Weekend Potpourri for 11/10/07

The image “https://i2.wp.com/www.gcsnc.com/boe/images/garrett1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. 1. GCS Board member Darlene Garrett is the parent’s advocate, the children’s advocate…and the other evening, she was the taxpayer’s advocate.

Watching the replay of the Board meeting last night during the bond discussion, she openly inquired as to why it costs to much to build schools here versus other counties (even Forsyth County, which is only a few miles away).

Was it me or did you happen to see how defensive GCS construction honcho Joe Hill (and even Terry Grier to a point) got when Ms. Garrett asked that question? I thought Joe was getting ready to come right out of his seat.

It was a valid question…Garrett said to go to the DPI Website where you can see for yourself the breakdown of average construction costs for schools in this state. Here’s the site right here.

Here’s the larger site with some additional information for you to munch on this weekend.

Hill (and Grier) said at least 10 times not to compare apples to apples; I was going to kick my television in if I heard them say that one more time. I understand the theory behind the land costs and I understand inflationary figures, but if land costs are similar 30 miles apart and one county can build a similar structure at almost half the cost, something is fishy. I also said a while back that construction projects are at a premium in Guilford County likely due to some of the more stringent policies that scare away more bidders and designers.

Darlene asked a valid question because she’s advocating for us. Don’t be so quick to shoot her down.

The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.gcsnc.com/boe/images/quick.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Amos Quick also said that Charlotte passed their bond earlier this week and that GCS needs to be doing what it can so this bond can pass muster with you, the voters, in May. If it doesn’t, Quick said we need to ask ourselves why.

Thanks for reading my blog, Amos.

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The image “https://i0.wp.com/www.gcsnc.com/schools/middle/jamestownmiddle/Jamestown_mid.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. 2. Speaking of the bond, GCS has released the dates of two public forums where it wants to gather input on a smaller Jamestown Middle School.

Forum dates are Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 6 p.m., Allen Jay Middle School Gymnasium, 1201 E. Fairfield Road in High Point, then the next day, Wednesday, November 28, 2007 at 7 p.m., Jamestown Middle School Gymnasium, 4401 Vickrey Chapel Road, here in Jamestown.

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The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.gcsnc.com/boe/images/hayes.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. 3. Atta girl, Deena…that’s right, that was Deena Hayes talking up Smith H.S. during the meeting the other evening…I swear I think that’s the first time I heard her mention Smith during a board meeting in a while. Board member Jeff Belton also talked up Smith in a positive light, saying that it was both a shame and demoralizing that the school was labeled a “dropout factory” recently by the Associated Press and Johns Hopkins University.

Here’s the irony…Johns Hopkins plays an integral part in the Freshman Academies at many GCS high schools, including Dudley and Andrews.

The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:MYCia_z6ZywJPM:http://www.guilford.k12.nc.us/schools/images/Zhang,%2520G..jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. I see they dragged out Chartman (Dr. Zhang) to quickly dispel and shoot down the AP story (damage control?)…see this excerpt from a High Point Enterprise story today:

The district’s accountability and re­search expert, Gongshu Zhang, made a presentation to board members on Thurs­day disputing the report, saying it looks at the retention rate of schools rather than the dropout rate. According to Zhang, dropout data is more accurate for the four high schools and show the following rates: 8.3 percent at Dudley, 11.8 at Central, 12.8 at Eastern and 14.1 at Smith.
John Hopkins researchers used a dif­ferent methodology to arrive at their graduation numbers versus the four-­year cohort rate used by the state’s De­partment of Public Instruction, Zhang said.
The Associated Press analysis failed to account for students who transferred to a different school, moved to a new city or state, or took more than four years to graduate from high school, Zhang said. However, the cohort rate includes such “normal student in-and-out consider­ations,” Zhang said.

More talk on the N&R Chalkboard site…click here.

