News & Updates – 8/30/2018

DeKalb Schools news and updates for Aug 30, 2018.

DeKalb Schools sues Atlanta over Emory area Annexation
The school district is opposed to Atlanta Public Schools (APS) taking control of tax revenue generated from that area as well as any property owned by DeKalb Schools. The annexation approved by the Atlanta City council late last year didn’t include the school district until the last minute. DeKalb Schools obtained an injunction on the grounds that the 11th hour change to the annexation violated Atlanta’s charter. Dekalb Schools is now seeking to get involved in a case where APS is seeking to expand its boundaries into Fulton. Related Annexation Stories >>

Chamblee High School Football
A number of controversies at Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS) are emanating from the football field this season. The head football coach procured t-shirts emblazoned with “DBNP”. The coach and school district insist it stands for “Don’t Be No Procrastinator”. I’ve been told by parents that “everybody knows what it really means”. Either way, I’m not a fan of the double negative. The coach also had the team travel 4 hours down to Valdosta to play a team a couple divisions higher than CCHS where they lost to Lowndes HS 62-0. There was also a payment made from Lowndes to Chamblee Charter. The coach is currently suspended and an investigation is underway.

Dunwoody HS plays Chamblee Charter HS in football tomorrow, Fri 8/31 @ 7:30pm

Updated Georgia Law – Passing a School Bus
Please be careful driving in neighborhoods and especially in school zones. As usual, follow the law when you come to a school bus where the red lights are flashing and children are loading or unloading. Driving the opposite direction of a bus is permitted if the lanes are separated by a grass, dirt or concrete median. Georgia law has been updated to say that opposite traveling traffic does not have to stop if there is a turn lane separating the lanes.

Bus Drivers
District employees have been able to select from four 403(b) Vendors (providers) to make individual pre-tax contributions within the requirement of the 2% Matching Program. The board of education expanded eligibility to all DCSD PSERS participants including bus drivers.

DCSD offers free GED Program
DeKalb County School District (DCSD) parents will have another opportunity to earn their General Education Diploma (GED) through this free program. Participants must be at least 23 years old and a parent or guardian of a current DCSD student. I’m not sure providing free GEDs to adults is in the purview of the school district and I’m not sure why tax paying citizens of DeKalb who don’t have children aren’t allowed in the program. Is this a proper function of the school district?

85 responses to “News & Updates – 8/30/2018

  1. Ok, I’ll bite. What does “DBNP” really stand for?

    And yes, if the school district is going to provide a pathway to a free GED, then it needs to be available to ANY resident of DeKalb county. Personally, I think it’s a great idea! Teaching English to non-speakers is also a great idea.. and all part of the mission of public education, IMHO.

  2. DBNP – You, me and Google aren’t familiar with the expression. I’m told it means “Don’t Be No (expletive)” … think 1991 Naughty By Nature song “OPP”.

    GED – I would rather the school district worked on rising to at least a mediocre level of K-12 education before branching out.

  3. Bill Armstrong

    Stan: While I get it was from Instagram – “assume everyone can see it” – 11Alive is now blurring the player’s face in this picture in newer stories, including last night. He’s still a kid who had no reason to think a picture from his personal Instagram would end up on TV. They should have blurred from the beginning – it’s not a picture they took.

    He’s a great kid who is working hard to do his best this season, like all his teammates. Post a picture of the coach if you wish, the AJC, & everyone else is now.

  4. Y’all have your minds in the gutter … if you Google it, the truth is that DBNP is a contaminate found on submarines and is a health threat. “The phenol 2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-nitrophenol (DBNP) is a contaminant found onboard submarines and is formed by the nitration of an antioxidant present in turbine lubricating oil TEP 2190. DBNP has been found on submarine interior surfaces, on eating utensils and dishes, and on the skin of submariners. DBNP exposure is a potential health concern because it is an uncoupler of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. … ”

    Because otherwise, the meaning you infer is behind DBNP is misogynistic – and we certainly can’t endorse that in a school district that prides itself on being ‘diverse’ and ‘inclusive’ and ‘anti-bullying’ and all that.

  5. He may be a great kid working hard at football, Bill, but he needs a lesson in R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The day the school district starts teaching boys respect for women and girls, is the day I will endorse their efforts.

  6. Bill Armstrong

    Stan: It’s blurred in the story you link to, the most recent. When they initially ran the story it wasn’t.

    Cere: Whether he, or any player, learn any lessons from this (and perhaps they will) – it doesn’t mean their own personal picture should be included in every story on the local news. As far as I can tell, 11Alive is now blurring his face – at least on the latest story.

    And yes, in the days of Google someone could quickly figure it out, my kid is on the team.

  7. Bill Armstrong

    Well, I correct myself somewhat – the video that aired last night has it blurred, but the image linking to it still has the un-blurred picture, as well as the original story usually linked below. I still think nothing is gained by including the players face.

  8. A picture is worth a thousand words and it gives the story some visual context. I’m happy to take the picture down if the student or legal guardians of the student would like me to.

  9. Dear Stan and Nancy,
    Thank you both for helping us stay informed.
    Regarding Chamblee HS.
    I don’t think that anyone is blaming the players at Chamblee. I am sure that it would be hard for a high school athlete to tell their coach, ” I am not going to wear this shirt that you told us to wear.”
    Also, I did wonder why Chamblee was traveling so far to play a team not in their division.

    2. 800 teachers leave DeKalb.

    3. Free GED Program
    Since all citizens pay taxes, how can the services only be for parents and guardians?

  10. I briefly spoke to Chief HCM Officer Dr. Gregory at the last board meeting regarding school house staff leaving. Dr. Gregory said school house leadership attrition is 18% and the teacher attrition rate is 12%. She also said the optimal attrition rate as defined by the NEA for teachers is about 8% – 10%.

  11. The purpose of travel for the first two games is to get money for a program that is trying to rebuild from a very low point. It is not uncommon for programs to take games for pay. The Lowndes coach coached the Chamblee coach in HS and I think Lowndes was helping the Chamblee program in the rebuild process.

