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Despite the law, DeKalb school minutes vanish without a trace

February 28, 2011 --

Local governments in Georgia can use paper or computer software to comply with Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, which requires that government agencies keep records of official meetings. DeKalb County schools are in the education business, but they haven’t learned to adhere to that basic principle. School officials can’t produce minutes of two meetings where a controversial salary audit was discussed, nor the audit’s executive summary that was supposedly kept in the official file of a third meeting.

DeKalb school audit found bloated salaries — then what?

February 7, 2011 --

DeKalb County schools paid $341,000 several years back for a salary audit that found they were overpaying employees by millions of dollars a year. Now, school officials can’t seem to locate those findings. So, what happened?

May 29

May 30, 2010 --

DeKalb school construction costs top other districts Indicted DeKalb school officials cost taxpayers DoT fines Delta, AirTran for false advertising Columbus mayor orders police probe of Parks & Rec

Test scores questioned at 1 in 10 GA schools

Test scores questioned at 1 in 10 GA schools
February 10, 2010 --

One in 10 Georgia public schools showed a suspicious number of changed answers on the 2009 Criterion Referenced Competency Test. The state Board of Education may order local investigations and monitoring of the 2010 CRCTs to “eliminate future problems and help students who have been adversely affected by test tampering,” said Kathleen Mathers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. We’ve got the list of schools.

DeKalb gives Parsons ‘full responsibility’ for school construction — at least for now

DeKalb gives Parsons 'full responsibility' for school construction -- at least for now
November 3, 2009 --

Parsons, the engineering and construction firm, will oversee DeKalb County schools’ $466 million construction program for the next six weeks. After that, who knows? Parsons and Jacobs Project Management Co. will be paid $644,150 for their trouble. The firms in June won a contract for “supplemental” management, but Superintendent Crawford Lewis gave Parsons “full responsibility” for the program in an Oct. 22 letter. The company takes the reins from chief operations officer Patricia Pope, whose office is under investigation by DeKalb prosecutors.

Latest tab for Dunaire bullying investigation: $389,161

Latest tab for Dunaire bullying investigation: $389,161
September 4, 2009 --

DeKalb County schools have paid attorney Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore $389,161 to investigate bullying at Dunaire Elementary School. The latest summary of payments, released today, shows the school district paid Moore:

May 12, 2009 — $ 3,423
June 5, 2009 — $166,955
July 13, 2009 — $128,628
Aug. 18, 2009 — $ 90,155

Total — $389,161

Report: Family violence, loved one’s death affected 5th-grader before suicide

August 26, 2009 --

Domestic violence and the death last year of a beloved grandmother may have played a role in the suicide of a DeKalb County fifth-grader, an investigative report released Wednesday says. Retired Fulton County judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore found “no evidence” that school officials were told of alleged bullying of Jaheem Herrera, 11, before he took his life. But the judge suggested Jaheem was affected by domestic violence directed against his mother and by the death six months earlier of the grandmother who raised him.

DeKalb spends $170K on bullying probe; written reports remain private

DeKalb spends $170K on bullying probe; written reports remain private
June 29, 2009 --

The DeKalb County school system has paid a retired judge $170,000 — and apparently plans to spend even more — to investigate bullying that’s said to have led to the suicide of a fifth-grader at Dunaire Elementary. But, whatever the school district may learn, its attorneys say the written findings are not subject to public […]

DeKalb vows ‘transparent’ probe of bullying response

April 27, 2009 --

DeKalb School Superintendent Crawford Lewis today promised a thorough and transparent investigation to see how the system handled bullying complaints that led to the suicide of a Dunaire Elementary student. Although the system’s investigation is continuing, Lewis said the mother of Jaheem Herrera, 11, clearly had visited Dunaire to complain about bullies harassing her son. […]

Atlanta schools plan to renegotiate BeltLine deal

April 14, 2009 --

Atlanta school officials took action Monday to keep some or all of an $18 million pot collected for the city’s BeltLine project. The Board of Education voted to change the effective date of its decision to allow school tax money to be spent on the BeltLine. The board first OK’d the funding in 2005. Under […]

TAD bill amended yet again to give ATL, Gainesville an “opt out”

April 1, 2009 --

House Bill 63, which would let the BeltLine and other Tax Allocation District projects use school tax money, was amended yet again this afternoon in the Senate. With the latest change, school systems in Atlanta and Gainesville could “opt out” of their earlier approval of funding. That use of school funds was ruled unconstitutional last […]

ATL schools fight $18 million hit from new TAD bill

ATL schools fight $18 million hit from new TAD bill
March 31, 2009 --

Atlanta Public Schools are fighting changes to a bill that would let Tax Allocation Districts spend school tax money. A state Senate committee last week amended the bill to say a school board that had already approved a TAD would not have to vote on it again. School board chair LaChandra Butler Burks (right) says […]