Defer The Vote – General Public Consensus

Stan Jester
Stan Jester
DeKalb County
Board Of Education

70% of the participants of an online survey selected Option A until school councils started sending out school newsletters asking the community go to “an online survey and select Option B”.
The Board of Education has received numerous emails. This particular email is indicative of the emails I’m receiving now.

From: Tom
To: DeKalb Schools Board of Education
We are now sure that we made the wrong choice when we followed recommendations to vote for option B on the plan choices
We all want to build a strong school system for our children and community for our families and must consider all the factors in planning for that. Option B, which enlarges Dunwoody High School and Peachtree Charter Middle School would be a logistical nightmare from many perspectives, including staffing, construction, traffic, parking, etc.
The option (A) to build a new high school in an appropriate area and eliminate the overcrowding in our current schools makes so much more sense.
We feel that our area initially showed a preference for Option B because we wanted to keep all of the students together. However, further study reveals that is really not fair to any of the students. Therefore, we implore that Option A be selected or we request that the “final” vote be delayed until the various school councils have an opportunity for further input, just as the council from Austin has recently done.
Thank you for your consideration.

141 responses to “Defer The Vote – General Public Consensus

  1. I personally am okay with deferring the vote, but I feel that there needs to be a scheduled plan for the extra time. We know that no land acquisition will take place (b/c they can’t purchase land until the School Board votes for a plan) – so what exactly is the expectation during the deferral time? If it is just more time to oppose the plan, then I don’t think it is necessary or helpful. However, if there are specifics that should be done during that time, then I think a deferral could have merit. I just haven’t seen anything yet that says what should be done with the extra time (maybe I missed it).

  2. Two things: The only way to defer this would have been to vote “No” on the SPLOST V referendum. Once you vote something into law, you are stuck with it, so think more carefully about what you are voting for. And two, there is No Way that this ‘vote’ on a survey should be or could be how decisions are actually made at DCSD. Please, tell me it’s not how these people actually do business. If it is, they all need to be fired and replaced with people who are competent and have the confidence to plan and do what is right for the entire system – not just for the squeaky wheels who stuff a survey box.

  3. Jamie Matlock

    I picked option “B” before the schools started pushing it. I am truly moved by the one example put up. I bet we could even find “One” for the other option.

  4. Yeah, every now and then we get an email for the other option. Here is one from Rebekah

    We need incremental improvements in our district, and the current SPLOST V list does just that. We need to build NOW and we need to vote NOW. The current SPLOST list reflects the type of planning that, I believe, is beneficial for a district that has known fluctuating population numbers.
    Building a new 2500+ (maybe 3000?) seat high school to replace the current Cross Keys HS is the best solution at this point. In other high-functioning districts, additions (like the ones proposed at Chamblee, Dunwoody, Lakeside, and Clarkston) are commonplace and used to respond to these fluctuations in enrollment.
    If, in the next 5 years, we need to add additional school capacity (eg. a new high school) we most certainly can do that. However, now is the time to vote for the current SPLOST V list.

  5. Rebekah is so irritating. It’s her way at all costs. Why sink $80 million into inadequate additions at 3 schools when we know we are going to need a new Doraville school in a few years? She clearly is not concerned about wasting tax payers money. I for one will be livid if we spend $80 million on additions now and then another $85 million plus to build a new Doraville. School in few years when we can just spend a little more now and not have to come back to the well later. Her “let’s waste millions and millions of dollars just so that she can get what’s she wants now” position is irresponsible and it scares me that she is educating our youth. My children will never go to a school where she teaches that’s for sure.

  6. Dekalb Inside Out

    Rebekah is in Cross Keys and believes that is what her community wants. Fine. Building a 2,500 – 3,000 seat school from the ground up like Gwinnett does may not be a bad idea if everything from the get go is built to accommodate 3,00o students.
    Rebekah … what about Dunwoody HS and Chamblee? Their schools were never designed to accommodate that many students and furthermore … they don’t want to move forward with the current plan. Why would you force this on either of them? Selfish!!

  7. Dear Dr. Green, Members of the Board and Mr. Drake,
    I am opposed to the addition at Lakeside. I have participated in the Lakeside Summit Cluster meetings since the end of August (and during last school year). There is not consensus among the attendees of the summit cluster – this should concern you. The fact that you have received no statement from the Lakeside School Council should concern you. It concerns me that the legally recognized recommending and advising body for Lakeside has been collectively silent. Hopefully you are asking yourself why. Having talked individually to some of the members, I believe it is because they, too, do not have consensus.
    With such a divide, it would be prudent to delay your vote this evening. During that time, among other action items stated in my previous email, I would encourage you to reach out to the Lakeside School Council to inquire about their silence. It is, after all, a significant decision that will impact their staff and students. The cluster was asked to collectively make a recommendation – no group of elementary parents is going to sit in a room with another group of elementary parents and tell each other someone has to leave the cluster – consequently, all the clusters said they wanted to stay together. Surprise! At some point, it is the job of the administration and BOE to make the best academically sound, fiscally responsible business decision for the long term well-being of the entire district.

  8. A large high school built with the intention of being a large high school on an appropriately sized lot is reasonable and best practices can be employed. However, Ms. Cohen is out of line to tell Lakeside, Chamblee, Dunwoody and Clarkston what will or won’t work on those campuses. She hasn’t worked within their walls to know the current constraints or experienced their traffic issues. She is welcome to fight for her area but she should not impose inferior conditions on other high schools. Many believe the proposed additions will leave these communities worse off than they currently are.

  9. Do any CCHS or DHS parents worry that all of this opposition to any building plan will just delay overcrowding for their communities, moving forward. I see very little opposition to the LHS addition, or the other additions and proposed new CKHS and middle-school retrofit – at least in the posted school council letters. Is it possible to work out the details needed for “suitable” building additions at CCHS or DHS through Q&A and engagement during the design and construction phase of the project? Do you not have any trust that your input will be considered, moving forward? My concern for your communities, having a 4th grader at KMS and a 7th grader at CMS is that all other projects will begin moving forward, and because of this push for a delay or “NO” vote, it will be 2022 and you will still be waiting on your perfect additions, similar to how Pleasandale Elementary is still waiting on the construction of their new ES promised in SPLOST IV.

