URGENT Request Re Lakeside Bill: Hearing TODAY!

Things are moving quickly at the Capitol and can change at a moment’s notice.


It appears that the Lakeside Bill will have a hearing in the State and Local Governmental Operations (SLOGO) Senate Committee TODAY, February 5th, 2014. The committee will meet at 1:00 PM in Room 310 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building across from the Capitol.


The Bill is not currently on the committee’s agenda, but there has been a request by Sen. Fran Millar to add it, and his request probably will be granted.


This committee decides if and how the Lakeside Bill moves forward.


Please join us TODAY Wednesday, February 5th, 1:00pm at the SLOGO Committee meeting and show your support for Tucker and the Lakeside Bill.


NOTE:


Take MARTA to the hearing. The Georgia State University station on the east/west line is a short walk to the Capitol; the Coverdell Building is just south of the Capitol. Parking is limited during the legislative session; if you must drive, please carpool. Some parking lot options: Number 1 Capitol Lot at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Memorial Drive; Pete Hackney Parking Deck (162 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive); Steve Polk Parking Plaza (65 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive); and 90 Central Parking Lot (accessible from Central Avenue and Courtland Street).


Join your friends and neighbors to send a strong message to the Georgia General Assembly. Meet for an early lunch at the Coverdell Cafe, 6th Floor of the Coverdell Building, reasonably priced, and open to the public. Following lunch, head for the hearing in Room 310, Coverdell Building.

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40 Responses to URGENT Request Re Lakeside Bill: Hearing TODAY!

  1. TracyW says:

    There is no way that you can support both the Lakeside bill and the Tucker bill. Lakeside takes half of Tucker! It is the Briarcliff bill that “works” with Tucker. Lakeside’s bill destroys any possibility of either other city ever existing.

  2. howdy1942 says:

    This is very troubling! I was at Monday night’s meeting sponsored by Rep. Scott Holcomb. Speakers were limited to those who live in the areas overlapped by the Tucker and Lakeside proposals. Thirty-one people spoke. Of those, 19 spoke in support of the Tucker proposal, 8 spoke in favor of the Lakeside proposal, and 4 spoke in favor of remaining a part of unincorporated Dekalb County. Of those the eight that spoke in favor of the Lakeside proposal, six cited their concern based on the potential impact on the existing school feeder system. As has been made very clear, any approval of any of the cityhood proposals will have absolutely no impact on as aspect of the Dekalb School System or on any existing feeder system. I regret that Senator Millar was not present to hear the comments at this meeting. Speakers representing all sides were well prepared, well spoken, passionate, and very concerned. They were sincere and simply want the best for their families and especially their children.

    On a broader scope, I was very, very troubled by Monday night’s meeting because this whole cityhood thing is ripping our community apart. I’ve lived here for a long, long time and that really concerns me. We have a very friendly, very involved, and very progressive community and I don’t want to see that hurt. I just hope that the three parties can resolve this matter. My own perspective is that the overwhelming concern of so many people present is the school system. If we could fix our schools, then all our communities could heal and all the cityhood movements might just go away. I sincerely appreciate all of those on this blog who have posted comments and I also especially appreciate those who manage this blog for making this blog possible and for enhancing the avenue allowed to channel our thoughts. This blog has really done a very good job of keeping all of us informed and attuned to the feelings of others.

  3. InvolvedMom says:

    Why is t his posted through here! This is not a school issue!

    Schools are not on the agenda for these cityhood efforts. Or is it For Lakeside?

  4. Well – that’s what they ‘say’. But we suspect that the schools are very much a driver in this push for independent cities.

  5. thedeal2 says:

    DSW, I agree with you. This is not about parks, zoning, or police. This is about schools. It is step #1 while waiting for Dunwoody to fight out the new school system house bill for them.

    This cityhood movement is going to nothing more than tear our neighborhoods and communities apart. When Lakeside City crossed Henderson Mill to the east, they crossed a metaphorical line, as well. You will have neighbors right next door to each other who are either in or out. Lakeside City needs to stay on its side of Henderson Mill, but if they did they would lose the only park that would justify their need to manage parks, Henderson Park. The whole thing makes me very sad. It would appear that there is very little in this area that is going right. Schools are awful and now, with cityhood, we are breaking our neighborhoods apart, pitting neighbor against neighbor.

  6. howdy1942 says:

    @involvedmom – As I pointed out, six out of eight of people supporting the Lakeside proposal cited schools as their main issue. More specifically, they are concerned about existing feeder patterns changing. I understand those concerns because I well remember the proposals that would bus my daughter from a school just 100 yards from our home to a school 6 miles away. I don’t think I have ever been madder about any one thing since we moved here as I was that. Schools really are at the heart of so many initiatives and efforts in all of our communities and I agree with @thedeal2 that it is at the heart of what is happening in these cityhood movements.

