Meeting notes suggest DeKalb Super won’t budge on charter cluster idea

From “Decaturish”…

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond this week met with representatives of a group that wants to create a Druid Hills Charter Cluster. The meeting at first seemed like a sign that the superintendent was reconsidering his opposition to the idea. Thurmond’s spokesperson confirmed it to Decaturish, said the meeting was at Thurmond’s request and called its tone “respectful.” But a summary of the meeting we obtained suggests the superintendent is still deeply opposed to the idea. “When asked about the basis for denial, (Michael Thurmond) said he knew in his heart that it could not be passed,” the meeting summary says. “He said he knows the difference between right and wrong. He likened to the hard fight for change that occurred in Selma.”

Read More >> Meeting notes suggest DeKalb Super won’t budge on charter cluster idea

DSW NOTE >> The content of the notes from the meeting between Thurmond and representatives from Druid Hill Charter Cluster lays bare the vanity, corruption and desperation of DeKalb County Schools senior administrators to maintain absolute control over DeKalb County Schools and the 1.2+ billion dollars that flows through DCS annually. This report is enlightening as to just how ingrained the corruption and how deep the desire for money and power is in DeKalb County Schools. Thurmond is cloaking his desire for power as a racial issue, comparing his actions to Selma.  The real story is the treachery of a highly paid school superintendent who is willing to deny the opportunity for a good education to thousands of (mostly poor, mostly black) children because the Druid Hill Charter Cluster Committee did not prostrate themselves before him and his loyal cohorts and kiss his ring.  It illustrates that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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20 Responses to Meeting notes suggest DeKalb Super won’t budge on charter cluster idea

  1. Most pertinent quotes from the article >>

    Thurmond asked for the meeting to take place at his office.
    “Within the first five minutes, they knew the conversation would not be productive,”

    He showed his animosity toward them immediately.

    (MICHAEL THURMOND) said that if they wanted their petition approved, they should have approached him more respectfully. (DRUID HILLS CHARTER CLUSTER) responded that they sent multiple polite emails requesting information and meetings. Some meetings that had been scheduled were supposedly taken off his calendar. At a meeting that did happen, (MICHAEL THURMOND) didn’t attend and the staff that attended didn’t know why they were there. Many emails from (DRUID HILLS CHARTER CLUSTER) went unanswered.

    People on the governing board (like Fred Daniels) have been successful at running banks and large budgets. (MICHAEL THURMOND) didn’t think those skills would translate into successful management of a seven-school budget.

    When asked about the basis for denial, (MICHAEL THURMOND) said he knew in his heart that it could not be passed. He said he knows the difference between right and wrong. He likened to the hard fight for change that occurred in Selma.

    When asked if the basis for denial boiled down to the desire to maintain power over those schools, (MICHAEL THURMOND) said yes. He said he would never grant full autonomy to the charter cluster.

    When asked if adherence to the charter laws was a factor, he said that just because it is in the law doesn’t mean that he has to agree to it.

  2. tyranny

    arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.

  3. Re: “When asked about the basis for denial, (MICHAEL THURMOND) said he knew in his heart that it could not be passed. He said he knows the difference between right and wrong. He likened to the hard fight for change that occurred in Selma.”

    We too know right from wrong. And what we see is an administration that is skimming millions from schools and reappropriating them to upper level jobs, cars and offices rather than to classrooms full of children and teachers – exactly where taxpayers intend the money to go.

  4. DeKalb Observer says:

    What does it say . . .

    When finally the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the local elected politicians understand why new businesses, and new families do not want to relocate to DeKalb. And why an existing hard working family or business in DeKalb that desires a promising or successful future has already planned and is executing their exit strategy.

  5. H.A. Hurley says:

    I am glad I was sitting down when I read Thurmond’s smarmy & insulting comparison of forming a cluster system to the horrible history of racism, keeping African Americans from voting and being treated less than human.
    He is the only one who knows right from wrong?
    Shame on you, Michael Thurmond!
    Our Superintendent is one dumb man!
    Disgusting insult to all!
    We are in BIG TROUBLE!
    Advice to all DC residents who have options…RUN!

  6. H.A. Hurley says:

    One more thing: I am convinced that Thurmond set up this meeting to capitalize on the timing of the Selma message. His aha moment of connecting two events that have nothing in common…only to fuel racism and classism in DC.
    This was Thurmond’s photo-op and beating his …we shall overcome…public chest.

  7. @Hurley: That’s the problem – for years, people have been running – off to private schools and other school districts. These are high achieving students with very involved parents leaving the system in droves. It’s bad for the system overall – and exactly what leadership wants to happen. They do not want to relinquish control of a single dime. When in reality, our 100,000+ student system needs to break apart into at least 4 or 5 smaller districts with more local control and less opportunity for waste, abuse and fraud.

  8. teachermom says:

    Thurmond is overstepping his authority. First we actually get to see a video of him telling Jester that he will-himself- decide to take the county out of compliance in the future at a cost of 1m to taxpayers. Now we read about him so righteously telling the charter group that he has decided that they weren’t respectful enough so he won’t work with them. He has got to be violating laws or the very least policy…

  9. howdy1942 says:

    Frankly, I will be glad when Thurmond is no longer superintendent of the Dekalb County School System. He started out on a promising note by holding initial meetings in the community. Since then, he is rarely seen at any community meeting north of US78.

    His reference to Selma as a basis for his view of Druid Hills is just plain wrong. He should explain the analogy. Selma was run at that time by whites. Dekalb is controlled by blacks at both the County Commission and the School Board. Yet it was a while President and a predominately white Congress that changed Selma. Thurmond should explain himself.

