Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fox 5 Gets its Facts Wrong in Dispute Involving Mayor; Crawford Lewis Speaks

WAGA-TV (Fox 5) aired a report Tuesday night (click on the photo to watch) in which it said Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright was playing politics in trying to get a variance request by his neighbor denied by the city's Zoning Board of Appeals. The report by Dale Russell said the seven-member board should have recused itself in this case because it was appointed by the mayor. However, truth be told, while the mayor technically appointed all seven members of the board, he only handpicked one member. The city council picked the rest (the mayor allowed each council person to nominate his or her own board member). So at best, perhaps the one board member picked by the mayor should have recused themselves. Bottom line, the mayor is a man of honor - and I don't believe politics had a place in this story. Shame on Dale Russell for not doing a little more digging!
I attended DeKalb County School System Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis's "State of the System" update on Wednesday at Dunwoody High School, sponsored by the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents Council (wonderful job by the president of the council Susan Wittenstein). I expected a few fireworks, but instead it was a civil, informative session. I wouldn't want Dr. Lewis' job for all the money in the world. He's in a can't win situation running a 100,000-student school system on an exceedingly tight budget. Dr. Lewis did not discuss any possible redrawing of elementary school lines in Dunwoody (I did submit a written question to him, and when I get an answer I will share it), but did say the school system will undergo closures, consolidation and redistricting after the current school year (none of the closing will involve any schools in the Dunwoody cluster). Does this mean we could see redrawing of school lines in 2010? Anything is possible. Dr. Lewis spent much of his time talking about the budget (the 3 percent state cut cost DCSS $17 million) and the measures the school system has taken to tighten its belt. He spoke of the possibility of online textbooks in the future and the rise in the overall AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) scores. The county is now at 93 percent, and for the first-time since the implementation of No Child Left Behind, McNair Middle School got a passing grade. I like Dr. Lewis - here's hoping that if there are any redrawn lines in Dunwoody, they are fair and equitable (I know, life isn't fair)! By the way, I commend Dunwoody High School principal Kevin Harris on his flashy bow tie, I believe Dick Williams is going to have to step-up his game to keep pace!


themommy said...

The AYP passing rate was only 93 percent for the elementary schools. Middle school was a high percentage as well. High Schools... only 30 percent. (He slid that little factoid out when discussing block scheduling.)

Bob Fiscella said...

thanks for the correction!