The Monday, February 2, 2015 Board Meeting

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following meetings on Monday,
February 2, 2015:

2:00pm Work Session, Committee of the Whole & Executive Session for
personnel & 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 information can be accessed online by going to:, click on Leadership, go to eBoard Home Page and click on the date for the meeting agenda\information.

Attend the meetings in person at the addresses above, or watch it live on Comcast 24 or streamed at PDS 24 online.

Monday’s Business Meeting Consent Agenda is as follows:

1. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy JCDAG – Bullying
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs


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 Officer,
Division of Human Resources
4. Antivirus Security Protection
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Technology
5. SPLOST IV Project: Chapel Hill Elementary School HVAC & other Improvements Contract Award
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
6. SPLOST IV Project: Request for Board Approval of Budget Amendment Request for the Addition/Renovation Project at Henderson Middle School (Project 512-422)
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
7. RFP 15-752-029 Facilities Condition Assessment Services and Capital Asset Management Software
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
8. RFP 15-752-028 Master Planning Services
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

E. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)

1. Region 1 Community Engagement Public Forum Meeting, 7:00pm, Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Dunwoody High School, 5035 Vermack Road, Dunwoody
2. Student Advisory Committee Meeting, 9:00am, Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Auditorium Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
3. Region 2 Community Engagement Public Forum Meeting, 7:00pm, Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Lakeside High School, 3801 Briarcliff Road, NE, Atlanta
4. Region 3 Community Engagement Public Forum Meeting, 7:00pm, Thursday, February 5, 2015, Stephenson High School, 701 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain
5. Region 4 Community Engagement Public Forum Meeting, 7:00pm, Tuesday, February 10, 2015, Miller Grove High School, 2645 DeKalb Medical Parkway, Lithonia
6. Region 5 Community Engagement Public Forum Meeting, 7:00pm, Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Towers High School, 3919 Brookcrest Circle, Decatur
7. SPLOST Oversight Committee Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, February 12, 2015, DeKalb County School District Plant Services, Sam A. Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker
8. Countywide Public Forum Meeting, 7:00pm, Thursday, February 12, 2015, J. David Williamson Board Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
9. Schools and Administrative Offices Closed, Monday, February 16, 2015, in observation of Presidents’ Day
10. District-wide Administrators Academy, 8:30am, Tuesday, February 24, 2015, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

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73 Responses to The Monday, February 2, 2015 Board Meeting

  1. Can one of the new board members or even the old board members propose getting rid of this all in one day meeting format. These board members are paid $18,000 per year, which should cover more than 1/20 th of a month worth of actual employment.

    These meetings need to be broken down into at least 2-3 separate meetings. They also need to be held at like 7:00-10:00 P.M. So the majority of stakeholders can attend. There needs to be at least a couple of days from the working sessions to the actual board meeting.

    Then it is outrageous that their is only one public comment session in the middle which is mostly take up by the praise groupies.

    Any excuses about the Administrators need to be there. Well all of them make well in excess in the amount that salaried managers can get overtime on currently stuck in the $70’s in a low $20 salary figure ( even proposals to raise it like the Minimum Wage only range from $42-50k). These are all $80k, and mostly well over $100k salaried employees so showing up to 2-3 evening meetings a month should be expected, as other duties assigned.

  2. kirklunde says:

    The last item of the consent agenda, Master Planning Services, is a request for the BOE to hire MGT of America. The last time MGT of America was in DeKalb County Schools, we got charrettes; which might be French for “shafted.”

    Please contact your BOE representative and share your stories of the MGT consultants.

    DeKalb County should not turn back the clock to the era of Superintendent Tyson. Those were dark days indeed.

  3. Why do they let the junior or senior classes of architects do the preliminary design and design cigarettes. It saves a lot of money. Gives students a change to interact with other profession, and then seing what it is like politically to work on a real worldly project. My office did this once with southern tech it was a great experience for all those involve.

    remember Mai Ling who designed the Vietnam Memorial did it by applying to the context. She beat out all the established firms and one.

  4. Exactly Kirk. And MGT America along with Mrs. Tyson created a 2020 Vision. It was mostly about building and rearranging schoolhouses – no actual vision of the types of educational settings and programs we would like to offer. Translated: WASTE. But then again, Ramona is a genius at creating reams of miscellaneous, unsearchable documents and calling them ‘plans’…

    We are sick of Groundhog Day! We go through this cycle of community input, rinse, screw it up, repeat.

