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BOE will deal with fraud case

The e-mails are attached to the story.

ALBANY — After steadfastly refusing to call a special meeting of the Dougherty County School Board to discuss how best to deal with the school lunch fraud case of Morningside Elementary Principal Gloria Baker, Superintendent Joshua Murfree relented Friday afternoon and called a special session for 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Emails between Board members Darrel Ealum and David Maschke and Murfree, obtained via Open Records Law requests, indicated some disagreement regarding Murfree’s objections to a special session.

Baker and her husband, Chester, were booked and released Thursday from the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office downtown on charges of making false statements to obtain free school lunches for their child.

In an email sent to Murfree at 11:46 a.m. Thursday, shortly after the Bakers turned themselves in at the judicial building, Ealum wrote: “I have received (calls) concerning Principal Gloria Baker ... I feel we should be proactive with the charges against her and we should move quickly to reach a decision by calling an Emergency Called Meeting of the Board.

“Our next scheduled meeting is 11 days away, and I feel like a lack of attention to this matter is having a negative affect on our STEP III vote on Nov. 8th. The calls I am receiving have a high tone of negativism toward the Board and toward the 1 percent sales tax. Failure to get our sales tax passed will create tremendous problems for our school system.”

At 2:24 p.m., Murfree responded: “A special called meeting is not warranted as this is a matter that we are handling at the district level. A recommendation will come from me, if so needed. This office along with the HR Department will be in touch with the PSC (Professional Standards Commission). Reflect on cases that have been even more severe than this case.”

At 2:45 p.m., Maschke weighed in with: “Please be reminded that the Board Chairman (James Bush) himself can call a Special Board Meeting or that any four members of the Board can call for a Special Board Meeting. A Special Called Meeting does not require the Superintendent’s concurrence.”

Bush was out of town today and could not be reached for comment.

After a news conference at the School Administration Building Friday Morning called to tout DCSS’s improved AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) numbers and a new robotics program at Dougherty High School, Murfree refused to answer questions in regard to Baker’s situation.

The superintendent had assured media he would take questions after a photo opportunity, but instead slipped away to his office.

DCSS Director of Public Information R.D. Harter said he would give the superintendent a list of written questions via email and respond.

The four questions submitted by The Herald are:

n What is the current status of Gloria Baker?

n Who authorizes reduced or free lunch applications?

n When do you expect to see the results of the entire investigation?

n Why isn’t the investigation and findings by the DCSS police enough for you and the board to act?

The Herald has not yet received a response.

Shortly after the news conference ended, however, Murfree sent out the following email to board members: “The investigation is still ongoing with other entities that we have not been able to meet with, etc. The investigation by the DCSS Police has been done. I have only a summary statement at the moment from DCSS. Once the entire investigation has been completely I will present to the findings to the Board, etc.”

Comments

Shinedownfan 2 years, 10 months ago

1. What is the "district level"?

2. This will be the nail in the coffin if nothing is done, SPLOST will not pass!

3. Now we know which board members have chutzpah!

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Camilla2005 2 years, 10 months ago

Of course this matter is having a negative affect on the STEP III vote on Nov. 8th. The problem with the school system is not the amount of money to work with; it is the way they spend what they have to work with. MRS. BAKER IS THE POSTER CHILD FOR WHY WE SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR AN EXTRA PENNY OF EVERY DOLLAR TO BE GIVEN TO THE SCHOOL SYSTEM TO SPEND WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

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wilson 2 years, 10 months ago

If the e-mail cited at the end of the article is really the work of the superintendent and accurate I'm surprised he ranked as high as 34th.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

It is legit. Download the .pdf of the emails and look at the last page.

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bubbavet 2 years, 10 months ago

IF SALARIES ARE GIVEN ACCORDING TO STUPIDITY ALBANY'S DCSS PRINCIPALS ARE WAY UNDER PAID

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billybob 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh come on now. Are people really naive enough to believe Murfree will act swiftly and decisively on this case? She has the number one quality DCSS looks for in its leaders. Murfree will cause paralysis by analysis and delay and hope the news cycle will move on to something else.

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firefly 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for posting and keeping the public updated on this "on-going" investigation. Murfree needs to go! DCSS needs to be revamped and it starts and the top.

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whattheheck 2 years, 10 months ago

I am getting the feeling that Mr Murfree has forgotten who he works for. This is a "big deal" to the taxpayers and a lick and promise on it won't work. His cavalier attitude is not appreciated and shows his lack of respect and concern for the citizens. We are at the point where it is time to start writing the Governor and see if we can get Murfree and the dysfunctional members of the school board replaced at the same time. Enough is enough!

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Guest8675309 2 years, 10 months ago

This story, just like all of the DCSS employee stories will fade away within a week or two. Remember the story of the Principal at Southside Middle School who sexually assaulted a paraprofessional? Nothing has happened to him and he currently serves as an Assistant Principal at Monroe High School. He refused to take a polygraph test and the victim took two tests and passed them both. Would you want him dealing with your daughter? Our children turn into criminals partly due to the poor role models that are in their schools. It is time to get rid of the filth, send a message that crime does NOT pay! The way to send this message is to NOT pass the SPLOST! TELL the School Board that the citizens will not fund the SPLOST, I mean slush fund, until they clean up their act!

