At the December board meeting there was a robust Public Comment section. Prior to the meeting, the board received hundreds of emails detailing the same sentiments expressed at public comment.
The Chamblee cluster, the Dunwoody cluster, and some of the Lakeside Cluster, asked for a delay on the vote for their building additions.
Here are the statements made by some of the board members before voting 6 – 1 to approve the E-SPLOST V project list as is.
Stan Jester – Speaking as a board member, as a resident of Region 1, as a parent with kids in the Dunwoody cluster … The Dunwoody Cluster , Chamblee Cluster and Sagamore Elementary are asking for a delay on the vote for category 2 of the E-SPLOST project list.
I’ve heard “I’m confident that these things will get worked out”, “I trust DeKalb” , “I hope things will work out well”. I would say that hope is not a method. I hope this vote does not go down like it has always gone down, like I expect it always will go down … against our will and with us getting the short end of the stick.
Given the feedback from these communities, and the request by numerous School councils to defer this decision, I move we delay the vote for Category 2 of the E-SPLOST project list for 3 months.
Jim McMahan – In attending several Community meetings and listening to my constituents, I do have a very vocal group, Sagamore, my home community that has asked to defer the vote. As I am a resident of Sagamore, I am also a board member of … I oversee 16 schools in the Lakeside and Tucker district. 15 of the 16 schools have said please move forward with a vote. We do have some reservations. We want to be part of the process. We would like to have some further information and further dialogue. But we understand the severity of the condition that we are currently in and they are okay with moving forward with a vote.
With that as my barometer, I am supportive of moving forward with the vote. I will be part of our community and listening to the community and looking for further information. W ith the support of the district and if there are any alternative solutions moving forward I feel confident that they will be heard but that is where I am right now. I appreciate the support of my community and I request that the boat move forward.
Dr. Joyce Morley – Myself and the board, we don’t take these things lightly. We have to look at the totality of how it affects everyone that’s concerned. I remember the many calls I have received and there were many people. I called everyone back that left me a message. And we discussed these things.
We got a lot of emails and I forwarded them to the superintendent. We didn’t take this lightly, we have to look at the totality. At some point this County has to unite and recognize that we’re not sections. We shouldn’t be sectionalized, it has to be something that’s not fragmented. But, we come together with unity.
There’s been a North there’s been a south for so long, but when do we unite and become one DeKalb? I don’t know if it will ever happen unless we change our hearts and change our minds and be able to see that we are here to educate all children. And when we look at a school and the South and some of those schools, Indian Creek elementary, the conditions are deplorable.
So, you need to cross the Divide and begin to look at some of conditions of those schools. It’s deploring. I used to be the Support Director for Teach for America. … [skip forward ] … it’s 2016 and we’re dealing with the lead problem … and how many schools don’t have air conditioning and heating … water fountains aren’t working, bathrooms don’t have doors … [skip forward] … buildings that look like prisons.
At some point we’ve got to come outside of ourself no matter what side you’re on and say what’s best for every child. My 6 year old grandson was telling me how to play chess the other day …
This board looked at what is in the best interest for all children. At some point, we need to talk about how we are going to move forward as a united front and educate all of our children.
Marshall Orson – I want to echo Dr. Morley’s point, there’s been a lot of hard work done here. I think we have something good here but we are only at the beginning of a process. This is a process that will involve the community that will help us to find how we execute this plan. but, to delay it would be unacceptable. there are great needs that have been left unmet and an address for 20 years. we would be continuing a wrong that has been perpetuated by the school district and this County and a completely unacceptable fashion.
We have heard the concerns and we have heard people on both sides of the issue. there’s never going to be a perfect solution. We create our own set of expectations that there can be a perfect solution.it’s a process and I believe this is a good plan.it will be incumbent upon everybody and their respective communities to continue their engagement and participation to make the plan and execution of that plan better.
At the same time I think we will be doing a lot of good for a lot of children that have been passed over for way too long in this County.