    Let us remind you >> Blue Ribbon Task Force (A Lewis fiasco), Citizens Task Force (A Lewis fiasco), Charrettes (a Tyson fiasco), Triage (a Beasely fiasco), 2020 Vision (a Tyson fiasco), Theory of Action for Change (an Atkinson fiasco), the Bridge (a current Thurmond thing that does nothing except create tv shows, along with his charter, no, not a charter, McNair HS) – All the while, pretending to agree to a full forensic audit (the kind of idea that got Johnny Brown fired), but yet, never actually ordering or conducting one — EVER.

    And Now – a superintendent search CONTROLLED by the very people who have failed – over and over and over again. The BOARD should be conducting the superintendent search – along with a committee of informed citizen stakeholders – certainly not the current superintendent and his top-tier insiders!

    So, once again, DeKalb School Watch offers our FOUR YEAR OLD 2020 Vision — and it’s FREE! [We have no more ‘discussion’ on the subject; this is our plan and has been for four years.]

    Monday, February 7, 2011
    “Without a vision, the people perish…”

  5. From our email box >>


    Fixing DeKalb County is critical to our future.

    Cityhood is not the problem, it’s part of the solution.

    In 2015, residents of four proposed new cities in north/central/south DeKalb County – LaVista Hills, Greenhaven, Stonecrest and Tucker – agree.
    It’s too late to wait.

    Join the effort and help create a new city that will work with existing cities AND DeKalb County to create a strong, powerful and influential County for all of our communities!

    LaVista Hills YES signs will be delivered this week: please email or sign-up on our website to have one delivered to your yard or business.
    We will be contacting all who have volunteered to help this effort in the next few weeks. Please sign up to volunteer at our website.

    A new feasibility study for the city of LaVista Hills has recently been requested through the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute (CVI). The cost of this study is $15,000, and additional funds are also needed for advocacy, communications, website, signage, flyers and other related expenses.

    Please help our community as we move ever closer to a referendum for cityhood! Cost associated with the cityhood movement are funded by neighbors like you, making an investment in our community. Please consider donating today.

    Your generous donations are greatly appreciated. Thank you for helping to make the city of LaVista Hills a reality!

    Please donate safely online through Paypal, or mail a donation to this address:

    LaVista Hills YES, P.O Box 98276, Atlanta, GA, 30359

    Thank you for supporting the City of LaVista Hills!

    LaVista Hills YES

  6. Blindsided says:

    As far as “Greenhaven” goes, no, not everyone agrees. Some of us on the northern reaches of that monster that reaches from Rockdale to rte. 78 (look at the map) barely know of this effort to incorporate everything south of Tucker into a city of South DeKalb, and might well prefer annexation into existing cities or other new cities rather than being drawn into a Lithonia-centric government. Hopefully the legislature won’t rush approval of the ill-planned and not discussed city of “Greenhaven.”

  7. NEWS from our emails >>

    Scientific Tools and Techniques Open House
    The Fernbank Science Center Scientific Tools and Techniques Program, known as STT, and the Advanced Studies Program will host the annual recruitment for potential students open house at 6:30 pm on February 5th. An overview of the STT program and information about Advanced Study classes offered during fall and spring of 2015-2016 will be presented. Students currently in 8th grade who plan to attend a DCSD High School can apply for STT. Advanced studies is available to all high school students. For more information visit

  8. Work session is on >> Stan proposed not spending money on something (?), and instead giving teachers a mid year raise. Morley called it into question. Stan had to repeat and stated that he didn’t think Morley wanted to talk about that. And then she let it rip….. she gave him a big ass dressing down about how she is a professional and she will not be disrespected and he needs to take his personal vendetta elsewhere … yada yada… whoa!

    In a nutshell >> The Board would not even consider discussing Stan’s idea of raising the direct instructional budget to more than the current 32%. They also wouldn’t consider discussing a mid-year pay raise or a retirement contribution for teachers. Get that? Would. Not. Discuss. In fact, Joyce Morley dressed Stan down for even asking.

    Note >> Jim McMahan is not in attendance. We have only 6 of 7 board members.

