Teasley parents protest school’s ‘downward spiral’
by Lindsay Field
April 21, 2013 12:18 AM | 5778 views | 9 9 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A small group of Teasley Elementary School parents restated the need for a larger school and possibly another redistricting in their area during this week’s Cobb Schools board meeting.

Shannon Ottinger showed board members a handout with photos illustrating the Smyrna-area school’s overcrowding problems, including pictures of staff working out of closets, the lack of available space in the kitchen that causes problems in food prepping and the media center that serves as Teasley’s library, conference room and computer lab.

“It’s gotta be hard to get out to the schools and physically see the problems we’re describing so we wanted to provide you with some pictures, because a picture is worth a thousand words,” she said.

Ottinger also spoke to what the overcrowding has done to test scores and morale in the school.

“Since 2007, Teasley has dropped from 134th in the state as an elementary school to 369th,” she said. “Our math scores have plummeted from 92 to 86 at the same time that our enrollment has gone from 500 to 700.”

According to the district, the school’s capacity is 456 students, but there are about 730 enrolled right now.

“This fall marks our 50th anniversary, and we’re here as a parent group to ask for your help in using that occasion to stop this downward spiral in academic performance and to help us start to turn things around and start to restore Teasley to its former glory,” Ottinger said.

William Wong, a parent and volunteer with the school, recommended that the board consider redistricting to alleviate overcrowding issues.

“We understand that there is no easy solution for Teasley and any outcome will distract the school,” he said. “There will be growing pains to whatever solution is found but we want to work collaboratively to find what’s best for the students, teachers and administration.”

Teasley was among 25-plus elementary schools in 2012 that were part of a south Cobb redistricting plan to relieve overcrowding at many schools and prepare the area for the openings of Clarkdale and the new Smyrna elementary schools.

While redistricting hasn’t been placed on the table for consideration, with the passage of SPLOST IV in March, Teasley should get 10 extra classrooms built for about $1.7 million, in addition to the relocation of some playground equipment, utilities and paving, and upgrades in site conditions.

The total proposed cost is $3.1 million.

“We are very excited about the recent passage of SPLOST (IV) and also very interested with how that will work out with some of the problems we have at Teasley,” said PTA President Angela Blackwell.

Cobb Deputy Superintendent of Operations Chris Ragsdale answered a portion of Blackwell’s request during his presentation of how the $717.8 million SPLOST IV projects will be funded from 2013 to 2019. According to the report, Teasley will receive $155,128 in 2013 for site work or architectural expenses.

“Advanced funding is a common practice,” Ragsdale said. “We are working with legal now to identify a funding source.”

Collections for SPLOST IV projects won’t start being collected until Jan. 1, 2014. Then, between 2014 and 2015, the remainder of funding for the school will be collected and bids and construction could begin during that time.

The remainder of Ragsdale’s list included when the $39.9 million-renovation of Walton High School in east Cobb will begin, as well as Wheeler High School’s gymnasium and theater additions valued at about $19.2 million, in 2013.

He has scheduled $1.9 million in advanced funding for Walton and $958,800 for Wheeler.

These three schools are the only ones that will receive advanced funding.

Collections for other high-cost projects, including the replacement of East Cobb Middle School, the two replacement elementary schools that haven’t been identified and renovations at North Cobb and Pope high schools, is set to begin around 2015.

Funding for a majority of the other major construction projects will start in 2016 through 2018.

