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85 Comments

  1. 1

    Lil Woolf

    Thank you, Kim, for this commentary from a voice of reason.

  2. 2

    Eric Robert

    A very good commentary. Unfortunately I’ve seen the SPLOST used to build already satellite dishes at the schools that quickly became dysfunctional. Then more parking lots and drop off lanes for parents not using the bus because apparently we can’t get the bus system to pick students up at a reasonable hour. In the meantime the millage rate is already too high and has not been lowered now that skyrocketing home values have increased the tax revenues collected by the schools. But since property taxes are not a regressive like a 1% sales tax is I would rather fund the schools with that. So even though I would probably benefit more from a 1% sales tax and a millage rate reduction, I’m voting against the regressive 1% sales tax.

  3. 3

    Toff

    No clear plan for use of the money so its a NO for me.

  4. 4

    Kim

    I follow your thinking and there’s only one flaw I can see: voting no means no funding not alternative funding.

  5. 5

    Kim

    A widely held view that is hard to criticize. I think it boils down to trust and some have lost it with DCSD. Ultimately for me it reduces to this question: Will I support needed school construction no matter who is in charge of our public schools? I answer, “Yes.”

  6. 6

    Kim

    I’ll add that a list of projects still requires trust that hasn’t always been honored by DCSD in prior SPLOST lists. The Cross Keys reno was supposed to be in II, then was deferred to III. Until a few of us intervened on behalf of the CK students and faculty it was on track to be deferred again in III. No easy to maintain expectations but I still demand the necessary investment.

  7. 7

    Betsy Eggers

    I’ll vote “Yes”, Kim, because we MUST support public education! Investing in children — especially in their education — is one of the best investments we can make. Good schools create successful, employable adults.

  8. 8

    Kim

    Thank you, Betsy. I was invited to give the commencement speech at Cross Keys Class of 2011 graduation. My theme was invest in yourself and your continued education in any way you can. As one from a working class background I shared with them my big decision in my twenties: to leverage my way back into a bachelor’s degree. I had no money or scholarships but I chose to continue investing in education via loans and never regretted it though I still pay the bills that generated! I asked them to remember that a car or even a home could be taken away from them but an education was theirs for life and an investment – not an expense! Now that’s pretty salty talk but I stick by it – no one has yet tried to repo my education. 🙂

  9. 9

    Eric Robert

    Kim actually what i was saying is that the DeKalb School system is already benefiting from alternative funding in the form of a huge jump in property taxes revenues because they did not roll back the millage increase they implemented when housing values declined. So I’m saying keep the millage rates where they are and don’t do the SPLOST.
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.com/2015/05/31/yes-your-taxes-are-increasing-can-you-say-tax-windfall/ “This increased tax collection due to increased property values has resulted in at least a $100 million Windfall for the school board’s ‘budgets’ the last two years.” Also (not directly related but) we should prevent cities from being able to dole out tax exemptions from School Taxes as Brookhaven did in that obscene deal with the hawks which basically sells a tax exemption for a payoff to the unelected and unaccountable development authority.

  10. 10

    Claire

    As much as some think, we are not fools either. We have so much corruption in DeKalb. Just look at county government and its hard to forget the school system scandal a few years back. It all continues. Maybe we need a sure sign of cleansing and reform in the school system management ranks and trimming other dead wood before we are asked to pay anymore beyond the portion of property taxes we are forced to pay. It is very hard to put funds in an open hand with such a bad record and no game plan. Besides, a lot of Brookhaven citizens still wonder when the BIA proponents will pay back the money they and our then city leaders stole from the citizens. Some people should keep a low profile instead of aggravating old wounds.

  11. 11

    Kim

    Hi Claire! I’m certainly not trying to fool anyone. As for corruption I’m the one who brought it up in my editorial. As for it continuing, what do you know? I have been a watchdog of DCSD for over a decade and I haven’t seen anything like corruption of the years you and I reference.