  9. Now, Morley is grilling the guy in charge of the superintendent search. She is not in a very good mood. She thinks the board has a problem with hiring a firm, and the firm can’t do the job by itself and has to form committees, instead of the Board. She goes on and on and on… telling him he is not doing what was promised in December… Oh my lord – she does not stop!

  10. Turner: For clarity – liason group is dismantled after we find the top ten? Or do they become part of this panel?

    Answer: It is customary for us to include community members in the interviewing process.

    Turner: Are they involved in sorting the top 100 or so?

    Answer: No, not until we get the best 30% of total candidates.

    Turner: Will committee be involved in vetting top 9-12?

    Answer: Yes. They will be invited to be part of two touchpoints. Top 30% and top 9-12. Board will be involved in top 9-12.

    Johnson: Liason committee has no authority in making selection. Plus two board members will be part of committee.

  11. By show of hands – 5 to 1 to place on agenda. Morely is against.

  12. HR report – Orson makes the point that he would like to learn more about how the district is treating these employees even though we don’t hire them directly. If we feel we need to continue to use these agencies in the short term, can we set up some standard expected practices?

  13. Turner: Regarding the anti-virus. It was for 30,000 computers. Do we only have 30,000 computers for over 100,000 students and over 13,000 employees?

    A: Yes. We have about a 3 to 1 ratio of computers to students and that’s high. Plus about 700 Apple computers..

    Turner: Do we have plans to get more?

    A: Yes.

  14. However >> Brantley said, “Currently we have a multimillion dollar facility at William Bryant Center to monitor security”…

  15. With God as my witness, we are going to bring equity and fairness back to the salaries of our teachers and staff in the next fiscal year. — Michael Thurmond

  16. thedeal2 says:

    Did he seriously say, “With God as my witness?” You cannot make this $hit up.

  17. Yes. But then I wondered, how can he make it so? He is scheduled to be replaced in June… the next fiscal year starts in August. He’s making a promise someone else will have to fulfill.

  18. Now, Beasley is showing us a Powerpoint on increases in student achievement due to the Bridge Initiative. Plus GAM – Growth and Achievement Model. Thurmond says its responsible for a 5% increase in graduation rates.

    Teachers will be trained and will receive a stipend. Plus – another round of parent/family engagement workshops.

    Shows a video of the Georgia Milestones (available online). Will be sending ‘Parent Etips’ encouraging parents to stay connected to DCSD on Facebook.

  19. Standardized testing is on the way out – GA Milestones tests online – technology-enhanced questions, etc. End of grade assessments 3-8 and end of course tests in high schools (remember, we only have 30,000 computers for over 100,000 students …)

  20. Now we have Ron Ramsey amending policy DCDAG – Bullying. (Not read outloud) It quietly passes with no discussion. [Certainly has something to do with the DOJ’s demands after the federal case of bullying in DeKalb.]

  21. They just now voted to approve the consent agenda. Passed 5 to 1 (Stan Jester voted no.)

  22. Board comments > Michael Irwin – Feb 10 6:30 pm. (Cedar Grove?)

    Ms. Brooks > Student rep > problem she sees is health and wellness of restrooms. Doors don’t lock. Cold water only. No soap. Sometimes no towels. Toilets may not flush. Seats may be missing. School is my home and I would like it to be taken proper care of like my home. Hoping the board will look into it more.

  23. September says:

    It is very sad that we expect our children to spend their day in facilities that are substandard. I don’t know where the money is going but we aren’t willing to provide basics at the school. No paper towels, plumbing not working, no soap. Most adults would not work in such a place. We can’t afford raises for teachers. School board members should return their salaries until these problems can be fixed.

  24. howdy1942 says:

    Sounds to me like Joyce Morley is Zepora Roberts reincarnated!

  25. It is unbelievable that Joyce Morely was voted in! That alone shows why so many want out of the district.

  26. kirklunde says:

    During yesterday’s meeting the BOE voted to hire, again, Parsons and MGT of America. This vote was taken AFTER they approved approximately $1,000,000 to remodel the locker rooms at Henderson Middle School.

    “A budget reallocation in the amount of $1,000,000 will be made from the SPLOST Program Contingency (Project #999-422) cost code (422. to the Henderson MS Addition/Renovation project (Project #512-422) construction cost code (422.”

