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Some Cobb School Board Members Have Lied to Us AGAIN!

Based on revelations in a letter sent to the East Cobber and other Patches, my opinion is that some Cobb County school board members are piling lies on top of more lies.

One day this week, I sat at my computer, perusing the local news and catching up on local activities, when an article caught my attention: “Wake-Up Call: Cobb County School Board Vote to Change School Calendar Reveals Stealthy Political Forces at Work.”

As a parent of two children in Cobb County, I read the article with a sense of dread. After all, so far I have not seen anything reassuring from the new school board members; so I sat thinking, “Now what?”

“What?” is a elegantly crafted article exposing that our new board members have ties to Georgians Need Summers, which is supported and potentially sponsored by a Texas special interest group. Texas??? I thought these people represented East Cobb???  

No, they don’t represent us -- they represent Tina Bruno and her desire to have shorter school years and longer summers.  They represent a minority, special interest group from another state, and they do not care what their own constituents think. They lied during their campaigns, they lied during the school board meetings, and they lied to the Grand Jury. They called us names, act rude to the people of Cobb County, and refuse to answer simple questions.

All four board members made promises to listen to us. If you look at Scott Sweeney, Tim Stultz, and Kathleen Angelucci’s current websites, they all say that they will collaborate with the public, form a partnership with the community to help make Cobb schools better, spend our money wisely, and promote accountability and transparency within the school board.

And all of these promises, these statements of intent, are lies.

Nowhere on these websites do any of them mention changing the current school calendar. Nowhere that I found do they say they want to get rid of the balanced calendar, or that they support the traditional calendar. I wonder, did these people purposely without their views from the Internet, to limit opposition on that point?

As for accountability, none of them has a single factual reason to support the traditional calendar. It costs more money to run a traditional calendar. It promotes student and teacher absenteeism. It lowers scores on standardized testing. It reduces student and teacher morale. So why are we using the traditional calendar?  

The public opinion poll in February turned out to be a lie. Stultz and Sweeney insisted that we have a public opinion poll on the choice of school calendar - they insisted over the objections of David Banks and Lynnda Crowder-Eagle. But when the poll showed support for the balanced calendar, Stultz called the poll “flawed.” Does he really  think we don’t know what’s going on? It was never about getting the community’s opinion - it was about them trying to justify a decision that they already made.  

But what bothers me the most is that Allison Bartlett, Sweeney, Angelucci, and Stultz have all come out with supposed “reasons” that they voted for the traditional calendar. It’s better for the students. It’s better for the economy. It’s better for Six Flags and White Water. It’s cheaper. It raises test scores. It’s too expensive to cool the schools in August. The kids will dehydrate on the bus ride home.

But all of those reasons were also lies.

So what do we do now?  I don’t know.

Bartlett will be out this fall, but we are stuck with Sweeney, Angelucci, and Stultz for the next three years. I know that it is theoretically possible to recall a board member. I looked into the process. You only need 100 signatures to start a recall, but you need one third of the people who voted for a candidate to sign a recall petition. For Bartlett, that puts the recall number over 10,000 people. The recall process sets the bar quite high, and there has never been a successful recall.  