    At Monday night’s meeting, Rep. Scott Holcomb stated his strong support for the three communities arriving at a solution satisfactory to all three, one that could move forward in the Legislature with the support of all three along with a broad support from within the Dekalb Legislative Delegation. He stated that he opposes any top-down solution dictated by the State and I strongly agree with that statement. He also stated that on this Friday that the Legislature will reach Day 19 in its 40-day session and that Day 30 would be the cutoff for any proposal to move forward. If Legislation is not entered by that day, then it will not be considered during this Legislative session. Because schools seem to be the major concern of so many, it is very appropriate for the DSW to include it in its blog, especially when time is of the essence. I hope that we can use this thread to include, address, and resolve the many questions and concerns that exist.

  7. Gregory Walker says:

    Apparently, the LCA proposal was passed out of Committee yesterday. From what I’ve heard, either this is the only proposal to be voted on this Session or they’ll tell all 3 to go back and work out their differences for next year. The other twist is LCA introduced yet another modified map that actually won the Committee approval. It’s on their website: http://lakesidecityalliance.org/

  8. DecaturMax says:

    I think the Cityhood movement has been tarnished by a lack of respect for differing opinions. Rhetoric is stronger than dialog in many forums. When dealing with neighbors in any forum, we need to say , “I disagree, but I respect your opinion” verses name calling. My present support of a Cityhood choice does not mean I would vote for it in the end. In the end. Dekalb county running the schools into the ground is a major factor and that may not be something a city will be allowed to fix. The fact that the Dekalb county commission made almost no changes in ethics and oversight since the latest scandals is very concerning, but in itself does not drive me to a City. While I lean toward bringing the Lakeside movement to a vote, I see merits in other proposals and problems with both Briarcliff and Lakeside. I think the Lakeside map has some funny edges, but I also understand some of this has to do with the preference of the neighborhoods and that the overall district is based on a school district and not a road as a divider. There are soem commercial land grabs that I would hope could be worked out. Funny edges include:Montreal area and surrounding commerical, Toco Hills S. of N Druid Hills (especially Vistavia Cir and WD Thompson Park) & Henderson park(and some surrounding areas). Northlake mall is not a funny edge to Lakeside. I am a local and Northlake has always been considered part of Lakeside/Henderson. As for Briarcliff, Mary Margaret Oliver sponsorship(clearly anti-city) & a focus on rhetoric at the City of Briarcliff movement has made me less likely to support this group. I believe the movement is genuine, but the political backing may just want to derail the Lakeside movement. There is no “right choice”, so be nice to your neighbors.

  9. lhsparent2014 says:

    Two reasons why I live outside 285 but want to be part of Lakeside City:

    SCHOOLS: I understand that people are correct when they state that the creation of the cities of Tucker and/or Lakeside will not affect school districts at this time. However, my concern (and the concern of many of my neighbors) is that if areas that are part of the Lakeside school district become part of Tucker city, then eventually school attendance lines will be re-drawn and we will become part of the Tucker school district. That is my family’s greatest concern. We purchased our home specifically for the Lakeside school district and want to stay there. We firmly believe that school attendance zones make a community. Consequently, we believe that the entire Lakeside school district should be part of Lakeside city, and the entire Tucker school district should be part of Tucker city.
    PUBLIC SAFETY: The Tucker proposal does not provide for public safety. The Lakeside proposal does. We would prefer to live in a city that has its own police force. We believe that we would get better protection from a police force that is devoted to a smaller area.

  10. In truth, when you look at the maps – Lakeside chomps into the Briarcliff and Tucker initiatives. It looks like you can have either the City of Lakeside or the cities of Briarcliff and Tucker.

    Read more about these overlaps here >> http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2014/01/23/fate-proposed-new-dekalb-cities-unclear/

    And here’s an article bringing us up to date >> http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2013/12/12/backers-new-dekalb-cities-look-legislature/

    Is it going to be a decision based on the best choice by the legislature – or simply – first come first served – and Lakeside is ahead of the curve in their timeline over Tucker and Briarcliff. Tucker folks aren’t too happy about Lakeside’s progress >>
    http://tucker2014.com/regarding-sb-270

    Would the legislature read the proposals and select the best solutions? Or again, will it just be a free for all?

    In fact, the City of Briarcliff would be more financially sound than Lakeside >> http://northdruidhills.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/briarcliff-study-finds-surplus-50-more-than-lakesides

  11. thedeal2 says:

    The latest Lakeside City lines are drawn according to Fran Millar’s district lines.

    Henderson Park’s address is Tucker. Lakeside Alliance is doing a land grab for the “nicest” areas and leaving the rest to fend for themselves.

