Converting McNair High School to a Start-Up Charter

.pdf link icon DeKalb College & Career Academy Charter School Petition (Searchable PDF)
eboard link icon eboard – Meeting agenda item
 07/30/2014 – McNair Charter Petition Video and Transcript
This evening at 5pm, the DeKalb Schools board will vote to approve converting Ronald McNair High School into a Start-Up Charter School over the next 6 years.  As a start-up charter, DeKalb College & Career Academy Charter School will enjoy autonomy not currently granted to conversion charters.  That autonomy includes personnel decisions, financial decisions, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, establishing and monitoring the achievement of school improvement goals, and school operations.
Superintendent Michael Thurmond mentioned at the 04/23/2013 Tucker Parent Council that he has been working with the President of Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Jabari Simama, to setup a career academy in DeKalb County.  The Technical College System of Georgia has provided a $3 million dollar grant for construction costs.  Partners with this charter school include Georgia Piedmont Technical College and DeKalb businesses such as Georgia Power, DeKalb Fire and Rescue, Epps Aviation, Siemens and Oglethorpe Power.
Budget (Page 776)
The DeKalb College & Career Academy Charter School charter petition is 861 pages.  In FY2006 the charter school is anticipated to have 300 students and will grow to 1500 students by FY2020.  Ronald McNair High School capacity is currently 1524.  The Georgia Certified Employees Salary Schedule (page 34) will serve as a guide for teacher compensation.  Teachers will presumably be employees of Georgia Piedmont Technical College and can be paid more with waivers granted by the board.  The starting salary of the principal will be $108K and will grow to $122K by FY2020.
Transportation (Page 36)
Despite $0 being allocated in the budget for transportation, the DeKalb College and Career Academy will provide transportation for students from central bus stops. The school will contract with DeKalb County School District for special needs students.
Performance Based Goals  (Page 21)
80% of the students will meet or exceed state standards by year 1 on all Georgia Milestone assessments.  Note: Georgia Milestone assessments are taking the place of CRCT and EOCT.  The percentage of students who meet/exceed standards on the Georgia Milestone assessments will increase by 5% each year thus reaching 100% pass rate in 5 years.
Board Members
DeKalb College and Career Academy shall be governed by the following Governing Board of Directors:

Mr. Michael Thurmond DeKalb County School District
Dr.Jabari Simama Georgia College Piedmont Technical
Mr. Cornell McBride McBride Research Lab
Mr. Corbett Davis DeKalb Fire and Rescue
Ms. Sadie Dennard Georgia Power
Mr. Ray Cheek Snapping Shoals
Ms. Janet Spaulding VideoLarm
Ms. Deidre Pierce Georgia PTA
Adrian Hylton Miller Grove High School

7 responses to “Converting McNair High School to a Start-Up Charter

  1. The Board of directors seems to be a red flag. Having Thurmond and Simama on the Board is clearly a conflict of interest. If this is allowed to slip by the public will deserve what it gets.
    I would also like to see who is handling the money. You know that law states that Charter finance directors need to have 10 years experience before they can be the financial director for a charter school.
    With this board of directors I would be willing to bet that they never get turned down for anything. If we allow this to happen we really are stupid.
    See how your board member votes. That will be a real indication of their depth of study.

  2. Paula Caldarella

    In quick review of the Charter petition, it states that the DCSD CFO will be the CFO of the new school and the school’s financial management system will be managed by the CFO of DCSD. Aren’t these start-up charters required to have their own CFO?

  3. Paula Caldarella

    That being said, I hope it works.

  4. @ Paula
    I believe you are right.