  12. Thanks Pat. Any idea how much money they received, who received the money or what they planned on doing with the funds? I’m thinking driving four hours each way to lose 63 – 0 is the opposite of trying to build the team up.

  13. @Joy – I thought the same thing until I asked the coach during the summer.

    @Pat W. You are correct. He took the kids to Lowndes County to allow them what they can do and what they can attain in a building program. They just have to stick with the program and help it grow.

    Also, he scheduled a tour of Valdosta State, and when they go to Coffee County, he is doing the same thing (tour another college and have a group workout with the Coffee County Football team). He wants to show the boys that there is more out there than Chamblee/DeKalb County/Atlanta and they can attain whatever they work hard for.

    IMHO, I think he is trying to help students who need the most help.

  14. Amen, Stan:
    “GED – I would rather the school district worked on rising to at least a mediocre level of K-12 education before branching out.”

    Unless DCSD got a grant for the GED program, then they are taking K-12 funds and using them for GEDs.

    Maybe you can ask Dr. Bell which line item of the FY19 budget covers the GED program.

  15. Actually the same is true for the new early learning academy (the 200 three yr olds going to the free program – money comes from some DCSD pot of money), the children at Coralwood that are 3-4 and all the pre-k programs (the state doesn’t cover all the costs)….they all take funding from K12 which is who the district is charged with educating first. If we were doing a great job with K12, then by all means, expand but….

  16. When we have Gwinnett County winning awards literally next door, why does Dekalb struggle in so many areas? Surely there are worthy individuals who would jump at the chance of advancement to lead a turnaround in Dekalb….

  17. I’m not sure how much money was received and who all benefits from it. If DCSD did not have it’s archaic shared ticket revenue policy, while not providing the financial support necessary to run athletics properly, it might not force programs to make these hard decisions.

    BTW, who is UGA playing this Saturday? I’m sure Austin Peay is making out quite well.

  18. Property taxpayer

    I didn’t know HS teams were like colleges in that they paid teams to visit. What happens with the money that Lowndes paid Chamblee? If there’s a shared policy, did it go to the county coffers? Did it go to Chamblee?

    Also – shouldn’t Braaten have been on top of this mess? By all reports she held a mandatory assembly last year (mandatory for boys only) to sell the football program. She’s obviously involved. Yet she knows nothing about this t-shirt/money scenario? Hard to believe…

  19. @Property Taxpayer – Lowndes County has deep coffers when it comes to “Friday Night Football”. Think Texas high school football. They even built the marching band their own indoor practice facility with the money they raise.

    I thought the shared policy is only for tickets sales. I hope CCHS got to keep all the money, they deserve it since the county does not properly fund the programs.

  20. UPDATE ** Chamblee High Students participated in a 20 minute walk out in support of the football coach. The situation was monitored by SROs. It was a peaceful event. The students returned to class with no incident.

    Subsequent to the week long investigation, Coach Curtis Mattair has returned to Chamblee Charter High School on Aug. 31 after being placed on paid administrative leave on Monday, Aug. 27. His duties will continue as normal.

  21. Bill Armstrong

    Stan your report matches exactly what I know so far – from my eyes & ears on the ground over there. What did suck yesterday was Ch46 stalking the team as they tried to have their walkthru without distraction. I’m hoping the team can rally together tonight. It’s been a chaotic week.

  22. GED Program – The GED program is currently funded to accommodate 50 adults. There are roughly 400 people on the waiting list. If this program is successful, I anticipate that it will expand such that all Dekalb tax payers will be eligible.

  23. Thank you Stan,
    There is an article posted on It confirms Stan’s information. I am so sorry about this entire situation. If the administration knew about the shirts and felt they were not appropriate, I wonder why they did not just forbid the students from wearing them?. Since the DCSS student handbook does not allow clothing with offensive sayings, this would have been covered under that rule.

    Chamblee Coach Back after week long investigation

  24. I think the GED program and free preschool is a good idea. It should help prepare students for Kindergarten, and hopefully put lower income parents in a better position to care for their children.

    Will the school system closely track the students to see how they perform in K-12 vs. similar students who don’t have access to preschool?

  25. Photo Release

    No one at the school, county, or Board level should be putting any student’s face or identifying information anywhere, without making sure there is a media release. This seems like a very basic level of responsibility that any adult should understand, and certainly a Board member. What was on his personal instagram doesn’t change the basic obligation for the school, etc. to maintain his privacy in its own dealings.

  26. What does a media release have to do with it?

  27. What is the “archaic shared ticket revenue policy” that DeKalb implements? As a guess, I’m assuming that DeKalb schools split the gate receipts between the teams instead of home team taking everything.

    My high school got $10,000 to travel to Coffee County in 1992 (we won). That was a really good deal, but I’m assuming Chamblee would get at least $20,000 to $30,000 to give up a home game to Lowndes. It seems to me that this money should stay with the football/band programs or the coaches wouldn’t do it. Nothing unusual about that at all. Not sure why all DeKalb schools wouldn’t be doing this.

  28. Bill Armstrong

    Chad – I’m not exactly sure of the details of the shared revenue policy, I’m sure someone else can give those, not just on football but other sports that use the county stadiums like soccer. One factor that I do find annoying is that since no school actually has its own stadium, the involvement with the System, including financially, is frustrating to everyone involved.

    But I can confirm that all the proceeds from both of Chamblee’s long road trips- Lowndes County (8/24) & Coffee County (9/21) go directly to the school & DeKalb County shares none of it. The funds are primarily being used to cover travel expenses (buses & player meals). Since the players returned that night, there were no expenses for lodging. Although I will say parents were allowed to sign off & take their kids after the game, to either drive back separately that night, or stay the night & drive back the next morning. We chose the latter with our son.