    Lakeside Alliance is also potentially messing up school zone lines by crossing over into Tucker.

    If Lakeside Alliance’s proposal passes, this will create a ton of divisiveness in the community when that is the last thing we need.

  12. howdy1942 says:

    While all of us share concerns about schools and have our preferences about feeder systems, both the Lakeside City Alliance and the Tucker2014 organizations have made it very clear that the cityhood efforts have nothing to do with schools – that is a totally separate issue. Based on what I have observed, any cityhood effort will in no way impact the district lines it has drawn or will draw in the future. It looks at school populations and designs feeder systems that best accommodate students populations. Given that Tucker High School is already overcrowded, I would seriously doubt that any concerns one would have about maintaining any feeder lines to Lakeside High. If any change is made, I would think that it would move students away from Tucker High and not into Tucker High. I don’t know how crowded Lakeside High or Druid Hills High may be, but in a public meeting sponsored by the Dekalb Legislative Delegation, one speaker with the school system stated that Tucker High was designed to accommodate 1600 students and now has 1850.

    Bottom line: No cityhood movement will have have any impact on decisions to draw district lines or the creation of new school districts. That is a completely separate issue and requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, signature by the Governor, and approval by voters Statewide.

  13. howdy1942 says:

    I would also point out that both our daughters graduated from Tucker – one is now on the faculty at Wake Forest University and the other recently got her PhD from Yale University and on the Agnes Scott faculty. Tucker is a very good school and that comes from a neighbor who teaches there and from students living in our community who go there. It has good teachers – I see them all the time at Chick-fil-A meeting with students for “extracurricular” sessions. The school is new, it is modern, and reaches out to our community. I have tutored there and I find the students to be delightful and motivated to learn. Besides having good teachers, Tucker’s football played for the State Championship in football and both the boys’ and girls basketball teams are ranked third in the State.

  14. thedeal2 says:

    Howdy, I beg to differ. If Lakeside City is approved with its lines as it stands, and the HB for new school districts is approved, makes it to a state referendum, and is passed, how is it not going to affect existing school lines? Even if Lakeside City’s initial formation was for other reasons, do you really think that constituency is going to sit idly by if they have permission to form their own school district in 2 years?

    Also Lakeside is also overcrowded, as is Henderson Middle. Any movement to alleviate overcrowding is heading east, not west.

  15. September says:

    I would agree that both Tucker HS and Lakeside HS are good schools. While, a smaller school district is appealing to me, I would also like to have better control over zoning, and police services. Our roads are in need of some attention, too. In the last 15 years we have had a lot of new apartment complexes built in my area. The number of students expected to attend the local schools is always underestimated. They tell the community, this is high end construction, the rents will be high, so few families will move in. In reality, we get a lot of transient families in our schools. Personal opinion, I would be happy with a city area that included all of the areas in the proposed Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker cities. Call it Lakeside. Call it Tucker. Choose a completely different name.

  16. howdy1942 says:

    @Deal – you are correct – if Rep. Taylor’s proposed change in the Constitutional Amendment passes both Houses of the Legislature with a two-thirds majority in each and is signed by the Governor, then it would be placed on the ballot in November. This would be a State-wide vote. I’ve talked to Senator Henson about the prospects of this happening and he thinks the they are very slim. In Dekalb County, schools are a big, big issue, but that’s not the case in a vast majority of school districts outside Dekalb. Those counties don’t have the issues or the passion that Dekalb has and likely will be happy with the status quo.

    I want to summarize my thoughts. First, I support the cityhood movement – I live in Tucker and want it to become a city and I have no objections to the Lakeside City Alliance or Briarcliff forming their own cities. It does trouble me when Tucker is depicted as being “reactionary” or saying that we want to simply derail all cityhood movements. We had serious discussions in Tucker as early as 2006 to form the City of Tucker and Dekalb County asked us to list out our concerns and give it time to address them. We did. There are many good things about Tucker and about Dekalb. Tucker has a long history dating to 1821 and Tucker High has been at its present location since the year 1900. The Henderson family lived in Tucker and owned Henderson Mill as well as Tucker Cement. All of that land along Henderson Road and Henderson Mill Road was owned by this family. Tucker First Baptist Church is 120 years old. They built Henderson Park and it has long been maintained by residents who live throughout the Tucker community. Like you said, there is no way to view what is happening a a land grab of the Tucker Community. Moreover, my specific concerns with Dekalb County are with zoning and code enforcement. Each Dekalb Commissioner represents more than 100,000 residents and at least six of the seven don’t live in Tucker or share the concerns of our community. Zoning decisions and code enforcement are best done in the communities impacted. I have never had a bad experience with police response except when they pulled my wife over for turning right on red. In 40 years, they’ve pulled me over twice and should have ticketed me both time, but they must have felt sorry for me and simply gave me a warning! Fire protection could not be better and that is also true with emergency services. Sanitation services are superb and responsive. And, whatever happens, it seems to me that all portions of Dekalb that were served by the existing police force have some responsibility to funding their pensions and retirement benefits. We are going to live in Dekalb County even after any city might be formed and we need to find ways to work cooperatively for the betterment of all.