    As for trimming the deadwood, the last two Superintendent’s have made dramatic moves pushing folks out of the central office into the schools or out the door. Dr. Green seems committed to continuing an aggressive focus on classrooms rather than boardrooms. So I’m not quite sure your information is current unless you can share some news.

    The last issue you raise is trust and there’s no magic remedy for that. The only way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them. I’m going to trust Dr. Green and his team until them prove to me they do not deserve it. In ten months so far, they’ve not violated my trust.

  12. 12

    Kim

    As for the BIA question I really don’t see the connection though you have a valid question. I was completely open with the Board during my tenure there a year ago on this topic: BIA needed to be in Brookhaven, it needed to help relieve the overcrowding at Buford Hwy elementary schools via minority recruitment in the lottery, and it needed to prioritize repaying the City. I’m not sure who the veiled threat you offer is directed at but I don’t think that is appropriate at all. We should encourage everyone to be in civic conversation if we agree with them or not.

  13. 13

    Kim

    Hi Eric. Well that is another point altogether. So, for the next five years are you suggesting $100M is all that DCSD needs or should be allowed to spend on capital projects? If so, we’ll disagree on that, too. SPLOST V doesn’t provide what is needed at five time that. The fact is we in DeKalb have made bad decisions for decades about school physical plant/facilities; we’ve built new schools where they are least needed, where we built new schools we’ve kept them small when they need to be big, we’ve failed to maintain the 30-90 year old school plant we do have so that we are in a situation where virtually every corner of the County has daily deficits in school operations due to inadequate or not functional school plant. The question is how will we dig out of this mess? Repeating the mistakes of the past is no longer an option. The “draining the swamp” strategy I hear from many neighbors means decades of children will suffer daily in unhealthy and negative environments. I’m not willing to sentence DeKalb’s children to that fate for any longer than necessary. We need to accelerate good decisions and modernization of our school plant. Respectfully, I don’t hear an alternative to the status quo by voting “No” to SPLOST but only see folks trying to “send a message.” I don’t think the “message” is going to have the desired effect.

  14. 14

    Eric Robert

    If they have been so good at cutting waste then why haven’t they lowered the millage rate back to the pre-2012. It had been .023 mills and they raised it to .024 mills. The school portion of my taxes just from the valuation increase have jumped over 30% since 2012. Like I said, I think property tax is a fairer way to pay, so they can keep the increased revenues if they drop the 1% sales tax proposal. What’s even crazier is DeKalb in November will be seeking another 1% sales tax apparently on the promise that owner occupied homes will then have to pay no County or City (just School) property taxes. Very regressive indeed.

  15. 15

    Claire

    Trust is important and it must be earned. Let’s see Dr. Green produce with what he now has. if successful, submit a viable, detailed plan for consideration by the voters. The taxpayers have been taken advantage of for way to long to continue blind trust.

    It’s hard to trust anyone that had anything to do with robbing tax dollars from Brookhaven citizens for the BIA. Especially when they have done nothing to see that these funds are returned.

    Show you are worthy because of your leadership and your results. Then hold your hand out.

    No to SPLOST V.

  16. 16

    Patrick

    Thank you, Toff.I am glad to see that others have have the same feeling.

  17. 17

    Kim

    Dr. Green helped the BIA? I’m afraid I’m not following your logic at all. These are all fine generalizations and you are free to ignore the need.

  18. 18

    Claire

    No one made a threat, veiled or otherwise. If you perceive a threat from this conversation you must have a guilty conscience.

  19. 19

    Kim

    Eric there’s nothing wrong with what you’re thinking about tax policies. However, the question remains how long are we prepared to not address the facilities needs for our public schools that are indisputable. Everyone agrees they are unacceptable. So how to address without delay? The only answer on the table is continuing SPLOST at this point. I’d love to see other funding mechanisms realized and proven. Advocate for that but it sounds like you want to cut off the water and instead dig a well. That’s fine. Dig the well but the regular water supply must continue in the interim. Or, are you saying that we don’t need capital at the levels proposed in SPLOST?