  10. Hello Mark. Good questions.
    Lakeside – My perception reflects B.A.’s post. They don’t want 2,500 students but the don’t want to kick anybody out of the cluster. The LHS school council as a body can’t come to a consensus on what the best way forward is for them.
    Delaying the fix – “No more band aids” is a common thread from public input. I’m for fixing this “Right” and not just “Right Now”. This is a 5 year project list and $500+ million we’re talking about. I think pushing back Category 2 a few months to get it right is acceptable.
    Why not move forward and tweak DHS/CCHS as needed – The tweaks are not cost neutral. DHS is expecting a more renovations than was detailed in the conceptual design. CCHS would prefer a different solution than the building additions. I’m not sure what DHS would say if all they get is what is in the conceptual plans.

  11. Scott Gillispie

    Mark – I know of two current CCHS parents who will be speaking in favor of moving ahead at tonight’s meeting. Opposition in the Chamblee cluster nowhere near as prevalent as Stan would have it appear; just very noisy.
    As far as I can tell, there is no one from Dunwoody signed up to make public comments tonight.

  12. Scott,
    It’s challenging to gauge public perception. The Cross Keys cluster has been the most challenging. At the public meetings at Cross Keys High School, most everybody votes for Option A. However, Rebekah Morris and Kim Gokce prefer option B.
    Chamblee Cluster – Chamblee Charter High School, Chamblee Middle School, Montgomery and Kittredge school councils oppose the current plan. Ashford Park and Huntley Hills would like to move forward with this plan.
    Sorry Scott, It is what it is … I don’t know what else to tell you about public support in the Chamblee cluster.

  13. Cere is exactly right. When are the people of DeKalb Co. going to stop sending money to people who waste it, lie to them, and not achieve improving standards in the school system?
    If Orson and MacMahan do not vote to defer they will be voting to lose their jobs. MO may not care because he will probably be in Atlanta in the next two years. Unfortunately MacMahan has turned out to be a weak and ineffective board member. He should be leading the charge to defer this vote in defense of Lakeside, Oak Grove, and Sagamore.
    His go along to get along attitude is pitiful.

  14. Huntley Hills is not everything

    News flash Scott – HH is not the only school in the CCHS cluster. You are the weak link in the cluster however.

  15. chamblee getting screwed

    Mark – Community meetings! Great idea! Of course there was one scheduled that the cowardly school board backed out of. Pathetic.

  16. Scott Gillispie

    Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ad hominem attack on a school before!
    I don’t really need to defend The First STEM-Certified School in the Chamblee Cluster ™, but some rhetorical advice – once you move to ad hominem attacks, it’s an admission that you have no logical arguments left.
    Be nice; we’re all going to have to work together to get the design on the school expansions right.

  17. Defeatedparent

    Scott – Are you just worried that Huntley Hills is going to be redistricted to the new Doraville High once Option B is deferred and ultimately replaced with a version of Option A ? Don’t worry, you’ll be fine at Chamblee. After all, I think Huntley Hills is in the city of Chamblee. Don’t see how they would make you go to Doraville. That doesn’t make sense when Chamblee High is in your backyard.
    I am pro Option A, but I don’t like the ugliness that has ensued on BOTH sides. Option B people are just as bad (actually they are worse) than Option A supporters. Option A supporters are in the right here. They don’t need to go down that path. Option B supporters really don’t have much of an argument to stand on, so that is why we are getting the “racists” rhetoric coming out from Option B supporters.
    I’d like to congratulate Kim Gokce and Rebekah Morris and Dan Drake and Josh Williams and Steve Green for doing a helluva job in dividing our community to make their vision a reality. Nicely done folks! Yet another reason why local city school boards are needed AND why vouchers are needed. We need to hold the county accountable. Only until they see the funds dry up will they be accountable. Let the $$ travel with the student.
    And Scott, I’m a realist and know very well that Dekalb County School rarely does the right thing. That is why, despite the fight from 3 out of the 4 high schools being impacted, that the vote will not be delayed and we will move forward with Option B. When that happens, I don’t see people coming together and singing and holding hands. If anything, this passing will do a few things. First, those that can afford it in Chamblee and Lakeside and Dunwoody will get the hell out. They will either move to a school system in a better county or go private. Second, cities will have that much more momentum to try and lobby the GA legislature to create city school systems vs. the bureaucratic crooked mess that is DCS. Third, the best teachers in our district will leave for a) more pay (because the pay sucks in Dekalb) and b) because they don’t want to deal with 2500 – 3000 seat monstrosities that are a bitch to get into with traffic and a 600-800 more students than their property can handle and the discipline issues that come with additional students. Fourth, any national or state ratings will soon exclude any Dekalb High School because we’ve let a bunch of bureaucrats, community organizers, and rogue teachers do a half-ass job at social engineering and now are left with a bunch of C level high schools that will ultimately be half filled because of my first point.
    You see Scott, I’m sure like Gokce, you’re a good liberal and believe that all this social/government engineering will benefit society and our kids here in Dekalb county. You have this utopian vision of a wonderful school system where all are learning and engaged and every school has 52.4% black, 29% hispanic, 17% white, and 6% other races. Every school will be title 1 because every school will have the same amount of free lunch recipients. More money for the county! It will be a perfect society. And Dekalb County Schools will wield the ultimate power and will determine who gets to go to what schools and ensure that all schools are as similar as they can possibly be. Government intervention at its best! Of course, what you all fail to realize are the classic unintended consequences from these actions as I’ve spelled forth.
    So, celebrate tonight after this is passed. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Where is Gokce setting up? Buy him a beer. Toast to a great society here in Dekalb County Schools.
    Meanwhile, I, and many like me, will be filling out private school applications or calling my realtor to see how much my house is worth.