    My issue with the school system has long been with the school board and with a bloated administration, not the individual schools. That’s also what SACS has found repeatedly. While walking my dog each day around 3:30 p.m., I have had the opportunity to talk with teachers at Brockett Elementary and even with the Principal – they are just wonderful people, are very polite, and really care about those kids. Although they would not say it directly, I sense that they are deeply hurt and troubled about what is happening to them and how they are being treated. I can tell that. Other teachers outside Brockett have told me that directly. They have to take furlough days for which they are not paid. The school board abruptly terminated its contributions to their TSA and is now even fighting them in Court. They are facing an entirely new compensation system of performance-based pay that they know little about other than memos from Beasley and they are suspicious of how it will be administered. Their classroom sizes have shot up while teachers that have left have not been replaced or, if they have, that has been done with “substitutes”. In short, my issues are with the school board and the administration. It is the school board and the administration that are so clearly responsible for the issues that we now face.

    Hopefully, we can begin to change that in May.

  17. howdy1942 says:

    @September – I agree! Well said!

  18. @September: We agree too! We’ve asked the question from the beginning – why can’t these communities band together and create one city? At least the Lakeside and Tucker communities… but the answer has generally been that they just can’t agree. We would hope that they could put their differences aside and merge into one larger city with more resources. The Briarcliff initiative was in response to the Lakeside and Tucker plans – we suspect in order to simply throw a monkey wrench in the scene.

    And yes, many of the reasons to control your own city have been the same for these communities — better roads and more police protection. North DeKalb has long subsidized the cost of security in South DeKalb. And the county has been horribly lax about keeping up the roads and parks in the north end (south end too, except for Arabia). In fact, since Dunwoody incorporated, they have worked very hard to get a jump on the roads that need attention – but they figure they are years behind. If it had been left to the county – no roads would be fixed in Dunwoody to this day. In fact, you all may recall – Burrell Ellis was told by a GA State study that the county had 900 too many employees. Ellis refused to make many cuts – because like the school system, the county has become a bloated administrative jobs program in many departments – with fewer people to actually do the everyday work.

  19. momfromhe11 says:

    Actually, the Briarcliff movement was created very close to beginning of the Lakeside movement.The beginnings of the discussion were at the meetings of the Community Association Network before any distinct cityhood movements were announced. I was present at these meetings..

  20. Ok great – thanks for the info momfromhe11 – we were wrong in our assumption – we appreciate hearing from someone who was there!

  21. momfromhe11 says:

    The very first LCA map had very strange boundaries – they zigged and zagged to include commercial property and exclude adjacent residential (they even included Century Center). COBI created its map to be inclusive of both residential and commercial, so, in a way, it was a reaction.

    I also need to take issue with the statement that LCA is based on school attendance zones.- the map includes Briar Vist Elementary, Laurel Ridge Elementary, and Druid Hills Middle (formerly Shamrock), all of which are in the Druid Hills feeder pattern

  22. Here is the revised map the City of Lakeside apparently submitted to the legislature >>

    http://lakesidecityalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/LCA_RevisedBoundaryLEGAL2_5_2014-1.pdf

    Not sure if this affects the Vinson study they had done before the change.

  23. And here is the Tucker group’s response to Lakeside’s legislative progress >>


    LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

    SB 270 for the creation of the city of Lakeside passed through the first of two State Senate committees today with a Republican partisan 4-3 vote.

    We don’t approve of what transpired today, but it was not unexpected.

    Pushing this bill through the Republican controlled State Senate using partisan politics has been the Lakeside strategy spearheaded by the bill’s sponsor Sen. Fran Millar all along.

    Unexpectedly, Sen. Millar introduced an amended map for Lakeside, made public for the first time during the meeting, which takes an even larger portion of our Tucker community.

    View the LCA map here

    After wrongly accusing Tucker of not being willing to negotiate, Lakeside leadership has shown their definition of negotiating by proposing to take over even more of our community.

    Even after Tucker supporters from the contested areas packed a town hall earlier this week, hosted by State Rep. Scott Holcomb, District 81, and State Rep. “Coach” Williams, District 87, to express their desire to be included in the proposed City of Tucker map and not the proposed Lakeside map, Sen. Millar has now recommitted many of those areas to Lakeside.

    Thank you to all who represented Tucker so well this week. You have proven over and over again that Tucker is a true community and not a place created at someone’s dining room table.