  20. 20

    Kim

    Hahaha. What does this mean? “Some people should keep a low profile instead of aggravating old wounds.” I read it as a threat, though passive aggressive in nature and vague. I could have completely mis-read you but that’s how I read that line – threatening. It screams, “or else!” Or else what for heaven’s sake?

  21. 21

    Eddie E.

    Fran Millar opposes the Splost.

    For me, that is an ironclad reason to vote YES!

  22. 22

    Kim

    “A family is nice, isn’t it? A man should take care that that nothing happens to his family.” No threat there either. Yep, mafia tactics. Nicely crafted – I take it back. No veiled or any other kind of threat … [moving to other side of street]

  23. 23

    Eddie E.

    So you want Dr. Green to ‘produce with what he has’ while tying his hands to prevent access to what he needs?

    The man has had the courage to stand up to the corrupt development interests that have been so effective in steering the county in the wrong direction.

    Let’s ensure he has the resources necessary to make Dekalb County Schools Great Again (to borrow a phrase).

    Yes on SPLOST V.

  24. 24

    fyi

    The 23.73 millage rate for schools when almost every county in the state is legally limited to a rate of 20 is enough for me to vote no. I understand that parents with children in the system think that there should be no limit to the burden on taxpayers. I suggest pruning the ridiculous fat in the central office to free up funds for the classroom. A millage rate of 20 is sufficient to support the schools but is obviously not enough to do that and fund the friends and family program at the palace as well.

  25. 25

    Kim

    Fyi, I actually agree with you on the milage rate question. But that doesn’t lead me down the same path at all. As for parents, I think that is disingenuous – my son, for example will likely never see SPLOST V projects completed at any of his schools. These are investments in our future and other people’s kids. Attacking the messengers doesn’t devalue the message.

  26. 26

    Disgusted in Dunwoody

    The “No” Chorus is being led by politicians, beginning with Senator Fran Millar, and now Nancy Jester leading the chorus. It’s all about “them”, not the children (current and future) that attend DeKalb County schools. Dr. Green is not going to be led around the nose or bullied by Millar as other Superintendents have and this aggravates Millar. Millar got his elementary school for the Austin ES community even though there were other pressing needs in the Dunwoody area, so what does he care about the remainder of DeKalb County?

  27. 27

    City-Weary

    I wouldn’t necessarily say property taxes are not regressive. There are many senior citizens who owe their paid off homes who have faced increases in property tax that are beyond their budgets. At least that’s what I heard from people who were challenging their bills. However I do think the schools need funding in some form, and would rather see my property taxes go to that if the money is used responsibly.

  28. 28

    Claire

    Thank you for pointing that out fyi. It is very hard to support additional taxation when the recipients have mishandled funds in the past and have yet to provide a track record showing that they are worthy, capable and have a sound plan of action. Some find it acceptable for their child to receive an A+ on an assignment when they well know their efforts are in reality a weak C. The child has been cheated and so will the taxpayers if SPLOST V passes.

    It doesn’t help that the city of Brookhaven has inappropriately given $60,000 to a school that has failed even before it has started. Show you have the capacity to act in a responsible manner and you’ll get more support. After all, contrary to what some think, the taxpayer is not the slave of the government. Sound minds invest in ventures that have proven they are capable of productive results. Wise taxpayers make the same demands of government.

  29. 29

    threeperros

    Yes, you are the voice of reason. We have to continue support of our schools and continue our watch over the BOE.

  30. 30

    Janine

    Kim, your still listed on the BIA website as an Advisor, is that true? If it is do you really think they will open in August?

  31. 31

    Kim

    Hi Janine! When I resigned from the Board of Directors last September I offered my free advice whenever they wanted. So I guess that makes me an advisor. That said, no advisory board meeting has been called to date to my knowledge. As I understand it, BIA has an obligation to open as planned, they have a site, a head of school, and families waiting. So my guess is that those doors will open under all but the most extreme cases to meet the commitment to the State of Georgia. Failure to do so would be not only devastating to the families who are counting on it but to the standing of the charter. I believe technically BIA could survive to open the following year in terms of the contract with the State but I would want to confirm that assumption. Here’s hoping for the kids’ sake all goes as planned.