Until then, we need to spread the word to other counties in the area, and hopefully prevent another school board turning into a long-distance, special interest political empire.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeremiah L May 21, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Ms. Patterson: Is your perception of truth clouded by facts? Or perhaps you simply choose to malign those with whom you disagree. Of the two, please tell us who lied to the public: Sweeney, as quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal: Do you favor school starting the first week in August? Mid August? Or after Labor Day? I am on record favoring a school start date later than the first week of August. OR On Bank's Website: The School Calendar policy should state that school begins the first day after Labor Day and ends the last Friday of May.
Lori May 21, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Fran. When I elect someone, I look at the overall picture. Does any of us truly expect a politician to keep every promise? And since Ms. Angelucci started down this slippery slope, and has repeated ad nasuem that this was a campaign promise, then she had better be prepared to stick to them ALL. I may not agree with Mr. Banks on some things, however, he listened to his constituents and had the fortitude to not vote the way he campaigned - he heard from his district that the majority wanted the balanced calender, in spite of his belief that he supports a start date after Labor Day - as they did years ago. We are all so concerned for the start date, fine. Move it back and keep school in later during the year. I could care less when it starts, what I care about it the breaks during the year that have proven, so far, to be beneficial for our students and our teachers. It's not about the start date. It's about an elected 4 that will now have to live up to EVERY SINGLE CAMPAIGN PROMISE. I suggest they start looking at ways to close Milford as Ms. Angelucci campaigned on that promise as well.
john xavier May 21, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Re:" Hopefully the money trail will lead us into a direction that will make a recall unnecessary as they will be much deeper trouble for their participation in bribery" Not only that, but my hairdresser (Sissy) says that Alison is Not a natural blonde! No, really, seriously! It would be nice if you women would get real jobs.
Charles Young May 21, 2011 at 02:10 PM
The campaign promise issue is still the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. If KA said in her Campaign that she was going to change the date of Christmas to June 17- and ran unopposed - would we be stringing up lights right now?!?! She ran to REPRESENT her district. She has failed to do so time and again. I live in her district. 8 if not 9 out of 10 parents, teachers, and students want-no NEED- the breaks.
Vanessa May 21, 2011 at 03:05 PM
I will give you the benefit of doubt, you are making a bad joke. Unfortunately it is not funny.
Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S May 21, 2011 at 03:14 PM
It does not matter which side of the calendar argument you are on. This is no longer about the school calendar. This is about the manner in which four members of our school board have conducted themselves as the elected representatives to make decisions that affect our children and families. Again, it is the manner in which four of these board members have chosen to conduct themselves and conduct board business. From Board of Education Policy http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/adminrules/B_Rules/Policy_BBA.pdf "The job of the Cobb County Board of Education (Board) is to represent the citizens and taxpayers of Cobb County in determining and demanding appropriate organizational performance. 1. The Board will produce the link between the organization and the citizens of Cobb County, utilizing appropriate strategies to ensure input from students, staff, parents, and the community as a means to link the entire community." This is the basis for the chief complaint of so many Cobb County citizens. The calendar issue was simply the vehicle and trigger to bring to light the choices and behavior of the board that causes such discontent. All the data so far points to the fact that over 70% of Cobb citizens have been ignored and disregarded by their constituents and the best interest of the children may have been disregarded therein. It is no longer about the calendar.
Kim Carlton May 21, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Xavier, First of all, we women DO have real jobs! I am a CCSD teacher, a mom of two teenaged boys, and an active participant in many charity causes. Part of my REAL job as a citizen and concerned parent is to make sure that the people who are charged with making decisions which affect my children and my job as well as the welfare of the students I teach are doing THEIR job! Fortunately, most women and most men are able to multi-task, especially when the cause is important to our community. THAT is what REAL women with REAL jobs do!
Stay at Home Mom May 21, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Does anyone know the definition of "Male Chauvinist Pig'?? Oh never mind I just looked it up in websters and I found the definition with a picture of Mr. Xavier beside it:) By the way your hairdresser stinks because we see the roots for days on Bartlett!! You need to spend more time looking at the facts about our kids education and quite your job as a comedian.
