School board ends discussion of censure for Banks
by Lindsay Field
September 13, 2012 01:03 AM | 6262 views | 38 38 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb School Board member David Banks<br> MDJ File Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Cobb School Board member David Banks
MDJ File Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
slideshow
With hands raised, Cobb School board members, from left, David Banks, Lynnda Eagle, David Morgan and Chairman Scott Sweeney vote down the motion to move forward with a censure against Banks. <br> Photo by Laura Moon
With hands raised, Cobb School board members, from left, David Banks, Lynnda Eagle, David Morgan and Chairman Scott Sweeney vote down the motion to move forward with a censure against Banks.
Photo by Laura Moon
slideshow
Cobb School Board member Kathleen Angelucc<br> Photo by Laura Moon
Cobb School Board member Kathleen Angelucc
Photo by Laura Moon
slideshow

MARIETTA — The Cobb County school board voted 4-3 Wednesday morning not to move forward with Kathleen Angelucci’s request to proceed with censuring colleague David Banks.

In other business, the board unanimously approved hiring 30 teachers to alleviate overcrowding in schools; to allow retired administrators to serve on the three-person panel for tribunals when board members are unable to attend; and to hire Christine M. Dinizio as Dowell Elementary’s new principal.

Angelucci said after the meeting that the “censure could have been an important means of distancing this board from Mr. Banks’ counterproductive and unethical behavior.”

“It was imperative that a very clear message be conveyed to every citizen, staff member and employee that they can and should report to the superintendent and board chair all violations of Board Protocols, Board Policies and Code of Ethics witnessed, without there ever being fear of retribution of any kind,” she said.

Board Chair Scott Sweeney, Vice Chair David Morgan, Lynnda Eagle and Banks opposed her request.

Banks said only that the vote “was an appropriate decision.”

Among the reasons Angelucci cited in requesting the censure were the allegations that Banks used his position on the board for personal gain; criticized colleagues and staff in his constituent newsletter, David’s Grapevine, which he sends out on the district’s network; and refused to abide by board decisions.

Eagle asked how Banks’ actions were any different than board member Alison Bartlett’s, who spoke at a forum over the weekend announcing a school calendar proposal even though the district has formed a committee to tackle that task.

“It’s repetitive behavior,” Bartlett said of Banks’ actions. “We have clear policies that we have repeatedly agreed to.”

Stultz, who voted in favor of the censure, asked if there was any way for the district to move forward with a censure without the hearing, but board attorney Clem Doyle said there wasn’t.

Toward the end of the discussion, Sweeney asked board members if they agreed that none of them should be at a school without an invitation. Only Banks said no.

“Well, you have six members who feel differently,” Sweeney said.

In another vote, the board unanimously agreed to hire 30 teachers to help relieve overcrowded classrooms throughout the district.

“The additional teachers are all due to the unexpected growth in the district,” Hinojosa said. “We had almost 1,300 more students than projected … at almost every campus.”

The district will initially take $3 million from the reserve fund to pay salaries for these additions and will pay the account back after Full-Time Equivalent funds come in from the state in either April or May, Chief Financial Officer Mike Addison said.

Sweeney asked if the district knew what caused the increase in students, but Assistant Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Hungerford could not say. She believed some of them were from Imagine International Academy of Mableton that was closed after last school year but was not sure where the others came from.

Sweeney asked that the district look into the enrollment growth.

“We need something in place to try and address this down the road,” he said.

The board also unanimously agreed to allow non–board members to serve on the three-person panels for tribunals.

The request came from Eagle, who said that the hearings are very timely and that the district is often unable to find three board members who can participate. She wanted the option for the district to contact retired administrators to serve if needed.

These individuals would be paid for their service, but that amount was not disclosed during the meeting. Additionally, board members could not say how much training, if any, those selected would undergo before being selected to serve.

In other business, the board approved hiring 15-year teaching veteran Dinizio to be Dowell Elementary School’s new principal. She has been an assistant principal at Sanders Elementary in Austell since 2007 and will start at Dowell on Monday.

Dinizio started her education career as a teacher at Garrett Middle in 1997. She taught for nine years and served for one year as a math facilitator at the elementary level before being an assistant principal.

Her salary will increase to $89,068 from $72,851, according to the district.