  32. 32

    Kim

    I hesitate to engage you on this point, Claire, as it seems I am personally detestable to you but … your approach to our obligations strikes me analogous to a joke I’ve known from childhood told to me about a French zoologist. His experiment subject was a frog and its jumping capability. He placed it on a measuring board, poked in the rear and shouted, “Saute! (jump),” then recorded the result. he then removed one front leg with a scalpel and repeated the test. And again minus the other front leg. Then the two back legs one at a time. His conclusion was that frogs become lose their hearing when you remove their legs.

    You’re suggesting that someone has lost your trust. Who? The City of Brookhaven? That has nothing to do with e-SPLOST V. The DeKalb Board of Education? The failures you reference led to a massive intervention by the Governor, the State and an accrediting agency. The Board installed has been functioning more or less effectively for two years. The previous and current superintendent have been winning accolades for their conduct across party lines for the most part (current Doraville TAD kerfuffle notwithstanding). So who is it you need to regain trust in? What must they demonstrate to regain it? If they are not allowed to prove themselves in governing SPLOST V because you don’t trust their predecessors, then it is a moot discussion.

  33. 33

    Kim

    Thank you, person of many dogs and few words. 🙂

  34. 34

    Kim

    Property tax does fall into a fuzzy area of progressive vs regressive in the way you reference. The assumption in them being “fair” is that property owners are “enriched” when their property values rise like an equity holder who might sell off shares in their favorite investment. Therefore, the benefitting homeowner should be better able to pay the higher tax. But we all know that isn’t the case for most homeowners who don’t have the cash flow and, though they could always sell, might never be able to replace the asset with a like asset. In essence, they lose their home to keep their “gain.”

    On the questions some raise here on the fundamental funding model I’m completely open minded about that and encourage civic engagement on the topic. What I reject is the idea that we have to scrape current funding models with no other plan for funding. To me that is irresponsible and a non-starter.

  35. 35

    Eric Robert

    Kim the 100 million figure is one I quoted and with rates declining its severely understated. I don’t know the exact figures on any of this and don’t see any sane publication summarizing it all. I’m not trying to send a message or drain the swamp. I just think our School taxes are higher than neighboring counties. And the money spent from the last HOST at Kittredge/Nancy Creek and Montgomery had little to do with improving education.

  36. 36

    Eric Robert

    The exemptions from property taxes for Seniors are pretty generous and with just a little bit of planning even very very financially comfortable Senior Citizens are eligible for the exemption. Its another tax exemption that may be given out a little to easily.

  37. 37

    Flubber

    We don’t need BIA nor do we need additional millage or sales taxes for DCSD. Vote NO!

  38. 38

    Eric Robert

    School Millage Rates in Metro Atlanta https://dor.georgia.gov/county-tax-digest-mill-rates
    Clayton 19.1
    Cobb 18.9
    *****DeKalb 23.7******
    Douglas 19.8
    Forsyth 17.3
    Fulton 18.5

  39. 39

    Claire

    It is problematic when an individual encourages voters to support taxation for any government entity that has not proven they are worthy of using tax dollars appropriately and responsibly. If you are not aware of the school system misappropriation of funds shame on you. It is even more troubling when this individual is associated with an organization that lobbied a city council to misappropriate tax dollars for a school they had no business funding. Carrying further, at one time they even wanted to provide a building for said school and apparently this individual made no objections to this continued abuse of government power. At some point government and their proponents have to become responsible. It appears this school was never what you thought it would become and you simply got snookered by Bates. Credibility suffers from one’s inability to admit when you have been had. Credibility suffers when one doesn’t demand better use of tax money for government schools.

  40. 40

    Claire

    Apparently you are still listed on the BIA site because with Bate’s affiliation they need all the credibility they can get no matter how poorly chosen it is.

