The Monday, March 3, 2014 DeKalb School Board meeting

Follow Stan Jester’s live Realtime blogging during Monday’s monthly board meeting. CLICK HERE to listen and chat with Stan beginning at 2:00pm.

Below is the business meeting agenda >>

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

2:00pm Work Session
Cabinet Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083
5:45pm Public Budget Input Meeting & Community Input Session
7:00pm Business Meeting

C. CONSENT AGENDA

1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent

2. Approval of Monthly Financial 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 Office, Division of Human Resources

4. Approval of Catalog Discount – Art and Photography Supplies & Equipment, BID #14-133. Presented by: Ms. Stacy Stephney, Director, Electives & Special Programs

5. Approval of Computer Workstations, Laptops and Services Extension, RFP #13-10. Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information Technology

6. District-Wide Cabling and Wireless System, RFP #15-07
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information Technology

7. Network Switches, Accessories & Services, RFP #15-474
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information Technology

8. SPLOST IV Project: Subregion 3C: Hambrick Elementary School, Indian Creek Elementary School, Stone Mill Elementary School, Allgood Elementary School, and Stone Mountain Elementary School – Capital Renewal A/E Design Firm Approval. Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

9. SPLOST IV Project: Subregion 1D: Montgomery Elementary School, Cross Keys High School, and Warren Technical School – Capital Improvements – A/E Design Firm Approval. Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

10. Request for Board approval to relocate the replacement Gresham Park Elementary School Facility (Project #504-422) to the Clifton Elementary School site. Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

11. Request for Board approval of Budget Amendment Request for the replacement Fernbank Elementary School Facility (Project #503-422)Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

12. Request for Board approval of Budget Amendment Request for the Renovation and Addition at the Redan High School Facility (Project #513-422) Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

D. ACTION ITEMS

1. READY FOR ACTION ~ Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy DKA (Extended Program Funds Management) new policy
Presented by: Mr. Marshall D. Orson, Board Representative, District #4

2. Inclement Weather Plan for Make-Up Days
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent

E. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)

F. ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

2. South DeKalb Parent Council Meeting, 10:00am, Saturday, March 8, 2014, Redan High School, 5247 Redan Road Stone

3. Teacher Advisory Council Meeting, 2:00pm, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

4. Exceptional Children’s Award Nigh Program, 7:00pm, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

5. Schools Closed ~ Teacher Workday & Staff Development Day ~ Monday, March 17, 2014

6. School Board Member Appreciation Week, Monday, March 17 – Friday, March 21, 2014

7. District-wide Administrator Academy, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

8. Auxiliary Advisory Council Meeting, 10:00am, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

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

10. DeKalb Board of Education Work Session (2pm), Community Input Session (5:45pm) and Business Meeting (7:00pm), Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

11. Schools Closed ~ Spring Break Week (Monday, April 7 – Friday, April 11, 2014); Mandatory Staff Development Day for 12 Month Employees ~ Monday, April 7, 2014; and Work Reduction Day for 12 Month Employees ~ Tuesday, April 8 – Friday, April 11, 2014

Meeting information 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.

Follow in the comments and post what you hear during the meeting as well as your thoughts.

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UPDATE:
There was a lengthy discussion about internet access and slow connections at this meeting. We received the following copy of a typed memo sent to schools by DCSS’s IT department in response >>

20140311_140519-1

In addition: We received a copy of a text message conversation regarding the cancellation of field trips >>

DCSD field trip

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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122 Responses to The Monday, March 3, 2014 DeKalb School Board meeting

  1. Word Wall says:

    Maybe if we put Dekalb School Watch Two on the “naughty list” it will go away….all the teachers issues about Social Security Equity, pay scales, classroom size, retention and textbooks will be solved later…we promise…the Palace will provide. Trust us!

  2. Stan Jester says:

    DeKalb County Board of Education – Qualified Candidates (thus far)
    District 1 – Stan Jester
    District 2 – Don McChesney, Marshall Orson
    District 3 – Michael Erwin
    District 4 – Karen Carter, Jim McMahan
    District 5 – Alexander Fitzhugh
    District 6 – Melvin Johnson
    District 7 – Lee Dukes, Joyce Morley

  3. whyisnobodylistening says:

    this website is blocked at my school as well….got to assume that it’s blocked throughout the system….