    Although the trip had some setbacks – mainly Coach Mattair missing the trip, but also the bus broke down & they had to wait for a replacement, overall I think it was a positive experience. They got the opportunity to visit Valdosta State Univ. but more so they had the experience of playing in the big-time atmosphere of a program like Lowndes. I can’t speak for the others, but our family thought it was a positive experience overall, especially our son whose opinion matters most. It was his first start and he played well. Against such a high level of competition it was both a confidence booster for him as well as a bar-setter as he continues with his high school football career. As for the second similar trip to Coffee County, I’ll let you know how that goes.

    For now the focus is on the first JV game against Dunwoody on Thursday. After the roller coaster of the past 2 weeks, I’m hoping some return to normalcy will benefit them all.

  29. Policy – There is no ticket/concessions revenue sharing policy per se.

    Historically – The central office is currently in charge of ticket sales and concessions. I have been frustrated with this setup for a long time for numerous reasons. Service is slow. Parents and students stand in line for 30+ minutes to buy a tickets at the gate. We stand in line for 45+ minutes for concessions. I’m told the concessions is a friends and family contract. DSW might have more information on that.

    All school proceeds go to the central office and are redistributed by the central office as they see fit. I believe most of it goes to cover equipment and travel for athletics across the district.

    New Athletics Director – James Jackson is the new Executive Director for Athletics. He is looking into schools running their own tickets and concessions. For example, DHS was able to run tickets and concessions at a football scrimmage they held a few weeks ago.

    If schools like Tucker, LHS, CCHS, DHS, etc … start running their own tickets and concessions … obviously they’ll have to start paying for at least some of their own equipment and travel. I believe yhose are the details that are being hammered out now.

  30. Michelle Fincher

    I just drove by Dunwoody High and more trees are coming down at the corner. Will another quad be added this year? If not, why are these trees being removed now?

  31. Hello Michelle,
    Dunwoody HS Trailer Park – I expect at least 2 more quads to be installed there over the next 4 years.

  32. Michelle Fincher

    Thanks, Stan. I knew more were in the works, I just thought they were done for this year. I was foolishly hopeful they wouldn’t need them as planned, but my guess is they will need even more 🙁

  33. Bill Armstrong

    Stan: Chamblee did the same as Dunwoody’s scrimmage for its Spring Game vs. Druid Hills HS & it was a success financially & ran pretty smoothly. And we won! I’d like to see that at least as an option for any schools willing to take it on.

    We had our scrimmage on the road the same night that Dunwoody has theirs at North DeKalb, I would like to do as much as we can at “home.”

    Lines: I bought our tickets for Chamblee/Dunwoody online, avoided the ticket window line, but still had to wait a decent amount to get in the gate. Often both are long, so I avoided one that way, but did pay the fees.

    Despite the outcome it was a great atmosphere Friday night

  34. The part I was forgetting is the 18 high schools with 5 stadiums. That does put a little wrinkle into things compared to a typical school. I haven’t seen that type of setup elsewhere, although it makes perfect sense financially. Asset utilization is high. But it makes sense that there are a bunch of allocations that have to be made. A vendor also makes more sense in that setup versus parents just doing it.

    Bill, I like the spin on the trip to Lowndes. Would love to hear your thoughts coming back from Douglass. At the very least, the team will all appreciate how lucky they are to live in DeKalb County. 🙂

  35. Parent taxpayer

    Lots of rumors coming out of Chamblee about the coaches – apparently this isn’t over. Dick “I can’t be too conservative” Williams published this in the newspaper that gets thrown in your driveway:

    Given it’s the “Crier” you can’t assume they have journalistic skills. Still – where there’s smoke…

  36. Bill Armstrong

    Well, if Dick Williams is trying to be the next Bob Woodward on this he’ll be disappointed.
    “The Crier’s preliminary inquiry was focused on two areas – football and finances.”

    “All the coaches with whom we spoke on background were startled that a team as weak as Chamblee would travel hours to the south Georgia powerhouses of Lowndes, and soon, Coffee County in Douglas.”
    ME: As he says later, it is becoming more & more common. In fact the week before Drew made the trip to Lowndes from Riverdale & got beat 66-7.

    “The larger schools and programs, they say, put player safety at risk.”

    ME: Maybe in some instances, but I was there, & these weren’t monsters against midgets. Bigger, head to head? some were but not all. Faster? Many were, generally the biggest difference. Opening kickoff run back for a touchdown by a kid going to Kentucky. More talented & more experienced playing at a higher level? In many cases – yes. And they are super deep, they basically dressed out 100.

    But nobody was getting manhandled to the point of risk of injury. My son is a freshman offensive lineman, about 5’10” & 210, starting his first game, but he held his own. In fact, one of the guys he faced was complaining about him “he’s cutting me.” Football people – he was, with pretty good success, that was the plan. Legal cut blocks, not chops. It’s what Ga. Tech does a lot. But Chamblee runs an option with not a lot of passing (as anyone who watched the Dunwoody game saw can confirm). Facing “8 in the box” is tough. Miss even 1 block, hard to run.

    And no one got hurt. Although unfortunately we did have an injury against Dunwoody, no one really bigger there, it just happens sometimes.

    “But we also learned that it is becoming a more common practice among high schools to travel long distances in return for a negotiated fee.”

    ME: Indeed it is.

    “South Georgia is a popular venue because it has so few schools that play in the largest classifications. Those schools often must schedule teams from Florida, Alabama and metro Atlanta to fill up their schedules”.

    ME: True. Lowndes only has 4 teams in its region, so after the 3 in the region they have to book 7 other games.

    Q. Why Chamblee at Lowndes? In addition to the chance for the experience as I mentioned above, it turns out the Lowndes coach used to coach in Florida, and coached the Chamblee coach in high school, those types of connections are often found in sports. Unfortunately Coach Mattair didn’t get to face his former coach from across the field or shake hands after the game.

    “Pending receipt of our Open Records request we have learned that Chamblee was paid well to travel to Lowndes and to Coffee. It received no payment for games with Forsyth Central and Pickens County.”