The school’s former principal, Janis Komara, resigned from the position last month for reasons the district will not release to the public. Former Cobb Schools Deputy Superintendent Alice Stouder has been serving as the school’s interim principal.

The board also learned more about the $20 million to $30 million in Race to the Top funds that Hinojosa is interested in the district pursuing.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Judi Jones gave a brief presentation about the Oct. 30 deadline, the four-year time period in which it would be distributed to the district, what they are required to do with the grant money, the focus and goals of the grant and how to sustain the programs and staff positions after the funds run out.

Angelucci asked what strings were attached to the grant, to which Jones said only that teacher and leader evaluation would need to be implemented one year earlier than required by the state.

Bartlett said she was concerned about funding the new programs after the grant ends.

Hinojosa said he understood the concerns but hopes the grant and required programs change the way the district operates.

“It gives us an opportunity to do something different with somebody else’s money,” he said.

The board also discussed, but took no action on, approving short and long term targets for the newly revised Strategic Plan and the document’s format; a recommendation to extend a $900,000 contract for digital video surveillance cameras at elementary and high schools; the reduction of one furlough day sometime towards the end of the school year; the superintendent’s evaluation form; and a Memorandum of Agreement with the Georgia Department of Education regarding Cobb’s four “Focus Schools.”

 

Are you surprised by the Cobb School Board's decision not to proceed with a censure against David Banks?


Comments
(38)
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sweeneydoesntlead
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September 18, 2012
Too bad that Sweeney chose the easy way out and didn't lead this board, but rather passed on this censure to concentrate on passing the new splost. He looks like a fool that will not take the initiative to handle the problems..(banks)
DrTeresa
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September 14, 2012
Why doesn't anyone have a problem with paying retired administrators to do a task that Board Members are already paid to do? It is the Board Members' job to attend tribunals. If they cannot fulfill their board responsibilities, they need to resign.
anonymous
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September 15, 2012
Why don't former board members get new hobbies, and realize that poking at their replacement doesn't absolve them.
Landa Wonders
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September 14, 2012
Anybody thinking of running for school board in future should call Lisa Hanson and find out who was helping her, and then make sure to stay as far away from those people as possible. What a missed opportunity. She should have been able to waltz her way into a runoff against Banks.

And anonymous is right about who the puppet master is.
toocloseforcomfort
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September 14, 2012
I helped Lisa Hanson, and will tell you that despite over 85% of her signs being taken down by banks and his cronies, lies and misinformation coming out daily to people on his email distribution list (when they didn't even subscribe) and his Grapenuts newswletter (again being used to distribute his hilarious claims... she ran a fine and ethical campaign. When an incumbent spends $20,000 on a school board campaign and plays dirty politics no one can win against him..And despite what you think, the chance for a runoff came down to only 5 votes.. so be informed before you blog.
Not close enough
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September 17, 2012
To Landa's point: if you can't get into a runoff with David Banks by simply walking neighborhoods and saying: "I'm not David Banks and I'm on the ballot"...

you have run an awlful campaign.
anonymous
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September 14, 2012
It is very strange that most people do not understand that it is not Bank, he is simply a puppet. The one pulling the strings works on ROSWELL Road across from the GOP headquarters as a 'wanna be'.
ECP
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September 13, 2012
Mr. Banks: Thank you for doing what you do. As a parent, I appreciate what you do for the teachers, who are on the front line. Of course, some will say I am neighbor, friend, or relative of yours. The fact is, I have only met you once, but I am very close to the school system, and know what you do.
eCobb Dad of 3
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September 13, 2012
Post 5 this is what you get. Elections have consequences.

To the posters who are admonishing the primary candidates that ran against him Banks would have won even if there was only one opponent. He somehow was still able to garner over 50% of the vote. For there to have been a run off he would have had to obtain less than 50%.

I look forward to more Bank's buffoonary over the next four years. Unless he does something egregious we're stuck with him.
Yes, but
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September 14, 2012
Yes, statistically he made 50% by a few votes; however, listen to the rest of what we are saying:

- The alternative candidates were not very: Loud, Proud, Active, Out there,Compelling

Being: "Not Holli" worked for Stultz, but didn't quite work for whoever it was that ran against Banks (Hanson? and someone else already forgotten)

It almost worked, but not close enough. Better candidates are needed from Post 5.
Net Taxpayer
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September 13, 2012
Mr. Hinojosa, did you really say “It gives us an opportunity to do something different with somebody else’s money?"