  18. @defeatedparent, I’m a good liberal, and I still oppose these stupid additions. Anyone who looks at this plan can see that it is a disaster in the making. Tens of millions of dollars to jam hundreds of extra kids onto properties that are already too small for their current population and for what? A handful of extra seats at the end of 5 years. Overcrowded schools are a nightmare on a daily basis. Crowded hallways with 5 minutes between classes, not enough lockers, can’t fit everyone into one common space for an event, lunches starting at breakfast time, lunches lasting 20 minutes, parking and traffic issues, support staff offices only built to handle so many staff, scheduling nightmares when overcrowded electives push the limits.
    DCSD decided they needed to bow down to CKHS and, in the process, forgot that communities actually talk to each other and their little plan to pit schools against each other and make back room promises was exposed. They don’t want to get burned like they did with south DeKalb building, but this is nothing like that. The schools are already full instead of the south DeKalb situation where they were half full and building only on projections.
    They need to go back to the drawing board and get a new plan that takes everyone impacted into consideration, not just CKHS.
    Does this teach everyone to never vote for a SPLOST with an undefined list again? I voted NO because the last SPLOST had vague “transportation” dollars going to new cars for administrators instead of school buses. I knew an even more vague list would be trouble. Fool me once…

  19. Bill Armstrong

    Huntley Hills is not everything
    “News flash Scott – HH is not the only school in the CCHS cluster. You are the weak link in the cluster however.”
    Wow. Let that statement bounce around in the heads of those on this site who want to disagree with the position anyone from Huntley Hills expresses. I can only hope you are alone in thinking that way about a whole school of children. I think enough of people to think I am right on that. I can’t imagine anyone else here expressing such a sentiment, or agreeing that you speak for them. Those are people’s children. That is my child. Those are their teachers, her teacher. Those children are not the “weakest link” anywhere.

  20. Paula Caldarella

    “News flash Scott – HH is not the only school in the CCHS cluster. You are the weak link in the cluster however.”
    As an HH alum, wow what an absolutely despicable comment. How much more of a “swamp” do you want to host here Stan?

  21. Paula, the board meeting is going on so I doubt Mr. Jester is reading comments. What’s wrong with free speech anyway? People say a lot of things I think are silly or wrong. Sometimes people are mean and rude. So what? I’ll put up with that any day rather than having someone prevent or edit speech.

  22. Scott Gillispie

    I think that’s an ‘appeal to consequences’…maybe someone from the Sequoyah MS debating team can verify.
    And when I start getting referred to as a liberal, something is dreadfully wrong with the political spectrum. Maybe ‘liberal’ in a Gladstonian sense…
    I have no fear of being redistricted, because, first, it would be dumb to move HH from Chamblee HS, and secondly, the best school(s) in North DeKalb will always be the one(s) where my wife is taking care of the staff.
    When we started on this six months ago, I was in the Option A camp – it seemed obvious to me. But then, we see that it’s significantly more expensive, there’s no logical or available site, we’re out of budget and need to get to work on these seats now. As I’ve said…somewhere…before, if we had done this a couple or three years ago, when the Doraville K-Mart site was on the market, I think the answer would have been different. Now…deferring the vote even 60 days just loses us time we can ill-afford. I think a lot of people just didn’t get engaged on this early enough, and now it’s snuck up on them.
    And when we get to redistricting, I hope we just let kids go to the closest school possible, to the extent that capacities allow, to minimize wasted time in transit. Kids are just kids – I don’t care what they look like.

  23. This blog is light reading compared to the Georgian Educator. Over there they call anyone who doesn’t agree with them a racist.
    Doing things that promote infighting is a tactic DCSD has used for years. Pit schools and neighborhoods against each other and you get too busy to keep an eye on DCSD. Keep your eye on what they are doing.

  24. Paula Caldarella

    Actually “Anna”, there was a very good conversation concerning the E-SPLOST project list over on the Georgia Educator. People with differing views were able to discuss those differences in a mature, respectful manner.

  25. Original Dekalb Design

    Anna is spot on. If you disagree with Cohen, you’re the racist. It’s actually very subtle reverse racism because only certain races are allowed to have an opinion. This type of indoctrination from teachers will be awesome after a couple of decades of not enforcing immigration laws. After large illegal families have 4-5 kids each on the taxpayer’s dime and every refugee is invited in after fighting questionable wars, white kids will be the minority in a sea of people subtly indoctrinated in racism at mega schools by teachers like her – this is dangerous. We need smaller neighborhood schools. We eventually need to do away with middle schools and go K-8 and high school again. In the meantime let’s have a Doraville cluster and forget the Braircliff traffic central location. No one should have to drive more than an hour round trip to school.

  26. Don McChesney

    Original DeKalb Design. Way to go. Political correctness ends up penalizing everyone eventually. I am with you on the k-8 and high school. The BOE has voted against deferring 6-1. Jester could not even get a second on his motion to defer. Time to start talking about recall and cities again.

  27. I’m back from the board meeting. I’m happy to see everybody from both sides of the issue showing up.
    Work Session – I noted during the work session that in other agenda items there were feasibility studies from the city and the county that were absent from the building additions recommendation. The administration wants to kick all the prevalent issues down the road and say Kumbaya, we’ll work it out together.
    I did note that Josh Williams said that DeKalb Schools will meet all state requirements regarding common spaces. Unfortunately, the state is lacking in requirements regarding mega high schools.
    Public Comment – Correct me if I’m wrong, but the arguments to move forward with the vote were “Trust the school district” and “I have confidence” that the school district will do the right thing.
    Thoughtful and cogent arguments from the advocates to defer the vote.
    Business Meeting – I made a motion to defer the vote for 90 days, but I couldn’t get a second. The E-SPLOST project list passed 6-1.

  28. Dekalb Inside Out

    Paula, for all the whining you do about the need for constructive conversations and civil dialogue, you sure do throw around your fair share of insults and unfounded accusations.

  29. Bill Armstrong

    Stan – It was good to see so many out on a rainy night to participate. I’ve always used my appearance at these meetings – going back about a decade – as an opportunity to discuss our government process with my kids.
    As for tonight I would characterize our no-delay argument based more on our trust in Green – even though early on. After years – going back to Lewis – it’s been a trainwreck. I think the board hired the right guy, now it’s time to let him do the work he is charged with.
    I would say that listening to a room full of people saying me & my staff “tried to pull a scam & lied to us” – this is nothing different from the past” I’d probably think “note to self” but I think Green is bigger than that, certainly more than I might be.
    Maybe I ask him in the morning at our weekly secret breakfast meeting. Drake will be there, Kim G. You know – our cabal has been playing you for weeks.
    In all seriousness – now it’s time for those who want to be involved if their school is impacted, get on the construction committees – at least make sure you’re in the loop. Hold the system to their word to engage each school throughout this next stage. What’s the phase Kim Gokce quoted? Trust but verify.

  30. Nathan Deal Rescue?

    Or start filling out those private school applications or putting the house up for sale. Dekalb County School Board Sucks.