    ME: Paid well? Again, he’ll be disappointed. “We have learned.” From whom? Nothing like the figure Chad mentioned – not even close. The payments aren’t huge (not HS versions of the $500K-$1.5 million found at the college level). In fact, after covering buses & meals there wasn’t much left. And since they are arranging for more players to go to Coffee County it will likely net out a wash.

    I’m won’t give the figures – I’ll let Dick release the blockbuster results when he has them. He might end up saying they were underpaid.

    “Some parents question the long-distance games because of lost class time on Fridays and bone-weary bus rides arriving back at campus in the early morning hours.”

    ME: Missing 2 Fridays out of the school year isn’t such a big deal to me. They are required to make up all class work. And some might not be aware, but all Freshman & any upperclassmen that are struggling in any courses are required to attend a tutorial session after school instead of the beginning segment of practice. Every day. And they are required to turn in sheets signed by all their teachers confirming their grades & letting the coaches know of any issues. This is at the coach’s insistence. And I can only attest to my son, but his academic performance has improved since he’s started football – just started playing last year. And he happens to be a Magnet – but I do know of many parents – both Magnet & resident who will say the same. I just haven’t seen their report cards.

    Oh yeah, they did get to visit Valdosta State while they were there, there was an effort made to have the team do something other than play football.

    The ride? Yeah I’m sure it was tough on the way back. They did give the option of any parents who made the trip to take their sons after the game and either drive them home or stay the night and come back in the morning, which we did. But most didn’t have that luxury and I bet those players rested a bunch on Saturday. Maybe got in extra Fortnite or Madden.

    “Along with coaches, parents ask why games can’t be scheduled closer to home, even in DeKalb County where several high schools traditionally have hapless football records.”

    ME: As a parent, yes, I do wish they had a chance to play a couple of games that would be more competitive, like Druid Hills, who they beat in the Spring Game. Cross Keys really isn’t an option, as some know they don’t play a region schedule in football, as they do in other sports – like soccer where they are really good. It would be to much more an extreme than even these games. Hopefully one day they will. It would be nice to have another North DeKalb rival.

    “Parents at Chamblee are understandably reluctant to be identified for fear of reprisals by coaches or administrators.”

    ME: When it comes to the issues I’ve addressed here, I’m not fearful of reprisals. I fully support the Chamblee Football team and the decisions made by the coaching staff and the administration regarding this issue. While this isn’t the type of thing normally hashed out in public, there is nothing being hidden.

    SO – if his goal is to reveal a scandal where the school went for a big-time payday at the expense of the team’s safety and academic performance, he’s not going to find it.

    OH YEAH – Go Dogs! With their efforts they should carry their heads high.

  37. escapee from dekalb

    Well, I can point out that Lowndes was beaten by Parkview last week, so although they are a bigger program than Chamblee, they too can be beaten by a regular high school .

    I don’t see any player safety issues. #8 is pretty good.

    If we are just breaking even, then I don’t see the point of traveling down there. That’s dumb. It was miserable driving to Douglas when it was just 2.5 hours. A 5 hour drive on a bus is really miserable. No reason Chamblee can’t play Cross Keys for free and a win.

    Love the football discussion, though!

    And the end of the day, as a coach, you need to win some games. Chamblee is a tough place to win games.

  39. Bill Armstrong

    Escape.  Yes, Lowndes actually did travel up here & got beat by Parkview, but they’re not a typical “regular” school either.  They are also a Class 7A powerhouse like Lowndes.  And these aren’t “pay to play” games, Parkview went down to Lowndes last year, and got beat 64-38, they alternate playing each other at home. Parkview is doing the same with Lowndes regionmate Tift County this week.
    Geez Chad, tough reliving that!  Actually I did watch the full game film from Hudl which has each individual play w/o any of the between stuff.  On that you can click play by play & jump around.  This is obviously the Lowndes highlights, Chamblee did a have a few nice plays, especially on defense, some tackles for loss.  #8? Maybe you mean#6 who ran back the opening kickoff.  Dude could fly – committed to Kentucky as I said.  And if you watch near the end, their QB #5 – played 3rd string, is a freshman, probably should start, he can run & throw like a beast.
    Actually I’m not sure if the GHSA would allow Chamblee to play Cross Keys varsity, it would have to be a “non-counting region game.” CK doesn’t play a Varsity Region Schedule = they don’t play anyone in DeKalb.  But the JV teams do play, so maybe so?
    And I agree – I do wish we were getting paid more.  I do wonder if there’s some sort of “industry standard” in Georgia High Schools as in college everyone know how much each team gets paid to go on the road without a “home & home.”  I think most high schools never know how much other teams get paid to compare.  How much did Drew get paid to go down there?  Maybe Dick Williams’ could get that info. – might be a story.

  40. Yes, I was referring to the guy than ran the kickoff back.

    Would be interesting to know how much was paid. After thinking about this, I think it was inappropriate to say it was dumb. The payment we had when I was in HS may have been an unusually situation where we were their only option due to weird circumstances. Regardless, I don’t have enough facts to make a definitive judgment on the coach’s decisions.

    Most coaches believe that playing tough games makes you better. My dad is a former high school head football coach, coincidentally at Coach Mattiar’s high school (Madison County). He had that philosophy, unless you are rebuilding. You want some winnable games in a rebuilding situation. The point is to have challenging games, but to step up in classification every game is a tough row. But scheduling tough games clearly shows that Coach Mattair wants to have a good program. Maybe this was the right decisions for the situation. DeKalb and metro Atlanta are just a way different football landscape than the rest of the state.

  41. Bill Armstrong

    Chad. Sounds like you love & know high school football as much as I do. And I’m thrilled my son is playing. You’re right about the emphasis on it outside the metro area – I went to a school that took it very seriously – Dalton High. Friday nights were magic – everyone in town went.

