2019 – Archived Posts

Trailer Count Across DeKalb Schools
January 20, 2019 – A number of new schools are opening this year and Fall 2020. There will be 61 fewer trailers used throughout the school district in 2020-21 than the current school year. Eight (8) schools will see an aggregate increase of 23 trailers. This lowers the district trailer count from 389 to 328.

Nancy Creek Elementary – Immediate Relief For Dunwoody & Chamblee Clusters
January 17, 2019 – Superintendent Tyson is taking a second look at moving Kittredge back to the old John Lewis ES site and opening Nancy Creek back up in Fall 2020.

Dunwoody Elementary School
Redistricting & Utilization

January 16, 2019 – The biggest concern articulated by the DES PAC is that the most recent redistricting proposal does not relieve overcrowding robustly enough.

Removed SPLOST Projects & GO Bond
January 15, 2019 – ESPLOST V projects were way under estimated and left the school district $166 million over budget. $93 million of the budget deficit comes from new facilities and additions.

Redistricting Round 4
January 14, 2019 – Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson has been at the helm since last November. Among the many challenges DeKalb Schools faces, redistricting elementary schools in North DeKalb is one of them. This is the administration’s Round 4 recommendation to the board.

Correcting Operations Austin Redistricting Guidance
December 11, 2019 – Based on my meeting with the elementary PAC chairs and co-chairs in Dunwoody, I presented Planning with these principles that had general agreement from the group.

DeKalb Schools Volunteer Policy
December 3, 2019 – DeKalb Schools is asking that the Board of Education approve the new School Volunteers policy. Furthermore, the district is asking the Board of Education to approve $196,000 annually to run and maintain a Volunteer Management System. The $196,000 covers Level 1 background checks for 15,000 volunteers.

New CFO – DeKalb Schools
December 2, 2019 – DeKalb Schools just hired Mr. Robert Morales as an ‘Executive On-Loan’ in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer.

Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools – Round 3
November 20, 2019 – DeKalb Schools is conducting Round 3 of the Austin Elementary School redistricting meetings tonight at Dunwoody High School @ 7pm. The third round objective is to collect community input on the option presented.

Doraville United Redistricting – Round 3
November 19, 2019 – DeKalb Schools is conducting Round 3 of the Doraville United Elementary School redistricting meetings tonight at Chamblee Charter High School @ 7pm. The third round objective is to collect community input on the option presented.

2019 – 7 Year Enrollment Forecasts – Dunwoody Elementary Schools
November 18, 2019 – The new Austin Elementary School will open next year. Redistricting the Dunwoody elementary schools is currently under way. DeKalb Schools administration has put together the latest 7 Year Enrollment Forecasts for this process.

2019 Enrollment Forecasts For Chamblee & Cross Keys Elementary Schools
November 17, 2019 – Forecasts show significant increases in enrollment for many elementary schools in Chamblee and Brookhaven. Doraville United Elementary Public Redistricting Meetings – Chamblee Charter HS Auditorium (7:00 PM): Round 3 – Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dunwoody – Elementary School – Growth Projections
November 13, 2019 – Where and how much growth does the school district anticipate for Dunwoody’s elementary schools? This is the most important question for redistricting Dunwoody elementary schools.

Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson
November 7, 2019 – The DeKalb County Board of Education this afternoon voted to approve a separation agreement with Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green, effective immediately. In a second vote, The DeKalb County Board of Education voted to name Ramona Tyson as the interim superintendent.

DeKalb Schools 2020-2021 Calendar
November 4, 2019 – Marshall Orson and I pushed for a later start date to no avail. School will start next year on Aug 3, 2020. We’ll have a balanced calendar and numerous holidays. The administration relied heavily on the advice of the committee and results of the survey. The rest of the board relied heavily on the administration.

Proposed 2020-2021 Calendar
November 3, 2019 – On Monday DeKalb Schools administration is recommending approving the school calendars for the next two school years. It looks like the community and administration favor an early start and balanced calendar.

