Board to talk about Teach for America
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
March 13, 2012 01:19 AM | 3849 views | 15 15 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — At the prodding of Kathleen Angelucci, the Cobb school board will go public about the district’s involvement with a stalled charter school and Teach For America.

At its Wednesday work session, the board will discuss the proposed STEM Inventors Academy and Teach For America partnerships, transportation for school choice students and how the new director of human resources will be reorganizing his staff.

At the end of the February work session, Angelucci asked that Teach For America and the charter school be put on the March agenda to give members an opportunity to talk about the topics in public, but chairman Scott Sweeney said no other board members supported her request, so they were left off. However, since then, Angelucci has received the required backing from at least one other board member.

The Teach For America partnership was set to go to a vote in January, but was taken off the agenda at the request of Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa just minutes before the board meeting without explanation to board members.

Under the partnership, the district would have hired 50 provisional teachers in south Cobb schools on two-year contracts, which would have cost the district $400,000 on top of normal salaries. Hinojosa said the extra costs would be paid for with private funds.

According to documents the Journal obtained under an Open Records request, Hinojosa had been working behind the scenes for about five months to contract to bring 50 TFA teachers to Cobb. His signature appears on an August 2011 contract between Cobb and Teach For America, which was for “up to 20 teachers.”

District staff had also applied for a $350,000 Race to the Top grant in November for the teachers, but were denied.

As far as STEM Inventors Academy, district staff partnered with the proposed charter school and helped them apply for a $50,000 Race to the Top grant, but the school board didn’t learn of the partnership until February.

The district was ultimately forced to turn down the funds because neither Kennesaw State University nor Southern Polytechnic State University would take the lead on the school, and the district was legally barred from doing so.

Angelucci said last month that other than an email Hinojosa sent in late September 2011, the board didn’t talk with the superintendent or his staff regarding either partnership or fund application and that she was “disappointed” because she felt left out of the loop.

Neither Angelucci nor Sweeney returned calls for comment by press time Monday.

In other news, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Judi Jones will talk to the board about what to do with students using the county’s transportation services for school choice under the No Child Left Behind Act now that Georgia has been granted a waiver from the program.

Under NCLB, if a school fails to make AYP and is repeatedly placed on the “Needs Improvement” list, students can attend a school that has met standards. Jones said about 540 students are being bussed under school choice now. But Georgia’s NCLB waiver, which was approved in early February by the U.S. Department of Education, will eliminate the school choice option.

Children participating in the option program can stay at their schools until they reach the highest grade offered, but Jones wants to ask board members if they can afford to do that.

In other news, the district’s new Director of the Human Resources, Dr. Michael Shanahan, will give a report on how he has reorganized his department. Shanahan said he will add an employee yet cut personnel costs by about $40,000.

“The reorganization is intended to provide the best customer service in an economic way,” he said Monday. “It will allow fewer bosses and more staff to focus on the work of the department.”

The new hire will put the Human Resources department at about 52 employees.

Shanahan started on Feb. 1, replacing Dr. Donald Dunnigan, who resigned effective Oct. 31, 2011, after the district discovered seven employees within that department were receiving pay increases without the approval of district staff or the school board.

In other business, the board will also talk about:

n SPLOST maintenance needs and transportation.

n The superintendent’s evaluation process.

n Construction contracts for modification and renovations at Harrison High, McClure and Barber middle schools, and Sope Creek, Davis, Keheley, Riverside Intermediate and Russell elementary schools.
Comments
(15)
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Preston H
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March 13, 2012
Mr. Texas you need to go home!!!!!
it smells
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March 13, 2012
$35,000 of the $50,000 STEM grant was to be used for travel. It's in the grant application.
Ask around
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March 13, 2012
Somebody ask how TFA's behavioral standard of "100% compliance 100% of the time" is going to play in S. Cobb. It doesn't play anywhere else but the TFA'ers recite it like a cult.
CobbFanBoy
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March 14, 2012
What is that supposed to mean??? What exactly are you implying about South Cobb teachers? I am deeply offended. Walk a day in my shoes troll.
concerned g'parent
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March 13, 2012
jsut wondering if anyone else finds it interesting that Hinojosa signature appears on an August 2011 contract between Cobb and Teach For America, which was for “up to 20 teachers. wasn't that about the time he came on board? How was he able to access the needs & make this kind of decision in such a short period of time????