    What is frustrating for Chamblee is while they are Region 5 in 5A – they field a team that’s more in line with a mid-pack 4A team. Since the classifications are based on student body size, the assumption is the pool of potential players general corresponds to the number of students. And Chamblee has been better in the past, so it’s not impossible. But it seems that the Magnet population generally gravitates to other sports – soccer, baseball, & now lacrosse on the field; as well as tennis, swimming, etc. My son is Magnet & a few other players are, but generally most are resident. Makes sense – many Magnets live pretty far away, getting home later and travel issues before & after practice make it harder. In the summer practices start at 6:45AM.

    And we know many residents that also choose the other sports. We called them “country-club” sports growing up in Dalton, but we had the demographics to excel in both – as do schools like Marist. I’m not judging in any way, I’m just being realistic when it comes to a student body I’m pretty familiar with. And both Magnet & resident choose to participate in other academic extra-curriculars as well – there is only so much time. And I am certainly aware that there is growing concern about injuries, but there are still plenty of very good football teams around here.

    Many complained &/or mocked the school for gathering all male students last Spring for a “sales-pitch” to consider football. I agree it probably shouldn’t have been mandatory, or if so, included a presentation by other sports, but they really need players. And a couple did come out – I really admire their efforts, as a former player you can only imagine the challenges of starting football as a junior/senior.

    I do know they have a decent core of freshman & sophomores now, and they’ll be playing against the Dunwoody JV tonight. My Freshman son included, who has played a lot on varsity, and started against Lowndes. He’ll be lining up alongside others who haven’t played too much this season – a chance to prove themselves.

    But you want to hear something alarming? Chamblee Middle is also Magnet & essentially the same Magnet/resident demographic as the high school, and this year they do NOT have a football team. Only about 10 came out. Last year they generally had about 17 at any given practice/game – so practice is tough without 11 vs. 11, and in games many play both ways and just get worn down. My son played virtually every down last year, even did the kickoffs. Others did too. Maybe they should have a meeting.

    So tonight those kids are trying hard to do their best and hopefully have some success. I am glad they are off Friday – everyone could use a chance to regroup.

  42. Parent taxpayer

    Wow Bill, how wrong can you be? $12,000 to go to Lowndes only covers meals and buses? What was this, steak dinner and a bus for each player? Maybe you should have… I don’t know… FACTS when you’re writing your diatribes?

    And once again Braaten is caught in a lie. Stan, come on. How much longer does Chamblee have to put up with training this principal who obviously is in over her head and has no principles. When does the county say enough is enough? There are two experienced coaches we taxpayers are paying for – why not let one of them take over? Could it be worse than what we have now?

  43. Bill Armstrong

    Parent Taxpayer. Guess what, unlike many – when I am wrong I’ll admit it.

    I was relying on information provided to me that doesn’t match what Dick now has published. I never put out figures as I never had a copy of the contracts, but I was told figures that were lower – like many people were. It was the $5K – Lowndes /$3K – Coffee, listed later in the article.

    I now will be watching closely to see how the inconsistences will be explained. If they can.

    As I did say to Chad – I do wish it had been more. If it is as high as reported, that’s not a problem to me, I think you should get as much as is reasonable, but I won’t speak for others.

    BUT the disconnect on the amounts? That is very concerning to me. I want to see the answer.

  44. Bill Armstrong

    I will say this as a Father of a Chamblee player, after putting up a solid effort against Dunwoody Varsity, the JV team put together an inspiring game against Dunwoody’s JV amid the swirling chaos. They lost but played well. They should be proud.

  45. It would not have occurred to me that there would be an outcry regarding having road games. DeKalb schools effectively don’t have to travel more than 30 minutes if they don’t want to. If I would have been making the decision, I wouldn’t travel to Lowndes without compensation, however, I also think that its a good trip for the program. As long as the money goes to the football team and band, I 100% support this. While it would be great for the Chamblee TD Club to just have an extra $20k+ sitting around to spend on these kids, I would imagine that is not the case. As I stated previously, my high school did this while I was playing. My father was a high school administrator at the time and didn’t see any issue.

    This seems like a controversy for the sake of having a controversy.

  46. Bill Armstrong

    Chad. While some have apparently voiced concerns over these travel games impact on academics & safety, I think I addressed those from my perspective. What I do know is the amounts given in the newest report are higher than what the booster club people were initially told, and now include Pickens County as we visit the mountain men this Friday. And while I might be glad to hear it’s more as I said earlier, why the incorrect information?

    I’m not going to say more about the money factor than that until the booster club has had a chance to get the answers they already thought they had. They are working on that I know.

    But as for the process I will add that as best I can tell Chamblee has never done “pay for play” before. Going back to 2012 in addition to the region schedule – they’ve done “home & homes” with non region teams like Grady, GAC & Washington. They’ve also played Marist & on occasion St. Pius. So it’s new.

    So why now? Well, I do have some facts. Chamblee is Region 5 5A. So are Cross Keys & Clarkston. But not sure why I didn’t notice until now but in addition to Cross Keys, Clarkston doesn’t play a Region Varsity football schedule. I assume for similar reasons, although the teams Clarkston plays tend to be better than the CK schedule. Last year the 2 did play & Clarkston won 66-0, this year they don’t even play each other. And last year Clarkston played 4 region games – this season none.

    So with Region 5 5A having 8 teams, that leaves Chamblee with only 5 region games –their last 5 (SW DeKalb, Lithonia, Arabia Mountain, Columbia & Miller Grove). How they filled those other 5, really 4 after Dunwoody – this: Forsyth Central (who Chamblee has played before) Lowndes, Pickens & Coffee, was the plan. It seems we will learn more as to exactly why, especially when it comes to the money as this moves forward.

    Other DeKalb Schools. Dunwoody is Region 7 6A & obviously we play them. Lakeside is Region 7 7A, Tucker is Region 4 6A. Chamblee doesn’t play either of them & hasn’t going back to 2012 – in varsity football anyway. We do in other sports. Not sure why not in football. Tucker is generally very good & would be tough (like Lowndes & Coffee), and while Lakeside has been pretty good, it wouldn’t be crazy at all to play them. Why don’t they, from either side? That I don’t know. Dunwoody has plenty, but not this year.

