Board Vice Chair Morgan denies hiding charter school bid from fellow members
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
March 14, 2012 11:54 PM | 5312 views | 23 23 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Cobb school board vice chair David Morgan said Wednesday that he didn’t know board members were kept out of the loop about the partnership and grant application with STEM Inventors Academy.

The school board spent about 30 minutes of Wednesday’s six-hour work session talking about the district’s partnerships and Race to the Top grant applications with STEM Inventors Academy and Teach For America. Most of that time specifically was spent on the charter school, why it was not formally presented to board members earlier and Morgan’s association was with the school.

Kathleen Angelucci, who represents north Cobb, made the request to talk about the two topics during “Board Business” at the February work session. Alison Bartlett, whose post includes central Cobb, gave her the needed support to get the request on the agenda.

“It is vitally important for the board to not only have full knowledge of anything that may impact the system, academically, fiscally or otherwise, but to have these discussions and understandings take place in public, in accordance with the law,” Angelucci told the board.

During the conversation, Bartlett asked Morgan to make a public statement about his involvement with the charter school because she keeps “tripping across this in (her) community,” which Morgan said he would be “happy” to do.

Angelucci wanted to know why Morgan hadn’t told the board about the charter school and if he understands why they were concerned about it.

Morgan, who represents south Cobb, said the idea for STEM Inventors Academy came from one of his constituents, Nate Riley, and that as Riley’s representative, he felt committed to pursue the opportunity.

“My role is making sure that constituents had access to people and information about something they felt would benefit children,” he said. “From there, there were meetings that took place. That’s how the planning grant came to fruition.”

Morgan said he didn’t know how much people didn’t know about the partnership or grant.

“From my vantage point, I looked at it like any other idea that any of us might have that is in the best interest of the district,” he said. “It’s hard for me to say that I couldn’t see how other people didn’t know.”

Angelucci said the charter school wasn’t just “an idea.”

“It had been followed through,” she said. “There were monies that were applied for, there were meetings. When any of us have an idea or we’re excited about something, we talk about it or we mention it or we discuss it … so that if it’s something that really seems to have legs, that we’re all involved and we all support it and it can come up in the future for all of us to get behind.”

Morgan maintained he couldn’t “gauge how much another person knows or does not know.”

“If I had known that there was a gap in terms of what people felt they did or did not know, then of course, but hindsight’s 20/20,” he said. “I didn’t know that people felt like they didn’t know.”

Additionally, Morgan said he wanted to clarify that there was never a board of directors at the school that he or his wife, Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell), were associated with.

However, Bartlett said the planning grant, which Morgan said he never read, listed his wife and a member of her staff as members of the school’s governing board.

During that meeting, Bartlett also asked Cobb Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa to publicly state whether or not the district was under any contract with Teach For America, which he responded with a no, and after the meeting said he felt like the discussion on both topics was “good … absolutely.”

Angelucci, too, said she was pleased that the two topics had finally been brought up in public but, “I wish more had been shared by other board, members but that’s not for me to say. I shared my concerns, and that’s all I can do.”
Comments
(23)
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WhatEv!
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March 26, 2012
Politics 101:

WHAT??? ---> “It’s hard for me to say that I couldn’t see how other people didn’t know.”

What??? ---> “If I had known that there was a gap in terms of what people felt they did or did not know, then of course, but hindsight’s 20/20,”

Wow!
Liar
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March 20, 2012
Mr. Morgan is an arrogant liar who needs to go. He doesn't know what people know? Really? If he did not openly inform the board, which is HIS responsibility, then how would anyone know? I can not believe he is a parent. A liar raising liars. This is why children have no accountability because they have horrible parents!
Smyrna Oldie
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March 20, 2012
If Morgan didn't know what the members of the Board

didn't know and he knew that he knew very little

otherwise, it would appear that he knew enough to

know that it was time for him to make his lack of

knowledge known to those who didn't know and to

submit his resignation forthwith.
Curious S_Cobber
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March 19, 2012
I went to the STEM school info session. It sure did sound nice. Longer school year and lounge chairs - students don't need to be sitting at the desk, and nap time. Day care service for teachers. They aim to open in August 2013 but they have not purchased the property yet. They do not know what to do with food service. One in the same area (Mableton) is being closed. There is an existing charter school a block away. There will be a new Cobb elementary school scheduled to open at the same time like a mile away. They are expecting to have smart kids from the area that is causing an achievement gap within the county. It is not a private school but a charter (public) school. There is no way only to have smart kids from low performance area. First few years would be fine as passionate parents are working as volunteer and their kids are guaranteed for enrollment even if lottery were held. Adding all that to Morgan's mess, I am curious to know how realistic it is.
Charter Supporter
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March 20, 2012
You are confusing Morgan's proposed school "Inventors Academy" with another STEM effort "Smyrna Academy of Excellence" Two completely different situations.