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3. Minutes ago, Board member Garth Hebert just spoke on the Chalkboard…candidly. See what he just said:

The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.gcsnc.com/boe/images/hebert1.JPG” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  Garth said:

THE GUANTLETT!

I am like a man on a raft in the middle of an ocean of numbers dying of thirst for a glass of truth.

The public believes as a board member we get information not available to others. They believe we have influence. Make no mistake about it, plain and simple; Terry and Alan control the information and the board by that information and agenda. I requested copies of financial journal entries to be voted on by the Board, everything possible has been done to make that information unusable yet after a few hours and some good software I can translate it, the remainder of the Board votes in ignorance! This is wrong, yet better than before.

Why should the public have access to such important information? Why should the Board? There are few staff members I trust. I am so well managed that I am beginning to think that I could find a homeless man or woman to sit in Board meetings for me so they can stay warm and keep my place while I go hiking. They will make as much difference, make others more uncomfortable than I and have a good snack during break.

My best source of information is the news reporters who are led at least as well as we are, but they even get more information from our publicist than I do. Dot and Amos have voted no on bond for very different reasons. Dot is holding out to assign more of the remaining white kids in High Point (she hasn’t figured out that there is no middle or high school in or near high point that isn’t already predominantly minority) to Andrews and Welborn. Forget the reduced class sizes that have helped the two schools and the kids there. Forget that without the vacant seats there could be no reduced class sizes. Forget we spend more per student there than almost anywhere else.

Taxing Authority, Bonds, you as taxpayers have the right to decide on the facts. I do not believe, support or dislike the taxing authority idea as a concept. If I believed current Board or administration would benefit from it, I would never vote to bring it to the taxpayers to vote on. If things do not change I am tempted to say no on principal. I as a representative of the taxpayer do not believe we have the facts and the games being played with meager information stinks!!! The cover up of violence in our schools by the administration, the sheriff, the Greensboro and High Point police all encouraged by the administration should outrage every taxpayer in the community. (I realize law enforcement is only doing what they think best for fear SRO’s will be removed or hampered if they don’t) The rampant drugs, the kids who hold going to the bathroom all day for fear of their safety in the restrooms, the constant disruption of classes by undisciplined kids who know they will face no consequences is reprehensible. Our school bus management is an absolute catastrophe because kids that should no longer be on the bus still are. No one cares how long kids are on the bus anymore. No teacher or bus driver deserves this working environment, no student deserves this learning environment. Blaming it on the teachers is Terry’s quick disclaimer, it no longer flies. Forced reduction of suspensions by supervisor intimidation must stop.

The total abandonment of the AL program, the dumbing down of our classes to lower the achievement gap, forcing kids in poor schools to take AP classes they do not even understand to increase participation, all and much, much more must stop!!! We are dealing with kids futures and our own national heritage and we fiddle while Rome burns.

After removing a much needed airport middle school for future growth, adding other costs to the bond at that expense and listening to the desire of our award winning super to have a new administrative facility in the face of all this has me past limits. We are now at a point where we have qualified staff, the next step to improvement is…

If Rome is going to burn I will bring wieners and marshmallows and maybe we can toast some piggies as well. For those of you reading properly between the lines, there is and will be no betrayal of confidences in the above information. I will defend the good people who have confided in me to the end.

https://i1.wp.com/www.theyoungdemocrats.com/kearns1.jpg Garth speaks volumes here…which by the way, Dollar Bill-Dot [Kearns] raised the roof once again at the meeting the other night on the taxing authority bill that’s also progressing through the General Assembly. She said it is a prime topic for the NC School Boards Association and one she is very interested in from a board standpoint. Again, I’m clutching my wallet.

Could this be Garth’s shining (and defining) moment where we will begin to see him be more outspoken on the issues…because of what he just said above, I’m lock-step-in agreement on everything.

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The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:Y1EvL6DBvudTWM:http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/b/b0/200px-GCSLogo.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. 4. Click here for the weekly Friday spin from GCS. A few interesting tidbits inside.

E.C. 🙂

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