  41. 41

    Valerie

    The Latin American Association is also listed on the BIA site as an affiliate. That is a lie. The LAA booted BIA months ago because they did not like the direction the minority outreach efforts were being handled.

  42. 42

    Claire

    Thank you. Some people have a problem being honest and admitting misplaced support. I think the LAA was very perceptive in their assessment of the BIA and acted accordingly. All the more reason to know the people and the agendas they encourage you to support.

    Dishonesty can be diluted by just keeping a low profile until the mindless among us forget the indiscretions.

  43. 43

    Valerie

    This is the reason I pulled my kids name off the list.

  44. 44

    Kim

    Valerie – I see what you reference on the home page. It clearly is a forward looking statement from months ago. I met with LAA leaders today and we discussed the current state of things. I wasn’t aware of the reference or I would have shared with them. Do you have a link to any other LAA references you’ve found there or is it just the one? The Memorandum of Understanding I helped enable was terminated some time ago and the reference should be removed. I’ll make sure both parties clear that bit up.

  45. 45

    Kim

    The Bates bashing is one of my primary reasons for living and breathing words onto the Post. He should pay me to never appear under my name on the Post again. My engagement always leads to the same grind on his name. SPLOST? What SPLOST?

  46. 46

    Eddie E.

    Yes, I heard ‘Is This Mike On Nancy’ on WABE last week.
    I feel sorry for the folks in that District.

  47. 47

    Kim

    Let me see if I can break this down: 1. You don’t support SPLOST V. Check. 2. You are ignorant of my knowledge of DCSD but label it as it fits your arguments. Deceptive. Check. 3. You claim I supported lobbying for City funding for BIA. Incorrect. Check. 4. You claim I supported lobbying the City to provide property for BIA while I was adamantly and publicly against it and forecast it wouldn’t happen. Incorrect. Check. 5. You damn me for thinking BIA would be a Brookhaven school? Lol. I’m in very good company on that. Check. All these awful and wild opinions based on no facts leads you to damn our public schools. Illogical. Check. I think I now get it.

  48. 48

    Skeptical taxpayer

  49. 49

    Kim

    Nancy is as familiar as anyone with the problems of the system administration. As she served on the dysfunctional board that was fired by Governor Deal when it brought us to the brink of accreditation loss, she also knows the inner workings of the politics of the Board of Education.

    Hers is a well-informed argument. I consider Nancy a friend and disagree with her on her conclusion. “Cutting off the spigot” sounds so satisfying but it’s not going to happen. Then what? The goals of reform and greater effectiveness of our public school administrations isn’t controversial to me. But since the “spigot” isn’t going to be cut off the question on the table is, “then what?” Let the squalor continue unabated?

    I understand where Nancy’s thinking is and believe she has every reason to criticize the performance of DCSD. But we differ on our conclusion on how to reform. Defunding isn’t a change management strategy – it’s a kill strategy. I would wonder if she would say her goal is to kill it so it can be rebuilt. I’m not willing to play that game of chicken. We have to find a better way to reform. Until critics find and realize that way, I continue to say, “Yes,” to funding our schools.

  50. 50

    Kim

    And, Claire, please I beg you stop referring to me in the third person. It’s making it hard to distinguish when you’re insulting me or someone else.

  51. 51

    Kim

    … and thank you for addressing the topic. Very refreshing!

  52. 52

    Eric Robert

    No one is saying turn off the spigot according to the SPLOST promotional piece they expect under $500 million over the next 5 years. Over the next 5 years they will receive far far more than $500 million from the extra mil they added in 2012 and the increased revenues from property tax hikes received via increased appraisals.

  53. 53

    Eric Robert

    This is a despicable misrepresention of reality by the promoters of SPLOST
    “The penny sales tax spreads the responsibility of providing quality facilities for our children to all citizens (and visitors) of the community, not just homeowners. …” http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/splost-iv/faq
    Renters pay property taxes through their rental payments. And in fact when it comes to the County portion (non school) the rental units do not benefit from the homestead reduction provided by Host.