    Tucker has bipartisan support at the Capitol, and we will continue to tell the community’s story to ensure an even better understanding of why a city of Tucker makes the most sense.

    The time for Tucker is NOW and we need your continued support. We’ve made it easy to donate and contact your legislators on our web site.

    Please share this with your friends and neighbors so they may show their support for Tucker.

    For more information about the proposed City of Tucker, visit http://www.tucker2014.com.

    +++

    DSW Note >> Here is the link to the recently revised Lakeside map: http://lakesidecityalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/LCA_RevisedBoundaryLEGAL2_5_2014-1.pdf

  24. howdy1942 says:

    The Dekalb Legislative Delegation really needs to step in and take control and either forge a solution that can either be acceptable to the three parties or to simply move the Legislature to table this motion until a solution can be reached that is acceptable to all parties. I don’t think that anywhere near a majority of the Dekalb Legislative Delegation support the proposal submitted by Senator Millar and to impose it upon Briarcliff and Tucker as well as the rest of Dekalb County would be a disaster. The reality is that all communities will continue to exist and all of us need to consider the feelings and attitudes of others in the community and to work toward solutions that unite us and not divide us. We may have different opinions, but we must respect those of others and certainly refrain from doing or saying things that threaten long-term relationships.

    I really like the way DecaturMax put it. He stated it so well that I won’t include the entire quote, but simply refer readers to his previous post. We simply cannot allow this matter to destroy our relationships. If any member of the Dekalb Legislative Delegation is reading this, I urge that you step in and bring this matter to a solution acceptable by all parties or that you simply table this whole thing. That needs to be done sooner than later because I sense that emotions are getting to a boiling point. I always envisioned that the three parties would resolve overlapping issues or that a solution would be mediated that could be accepted by all parties. I have offered our home as a meeting place to all parties to seek a common solution and would happily provide the coffee and treats. That offer remains open. Never did I envision the possibility that any one proposal, whether it was Lakeside or Tucker or Briarcliff, would ever be forcefully imposed on the other two. If no solution is reached by the respective parties, then I would strongly favor that the status quo be maintained for all three areas to remain a part of unincorporated Dekalb County until that can be done. Enough is enough!!!!

  25. I hope they take you up on your offer Howdy.

    Further, 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.

    +++

    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?

  26. thedeal2 says:

    Howdy, I could not have said it better. Bravo. I agree with every word. This community is too small and too tight-knit to have arbitrary lines creating a new system of desirables and non-desirables.

  27. Ella says:

    I do feel that the services the county provides is a big factor for cityhood. However, the embarrassment of the DeKalb County Schools/School Board has to be in the back of many individuals mind. If certain laws are changed then city schools can be created which would be a possible action of the cities at a later date. It does matter.

  28. Dekalbite2 says:

    If the independent school system amendment is passed, North DeKalb Independent school systems will be formed pretty quickly. Unfortunately, DeKalb Schools’ administration will not change for the rest of the county. That would leave much of Central DeKalb and a number of areas in South DeKalb having even less school services for their children since the DeKalb administration has no intention of changing the non teaching expenses that are driving the train. This just doesn’t seem sustainable for the higher taxed areas in Central and South DeKalb (second highest taxes in the state) as even less services in the classroom would be the result. The DeKalb administration is gambling on the status quo holding together. After all, they are used to controlling over a billion dollars in expenditures. The status quo may or may not hold, and this concerns many parents/taxpayers in Central and South DeKalb simply because of the implications it will have for their children.

  29. You are right Dekalbite2. In fact, it was the eye-opening accounting of the failed Druid Hills charter petition that enlightened us as to what is really going on in DeKalb. They are collecting a certain amount of money per child (if you use the $1.2 billion consolidated budget as the total budget, and 98,000 students then they collect $12,225. per student. We found out that they only allocate about $7,500 per student in the Druid Hills cluster – leaving a profit of nearly $5,000 per pupil to redirect to other areas (south DeKalb schools, administrators, ‘programs’… whatever). So now, the facts have been revealed. It’s karma baby. Those bad things you do – to cheat and trick others almost always come home to roost. Too bad for them. Good news for those who want to collect what they are entitled to for their children.

  30. So, here is yet another big reason – in a nutshell >> Ellis hearings resume today


    Lawyers for Burrell Ellis will make their case this morning for why the DeKalb District Attorney Robert James should not be allowed to drop the first indictment against him and pursue the second round of charges that accuse the suspended CEO of political corruption.

    The hearing comes two weeks after DA Robert James and two former prosecutors who worked under him took the stand to testify about office tensions and clashes while building the case against Ellis, who is accused of strong-arming vendors into donating to his re-election campaign and punishing those who refused.

    Ellis says the 14-count indictment against him is the result of a political witch hunt by James, creating a series of personal attacks in motions expected to continue in today’s hearing.


