The April 1, 2015 Board Meeting

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following meetings on
Wednesday, April 1, 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 Public Budget Input Hearing & Community Input Session

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

The meeting agendas 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.

Watch the meetings live on Comcast 24 or stream them online at PDS24.


1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent
2. Approval of Monthly Human Resources Report
Presented by: Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer,
Division of Human Resources
3. Fernbank and Peachcrest Elementary Schools New Construction Technology Package
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of
Information Technology
4. Renaming of Panthersville Stadium
Presented by: Dr. Michael A. Erwin, Board Representative, District 3 &
Mrs. Vickie B. Turner, Board Representative, District 5
5. Tapestry Public Charter School’s System Request for Site Approval
(Change of Location)
Presented by: Dr. José Boza, Director, Leadership Development &
Charter Schools, Division of School Leadership & Operational Support
6. Personnel Recommendations
Presented by:
7. School Nutrition Services
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of
a. Extension of Bid No. 15-22 Purchase of Ice Cream Approval
b. Extension Bid No.15-25R Purchase Cold Storage Services Approval
c. Extension of Bid No. 15-28 Purchase of Milk & Milk Products Approval
8. Business Services
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of
a. RFP No. 11-11 District-Wide Imaging Solution Contract Extension Approval
b. Commercial Real Estate Services Contract Award
9. Facilities Management
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of
a. Custodial Equipment and Parts Contract Agreement Approval
b. Professional Services Agreements with Moreland-Altobelli Associates, Inc. Approval
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of
a. Acceptance of Additional GA DOE Capital Outlay Reimbursements and Sales
Tax Revenue Funds to Increase the E-SPLOST Capital Program Budget
b. E-SPLOST IV Project: Warren Technical School Capital Renewal Contract Award
c. E-SPLOST IV PROJECT: Fernbank Elementary School Replacement – Change Order No. 2 Approval
11. Approval of 2016 Legislative Positions
Presented by: Dr. Michael A. Erwin, Board Representative, District #3 &
Mrs. Vickie B. Turner, Board Representative, District #5


1. Approval of Monthly Financial Report
Presented by: Dr. Michael J. Bell, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance
2. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy EEE (Wellness Program)
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

E. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)

1. School Library Month ~ April, 2015
2. Schools Closed ~ Monday, April 6 – Friday, April 10, 2015 ~ Spring Break Week, Administrative Offices Closed ~ Thursday, April 9 & Friday, April 10, 2015
3. District-Wide Administrators Academy, 8:30am, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Auditorium Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
4. DeKalb Council of PTAs Scholarship & Awards Dinner, 6:00pm, Thursday, April 16, 2015, Chamblee Charter High School, 3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Chamblee
5. SPLOST Oversight Committee Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, April 23, 2015, Conference Room, Sam A. Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker
6. Teacher Advisory Committee Meeting, 2:00pm, Thursday, April 30, 2015, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
7. Education Support Professional Advisory Committee Meeting, 10:00am, Friday, May 1, 2015, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
8. DeKalb Board of Education Work Session (2:00pm), Community Input Session (5:45pm) and Business Meeting (7:00pm), Monday, May 5, 2014, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

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59 Responses to The April 1, 2015 Board Meeting

  1. Word Wall says:

    The Agenda still shows no sense of urgency about conforming to the law as far as Classroom Size (still on waivers) and Direct Instruction as 65% of spending. Teacher raises? Silent… Social Security or annuity? Silent… The longer these critical issues are allowed to fester, the more student performance and graduation rates will fall — and more communities will attempt to escape from the Dekalb School System. The Status Quo is broken, and more of the same is a failed strategy.

  2. Why are all these contracts on the consent addenda instead of being disgused in opened in the board meeting. The consent addenda should not be used for the mass approval of all these contracts every month. That is not open government. If a contract is over the amount that it has to be brought to the board for approval, then it should be discussed and approved in full open evening session, not as part of a consent addenda. Only things like lists of hiring that are friends and family should be on the consent adgenda.

    This one day for all meetings per month. Combined with the constant overuse of the consent of the adgenda is bad government. Dekalb of all places needs more openness

  3. DeKalb School Board to discuss allegations against Orson
    27 Mar 2015 OCG News Staff

    The DeKalb County Board of Education will consider at its April 1 meeting whether board member Marshall Orson violated board policy by allegedly supporting annexing a portion of DeKalb County into Atlanta.