  54. 54

    Kim

    I applauded Nancy for her brave, “no,” vote back in 2011. See: http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/06/theres-hole-in-my-bucket-dear-liza.html

    I am very familiar with the dysfunction of our public schools governance. If dysfunction were a case against funding, no human organization larger than 100 persons would exist on the planet. Am I defending DCSD in my editorial? No. I am defending the ongoing need to fund public education as one of the most critical uses of tax revenues. These are not mutually exclusive concepts. Let’s fund and continue to implement reform. It isn’t guaranteed to succeed but we must not abandon our schools any more than we already have.

  55. 55

    Kim

    So how much do capital is needed? Let’ define the problem we’re trying to solve for. The system says it’s $2-3B depending on who you ask. Please see my criticism of this position and dynamic: http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/06/theres-hole-in-my-bucket-dear-liza.html

    My argument is that we need fewer, larger capacity school plants to reduce the capital nut. So you and I may agree. Now, we just need to convince our neighbors and DCSD that this will relieve the capital burden. As it stands we are chained to a failing school infrastructure by our own demand for smaller schools. We are the only system in the Metro with this ridiculous situation and it’s of our own making.

    Until we let go of the small-scale schools we have by the dozens, we are obligated to maintain them all. Not some. All. Thus my vote, “Yes.”

    If we were moving to larger capacity schools at every level, we would truly reduce our capital obligations. But we are not and most DeKalb parents seem to demand smaller schools. Convince them and we might get somewhere.

  56. 56

    Kim

    I will add that DCSD has advocated for larger format schools for over decade and “WE” shoot it down. We are scorpions …

  57. 57

    Claire

    Kim, ignorance is knowing the deficiencies of the DeKalb school system, knowing they still have a long way to go to clean up their management team and still encouraging voters to support SPLOST V.

    Ignorance is knowingly being a part of an organization intent on funding their school with diverted tax dollars in a manner that violates Brookhaven’s charter.

    There, happy now?

  58. 58

    RAJ

    Being well informed and making well informed decisions are entire opposites in Nancy Jester’s situation. Her NO decision in this case is a reaction to Dr Green’s NO vote for the Doraville TAD. Most of her decisions on the Board of Commissioners fall out the same way; pure politics of the moment, and never based on logic, reason, or common sense!

  59. 59

    Eddie E.

    The key for that individual remains “was fired by Governor Deal”, and the same fools elevated her to another post.

    Tell me, what is really wrong in Dekalb County?

  60. 60

    Kim

    Much better. So on the first point in ignorant because I disagree with you. In the second point I engaged BIA for the same clear, valid purpose as LAA and was completely open about it. When it became clear the objective wasn’t achievable I resigned. The fact that you damn me for it and applaud LAA for precisely the same conduct is a reflection on you, not me. I would take precisely the same course of action tomorrow in similar circumstance because equal access is important. The LAA and I continue to work together for such. Pin your biases on someone else.

  61. 61

    Patrick

    Eddie, I see that Nancy is running for a full term,Without opposition.

  62. 62

    Eddie E.

    Obviously in a district with low expectations.
    I’m glad we have much better representation in my district.

  63. 63

    Claire

    Words are one thing, actions are another. Kim your actions have spoken for you.

  64. 64

    Kim

    I think you are hitting on the heart of what DCSD is telling us – I think they agree there’s no summarized or rational data on the question of capital needs. That is what the SPACES initiative is specifically attempting to provide and they want to use it as a basis for the priorities rather than guesses or politics (hard to keep those out, no?). See: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/operations/building-spaces/

    They are planning to use these assessment to drive the public dialog on priorities during the next few months. Whether we buy their rationale or not, that is the plan and how they expect to define specific projects to be funded.

    As to whether facilities affect educational outcomes all I have is my personal experience at Cross Keys before and after the SPLOST IV renovation. The difference in the atmosphere and the attitude of students and teachers alike was striking.