    Dekalb County is in an economic mess largely because of its failed school system. And its residents, black and white and all races are paying the price. Where is Mercedes locating? What about NCR? What about UPS? Can anyone name any major project that has taken place in unincorporated Dekalb County? It is just amazing that people like Thurmond, Morley, and Johnson cannot see the damage they are doing to the very people they represent and need economic development the most.

    I’ve given up on change at the DCSS. The next superintendent will be black – period! The next superintendent will be one that the majority of the school board can control. Until the State of Georgia steps in to change Dekalb County, it will continue to tread water, at best.

  10. psdad says:

    Posted elsewhere:

    How ironic that he would point to Selma as a source of his inspiration, and four days later …

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014
    State Board unanimously votes to take over Selma City Schools

    Read more:

    Well Thurmond sure did pick a fitting example.

  11. howdy1942 says:

    I wish that the State Board of Education would take over the Dekalb County School System. Upon doing so, I would strongly urge them to immediately conduct a full audit of the finances and resources of the DCSS. Remember that $10 million grant that the DCSS lost because it could not fill out the necessary documentation? What about the severance packages that the school board has awarded to people like Atkinson? And what about the legal expenses that it paid for Crawford Lewis? And how much “training” has the school board received from that law firm? And where did that $21 million that Thurmond “found” come from? Where was it? And why did Atkinson leave? Did she resign or was she fired? And who on the Board leaked that confidential personal information during the last superintendent search? And just how was that $2.1 million spent that the DCSS must now return to the State? And why can’t this school system pay our teachers, restore their Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) contributions, and provide our students with computers and books on a budget of $1.2 Billion?

    Sooner or later, the DCSS is going to be audited. At least 40% of Dekalb County no longer have any confidence in the school board, its administration, or its superintendent. Yes, the State taking over the DCSS would be a big step in the right direction.

  12. Don’t you consider the removal and replacement of the school board by state appointed board members to be “taking over” of the school system? What else do you expect for “the state” to do that we are somehow unable to do for ourselves? Where have you seen a state takeover that has worked and, if so, what did they do? Doesn’t the state actually have control of education already? The school districts are set up by the state.

  13. Nevermind, I found my own answer…. here is what is new with the state takeover solution:

  14. teachermom says:

    And the spin control….notice the use of the word “respect.”

    February 10, 2015 at 4:31pm

    “On February 4, 2015, I invited three Druid Hills Charter Cluster leaders to meet with me and the director of the District Charter Office. The primary purpose of the meeting was to establish a foundation of mutual respect and understanding between the administration of the DeKalb County School District and petitioners. The two-hour meeting was respectful, open, and honest.

    “In addition, we wanted to clarify the District’s official charter petition process, a process that has been in place for more than a decade.

    “It is important to note that the Superintendent has no authority to “grant” a charter petition application. The DeKalb County Board of Education has the sole power and authority to approve or reject petitions. The Superintendent recommends action to the Board based on analysis and evaluation by the charter staff.

    “The Druid Hills charter cluster petitioners were encouraged to resubmit a petition that addresses the specific concerns raised by the District Charter Office and a majority of the members of the Board of Education. Moving forward, I am hopeful that the petitioners and the DCSD will be able to work in a collaborative manner that will ultimately benefit all of our students, parents, employees and stakeholders.

    Michael L. Thurmond
    DeKalb County School District
    Contact: Quinn Hudson 678.676.2848

  15. Gregory Walker says:

    I’m not sure if this opinion in Decaturish yesterday will make it through the filters here, but Mr. Perkins most closely summarizes my own personal frustrations with this whole process. If you truly care about finding a long term solution, it’s worth the read:

  16. Thanks for sharing the link about Stan Jester’s pay being withheld – as well as them not creating an email, signing him up for board conferences or giving him side entrance access to the offices like the rest of the board. These are all indicative of the bullying mentality that is pervasive in the DCSS administration. No surprises here really…

    DeKalb School Board member’s pay withheld amid fight over background checks

    School Board Stan Jester believes that nothing in state law requires him to submit to a background check conducted by DeKalb County Schools.

    Now he says the school system refuses to give him his paycheck and has refused to create a county email account for him. That means his constituents can’t contact him about School Board business using the official county email account, and he isn’t included on some emails that go to the other board members.

    Decaturish asked DeKalb County Schools about this, and a spokesperson said a detailed statement would be forthcoming.

    Jester believes the school system’s actions are retaliation for his refusal to comply with a background check requirement.

    “I think it all goes back to the fingerprinting,” Jester said.

    (Jester had the Dunwoody police conduct his background check and the GBI did a fingerprinting, all the results of which he posted on his website, unlike the rest of the board.)

  17. Interesting response – written like a true politician. Insinuate that you haven’t been respected (ala Joyce Morley), throw your bosses (the board) under the bus, and for contact information – call or email my (personal) PR person… and – Have a nice life…

  18. Word Wall says:

    The Druid Hills Charter obstruction and the Title One funding multi million dollar penalty are closely related. Both issues come directly from the lack of transparency on the fiscal budget, the smoke and mirrors spending. The staff has NO idea how much money goes to students OR schools, so the Charter cluster was impossible. The Title One million dollar fines come from the same inability to identify spending in the schools, or show fairness between schools. So both issues call for their worst nightmare scenario – an actual AUDIT.

  19. We totally agree, Word Wall.

  20. Cedar says:

    “Selma”. What manure. Pathetic.

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