    Another DeKalb team Chamblee has played is Druid Hills (Region4 4A), the lone win last year & beat them in the Spring Game – both were very even matches.

    For now – I’m just telling my son to keep focused on his team and improve every week. Try to shut out the outside noise as best he can. They need to be able to rely on each other more than ever.

  47. Yes, along with fact that people have a problem with getting money to invest in the program, they also argued that there were safety concerns and academic concerns. You suggest that we had other options, which outside of Druid Hills (who has a big region and might not have been willing to fit Chamblee in) , are teams that are as good or almost as good as the teams we are playing now. That sort of eliminates my good reason for not playing tough games, ie you need wins. Maybe I just don’t understand DeKalb sports.

    I hope your son continues to work hard, win or lose. From a competitiveness standpoint, Chamblee is in a tough spot.

  48. Bill Armstrong

    Chad – part of my post was really a cataloging of past schedules & current options. If it was up to me I’d like the 5 region, Dunwoody, Forsyth Central, plus Marist (not sure why not playing this year? them, us or mutual decision), Lakeside or Druid Hills, and then Lowndes for the road trip & $$. (No offense to Douglas, GA).

    This Friday trip to Jasper in the mountains seems like it will be cool too. Show my son & my Yankee wife what Friday Night Lights is in North Ga, It will be like Dalton only smaller. If we’re getting paid for that, works for me.

    Meanwhile wishing Clarkston &/or Cross Keys could be made to happen, hopefully they can improve. They are so nearby. And they are in a tougher spot than Chamblee, maybe some way to help each other there.

    And from the “whole football experience” standpoint it seems the reason the band/cheerleaders weren’t set to be included on the 2 long trips was the $$ – but now maybe there was enough to cover it? Not even clear if considered. If they wanted to ride those busses to perform it would have been cool. The Lowndes Band the Georgia Bridgemen was quite a sight to behold.

  49. AB, let us not forget that under Dr. Green’s non-leadership several chief positions have become vacant – Leo Brown (HCM), Dr. Martin (Academics), Mr. Williams(Operations), Mr. Brantley (IT), Dr. Hales (Title I/Office of Fed Programs). The new persons in position need three years to catch up with an new initiatives started. More fallout is coming. Stay tune.

  50. @Debra – Right! Mentioned only recent departures. Don’t forget Bricston, Howe and Nunez too. High quality applicants will be a challenge for DCSD to find. Afraid you are right about more fallout.

  51. What’s most frustrating is the people Dr. Green brought with him have not added any value to the district yet the budgets for their departments are ridiculous. Their salaries are too high for low level skills and taking more money from the classroom. Let’s do as roll call – Eileen Stewart, Andre Riley, Leo Brown and Monomay Malathip. Send them all back to Kansas or elsewhere. They have no vested interest in DeKalb Schools.

  52. And he spent $200,000 for a national search firm to “find” them even though they were already working as “interim” in DCSD for him when “found”! It’s crazy. BOE, where are you?

  53. I don’t recall it happening that way.

  54. I wouldn’t characterize it as fake. Marlon Walker does a pretty good job of reporting on the school district. I remember at the time Green was firing Thurmond and his crew. Green was trying to figure out who he could trust. I’m not a fan of the bloated central office.

  55. @ Stan: thought you said you didn’t recall that Green did hire the same folks he had already hired as interim after he paid a search firm LOTS of $ to find them; Who was Thurmond’s crew other than Bell? Green may have fired a few people but he kept Tyson, Brantley, Williams, Drake, Stepney, Thompson, Bell, Beasley, etc and he allowed Thurmond’s last action to demote a very strong C and I (Howe) to stand based on feedback from some of these “trusted” staff – didn’t have the integrity to have a conversation with her and is now on his 3rd C and I in 3 years (Bricston, Martin, Stepney (give some thought to this one); not a fan of his leadership or the bloated central office that appears to be in some trouble with cabinet turn over and DCSD’s historic difficulty attracting highly qualified replacements

  56. There has been a slow weeding out over the last couple years of chief officers and central office staff. For example, you’ll notice the school district doesn’t use In-Talage for International Teachres anymore. My understanding is that a number of central office staff were let go surrounding this issue and the chief who presented the agenda item is no longer the chief of that department.

    I thought Howe was a strong C & I person too. I was disappointed to see her go, but that’s not my decision.

  57. escapee from dekalb

    But why is Ramona Tyson still there? And being paid $176, 722.62 in salary and $1,084.83 in travel? What exactly has she been doing al this time since crooked Crawford?

  58. Ramona Tyson is the superintendent’s chief of staff … right hand man so to speak.

  59. Tongue in cheek

    Stan, On a different note. I am a parent of a dekalb county student. What happens when a classroom exceeds the maximum student number per class. Seems the only time it matters is during FTE count. What about after the FTE count? What can be done about this.

  60. As the year goes on, it is possible for the number of students in a class to rise. What does the district do when the classroom exceeds the maximum students in a class well after the start of the year? Usually the regional superintendent and principal talk about their options. There aren’t too many average teachers hanging around looking for a job, much less good teachers looking for a job. So, hiring a new teacher and splitting the class is really rolling the dice.

  61. @Stan – are you saying that you are ok with the class size being above the maximum? Our maximum is already 6-8 students above the GaDOE maximum class size since we are a strategic waiver system.

    Splitting up the classes is a solvable problem – the district continually fails to believe principals when the principals tell the district what their numbers are going to be in the fall (based on their current enrollment and what they know is coming from their feeder pattern bec. they actually collaborate with the schools in their feeder pattern). DCSD doesn’t want to give 1 FTE more than they think will be earned ever…heaven forbid that money should go to the schools and not the central office. It’a all a money game and where the district is willing to put their money.