  5. AnotherComment

    From AJC Get Schooled. Posted by anothercomment:
    The huge hypocrisy is that last night Michael Thurmond and the Dekalb board passed a new Charter starter up at McNair High school called the Career and Technology ( something like that charter) with none other than Michael Thurman as the President of the Board of Directors with Jabari ( the recommended person to be indicted by a future Grand Jury by the first Grand Jury in Dekalb County along with Mr. CEO I ( who just lost by a landslide the sherif race) ), the President of Dekalb Piedmont technical College. I read last night a very poorly written cut and paste 300 + paste job of a charter proposal. One for a charter school for technical school dual enrollment starting in 8 th through 12. Yet in some places says you can start taking dual enrollment until 11 th, yet other charts show dual enrollment classes starting in 8 th grade… It also talks of gifted students and gifted classes for page upon page. Really for a technical school. Then it shows only offering on level and AP classes but no honors classes. Why offer AP and no Honors. Students that want to take technical classes won’t be the same ones that take straight AP. Then they cut and Pasted hundreds of pages of the common core standards, the state pay schedules.
    They claim they have done market research on in demand training and associates degrees since you can have the equivalent at the end. The actual technical offerings are all offer are all over the place. Still offering architectural drafting sequence is out of date. I have a degree in Architecture and a Degree in Engineering, taught in the field at a top University, Worked in the field over 20 years, was a supervisor who hired and fired for over 17 years. It was back in 1989, that I made my Engineers and Architects get rid of the drafting tables and convert to Autocad ( computer aided drafting program then). Our last dedicated draftsman retired a couple years later. Every hire since has either been a degreed ( 4 year plus from an NCARB accredited for architecture ; architecture major or an Engineering student from at least a top 50 accredited university ( eg. No Devry or ITT tech grads) ; or summer paid interns who are attending one of the fore mentioned Universities and making adequate progress for temporary three month term positions. Every architect and engineer is expected these days to be able to produce their own drawings on CAD. Of Course, those 1-3 years out of school will produce 75 % of an offices working drawings while those who are more experienced will do the conceptional design and project management. With the advent of CAD, computer aid design and the ability to modify base drawings, and for multiple professionals to work on the drawings at the same time, it does not make sense for their to be a separate track for non professionals as draftsmen. I sent numerous comments to the State Board of Education on this Career tract this past year as a professional. First, that they were calling it a title that does not exist anymore. Then the requirements and depth of knowledge they had listed in the standards of some of the classes were more than what an 4 year Architectural degree student was required to do in 3rd or 4 th year design studio. Then I also told them these classes should be taught be people who had Autocad certificates and were retired design professionals. Teaching certification was not needed, but the other experience was mandatory.
    The combined electrical and HVAC track was strange too. This is so uncommon. First of all electrical and mechanical engineers have as divergent personalities as can be. Same thing with electricians and Plumbers/HVAC. They are different. The type of person that functions in each trade is different. In One every move is live or death, in the other it doesn’t need the precision. Only in one very narrow sub speciality do you need a combination, that would be in HVAC controls or Building controls systems. For example being a technician working for Johnson Controls or one of the people who try to claim they can do ( but can’t what Johnson does for,less) . This would be less than 100 employees in the whole market place. of course, they are the highest paid ones. But if you are good Johnson will train you or you pick it up naturally. That is what makes someone special. That is also why the Navy and life on a Submarine makes the best HVAC, plumbers, boilermakers, electrician, control guy training. If you want this training. Join the navy for 6 years on a sub. Then I will hire you if you are over an e-5 and DD214 reads correct.
    basically it is very suspicions that this McNair Charter that is full of holes but with Friends and Family galore was passed without much discussion. The very well constructed Druid Hills was voted down by the same Friends and Family.

  6. Another comment

    Thanks to who ever published my comments on this outrageous abuse of power here and again on Maureen Downey’s site.
    Stan, thanks for bringing this out. Are you going to WSB and the AJC. Since, you are a board elect and Coleman is not showing up for these meetings you should.

  7.  07/30/2014 – McNair Charter Petition Video and Transcript
    Thurmond  – I’m certain that if we are fortunate enough to receive the grant, this will be revisited on more than one occasion because there has to be a budget developed and administrative oversight and all of that must occur. But, first and foremost we have to see if we can receive the grant and that’s a tight window.
    Morley  – I think we are putting the cart before the horse and spending a lot of time … it’s a grant … it’s a response to a grant….
    Everything is not in here like the Superintendent said. Until that grant is approved, that’s when the work begins to put this together. I know we have questions … and that’s great. But, it’s a grant … it’s not the actual program.
    When they start actually going into it and laying it out, that’s when it’s going to be really, really the questions and the rubber meets the road. But, right not it’s a response to a grant and it’s that response that has to be met by federal state guidelines …
    This is not the actual program. There’s going to be work that has to be done on this to put it together once it’s approved.
    Mayfield – Point of clarification, this is actually a charter petition we are voting on and not the grant itself.