Charters are such a funny thing in DeKalb. DeKalb has proven once again that it can take a great concept and royally mess it up. At the same time, a well drafted plan is rejected by the Palace staff. It’s such a shame.
Let’s take a look at the Druid Hills Charter Cluster (DHCC). Once again, the DCSS staff, rising to previously unseen levels of malice and ineptitude, has recommended that the DHCC be denied again. The Board of Education’s eventual vote will likely sustain the staff’s recommendation. If the vote is held before or after January, when a new board is seated, the outcome will be the same. I found when I was on the BOE that reason, facts, and common sense seldom made any real impact. The politics of race will be on display as they usually are. But the real reason that the staff must kill this charter petition is because it isn’t consistent with keeping their paychecks fat. They aren’t even subtle. They state in their denial letter than DHCC would be a “severe financial hardship” for the district. I’m sure it would be for the paychecks of people who have fleeced taxpayers and failed children for years and years.
Thad Mayfield lost his election because he voted for the DHCC. The south side viewed his vote as treasonous. It’s too bad really. The children, taxpayers and parents of the southern part of the county are the ones who suffer the most at the hands of the greedy and incompetent central office. The central office knows how to divide and conquer. They use racial and social differences to justify why they have failed so many poor and minority students in DeKalb. It isn’t accurate but it gets votes and that’s all that matters.
See you later DHCC. Hello, McNair Career Academy charter! This is a staff drafted charter and is a partnership with Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Want to know who runs Georgia Piedmont Technical College? That would be the former Chief of Staff to the now indicted, Burrell Ellis, one Jabari Simama. Do you know how Dr. Simama came to be the head of Georgia Piedmont Technical College? He was placed there by a search committee that included former DeKalb BOE Chair, Gene Walker. But wait, there’s more. Michael Thurmond sat on the Board of Directors for the Foundation of the Georgia Piedmont Technical College. But, just because they are connected in these ways doesn’t mean that having a career academy at McNair isn’t a good idea. So, let’s look at the charter document.
The McNair charter petition is poorly written. The petition proposes to have the DeKalb Superintendent sit on the board of the charter school. It is an extreme conflict of interest for a superintendent to sit on a charter school board in his own district. He and his staff are going to be responsible for reevaluating the charter on a regular basis. If your boss is on the board, do you think staff will be critical? I cannot see how the state, which must also sign off on this, could possibly approve this petition.
So what did the DeKalb Board do? They voted unanimously to approve the petition. Of course, two board members didn’t even bother to show up. McMahan and Orson voted in favor of this. Do you think they believed they could exchange a vote for a bad idea for favorable consideration for the DHCC? I think they were played. I’ve seen it before. It’s like Lucy, Charlie Brown and the football. She’s never going to let you kick it.