New Visitor and Volunteer Policy
October 31, 2019 – DeKalb Schools administration is coming back again with another revision to the Visitor and Volunteer Policy. The first read was in March. This version has different implications.

Calendar Poll
October 21, 2019 – Please complete this poll on the DeKalb Schools Calendar Attributes so I can better understand where the majority of the community stands.

Austin Elementary School Redistricting – Round 2
October 23, 2019 – DeKalb Schools is conducting Round 2 of the Austin Elementary School redistricting meetings tonight at Dunwoody High School @ 7pm. The second round objective is to collect community input on the two presented redistricting options.

2020-2021 Calendar Options
October 21, 2019 – Look at the calendar options and what the other Metro Atlanta school districts are doing. Let me know your thoughts about the Start Date, Balanced Calendar and Early Release days.

DeKalb Schools Calendar Update
October 18, 2019 – The Office of Accountability is preparing to release the survey any day now. The final recommendation should be on the Board of Education agenda for approval Nov 4, 2019.

Doraville United Redistricting – Round 2
October 16, 2019 – DeKalb Schools is conducting Round 2 of the Doraville United Elementary School redistricting meetings tonight at Chamblee Charter High School @ 7pm. The second round objective is to collect community input on the two presented redistricting options which are supposed to based on attendance zone criteria set in board policy.

DeKalb Schools E-SPLOST Project Recommendations
October 14, 2019 – DeKalb Schools is telling the public that E-SPLOST is $100 million over budget and is making recommendations to the board to address these budget issues.

Public Feedback Results
GO Bond & E-SPLOST Projects

October 10, 2019 – Results are in from the five (5) public meetings to seek public input on proposed options to address the E-SPLOST budget.

News & Updates – 10/7/2019
October 7, 2019 – The Chromebook Rollout isn’t complete yet. Round 2 of redistricting meetings are coming up. I have coffee talk on Friday. Feedback on the GO bond and Comprehensive Art School is out.

AP Exams – Return on Investment
October 4, 2019 – Less than 10% of the students in half our high schools score high enough on these AP exams to receive college credit. Is paying for AP Exams the best use of $425,000?

Capacity Determination Guide
October 3, 2019 – So, the capacity of your school is constantly changing. What’s up with that? Last week I discussed the Enrollment/Capacity/Trailers in Region 1 Elementary Schools. How does the school district arrive at those capacity numbers?

Redistricting First Round Summary
September 30, 2019 – Amazingly overnight, the capacity of the new schools went from 900 to 950. The capacity of all other schools in the feeder pattern dropped by 5% – 20%.

Meeting Tonight – Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools
SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 7:00PM

IEP Accommodations Neglected
September 19, 2019 – Many students at DeKalb Schools recently took their MAP tests without the accommodations inside their IEPS and 504s. Thus far, identification and communication to those students has been lacking. If it weren’t for the efforts of Lauren Taylor, all of this would have gone unnoticed.

DeKalb Schools 2019 Graduation Rates
September 18, 2019 – DeKalb Schools sees its first decrease in graduation rate in 4 years.

Redistricting – Geographic Proximity
Austin And Doraville United

September 16, 2019 – According to board policy, recommendations for alterations in school attendance areas shall be primarily based on geographic proximity, school capacity; and projected enrollment. These schools will help alleviate overcrowding in the Dunwoody and Cross Keys clusters.

DeKalb Schools 2020 Graduation Schedule
September 14, 2019 – Congratulations High School Seniors Class of 2020. The last day of school is May 21, 2020. This is the finalized version of the graduation ceremonies schedule.

Air Conditioning at Chamblee Charter High School
September 9, 2019 – Air Conditioning is completely down at Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS). I’ll use this page to relate information as I get it. Included is a message from Chamblee Charter High School Principal Gail Barnes.

