Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch
DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris
Virtual Back-to-School Town Hall, Thursday, August 13 at 6 p.m.
EducateDeKalb and Restore DeKalb recently met together with our new Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris to discuss her new arrival and needs of the DCSD. In keeping with her comments about connecting with county officials and our request that she remember the cities within DeKalb, she is collaborating with Dunwoody’s mayor in an upcoming town hall. Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch will host a virtual back-to-school meeting with DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris Thursday, August 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will focus on back-to-school plans, virtual learning and COVID-19 safety protocols.
The Thursday, August 13 virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. will be streamed on
Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/CityofDunwoody/videos/?ref=page_internal
Residents can email questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org
Watson-Harris started her position with DCSD on July 1, 2020
https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2020/06/18/dekalb-county-school-board-hires-new-superintendent/ and immediately jumped into creating a COVID-19 reopening plan https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2020/07/14/dekalb-county-schools-to-delay-start-date-use-remote-learning-until-covid-19-spread-slows/ for the district. DCSD delayed its start date until August 17 and will use remote learning until further notice. The DeKalb County Board of Education will re-evaluate the COVID-19 safety risk of students and staff returning to school at each monthly meeting.
Here is the link to full information about next week’s town hall:
Sneak Peak - Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris's 100-Day Entry Plan
Breaking News May 11, 2020
DCSD Board of Education votes 4-3 against hiring Rudy Crew to be the next Superintendent.No Votes - DaCosta, Erwin, Jester, MorleyYes Votes - Gevertz, Orson, Turner
"The vote was a foregone conclusion. "
"Dr. Crew received rave reviews. We understood that as high-profile and longtime leader, he had a controversial past," said board member Allyson Gevertz
"At that point, I realized the problem was not Crew; it was the judgment of the DeKalb school board. If they examined the same facts that most of us did and weren't troubled, they were lost in a fog."
April 27, 2020 (updated 5/1)
Subject: Dr. Rudolf F. Crew, Sole Finalist for DSCD Superintendent
To all Lakeside High School and Educate DeKalb Supporters,
After working for five months with an expensive search firm to hold multiple public input sessions and find 68 candidates, the DCSD Board of Education has operated behind closed doors and narrowed the decision down to one option. Last week the BOE voted 6-1 to select Dr. Rudolf F. Crew as sole finalist for DCSD superintendent. Dr. Crew is expected to sign a contract with the school district in May and formally assume the superintendent’s position on July 1, 2020. Superintendent Ramona Tyson will continue to lead the District until Dr. Crew takes the role of the DCSD Superintendent and has agreed to stay on for several months as a consultant to assist with an orderly transition.
Georgia law requires school districts to give a minimum of 14 days for public input before finalizing an agreement with a new superintendent. The district has scheduled virtual town hall meetings on Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. We encourage you to participate in these meetings. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing email@example.com or calling 678-676-0722. The deadline for submitting questions is by noon on Tuesday, April 28. The town halls will be available to view live online at https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv and via broadcast at DSTV 24 available within DeKalb County on Comcast cable television.
Every DeKalb County resident has the opportunity to submit questions in advance of these virtual town hall meetings. During each of these virtual meetings, the community will hear from the finalist regarding what he envisions for the District and his responses to selected questions asked.
There has been much written about Dr. Crew’s career and most information is easily obtainable through news archives, social media and public records. We provide a selection of this for your benefit in considering your viewpoint on his candidacy. We urge you to take the time to read the items below and send questions or concerns for the public meetings if you choose to do so. Questions must be submitted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 678-676-0722 by noon Tuesday, April 28.
Alternatively, feel free to reach out to the BOE members (see contact information below), ask questions and express your opinions. You have until Thursday, May 7 when the 14-day waiting period for public input expires.