  31. Tim DeBardelaben

    So what happened tonight???

  32. Bill Armstrong

    Tim Vote was 6-1 for no delay. Stan was the 1. There was brief discussion after he did not get a second to his move for the delay.
    Public input had 6 Sagamore for delay, 11 from Chamblee (CCHS, CMS, MES & HH – many with kids in more than one) with 8 for delay, 3 no delay. Kim G. went all philosophical on trust – with which I agree – though mine was the less sophisticated “buy in”
    There was also an inspirational comment by a gentleman who works with refugees in the Clarkston area – to truly give a voice to those that have none. Listening to someone like him helps to remind me that we have an obligation to all these kids. No plan is perfect or will please all, but I agree with Marshall Orson tonight – “this is a good plan.”

  33. I invite Gokce, Armstrong, Godwin, Pietkiewicz and anybody else who made public comments yesterday, to make the same comments here that you gave the board yesterday … at the very least for posterity.

  34. Marshall Orson Sucks. He’s as crooked as they come. And he was the replacement board member? Except for Stan, the board is as corrupt as ever.

  35. Stan, how about a separate blog post for alternative suggestions (constructive and concrete) to help the Dunwoody Cluster and Chamblee Cluster work within their own municipalities to solve the overcrowding without building additions. I was moved recently talking to a Sagamore ES parent that remembered the re-districting fight from 2009. Sagamore ES was split between attending the Druid Hill HS and Lakeside HS. They petitioned the Board to feed into a single school. The Board listened…and come back with the recommendation that they all attend Druid Hills HS. A single parent organized a group effort and presented a solid alternative plan to the Board with significant research and justification, after the final vote, and that plan was eventually adopted and now Sagamore ES is attending Lakeside HS. For example, is there any land in Dunwoody that the City Council can identify for a new ES, MS, or HS space? Perimeter College land? Is building out Austin ES to 1200 seats an option under SPLOST IV? Can the City of Chamblee do the same or recommend another option – other than saying to build schools in another municipality?

  36. Enough Already

    Stan Jester, “for posterity?” Or are you looking for the cadre of people that share your position to have a forum to make (even more) shameful personal attacks against Gocke, Armstrong, etc.? You’re absolutely right about being “transparent.”

  37. Time to reaffirm our efforts to amend the state Constitution to allow new municipal school districts.
    The County once again rams a “solution” through which is not in the best interest of all. Turning smaller schools, which have limited land, into mega schools by just adding classrooms and minimal common spaces is not in the best interests of any students.

  38. Bill Armstrong

    Enough Already, I’ve had plenty before now, sticks & stones, years past & this time around. So I have no problem posting. Plus, Stan did ask Godwin, Pietkiewicz as well. I do know some either think: 1 – we were part of a backroom conspiracy to get it done, (nobody invited me), or 2 – we are naïve to think things are different this time. Maybe so, but I don’t think so.
    I did catch one of the Chamblee delay speakers used a phase along the lines of “as all thinking people would agree.” Well, I think everyone who spoke was a “thinking person.” What they ultimately think, as Sheila Gillispie said, in Chamblee, we’ve “agreed to disagree.”
    I do think we tried to a take the high road, and to me while there seem to be some backing off by the delay advocates in their message (compared to some posts & emails), if not tone, but there was still many accusations of impropriety and outright deception flying around.
    I do think it was nice to hear from JD McCrary of the International Rescue Committee, that assists the refugees in the Clarkston area – giving a voice to those that essentially have none. After all us spoke. It was a message everyone in the room needed to reflect on. At least to me.
    I do know I varied from this a bit as I spoke, but this is pretty close:

    “Chairman Johnson, Board Members and Dr. Green:
    My name is Bill Armstrong and I am a Chamblee Parent. I have one child at Chamblee High, one at Chamblee Middle and my youngest at Huntley Hills, where I am the Chair of the School Council. But tonight I am a Chamblee parent.
    I am here to urge the Board of Education to vote tonight to approve the Superintendent’s plan, without delay.
    As a parent I’ve been “dealing with” with DeKalb schools, the board, superintendents, the central office, for over 12 years. And by “dealing with” I mean “fighting against,” or at best advocating against their policies and plans. That’s a lot of emails, calls, and coming to these meetings. To me, so far, Dr. Green is not like any of those others. Far from it. It is early, but I have newfound confidence in our system under him and the team he is building.
    I came back from the School Council meeting last month thinking & telling others “if he (Green) can pull off half of what he’s planning, we’ll be far ahead of where are now. My kids will be better off, yours will too.” I bet he gets it all. If permitted, I think he’ll get more.
    And that meeting was evidence of an improved opportunity for true input from parents, especially from the “organized bodies” level, such as the School Councils. I can say that in the past I felt our input was valued by the Principal & was effective locally in our own school, it didn’t reach anywhere beyond that.
    But now, under Green, there is a true mechanism, an actual department with real people set out to interact with the councils. I look forward to working with Ms. Champion as the School Governance Liaison.
    And this role of the Councils is only a small slice of his Five-Point Turnaround Plan. The more I look into Dr. Green’s plan, the more I listen to his vision for the schoolchildren of DeKalb – ALL of them, the more impressed I am.
    This Chamblee parent, for the first time in 12 years, I am buying in.
    The notion of something being different this time really built in me after a great discussion I recently had with the interim Superintendent for region 1 – Sherry Johnson. She spoke of the “buy-in” of the teachers and school community as playing a vital role in the success of Huntley Hills. She was right. And I see an opportunity for a larger “buy-in” leading to success for Chamblee Cluster, all of Region 1, the entire system. I for one, I’m buying in.
    This system, under Dr. Green, it feels different to me, it looks different. I am convinced is different. Things are finally working like they should. Board, you hired the right guy. You, the board, need to buy in with your guy. Let him do his job.
    This plan – it is part of that job. No delay today.”