Do you know where taxes come from? Net taxpayers like me. Spending tax $ willy nilly is how we get further into US debt - How irresponsible can you be?

You are a moocher of OPM - other people's money!

Cobb Parent
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September 13, 2012
Mr. Banks has taken actions that have been inappropriate and somewhat childish in my mind, but at least he has consistently supported creative ways to keep our schools funded (for ex. - using extra SPLOST funds to keep our system from slashing teachers and increasing class sizes even more). If I am not mistaken, Angelucci and Hanson, Banks' opponent in the election, have NOT supported funding our schools and instead seem to be primarily concerned with pleasing tea-party Republicans.
anonymous
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September 13, 2012
Splost funds cannot be spent on teacher salaries. Figures if you support Banks you aren't familiar with the law governing splost funds.

He proposed a new building for Glover Street, and returning a furlough day to staff even though budget cuts look grave for next year.
Devlin Adams
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September 13, 2012
If that is what you have seen, tnen you are, as you say, mistaken.
Miss Information
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September 13, 2012
I believe Angelucci has been outspoken about trying to force the state to fund CCSD to the originally committed levels - this theoretically would be the best way to increase CCSD revenues.

In addition to what anonymous says, didn't Banks recently request a pay raise for the teachers and also to draw down the reserves below board policy levels?

His reckless pandering (in addition to the childish behavior you mention) is unacceptable.
Cobb Parent
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September 14, 2012
@anonymous - Actually, I am very familiar with how SPLOST funds work. Apparently you are not aware of how they used excess SPLOST funds to help offset the budget shortfalls (raising the millage rate and then buying it back down immediately with excess funds). Therefore, with more money in the budget, that meant less teachers being laid off. Simple math and a very effective tactic in my mind. So your condescending comment is actually quite foolish.
Voice of Reason
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September 13, 2012
Having Banks vote against his own censure and be the tie-breaking vote is insane!

Don't know why there's not a stronger push for Cobb County School Board Decertification - Clayton County got decertified for failing to reach a budget - CCSD is much worse!

Lindsay Field
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September 13, 2012
Even in the case of a tie, whatever is on the table for a vote is automatically turned down.

Thank you for reading.
Reason?
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September 13, 2012
You want to intentionally harm the district, students and taxpayers by wanting a "stronger push for decertification"? The only thing that would make that reasonable is if you own property in an adjoining county since Cobb parents would be fleeing as they did in Clayton. Please explain what is reasonable about wanting to do harm to us all. Deranged and masochistic, yes. Certainly no voice of reason.
Watcher...
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September 13, 2012
Banks should have recused himself from this vote!
Voice of Reason
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September 13, 2012
I'm a Cobb resident who is tired of watching the circus - The only thing that may wake the disillusioned parents of Cobb County into shape is the threat of decertification - otherwise, why have a school board that's goofy (esp w/Banks), approves almost everything Hinojosa and other (laptop)Supers have wanted, never posted the revised map of redistricting for Board voting on website b4 election, seems very dysfunctional over the past 20 years, and can't agree on a calendar, etc....seems more serious than Clayton County disagreement of budget.

anonymous
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September 13, 2012
It legally takes a super-majority(ie. 5 of 7) to gain approval for the motion to censure.
Louis Pardee
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September 13, 2012
It "seems" dysfunctional? It "seems" more serious than Clayton. Why don't you just google the Clayton school district and see what really happened there. You think Cobb has problems you ain't seen nothin'. Before jumping up and down wanting to throw your own school district under the bus because of your dislike of the board's decisions you may want to also educate yourself on what decertification would do to your property values. If you don't like the board's decisions elect another one. If you want to jump off a bridge go for it - just don't take the rest of us with you.
One of these things
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September 13, 2012
is not like the other:

Atlanta Public Schools

Dekalb Schools

Clayton Schools

Cobb County Schools
anonymous
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September 14, 2012
I gotta go with what has already been said here. Even though the board does some things I disagree with sometimes, Cobb is in no way Clayton. Far from it. Complain about the board at the ballot box - don't take it out on the students.
pollwatcher
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September 13, 2012
I think the board members who voted for Mr. Banks censure sent a mssg. to him that his behavior will not continue to be tolerated. And although the process of censuring didn't move forward due to the time and expense, the goal was accomplished. Call Mr. Banks out for continuing to be the village idiot, and make the administrators, teachers and parents of Cobb Co. aware that they don't have to tolerate him. It will be interesting to see if SACS will get involved...
anonymous
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September 13, 2012
I concur. I just wish Sweeney would have shown more backbone over the past year in doing minor reprimands from the Chair. He was a bit too much of an:

empty chair
anonymous
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September 13, 2012
Bartlett isn't allowed to have an opinion of the calendar when Banks has done nothing but repeatedly bring it up EVERYWHERE he can? Nice shoes, Lynda.

Bartlett made a suggestion of a calendar as part of an election campaign. There is nothing wrong with campaigning with a calendar as part of the platform. Show us one candidate who hasn't made a statement of preference. Banks also did, but then again, he went back on his campaign promise to support a traditional Labor Day calendar.

anonymous
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September 13, 2012
I am glad that LCE is leaving the board - one less individual more focused on pandering to administrators (e.g. wouldn't touch the sacred cow vacation leave build-up for administrators) than on the students.

Good to see she didn't bother running and will have more time for her yoga classes (the reported reason why she could not attend the meeting where Bartlett was voted in as Chair).
anonymous
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September 13, 2012
Banks is a mess. Thanks Post 5 for subjecting us to more of this. I hope all the employees subjected to Banks' mess will report his continued violations to anyone and everyone.
Don't Thank Voters
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September 13, 2012
You should thank the two idiot candidates who decided it'd be a good idea to challenge Banks, splitting the anti-incumbent vote and ensuring that Banks was re-elected.

LESSON TO FUTURE BANKS CHALLENGERS: Get in the race EARLY and work it hard to make sure a third candidate doesn't jump in!
@dont thank voters
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September 13, 2012
I think the only way anyone can win against Banks is if he pulls a Bobby Franklin and there is a special election. The three candidates in the race had nothing to do with his re-election, and more to do with his unethical campaign strategies, removing signs of the oponent who was a threat to him (Hanson) and the fact that he was the incumbent and first on the ballot. I give credit to anyone who wants to subject themselves to his dirty politicking.
anonymous
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September 13, 2012
I agree with all the comments here,

- it was a combination of the above:

- candidates running nearly non-existent campaigns

- incumbent at top

- likely shenanigans (after all the public shenanigans he pulls, it would be no surprise to learn of after dark shenanigans)

I believe Banks, like Crooks, touts membership at JFB - perhaps the JFB crowd and take a stronger role in reigning in their own.
Bartletts calendar
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September 13, 2012
Eagle needs to realize that the calendar committee was basically instructed to only do what one person wanted. Their calendar is ridiculous. Barlett came up with a calendar that makes sense.
not a banks fan
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September 13, 2012
Can't support Banks childish behavior yet the board got this one right.

Censure is a toothless measure and not worth the time, resources or drama when the focus needs to be on education.

Post 5 voters knew about Banks behavior, and their majority appears to endorse his behavior since they re-elected him.

Mr. Banks had the unmittigated gall to publicly declare that he has a right to appear at any school sans invitation and in violation of board protocols. When he publicly defies rules, it's clear he doesn't care about them which is hysterical considering his disingenuous and constant reference to "I Care."

Post 5 - you've re-elected Banks and saddled the remainder of the county with a bully for four more years.

katiedo
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September 13, 2012
I don't think all the voters knew about Banks behavior, I think they just voted for him on the premise that Cobb schools are rated high. Voters got this one wrong. If they didn't know the issues and controversy surrounding this man and his continued ethics violations, they shouldn't have voted.
ECP
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September 13, 2012
Katiedo, you may think that. Yes, the vote was close. However, I don't think you have any business telling the voters they got something wrong because you disagree with the decision. If you have the right to say voters got it wrong, I have the right to say that you are wrong. Now, move on and get over yourself, and stop thinking you know more than other Cobb voters. Believe me, people do know who they voted for...and against.

@katiedo
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September 14, 2012
You are 100% correct and thank you for taking the time to express your opinion.

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