    Add this to the fact that this county played host to one candidate for sheriff murdering the other, a school board superintendent and CEO indicted and convicted (or entering a plea deal) on charges of racketeering, a school system whose accreditation is questionable, a school board fired and replaced by the Governor and a bloated county administration that can’t seem to fill potholes, maintain the peace or keep up the parks — does one really have to wonder why reasonable people want to get the heck away?

  31. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – All of this is just so sad and could have been avoided with just an ounce of integrity. I’ve also noticed the potholes and they existed before the snow storm of just over a week ago. Besides, there were no plows in our area of Dekalb County.

    We have had endless friction between the CEO and the Dekalb County Commission. Taxpayers in Dekalb County have endured so much over the past few years – it seems like an eternity! Despite all of that, our police protection, fire protection, sanitation services, and emergency response services have been good. It’s just at the top that we have such a problem!

    The school board was scheduled to meet today and I hope that they spent a lot, I mean a whole lot, of time talking about low level of respect that such a vast portion of Dekalb County has for it and the administration. Amazingly, the schools seem to have held up well. More than any other single factor, I think that the school board and the administration are at the very root of the cityhood movements and, for sure, it is at the root of the move to create independent school districts. While we have years of decline, this past year has been so much punishment for the residents of this County. We were treated to being placed on probation. We had a superintendent and chief operations officer finally tried and convicted. We had all of those “happenings” last January where the former board hired Thurmond as “interim”, forced Dr. Atkinson out, paid for Walker to pursue his case at least in the initial stages, attempted to re-elect Walker as Chairman, and had all of those secretive “executive sessions”. We endured those two hearings conducted by the State School Board, including the 14 hours marathon that culminated with its unanimous recommendation to the Governor that he remove the Dekalb County School Board, which he did. Then we enduring a year of uncertainty in which a Federal Judge ruled again Walker and the year was culminated in November with a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court ruling against Walker. And I think that we all held such high hopes for a new appointed school board with superb credentials only to see it really turn into a big disappointment with its decisions to maintain the status quo, to buy administrators new cars, to reject the new idea proposed by Druid Hills, to fund that lawsuit that pits our teachers against the school system itself, and then the make Mr. Thurmond permanent with no search or consideration of any other candidate. Yes, we have been put through a lot with this school board.

    When I look at what is happening with the cityhood movements tearing at the very fabric that has held our community together for so long, pitting neighbor against neighbor, motivating residents to fund $120,000 in feasibility studies, placing the Northlake Business Association in a very difficult position to maintain a neutral position, and threatens to create long term friction I get really sad. At the very heart of all of this was an arrogant, dysfunctional former school board and a present school board that just can’t seem to get anything right. Yes, we got off probation, but that was mostly due to a Governor that gave us a new Board and a different superintendent.

    I want to encourage some people in this County who have its best interests at heart, who value our teachers and kids, who will be prepared to address a “bloated” administration, who will listen and be open to new ideas (at least give them a chance), who will insist of an audit of the school system, who will redirect funds to the classroom, who will work to restore the trusts of the public, who will work to unite our people by doing things for the entire county – all schools, and who will initiate and conclude a search for a new superintendent and make that decision based on only the qualifications of the candidate – I encourage you to run, run, run!!

  32. thedeal2 says:

    Hey, Howdy, I’ve got bad news for you. If you read Stan Jester’s notes from the meeting today, you will see there was a lot of time spent congratulating themselves and telling each other what great jobs they are doing. Not much time spent talking about bloated central office or student achievement. I’m not joking.

  33. teachermom says:

    The board seemed much more interested in keeping their seats than in keeping teachers. The lack of substance regarding student achievement was also appalling. And I consider that an understatement. The retreat smacked of “going trough the motions.”

  34. howdy1942 says:

    @thedeal2 – Thanks for that update. My perspective is that they really have very little to congratulate themselves about. The school board has a serious public relations issue with the public and they need to really get with that. Were I on the school board, I would be reaching out to all districts, but especially Dunwoody, Brookhaven, and the areas covered by those three cityhood movements. I would sit down and ask them what they really wanted the school board to do and then I would do everything that I could to get that done. They need to form community action boards that would be appointed from within those communities and by those communities. They should be chaired by a member of that group and a school board member should sit on that group. Listen, listen, listen! Do! Do! Do!

    If they do that, then I think things will get better in the DCSS. If they don’t, then they will be facing the prospects of sharply less tax revenues on the one hand and an upper limit on the millage rate on the other hand. They will have no choice other than to make deep, substantial cuts. My fear is that they would come from the classroom.

    Bottom line: I really think that we need a new school board with new leadership – that’s what I think is essential to getting this done.