  39. @Defeated Parent: The school district is only 11% white, which is why I always chuckle when certain board members decry ‘white schools’. Any school where white children attend are fully integrated with all races, colors and creeds. Yes – it’s America! And yes – it can work! (FWIW – Currently DCSD has 63,500 black students, 17,600 Hispanic students, 11,000 White students, 6,000 Asian students and the rest are Multi/Indian/Pacific) demographics are always available at the Georgia DOE website.
    Oh, and @ Anonymous: You said, “My children will never go to a school where she teaches that’s for sure.” Which is very true, as Rebekah teaches at Cross Keys and certainly folks of Chamblee, Brookhaven and Dunwoody would never send their children to a school the likes of Cross Keys. Therein lies the crux of the problem. Therein lies the reason everyone is squawking about maintaining attendance lines and the desire to add on to their current schools (a ridiculous option) rather than risk being in the area sent to another ‘zone’.

  40. Scott Gillispie

    Stan – my wife was told by one of the other parents last night that staff usually e-mails out a request for everyone’s prepared statements so they can go in the minutes. So she’s keeping an eye out for that request.
    Of everyone who spoke last night, I thought that Tapika Howard did a fantastic job. What a wonderful advocate for the CCHS students! We need to make sure that our local construction committee has this kind of passion on it, so we can make sure the budget is spent to best meet the community needs.

  41. Defeatedparent

    Bill Armstrong – I have some swamp land in Florida for sale. Interested? #sucker

  42. Thinking outside the ‘traditional high school’ box >>> I first advocated for a high tech, vocational high school back around 1995 or so. But Johnny Brown, Superintendent at the time, told me to my face that ‘these schools are’ [basically, racist] because they ‘track’ black kids and force them into trades rather than college. I was shut down. Appealed again to Dr. Lewis – several times. Of course, he highly agreed with me to my face, even promised to visit the excellent one in my hometown (which has a waiting list to get in AND offers adult education at night), but of course, we all know where Dr. Lewis’ attention went. Then Ramona … no audience there whatsoever. Atkinson? Nut case. Thurmond… I had no political gain to offer him. So now, I hope that maybe … just maybe … Dr. Green will see the true value of such a school and think about expanding Cross Keys to become such a school. And the idea that these schools do not prepare students for college? My own sister attended the one in our hometown for horticulture, and then went on to get a degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State.
    Think about it … there is plenty of room on the CK campus and the Marta makes it accessible to all >>

  43. Cere, Rebekah and her secret handshake crowd are subtly indoctrinating the other demographics into concepts of white privilege, white entitlement, and white hate while artificially making whites the minority in certain areas. They are unnaturally drawing neighborhood lines where they never were historically to force diversity, despite massive traffic gridlock. They are creating giant mega schools in buildings built to accommodate much smaller numbers whether or not people prefer smaller schools. This doesn’t work. And it isn’t the America I grew up in or the one my DeKalb family funded since the 1920s.

  44. Hey Scott.
    I’m not aware of that practice and I’ve never seen them as part of the meeting minutes. Here is the 10/3 meeting minutes agenda item with supporting docs.

  45. @Anonymous – So you are saying that you approve of the decades-long practice of gerrymandering attendance lines along Buford Highway in order to escape diversity? Wow. I’m not sure I personally know anyone else like you… are there others? Other than your county-funding family?
    Of course it’s not the DeKalb you grew up in!! Nothing is the same as it was 40 years ago. Thank God.
    For you though – This is ok >>> ?
    And more >>

  46. You see, I quit blogging as I found we were rehashing the same issues over and over. For another great – and still relevant post by Kim written in 2011, regarding the ‘math’ of SPLOST spending (or the pondering of the black hole), read on >>
    “Let me over-simplify this so I can understand it …
    Five or six years ago we had $2 billion in needs. In the ensuing five years, we spent $500 million against this need. This should leave somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion in need, right? Not according to DCSS this week.
    The current line is that we now have $3 billion in identified needs and $475 million to spend in SPLOST IV. What?! Our need more than doubled from $1.5 billion? What’s going to happen in SPLOST V? We’ll spend $500 million in SPLOST IV against the $3 billion in need leaving $2.5 billion which, if the next period is like the last period, will double to $5 billion in need??”

  47. Cere. It’s called not distorting district lines to begin with, as was done here. And keeping neighborhoods together. Or maintaining a constitutional republic where representatives actually represent the interests of their constituency via a clear, transparent, democratic process. This process was secret all the way. Let’s not play dumb. We know what happened, and we know who was behind it. Sitting in an hour of traffic round trip just so my kid can be a minority in a school where her teacher can imply that whites are to be guilty for every unfortunate thing others suffer is hardly a positive development. Especially when she is using my tax dollars to fund her secret agenda.

  48. Bill Armstrong

    Defeatedparent says: “I am pro Option A, but I don’t like the ugliness that has ensued on BOTH sides.”
    Enough Already says to Stan: ” . . . Or are you looking for the cadre of people that share your position to have a forum to make (even more) shameful personal attacks against Gocke, Armstrong, etc.? You’re absolutely right about being “transparent.”
    and then by DefeatedParent:
    “Bill Armstrong – I have some swamp land in Florida for sale. Interested? #sucker”
    Surely you can come up with something better than “#sucker.”

  49. chamblee getting screwed

    Lighten up Bill. You won. Go out and celebrate with Gokce!

  50. @Anonymous >> I was simply pointing out that the Cross Keys attendance zone has been seriously and egregiously gerrymandered for decades unchallenged. Kim, myself and several others have tried our best to fight for a more balanced alignment and equitable spending. The segregation of the Cross Keys students is so blatant that had this been an African-American community, we would be back in federal court. Obviously, you are finally squawking now that things might effect your community as you admit to the personal reasons behind the resistance to integrate the Cross Keys community. I applaud your honesty. And I hope you find some kind of path to enlightenment some day. The best way to achieve that is to spend time with these students – they are actually quite remarkable.

  51. oh, p.s., Your children will probably get those same ‘new’ history lessons no matter who their teacher. The practice of whitewashing history is fading and a more honest perspective is being taught pretty much everywhere. The textbooks – they are a’changin’.