    “Recent news reports and communications from stakeholders of the DeKalb County School District have raised important and serious allegations that Marshall Orson, a member of the Board, has violated the principles and protocols in the Board Member Handbook as well as Board policy. In accordance with established Board protocol, the DeKalb County Board of Education will consider these allegations at the next Board meeting on Wed., April 1” according to a statement by Board Chair Dr. Melvin Johnson

    State Rep. Karla Drenner has called for an investigation of Orson after reading his emails that a constituent obtained through an open records request, according to news reports. The emails reveal Orson supports annexing a portion of DeKalb County into Atlanta, which would take schools and resources out of the DeKalb School District.

    The meeting will be held at the school system’s headquarters in the Robert Freeman Administrative Center, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain.

  4. DavidS says:

    Exactly what board policy does Melvin Johnson allege that Orson has violated? Does he even know? Based on his treatment of Stan Jester, he seems to have a reading comprehension problem with board policy, as well as state law.
    From what I’ve read, including Orson’s response to the Channel 46 story, it sounds like he’s met, or communicated with, people on both sides of the annexation issue. Seems like he’s being proactive and trying to mitigate the affect that a possible annexation might have on the school system.
    Even if he were to take a position (which I don’t believe he has), board policy and state law allow that. What it doesn’t allow is expending public funds, either directly or indirectly, on a ballot issue, which is what Michael Thurmond has proposed to do to fight possible annexation.
    And I second WW’s question: Why isn’t the proposal to spend 65% of funds in the classroom on the agenda so it can be voted on? Wasn’t it Orson that proposed this last month?

  5. We are going out on a (short) limb here, to theorize that Melvin Johnson has probably fought hard against the annexation behind the scenes. Is that different? It’s like SPLOST isn’t it? It’s an issue for voters – not the school board. In fact, not the superintendent either. They should investigate the policy about that – and determine if it was against board policy for Thurmond to set aside $2.5 million taxpayer dollars to fight against some of those taxpayers. Is the board in fact, even allowed to take a stand? Much less allocate taxpayer dollars to support their opinion?

  6. momfromhe11 says:

    ^^^ Could not agree more, DSW.

  7. Wondering further >> If the school board spends $2.5 million fighting the Druid Hills district with taxpayers money paid by all of the taxpayers of DeKalb, including Druid Hills, would they be required to budget a proportionate amount of those taxpayer dollars back to Druid Hills to defend themselves? Is there a precedent for this? Lawyers? Any of you know? Thurmond is a lawyer, and he has access to several high-priced lawyers every day, so he must have checked. Just wondering…

  8. dsw2contributor says:

    Suppose a board member actually did violate board policy and the rest of the board unanimously agreed on that point — what happens to the board member who violated policy?

  9. We don’t know! This is bizarre. Guess we’ll find out Wednesday – ironically – April Fools’ Day.

  10. Dekalb Inside Out says:

    SACS has always said that board members must act in the best interests of the entire school system [not just in Fernbank’s interests]

    It’s codified in law. The very first paragraph in OCGA Article 3 Local Boards of Education talk about the standards for school board members – “Given the specialized nature and unique role of membership on a local board of education, this elected office should be characterized and treated differently from other elected offices where the primary duty is independently to represent constituent views. ”

    It’s even in DeKalb’s board of education handbook – Board members will represent the interests of the stakeholders of the entire District as well as interests of the stakeholders in the single member’s district where applicable. This accountability to the whole District supersedes any conflicting loyalty a member may have to other advocacy or interest groups;

  11. Thanks for the clarity. It’s probably no different than when the county sued Dunwoody when they were forming their own city. But you’re right – board members have to represent the entire county – not just their district. (Curious then – why elect them by district? Why not have all of them ‘at-large’?) At any rate, Marshall says he did not advocate or coach the Druid Hills “annexers”… and lest we forget, he is a lawyer too – as is a large portion of the Druid Hills community. (BTW – does the country club become part of the city of Atlanta too? I wonder if the mayor will join… )

  12. kirklunde says:

    Has anyone read the Customer Survey results attached to the District-Wide Imaging item? (8.a)

    48% of response were either Unsatisfied or Very Unsatisfied to the question “Overall, how satisfied are you with the performance and quality of the copier in your school?”

    For $1.2 million a year we should be getting something better than that.

  13. From On Common Ground News

    Operation Prom seeks donations Featured

    Prom season is just around the corner for many high school students and Operation Prom is helping not only young ladies get ready for the big night, but young men as well.

    Cheryl Miles Board launched Operation, now in its second year, to help young people who do not have the financial means to celebrate their big day.

    “We’re dedicated to helping students look their best on their special prom night. Prom is a rite of passage for all young people. We want to help make that possible, and make it a night to remember for them as well as their parents,” said Board.

    Operation Prom assists students in DeKalb, Rockdale and Newton county public schools. Students can receive a free prom dress or suit, accessories, make-up, manicures, shoes, and hairstyling.

    “We are asking for anyone interested in contributing to please contact us,” Board said. “ We are looking for donations of evening wear for young men and young women. We are also looking for individuals who can assist with hair, make-up, nails and barbering. We also welcome cash and in-kind donations to cover additional expenses for the students that will help to make this year a success.”

    To make a donation or receive prom attire, contact the Non-Profit Consortium for Operation Prom at 678-806-3951 or
    – See more at:

  14. howdy1942 says:

    What would happen if the Board did not approve the Human Resources Report?

    Also, why and what is the “Legislative Positions” being discussed in the meeting?

    Melvin Johnson needs to very very specific as to what WRITTEN policy Marshall Orson has violated and also very specifically cite the WRITTEN policy that Stan Jester has violated.

  15. There is no word as to who this HR approval is for. Gee, we have to wonder – did they hire another superintendent in secret?

  16. And for those interested in the “legislative position” the school district is proposing – check out our page of updates regarding the 2015 Georgia Legislative Session to read about relevant education issues being discussed (the page can be found under our meetings and events tab at the navigation bar at the top of the blog – or by clicking below). We post updates there as we receive them.

    2015 Legislative Session
    Lots of big issues relative to education to pay attention to this session!

  17. Jeff Bragg says:

    SchoolWatch moderators: I value your site and usually agree with your analysis. Today I want to counter your catty remark about Druid Hills– Not to defend the DH Golf Club, but to encourage you to avoid stereotypes based on misperceptions of class status. That only degrades the task we face reforming DeKalb schools. First: The Golf Club is NOT connected to the Civic Association and residents of Druid Hills who are not Club members have no special access to its facilities. For decades the Club discriminated against ethnic minorities, Jews, and LGBT people, even those who live in the neighborhood. Those policies have changed. But most of the residents of DH are NOT members, and probably could not afford it or be admitted as members. Second: Your comment about lawyers: I have a law degree but chose to be a DeKalb teacher instead. My wife is a Legal Aid lawyer. We know other lawyers in DH and I can assure you we are NOT a large portion of the DH community and not all lawyers in DH are wealthy corporate lawyers. I hope you can engage in discussions without making simplistic and biased assumptions regarding professions and class, just as you should avoid those mistakes regarding race, gender, gender identity, religion, and origin. Finally, a factual point: Part of the Golf Club is already in the Atlanta portion of Druid Hills. One of the issues leading residents of Druid Hills to consider annexation is the over 100-year division of Druid Hills. One area is inside the Atlanta city boundary (like Lake Claire, Candler Park, and Johnson Estates– all also in DeKalb County) and the rest of Druid Hills is ONLY in unincorporated DeKalb County. “Druid Hills” is an amalgam of at least nine different neighborhoods and is inhabited by a greater variety of people than outsiders assume. The school system issue is important, but not the only important issue for DH residents. Jeff Bragg

  18. @Jeff: Didn’t intend to get you riled up. That comment was sort of tongue-in-cheek — sort of. You see, along with the fact that it has nothing to do with the neighborhood association, we are fully aware of the history of the Druid Hills Country Club – thus the ridiculous wondering if the mayor of Atlanta will join. (What is the percentage of African-American members – not staff – there btw? Have you been there lately? It’s definitely very ‘old south’.)

    And yes, of course we know that not all who live in Druid Hills are attorneys – but certainly there are quite a few. Marshall Orson being one. We just found it ironic that Michael Thurmond would pick a legal fight with a board member who is also an attorney – and then stack his own deck with highly-compensated taxpayer-funded attorneys. There goes his promise to spend less on legal fees!!

    Sorry we weren’t successful with our attempt at satire – we really did fully intend to over-simplify – if only to illustrate the absurdity of the legal troubles we are about to dive into regarding this annexation.