  35. concerned citizen says:

    We need everything new except the teachers and students who are willing to stay with us. EVERYTHING ELSE is out of joint.This current board couldn’t be worse, so what are they congratulating themselves about. Thurmond – does he need to brag? He can, but oh the laughter…pompous little jerk with no class.

  36. Fred in DeKalb says:

    Did anyone look at the Georgia Department of Education Certified Personnel Information (CPI) data files for the years of 2001 through 2012? This was referenced in the AJC blog, http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2014/feb/06/new-report-fewer-teachers-georgia-schools-they-hav/. According to the data, when you look at the percent change in district teaching positions for the years 2009 through 2012, DeKalb has the lowest reduction, -3.5% for school districts larger than 35,000 students. it is interesting the City of Decatur had a increase over the same period by 13.8%. Factoring in their lower number of employees, this could be less than 15 new teacher for all of their schools. This data from a reputable source seems to be contrary to some of the data presented here. I stand by my statement that data without context can tell a misleading story however this is interesting and puts some things into perspective.

    See the report for yourself at,

    http://aysps.gsu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Brief266FIN.pdf

    Take a look at Table A-1, which shows the change for every school district in the state. I believe many will find Table A-2 insightful also as it provides the CPI code the definition of a PK-12 teacher.

  37. ALERT: DeKalb Schools Closed Tuesday

    The DeKalb County school system will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, February 11. No classes will be held. Employees have been instructed to remain home.

  38. This is a comment from Get the Cell Out – it has been moved here to the proper discussion from another post. It has also been edited to protect other ordinary citizens.

    I have looked closely at the Tucker map that they submitted and noticed that it takes in large areas of residential populations that have never considered themselves to be located in Tucker and would create a substantial financial burden to the taxpayers in our area. That was a “land grab” but for ALL the WRONG reasons. All Tucker residents said consistently at our public meetings “protect our borders,” and “don’t allow a Lakeside landgrab,” and what does Tucker 2014 do? They land grab, but not to take high dollar commercial like every other city trying to form was doing to us, they land grab the highest density housing with enormous Sec. 8, poverty stricken areas that will bring high crime, probably a tax increase at some point and just risky, risky, risky borders. When we ask them why, they don’t have an answer. That is NOT the Oliver Porter plan. We’re doing it all WRONG!

    PLUS they did NOT include portions inside the perimeter that are actually in our Tucker zip code. These are now areas that feel alienated by their own community. Just like they never even tried to include the Gwinnett portion of Tucker. Yes, it could have been done. They never even checked into it. I did.

    They included the Embry Hills area / Evansdale areas in Doraville which makes no sense because TWO BOARD MEMBERS for Lakeside City live in those areas! They do not have Tucker addresses and would never vote for a city of Tucker if we actually had a shot at it.

    They GAVE UP the Sam Moss Center completely and God only knows what kind of a deal will be worked out for that property, which will be very important to anyone wanting a school system, esp. if it comes along with the “non functional / under repair” busses. Take a good look on Google Maps at that location (Montreal Rd.) and zoom down to see how many vehicles are parked in the back. Will the county school system be selling it off for $100 like other government property has been sold for to counties?

    Penkava was head of “Save Livsey” and they were successful at least for a few years of keeping their school off the chopping block, but what did they have to promise in return? If you go back and read that email posted on DSW about the SPLOST IV political action committee, her name is mentioned many times and even though she didn’t make many comments, the few that she did were about Womack. Livsey generally has Womack / McChesney to thank for “saving” their school, or that’s how they think of it. But, did they happen to realize the love for their school was coming at the expense of other schools in Tucker that were getting named in cell tower conversations? No, of course not.

    But shortly after McMahan started campaigning, Penkava was named as his financial manager and talks took place at their school. Next day, Livsey lost its principal and several top teachers to Corralwood…. deep in Oak Grove/Lakeside territory. Our Parent Council meetings are barely announced, often rescheduled and non productive. How can you compliment someone for NOT doing their volunteer job in one area and simply saying they stepped up in another area and that’s what we needed? It is NOT what we needed. It is Lakeside controlling the outcome all the way around, just like they did with our schools. I can’t believe you don’t see that, Howdy! Where was TPC when Idlewood was being redistricted to Stone Mountain? Where was TPC when Brockett and Smoke Rise were fighting cell towers? When was their last election? Why can’t you even find contact information for them on a school web page when every other parent council is listed? Why don’t they have meeting minutes? When IS their next meeting? Have they every accomplished anything in terms of helping our TUCKER schools??

