Public Meetings – GO Bond & E-SPLOST Projects

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) seeks stakeholder input on options to address E-SPLOST budget issues.

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 projects going WAY over budget as well as some additional projects. The proposed options were presented to the Board of Education on July 8, 2019.


Summary of 3‐Step Process
E‐SPLOST and GO Bond Options
Budget and Scope Adjustments

Part of the proposed options is a potential referendum to approve a General Obligation(GO) bond issue. E-SPLOST is WAY over budget, so to complete the current E-SPLOST program and as well as complete additional projects to address facility needs. The GO bond would be up to $265 Million.

The five meetings will be held at the following locations on the following dates:
• Clarkston High School, August 26, 2019, 7:00 pm
• Chamblee High School, August 27, 2019, 7:00 pm
• Miller Grove High School, August 28, 2019, 7:00 pm
• Columbia High School, September 4, 2019, 7:00 pm
• Lakeside High School, September 10, 2019, 7:00 pm

To receive more public input, DCSD is conducting an online survey. I took it and thought it was VERY confusing.

Take The Survey >>>>

The current E-SPLOST program is funded by a one cent sales tax. The GO Bond would be funded by a roughly 1 mill property tax increase for the next 15 years. So your annual property taxes would increase by $50 for every $150K your house is worth.

DeKalb Schools Go Bond Property Tax


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.

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.

37 responses to “Public Meetings – GO Bond & E-SPLOST Projects

  1. At 1.18% and climbing, DeKalb is tied with Clayton for second highest in tax rates in the state, after Gwinnett. But – Gwinnett schools were rated a 10 (out of 10) and Clayton and DeKalb were both rated a 2. (See this 2016 AJC article on the subject >> ) Worth it to throw even more money at this failing behemoth? Personally, I think citizens and parents should sue the county for mishandling of tax funds and insist that the county and school district be broken into several smaller components/districts. It’s only gotten worse over the 20 years I’ve been watching. Continuing to take the same failing actions over and over again is insanity.

  2. Completely agree with Cere.

  3. Despina Lamas

    Cere, you are so right. Let me know where to sign up for that lawsuit. Until DCSD can prove that they’ve made improvements to their financial mismanagement, I will not support support a tax increase. Everyone, say NO to GO!

  4. DSW2Contributor

    Cere, my understanding is that Gwinnett gets more QBE and other state funding than DCSD does, so their local school taxes should be less than our local school taxes.

    Here’s their budget:
    An excerpt from page 1:
    State Revenue
    The proposed FY2020 budget was developed for Gwinnett County Public Schools prior to the conclusion of the 2019 legislative session and final approval of the state budget. Therefore, the Governor’s most current state budget recommendations at the time of budget development were used as the basis for the proposed local budget.

    GCPS will receive a net of $52.3 million more in state funding than the district received in FY2019, based on the Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula. The additional revenue is due to increases in a number of formula-driven allocations.

    QBE Formula Earning Increases for Gwinnett County Public Schools:

    $7.7 million in additional formula earnings due to projected student growth $41.4 million for salary increases allotted through the State Teacher Salary Schedule

    $8.4 million for the state-funded portion of teacher salary step increases (compensation for training and experience) and the additional certificated employees who will be enrolled in state health insurance plans

    $1.2 million in additional formula earnings due to an increase in the rate of the employer contribution to the Teachers Retirement System from 20.90% to 21.14%

    An increase of $4.4 million in the district’s projected FY2020 Equalization funding, from $82.0 million in FY2019 to $86.4 million. These funds are intended to narrow the gap between public school systems in terms of property “wealth per student.”

    GCPS will rank 85 th among Georgia’s 180 districts in wealth per student next year.

    The $63.1 million in additional state revenue above will be offset by an increase of $10.8 million for the system’s “Local Five-Mill Share,” a required cost of participating in the QBE program. The state subtracts from a school district’s total earnings the equivalent of five effective mills of local taxes. For FY2020, GCPS’ five-mill deduction will be $166.8 million compared to $156.0 million in FY2019. The resulting net increase in state revenue, therefore, will be $52.3 million.

  5. DSW2Contributor

    A Gwinnett teacher even went on a HUNGER STRIKE to ensure that his school district kept getting its “full” QBE funding:

  6. Barbara Fountain

    NO MORE MONEY TO DEKALB SCHOOLS, until taxpayers see better results, use wisely what you have, you have a fortune to work with.Stan ,@any news on search for new super?

  7. Superintendent search – I believe the RFQ is on the street to find a search firm.

  8. dekalbteacher


    Sorry but you can’t cite QBE funding difference without also acknowledging the difference in number of employees. Gwinnett has about 180,000 students and 22,000 employees. Dekalb has about 100,000 students and 15,500 employees. If the school district wants to operate as a jobs program, taxpayers should know that and make that choice.

  9. Lose the Magnet

    How about none of the above? Let’s see we are ONE OF THE WORST SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN THE STATE. Why do we want to invest more behind it? Has throwing money at the problem fixed it in the past? That’s a big fat NO.

    I go back to the definition of insanity and that is certainly the case in Dekalb County. #notonemoreredcent.

  10. Stan,

    Where did option C come from?

  11. No GO is the best option. The school system needs to figure out how to be good stewards of the property they currently run and stop being penalized for all the empty seats at under enrolled schools.

  12. Kirk has a very good question. The Options presented on July 8 are based on GO Bonds of $222 Million or $265 Million. Very specific projects were defined for each Option.

    Stan, where did the GO Bond options of $180 Million, $210 Million, or $245 Million come from: What projects will be funded for each of these Options?

    The DCSD website still lists 2 GO Bond Options of $222 Million or $265 Million.

    Whatever the proposal, Cathy D has it right – No GO is the best option.

  13. NO on GO!

    Someone please develop a yard sign.

  14. NO GO here too, they can’t even get new student online registration right (even in year 2 of doing it this way), total fiasco yet again. Stan, you should write a blog about it, such a mess! Complete scare tactics for those of us in the Chamblee cluster and northern Dekalb… NO and suffer the consequences. Whatever. And, all the $$$ Dekalb spent on the Communications department a few years back, what a joke. These are just teeny tiny examples of a completely broken and terribly mismanaged school system.

  15. Kirk, Option C – No GO Bond option – is what the administration is currently saying should happen if the GO bond isn’t approved. I’m not sure how they came to that project list.

    Anonymous, This post has the current options. The $180M, $210M & $245M graphic is old … but gives an accurate picture of the finances.

  16. Stan,
    What is RFQ? Thanks.

  17. This could probably be its own post, but I’ll go ahead and dump everything thing here. When soliciting vendors, there are several different methods:
    ITB – Invitation To Bid
    RFP – Request For Proposal
    RFQ – Request For Quotes … or could be Request For Qualifications

    Superintendent Search
    The RFQ for the Superintendent Search is based on the feedback provided by the board and contains some of the elements from the following docs:

    Initially, the intent was to issue a Request for Quotes but after consultation with Purchasing and General Counsel, the document will be issued as a formal Request for Qualifications through a public bid advertisement. This is to ensure the language is in place under the boilerplate template for legal and liability coverage.

    The Request for Qualifications was released Thursday, August 1, 2019, in the legal organ, The Champion News. It will run for two consecutive Thursdays (8/1 and 8/8). Also, 32 vendors will receive an e-notification announcing the bid (see attached vendor labels). Purchasing will post on the District’s solicitation website and will post on the State of Georgia’s Procurement Registry.

    The suggested timeline for releasing the RFQ is as follows but can be amended at the board’s direction.

    • Receive required edits/input for the Board – due by Wednesday, July 10, 2019
    • Release RFQ to list of vendors – Friday, July 12, 2019
    • RFQ responses due from vendors – Tuesday, July 23, 2019
    • Send RFQ responses to Board – Thursday, July 25, 2019

  18. @ Stan – do you mean August in the timeline? When do you expect the BOE to select one and approve at a BOE meeting – Sept? Oct?

  19. I expect to select a new permanent superintendent sometime next Summer.

  20. Arts School???!

    Where is the Arts school going to be located? Why is it a priority when we don’t have adequate “normal” facilities across the county?

  21. @ Stan – sorry for the unclear question – based on the timeline above, do you expect RFQ results to be given to the BOE in Aug? Above says July. When do you expect the BOE to approve a search firm – Sept? Thanks for the anticipated timeline for a new super.

  22. Michelle Fincher

    @ Stan – How are the 32 vendors that receive an e-notification selected?

  23. Stan,
    As a taxpayer, next summer is too long for a new superintendent. Green is not fit to carry out the full year.

    Also, another lawsuit may happen with the burn incident in a Redan High School Chemistry class on the 2nd day of school.

  24. DSW2Contributor

    ^ The Redan HS incident Jane mentioned, “DeKalb high school student burned during chemistry lab experiment”:–law/just-dekalb-high-school-student-burned-during-lab-experiment/LYr57C9QLg9VeR535Pz6vO/

    This F-up happened on the *second* day of classes. There is no reason why a student should have been near a Bunsen burner on day 2 of a Chemistry class; on day 2, the class should have been learning basics, like how to take volume and mass measurements.

    You can be sure that DCSD will be writing a 6 or 7 figure check as part of the confidential settlement.

  25. Does our brand new curriculum really call on for an experiment on day 2?

    If so, that’s nuts!

  26. Hello Michelle, The vendor list has mailing and email addresses. I’m not sure how the vendors will be contacted. Ramona Tyson will be in the audience during public comment. She knows.

    Jane, Exactly like you said, my understanding is that there is a hiring freeze except for schoolhouse positions.

  27. Stan,

    Monday I mentioned the 109 special education teacher positions posted in PATS to Stacey Stepney and she just smiled and said, “There is a hiring freeze.”

    Are you sure the administration is letting teaching positions be filled?

  28. There is not supposed to be a freeze on school house employees.

  29. Wish there was a stand-alone post for comments on the survey options. I’m guessing groups are gathering to form an “educated response” and the survey is flawed in that it lumps so many options into one comment. For example, a parent could “strongly agree” to advocate for keeping a promised security vestibule and security fence installation at an elementary school, but then by association “strongly agree” for the Dunwoody High School addition. Not necessary related options.

  30. Michelle Fincher

    @Cat – I strongly disagreed on everything, then made comments. The survey is terrible.

  31. It is also noteworthy that the Georgia Supreme Court is suppose to rule on the TSA case in December. If the plaintiffs get anything, then DeKalb Schools will have to raise the millage rate from 23.08 mills to 25 mills for a few years.

    History of Gold Case (TSA)
    In 2017, Judge Gregory Adams dismissed the employees’ lawsuit entirely. Plaintiffs appealed. June 1, 2018, the Georgia Court of Appeals overturned the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims. Appeals court said the Plaintiffs were entitled to judgment on liability in their favor. The school district appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.

    Georgia Supreme Court decided to hear this case and is expected to come out with a decision in December.

  32. Stan, I don’t know where to post this, but is there a hiring freeze for non-school house positions or not?

    The official minutes for the June 25 meeting to approve the 2019-20 budget don’t mention anything about a hiring freeze.

    PATS is certainly full of non-school house job postings for the 2019-20 budget year.

    So was the talk about a hiring freeze just ‘feel good’ talk so that BOE members would vote for the budget? If it’s real, then why are so many jobs posted?

  33. Joy, thank you for posting. Kudos to the Dunwoody parents holding DCSD accountable.

    What’s most interesting to me is the statement from Evergreen Construction about why Gwinnett schools are so much cheaper than Cross Keys:

    “The Cross Keys HS site is a tight and fairly complicated site as opposed to a typical GCPS site which in that past came graded and level.”
    “In-town sites tend to be tighter and less workable. As well there tend to be more constraints on and around in-town sites.”

    Goodness, Cross Keys is a 27 acre site surrounding a stadium. If they think the Cross Keys site is “tight and fairly complicated” and “less workable,” just wait until they try to squeeze 600 seats at the Chamblee campus, 400 seats at the Lakeside campus, and 1000 seats at the Dunwoody campus.

    All of the additions will have to be built while school is in session, putting lots of safety and operational restrictions on the construction plan while literally thousands of teenagers are on-site.

    Can you imagine the traffic jams of cranes and cement mixers clogging up Briarcliff, Vermack, and Chamblee-Dunwoody? Can you imagine the elaborate choreography of squeezing by trailers that clog Dunwoody and Lakeside? There’s very little space for a staging area either.

    I just see the cost going up, ka-ching, ka-ching.

    The decision NOT to build a Doraville high school was based on really poor cost estimates, either wishful thinking or deliberate manipulation.

    Buying a large site in Doraville for a new high school would be costly but construction costs would have to be cheaper, since there wouldn’t be thousands of teenagers sharing the construction zone.

  34. Is the vote whether to initiate a GO bond referendum ultimately up to vote by the DeKalb School Board?
    Also, catching up on last board meeting and public comment and am surprised to hear feedback from Henderson Mill ES not wanting a rebuilt school, whether at the Hawthorne site or not. I heard for years from Mitch Green how horrible the learning conditions were at HMES and he was a huge advocate and rallied many others for being next on the list of rebuilds.

  35. Mark Reed,

    What you heard was Henderson Mill parents not wanting to combine with Hawthorne in a 900 seat school. The schools have very different programs, HMES is STEM & STEAM focused. Hawthorne has very small teacher-to-student ratios and a large population of students with disabilities. Nobody has said how the two schools would be integrated.

  36. And if the school is built on the Hawthorne site, traffic will be a nightmare in the neighborhood.