  62. I tend to agree with both AB and Stan.

    Sure, Stan, it’s unlikely that DSCD could hire good teachers at this time of year.

    But big class sizes are often totally predictible, and thus can be avoided with proper hiring. But I think they lowball projections, maybe so they don’t have so many teacher vacancies to explain.

    Of course at Chamblee Charter High School large class sizes might not have been predictable because of the principal’s decision not to prepare a Master Schedule until July. That leads to letting staff drive academics, rather than student needs drive staffing.

    The really scary thing is poor teacher AND big class sizes.

    Stan, may be you and the BOE could ask some questions about current class sizes. Make sure you get actual counts of ‘students in rooms,’ rather than some sort of total ratio. Don’t be fooled by a stages that include SPED class sizes mixed in with non-SPED, or those cases where teachers keep double class rolls.

    Just ask for information, due diligence, inquiring minds….

  63. Ramona Tyson has a new job within the school system. I don’t understand this new job. I thought that the superintendent reported to the BOE

  64. Earlier, Bill Armstrong posted that neither Cross Keys High School nor Clarkston High School play a Region 5A football schedule, presumably because their teams aren’t strong enough to make that fun or viable.

    So imagine my surprise to find out that last night Clarkston played the #10 7A school in all of Georgia, Forsyth Central. They lost 64 – 0.

    Cross Keys played the #4 2A team in the state, Bremen, and lost 79 – 0.

    And Chamblee lost to the #3 6A team in the state, Coffee County, 53 – 0. (All standings courtesy of MaxPreps.)

    Thanks to the Dunwoody Crier we know that Chamblee earned several thousand dollars for their very predictable loss.

    Does anyone know if Clarkston or Cross Keys earned big payoffs for their predictable losses?

    I’m really hoping that DCSD Athletics isn’t scheduling, or sanctioning, using traditionally weak teams to play powerhouses, just for the money.

    Further, I haven’t seen a public statement about where the funds earned by the Chamblee football team were allocated. For the football team? For Chamblee athletics in general? For the principal to spend however she wants?

    I wish the BOE would request a clarification on DCSD athletic policy as it relates to “pay for play” schemes. Let the BOE introduce some agenda items into the public BOE meetings, rather than limiting discussion to whatever agenda items the Superintendent proposes.

  65. @Stan, help us to understand Ramona Tyson’s new position, what’s the salary, how did you vote on this agenda item and what will be her responsibilities?
    DeKalb County BOE member Joyce Morley said Friday she was excited to begin working closer with Tyson. She added that the move was something Tyson wanted, saying she has been the “backbone” of the school district for nearly a decade. What?

  66. Bill Armstrong

    Anonymous. I’m curious about what Cross Keys/Clarkston get to play these games as well – if anything. I hope they got something. Forsyth Central played 3 DeKalb schools to round out their schedule – Lakeside as well (who got beat 47-0 even though they are 7A). But since I’m pretty sure Chamblee d/n get paid for that game (although not 100% sure about anything at this point), I would imagine the other 2 didn’t either – but at this point who knows for them? As a Chamblee player parent I don’t know all the details.

    I’m not fully sure how to address this situation. Clarkston got beat 55-0 by S. Atlanta, who is a fairly weak 2A school. Similarly CK plays Pataula Charter, a weak 1A team, this week & again 10/26. They’ve done it in the past & it’s the last team they beat, in 2016.

    And I agree, I’d like DeKalb to publically put forth a policy on this practice & demonstrate how it complies with GHSA rules. I think part of the problem is as this practice grows statewide, is that most schools don’t know what the others are getting paid. In the college world it’s almost universally know & published. UGA has 3 this year. In HS are the deals always fair? I seriously doubt it.

    As for the games themselves, I can only speak for certain on Chamblee. My wife & I are one of about 12-15 or so football parents (if that many) that went to all 4 road games – Forsyth Central (42-7), Lowndes (62-0), Pickens (49-6) & just Friday, Coffee (53-0). It totaled about 1075 miles. One of these would have been a neat experience, not all 4. Pickens & Forsyth were a bit closer than the score, 42-14, 49-21 would have been possible, we even had a nice TD run called back for a penalty & stalled at the 2 on another drive vs. Pickens. But they were still clearly superior teams. I would say the season’s chaos contributed to both performances, the Dunwoody game as well – the only game they led.

    And Lowndes & Coffee were vastly superior, they score most points very early before calling off the horses & running the clock in the 2nd half. I was never really concerned about injuries, and really there weren’t any to speak of. The size disparity position by position, is not really in issue in most cases. But as any hardcore high school football could tell you the 3 factors: the large #s of players about 100 compared to 40-45 or so, the level of coaching basically going back to grade school, and really most significantly – speed, carry the day. Lowndes & Coffee are crazy fast, it’s overwhelming.

    All that said, the biggest factors against these games, to me as a parent (won’t speak for others) are:
    1 – the demoralizing aspect of getting blown out so much has on the players, it sux, especially compounded with the coaching situation this year, everyone trying to do their best – but – how – they’re still kids,
    2 – the travel – for the kids and the parents. It’s hard to play at your best after riding in a bus 3-4 hours, not eating on your normal routine, regardless of who you’re playing, and when you get there basically no one cheering for you – like I say 12-15 parents on the 2 long ones. We stayed in Hampton Inns both times, got our son after the game & drove back on Sat. And the bands didn’t go on either of the 2 long ones.

    I wished we’d play the 5 region teams (less Clarkston & CK – at least for now), Marist as we have going back for years, maybe Lakeside (even though 7A Chamblee JV beat them 28-0), a team like Druid Hills (the only win last year & beat again in the Spring – both close games),& maybe a “home & home” as we’ve done with St. Pius, GAC & Grady in recent years; & then maybe one of these road games.

    And get paid well for it, with the details public at least by the time announced. As for what should happen to the $$ – I’d say it should go to the team itself, they are the ones playing the games, and the booster club isn’t exactly awash in $$. I’m hoping we’ll find out that is the plan, at least now, but until we know – we don’t.