  4. concerned citizen says:

    Has a little paranoia slipped in about this site on the part of the Palace? You bet it has. Do I think the Palace and unfortunately even some of the principals would indeed rid the airways of this important site? Duh…….
    The only candidate who has qualified and who is qualified is Stan Jester. Melvin Johnson, oh, Good God! Back in the day, many of us who had the distinct displeasure of working with him, called him The Ultimate Dip.s…. The Love Doctor, again? She did put on a show of shows! Kind of fun, but not too much:I don’t know Lee Dukes, but he’s got my vote! Except for Stan Jester, it’s a sorry list of candidates.
    ONLY IN DEKALB. This once proud county capitulated and pandered to the dictates of EW and his ilk, MJ, EB, Claw, Thurmond and after many, many agonizing years, we’re straight down the tubes. Dunwoody and Brookhaven, yes for prosperity for great schools. They have and will develop much more business and prosperity and up-scale housing. Once they saw that education was the way to prosper through F&F, having not been able to “make it” any other way, Blacks have guaranteed an all Black Palace. That doesn’t work with so many Whites, Asians, Hispanics, and others who have a lot of bucks and professional credentials of real meaning who have, will, and are moving as far away as possible while surrounding themselves with security at their offices and homes. It’s possible to buy enough security so that a person can insulate himself from “DeKalb” with its outrageous school system and government ; what’s more, APS will soon have all the white quality administrators and teachers it needs. Isn’t it ironic? APS will pay the good ones to come, so will Gwinnett, and every other surrounding county. Why would any principal or Palace member remain? If they do, it’s only because no other place would have them. Who would deliberately not take a salary up-grade of at least $25,000? If you’re a parent, check out the local schools and find out who the administrators are, what they’re paid, and what their background is. Realizing that in many communities in DeKalb, there are no taxpayers, parents, guardians, etc., to amount to any help to children, we understand that at many schools, the staff could do untold harm and wrong with no fear of parental involvement and surely not Palace scrunity All the Palace minions want is no publicity, at any cost! Teachers, be damned! Students, you are irrelevant. Open your eyes and minds and check who we’ re paying top salaries to in DeKalb.

  5. Teachers matter says:

    Teachermom, I couldn’t agree more! An extra postplanning day would have been much more beneficial for the teachers, but really, who cares about that? My mind will be on what I still have to do, and no amount of high quality professional learning will change that. (This website was blocked this morning at my school as well.)

  6. Try dekalbschoolwatch.com (leave off the wordpress part) – let us know if that works. Otherwise, as we always say, it’s best to read and comment on this blog on your personal time, at home, on your personal computer.

  7. anothercomment says:

    So the best appointed board member Thad Mayfield hasn’t signed up in the District he actually lives in? Where is Kathleen Mathers she should run, she wanted to be appointed, and was on the board of the turned down Druid Hills Cluster. What about Ella Smith running?

    The democratic party is trying hard to line up a new broad appealing ticket of down end ticket holders from Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn, that everyone can fell comfortable with. They will not be these DeKalb County fools, like this board, or Ellis or Kassem Reed. There big work is Alisha Morgan who has signed up for the School Supt. She is not who the Party wants. They know she will not win statewide. Plus her and her husband ( ex husband) have been involved with the corporate charters.

  8. howdy1942 says:

    I’d like to know more about Karen Carter, especially how she stands relative to Jim McMahan on many of his votes such as SPLOST purchase of those cars for those administrators, legal expenses, etc.

  9. anothercomment says:

    Interesting blog Stan. Yes, it should be a requirement to serve on a school board that you must speak and write proper English. No “axe” instead of ask. Lizzy Borden did not give her parents 20 whacks with a ask, but with an axe.