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MRKIA 2 years, 10 months ago

PERHAPS DCSS NEEDS A JOE CLARK TYPE OF LEADER AS SUPERINTENDANT. A TAKE NO PRISONERS, NO EXCUSES, TOE THE LINE OR HIT THE ROAD PERSONALITY. DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY. MR. MURPHREE HAS YET TO DISPLAY THE TYPE OF AGGRESSIVENESS NEEDED TO MAKE DCSS EMPLOYEES,COLLECTIVLY AS WELL AS INDIVIDUALLY, REALIZE THAT THE CULTURE THAT THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED TO IS INTOLERABLE AND OF NO BENEFIT TO THE STUDENTS. THIS SCHOOL SYSTEM IS THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE ENTIRE STATE. A COUPLE OF JOE CLARKS ON THE SCHOOL BOARD WOULDN'T HURT EITHER.

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supersquawker 2 years, 10 months ago

I heard Dr. Murfree's responses to questions on WALB earlier this evening. Conclusion: He is a complete dope. Prediction: That will be his last Q&A with the media...."NO COMMENT" will be the future response to questions. Remember what "NO COMMENT" means? "I've got something to hide and too much to lose".

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reb_arty1863 2 years, 10 months ago

Who is in charge of investigating the free lunch applications? How many more are out there? This whole program needs review to make sure it benefits only those in need. That principal basically stole goods and services intended for the needy. Three years worth of theft should make her answer to a felony charge.

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Spike 2 years, 10 months ago

Interestingly there appears to be several portions of the email missing. What's the "whole" story? Why does the email seem so disjointed? Smells like fish, looks like fish, hmmmmm. Is it a fish? You tell me.

Albany, you must wake up. Clean house. What you've been doing is not working and you don't have the time to play around with it.

Think about it......Significant federal budget cuts on the horizon.......BRAC issues that could result in the loss of MCLB. If we don't have reasons for the base and industry to stay then what's the future hold?

We need to change things now!

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chinaberry25 2 years, 10 months ago

Do you all see the news last night. Murfree got up there and told a big fat lie. He stated that none of the board members had contacted him and h saw no reason to call a special meeting. Well???

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 10 months ago

StrongI dont know about everyone else,but when i got my tax bill and saw the school tax,that told me they are getting enough from us.Vote no to give them anymore money to just give away.They have to learn at some point how to skrimp and save like the rest of us have to.

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wino3800 2 years, 10 months ago

Obviously, there is a great deal of corruption in the DCSS. The people running it are not qualified or capable. The principal must be terminated. The governor needs to have Mike Bowers do his thing and investigate these problems while he's in town. This is a very BIG DEAL.

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shredex3 2 years, 10 months ago

This is a classic case of an administrator not knowing how to handle a situation, trying to protect one of his own. My favorite saying is: "don't let other peoples problems become your problem" If he would just handle each situation without seeing the color of the person, Murfree would be better off. That goes for all, look at the situation, not who is in the situation.

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bubbavet 2 years, 10 months ago

THE CAPTION ON THE PICTURE SHOULD READ "STUPIDITY AT IT'S FINEST"

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daisymae 2 years, 10 months ago

Am I the only one who noticed that Mr. Murfree was lying through his teeth...uh I mean tapping dancing as fast as he could when questioned on the news ? I am sorry for the Dougherty County School System that this is Your Leader but I do have the feeling the Mrs. Whatley got out while the getting was good. And Bubbavet, you are right about the caption of the picture.

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Spike 2 years, 10 months ago

Did anyone else notice the email doesn't appear to include everyone's comments? Smells like a fish, looks like a fish hmmmmmm. Could it be?

Albany needs to wake up. Budget cuts are coming. BRAC will look at base closures again. Albany can not afford to have things like this going on here. Is anyone concerned? Lets fix this and make Albany a place businesses will want to come to and that the military doesn't want to leave.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 10 months ago

That's because Carol Tharin, Milton Griffin, James Bush and Anita Williams-Brown did not reply to the email.

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supersquawker 2 years, 10 months ago

He thinks he has a 4-3 guarantee on the Board. And based on history he probably does. But I sure am loving those "entities". Sounds impressive.

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carbonrob 2 years, 10 months ago

Who are all the other people in the picture with the "superintendent"?

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opinion8d 2 years, 10 months ago

I would like to know that, myself, wilson!

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firefly 2 years, 10 months ago

Isn't it obvious? That's his posse.

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wilson 2 years, 10 months ago

Please vote NO to e-spLOST. Don't give these clowns anymore money. We're already paying far too much ($190 million) for NOTHING and if we gave them a $1 billion a year the results would be the same. Vote NO!

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Outtahere 2 years, 10 months ago

After reading this article, I feel very uneasy concerning the outcome of this very serious situation. What started these feelings are Murfree's comments (or lack thereof) and overall lack of integrity!! See the thing is that the people of the DCSS that have positions of authority have no respect for the taxpayers or the parents!! They are self absorbed liars that need a really huge reality check!! What pisses me off the most is that woman made over $90,000 a year and still felt the need to LIE to get funds that were set aside for poor children!!! Most two income households will never make that kind of money but this lowlife somehow lucked up and was given a great position within the school system!! To describe what scum she is, I cannt do on this thread!! I AM SO GLAD SHE WAS CAUGHT AND I CANT WAIT UNTIL WE FIND OUT SOME DIRT ON MURFREE SO HE CAN BE NEXT IN THE HOT SEAT!!!! BY THE WAY, I'M SURE I DONT HAVE TO SAY THIS BUT VOTE NO TO ESPLOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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opinion8d 2 years, 10 months ago

(1) What is the "district level" that is currently handling the incident? (2) Why does Murfree feel the need to slyly remind the board that "emails are public records of sort"? (Of sort....what does that even mean?) (3) Where did this "PhD" learn grammar? ..."Once the entire investigation has been completely I will present to the findings to Board, etc." (4) Why does he repetitively use "...etc." in his sentences?

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firefly 2 years, 10 months ago

I was also wondering about the grammar... maybe his PhD is "honorary"?

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