    And what to do w/CK & Clarkston to improve their programs? I’m at a loss. Even getting paid won’t help that, other than maybe better equipment, Chamblee plays CK JV on Thurs. – we’ll have a read on the comparative futures of both.

  67. I appreciate your thoughts, Bill.

    I would love for you to take time to send those thoughts to
    ** DCSD Athletic Director (James Jackson,,
    ** DCSD Football Coordinator (Mike Harwell,
    ** CCHS Athletic Director (Clifton Spears,

    Consider having the CCHS Touchdown Club make an official statement to these three as well. It could be as simple as “we have noticed major changes in our football team scheduling this year and would like to discuss the impacts of this change with you.”

    I would love to think that these three gentlemen would be interested in hearing from you and other football parents. Maybe even the players. Now there’s an idea……..

  68. Bill Armstrong

    Oh, and left out Dunwoody, we play them every year, even though not currently a Region game, as the Wildcats are in Region 7 in 6A.

  69. Bill Armstrong

    Anonymous. I intend on doing that & more, my kid is just a Freshman so we have 3 more years.

    But I am going to wait for that step until I have ALL the facts on this season, and I know the booster club intends to release it when they are 100% sure they have them themselves, hopefully soon. And then armed with information I can make a fully-informed presentation of my concerns, as a parent, and ultimately playing a larger role in the booster club.

    For now in our 1st year, we’re going to all the games, varsity & JV, cheering on our kid & all his teammates, taking a zillion pictures, sharing & posting them, as I’m trying to move to fill that role going forward. Currently a senior Dad has been doing it.

    I would ask that many Chamblee parents reading here consider going to at least some of the final 3 home games (Lithonia, Arabia Mountain & Columbia), especially Lithonia on 10/12 – Homecoming. And get your HS kids there, even if just to paint themselves & do silly cheers. Maybe even younger siblings. It’s a great experience, win or lose. And these boys – gosh, they could really use the support. They work so hard. My son was telling me how on some days, especially during the t-shirt scandal & then leading up to Dunwoody, he & his teammate felt like the school had given up on them – considered them a joke. It would nice to hear from their classmates and the Chamblee family as a whole, that’s not the case. It’s the school’s team.

    And you know what – if you’re in the Cross Keys or Clarkston communities, consider doing the same. I know their kids are working so hard too. They deserve it.

  70. That’s a good plan, Bill. I’m glad you are involved in CCHS athletics.

  71. Stan,

    I know you are busy, but would you share some insight into Ramona Tyson’s new job. It sounds like she is taking on some of the duties of the superintendent. I am not trying to judge, but I would like to umderstand the change. It has left staff in the schools with lots of questions. Unfortunately , we find out most of the information concerning changes from the local media. Or by information that you post.

    Thank you

  72. Joy, Ramona Tyson has been the Superintendent’s Chief of Staff since he arrived. That position works very closely with the Superintendent. Ms Tyson will be retiring in the near future. That position will be transitioning to another person. Ms Tyson’s job at the school district will transition to a board support role while she helps the incoming Chief of Staff transition into that role.

  73. There is more fallout to come. Stay tune. Have the board members started conversations for another superintendent? Accreditation is quickly upon us. I doubt very seriously if Dr. Green will stay around for it.
    There is no support for the 16 Turnaround eligible schools either while other schools fall in the bubble.

  74. Debra, Why do you say there is more fallout to come? I’m guessing the board members that agree with John Evans & Black Representation would like to see a different superintendent in there.

    Support for the 16 Turnaround eligible schools – The school district is dumping every resource they can muster into the 16 Turnaround eligible schools. $3 million was spent for an Early Learning Center for preschoolers.

    “Wrap Around Services” – DeKalb Schools has created a Student Support and Intervention Division to provide “Wrap Around Services” and address the diverse needs of students and families. The school district has also flooded failing schools with paraprofessionals (parapros), social workers, teacher coaches, etc … DeKalb Schools added over 1,000 school house full/part time employees across the district from 2014-2017.

  75. More high ranking people will leave DeKalb Schools under Dr. Green’s tenure. That’s what is meant by more fallout. The BOE has one employee and he is out of control. The focus has been on positioning friends and not student achievement.
    Money is not the solution when school leadership does not know what to do with it. There is no accountability – just spend and hope for the best.

  76. @ Stan – ” DeKalb Schools has created a Student Support and Intervention Division to provide “Wrap Around Services” and address the diverse needs of students and families. The school district has also flooded failing schools with paraprofessionals (parapros), social workers, teacher coaches, etc … DeKalb Schools added over 1,000 school house full/part time employees across the district from 2014-2017.”

    In this count, does this included central office employees who names were moved from Central Office to the School House to make it look like the School House got more employees? Because that did happen. Also, if the county added so many employees, why can’t HMS or LHS get a full-time bi-lingual liaison that they have been asking for so for so many years and desperately need?

  77. Hello Lynn, Who are these employees? Flooding Failing Schools With Money And Employees is the article I wrote about what I know. That article was derived from the Site Counts By Year.xls spreadsheet.

    Perverse Incentives – HMS and LHS would get more money if they weren’t so successful. Typically in government we have perverse incentives where you get more money the worse you do. DCSD uses allotments to fund the schoolhouse. I’m not sure how interpreters are funded. I know it’s an issue across the county.

  78. @ Stan – The employees I am talking about are central office staff that were reassigned to a school. They had spaces to sign in at the school, even though they never supported the students in the school. So that way, it looks like Central Office is not that big and had actually downsized.

    I know when I was at HMS there was an employee that our secretary had to sign in because the employee never showed up. Those are the employees I am asking about.

  79. What’s the measure to determine if this new curriculum is working? How much money was spent? Where are the curriculum guides for high school?

  80. What’s the measure to determine if this new curriculum is working? How much money was spent? Where are the curriculum guides for high school?