  52. Chad Peterson

    I find the capacity at the ESs along Buford Highway to be much more egregious than the linear nature. The comparison to African Americans just isn’t very apt IMO. African-Americans didn’t chose to be in America being the most obvious. But it was also separate and unequal in 1960. Blacks didn’t make up 15-20% of CCHS in the 1960s. Hispanics today do. So it’s not separate under today’s drawing of the lines. It’s concentrated due to housing along Buford Highway being more affordable and Hispanics preferring BuHi over other areas. But it is most certainly unequal. And its pretty clear that Sagamore Hills nor Chamblee don’t, and didn’t in the past, determine the spending priorities of the overall school district. If they did, you wouldn’t see the capacity utilization by region that we currently have.
    The one positive to plan A, B, or C is that the students along Buford Highway are treated equitable. None of the alternative ideas from Sagamore or Chamblee involved less money being spent along Buford Hwy. In fact, the reason they lost is that there plans spent more money in the BuHi area.
    My experience at Woodward and what I’ve seen at CKHS is that DeKalb does a pretty good job educating these young people in spite of the lower funding and higher capacities. Not so sure about Montclair and other ESs. But again, glad we are spending $60M to fix the ES problem along Buford Highway.

  53. Bill Armstrong

    chamblee getting screwed: “Lighten up Bill. You won. Go out and celebrate with Gokce!”
    I would say the children of Region 1 – especially those in Cross Keys “won.” And to me that means we all win.

  54. Actually Bill – we all lost. The communities and every single high school student who will have their lives disrupted by ongoing construction for the next 3 years and overcrowded schools with little common areas and on parcels of land much too small for their size. The schools have lost as well. CCHS, once ranked in the US News top 1000 high schools will become yet another C level school. No, we all lost.

  55. chamblee getting screwed

    Cere – your blatant liberal bias is ridiculous and shows that you can’t grasp any of the concerns of anyone except you in your own little world. Pathetic

  56. chamblee getting screwed

    Also is there going to be budget for the added police presence needed at Chamblee High to combat the increased gang activity? Who has to pay for that? My city taxes in Chamblee or my county school taxes? Either way it’s coming out of my pocket.

  57. chamblee getting screwed, bias? hahaha. You’re worried about increased gang activity? Really? No, really? Let’s hear more about that before I jump to conclusions and share some truth with Stan’s readers.

  58. chamblee getting screwed

    Cross Keys clearly has discipline problems. Suspensions at CKHS (305) basically = CCHS (185) + DHS (130) combined. Source – AJC searchable database. They all aren’t angels at CKHS. In fact based on this, many more discipline issues than CCHS or DHS.

  59. Ok. I’ll play. Which school routinely employs a drug sniffing dog? Which school had a kid targeted by his criminal friends in a drive by that killed hia baby brother while he slept in bed? Which school had a kid selling firearms from a cache on campus?
    Discipline problems? Did you know CKHS is a uniform school? You realize that number includes uniform violators, right?
    Not all CK kids are angels?? WTH? Who says that? Sure. CKHS kids are like any other and that is the point. Gangs? Really? Let’s hear about that again. Stop spreading fear and lies!

  60. Thank GOD Chamblee steps up to the plate and sends drug sniffing dogs into its schools. I am so thankful for that. I wish the county had the balls to do it in the schools today. Is there a drug problem in every school, YES. Is Chamblee trying to do something about it? YES. And your point about that one is…. What?

  61. My point? “chamblee getting screwed” is the one with a point. A sadly misinformed and hateful point…
    Me? I refuse to let people spread lies and fear about CKHS kids. Surely you aren’t defending the riduiculous labeling of CK kids as gang members.

  62. No. I am just taking what you are saying and throwing back to you like you have been throwing at EVERYONE that has tried to shed light from a different point of view for several months now. Do I agree with all of “Chamblee Getting Screwed’s point of view”, NO! Do I go out there and personally attack them? NO. See, opinions are like butt holes. We have them and sometimes, they STINK.
    If you noticed, I just stated a fact about your drug comment, I did not say ANYTHING else about the rest of your comments.
    Personally, I am tired of it from EVERYONE!!! The plan that is set before all of us is EVERYONE is getting screwed. Like you stated before, you have never lived through a construction at a school. It does effect everyone and as a parent of a rising high schooler, I do not want my student’s education affected as they are preparing for college. Construction at schools does hurt our students’ education, the data proves that.
    I am going to say this and it really saddens me to say this. For the last 15 years, I have helped the kids of CK and SMS when I have been called upon and asked. I did not do it for the glory or the self-recognition. I did it for the kids. This year, I had to let those calls go to voice mail and I have you and RCM to thank for that.

  63. chamblee getting screwed

    There you go again Gokce – claiming facts are hateful. The facts are this Cross Keys has as many suspensions as CCHS and DHS COMBINED. Yes, COMBINED. I also know that Chamblee discipline issues have risen significantly this year. Now why might that be?
    Oh and by the way, kids don’t get suspended for uniform violations. Give me a freakin break.
    So I’m sorry that you feel facts are “hateful” – sorry if it rubs you the wrong way to know that there are significant more discipline problems at CKHS than at the other schools. Parents have every right to be concerned. It’s not hateful to worry that a number of students at a school with more discipline problems will be moving to your local high school. Stop going there.

  64. Glad I could help your rationalization, Lynn.

  65. Yes, yes! Let’s talk about how horrible I am and forget what the subject of your comment was, in fact, Mr. or Ms. Screwed. Coward.
    Thank you, “chamblee getting screwed,” for doubling down on the fear of “increased gang activity” from Cross Keys kids. Ridiculous. Merry Christmas!

  66. chamblee getting screwed

    No. not ridiculous. Fact.

  67. chamblee getting screwed

    I repeat – 305 suspensions at CKHS. 185 + 130 at CCHS + DHS. That’s a helluva lot of uniform violations.

  68. Still waiting to hear those “facts” about gang activity that you fear so readily … ready, go!
    While you’re at it, share with me why I shouldn’t fear any for my child at CCHS based on the actual facts above? I’m feel dirty even discussing the topic. Remember, I am making NO claims about CCHS kids because I know them: they are fine.
    YOU and friends are making claims about CK kids that I know are full of hoo-ha. You’ve been called out to explain your claim or to refute the incidents above that are pretty DAMN scary. Wassup?

  69. Stan, sounds like we need D1 to host a townhall on gang activity at CK and how it will impact CCHS. Will you host that? Clearly it’s a big issue for D1 constituents.

  70. Mr. or Ms. Screwed: I can be childish, too. I repeat: 1 child shot in their bed while sleeping, drugs overrunning the school, and arms sales on campus. There – how’s that? Your turn. Shall we dig deeper? Put down the shovel.

