Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DeKalb Parents GrassRoots Effort

DCSS Superintendent finalist announced. Now what?

This past Friday, August 11 at 11:00 p.m., the DeKalb County School System (DCSS) issued a press release announcing one finalist for the superintendent position.  The vote by the DeKalb Board of Education to hire Cheryl Atkinson who is presently superintendent of the Lorain, Ohio City Schools will take place as early as Friday, August 25.

Facts, figures, and some background information on Cheryl Atkinson and the Lorain City Schools can be found here on this blog post.

A quick comparison of the basic numbers of the Lorain City Schools and DCSS can be found here.

Positions of two Board of Education members on this candidate can be found here.

The WSB-TV report from Saturday, August 12 can be viewed here.

Mobilization Alert
Based on yesterday's poll, there is an overwhelming desire among parents and other residents to oppose the hiring of Cheryl Atkinson as superintendent.  The detailed poll results will be announced soon.

Regardless of how you completed the questions in yesterday's poll, if you want to be actively involved in organizing or participating to take this message to the streets and to the Dekalb Board of Education,
you must complete this form ASAP.  In addition to some more outgoing approaches, there are opportunities for behind the scenes work and participating anonymously.

“Your [DeKalb County School] system is perfectly designed to give you the results that you get.” — W. Edwards Deming1 [with edits]
In other words, if you believe DCSS is giving DeKalb children the best possible education, sit back and enjoy life.

How Everyone Can Help
This organization was founded to be an ongoing voice for the children of DeKalb County.  You should continue to encourage parents and other residents to connect with us by completing the still in progress DeKalb County School System approval rating poll which is approaching 500 responses.  As we grow, so does our ability to communicate more effectively and efficiently our message that we will no longer accept anything less than the best educational opportunities for the children of DeKalb County.

Here's one school that posted the message to their web site. Has yours? And why not?  Follow its lead.  Get something going.  There's not one parent at your school or in all of DeKalb who shouldn't be on our contact list. The importance of growing our reach to ALL OF DEKALB cannot be stressed enough. Let's build bridges, not walls.

Do your part now!
Tell everyone you know who cares about the education of DeKalb's children to go to ParentsForDeKalbSchools.org
Parents for DeKalb County Schools
http://www.ParentsForDeKalbSchools.org (see our updated description and mission)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dunwoody Inks Deal For More Land

Dunwoody REIT The City of Dunwoody has announced another round of land purchases.  The four tracts total nearly 24 acres and are situated off North Shallowford.  For those of you not familiar with Dunwoody street names, here's some help imaging where this land is located.

Imagine you are sitting in a booth at Mellow Mushroom, eating a slice or two of fresh cheese pizza (made with spring water dough) and downing an ice-cold glass of Hoegaarden beer.  You get your designated driver to take you on a quick spin.  Exit Mellow Mushroom and go left (south) toward Dunkin' Donuts (nearly time for those pumpkin muffins).  Keep going down Chamblee Dunwoody Road Main Street with donuts and the BP on your right / library approaching on your left.  For some insane reason the road will change names in a mile or so to North Shallowford.  You approach Peeler Road to your left.  Soon you will see, on your right, the former home to Anytime Fitness.  On your left is a  wonderful Thai restaurant. You found it!  Just past this retail strip you'll see the home of a future Dunwoody park perhaps.  Or, maybe home to the North Metro Senior Baseball League.
Yellow area is the city's earlier purchase of 16 acres.  Purple areas new areas under contract.
official map of land 

Not all this land will be used for parks.  One parcel is part of a bigger plan for a new road.
possible route of extension of Peachford Road

I don't eat much Thai food so this area of town is not in my normal flight plans, so I have no comment on the validity of extending this road.  The first question would be, For whom are we extending this road? (now that school is back in session remind your kids that 'whom' is an object pronoun and 'who' is a subject pronoun.  'We is the subject of the sentence, so use 'whom'.) If people educated on roads and traffic patterns feel extending this road is a good idea, then I defer to their professional opinion.

Looks like the five acre tract on the west side of N Shallowford Road is a done deal. The other 19 acres are contingent upon a land acquisition bond earning greater than 50% of voters in November.  For the land acquisition bond to pass, people need to see what council has in mind for all that money.  This is perhaps the first of a series of land teasers leading up to November.

Two ways to look at this park land agreement of 19 acres:

1.  The current council is not satisfied with spending current budget funds - they want to spend money not even in their sights.  Perhaps some on current council feel the next council (we will have a new mayor, and up to three new council members next year) would act differently if the land bond passes, so they want to lock up at least $5 million of the money now, not allowing future councils to have a say in how it is spent. Maybe current council will announce more land deals in the next 90 or so days, spending $30 million before a vote takes place.

2.  The current council is doing the next council (and the residents of Dunwoody) a good deed by locking up some land now, before developers regain their footing.  The current council is gulping up any land available in chunks of 14+ acres ahead of a possible SPLOST.  In November, all of DeKalb will vote to renew a $.01 sales tax.  If SPLOST passes, DeKalb Schools may look for 14+ acres of land in Dunwoody for a new school to replace Austin.  There is a chance Austin stays where it is now (acquiring a few homes to increase its footprint).  If SPLOST fails, no new Austin for Dunwoody.

If SPLOST passes and the Parks Land bond passes (and Dunwoody has all the big chunks of land under contract) look for DeKalb Schools to try and work out a land swap or maybe buy a parcel. But any purchased with bond money has to be a park of sorts, not a school.

Let's get back on track here (although future school sites are an important piece to this real estate puzzle).  Maybe council is doing a great job by making deals now.  There are motivated sellers out there, and Dunwoody taxpayers may agree to give council the green light (and millions of dollars) on acquiring lands for parks. The big chunk of land mentioned in this deal is zoned office/industrial so no threat of apartments, but it is a piece DeKalb Schools would scoop up should our bond fail and the SPLOST passes.

Leave no doubt, if the parks land bond passes, much of the money will be spent.  Current council is putting a few deals in place now, saving the future council some work?