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.
I see that one of the board members voted along with the majority of their schools and constituents even if their personal feelings differed. That is a tough call to make and I appreciate the time and energy that went into it. At this point, it is time to move forward and I am looking forward to seeing the project list as it develops. I appreciate how much thought went into the vote and all of the hard work done by the school councils and BOE. Thank you for posting.
Do MacMahan and Orson really believe what they are peddling? MacMahan often likes to take credit for getting Sagamore into Lakeside. Is he going to take the credit for sending them out of Lakeside.
Folks commenting that the everyone did the best they could do not have a clue about how the BOE works and the politics of the administration and their complete disregard for the constituents they serve. It is about the children… not the adults.
My sense of what happened at the OGE school meeting with Mr. MacMahon was that Mr. MacMahon presented delaying the vote as a lost cause because the constituencies involved didn’t have the power to stop it. While I do not have any information on an official OGE council or other representative position, and in fairness that turned out to be true, it is also qualitatively different from the school community being “for” moving forward with the vote. Acquiescing to what is presented as a lost cause is not the same thing as being in favor of it. It is over and yes, time to move on, but I do not appreciate what I perceive as misrepresentation and will remember that in the next round of elections.
McMahan has always and will always “Go along to get along”. Jim advocates for whatever is going to happen anyway.
I attended the OGE meeting with Jim McMahan and appreciated the info given about the proposed project list, especially how it would impact the overcrowding at Cross Key schools, LHS, and Indian Creek. Questions were asked and answered and I left not feeling like I acquiesced to any group, but wanted to see the much needed improvements move forward. Many parents and community members voiced the same desire to move the vote forward.
JimmyMac and Orson are the worst board members ever. They have screwed their own communities. Do either of them even have a day job?
Gina, What “much needed improvements” are you referring to?
Orson should be relieved of his duties. How do we start impeachment?
DIO – could you consider contributing something to the dialog beside labeling everyone? I’m not complaining about your label for me – “Butt Munch” has such a cute and juvenile ring to it. But you seem to join the dialog only when you want to pass judgment on people. I’m going to call you, “Drive-by DIOS.” There, now I’ve contributed to the name calling.
Now back to the thread … I think all BoE members deserve our basic respect whether we agree with them or not. I vehemently disagreed with Stan’s view of the John Lewis ES naming kerfuffle but still offer him my respect for being willing to serve.
I’ve disagreed with, and personally insulted Marshall Orson, over the years. But I’ve never had anything other than respect for his dedicated service. I do not have as much of a record with Jim M. but find him to always be thoughtful in his positions. Suggesting any of these three isn’t worthy of our respect just sounds like vitriol against an opponent in a debate.
I hope we can do better over time in DeKalb than that – our continuing progress depends on us expecting and getting more trust in our BoE. That’s from D1 all the way to the right of the dias.