  65. 65

    Kim

    Finally! Something we can agree upon. Can you provide me some specific actions that trouble you? I’m am completely baffled by what they might be. I’m a very proud (too proud?) volunteer and truly want to know what causes so much concern. I promise not to take it personally – hit me!

  66. 66

    Lydia Gonzales

    Yes. True that Claire. Your actions Kim have made a many live better and make a huge difference. Thank you. Please keep up good work.

  67. 67

    Toff

    Spot on. Her and her husband are politicians and self serving. She was on the original school board and did nothing to stop the corruption.

  68. 68

    Kim

    That means a lot to me, Lydia. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the kids of BuHi saved my life by opening my eyes to a more real world understanding I never had before and for inspiring me by their own actions, aspirations and quality. And I honestly do want Claire’s feedback, though. There’s obviously some substance behind her (his?) view.

  69. 69

    Claire

    All that is very nice, Kim, but I checked and you are not on the school board and you are not in a management position at the school system. If you were, you might have made a difference in the direction of the system. Many of us want to see results before we give anymore money to a wasteful school system. Apparently you ignore this and want us to continue to support such nonsense. Dr. Green didn’t do himself any favors by not detailing his plans did he.

    No to SPLOST V. We are going to have to agree that we disagree.

  70. 70

    Jennifer

    Kim,
    I applaud the time, effort and I am sure money that you have put in to your support of the CK cluster. You are an inspiration for many of us who understand the value of education.

    With that said I’m having trouble bridging the gap from we know that there is a problem with money management at DCSB and making sure that the investments made are supported. I understand that there has to be a leap of faith that things have changed at some point but how do we know that we are not looking at throwing good money after bad? We both know that that will not help the students if changes are not made, it would only help the corrupt keep being corrupt.

    This is not meant to say that there should not be a SPLOST-V but a sincere question on how we the taxpayers can make sure that the money goes to where it needs to go.

  71. 71

    Claire

    In her defense I think she was always out voted on the board and the governor had no choice but to eliminate the entire board. But since then she votes political not what is best. Her husband is what he is.

  72. 72

    Paula

    While I disagree with Nancy’s stances on the Doraville Tad and E-SPLOST, she did bring forth many of the financial malfeasance issues within DCSD during her tenure on the BOE. It’s hard to get anything done when you are the only voice amongst 9 others who really had shown no interest in changing the culture within the school system.

  73. 73

    Claire

    Her (him) Kim? Rolling my eyes.

  74. 74

    Kim

    Jennifer – I think you have summarized the question rather well. I have seen bad decision after bad decision by DCSS (now DCSD) over the past decade. So, I think your questioning is 100% valid. For me, the answer has been 100% vigilance. I also feel that is a burden that asks too much citizens with busy lives. But that’s the only answer I have. I have been watching DCSD like a hawk for so many years and hours it hurts to think about it. For me the question of supporting public education in our community isn’t the same as “endorsing” public education leadership like some are position the question. Supporting public education as an endeavour is not an option in my view. Supporting the leadership is and we should question, challenge and harass that leadership until we are satisfied.

  75. 75

    Kim

    And even more specifically we as a Brookhaven community would be wise to have regular public forums with our Board of Education reps. I haven’t seen that as a priority to our community no matter how much we complain. WE have the opportunity to engage with our elected officials and only seem to do it ad hoc or when we have a personal issue to resolve. Even the integrated “Parent Councils” rarely host such forums. I have never understood this. Groups as large as DCPC and ELPC could set up such a regular cadence. In the case of Brookhaven, there’s no integrated interest group advocating for public education, in general. It’s all house by house, block by block, school by school. My hope is that I live long enough to see us recognize our common interest in this as community within a city. Keep questioning everything!

  76. 76

    Eric Robert

    Kim I have not really thought about the notion of larger schools and what that does from a cost point of view. But you raise interesting points about the need to change our thinking on that. So rather than continue to give all the money they need through the increased millage tax and the sales tax lets say no to the sales tax and push them to make better decisions on the use of the windfall they are getting from the additional mil they got in 2012 and increased valuations. BTW Chamblee High I think added far to much non core educational space, they could have built a smaller symphony hall and added more class space. But again too many people mistakenly believe writing a blank check is the best way to improve education.

