THE SHAKEDOWN

It appears my worst fears have come true. I really do not understand the severance, but I am sure the lawyers have crafted each word with Teflon. As I have previously stated, DeKalb schools are broke. Where will the severance money come from? Almost $23,000 a month. WOW. I do not know the inner details, but there is one thing I am sure of… it’s a shakedown. From downtown Decatur to Mountain Industrial Blvd., the taxpayer is fleeced. There seems to be no responsible way to stop this runaway train. I wonder where Mr. Perrone will find the money?

Of course, this can of worms leads directly to the next can of worms. With such nice terms for Dr. Atkinson, what should we expect for Mr. Thurmond? First, his salary should be minimal. His experience is minimal. In fact he has no experience in the formal educational field. If they pay him $275,000+, I think I will lose my mind.

One would think the executive session would have been an arduous meeting about his contract. Did they just fold or will there be some real limitations on the new superintendent? We already have a car for the super. In fact we just bought it. That was when we surplused a vehicle that was still worth $15,000 even though our policy states it has to be $5,000 or less. We should not buy the super a new car nor should they give an allowance because we already have the car. If they give an allowance then what do we do with the car? Read the contract carefully. See what the out clauses are and how much they will cost you. What does it take to dismiss for convenience? How many votes does it take. This is where the taxpayer gets fleeced. What does it cost you when it is time to go?

Judging by my past experience with most of this group, they will sign away the farm. I would expect Pam and Nancy to object, but they will most likely be outvoted in the final analysis. If Mr. Thurmond demands the farm let him go. His resume in this field is devoid of experience. Speaking of resume, has anyone seen Mr. Thurmond’s resume? Do you think you will see one before the crowning?

We are making a bad choice here. Our students are the victims of adult ego games. We will soon be Kansas City. They went from a system about the size of DeKalb to 15,000 students in a very short time.

The vote on this contract is critical. Watch carefully how your board member votes. It is the difference between sanity and insanity.

I thought the TITANIC could only sink once, but it appears I am wrong.

9 thoughts on “THE SHAKEDOWN

  1. Don, no way is Thurmond going to drive the ‘used’ SUV that once was home to Cheryl’s butt. Thurmond needs something classier than a Ford Explorer! He will roll the streets in an Escalade or Suburban.

  2. I suspect you are correct. The contract will tell you a great deal. In my mind how can you offer major money to someone who has no real credentials for this position. As usual our students will be lost in the battle once again.

  3. A few questions… why did they sign him to a year contract? Is that standard practice – I mean, if it’s “interim”, that screams pay by hour or week or month, not ensuring him a year of work (or three months of pay if he’s replaced early)?

    With the ENTIRE county is such turmoil, would Deal actually plunge kids\people into more of a mess by throwing out the DCBoE? And if he does, what are the senarios that could play out? the GABoE appoints a new board? Are we still obligated to SACS if the BoE is “fired” (how did we even get into that relationship?) Would the entire BoE be thrown out or would Deal keep the newest elected members?

    I would like to hope that this board is removed before they have any part in the hiring of a new superintendent. And I have to ask, could any of the previous candidates be resubmitted for the role? Will the same agency be retained to find the next superintendent?

  4. You ask some very good questions. Superintendent’s usually get 3 year contracts. That is the maximum the law allows. Since this is an interim I think the 1 year is appropriate. I almost bet that he will be with us longer than a year.

    I am not sure our state has grasped the gravity of the situation. As much as I think our BOE would function better with some strategic replacements it cannot happen. The law says all go if they invoke the law.

    Now the law. Everyone is putting all their eggs in one basket. I do not think the BOE will be dismissed. The law quite possibly is unconstitutional. How can one set of elected officials have power over another set of elected officials. Conversely could the BOE seek to remove the DeKalb delegation? There appears to be a great deal of faulty reasoning here. Two things are provided to handle this situation. A new election. Vote the Bums out. Also there is the recall. If the Governor replaces the BOE the voter will have been skipped over. You could have a representative that you had no choice in determining. How would that sit with the voters?

    My prediction is that if the BOE is removed by the Governor they will initiate litigation and ask for an injunction. I think they will get it. Then whatever attorney they choose will go to the Ga. Supreme Court argue the case and become famous because the BOE will win and this wonderfully conceived law will go down in flames. Now all Boards in the entire state have won.

    SACS still belongs to DeKalb because we have paid our dues. I think that is $68K. Of course they could fire SACS and go to another accrediting agency. SACS was a great thing at one point in educational history. It is no longer.

    The choice of the next super will be DeKalb’s last chance. If it goes down like the last one, read my I Told You so article, then we are done.

    Get a good search firm. Of course I thought we had one last time, but if you ignore their advice and keep changing the criteria you are using each day we will end up with more of the same. There must be someone who can correctly evaluate the data they receive. Of course you have to read it too.

    Your questions are great and right on target.
    Don

  5. Don,
    I have grave doubts here and share your concerns. However, if you put on some rose tinted glasses and assume that the AJC article accurately described Thurmond, maybe it will not turn out so bad. While he has 0 experience in education, he does have some experience with a large statewide agency and folks on both sides of the isle has some positive things to say about him. While we are having serious academic issues in DeKalb schools, the SACS review criticism focused on adminstrative problems and budget issues within the county administration. If, by some miracle, Thurmond could come in and has a strong enough personality to really manage that situation and root out some of the corrupt excesses in the Central Office, maybe things will get better. It is hard to see how they can get much worse.

  6. It really isn’t a problem of rooting out the the problems in the system, the problem comes
    from actually doing something about those problems, those that working toward that goal, are far out numbered

  7. Al,

    Do not misunderstand. I do not wish Mr. Thurmond trouble. I long for the day we get leadership that the BOE will back even when things get tough. We just have to look at our choices. We are an educational business. We tend to put the academics last not first. If we fix the classroom a great deal of the rest will follow, including trust. However look at his credentials. He is a media darling. We have paid a non professional educator as much as a pro. Why? I seriously doubt there was much tough negotiation going on. Judging by the 7-2 vote the 2 were voiceless. I found that same issue when I was there.

    Did you ever wonder why SACS an accrediting agency focuses more on process than academic achievement? What is accreditation if academics are not primary?

    I wish Mr. Thurmond luck. He will have to completely restructure the whole system. Does he have the educational expertise to do that? I hope so.

  8. Jim,

    You are exactly right. Those that are fighting for children and taxpayers are pretty much shut out when the votes are counted. All the ruckus the last few days is about the adults. When will we start thinking about the children and their future? Also we have lost sight that the DeKalb taxpayer is overwhelmed with taxation.

  9. What do we do? How do we stop this? I left DeKalb this past year and sadly, I feel I did the best for my own children, though I wish I could have taken all my classroom children with me! I feel so helpless and am still so heavily invested with DCSS, as I served it faithfully for 14 years and don’t want to see it go up in flames.

    It’s just so sad and frustrating.