Not Fans of the GO Bond
September 5, 2019 – From where I’m sitting, the message is loud and clear. The public does not support the General Obligation (GO) Bond. I received statements from the DeKalb NAACP and the Georgia Federation of Teachers.

E-SPLOST/GO Bond Discussion Materials
August 27, 2019 – The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is holding five (5) public meetings to seek public input on proposed options to address the E-SPLOST budget. The proposed solutions are complicated. It’d be a good idea to familiarize yourself with these materials.

2019 Chromebook Rollout Update
August 22, 2019 – Chromebook distribution should begin at all schools no later than August 30. Many of the distribution processes are currently underway. Check with your teacher, principal or school council for exact rollout schedule.

Cross Keys HS – 2019 Milestones Results
August 21, 2019 – Well done in Analytic Geometry. The other scores could be better, but Cross Keys High School remains one of the top high schools in DeKalb Schools.

Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools
August 20, 2019 – The new 900 seat Austin Elementary School (AES) will open in January for the existing old Austin ES students. Redistricted students will attend the new Austin ES in August 2020.

Chamblee Charter HS – 2019 Milestones Results
August 17, 2019 – Chamblee Charter HS and Dunwoody HS academics are sliding. I’d like to point out the phenomenal job CCHS is doing in Biology.

Dunwoody HS – 2019 Milestones Results
August 16, 2019 – While academic performance has increased across the state, Dunwoody High School academics are sliding. A majority of the high schools in Georgia rank higher than Dunwoody HS in Coordinate Algebra.

DeKalb School Calendar 2020-2021 Update
August 14, 2019 – About half the Metro Atlanta school districts have approved 2020-2021 calendars. DeKalb Schools should have their School Year 2021 calendar approved this October. This is where we are.

New Principals And Assistant Principals
August 13, 2019 – The rise and fall of a school is dependent on the leadership of our Principals and Assistant Principals. Here is a list of our new leaders this year.

Functional School Restrooms By Law
August 12, 2019 – DeKalb County has a Sanitary and Functional Restroom Facilities Ordinance. Facilities with public restrooms, including schools, are prohibited from allowing those restrooms to exist in a state of bad repair during operating hours.

Smaller Schools Are Better Schools
August 10, 2019 – As we consider how we build and manage schools in DeKalb, I think it’s a good idea to examine what research tells us about how the physical school environment translates into achievement, satisfaction, cost, participation, social behavior, and mental and occupational health.

Public Meetings – GO Bond & E-SPLOST Projects
August 7, 2019 – The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is holding five (5) public meetings to seek public input on proposed options to address E-SPLOST budget issues arising from an increase in construction costs as well as additional projects.

Racially Insensitive Hairstyle Ban at Narvie Harris Elementary
August 5, 2019 – I wasn’t going to post anything, but it has gone viral. I am fascinated that the administration would say these hairstyles are not acceptable. I also find it interesting the country calls this racial profiling and racially insensitive. Perhaps somebody can help me understand. I suspect this touches on larger racial issues in our culture.

2019 Milestone Results Summary
July 26, 2019 – While DeKalb Schools Milestones results are abysmal, at least they are not as abysmal as they used to be.

Magnet and the Middle School In Chamblee
July 11, 2019 – On Monday, the school district proposed the possibility of closing Chamblee Middle School and moving the High Achievers Magnet Program from Chamblee Charter High School. Can we have a healthy and constructive discussion about this?

E-SPLOST Program Budget and GO Bonds
July 9, 2019 – The DeKalb Schools administration presented 3 options to address E‐SPLOST budget issues. DeKalb Schools will be promoting a GO bond. Everybody gets a carrot except for Chamblee, they apparently get the stick.

Step 1: Balance E‐SPLOST V Budget to $561 M (October 2019)

FY2020 Salaries & Budget
June 21, 2019 – DeKalb Schools administration is asking the Board of Education to approve salary adjustments for classified staff, salary adjustments for executive staff and the DeKalb County School District Budget for 2019-2020 (FY2020).