    ANd, why are they involved with school issues and city issues but claiming one is not affected by the other?? Tucker 2014 doesn’t even know who drew their own map, or they aren’t telling. We did not elect them to represent us, yet they will not even let volunteers who are not part of their group (mostly all of whom live on the same street near Livsey) help with anything. They won’t tell us how much money they have raised, what they are doing with it, or who they are meeting with. It seems to me that some kind of a deal was made to sell out half of Tucker in order to Save Livsey and give Lakeside what they need in terms of votes. After all, several Livsey area residents admitted they voted for SPLOST so Livsey could get a new roof and now they want to hold the board to that promise that was made with Barbara Coleman and Dan Drake. How about the fact that I don’t want my child’s school to be a Title I school and my neighborhood cut out from the community I thought we all lived in together? Just because I didn’t buy on their particular side of Tucker …. should my entire historic community just sit back and let these folks negotiate and keep quiet about what is going on??? As soon as anyone said, “Let’s keep these talks a secret,” the ethical ones should have walked out. Instead, they are all acting EXACTLY like the corrupt government they say we should be trying to escape. But, what’s worse, we never elected them in the first place and they don’t bother to listen to what we say or even answer our questions.

    I don’t want a city gerrymandered like this and leadership roles handed out to good little soldiers. And I don’t want our schools to be victimized by a continued shared district where one side gets the advantages and the other side gets the “this is all about school choice” talk. “You can go anywhere if you win the lottery,” talk. The “neighborhood schools are a thing of the past,” talk. Meanwhile, OUR kids are helping make THEIR neighborhoods property values go up, while ours stagnate or decline. I’m wasting my money because of a corrupt way of scamming the system that we, as collective citizens who saw the problems in the schools, JUST got rid of. Now we are going to vote for the EXACT SAME corrupt system and ask some of the SAME PEOPLE to take MORE of our money and run our area as part of THEIR city? NO WAY!

    I want to see Lakeside either forced to join forces with Tucker Parent Council or admit they are in bed with Druid Hills and make that district separate from ours. Tucker/Northlake (just recently formed a CID) should be the new district and we need to start cultivating our OWN leaders instead of relying on people who don’t live near us and don’t care about our schools. Where is my LOCAL CONTROL??? It seems to me that the school bullies who were dragging down our entire county system are the ones fighting for “local control” because they just LOST the control they enjoyed for years.

    We need to work together to fix our schools, but we also cannot continue to reward bad behavior and then expect it to suddenly stop. Womack was behind this LCA group from the time he got back on the board. I cannot believe the new board would talk openly about gerrymandering anything, but that’s what they did. That’s not census based. That’s politics at its worst because we are talking about a generation of children who are counting on us to get it right this time.

  39. An update from Lakeside City Alliance >>


    Hello, and thank you for your continued interest in the Lakeside City Alliance. Thank you for contacting Senate leadership earlier this week.

    NOW – please contact Governor Deal and Lieutenant Governor Cagle today.

    Call AND email both ASAP to let them know you support the opportunity to vote for a new city of Lakeside.

    Lt. Governor Casey Cagle 404-656-5030
    Web form: http://ltgov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-us

    Governor Nathan Deal 404-656-1776
    Web form: http://gov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-governor-domestic-form \


    Subject line: I support Lakeside City

    I live in the boundary area of the proposed city of Lakeside and am writing to request that Senator Millar’s SB 270 be approved by the Rules Committee and submitted to the full Senate for a vote as soon as possible.

    Thank you for your consideration of this request.

    Sincerely,

    Your name and, if willing, your address

    Thank you for your continued support! Please forward this to your friends and neighbors, and post on Facebook.

    [DSW Note: Conversely, if you DISAGREE, feel free to email a similar email voicing your opposition. Either way, Emails and phone calls make a very big impact on legislators decisions – and you’d be shocked at how few of these they receive.]

  40. An update from Tucker City >>>


    PHONE CALLS TO THE CAPITOL – TODAY !

    Things continue to move quickly at the Capitol. Legislators are now requesting your phone calls in support of a City of Tucker, in addition to emails.

    Please call these key legislative leaders as soon as possible – TODAY if at all possible.

    Tell them you live in Tucker and are opposed to SB 270 (City of Lakeside Bill) because it will tear apart our successful, long-standing community of Tucker.

    Lt. Governor Casey Cagle 404-656-5030
    Senator David Schafer 404-656-0048
    Senator Ronnie Chance 404-463-1366
    Senator Charlie Bethel 404-651-7738
    Senator Butch Miller 404-656-6578

    Legislators want to hear from you!
    Make sure your voice is heard!

    Pick up the phone. Rally your neighbors. Share this e-blast.

    Thank you for everything you do to protect what is special about Tucker today, while ensuring our community’s success well into the future.

    For more information about the proposed City of Tucker, visit Tucker2014.com

    +++

    FWIW – Tucker residents have been upset ever since the first Lakeside bill was dropped – which originally included Main St in Tucker! Read more >> http://northdruidhills.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/lakeside-alliance-files-altered-placeholder-bill

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