sounds like he came in with his own agenda & like those before him is determined to do what he wants & the heck with his bosses... the school board ,sorry lot that they are .

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Board to talk about Teach for America
westcobb
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March 13, 2012
I find it sickening myself. Mr. Hinojosa obviously came with an agenda to make CCSD just like Texas schools. Interesting that he sent Belmont Hill's principal and others to Texas to observe Hispanic teachers teaching dual language programs, spending over $11,000. Between Teach for America and the bilingual teachers, our English speaking American teachers better start looking for new careers. This doesn't consider all of our children, siblings, or parents currently in college training to be a teacher. Forget them ever getting a job with CCSD. It is a very sad day for Americans!
we will see
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March 13, 2012
It could be he was brought in to execute an agenda that already was set by those he's not allowed to reveal.
Job To Do
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March 13, 2012
To everyone complaining about Supt. Hinojosa coming here with an "agenda", would you prefer that he had come here and sat on his rump to collect a paycheck? Last i checked, the board attempted to set goals for him and I am pretty sure that I did not see anything on the list that said "Do Nothing." Did you? but then again.. what do I know.. maybe he will get publicly reprimanded for trying to do something ... TFA, STEM, trying to address the Calendar issue in Cobb. I am starting to wonder why we have a supt in the first place. Anyone can sit there and bless SPLOST projects that were approved years ago by voters, or listen to public comments from disgruntled stakeholders. My fellow Cobb residents, do you even know what you want in a Supt????
lechat
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March 13, 2012
TFA, ...again?

Per some teachers, schools have already been told to RIF a certain number of teachers. They often do it in sneaky ways that make it look as though they're not actually cutting existing teacher positions.

For example, if a teacher transfers to another school, they just no longer offer the class, even if it's a valuable subject and there's a demand for it. In some cases, the administrators will say that freshmen and sophomores can't sign up for a particular class, and raise the sign-up gpa requirement for upperclassmen from 3.0 to 3.5. Suddenly, fewer students are able to sign up for a class, and they can claim there's "no demand for it".

They're cutting advanced courses for the talented and dedicated students that would never be considered for elimination in a decent private school. Our best kids are being given a diminished education that will make them less competitive, and the focus is being shifted to throwing resources at the bottom tier who often don't care and have parents who care even less. In real life, some ARE left behind.

All the while, we have a dedicated group of mewling yahoos whose only concern is that they get another $5 or $10 knocked off their property tax bills. Way to set your priorities, people!

irked
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March 13, 2012
How much money is spent adapting our culture to others?
Leave it alone.
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March 13, 2012
And Angelucci, what's the deal with not answering phone calls from the MDJ?

They were on your speed dial in the past. A bit different from the other side of the table isn't it?
Just a thought....
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March 13, 2012
Mr. Sweeney should have supported Ms. Angelucci in this to begin with. This has just made it look like he has something to hide. Not that anything will come of it, but he should have gone through the motions for the sake of disclosure.

Perhaps someone would like to discuss Mr. Morgan's involvement/conflict of interest with the charter schools while they are at it. (BTW, this will be a meeting he misses I would guess.)
any surprise
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March 13, 2012
that this issue is coming back up? Teach for America would only put trained, experienced teachers out of work, but this board does not care about teachers (proven by the calendar issue), but they find a way to do everything underhanded.
#any surprise
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March 13, 2012
excellent point, I agree 100%
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