Notice of Property Tax Increase
June 13, 2019 – Your property tax bill is going up this year. If you live in Unicorporated DeKalb (not in a city), on average your taxes are increasing 6.7% this year. The increase property evaluations this year for cities (incorporated DeKalb) is surprising.

FY2020 – Tentative Budget
June 11, 2019 – After numerous calls from the vice chair for a motion, the board reluctantly passed the DeKalb Schools FY2020 tentative budget.

CFO Michael Bell and Interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer, Linda Woodard, also responded to some follow up budget questions from last week.

Let’s go through the good, the bad and the ugly.

HR and Financial Disarray
Report From State Audit

June 7, 2019 – The Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts recently completed their audit of DeKalb Schools financial statements for the school year ending June 30, 2017. On Monday the board will be discussing the audit. While the audit itself is disappointing, the letter to management is nothing short of alarming.

$3,000 Raise – Q&A With The CFO
June 4, 2019 – Chief Financial Officer Michael Bell answers a few questions we have regarding the $3,000 raise for certified employees. Who did the state give us extra funding for? Did they give us funding for all certified employees including psychologists, counselors, social workers and special education specialists?

Yea or Nay – Graduation Ceremonies at GWCC
June 1, 2019 – After Sunday we’ll be finished with graduation ceremonies (BTW … Congrats Class of 2019!) How did it go and should we hold graduation ceremonies at the Georgia World Congress Center again next year? The AJC is reporting that all the complaining early on in the year was much ado about nothing.

$3,000 – Teacher Raises Around Metro Atlanta
May 25, 2019 – What are Metro Atlanta school districts doing about the $3,000 per teacher raise Governor Brian Kemp gave to all Georgia public school districts to pass along to their teachers? Dekalb Schools FY2020 Tentative Budget, presented a few weeks ago, did not include that raise for teachers. However, DeKalb Schools Board of Education members have been meeting with senior administrators over the last few days to figure out how to get that money into the hands of the teachers.

Superintendent Stephen Green

Superintendent Green – Resignation Letter
May 24, 2019 – Superintendent Stephen Green is leaving the scene and has decided not to seek renewal of his current contract. The process to find a new a Superintendent will begin immediately.

Chamblee – Jester Community Town Hall
When: Tue June 11 @ 5:30pm
Where: Chamblee Library – 4115 Clairmont Rd, Chamblee

Options To Address E-SPLOST Budget Issues
May 13, 2019 – In earlier posts, I discussed E-SPLOST Budget Overruns and Projects on Hold. What’s the plan? Here are the options we are currently looking at.

DeKalb Schools recommends the following two step process to address the budget issues.

FY2020 – Tentative Budget – No Raise For Teachers
May 11, 2019 – While DeKalb Schools is seeing record revenues, they are depleting the fund balance (reserves) and balancing the budget on the backs of teachers.

With future legal liabilities looming and the inevitable economic ebb, our proclivity for having structural deficits in the best of times, is disturbing. It puts us on a collision course for calamity.

Austin Elementary in the Crier
May 7, 2019 – Confusion and rumors circle the destiny of the old Austin elementary school once the new Austin elementary school opens.

Jester Community Town Hall
When: May 14th @ 7pm
Where: St. Luke’s – 1978 Mt Vernon Rd, Dunwoody
Room: Chapel – From the Manhasset entrance, turn right in the lobby

Naming – New Elementary School in Doraville
May 6, 2019 – What will be the name, colors and mascot of the new elementary school going up in Doraville? The naming committee has been formed and you’re invited to join us. Dresden Elementary and Cary Reynolds Elementary are roughly 30% over capacity and have over 40 portable classrooms between them.

First Amendment At DeKalb Schools
May 3, 2019 – What First Amendment rights do students have at DeKalb Schools? DeKalb Schools has a habit of defending speech that is congruent with the prevailing political sentiment of the administrators while simultaneously calling speech they don’t like disruptive.