BOE member contact information:
Mrs. Ramona Tyson, DeKalb County School District Superintendent, email@example.com
Mr. Marshall D. Orson, BOE Chair, District 2 Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Mrs. Vickie B. Turner, BOE Vice Chair, BOE District 5 Commissioner, email@example.com
+Mr. Stan O. Jester, BOE District 1 Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Dr. Michael A. Erwin, District 3 Commissioner, email@example.com
Ms. Allyson Gevertz, BOE District 4 Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Diijon DaCosta, BOE District 6 Commissioner, email@example.com
*Dr. Joyce Morley, BOE District 7 Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Up for re-election Fall 2020
+Not running for re-election
AJC (May 1, 2020) - "DeKalb residents protest against schools superintendent selection"
“Here we have an historically ineffective board that seems intent on insulting our intelligence by bringing in a guy who has a host of the exact problems that makes this board ineffective”
Termination of Contract of Superintendent Rudolf Crew, Miami Dade School Board (July 30, 2008) – “Gross Negligence …. Incompetence … Insubordination … Willful Neglect of Duty”
Decaturish (April 30, 2020) - "A personality like Rudy Crew can easily run roughshod over the district's employees and school board, creating crises of accountability that undermine the public's trust in the county's schools."
"Honestly as a reporter, I should be thrilled about this hire. If Crew’s history is any indication, I won’t have any shortage of things to write about. As a parent who wants his son to graduate from the county’s schools, I am concerned that Crew would be a step backward and would exacerbate the problems that already exist within the district."
Medgar Evers College Student Government Association (petition started November 2019) – "Rudy Crew is an absentee president - He hardly shows up for work (he sends a video) and when he does, he leaves within a couple of hours - is he out fundraising? Probably not, since we have a negative balance in our budget.”
NY Daily News (July 1, 2019) – “Sylvia Kinard, the former chief diversity officer at Medgar Evers – and ex-wife of CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Thompson – filed a discrimination suit against Crew, claiming he berated, physically intimidated, and fired her after bristling at her handling of a personnel dispute.”
Anna Hill Educate Dunwoody FaceBook page regarding Medgar Evers Audit (June 30, 2018)– “Tax levy funds used to buy $32,421 for Rudy Crew’s home; the use of these funds were ‘improper’ and ‘not used for their intended purpose’.” These accounts consist of taxpayer dollars, such as monies collected for tuition and fees.”
St. Louis American (September 18, 2008) – “Superintendent Shuffle - Rudy Crew ‘used the proverbial cloak to hide his shenanigans and refused to cooperate with requests for transparency.’"
The Oregonian (July 16, 2013) – “Oregon's departed chief education officer, Rudy Crew, billed the state for thousands of dollars of personal travel expenses, took six weeks of paid vacation and tried to get the state to pay for perks such as first-class plane tickets.”
Miami New Times (August 2, 2007) – “Now the school system faces a series of lawsuits and other controversies related to his (Rudy Crew) autocratic behavior, which could cost taxpayers big."
Criminal Justice (September 16, 2006) – Allegation of 2006 rape cover up at Miami-Dade County Schools
New York Times (September 17, 1997) – Allegation of 1997 gang rape cover up in Queens
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (April 23, 2020) – DCSD's Marshall Orson - "Our overriding goal was to make this an open and transparent process”, AJC "It was anything but (transparent)"
Fact Checker (April 23, 2020) – “In January this year, DeKalb Schools hired public relations firm Porter Novelli for $200K to assist with the national superintendent search. One of their stated directives is to ‘Assist with building excitement about and confidence in the candidate selected.’”
Kay Colson, email@example.com
The crowd was overflowing at last night's DCSD School Board Meeting with unified opposition to DCSD's proposed GO Bond. There were more calls for a FORENSIC AUDIT to help determine how previous funds were spent and managed. Please click on the video link for last night's news piece.
LHS E-SPLOST and “GO” Bond Public Meeting / Community Input Session
7pm, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at Lakeside High School
The DCSD will explain the $100M overrun and seek your input on which projects should be expanded / deleted / added, as well as your viewpoint on the GO Bond options. Although DCSD will tightly control the information and choices they offer, this is an important opportunity to learn about and speak out on the additional $100M to $265M in tax dollars now being requested!
There were 185 attendees at the Chamblee meeting last week …Let your voices be heard too!
