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An Open Letter About DeKalb's School Board

Did Sarah Copeland-Woods lie during the School Board hearing last Thursday?

Greetings Governor Deal, Legislators, and State Department of Education Members,

I am resident of Dekalb County with a child attending Tucker Middle School. I am very concerned about the state of the Dekalb County School District (DCSD) and the Dekalb Board of Education (DBOE). Thank you for the hearing on Jan. 17, 2013. I was very impressed with the depth of the questioning. Clearly the members of Georgia Department of Education had done their research prior to the hearing.

I was significantly less impressed with the quality of the answers provided by the DBOE. One answer in particular made my heart sink.

When Sarah Copelin-Wood was asked about emails that negatively affect the chain of command she replied, (I am quoting to the best of my ability) "If I get an email that has to do with anything school related, I always Cc the superintendent and her secretary on those emails." Q: "As an example if you were to receive communication from parents in your district who have concerns, how might you handle that communication?" A: "I usually say thank you for your email, and send it to my fellow board members and to the superintendent."

This document shows one instance in which Sarah Copelin-Wood did not do what she testified. The original email I sent was addressed to Dr. Atkinson with the BOE Cc'd. Mrs. Copelin-Wood replied to me and the BOE, but specifically eliminated Dr. Atkinson from the reply. At the same time she added two email addresses for Mark Elgart to her reply. I do not know why the concerns I addressed in my email would be of any interest to Mr. Elgart.

I was also disappointed with Dr. Walker's statements about the apparently missing funds from the "textbook account." He testified there are documents detailing all of the money spent. However, when that account was audited, the school district personnel could not provide documentation for all of the transactions to the auditors. Perhaps Dr. Walker has some information that the auditors did not. Please ask him if he does and ask him to share it with the people of DeKalb County.

These are just two blatant examples of the worst DBOE members attempting to mislead the State BOE during the hearing. I will repeat my plea from my earlier email. Please take all the steps needed to remove the current Dekalb County BOE. While this will not solve the problems at Dekalb County Schools, it is a step in the right direction and the district can not improve until at least five of the current members are removed.  

The next step required is for the governor-appointed board to fire Dr. Atkinson and make sure she takes her "A Team" with her. That must be the first action the new board takes. Despite the reluctant support shown by the current BOE during the Jan. 17 hearing, the parents of Dekalb County have had enough. I know she is not capable of leading our school district. She has had a year to demonstrate competent leadership and has failed to do so. Her cronies have terrorized the school level staff with threats and intimidation. Her hand-picked "A Team" have lied to parents at public meetings. She has shown her selfishness and immaturity with requesting a new vehicle, using a personal driver, and withholding her text messages from an open records request.

Please consider my request and suggestion. If you are unfamiliar with any of the things I have stated, please contact me and I will provide more details and documentation for them.

Thank you very much.
Kirk Lunde

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Gil Hearn January 24, 2013 at 08:27 PM
The link to the "document" does not appear to be correct.
Cheryl Miller March 08, 2013 at 03:40 PM
She is not the only one who lied at that hearing.

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