E-SPLOST Budget Overruns and Projects on Hold
April 23, 2019 – The current DeKalb Schools budget for E-SPLOST V projects is $561 million. The most recent estimated cost for those projects is $684.4 million. We are roughly 22% over budget.

Due to the most recent enrollment forecasts, most of the building addition projects have either been reduced or cancelled. However, Chamblee Charter HS addition will stay the same and Dunwoody HS is getting 1,000 seats.

Old Austin Elementary School
April 16, 2019 – The New Austin Elementary School (AES) is on schedule to open January 2020. DeKalb Schools is looking at options to alleviate trailers in the Dunwoody Cluster. The administration is currently looking into using Old AES to that end.

Gym Floor Space By High School
April 11, 2019 – Dunwoody High School and Lakeside High School have some of the smallest gyms in the school district. How can we in good conscious pack our schools with students without providing them the proper facilities?

1,000 More Seats Are Coming to Dunwoody HS
April 9, 2019 – Adjusting for the latest enrollment projections, the school district will now be adding 1,000 seats to Dunwoody High School (DHS). This is just insane … but it’s the plan. Dunwoody HS enrollment is expected to exceed 2,300 by 2021.

Employee Compensation Update
March 30, 2019 – Over the last couple weeks I have received many questions. I asked the administration to confirm the answers to the two most commonly asked questions. Let me know if you have any more thoughts or questions.

Expected 2019 Graduation Rate
March 13, 2019 – DeKalb Schools graduation rate is expected to increase again to 77%. DeKalb Schools is approaching the state’s high school graduation rate which rose to 81.6% last year.

State Attorney General Not A Fan of Mini Sessions
March 10, 2019 – The budget for DeKalb Schools E-SPLOST projects is in trouble. DeKalb Schools Board of Education is having illegal, behind closed doors, meetings to discuss the E-SPLOST project budget assessment and hear new planning options.

New Visitor and Volunteer Policy
March 7, 2019 – DeKalb Schools administration has been revising the Visitor and Volunteer policy since last year. They continue to accept, evaluate and incorporate feedback.

Call For Independent Auditor and Ethics Officer
March 1, 2019 – The school district has proven time and time again that it cannot police itself. I’m calling for an independent ethics officer and in independent internal auditor. I am also calling for a review of all current contracts and an in-depth fraud investigation by an outside expert.

Employee Compensation Update
February 27, 2019 – Last year, Management Advisory Group (MAG) completed a Salary and Compensation Study for the DeKalb County School District. DeKalb Schools is going back to the drawing board for classified staff, everyone not certified. Superintendent Green has reached out to Gwinnett Schools to enlist their help.

Procurement Assessment Indicates Fraud
February 26, 2019 – DeKalb Schools recently completed a cursory assessment of its procurement process. It indicated that ethics and integrity in the procurement process is practically non existent.

Enrollment Forecasting – How Does That Work
February 21, 2019 – DeKalb Schools recently released 7-year enrollment forecasts for the Dunwoody and Chamblee clusters as well as all the other schools in the district. How does the school district forecast enrollment?

Smaller Schools Are Better Schools
February 20, 2019 – Research shows that smaller schools reduce the effects of poverty, are safer, reduce violence, increase parental involvement and student academic achievement.

DeKalb Schools Board Public Retreat
February 15, 2019 – The monthly board meetings rarely provide the opportunity to think, focus and plan the way a retreat can. Retreats can also provide for a wide range of issues that do not necessarily fit with existing monthly agenda items.

Need Input – New Salary Schedules
February 12, 2019 – DeKalb Schools administration is moving fast and furious to correct this issue. I’m trying to get out and vet the documentation as expeditiously as possible.

I could use your feedback.

News Flash – Compensation Letter
February 9, 2019 – Superintendent Green apologizes. Mistakes were made. “We value you”, says Green who has a plan moving forward.