Overcrowding at Lakeside High School (LHS) has become a crisis. As part of a larger overcrowding problem in its northern areas, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Board of Education (BOE) has approved physical plant expansions to 3 high schools in those areas (of which one is LHS) in order to increase the student population at each school. Based on continued growth in the area and DCSD predicted enrollment, this expansion would not solve current overcrowding problems.
LHS was built in the 1960’s and expanded in 2012 to accommodate 1,796 students (SPLOST III). As of October 2017 LHS enrollment was 2,165 and growing. The $26M planned expansion will add 750 seats to the LHS campus, bringing its capacity to 2,500+ students with projected enrollment of 2,600+. For many reasons, we believe this “approved solution” will potentially damage the LHS student experience, academic achievement, and extracurricular activities, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
LHS has a strong heritage of academic excellence, but over the past 10 years its performance trajectory has steadily declined. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners are urging the DCSD to halt this LHS expansion and develop a comprehensive, informed strategic plan for the whole district before building or expanding any existing facilities. We believe a better plan would more effectively include building a new high school and reducing the LHS student population to 1,796, which it was expanded to accommodate in 2012.
12 Reasons Lakeside High School Should Be BETTER, not Bigger
- The DeKalb County School District plans to address overcrowding at Lakeside High School by adding 750 additional seats, bringing the enrollment capacity to over 2,500 students by 2022.
- The proposed plan attempts to turn a small, circa-1960, neighborhood high school, that was built for only 1,200 students, into a mega-school for 2,500+. Instead of building a large, modern, state-of-the-art school, they will just add 38 classrooms and expand portions of the kitchen, cafeteria, and media center. A school of 2,500 requires a minimum campus size of 45 acres per state DOE standards. The Lakeside HS site contains 33 acres.
- The proposed plan does nothing to address or enhance the overall safety and educational opportunities of Lakeside students, beyond temporarily eliminating portable classrooms.
- DCSD’s own published enrollment projections predict that Lakeside will be overcrowded again after the addition is completed in 2022.
- Much of the original building and previous 2012 addition will be entirely untouched, despite the addition of 750+ students. The unimproved portions of the campus will include the original classrooms, gymnasium, swimming pool, hallways, and stairwells (which were built in the early 1960s to accommodate half as many students), locker rooms, restrooms, auditorium, visual and performing arts classrooms, technology labs, office and counseling suites, ROTC and culinary arts classrooms, storage, workrooms, and utility spaces.
- The additional 750 students and staff will result in increased traffic on our already congested two-lane roads, which may lead to longer emergency response times and extended commute times for area residents, LHS staff, and students.
- Frequent traffic congestion has a negative impact on student achievement, as students arrive late to school and miss portions of first period instruction. Buses leaving Lakeside may also be late transporting students to Henderson Middle School.
- Traffic congestion will likely be worse in the near future due to the development of CHOA at Druid Hills Road. The area has seen a growth in traffic over the past 2-3 years with the addition of the Globe Academy Upper School at Briarcliff UMC. While they are exploring options to decrease their impact on traffic, the roads and lights surrounding the area are the purview of the county. If DCSD adds 350-400 more students, it will multiply the problems the area will face.
- The Dewberry Study revealed that our fragile watershed cannot accommodate additional development in the region. The intersection of Briarlake and Briarcliff Roads floods after heavy rains and prevents safe passage for pedestrians, school buses, and emergency response vehicles. This poses a public safety threat for neighborhood residents, students, faculty, and school administration.
- The size of the Lakeside's attendance zone, stretching from DeKalb’s border with Gwinnett County near Pleasantdale Road all the way down to neighborhoods beyond Clairmont Road, is simply too large to allow all students to participate in the many opportunities that exist before and after school hours at Lakeside, such as clubs, athletics, music, drama, volunteering, and tutoring.
- The proposed multi-story parking garage near Oak Grove Road and relocation of the girls’ softball field to the wooded area behind the school will cause many more problems than they will solve.
- The DeKalb County Commission, Lakeside School Council, as well as many concerned citizens, have all asked DCSD, Superintendent Green, and the Board of Education to find a better solution to overcrowding at Lakeside High School.
All Rights Reserved by Educate DeKalb © 2018
Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
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