians and people with power (Mark Elgart) keep referring to the election as being in NOVEMBER? It is not — the DeKalb school board is non-partisan and therefore the election will be held in May. At least that’s how the rules read right now. Who knows if the legislature will fiddle with the rules yet again…

    The DeKalb delegation has a bit of work to do to officially approve the 7 school board districts so that the candidates can be qualified. The deadline to apply to run for a school board seat is fast approaching! We are VERY concerned that the delegation does not appear to be on top of these things.

    THE QUALIFYING DEADLINE IS MARCH 7!

    +++

    Think you want to run?

    The deadline for filing is actually the last day of qualifying which is March 7. The Declaration of Intent (DOI) is required before you accept or expend any monies for your campaign. If you do not spend or accept anything prior to qualifying, you would not have to file the DOI until that time. The DOI, which is filed with the Ethics Commission, can be accessed at http://ethics.ga.gov/filer-information/forms/.

    View a map of the current district lines here >> http://dekalbboe.nancyjester.com/media/914/dekalb%20delegation%20final%20map.pdf

    Read more >> So, what about the next school board election?

  29. Charter school for “neurotypical” and autistic students hosts information event

    Leaders of a new charter school that will mix “neurotypical” middle school students with those on the autism spectrum will hold an information session two weeks before the March 14 registration deadline.

    Tapestry Public Charter School was authorized by the DeKalb County school board on Sept. 25 and will open this fall for up to 96 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, with plans to expand to 12th grade over four years. The school will offer a “student-driven, experiential, sensory-based learning environment,” in classrooms with a mix of student ages, flexible groupings and hands-on learning. One selling point in a district with ever-growing class sizes: core content classrooms will have 16 students and two co-teachers, for an 8-1 ratio.

    The school hopes to open, at least temporarily, at the Northeast Baptist Church, 4046 Chamblee Tucker Road, Atlanta. The informational meeting is March 1, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Tucker – Reid H. Cofer Library, 5234 LaVista Road, Tucker. Information: tapestrycharter.org and DeKalb school board eboard page for Sept. 25.

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  30. The DeKalb Council of PTAs will host a Special Needs Fair on March 1st. Please note there will be a speaker on “Eliminating Homework Headaches.” This event is NOT just for students in special education. Also, it is not limited to people who live in DeKalb County.

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    8:30 am to 1:30 pm

    Tucker High School

    5036 LaVista Road Tucker, GA 30084

    For more Information, Questions, Directions, Vendor Table

    Contact: The DeKalb County Council of PTAs dekalbcouncilptas@gmail.com

    Or call DeKalb County School District Family Engagement Liaison at 678-676-0381

    Register at http://www.dekalbcouncilptas.org

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    Click here to download the flyer for the event.

  31. PLUS >>

    If you don’t know about, or have never been to, GLRS (Georgia Learning Resources System) you should check them out.

    Great resources for families AND teachers.

    http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/georgia-learning-resources-system

    +++

    HOURS:
    Monday – Thursday 9 – 6
    Select Saturdays 8 – 1

    Spring Schedule:
    January 11th & 25th
    February 8th & 22nd
    March 8th & 22nd
    May 10th

    Call 678-676-2417
    Metroeastglrs.org

  32. Fred in DeKalb says:

    I share below from the AJC for general information. It appeared in the 2/16 paper, discussing the lost school days due to the weather. Ironically below also included the furlough days the many of the metro area school systems had in their respective calendars.

    Days lost

    Atlanta: no furlough days, seven for weather
    Decatur: no furlough days, eight for weather (making up the equivalent of five)
    Cherokee County: no furlough days, nine for weather
    Clayton County: five furlough days, no figure available for weather
    Cobb County: five furlough days, six for weather
    DeKalb County: three furlough days, eight for weather
    Fayette County: no furlough days, seven for weather
    Forsyth County: two furlough days, no figure available for weather
    Fulton County: three furlough days, seven for weather
    Gwinnett County: no furlough days, seven for weather, (making up three days)
    Henry County: five furlough days, no figure available for weather
    Rockdale County: 10 furlough days, no figure available for weather (making up six days starting with a canceled winter break)

    I did not realize Rockdale had so many furlough days. I shared earlier that teachers are paid more in APS and Fulton. I would attribute part of that to their larger commercial tax base when compared to other metro area school districts.

    I am also surprised no one mentioned some of the discussions from the 2/3 Board meeting. Board members clearly recognize that something should be done with the overall compensation structure if we want to get serious about addressing student performance. I look forward to further discussions on that topic as it may mean making some tough decisions with respect to some programs that are nice to have but not necessary. We may also need to discuss additional school consolidations throughout the district.