News & Updates – 2/5/2019
February 5, 2019 – There is movement on the TSA lawsuit. I get a few answers from the administration about the Phase II salary schedule implementation. The procurement audit will be released.

Building Additions Vs Redistricting & Consolidating
February 3, 2019 – DeKalb Schools has 6,167 high school seats not being used. Why aren’t we talking about redistricting and consolidating high schools?

Architect’s Preliminary Report Chamblee Charter HS Building Additions
January 29, 2019 – Hussey Gay Bell (HGB) is the Architectural and Engineering (A&E) firm hired to construct a 600-seat, three-story addition to Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS). This week they came out with a preliminary report. No way around it, this project is going way over budget.

Questions – New Teacher Salary Schedule
January 29, 2019 – There has, no doubt, been a lack of communication from the administration on how the new teacher salary schedules will work. The minimal communication in tandem with misleading charts and a complicated system to begin with has lead us to where we are now.

Chamblee Cluster 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts
January 19, 2019 – Chamblee Charter High School is currently right at capacity with 1,722 students enrolled. Chamblee Charter HS is currently projected to have 1979 students by 2025.

Compensation & Classification Salary Adjustments
January 15, 2019 – From the Sharepoint Portal (Word for Word): ​DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has completed its most recent Compensation & Class Study, mandated by Board of Education Policy GCA.

Update On Phase 2 Salary Steps for All Staff
January 10, 2019 – On Monday, the DeKalb Schools Board approved the Salary Steps for All Staff – Phase 2-2a. Most employees will get a competitive raise and everybody will start stepping again. There are a few hurdles, however, with implementing said raises in a timely fashion.

Chamblee Redistricting
Superintendent Recommendation

January 8, 2019 – The New John Lewis Brookhaven Elementary School will be opening Fall 2019 and will have over 500 additional seats of capacity. Here is the Superintendent’s Chamblee Cluster redistricting recommendation.

Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts
January 3, 2019 – DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has updated the long-term enrollment forecasts for each school year from the Fall of 2019 through the Fall of 2025. Even with these conservative estimates, Dunwoody HS (DHS) enrollment is expected to exceed 2,300 by 2021.

2019 Salary Schedules And Comparison
December 29, 2018 – DeKalb Schools will implement a new salary schedule starting January 1. It will be discussed and voted on by the board on January 7th in time for January 15th checks. Here are the new teacher and counselor salary schedules and how they compare to the other Metro Atlanta school districts.

New Step Structures for DeKalb Teachers
December 24, 2018 – In June, DeKalb Schools board approved the plan for DeKalb teachers to get a 2.5% raise and start stepping. The administration has neglected to communicate with the teachers the Phase II raise they are supposed to receive in January. There are a number of open questions. Here is what we know.

2018 CCRPI
November 29, 2018 – Now that the 2018 data is out, the school district met individually with school board members to review the data and scores. In these meetings, the administration discussed their focus and methodologies for improving future scores.

Chamblee Redistricting Options – Meeting 3
November 27, 2018 – The New John Lewis Brookhaven Elementary School will be opening Fall 2019 and will have over 500 additional seats of capacity. These are currently the two redistricting options being considered. Public meeting tonight to discuss.

College Admissions 101
November 11, 2018 – Planning on going to college? Some insight into some of the mysteries of college admission. For the majority of colleges, Grades & Strength of Schedule is the most important factor. Many colleges will recalculate your high school GPA- most focus on core GPA.

Graduation Schedule – DeKalb Schools Class of 2019
November 2, 2018 – Currently the school district is planning on having graduation ceremonies in the middle of the Summer. That’s understandably not going over very well with the parents. Here’s the current schedule for 2019 graduation ceremonies.

DeKalb Schools 2018 CCRPI Scores
October 29, 2018 – The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) earned a score of 70 in the Georgia’s 2018 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) assigns grades of A–F to schools based on the CCRPI score. GOSA terms schools “failing” if the CCRPI score is less than 60.