  71. chamblee getting screwed

    And you are dismissing 2x the suspension to uniforms violations which we all know is a bunch of “hooey.” You are the one who won’t explain the sheer amount of suspension at CKHS which amount to 2 students being suspended per day on average. So what’s the explanation? Why do you keep obfuscating this with “you’re a hater” message. Facts are facts and you cannot refute them (or you would have done so). Come on Mr. Cross Keys? – why the high suspension rate? It ain’t uniforms.

  72. Oh dear! Stan, I apologize for what I’m about to do. I also apologize to all the good people of CCHS. Mr. or Ms. Screwed, I do not apologize for continuing to hound you for your hateful and ignorant comment. Happy to discuss “discipline” after we address your first concern about CRIME! I’ll wait about ten minutes … let’s not confuse everyone by switching back and forth on topics! Ready – go!

  73. Interactive: A look at how metro Atlanta schools discipline students (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
    The database below details how each metro Atlanta school system disciplined students for the 2014-15 school year.

  74. Stan, have a chart on gang activity at our HSes?

  75. chamblee getting screwed

    Thank you Stan. Facts are stubborn things. There are clearly more serious discipline issues at CKHS than DHS or CCHS. Watch out though, Gokce will cal you a “hater” for posting this.

  76. I think CCHS is a fine school full of great kids. I think the same of CKHS. Mr. or Ms. Screwed seems to have a skewed perception for some reason. Here some items for Mr. or Ms. Screwed to consider while s/he is worrying about the criminals at CKHS:
    [links removed at commentor’s request]
    I’m disgusted with myself for being down here in the gutter with you, Mr. or Ms. Screwed. But I have been fighting the biases and hatred of our BuHi are kids for TOO long to let you get away with that awful slander that someone with no current knowledge might believe. I truly hoped you’d walk it back but you simply doubled down.
    Are you not worried about CCHS crime or is it only crime from CK area that worries you? Why?
    You can ignore responsibility for your own comment and that is fine.

  77. Still dodging Mr. or Ms. Screwed … I’ll let you stew for a few hours and then we can discuss the topic you wished was the subject of your comment waaaaaay up there ^ … shameful. Yes, I mean you. I begged you to stop. Not afraid to discuss discipline at all … but only as the second element of your side-stepping.

  78. Paula Caldarella

    Below are the School climate scores from the 2015 CCRPI report: Safe and Substance-Free Learning Environment is calculated using data collected through Student Record on reported incidents in the school and survey data from the Georgia Student Health Survey 2.0 -Middle School/High School.
    Student Drug Related Incidents (Data) 97.927
    Violent Incidents (Data) 98.031
    Bullying and Harassment Incidents (Data) 98.446
    Student Drug Related Incidents (Survey) 77.329
    Violent incidents (Survey) 98.766
    Bullying and Harassment Incidents (Survey) 69.136
    Safe and Substance-Free Learning Environment Score 89.939
    Student Drug Related Incidents (Data) 94.816
    Violent Incidents (Data) 92.308
    Bullying and Harassment Incidents (Data) 97.325
    Student Drug Related Incidents (Survey) 76.185
    Violent incidents (Survey) 97.457
    Bullying and Harassment Incidents (Survey) 68.208
    Safe and Substance-Free Learning Environment Score 87.716
    Every school has its issues; however to paint a picture of CKHS as some kind of undisciplined, gang environment is not backed up by the data provided by GADOE.

  79. Dekalb Inside Out

    I don’t think anybody is claiming discipline problems at the Chamblee schools don’t exist. The point is sending half of the Cross Keys HS kids to Chamblee Charter HS will increase the number of discipline problems per student at CCHS.

  80. Wow, Paula, those numbers seem virtually identical. See the look of “non-shocked” on my face? Thanks for sharing.

  81. DIO, in addition to giving me a great name of “Butt Munch” you’ve validated your own again: You have this inside out.
    The assertion by our fellow commenter up there was about the how you, me, and everyone in Chamblee and DeKalb was going to pay for the policing of the “increase in gang activity” that individual is predicting will come with CK kids.

  82. Kim: You do realize that what you are posting is about the all mighty dollar to a news station. More people are going to watch if it has something to do with Chamblee than Cross Keys. More people that watch, more money the station can charge an advertiser. So yes, Chamblee is going to be front and center over CKHS when it comes to headline news.
    I don’t understand, when someone comes to this blog with a different point of view from yours, you are bound and determined to belittle them, and you keep bringing the same thing up. Personally, I don’t care and a lot of people reading this blog have totally turned you off.
    I want my child educated, in a classroom that is free from the distraction of construction and being shifted here and there during his high school years. Grades matter, extracurriculars matter, and teacher morale matter.
    The plan that has been put forth to all of us, will ensure that any student entering high school in the next few years, will have the three items that matter the most taken away from them. That is the fact and you can not dispute that. I don’t care who you are trying to educate, it is going to hurt all students bottom line.

  83. So what is your position on the cost of policing the crime the CK kids will bring to CCHS (presumably), DIO?

  84. Lynn, let me help you understand … yes, when someone portrays CK kids as gang members rather than average HS students I will go full rebuttal. And when they refuse to acknowledge ANYTHING amiss with the wild assertion of our kids being criminals in some special number, yes, I’m going to hound them.
    To put these kids down is wrong.

  85. 2015 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)
    After you select the county and school, if you select the radio button for “High School” report type, you can drill down into the School Climate. The school climate tab is not working yet for the 2016 CCRPI reports

  86. EVEN the suggestion that CK kids are somehow distinct and apart from CCHS kids is absurd. They all come from the same communities for heaven’s sake! They all have relationships, interact in competition and extra-curricular, work the same service jobs, go to the same parties, and generally are better grounded than us adults on this question.
    The fact that there are some in the CCHS who have NO CLUE about this reality of our Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Doraville kids is just plain sad. They are ALL our kids.

  87. chamblee getting screwed

    You really are a piece of work, Golce. You give me one off examples and have yet to refute the sheer numbers that are out there beyond just stating “it’s about uniforms.” I’m sure if I rummage through old news reports I can find plenty of one off stories about CKHS kids. But you refuse to refute the hard numbers – why are CKHS kids being suspended at TWICE the rate of the other schools?
    Oh and if we are going to go to illegal activities, let’s make this fun and pull up the police reports from the CKHS attendance area vs. the CCHS attendance area. I can play this game all day and will continue to call you out on this.

