Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Three People to Control $1.2 Billion in DeKalb?

UPDATE:  DeKalb Sub-Committee Approves 5-Member School Board Map

Read about it HERE at CrossroadsNews.  Although not on many people's radar this week, this is a huge issue.  We can create wonderful cities all day long and save a few hundred bucks a year on taxes, but in the end it is the quality of SCHOOLS and the LOCAL SCHOOL SYSTEM that determines your home value, not the name of your city. 

Nearly a year ago some folks in DeKalb were discussing an idea to reduce the number of school board members from 9 to 7 was a great idea.  I disagreed in a column here.  I was not the only one concerned of unforeseen consequences. Our local school board representative Nancy Jester also opposed the reduction of the school board.

Well-intended legislation was passed, requiring the school board in DeKalb to be reduced from its current size of 9 members.  The unwritten intent of this legislation was to force out at least one, perhaps two, school board members whom many people consider not concerned about the children of DeKalb, but more concerned with getting a paycheck, providing friends and family with jobs, and injecting their personal politics into our school system.

Aesop's Fable: The Fox and the Stork
The Fox one day thought of a plan to amuse himself at the expense of the Stork, at whose odd appearance he was always laughing.
"You must come and dine with me today," he said to the Stork, smiling to himself at the trick he was going to play. The Stork gladly accepted the invitation and arrived in good time and with a very good appetite.
For dinner the Fox served soup. But it was set out in a very shallow dish, and all the Stork could do was to wet the very tip of his bill. Not a drop of soup could he get. But the Fox lapped it up easily, and, to increase the disappointment of the Stork, made a great show of enjoyment.
The hungry Stork was much displeased at the trick, but he was a calm, even-tempered fellow and saw no good in flying into a rage. Instead, not long afterward, he invited the Fox to dine with him in turn. The Fox arrived promptly at the time that had been set, and the Stork served a fish dinner that had a very appetizing smell. But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow neck. The Stork could easily get at the food with his long bill, but all the Fox could do was to lick the outside of the jar, and sniff at the delicious odor. And when the Fox lost his temper, the Stork said calmly:
Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself.

Fast forward ten months from when the legislation passed to reduce the school board.  It is time to draw new districts for school board members (every ten years), and in conjunction, the number of districts is being reduced from nine to not seven, but possibly only five members. And guess what - those school board members some were so anxious to replace - THEY are drawing the map!

What's wrong with five spots on the board?  If we had a completely comprehensive school board, nothing would be wrong with five board members.  But that's not the hand dealt to DeKalb students and parents.  One big concern is three of five members of a new school board could vote out the new superintendent - a superintendent who appears to be doing what many in DeKalb want her to do; clean house. Here's an editorial from a person in DeKalb, complaining that the new superintendent is doing a great  poor job so far - of ridding the school system of the friends and family program.  Many on the current school board now want to get rid of our new superintendent because it seems they can't control and manipulate her.  These board members want to keep things as they are now.  I don't know all that new superintendent Atkinson is doing, but I do know that if Steen Miles disagrees with the super's actions, then I most likely agree.

from The Champion News (Jan 27, 2012 e-edition)

Here's a proposed map of a five-member school board:
Fernbank and Druid Hills parents rejoicing over new representative Sarah?
NOTE: The white section of map on western edge is Decatur City Schools, not part of DeKalb School System

The two images above propose not seven but five (5) board members.  The idea of a three people (a majority) having control over $1 BILLION and 100,000 students is very scary.  I sure wish the State legislators could save us from this mess by reducing the size of school systems and/or allowing all cities to create their own districts. 

Here is a proposal created by the school board a few months ago:

So what should a DeKalb resident do if they are opposed to a five member board?  Email the following people.  Those of you in Dunwoody need to get in touch with Tom Taylor and Fran, and those of you in the City of Ashford need to contact Mike Jacobs.

Word is another map is in the works.  I'll keep you posted on any new maps as they are created.
Soon $1 BILLION and 100,000 students will be in the hands of Jay Cunningham, Gene Walker, and Sarah Copelin Woods. These three will quickly rid themselves of Superintendent Atkinson if she does not do as Steen Miles suggests and "take the time to learn the culture of the school system".  Steen, many of us know the culture of the school system - and it continues to fail the children and taxpayers of DeKalb.
What can the current school board do for the remaining of 2012 (the changes are not in place until Jan 2013)? It depends on how the ousted Board members feel about being drawn out of office.  The four ousted can join with one remaining member and re-write the Superintendent's contract, making it not possible for here to be fired (for three years) unless she commits a crime.  This will allow her to continue to do some house cleaning by hiring new department heads.

If this five-person map is approved, look for lots of action between now and December.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

1 comment:

Nancy Jester said...

Please read my latest message about redistricting: