2013 – Archived FactChecker Posts

Should Georgia Have New School Districts?
December 31, 2013 – By Erika Harris
Co-Chair of GLASS (Georgians for Local Area School Systems)

DeKalb Schools in the AJC
December 9, 2013 – This weekend an entire page in the AJC, Opinion – A23, was dedicated to various editorials regarding DeKalb Schools.

One Small Step For Justice
November 21, 2013 – While we anxiously await the trials and indictments churned out by the metro Atlanta conveyor belt of corruption, let us savor for a moment the justice that has been recently served.

Update on the Fight Against Corruption
November 1, 2013 – Pat Reid and Tony Pope – The jury was selected this week. DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted back in June by a grand jury on 15 counts.

10/07/2013 – Financial Report – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
October 22, 2013 – Two big ticket items need to be reconciled with actuals and the vendor report is alarming.

AJC Plays Dueling Charter Cluster Banjos
October 18, 2013 – Maureen Downey, Get Schooled blog at the AJC, is directing the Druid Hills Charter Cluster version of dueling banjos.

Common Core – Where Do We Stand?
October 18, 2013 – What is Common Core? Supporters assert it is a high-quality, voluntarily adopted set of national mathematics and language arts standards that will help transform American education by aiming all students at uniform, lofty goals. Opponents argue adoption of the Core was federally coerced, the standards are of dubious quality, and one size simply cannot fit all.

McKoon Cleaning Up From The Senate Floor
October 17, 2013 – DeKalb Schools doesn’t stand alone with its ethics issues, if that makes you feel any better. State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, has been standing up for taxpayers and children in Muscogee county recently embattled with their Superintendent and board of education over a no bid contract with their law firm since 1950 … I kid you not. It has effectively been an ATM machine for the local law firm Hatcher-Stubbs.

Crawford Lewis Pleads Guilty
October 16, 2013 – Crawford Lewis and crew were at the helm during DeKalb Schools’ darkest days of corruption. Oddly, at the same time, SACS fully accredited the DeKalb School District with no warnings saying “Effective leadership at all levels”. Former DeKalb Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis has agreed to plead guilty to one charge of obstructing a law-enforcement officer, a misdemeanor that would end one part of a nearly three-year-old legal case that alleged corruption in the district’s construction management.

09/09/2013 – Tapestry Charter – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
September 24, 2013 – Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond captured the Tapestry discussion saying about charters in general, “We don’t have the understanding or capability to offer you an objective analysis.”

09/09/2013 – HR Report – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
September 23, 2013 – The Human Resources report at the the 09/09/2013 board meeting revealed some interesting nuggets of information which beg some very important questions.

09/09/2013 – RT3 Funds – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
September 19, 2013 – At the 09/09/2013 board meeting, Race To The Top (RT3) training was on the agenda. The Executive Leadership Academy, better known as the PhD program for administrators, was started under Dr. Atkinson. The DeKalb Schools Board approved in a split decision the first year of the academy last year. At a price tag of $350K, the academy was designed to prepare 8 potential district leaders for local and district level positions.

09/09/2013 – Financial Report – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
September 17, 2013 – The new Interim Superintendent, CFO and appointed board created and passed the FY ’14 budget. The fiscal year begins on July 1. On 09/09/2013, the CFO presented the July 2013 Monthly Financial Report.

09/09/2013 – Public Comments – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
September 15, 2013 – Public comment at the board meeting this week was lively and well attended. Both advocates and opponents of the Druid Hills Charter Cluster petition showed up in force. The advocates focused on a community coming together to serve and improve their schools. Opponents see the efforts as divisive and tended to suggest that outreach into the minority community was inadequate.

08/05/2013 – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
August 8, 2013 – DeKalb Schools’ theme, “New leadership, new vision, new direction: Improving student performance through parental engagement”, seems to translate into the board and administration creating new non teaching positions. This is Friends and Family 2.0.

07/01/2013 DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
July 3, 2013 – Unlike previous board meetings, Dr. Morley and the Interim Superintendent didn’t beat the other board members into submission. While the agenda contained some surprises and the voting results were sometimes unclear, Dr. Morley and the Interim Superintendent arguably outwitted their opponents. Dual Accreditation and the After School Money were the big issues of the day.

06/03/2013 – Supreme Court of Georgia – Dr Walker v GaBOE
June 5, 2013 – The public sentiment to date is summarized in Judge Story’s decision, “The interest of the public in a healthy public school system outweighs the interests of board members“.

05/23/2013 – Thurmond at NCA
June 3, 2013 – Superintendent Michael Thurmond and board reps Jim McMahan and Ms. Karen Carter answered questions for Northlake Community Alliance (NCA) on Thursday 05/23/2013.

DeKalb County Schools Budget
May 16, 2013 – The Superintendent is projecting more revenue will be available for the FY14 budget. Specifically, the Superintendent is projecting DCSS will end FY13 with revenues exceeding expenses. The primary source is accumulated money in the after school program accounts for various schools.

04/23/2013 – Thurmond at TPC
May 5, 2013 – Michael Thurmond met with a concerned but agreeable Tucker Parent Council Tuesday afternoon on 4/23. Most of the concerns centered around over crowding and affidavits.

05/01/2013 – Thurmond at DCPC
May 2, 2013 – Michael Thurmond was visibly disconcerted during his Q&A with the DCPC (Dunwoody Chamblee Parent Council) on Wednesday. He steered away from citing too many data points and made it clear he intends to spend a lot of time and money on low performing schools saying “lifting from the bottom” and getting parents involved will elevate all schools.

04/03/2013 Board Meeting With SACS
April 26, 2013

  1. Brief overview of accreditation process
  2. DeKalb County School District’s accreditation history
  3. Areas of concern
  4. Moving Forward

04/17/2013 Michael Thurmond at ELPC
April 18, 2013 – Michael Thurmond spoke with the Emory Lavista Parent Council Wednesday, April 17 about the state of the school system.

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