  19. Good to see the speaker slots have filled!

    1. Kim Gokce
    2. Mpaza Kapembwa
    3. Tim DeBardelaben
    4. Linda Carthan
    5. Yehimi Cambron
    6. Staci Melton
    7. Dawn Forman
    8. Allyson Gevertz
    9. Dianne Medlock Joy
    10. Mary Dabbs
    11. Jeff Hannah
    12. Lula Hash
    13. Omer Shekay
    14. Michelin Salama
    15. Yashwat Belsare
    16. Majak Ibraham
    17. Madina Hussein
    18. Najah Al Khedery
    19. Chris Beck
    20. Susan-Anne MacKenna

  20. From Stan Jester’s Fact Checker blog post >>

    FY2016 Budget Priorities

    Wednesday April 1 will be the first Public Budget Input Hearing. The Business Meeting will follow the budget hearing where the board will eventually discuss our Fy2016 Budget Priorities.

    Q: What do you feel should be the board’s budget priorities?

    Here are the board’s FY2015 Budget Priorities:

    John Coleman

    eliminate furlough days
    address class size
    expand our fund balance
    reduce costs on what's not needed in the budget

    Marshall Orson

    eliminate furlough days
    enhance pay and benefits including retirement benefits
    honest conversation about class sizes
    IB program; not fully funded; expand program to high school
    need nurses in middle and high schools
    expand use of Margaret Harris to other school districts
    market services to other districts to create revenue

    Thad Mayfield

    align the budget discussion with the current strategic plan
    budget process: what is base for each division; what are the programmatic requirements
    access the efficacy of the programs and ability to get to the target goal areas
    evaluate our processes; work flow
    what are the financial constraints; look at quarterly reports on dollars spent vs. performance of dollars spent

    Joyce Morley

    eliminate furlough days
    more funding for parent engagement, conferences, and workshops
    review the counselor position; counselor salary; role of the counselor

    Karen Carter

    eliminate furlough days
    grow the fund balance
    address teacher morale; financial incentive for staying with us through tough times
    enough counselors in place all the time; quality counselors in all buildings
    nurses in all schools

    Michael Erwin

    eliminate furlough days
    review number of counselors in schools
    look at security in the schools
    building maintenance (i.e. paint)
    increase fund balance
    reduce our legal fees

    David Campbell

    eliminate furlough days
    financial incentive of 1 to 2% merit raise
    school repairs (i.e. track fields)
    skill development (professional development)

    Jim McMaHan

    stipends for teachers
    reduce class size
    address security (return canine dogs)
    budget process (i.e. chart of accounts); transparency and clarity in division budgets; alignment of consolidated financials

    Melvin Johnson (Summary Statements)

    eliminate furlough days and direct funds to staff
    build the fund balance to sustain the system
    direct funds to the classroom for student achievement
  21. decaturmax says:

    I realize times have changed, but one would have to see the irony in the idea of Mayor Reed joining a club that reluctantly started considering Jews and African Americans for membership ….way… way ….way back around 1990.

  22. And in reality, as much as the residents like to challenge the idea that the area is ‘wealthy’, in fact it is promoted as such by local realtors. By our standards, $350,000 for a small ranch is pretty steep. And in truth, this loss to DeKalb will cost the school district a bundle in property taxes. But, the school district leadership is to blame. The law provides for this kind of process and it should not be impeded. The cluster did in good faith, attempt to form a charter cluster – also allowed by law – and Michael Thurmond would not give them the time of day. In hindsight, this ugly chapter will lead back to Thurmond’s leadership mistakes.

    Welcome to the Druid Hills neighborhood real estate website! Here you’ll find valuable information about the Druid Hills area, as well as extensive home search capabilities.

    One of the most popular historic districts in Atlanta, the Druid Hills neighborhood is also one of the most affluent. The estates that were constructed in the early 1900s are among the finest examples of period architecture in the Metro Atlanta area. Home values range from $350,000 for a 1950s ranch style home to more than $3.5 million for a luxury estate near the Druid Hills Golf Club.

    If you enjoy tree lined, winding streets, parks, an active neighborhood association and easy access to Downtown Atlanta, Emory University and the interstate, Druid Hills may be the ideal neighborhood for you and your family. The public school system is excellent, with Fernbank Elementary and Druid Hills High School as well as the highly acclaimed private schools, Paideia and The Howard School.

  23. Again, the one thing we endorse is moving the planetarium and the science program within it to Arabia Mt high school (as originally planned by Crawford Lewis). The school is a math/science magnet, has plenty of space for another building and parking for visitors and school buses, and is near the wonderful Arabia National Heritage Area – which has open, expansive skies and lots of opportunities for outdoor learning.

  24. Concerned Dekalb Mom says:

    Moving the SST program to Arabia Mountain would all but eliminate any north DeKalb student from participating, IMO.

