Author Archives: Joshua Williams, Dekalb Schools Chief Operating Officer

Construction Advisory Committees

Joshua Williams
Joshua Williams

Overview of Construction Advisory Committees
By: Joshua Williams
Title: DeKalb Schools, Chief Operating Officer
DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is establishing a formal process for the establishment of Construction Advisory Committees (CAC’s) for each significant capital improvement project. The CAC’s will be an ad hoc committee of the school council or charter governing board. The purpose of the CAC is to increase stakeholder and community engagement in the design, planning, and construction phases of significant capital improvement projects.
Significant capital improvement projects are those projects in the E-SPLOST program which meet at least one of the two following criteria:
(a) includes the addition of classroom or major space (e.g., auditorium), or
(b) features a single renovation project that has a value greater than $3 million.
Currently, we have identified two groups of projects which meet this definition. We anticipate more groups (e.g., major renovation projects under the Capital Renewal Program in Category 3 of the E-SPLOST referendum) will be added as the schedule for the remaining E-SPLOST V program list is approved by the Board of Education.
Composition and Selection of CAC
The School Council or charter governing board will select five members to the CAC, not including the principal, who will be an ex-officio member. A minimum of two members will be school council members. The appointment by the School Council will explicitly identify: the chair of the CAC who must be a school council member, the secretary of the CAC, and three other members.
A call for candidates will include posting an announcement and electronic candidate interest form to the school website at least three (3) weeks prior to the School Council meeting at which CAC member selection will occur. As a best practice, the announcement and a link to the candidate interest form should be sent to the feeder schools for posting on those schools’ websites, so stakeholders from those schools can be considered as part of the CAC. The ideal CAC member will be a parent or community member with a professional background or interest in the following areas: architecture, engineering, construction, planning and design, or K-12 education.
The call for candidates will initiate shortly after the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the architect for the project is posted on the DCSD website. This will ensure that the CAC is ready by the time of the award of the architect.
Time commitment and timeframe
Participation in the CAC may require a 1-3 year commitment. In extenuating circumstances, a capital improvement project may require up to 5 years to complete. The CAC should have its first meeting within 30 days after the issuance of the notice to proceed (NTP) to the architect for such project. The CAC will conclude upon the submission and acceptance of the Substantial Completion Certificate by the Operations Division.
Role in DCSD Design and/or Construction meetings
CAC Committee meetings are subject to Open Meetings laws. The CAC does not take action, but it does report in open meeting to the School Council.
In addition to regular CAC meetings, the CAC Chair and one additional member of the CAC should be available to attend the District’s monthly Design and/or Construction meetings with the principal typically during normal business hours (8:00am-5:00pm).
Roll out of Construction Advisory Committees
The District has established two initial groups which will require a CAC.
Group 1
The timeframe for implementation Group 1 is:
• Week of Feb 13-17: Training session with principals and School Council chair
• Fri Feb 24: Deadline for Group 1 schools and feeders to post call for candidates on websites
• Fri Apr 14: Deadline for Group 1 schools to submit the roster of their CAC members to Operations and the School Council Coordinator
Group 1 Projects
• New (tear-down/re-build) Austin ES
• New (tear-down/re-build) McNair MS
• New (tear-down/re-build) Pleasantdale ES
• New (tear-down/re-build) Rockbridge ES
• New (tear-down/re-build) Smoke Rise ES
• New Arts School (merging of DeKalb ES of the Arts and DeKalb School of the Arts)*
• New Cross Keys North ES (site TBD)*
• New John R. Lewis ES (Skyland)*
• Stone Mountain HS Renovation
Group 2
The implementation timeframe for Group 2 is still being finalized. More information will be provided in March 2017 after the Board has approved the implementation schedule for E-SPLOST V.
Group 2 Projects
• Addition and conversion of existing Cross Keys HS to Cross Keys MS
• Addition at Chamblee HS
• Addition at Clarkston HS
• Addition at Dunwoody HS
• Addition at Freedom MS
• Addition at Lakeside HS
• Addition at Peachtree MS
• Auditorium addition to Cedar Grove HS
• Coralwood Center addition/renovation
• New Cross Keys HS (at Briarcliff HS or other location)

*Special Considerations:
1. Cross Keys North ES. The current Cary Reynolds Elementary School Council shall establish the CAC and will solicit for candidates at the following schools: Dresden ES, Huntley Hills ES, Montgomery ES, and Oakcliff Theme ES.
2. John R. Lewis ES (at Skyland property). The temporary John R. Lewis Elementary School Council shall establish a CAC and will solicit for candidates at the following schools: Ashford Park ES, Dresden ES, Fernbank ES, Montclair ES, and Woodward ES.
3. New Comprehensive K-12 Arts School. Given the consolidation of these two schools, DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA) and DeKalb ES of the Arts (DESA) will establish a joint CAC during a joint open meeting of the current School Councils. The joint CAC shall be composed of 6 members (not including the two principals). Each School Council shall nominate and approve 3 members of the joint CAC. The joint CAC shall have 2 co-chairs (one from each school) who are members of their respective School Councils.

School Buses

School Bus

School Buses
The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has an aging fleet of roughly 1,000 school buses. With E-SPLOST V monies, DCSD plans on spending about $30 million replacing the oldest school buses.
Earlier this month the board approved the purchase of 120 buses at a cost not to exceed $10 million. The purchase includes:

  • Ninety-two (92) Type-C 72-Passenger School buses at $77,089 each
  • Twenty-five (25) Type-C 48-Passengers with Air Condition and Wheelchair Lift at $90,175 each
  • Three (3) 82-Passenger Type-D Transit School buses at $107,081 each

I asked Mr. Joshua Williams to tell us about the features that are requested and/or required on new school buses we purchase.

DeKalb Joshua Williams

Joshua Williams
Chief Operating Officer, DeKalb County School District

School buses are purchased similar to purchasing an automobile. There is a base price and options are added in accordance with school system requirements. DeKalb County School District orders buses with the follow-ing options/enhancements and come installed as part of the delivered vehicle:

1. 240 AMP Alternator 13. Air Dryer
(Higher Capacity) 14 12 Volt access block
2. Vandal Locks on all Doors 15. Air Conditioner (Special Need Only)
3. White Painted Roof 16. Driver’s Dome Lighting
4. Air operated Crossing Arm 17. Noise Reduction Package
5. Air ride Drivers Seat 18. 5-Year 100,000 miles Bumper to Bumper Warranty w/Tow
6. Engine Exhaust Brake 19. 100 Gallon Fuel Tank
7. Battery Cut off Switch 20. Air Disc Brakes
8. Tinted Windows 21. 12 Volt Power Port
9. All Buses Keyed Alike 22. Integrated Child Seat 3-point (Special Needs Only)
10. Mud Flaps Front and Rear 23. Entrance Door 3 Position Switch
11. Higher Rated Tires 24. Pass Through Luggage Compartment (Transit Only)
12. Spare Tire and Wheel 25. Engine Telemetrics

Additionally, we use a third party installer for two components after the school buses are delivered:

  • Radio
  • Global Position System (GPS)