Lisa May 21, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Just because the results of the election report that you "won" the election does NOT give a clear indication of how people voted and does NOT mean the majority of the constituents voted for you. In fact, it has been my experience that, on the General Election Ballot, you do NOT have to make a selection for every office represented on that ballot. Hypothetically speaking, if only 100 people came out for the General Election, the "majority" of those people may NOT have voted for any given office. So, for example, only ONE person (of the hypothetical 100 people) had to select Angelucci's box on the ballot (which was the ONLY option for that particular office) and she would have been "defaulted" into office. The latest Cobb County General Election Ballot had other offices for which I put in MY vote, but I did NOT select angelucci's box on that ballot. So... I did NOT vote for her. Angelucci was not VOTED into office, she was DEFAULTED into office. While the voting records report that Angelucci "won" the election, she may NOT have won the majority of the votes. BTW... please don't use the "she won the primary election" argument either. While primaries are important, they are not the elections that actually put you into the office. Unfortunately, until we can get local school board elections held that are non-partisan, the General Election ballot is the one that counts in the end. Sadly...
Jerri May 21, 2011 at 05:16 PM
I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you, Kathryn, for a great article. We all want a board that has our kids, teachers and parents at the top of their priorities. It's obvious that the balanced calendar has contributed to higher test scores and less teacher and student absences. Clearly, that doesn't matter to the 4 unbalanced board members. They don't care of our kid's education.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 05:55 PM
You are quite welcome, Kelly.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Vanessa, I'm glad that so many parents feel the same way I do.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I heartedly agree with you, Katie. I hope that they resign, or that enough people get involved for a recall.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:18 PM
I agree, Donette, if everyone in Cobb County was paying attention, maybe this would not have happened.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Yes, there are quite a few unhappy parents, and we are not just going away, as Ms. Bartlett has stated a few times. I wonder if she realizes that they are guilty of taxation without representation, since property taxes pay for the school system.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:22 PM
You are quite welcome, Stephanie.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Jenny, I hope someone finds a money trail as well. But until then, we need to let them know that we are not just lying down and accepting their lies. Even if we cannot recall them, they need to know that we know the truth.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Robb, I wonder if they really feel that way, or if that is another one of their lies. Lying is much more believable that their supposed innocence.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:33 PM
Fran, the new board members were elected on a lot of campaign promises, including the promise to listen to the public. David Banks did not "flip flop", an accusation leveled by the ignorant few. I live in David Banks' area. He sent out several emails before the balanced calendar was voted on originally. His first email asked for input from his constituents. I emailed him, and I called him. He returned my phone call within 30 minutes, and during the conversation Mr. Banks stated his surprise at the number of constituents who wanted the balanced calendar. His next email stated that over 80% (or something close to that) wanted a balanced calendar, so he would be voting that way to represent his constituents. He again asked for input, giving everyone enough time to contact him before the vote. When the number for the balanced calendar remained the overwhelming majority, Mr. Banks voted for his constituents, as a representative should.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Jeremiah, you can see my opinion on Mr. Banks in my comment to Fran. As for Scott Sweeney, during his campaign he stated over and over that he want to promote accountability and transparency in the school board. That he, Sweeney, would listen to his constituents and vote accordingly. Yet these promises, which to me seem more important that a single issue, have been ignored.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 21, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Lori, thank you for that well-though response. I don't think that anyone can stick to every campaign promise. But I want my representative to represent us - not some special interest group in Texas.
J Vane May 22, 2011 at 12:30 AM
Kathryn, thank you for such a wonderful article! It is sad that so many people are hung up on just the calendar. I have been a firm believer in the balanced calendar for many years, well before it was even brought up as an option. I'm actually a firm believer in "year round school" as well....I know I am in the minority for that! What people don't seem to understand is the calendar issue was just the tip of the iceberg...there is so much more that is wrong with our school board...this was just a catalyst for all this! Honesty, open communication, the welfare of the ENTIRE community...that is what is important. Xavier....please extend my apologies to your wife, daughter and mother!
