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.
Patricia Pope, DeKalb County schools’ embattled chief operations officer, is officially out as the district’s construction manager, at least temporarily. Officials have insisted Pope is still the system’s COO even as a criminal investigation of school construction programs has ramped up. Pope may still be COO, but a new interim construction boss, Barbara Colman, is named in a proposal to be presented tonight to the DeKalb Board of Education.
An inquiry into DeKalb County schools’ construction contracts continues, with no hint as to how much longer it will take. District Attorney Gwen Keyes-Fleming has said virtually nothing about the case since Superintendent Crawford Lewis sent her results of an internal review in February. “The case is complex and enormous in scope which is resulting in an extended investigation. We will share our findings when we complete the investigation,” Keyes-Fleming said Friday in a e-mailed statement.