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DeKalb Schools to Spend Millions in Legal Fees

The district's legal fees will rise this year from last year's figure of $3 million. Former Superintendent Crawford Lewis and another district executive are facing criminal charges of insider dealing and corruption.

DeKalb schools racked up $3 million on legal fees last year and could spend $6 million this year, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The newspaper pulled the information from a DeKalb County grand jury report convened in August and September, which attributed the figures to Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson.

The school system entered the school year in a financial hole. An $85-million budget deficit was covered this school year by a tax increase and big cuts.

The school board later backed off of teacher layoffs after attrition and retirement failed to reduce the number of staff programmed in the budget.

Earlier this month, an oversight body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, said they would visit the district this fall based on complaints from parents and faculty.

Ashford Park School Education Foundation September 28, 2012 at 06:20 PM
This is FRIGHTENING to read and this mess needs to be cleaned up NOW. Our kids and our community are at risk and DCSS leadership must realize this and restore order over this unwarranted and wasteful spending.
Grieg Ericsson September 28, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Hmmmm. I wonder if Brookhaven should pass on parks and police and go for the schools.
carlosmcgee September 28, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Why not all 3. A study on how much money DCSS receives from taxes in the City of Brookhaven versus what is spent on schools within the city would probably blow you away.
John McGrew September 29, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Don't joke. People are already talking about it. The DCSS is well on it's trajectory to becoming Clayton County-North. And if you think your property values have taken a hit over the last 4 years, just wait until the school system gets de-certified and you literally can't give your house away. I doubt Brookhaven could do any worse.
H.A. Hurley September 29, 2012 at 02:00 PM
We cannot afford this board and superintendent. The quality of people running this system for years is unbelievable! Where do we find such unethical, incompetent and inefficient people? Yet, keep them? We cannot afford it, nor can the students of DCSS? What is SACS waiting for? Stop the bleeding! Oh, yes, but in the meanwhile, let's send a group of administrators to get their Ph.Ds. That should help!? The decisions made by this group of people should not continue to amaze us, we know their lack of abilities, but we only grumble about it. Major change needs to happen, immediately! Before it is too late!
Son of Emmie September 29, 2012 at 02:03 PM
"Where do we find such unethical, incompetent and inefficient people?" There are some decent school board members in DeKalb. http://whatsupwiththat.nancyjester.com/
H.A. Hurley September 29, 2012 at 02:16 PM
There always are, but why are we still spiraling out of control? In a mess such as this, there are always ethical, competent and knowledgable individuals....gather the forces and turn this ship around. Your positive forces are not shining through. Step up to the opposition in this climate and save the system. Tell them to stop the excuses and fix it, quickly!
Son of Emmie September 29, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I agree with what you are saying, there is a huge issue with DCSS. One big part of the issue is that the School Board, voted in by us, is are average folks being asked to manage an $850M to $1 Billion budget. And if you buy into what Nancy Jester is saying, the Super controls the Board! Many citizens are involved: http://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/ Our own Kim Gokce started this blog years ago and is one of the most knowledgeable people on DCCS around.
H.A. Hurley September 29, 2012 at 02:44 PM
How about this idea: send the school administrators to LAW school, instead of paying for their Ph.Ds, and hire them to represent the school system as salaried employees for three years. This may cap the legal fees - tongue and cheek! Nothing is funny anymore at this point. Sending professionals for PH.Ds is outrageous!
Son of Emmie September 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Agreed. I don't have the answers but I suspect that the situation is coming to a head now.
H.A. Hurley September 29, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I just reviewed Dr. Gene Walker's Bio on the web. Conclusion: our Board Pres. is highly educated, experienced and invested in Dekalb County during a long professional career. Why, but why, with all his background can this mess exist and continue? There are absolutely no excuses! As a scholar of history, he should know that one must learn from history and improve upon it. He has enough experience to pull this system out of the quicksand, stand up to the superintendent, and support the citizens of DC by bringing the quality of education back to where it was years ago. Back then,every new professional, moving to Atlanta, was advised to place their children in to the DCSS. What ever happend to that? Now, the slogan is...RUN! And, don't blame poor kids, charter schools, bad teachers, lack of parent involvement, no $$$$, ELL kids, special ed kids, not enough Ph.Ds, etc.... We have all heard those excuses. Get to work and improve DCSS. Start shoveling!
Steve Walker September 30, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Dekalb County School System NEEDS to go bankrupt and have the court system or the state step in and do a top to bottom audit and mandate a new and balanced budget with severe consequences written in if they fail to perform....IMHO....
FreddieK October 04, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Those huge legal fees are a TINY portion of what it will cost DeKalb relative to what the lawyers are working on. DeKalb will have a judgment against them in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars over the Heery/Mitchell suit. You know? The Crawford Lewis & Pat Reid & Tony Pope debacle? It is wholly embarrassing.

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