I take exception to your comment "there is no way only to have smart kids from low performance area" All children have the innate ability to learn and be "smart" kids. But they need to be surrounded by people who believe in them to the core. Obviously you don't - please don't get involved in education.
alas
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March 18, 2012
it's a shame that S Cobb has such poor representation. Both the Morgans should look up the definitions of transparency and integrity. But I may be mistaken, maybe they already have and made the decesion that those terms don't apply to them.
El Pancho
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March 19, 2012
They can't look up wordcircums they can' spell.
frustrated citizen
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March 17, 2012
I am appalled at Mr.Morgan's response. It looks like the "covers" are coming off. Is it time for a "recall"? It is an outright shame that Mr. Morgan casted the deciding vote to not "renew" the charter school in Mableton. Because of the "conflict" of interest revealed, the charter in Mableton should be renewed. I am shocked that a select few people have decided to "derail" the education of these 500 students and their families. How disrepectful. Mableton charter school staff,students and families, it is time to "take" a stand and "fight" for fairness and options. Kudos to the board members that got this on the agenda and the discussion should continue. How about getting some community input?
Community Input?
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March 18, 2012
Go and speak at a board meeting - that is your opportunity. You are part of the community; offer your input.
Known Unknowns
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March 17, 2012
-- Morgan maintained he couldn’t “gauge how much another person knows or does not know.”

“If I had known that there was a gap in terms of what people felt they did or did not know, then of course, but hindsight’s 20/20,” he said. “I didn’t know that people felt like they didn’t know.”...

In other words...

-- There are things we know. Then of course, there are things we don't know. In other words, there are known knowns. Then there are known unknowns... Then of course, there are other unknowns that are not yet known, therefore they may remain unknown... And of course, there are things that people should have known, but they did not know.

Shouldn't a few of those things that the "other people" did not know have been REVEALED to them by Mr. Morgan, in the interest of transparency in related public affairs?

Boy, oh boy, oh boy!

Disgusted withit
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March 19, 2012
What a joy it would be if the Morgans were unknown.
anonymous
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March 16, 2012
Someone, who cares for ALL of the students of our South Cobb area schools PLEASE run against the Morgans. They need to be stopped.
Common Sense
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March 16, 2012
Once again, people, in spite of what the proponents of Charter schools say, thye ARE NOT

public schools. Students parents must pay for them to attend the schools. Everything else is scrapped up from our Cobb County School System, at OUR expense!!
actual fact
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March 16, 2012
Charter schools do not charge tuition. They cannot charge tuition. Charter schools are public schools which do not have an assigned set of streets within a district. No one pays money to go to charter schools. Cobb does not give charter schools anything, except limited, grudging access to Cobb's school resource warehouse. That's it. If you want more information, look up charter schools in any online source, including Wikipedia.
Concerned Parent
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March 15, 2012
And yet, with all this being said, the board will not be fair to recall the vote for the charter school that was denied. I believe they don't want to admit that they were wrong and to save face, they will not do what is right. Funny, how we can put the issue of the STEM Charter and TFA back on the agenda but cannot put the re-vote for IIAM back on the agenda which impacts more than 500 students.

David Morgan is one who does things behind close doors and then makes it seem like everyone else is ignorant because they should have known what he was doing even though he did not inform them. Sneaky! Sneaky! Sneaky!
south cobb teacher
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March 15, 2012
So Mr. Morgan is either dumb not to have read a document he is in trouble for, or he outright lied. Which is worse? Either way he has no business on our school board!!
Just a thought....
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March 15, 2012
With regards to Mr. Morgan's response...if you are putting your name and reputation behind something, would you not be familiar with the people driving the project, especially when they live under your own roof. Sir, a non-answer would have been better than the one you gave.

Thank you Ms. Angelucci, you effort on this is appreciated. Mr. Sweeney, this will come back to bite the board.
@MDJ
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March 15, 2012
Please contact KSU and find the person who "wrote" the grant application. Contact the individuals listed as Board Members on the STEM application and find out exactly how the Morgans are involved. CCSB should be censoring David Morgan if he lied in the public forum.
SouthernGal
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March 15, 2012
Seems Morgan is a follower of: "It's easier to get forgiveness that permission"!
Mom of Two
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March 15, 2012
I’m happy to see someone standing up to Morgan and the Super. However, Allison’s comments regarding funding as her reason to not support charter schools will cost her support. Alison should have been more informed before making her statements. She sounds as if she is just trying to protect status quo If she had the kids’ interest in mind she would at least purpose how to address issues with current public education.
Morgan Equals
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March 15, 2012
Liar, Liar, pants on fire!
I don't know!!!
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March 15, 2012
How are people supposed to know David - if you don't tell them anything? I course you don't know what others know, but if you do things behind closed doors - then in the back of your head you know people don't know what you are doing.

You got caught and now you are playing dumb.
COBBCSI
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March 15, 2012
David is fast tracking for the Pinocchio award that’s for sure he’s as unaware as Tim Lee. This is a huge story and this is just the tip of the big iceberg. Angelucci and Bartlett are the only bright spots on the school board; Scott is just a rubber stamp for business as usual. The MDJ needs to keep digging on this Craig K is all over this as well you all keep digging there’s gold in that cave!!
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