    These two companies assessed Henderson Middle School in 2010 and their report can be found here

    These companies devoted 9 pages to the softball dugouts which were reported to have a combined replacement cost of $26,718.

    The locker rooms are not mentioned.

  27. A million dollars for locker rooms? Wow! Those are going to be some kind of locker rooms — for middle school!!! And yet – we found out we only have 30,000 computers for 100,000 students, and the state is starting a program that will involve a lot of online learning and testing.

    How much would 70,000 more computers cost?

  28. howdy1942 says:

    I Googled the enrollment of Henderson Middle School and learned that it is 1585 students. At a total of $1,000,000, that is a cost of $631 per locker. That seems a bit much! Were multiple vendors allowed to bid? I would think that a lot of local workers would have been happy to have ordered the lockers (I’m sure that they would have looked for the low cost provider of quality lockers) and installed them.

    Are each of these lockers assigned to just one student or to more than one? @DSW – at $631 each, we could have bought 1585 very well-equipped personal computers.

    (Back to my previous comment, I likened Joyce Morely to Zepora “I’m gonna slug you” Roberts). Two peas in the same pod.)

  29. What exactly do you think the computers are needed for? Do you think that we have kindergarten students who haven’t learned to read and write, but they are proficient in keyboarding and data entry already? Do we really want taxpayers to cover the cost of 1:1 computing needs and all the associated hardware, software upgrades over the years plus the cost of repairs, replacement of stolen or damaged computers, loaner models for when the student’s normal machine is out for service? Do we expect them to prevent their computer from having crayon marks on them or glue sticks and finger paint on the keyboard?

  30. In Tucker, the high school students were told they could not go to their lockers in between classes because the halls are so crowded and that would create too much additional congestion. In Gwinett, parents paid for expensive lockers at Brookwood (I think that is the name of it) and later learned their child was redistricted and could no longer attend that school. Why don’t they just install standard lockers and make kids bring their own locks just like we did when we were in school? We all turned out just fine and we probably didn’t have a billion dollars a year in the budget either.

  31. Nikole says:

    @ Get the Cell OUt—Actually, kindergarten and first grade SLOs are done online and some questions even require them to type in an answer. The Milestones test will eventually be done all online. Keep in mind that during the CRCT, all students are taking paper tests in their classrooms at the same time. How do you propose they all test in one computer lab per school?

  32. @Howdy: We are going to assume that locker rooms include PE lockers (shared) and showers, workout equipment, etc…

  33. @Nikole: That was the same question posed by new board member, Ms. Turner. She was concerned that the state is implementing this new learning/testing system called the Georgia Milestones, but we won’t have enough computers for students to fully use the system. Mr. Brantley stated that we had 30,000 computers in total for over 100,000 students and 13,000+ employees. He said that made our ratio 1:3, (1 computer for every 3 students) which he said is ‘high’, but if you take at least 6,000 off the table to be used strictly by teachers (and we HOPE each teacher has their own computer)… then that leaves a maximum of 25,000 computers for over 100,000 students, which is only 1:4.

    Learn more about the Georgia Milestones here >>

  34. @Cell: There are two ways to view this >> One, computers are the pens and pencils of the new millennium or Two, computers harm children’s creativity and are unnecessary for learning and in fact, stunt early learning and curiosity due to too many ‘rote’ lessons, tests and answers. Funnily enough, Two, is the kind of thinking most parents in Silicon Valley have (they work in high tech businesses) and they therefore mostly opt to send their children to the touchy-feely Waldorf School. Luckily, we have a Waldorf School in Decatur. You might want to check it out.

  35. Tucker Mom says:

    Here’s a video about the locker rooms at Henderson Middle that the students made:

  36. Montgomery Mom says:

    The $1 million is for a total gut job. And with rising building cost they probably will not get a total gut. Not just lockers. The locker room has not been touched since 1968 when the building was first built. I personally do not want my child in those locker rooms. And I am sure if some of you went on a tour of those lockers rooms you would not either. The video says a lot. The county is just bring the locker room to a safe, ADA, and title IX middle school standards.

  37. howdy1942 says:

    @Tucker Mom – thank you for posting this video of the situation at Henderson Middle School – I’m shocked!! We have the highest millage rate in the State of Georgia in one of the wealthiest counties in the State – where is all that money going?