  25. There is bus service to the STT program. It’s always been door to door. Plus, there are buses that take students there for their occasional field trips. It’s a hike, but in reality, once you’re on the bus, you just ride there. The STT program is only for one semester, if it continues.

    In reality, having the City of Atlanta own the planetarium would all but eliminate all of the programs for everyone in DeKalb.

  26. Jeff Bragg says:

    Schoolwatch: Thanks for the clarification regarding your remarks. I feel a little defensive, as Druid Hills is regularly baited by the corrupt and incompetent “leaders” who have driven our school system and county government into a swamp. A majority of Druid Hills strongly supports public education. We usually vote Democratic by a 2-1 majority and we have a high turnout to the polls.
    The self-serving misleaders use us as the bogeyman, the supposedly conservative rich whites.
    Now, on the topic of the Science Center. First, as I have not been involved in the TIA meetings, I am not privy to private conversations about the Science Center in relationship to annexation. But I have discussed the law and precedents relating to the transfer of school system assets to an annexing city with an existing school system. I also attended an APS meeting at Inman MS with new Supt. Carstarphen discussing this issue. It is not clear that APS would even get the three schools TIA lists (Fernbank, Briar Vista, and DHHS). Beyond that, it seems very unlikely that the Science Center would change ownership. It has a county-wide “attendance zone” and is not even a traditional school. Finally, the idea of moving the current facility. Note first that the planetarium is an indoor instrument for the display of simulated skies and videos. The observatory is the dome and telescope for astronomical viewing. Moving the planetarium would be cheaper than moving the observatory. As for Arabia Mtn HS. A small group of Sierra Club activists toured the school last year. We were impressed with the facility, staff and students. However, we also were told the impressive 12-panel solar installation in the front of the school had never been wired to the school, not even to a classroom for science instruction. It was wasted, just a “sculpture” that illustrates the continuing incompetence of the DeKalb school system administration. Consider the possibility that DeKalb could retain ownership of the FSC even if Druid Hills annexes into Atlanta. But continue to practice aggressive “due diligence” and always look for the inside reality. Jeff Bragg

  27. kirklunde says:

    I spoke with Dr. Brantley this morning regarding the copiers in the schools. He stated the district had anticipated a level of service (number of copies per month) that is about 1/4 of what is actually being seen.

    He stated his concern that anyone can walk into a school and copy a book. To solve that “problem” all teachers are going to be given a code so the district can track who is making the copies. I laughed at him. Then, I apologized. I related my experiences as an employee and explained how only kindergarten gets disposable workbooks anymore. Almost all student work in DeKalb County is done on worksheets that teachers have to have photocopied. That won’t change until students get access to computers in their classrooms and teachers are trained in how to assign and record work online.

    I used my friend who teaches high school in DeKalb as an example. She teaches six periods a day with 40 to 47 students in each class. If she makes just two worksheets and a quiz in a week, that is 750 copies.

    Dr. Brantley has a plan to replace the copiers over the next school year with copiers designed to handle the workload. He is writing an RFP for the next copiers.

  28. “However, we also were told the impressive 12-panel solar installation in the front of the school had never been wired to the school, not even to a classroom for science instruction. It was wasted, just a “sculpture” that illustrates the continuing incompetence of the DeKalb school system administration.”

    Oh. Em. Gee! Are you kidding?

    Actually, it makes sense that the school district could possibly retain the property as is – as if it’s a privately owned property. We wonder though, if then DeKalb schools would end up paying property taxes to Atlanta? We’re not lawyers and it’s complicated. But fighting it with taxpayer dollars is a waste. The law allows for annexation and if we had a more mature leader who could sit down and discuss and debate issues, perhaps agreements could be worked out. Although we have complained about the high costs associated with it, we would really hate to lose the science center completely.

    An aside: We do find it VERY interesting that Marshall Orson is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta – not Leadership DeKalb.

    In fact, additionally, according to his online bio Marshall served on the following>>

    • The board of directors of APPLE Corps (Atlanta’s original local education fund) from 1986 to 2003 (including six years as chair or vice-chair). He subsequently served on the board of the Atlanta Committee for Public Education and was a member of the founding committee of Great Schools Atlanta.

    • Leadership Atlanta’s Education Impact Team which he co-chaired in 2007 and 2008, and the 2010 Education Summit committee.