  77. 77

    Janine

    The words you breathe are marred by your continued association with BIA & their deceit , Bates and your prior intense support of BIA. Who believes that your position on SPLOST isn’t as fickle? Sorry, but you undermine yourself.

  78. 78

    Kim

    This is the type of productive discussion I support. The build at CCHS and the related site plan did not best serve the DeKalb tax payer. It could have been built out to support 2400 easily. But then again none of the HS builds have: Tucker $84M – too small, Arabia Mtn $130M – too small and converted to magnet rather than attendance area as “promised” in SPLOST project list. The current “spec” on DeKalb HS builds is for 1600 capacity. That is a ridiculous number. Again, we are the only system with these formats in Metro. Why?

  79. 79

    Kim

    The number of schools also has a ripple effect (negative) on: 1. administrative bloat (bunches of schools leads to bunches of regions which leads to bunches of regional admins), 2. maintenance costs for everything from grounds to HVAC, 3. Overcrowding and redistricting (larger capacity schools allow more flexibility via redistricting). That last one is the #1 reason we have what we have: folks want to control who goes to their local school. We are scorpions … is there inefficiency in DCSD? Oh, yes! Is it all on the back of corrupt leaders in the past? Mostly. But there is plenty of $$$ being wasted because we insist on smaller schools and lots of them.

  80. 80

    Kim

    That’s a narrative that fits your own purposes, Janine. But that is your prerogative. BIA was a public school initiative in our community and I support public schools in our community. There couldn’t be a more simple and consistent position. The next school in Brookhaven will have the same support I have always offered to our current schools and the kids they serve.

  81. 81

    Kim

    No issue with those that disagree with me on this vote. I do take issue with personal attacks and false assertions about my conduct. I will challenge them every time.

  82. 82

    Kim

    A quick summary comment here at the top of the thread – there is some great dialog in this thread and there is some devolution and digression. I encourage everyone to make their decision on e-SPLOST V with the best information and intentions each can find. Whatever reasons you vote up or down I hope you do so with confidence you are doing what’s best for public education, tax payers and our communities. When the vote is over I will continue doing the same things I have been doing to advocate for public education in our region. Thank you all for taking the time to read one man’s opinion on SPLOST V.

  83. 83

    Paula

    Kim, as you know, DeKalb historically crafted small neighborhood schools. This is what I grew up with, as well as my children. To this day I am not comfortable with the mega-school concept, but I do believe that we cannot keep doing the same things over and over in DeKalb schools – that cycle must be broken. I hope Dr. Green and his staff (who are outsiders coming in) can offer some different ways of doing things in DeKalb. There will be a lot of resistance and screaming, but hopefully with support of the BOE (well, there is one problem child) and some new fresh ideas things can get turned in the right direction.

  84. 84

    bldvl89

    Speaking strictly from pure economics, it always strikes me as backwards the Georgia consistently ranks in the bottom 15-20 states in spending on public education.

    Yet, the more you spend on public education, the more kids that have a chance to go to college. The more kids that go to college, the better jobs more kids will get. The better jobs more kids get, the more money they will earn. The more money more of those kids earn, the more revenue in taxes they’ll pay. The more revenue in taxes they pay, the more government can spend to improve not just public education, but services to its citizens, and presumably, overall quality of life.

    With that as my big picture, saying no to spending on public education because I’m worried about how a few misplaced peeps may potentially divert money from public education strikes me as pretty myopic – maybe as much as those who actually do divert that money.

  85. 85

    Kim

    Paula, you are right. The “neighborhood scale” school is the foundational building block of our system. I personally prefer that. The issue is we want our cake but don’t want to pay for it. It is a VERY expensive way to run the railroad and we see the results all around us. I am with you in that we must challenge ourselves and leaders to look at our situation with new eyes. That or just keep writing enormous checks to maintain our expansive and expensive, aging plant.

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