  88. DIO, I’m calling yellow card on this: “The point is sending half of the Cross Keys HS kids to Chamblee Charter HS will increase the number of discipline problems per student at CCHS.”
    That simple idea contains a number of assumptions I hope you’ll agree. What if CKHS admins are “tougher” on minor violations? Wouldn’t that number drop like a rock at CCHS then by nature if CCHS was less strict? What if CCHS has a more evolved discipline management approach where escalations to suspensions are more moderated? Wouldn’t the number remain more or less the same for the incoming students who might come from a CKHS where there was no such moderation?
    There are many other ways to consider whether these numbers, in fact, mean much of anything out of context of the individual school. I say this simply to suggest that we cannot make the logical leap you did without questioning it first. I don’t have the answer but I do have many questions if these are apples to oranges or mangos.

  89. Mr. or Ms. Screwed … your words are empty. You made a simple, direct and clear assertion you refuse to defend. I make only one assertion: CCHS and CKHS kids are virtually the same population – both great populations with a great future.
    I’ll defend that all day.
    As you search for dirt please keep in mind you are the person seeking to divide these two groups of kids. I’m sure you’ll find dirt because it is the same under the feet of all of them.

  90. Paula Caldarella

    I want my child educated, in a classroom that is free from the distraction of construction and being shifted here and there during his high school years. Grades matter, extracurriculars matter, and teacher morale matter.
    The plan that has been put forth to all of us, will ensure that any student entering high school in the next few years, will have the three items that matter the most taken away from them.

    Lynn, how will the additional capacity affect grades, extracurriculars and teacher morale? Did the recent new addition to CCHS affect the aforementioned items? What do you mean by shifted here and there? There has been no redistricting plan presented by DCSD to this point.

  91. Paula Caldarella

    let’s make this fun and pull up the police reports from the CKHS attendance area vs. the CCHS attendance area.
    I’m not sure how accurate those numbers would be since virtually half of the CCHS attendance area is spread all over the county.

  92. Good points to consider, Paula, but let’s not let Mr. or Ms. Screwed change the subject. The subject s/he raised is who was going to pay for the policing of the “increase in gang activity” the CK kids would presumably be bringing to CCHS.

  93. Paula Caldarella

    The subject s/he raised is who was going to pay for the policing of the “increase in gang activity” the CK kids would presumably be bringing to CCHS.
    As most people do when they make a statement that is not based in reality, they will “deflect”, or “gaslight”. Lots of that going around these days….

  94. Lynn King – you hit it out of the park. Kim, she’s right you just don’t get it. You are so hell bent on defending Cross Keys at all costs that you fail to grasp the big picture. “Chamblee getting” makes some good points using a fact-based report with numbers and you deflect those by pulling out qualitative stories. Its not all rainbows and lollipops at Cross Keys no matter how you wish it to be. There are some bad folks there just like at any school. The numbers that “Cham getting..” are right there and are causing concern. Maybe address the concerns that people have instead of being so defensive?
    There’s a reason that you’re not very popular in parts of these woods. You don’t ever see things from the other individual’s point of view. You bully your way around by calling people names who don’t agree with you. Why do you think so many have to resort to anonymous postings? Because you’re a bully. Yes, I’ve said it -you are a big time bully.
    What is most appropro about all of this that Lynn so eloquently points out is that this entire thing is a disaster. Its a disaster for all the students except for the Cross Keys ones who will be getting a new school. But it pulls the pendulum back the other way to an extreme. All of the kids who are attending area high schools for the next 5 years will be punished for the sins of previous administrations. How is that fair to them? I’m all for rectifying the situation with Cross Keys, but how it’s been handled and the bullying, manipulation of data, and force feeding of a plan that 1/2 of the community does not want is completely unacceptable. As I said before, I won’t be dealing with it. In my household, we’re done with Dekalb County Schools and will be transitioning out. So good luck with all that…

  95. Dekalb Inside Out

    Gokce brings up an interesting point. CKHS students that go to CCHS will be in a different environment. If the admins at CKHS are “tougher” on minor violations, then the number of violations would drop once they get to CCHS. However, if the CCHS admins are “tougher”, then the number of violations would go even higher than they are now for the CKHS students.
    But, back to Gokce’s original point, it’s impossible to know for sure what will happen. My point is that I’m not optimistic about it.

  96. DIO, optimism, pessimism, both are just fine with the discipline numbers – they are what they are and no amount of arguing here will change what they are and that they are not “transferrable.”
    Herein lies my beef with the hate and fear being spread on this blog by too many: it does not have foundation. I work with kids from both attendance areas and have very little concern about their ability to be successful together. Why should we believe anything else? There’s no credible case for perpetuating and promoting the artificial divide some would want to be real.

  97. RunAmok: “Why do you think so many have to resort to anonymous postings? Because you’re a bully.”
    LOL … yes, my meanness has made Internet blogs go dark. All you anon folks have been out here hating without me since 1994 with the first web browser that could reach http.
    Anonymous posters have made the Internet anonymous and filled with baseless fear and hate like spewed above. Again, good luck. This poster will not miss your derision and it sounds like you won’t mine.
    At least I earned a moniker of “Butt Munch” for my efforts.

  98. Paula:
    Lynn, how will the additional capacity affect grades, extracurriculars and teacher morale? It is so hard for kids to learn when (now I am only going on what I have had to live through with several renovations) large equipment is constantly buzzing outside (the kids are more interested in that, than the lesson being taught), power being temporarily shut off but someone cutting a line, roofs being redone during the school day and kids and teachers went home sick because of the toxic smell. The list goes on and on about this one.
    Did the recent new addition to CCHS affect the aforementioned items? Yes, teachers were displaced from the classroom to a trailer, back to a classroom. Instructional time was lost due to packing up classrooms and moving them back and forth. Some teachers were on mobile carts and they would have to wait until the other teacher moved at the end of the class for a new teacher to move in. Instructional time during the day was lost here also.
    What do you mean by shifted here and there? I wasn’t talking about redistricting at all. One day, you class maybe in this classroom or that classroom, this trailer or that trailer. When it comes to construction lives are disrupted. When lives are disrupted so is the learning environment.

  99. Dekalb Inside Out

    Their fears do have foundation in the data. The data doesn’t guarantee these fears will come true, but we can’t tell people they have no credible case. Labelling their fears as “hate” is an assumption you’re making.