    Hopefully, Atlanta is administering the 200 question standard personality tests, which predicts if a person has traits to cheat, lie, be easily manipulated, if they think it is okay to take from others. It also tests malingering, etc. Folks will most likely say it is raciest. But, you just have to look at the demographics of who has been indicted, pleaded guilty and going to trial on the cheating scandal. Then you just need to look at who are the 14+ football players and coaches who cheated to get into Grady. What is amazing, these parents have the nerve to blast out the person who sent the anonymous complaint about the line jumping that they should have signed their name or let it go. I can’t blame that person, I have reported line jumping and had the schools do nothing. I have confronted these type of people of blocking not just one but two or three handicap spaces, when picking up kids from school ( I have a tag, they don’t) They threaten to beat me up, slap me, in front of their kids and mine. When all I ask is excuse me do you have a Handicap tag? When they so no, I am just running in, I reply, It is illegal and I have a tag, as do others who are picking up their children. Could you please move your car.

  10. Fred in DeKalb says:

    No one should be anointed as the most qualified candidate without citizens having the opportunity to ask questions and conduct critical analysis. School Board members are not operational positions but one that sets policy then allows the superintendent and staff the ability to execute. If someone wants to be a school district auditor, they should apply for that job instead of running for school board. The SACs report mentioned Board members that consistently asked staff members for reports and information instead of going following proper channels by following the chain of command. We want staff members to do their jobs and Board members to do theirs.

    I hope we see at least two candidates running for each district so citizens will have the opportunity to compare and contrast. We don’t want well meaning candidates that don’t understand the role and responsibility of a Board member to cause the school district to get in trouble once again.

  11. John says:

    On paper, having citizens make informed, comparative choices is a good concept. The reality is voters make poor choices. Otherwise, the Governor would not have had to step in to replace the previous Board.

  12. Stan Jester says:

    Circumvent Blocked Sites
    Are either of these sites blocked
    * http://www.webproxy.net/
    * http://www.kproxy.com/

    Go there and enter dekalbschoolwatch.com into the text box. The DSW site will bounce off the web proxy servers and the school district will never know you are visiting DSW.

  13. DecaturMax says:

    I see some dangerous race baiting in several comments today. You can’t start down this road and expect anything positive. Complaining about a central office being too black is the wrong direction and can be interpreted as racist, regardless of the possibility of reverse discrimination. Waste, a secretive administration, foggy budgeting and book keeping, incumbent culture, inefficiency, new 10 year plans every 2 years & friends and family are the enemies. Michael Thurmond wants racial antagonism and tension to keep the the focus off performance. Please don’t play into their hands.

  14. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @DecaturMax, I believe you asked about the Parent Centers a few months ago. If so, have you had the chance to visit one and ask questions? If so, what did you find out?

  15. We completely agree DecaturMax and if it continues, we will have to put the blog on full moderation. Please keep your comments focused on the issues and needs in DeKalb schools. You do not help the teachers and students of DeKalb by going off on irrelevant tangents. Yes, the school system central office has become much more black than ever – and we are hoping that if they are trying to balance the races of employees that they will seek out some highly qualified bi-lingual Hispanics as well as new immigrants and people of other cultures and races. DeKalb is not black and white. Not in any way shape or form. This is one of the most racially diverse places in the country – and our public school employees should reflect that.

  16. Stan Jester says:

    DeKalb County Board of Education – Qualified Candidates (@ 3/7/2014 8:24 AM)
    District 1 – Stan Jester
    District 2 – Don McChesney, Marshall Orson
    District 3 – Jerrie Bason, Michael Erwin
    District 4 – Karen Carter, Jim McMahan
    District 5 – Jay Cunningham, Alexander Fitzhugh, Thad Mayfield
    District 6 – Melvin Johnson
    District 7 – Lee Dukes, Joyce Morley

  17. Stan Jester says:

    DSW Blocked? – Another alternative
    I have set up mirror rss feeds at
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/DSWPosts
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/DSWComments

    You can point your rss reader to those feeds to read DSW Posts and Comments. Or, you can use an online rss reader. Google Reader was the best, but it’s been discontinued. Choose from these top 5 rss reader alternatives:
    1. Digg Reader
    2. Feedly
    3. NewsBlur
    4. Fever
    5. Feed Wrangler

  18. Frustrated Dekalb Parent says:

    Great info on the candidates, Stan. I was looking for that myself.

