Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dunwoody's Lynn Deutsch lashes out to the DeKalb County Board of Education

I have known Ms. Lynn Deutsch for a very long time and I truly respect her opinions and dedication to both the community and our county's educational system. Lynn has served for many years on the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, served on the Citizen's Planning Task Force for the DCSS as well as in various volunteer posts at Chesnut Elementary and the other schools her children attend.  Lynn also serves on the City of Dunwoody Planning Commission.

Monday night Lynn stood before the microphone at the DeKalb County Board of Education meeting and said what many of us feel.   Thank you Lynn for your tireless dedication to our community.
Good Evening. I am Lynn Deutsch, a DeKalb County parent and taxpayer. Like so many others, I am beyond frustrated with the current situation in DeKalb.

As Board Members, whether or not you believe you created this mess, you are responsible for turning this around. Right now, among both interested observers and the general public, the DeKalb County School System has no credibility.

First, you must order a forensic audit. Hopefully, this thorough examination of the system’s contracts, expenses, purchases, and much more will uncover nothing more than routine day to day operational expenditures. However, as many of you have stated to the media, major changes occurred without your knowledge. This Forensic Audit will give you a much clearer picture of how a billion dollars a year is being spent and afford you the opportunity to offer a transparent view of the finances of this school system to the taxpayers. In addition, having this done before a new superintendent is in place, offers that person some protections because any wrong doings or errors will be corrected before they assume their new job.

Second, you need to act like the indictments are a big deal. They are. Regardless of the outcome of the case, this is a real black eye to our school system and a reflection of, if nothing else, pure sloppiness in how things were getting done. This matters. It will impact the school system for months, and perhaps years to come. From the seriousness of possibly having accreditation impacted to the loss of potential donations from foundations, this is a mess that will linger. Get this system in order and get it in order now.

Third, you need to adopt a new P Card policy. At most governmental institutions, misusing a P card once may be grounds for firing, even if the misuse is accidental. Misusing multiple times, would certainly be grounds for dismissal. It is my understanding that the current policy in DeKalb is to remove the P card from the user for a set period of time. Enough said.

Fourth, I am greatly concerned that we remain a top heavy, inefficient bureaucratic organization. Concerned, but not surprised. It is time for you to change the Reduction in Force Policy. It seems to me, after sitting in budget hearings where there were many concerns expressed about cutting low hanging fruit, this is exactly what happened. In a few months when all the dust settles and school begins, I expect that there will be a continually growing outrage. Do you think you should have kept the core subject coordinators’ positions in math, science, reading and social studies? Have you looked at test scores in this system recently?

Fifth, speaking of test scores, our next superintendent should be someone with a proven track record of improving student achievement. We need an outsider who can come in and put a sharp eye to the challenges and barriers to student achievement in DeKalb and then come up with a plan to address them. From AYP status to SAT and AP test scores, DeKalb’s data shows there is a problem. Find the very best person to lead this system and help DeKalb students achieve more.

Do not let the children of DeKalb down. Their futures are in your very hands. Shape this system up now by shaking it up. Do what is necessary to make sure that we head back in the right direction.


Dunwoody Mom said...

Lynn is the type of individual needed on our School Board. While she cares deeply for the Dunwoody schools, she can look at the "big picture" and advocate for ALL of the chidlren of the DCSS.

I concur - thanks Lynn for stepping up and saying publically what needed to be said to the Board.

I still don't think they "get it", though - sadly.

John Heneghan said...

Lynn's comments at the BOE meeting got some serious press when Maureen Downey of the AJC posted it on her Get Schooled blog.

I love reading positive comments about people I admire, one person wants Lynn to be the DeKalb Superintendent and another wants her to replace Kathy Cox at the state level.

Parent tells DeKalb school board: The system has no credibility