    At tonight’s meeting with PROACT in Dunwoody, Rep. Tom Taylor said something about the maximum millage rate authorized by the Legislature for running a school system is 20 mils and that Dekalb County was granted a special exemption that allowed its millage rate to be 24 mils. He further said that the basis of that exemption is no longer applicable and that legislation would be introduced during this session to roll the maximum millage rate in Dekalb County back to 20 mils. I didn’t catch the basis for the current exemption, but I did catch that the net impact of such a millage reduction would remove $76 million from the Dekalb County School System. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

    The Dekalb County School System ought to be very concerned about the prospects of losing that $76 million, of potentially losing Dunwoody and Brookhaven, and the potential loss of the tax base in Druid Hills. One way or the other, there are just to many resources – financial, political, and community – aligned against the Dekalb County School System from these communities. The Dekalb County School Board must find a superintendent who can and will reach out to these communities and address their concerns. I heard those concerns tonight and they are valid and they come from some very smart, well-connected people. There is a lot of concern that, regardless of what PROACT does, the majority of the school board wants the next superintendent to come from within. If the school board doesn’t get this one right, then chances are very good that they will be dealing with a much smaller budget. That will force some very tough choices ranging from larger classroom sizes to a smaller administration. Most of all, our kids will pay a high price for the failure of adults at the school board.

    It is way past time for this school board to wake up and get this one right.

  38. This is not verified – but I think the exemption was due to the fact that DeKalb County Schools used to run the technical college that is now Piedmont Tech in Clarkston and no longer a part of DeKalb schools. Anyone know?

  39. kirklunde says:

    Here is an example of the lack of transparency which is allowed by the GaDOE. Please go to the School System Financial Reports page.

    If you look at the FY ’14 revenue report for DeKalb County you will see total, general fund, revenues of $900,819,910.37. The expenditure report shows total expenses of $842,266,250.13. The difference between those is $58,553,660.24.

    This, by itself isn’t troubling. However, the administration claimed to have “a small surplus” at the end of FY ’13 and $40,000,000 in reserves at the end of FY ’14.

    Subtract $40,000,000 from $58,553,660. What happened to the remaining money?

    FY ’14 was the second year in a row DCSD did not expend all of the general fund revenues it received. Using the same GaDOE web page, and repeating the revenues minus expenditures math, you find in FY ’13 DCSD reported a positive difference of almost $65,730,000.

    Cumulatively, over the last two fiscal years, DCSD has received more than $124,000,000 than it has spent in the general fund.

    Comparing DeKalb County School’s difference between total revenues and total expenditures to several other districts reveals DCSD, clearly, is an outlier regarding spending the revenues provided. To make on an apples-to-apples comparison, look at those amounts per FTE.

    Per FTE Revenues Minus Expenditures 2013 2014 Cumulative
    DeKalb County 667 593 1260
    Gwinnett County 138 17 155
    Cobb County (130) 117 (13)
    Fulton County (56) 56 (0)

    Given the current administration’s support of the friends and family environment within the district, there is a need for a higher level of oversight. Transparency is needed, but continues to remain off the table.

    My solution is for the BOE to adopt a “Budget Policy” requiring the administration to report revenues and expenses, at the school level, for all funds, release year-end numbers (budgeted to actual) for all funds at the school level, improve the budgeting process, require administrators to answer questions asked by BOE members and the public, account for money according to GaDOE rules and regulations, approve the detailed budget and not a one page summary, and incorporate stakeholder suggestions into the budget.

    The DeKalb Board of Education has not provided oversight or leadership regarding the budget. However, they are provided with incomplete and misleading information from administrators who are not held accountable for their statements or decisions. A budget policy could provide a framework for more transparency. Some members of the BOE have repeatedly stated their opinion that it is not the board’s place to question administrators. This is a dereliction of the board’s fiduciary responsibility. I believe those board members should be ignored and the needs of the students drive the oversight provided by the BOE.

  40. Why did Smoke Rise have to be downsized in this, the “elementary school SPLOST,” yet a middle school can be renovated for lockers? They are in that condition because they allowed Sagamore Hills (McMahan’s area and he wasn’t there to vote?) to redistrict to Lakeside but didn’t follow through with the redistricting of Evansdale to Tucker and Idlewood to Stone Mountain. At least that’s how it appears to be working.

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