Robin May 22, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Real jobs? In my opinion, there are only two possible reasons that a person would say that in today's society. The first would be that you really believe this and if that's the case, bless your heart, you are very, very ignorant. The second would be that you are angry and opposed to the view point of this article and the posts in regards to it, and do not possess either the vocabulary or skills to express yourself properly; that is fine as you are entitled to your own opinion. BUT you only make yourself look stupid when you make condescending, idiotic, blanket statements such as these because you completely discredit your own intelliegence. Think before you speak, Mr. Xavier. It will serve you well.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 22, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Charles, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Campaign promises matter not if the representative fails to represent.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 23, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Lynn, I completely agree with your statements. The current issue may be the school calendar, but it is the manner in which those four board members have conducted themselves that is the real problem.
Kathryn A. Patterson May 23, 2011 at 12:28 AM
You are quite welcome, Jerri. And yes, as this school year winds down, it is apparent to most people except our school board that the balanced calendar offers several benefits.
John M Lane September 19, 2011 at 02:02 AM
David Banks offered a compromise calendar keeping all of the benefits of the Balanced calendar with a later start date of August 10th and the 4 board members going against our will voted it down! I agree Lynn that the issue is now the 4 board members. David Banks is my board member too. I feel like we now have taxation without representation in regards to board members that I did not vote for making school a less enjoyable experience for my kids. I really like the week long breaks because it made life easier for doctor and dentist appts!
Patrick Cooper September 19, 2011 at 06:14 PM
I've written articles, letters to the board and letters to SACS. In each, while I addressed the calendar, I made it a point to address how this boards actions were not only not in the best interests of the stakeholders, but represented a bigger threat to our community and demonstrated the failings of our current political system of special interests. We all have our special needs and wants, but when we are willing to sacrifice the best interests of the community for the petty interests of a few, we begin to fail as a society. There are many who are frustrated by what has happened, and while we should continue to work to find a way to correct the mistake, it is even more important that we all look more closely at all candidates and what is happening to our political system. We must each be more accountable and demand more accountability from our elected officials. We can't blindly elect based on party or promises, but instead we must elect based on past actions. I think the political tolerance is at such a low, that the answer to recalling one or more of the new board members may be to speak to the need so many have to fix our broken system. A well stated opinion of the actions taken by these members and their obvious links to special interests may just be the motivation to get our community to act. Move beyond the calendar to show not only their failure to represent the desires of their constituents, but also to show how their actions have wasted our time and resources!
Nicole September 20, 2011 at 01:45 PM
I wrote a letter to all board members regarding the calendar and only two responded. One stated thanks for your concerns with the calendar but it is too late to make a change. The other response was from Mr. Banks saying thank you for your support. The interesting thing to me was along with my concern about changing a calendar which had been in place for over a year I also mentioned other issues I have noticed with my children's school. Not one word was said by either regarding these issues. The main issue I had with the calendar changing had to do with my children doing better in school the year of the balanced calendar and the fact I had made vacation plans to reward my children for a better school year. Because of the sudden change we were unable to take the planned vacation since I was unable to change vacation days I had in place for over 6 months. Regardless of that what about the main thing in my opinion....why are the students not being taught properly? Why are teachers being forced to constantly test our children? I would prefer the teachers were not given so many extra duties and could actually find time to teach the children. Why are so many students having trouble with high school math? Why are parents being forced to teach their children or find tutors to teach our children instead of the teachers having time to teach? I know teaching is not an easy job. I considered being a teacher. Problem is there is too much politics and too little teaching.
Cindy October 21, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I agree 100% with you Kathryn. When this all started, after the elections and talk about ditching the balanced calendar began, I sent Mr. Stultz 4 emails. One was from my CCSD mail address, explaining to him how the last minute change would hurt employees who had already scheduled vacations and doctors appointments that could be done with the calendar we had been given for three years. Three were from my personal email address, letting him know that as a lifelong Cobb County resident, an employee of CCSD, and a person who both works and votes in his area, I found it very underhanded that he would come in and make a change to something as important as the calendar, when all indications were no one wanted it changed at that time. He did not reply to even one of my emails. Not so much as an auto reply that said thank you for your interest. In my mind, that is one more indication that he answers to someone other than the voters and employees of his area. I would be more than willing to sign anything that would start a recall of Mr. Stultz. Even if that does not happen, I will make my thoughts known on election day, as will everyone that I have personally spoken to about the current board.

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