To: DeKalb Board of Education & Superintendent Michael Thurmond
CC: Restore DeKalb, Get the Cell Out Atlanta, WORC, Restore DCSS, Parents for DeKalb Schools, Concerned Citizens for South DeKalb, Stephenson Community Council, DeKalb School Watch, DeKalb County Council of PTAs, Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter and all appropriate parties
From: Viola Davis with Restore DeKalb
Re: Restore DeKalb Town Hall Audience Questions
Restore DeKalb Town Hall Audience Questions
Restore DeKalb is a consortium of parents, organizations, homeowners, taxpayers and voters with a mission to unite and put the children first in DeKalb County to ensure a high quality of education and maintain the district’s accreditation.
Restore DeKalb invited DeKalb Board of Education, Superintendent Michael Thurmond, and the DeKalb Delegation to attend the question and answer town hall meeting to address the public’s concerns dealing with the accreditation of the DeKalb County School District.
Restore DeKalb takes great pride in thanking Donna Edler and Jay Cunningham for answering the call. Edler and Cunningham displayed tremendous courage to attend the meeting without requesting prior questions. Both Board of Education members allowed the public to ask questions and voice their concerns.
Members of the coalition that make up Restore DeKalb made a commitment to write down the questions asked at the town hall meeting and submit the questions to the Board of Education and Superintendent Michael Thurmond to answer at a later date. The questions include:
- 1. Stepping Down:
- Are you willing to step down to keep our accreditation?
- Aren’t you being selfish thinking of yourselves by not stepping down and playing the race card?
- We want you to step down before people start moving out of the county, selling their homes to get a better quality of life and education.
- Ms. Edler said that the reason the board is spending DCSS money to challenge the constitutionality of the law is because the vote at the state BOE was against the Board. Why is the Board unilaterally deciding to challenge the law? It should be the decision of the public whether to bring the suit.
- Why are you using taxpayer money to keep your jobs? Why don’t you use your own money if you want to keep your jobs? Why won’t this Board step aside?
- Why not step down and submit your services on an advisory level instead of using more tax dollars to file lawsuits as opposed to using the money for the children and the school house?
- 2. Attorney Fees:
- Why are monies still being spent for lawsuits against the board when you have a staff of paid attorneys?
- Why was a $150,000 contract for governance training offered to the newly named Superintendent’s former law firm without a competitive bid?
- A substantial amount of money appears to be either misappropriated or simply missing, money intended for the use of textbooks. I believe the SACS report cited this lax accounting standards associated with that loss in its review of the DeKalb School Board. What is the status of the internal search for the missing funds and the people responsible for the loss of the money?
- 3. Financial Resources:
- What is the real financial situation of the district?
- How much money is in our accounts?
- Why aren’t we doing proper accounting practices?
- Why don’t we have our check book on the internet/website so that “The Public’ knows where our money is being spent?
- What is the time line/plan to replace the lost resources as a result of the budget cuts?
- i. Resource Officers
- ii. Media Clerks
- iii. Instructional Coaches
- iv. Increase pay to attract better teachers and to retain the good ones
- There is too much money being spent on things that are not relevant. Stop having closed door meetings.
- 4. Education:
- Programs don’t teach. When will we allow our teachers to teach (not to test) and help our children to learn and grow?
- When you look at the multiplicity of issues and problems that were addressed in the SACS report (poor governance, financial mismanagement, nepotism, interference in school day to day operations) is there any one of those issues that you feel most contributed to placing the district on probation?
- Thursday proved SACS is a poor organization. Will you consider dropping SACS and use a different accreditation agency?
- Why pay Michael Thurmond full salary for only an interim basis when you have to get another Superintendent? The teachers and the children’s’ moral is at stake.
- 5. General Questions:
- Do you feel like because what’s happening in DeKalb County is why some of the northern cities or surrounding cities are breaking away? Because the DeKalb County board looks like they don’t know what they are doing.
- Why a governance class is not given to the board in advance or written some place to follow up or guide the board? Why now when everything is in turmoil?
- Talked about the Interim Superintendent being knowledgeable in all areas other than the educational portion. How will you work with him to find a person for education? Another salary?
- On the issue of race – DeKalb is not just black and white. We have a very diverse community and county. What about our families that are not black or white?
- Why did Superintendent Michael Thurmond attend two meetings up north, yet totally ignored us in South DeKalb? Why did a majority of our Board of Education refused to come and answer our questions?
On Feb. 16, 2013, Restore DeKalb held the information and education town hall meeting to review the SACS report and Grand Jury Investigation. We promised the parents, homeowners, and taxpayers present that we would invite the Board of Education, Superintendent Michael Thurmond, and DeKalb Delegation to be present to answer the public’s questions concerning our accreditation. Restore DeKalb fulfilled this promise on February 23, 2013.
We would highly appreciate the Board of Education and Superintendent Michael Thurmond answering the audience questions submitted above. With the cooperation and participation of our elected officials, the question and answer town hall meeting will be a success.
For further details and information, please contact Joel Edwards at 404-966-1121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your consideration.