According to Ragsdale’s chart, the district anticipates using the annual collections as follows: $107.9 million in 2014; $134.2 million in 2015; $145.4 million in 2016; $154.2 million in 2017; $149.2 million in 2018; and $27 million in 2019.
Comments
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1legup
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April 22, 2013
Stop the insanity is correct.When are we the citizens and tax-payers going to finally have enough of our tax dollars just being wasted on illegals??? We didn't have all this space shortage and "budget shortfalls" before the influx of illegals flooded our school systems. Note enrollment increased from 500 to 700 if a poll were taken I would bet that 80% would be from family of illegal origin---want to take odds?
anonymous
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April 22, 2013
I applaud Ottinger, Wong, Blackwell, and Ragsdale for their community activism to a particular cause. There are activists in Smyrna that take a broad swipe of accusations toward any official remotely involved with Smyrna and just go on rant rampages, calling out so-called corruptness, dishonesty, etc. The individuals for this cause show maturity, clarity of purpose, and problem-solving techniques. For that, I thank them. No one individual has the answer to ALL community problems, and it is refreshing to hear from level-headed people. These individuals are stepping in the right direction. Thank you.
Stop The Insanity2
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April 22, 2013
One other comment and I surely hope stuff like this doesn't happen anymore. I was at work and a child of mine called frantic for me to be able to take them to a school-sponsored game they weren't involved in, and their teacher said they could make so many extra points in a science class if they attended. It was a sports event in no way whatsoever related to science. Of course, I called the school and ripped them. Parents, rip the schools that are putting so much emphasis, time, and money on "the arts, music, sports, etc." instead of RWA (reading, writing, arithmetic). That is what schools are supposed to be there for. Let parents figure out the other part without taxpayer's money. RWA. Schools. RWA. Schools. RWA. Schools. Forgot, didn't ya? I swear from what I read, there will be one hour devoted to RWA and six will be devoted to sports, arts, music, etc.
Stop the Insanity
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April 22, 2013
All I have to say is all you school what-ev'as need to get your acts together. I agree with you, Teasley. I don't have children in school anymore, so I don't follow it that much. However, it doesn't take much to know that this one won that much money; that one didn't get this money. WHO actually is in charge of Cobb County Schools and the money that goes along with it? Each city? Cobb County? Man, all I see is mass confusion and a continuing 1% sales tax that appears to me has done absolutely nothing whatsoever to solve the problems everyone is whining about in education. Has actually compounded them in that that maintenance will need to be done on all these Taj Mahal new facilities. It is far past time for us to look to other countries that greatly excel in education with more students and less faculty (and less buildings and art centers and music halls and stadiums and theaters, etc.), yet somehow are far superior in terms of results. Look at that. We might learn something. My op is that somehow RWA (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) got lost for arts, sports, music, and social activities.
Ax The Districts
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April 21, 2013
The real concern these parents have is their property value declining due to liberal media reports of school decline.

We need to ax these school districts that are based on real estate, so uninvolved parents will completely stop caring about school performance.
Papermill gal
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April 21, 2013
While the school board has been busy building its Golden Ghetto in East Cobb (the kingdom of Walton) it's allowed other areas to slide into oblivion. How much of Teasley's problem is due to illegal immigration?
pmgalisclueless
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April 22, 2013
Papermill gal, you obviously haven't been on the grounds of Walton High School in the last 2 decades or you wouldn't write such nonsense and sound like a complete moron. Walton always gets shoved down to the BOTTOM of the list because of the mindset of mental midgets like you. People like you think because there are some wealthy people in the school district, they have the best of everything. I've lost count on how many times people walk into our school or are around our facilities and say, 'This is it?! This is WALTON?! This place is a DUMP!!'

Walton, Lassiter and Pope have been 3 of the shining stars in Cobb County and yet they don't receive a fraction of the perks you seem to think they do. No, the under performing schools get their stuff, first. After all these years of supporting and paying into SPLOST, we're finally going to reap the benefits. It's about time!

Keep on hating and we'll just keep laughing at you for posting nonsensical comments when you clearly don't know what you're talking about.
anonymous
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April 22, 2013
Didn't realize that the ccsb built kingdoms.

The Teasley neighborhood is pretty McMansion-oriented.

How many students at Teasley are illegals?

I don't think there are any.

Try another race.
The Truth
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April 22, 2013
I have lived in East Cobb for 30 years. Papermill gal makes a valid point. Another poster stated that Pope, Lassiter, and Walton were the shining stars. Yeah, for the past ten years. It hasn't always been that way. If the districting was legit most of the Walton homes should be going to Wheeler anyway... Indian Hills, Robinson Road, and Paper Mill.

Walton people have continued to minipulate the districting. Don't you think it's off when enrollment is 2,700 plus in Walton... 2,000 at Wheeler, 2,200 Lassiter, and 1,800 Pope... hmmm. Sounds like they need to redistrict to me.
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