  19. Ella says:

    The above list is incorrect. I was at the Voter’s Registration office at 8:30 this morning and my name is still not posted. I was concerned and called as I saw a change since I left from home this morning. The last time they said they posted was 8:30 this morning. I was told a few minutes ago they were currently updating the final list.

  20. Stan Jester says:

    NONPARTISAN QUALIFIED CANDIDATES
    FOR GENERAL ELECTION MAY 20, 2014

    District 1 – Stan Jester
    District 2 – Don McChesney, Marshall Orson
    District 3 – Jerrie Bason, Michael Erwin, Jarrod Jordan, Atticus LeBlanc, Willie Mosley
    District 4 – Karen Carter, Jim McMahan, John Oselette, Ella Smith
    District 5 – Pia Bhatti, Jay Cunningham, Alexander Fitzhugh, Thad Mayfield, Vickie Turner
    District 6 – Bridgeman Bolger, Melvin Johnson
    District 7 – Kim Ault, Lee Dukes, Joyce Morley

  21. midvaledad says:

    Thank you Stan.

    Now, who is going to host debates or meet-and-greets?

  22. So we guess this means that you win Stan!! Congratulations!!

    We’re happy to see some fresh, new names on this list — are there any ‘debates’ scheduled? Will the Emory Lavista Parent Council host an event to meet the candidates? Does anyone know anything about the folks on this list? As far as incumbents go, we do like Thad. We aren’t familiar with some of his opponents – except of course, Jay Cunningham — who in NO WAY should be elected! It’s interesting to see that Don McChesney is running again – we think he’s really grown quite a lot as a public servant. He seems to really ‘get it’ these days – at least, according to his blog posts. http://www.donfordekalb.com/

  23. Stan Jester says:

    Thank you! I’m going to work hard to remain worthy of your support. –Stan

  24. John says:

    We should ask (not “axe”) all District 5 candidates if they have a stake in any businesses that has done, or might do, business with DCSS. If the answer is yes, they should be disqualified in the minds of every voter.

    So nice to see a Jester will once again be on the school board. Consider this the universe’s karma rewarding those who do good.

  25. We are confident that you will not disappoint, Stan!

  26. @ John: This is a very good idea — and we think all candidates should be asked that very question (i.e., do they have a stake in any business that has done, or might do, business with DCSS?), along with asking if they have any family members employed in any capacity by DCSS.

  27. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @John, unfortunately it is beginning to look as though the governor removed the former Board members based on a flawed report. No one questions that some of the Board members saw themselves as responsible for school operations. There were many citizens that did not like hearing NO from school system employees. Part of the blame belongs to the community who put Board members on pedestals by seeking remedies from them as opposed to going through proper channels. There are many here that believed the Board chair had more powers than the actual policy indicated.

    Even though Stan is running unopposed, I hope he participates in forums so citizens across the county can hear his vision and be assured he understands his role.

  28. Dekalb parent says:

    Questions about voting:
    If I live in District 2, can I only vote for District 2 candidates?
    And when will the new members begin serving their terms?
    Thank you.

  29. Yes. The candidates in your district are the only ones that will show up on your ballot. However, you can campaign, donate to and otherwise help anyone else.

    And although the election will take place in May, they will not officially take their seats until Jan 1, 2015.

  30. midvaledad says:

    @FredinDeKalb,

    I know people who contacted board members after attempting to go through the proper channels and either getting answers that made no sense, or no replies at all. When school council president emails to regional superintendents and administrators go unanswered and the superintendent has already referred the issue back down to them, where are parents supposed to go for resolutions?

    The majority of the answers parents and teachers get to questions are “non-answers.” For an example please refer back to the posts regarding Tucker High’s textbook policy.

    No. Board members should not be involved in day-to-day operations of the district. However, the incompetence of the palace employees and regional superintendents leaves “stakeholders” no other option.