  33. @Fred – has someone highjacked your account? Kidding aside – it seemed that you were always giving us the ‘reasons’ things are the way they are — and now it seems you are in agreement – that perhaps it is time to cut some specialty programs – or merge them into larger school buildings sharing resources – and time to increase teacher pay systemwide while decreasing workload (class size) along with consolidating more schools! These are our basic tenets on the blog: Offer the best package in order to retain the best teachers, lower class sizes, consolidate resources and smooth out the equity in supplies, programs and facilities across the county. We are not sure why we get so much pushback on this – but we suspect it is because so many administrators and community members ‘in the inner circle’ benefit from the use of these special programs and special transportation – with little regard as to what others go without in order for these programs to exist.

  34. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @DSW, yes, this is Fred. I believe I have been fairly consistent Given my years of involvement with education, I believe I have an insight to the decision making process and wanted to share that to help bring balance to the conversations. I also understand that making tough decisions during a down economy heightens frustrations. Add to that, the greater visibility to student performance and general school operations that social media provides brings unwanted attention to events that we were able to ignore in years past. Combine that with the long culture in DeKalb of distrust, especially from and towards the vocal special interest groups, we saw everything come to a head around 2008.

    I said this earlier that if Governor Deal really wanted to do something about teacher salaries, he would apply any funds he wants to restore to increasing the state teacher salary schedule. Instead, he is playing politics and suggesting that the schools make the decision how to use the monies. How much has the costs of good and services gone up since 2008? Compare that to the decline in property tax revenues since 2008 and that helps one to understand what all schools are in the position they are today.

    DeKalb will not do what the city of Atlanta did in giving its poor residents vouchers to move when the projects were demolished. We are going to attempt to educate every child that shows up at the doors of our schools. We are an urban school district with a large population of children living in poverty. The makeup of the student body has changed significantly since the glory days meaning the teaching methodologies should also change or allow for differentiation. We also need greater involvement from parents and the community. Schools cannot do it alone.

    To ensure DeKalb has some of the best teachers in the metro area, making adjustments to the compensation structure has got to be one of the considerations. Where will we find the money? it may mean making some tough decisions on some of the long time programs offered in DeKalb. It may mean something like eliminating Pre-K in all but Title 1 schools. It may mean using virtual instruction more for advanced classes (this could also be remedied by encouraging more students to consider joint enrollment however transportation may be an issue). Perhaps we will need to either offer summer school for elementary age students that have not mastered reading or find a way to fund more para in grade 3 or below. Expectations should not be compromised.

    I don’t like many of the decisions that have been made however I do understand them. I would like to believe I have been fairly consistent in what I have been saying. Let me know if you see otherwise.

  35. Agree Fred! But, I do still say that you are different from us in that you bring ‘reasons’ for admin actions, rather than discussing what is ‘right’. Sometimes what is ‘right’ requires making ‘different’ ‘tough’ decisions. All cuts are tough – but we stick to our one moniker – Do Not Cut The Classrooms. A school system exists for one reason: to teach children. All you really need for that is a good teacher (with a reasonable class size) with good principal leaders, and support staff (paras, librarians, etc.) Administrators and ‘Parent Coordinators’ and the like are much less necessary for good outcomes.

    As far as Pre-K is concerned, we have also tossed around a good idea (we think anyway), of using some of the closed facilities as Pre-K academies. These children are funded with lottery money – not tax dollars – and they are taking up a lot of space and resources in the regular schools. I recall some kind of better funding is attached to a pre-K academy – but that could have been a dream.

  36. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    If Thurmond gets a wad of cash ear marked for teachers and he doesn’t spend it on the teachers, the blame is put on Thurmond and the board … not Deal.

  37. Fred in DeKalb says:

    When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose
    @DSW, the above quote reflects how I look at making tough decisions. I understand that no one is happy when tough decisions have to be made. I’ve had to make some during my life and still second guess myself, even though many ended up being the right decision. I could offer suggestions for alternate cuts that may have saved 3-5 million. Even those would have resulted in someone not being happy. Making decisions when there was an $80 million dollar shortfall is even tougher. I doubt if anyone could have offered alternatives that would not ultimately impact the classroom. At the same time, there are those that choose not to make a tough decision then criticize those that do. These are the people we should be wary of.

    You may not recall but I also concurred with the suggestions about utilizing some of the empty schools in South DeKalb as early learning centers. I even spoke to several commissioners regarding where we could get funding to support endeavors such as this. I hope this will bear fruit in the future as this can be instrumental in helping with student performance in those communities.

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