  29. nannerpuddin39 says:

    Hearing many reports of 12 to 15 experienced longtime teachers leaving one school. There is going to be quite the shortage this fall. Oh well, Thurmund isn’t concerned! One school interviewed for para position……nine African American-one Causian interviewed! Just saying….

  30. Watching the community input speakers. There is a group of parents of international students concerned about the International School. They say it’s over crowded (700 students in what was the old Kittredge building on Druid Hills Rd). They also wish it was in Clarkston, which is where most of them live. They all work menial jobs and can’t volunteer much but could be more involved if the school was closer to home.

    Impressive how many of them came out tonight to speak their minds. They were humble, calm and gracious. Most did not speak Engligh and used an interpreter. We are happy to see them participating in the American process and speaking up about their needs and wishes.

  31. Fast forwarding to a district 2 parent, Chris Beck. He is asking for Marshall Orson’s resignation. Says he asked Marshall about his input on the annexation subject and was told it was a municipal issue, and the schools don’t have a voice. But then he said Marshall attended meetings and supported annexing to Atlanta. He even laid out a plan for the other zones in the Druid Hills cluster to follow suit. Says he’s violated 4 board policies.

  32. Susan-Anne MacKenna – points out that the board has 7 schools in a district that want out so badly they are considering leaving and annexing to Atlanta. Encourages the board to meet with their communities and find out what people want.

  33. September says:

    Kirklunde, thanks for speaking up. I agree. Teachers do a huge amount of copying. We need textbooks and workbooks. Not only is it super expensive to make the copies, it costs us in lost time. People come in early to use the copier. People stay late to copy. Teachers send class sets of printing through school system printers. They are desperate to have something to use with their classes. Then there is planning time. Where do you find the pages you copy? Do you make your own? That is teacher time.

  34. Are public comments just now starting?

  35. So, Nancy Jester gave the Inspiration. She was talking about the need for improvement, recognizing that progress has been made, but pointing out that DeKalb is last in the CCRPI scores. We are making progress, but at a slower rate than other systems. She said we have to think about how we are going to handle the 23 schools being considered by the governor for his Opportunity District. And then, she said something about the importance of the school district to the overall health of the county and that made Melvin Johnson tell her she needed to “move on”. [Maybe he just thought she was taking too much time?] Nancy said she didn’t think she had a time limit, but then Melvin cut her off and started reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. They cut off her microphone at that point and wasn’t allowed to speak further. The meeting continues…

  36. FYI, they are speaking about unincorporated Clarkston. Just want to clarify so that everyone understands that this community of residents who do not speak English are people who live in areas not claimed by any of the proposed new cities. So, if they think things are crowded now…. wait till they find out that they must all attend school in the area where they live.

  37. Michael Thurmond is saying that he has been in on-going discussions with the Gov about the “Opportunity District” — but Thurmond says that Growth is the Essence of Achievement and we are making improvement. And 23 of the 25 proposed schools for the OD have seen significant ‘growth’ in achievement. He will update later.

  38. Cell: The International School is currently housed in the former Kittredge Elementary near Adams Stadium on Druid Hills Rd. The parents of the international students are requesting a new location in or near Clarkston, where most of them live.

  39. Panthersville Stadium will now be called The William “Buck” Godfrey Stadium. (Standing O)

  40. Thurmond says we had less than $100,000 in our reserves in 2012. In 2013, we were expecting a $24 million deficit, but instead ended up with a fund balance of (?) million. We now project a $51 million fund balance for FY16.

    Common themes: Eliminate teacher furlough days. Grow fund balance. Give all employees a cost of living raise for the first time in over 7 years. We did all of it. We are listening. We are looking to develop a fiscally responsible budget that supports our teachers and our students.

    Announcement: We will propose cost of living adjustments of 2, 3 and 4% of for all teachers and employees. 4% for highly qualified experienced teachers. Unforced errors were made. Had to make difficult choices: eliminating step increases; furlough days. Our teachers had as many as 6 furlough days 3 years ago. Today we have none. We restored all calendar days as well as 1% raise for all. Recommend an even greater investment – our teachers. Rec a 4% cost of living adjustment for teachers with over 6 years – 3% for teachers 0-5 years. 2% for employees who support teaching and learning. We need to compensate our veteran teachers. Have to remain competitive for hiring. But staff is important as well – bus drivers get students to class. Food staff prepares nutritious meals. Secretaries, custodians, etc. 65% investment is recommended. Invest nearly $20 million in salary and investment for teachers. Does not solve problem but represents a major down-payment. Shows our appreciation for those who stuck with us in hard times.

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