  31. concernedmome30329 says:

    Here is the list (from above) of qualified candidates for school board election I think there is some confusion because the AJC’s article wasn’t clear and behind paywall, so I wanted to repost the info.

    NONPARTISAN QUALIFIED CANDIDATES
    FOR GENERAL ELECTION MAY 20, 2014

    District 1 – Stan Jester
    District 2 – Don McChesney, Marshall Orson
    District 3 – Jerrie Bason, Michael Erwin, Jarrod Jordan, Atticus LeBlanc, Willie Mosley
    District 4 – Karen Carter, Jim McMahan, John Oselette, Ella Smith
    District 5 – Pia Bhatti, Jay Cunningham, Alexander Fitzhugh, Thad Mayfield, Vickie Turner
    District 6 – Bridgeman Bolger, Melvin Johnson
    District 7 – Kim Ault, Lee Dukes, Joyce Morley

  32. Ned says:

    Can someone point me to a current district map? Thanks

  33. midvaledad says:

    This is the old BOE map. The new one doesn’t have districts 8 or 9, the “super districts.” There may be other changes that I don’t know about.

    Click to access boe.pdf

  34. Ned says:

    Thanks

  35. Another comment says:

    We need bio’s on the candidates. On party races, that is the first thing they ask you for.

  36. Disgusted in DeKalb says:

    In a post on the Tucker Patch yesterday, Kirk Lunde said that he would choose Jim McMahan over Karen Carter in District 4. He confessed that he didn’t know anything about the other two candidates. I think highly of Mr. Lunde but have been very disappointed with Mr. McMahan.

  37. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    The current board has been a rubber stamp for the administration. We could dedicate an entire thread to the disappointing votes over the last year.

    Mr. McMahan voted ‘yes’ to hire Mr. Thurmond as Interim Superintendent on 02/08/2013. The next day in the AJC, Mr. Thurmond said, “ a search for a permanent superintendent would begin immediately and he would leave as soon as one is found.” It was never brought up again and Mr. McMahan subsequently voted ‘yes’ to hire Mr. Thurmond as the permanent Superintendent without so much as a search.

    Mr. McMahan voted ‘yes’ on lawyers to defend the old board and Dr. Walker. He also voted yes to hire MLA. DeKalb Schools has more lawyers than it ever has.

  38. midvaledad says:

    @DeKalbInsideOut,

    Don’t forget the BOE was told by Mark Elgart to fall in line behind the superintendent and not show any dissention. With the threat of probation hanging over the district, the BOE did what it was told to do.

    The difference in current BOE members is not so much in their voting record, but in their questions and comments. Almost all issues have only had, at most, one “No” vote. I agree that, between McMahan and Carter, the better candidate is McMahan. At least he cares about the job. I have yet to figure out why Dr. Carter is on the BOE or what she stands for.

    I am looking forward to candidate forums where the current BOE members will have to defend their performance. That should be fun. Hopefully Stan has an assistant to film while he is speaking. I want to get everyone on record before the election, then hold the next BOE accountable for their promises.

  39. midvaledad says:

    Regarding lawyers, the district is still engaged in deceitful accounting.

    Stan pointed out during the last BOE meeting that legal fees are not being reported accurately. MLA has a contract for $50K a month, but as of the March 3, BOE meeting, only 3 months’ invoices are reported in the current fiscal year.

    That is $200,000 in legal fees that are “hidden.”

    It is a “New Day in DeKalb.”
    Same as yesterday in Dekalb.

  40. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @midvaledad, what citizens should want are Board members that can follow the policies on the books then work with other Board members along with the superintendent to either create or modify policies so that the staff has the flexibility to do their job effectively. Some of the comments posted on this site reflect part of the reasons why DeKalb was on probation as some expect Board members to perform operational analysis and tasks. Gwinnett is a model where the Board and superintendent work together on behalf of their school district.

    If you want to screen candidates and find out who understands what the responsibilities will be, simply question them on policy BAB. Anyone who promises to do something for constituents outside of this policy is someone to stay away from.

Comments are closed.