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Coleman: Sabbs deal violates policy

— Citing a "lack of oversight" into how consultants are hired by the Dougherty County School System, DCSS attorney Tommy Coleman issued a report to Board members Friday in which he issued an opinion that a $91,000 contract given to consultant Darrell Sabbs was in direct violation of established board policy.

The issue of Sabbs' contract came to light last month when documents revealed that Federal Programs Director Betty Graper entered into the contract on behalf of the system on Sept. 30, 2011 without the required board approval.

At that point, Board Chairman James Bush instructed Coleman to look into the contract and report back to the board.

The two-page contract between Sabbs, community benefits coordinator at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and the DCSS called for the establishment of a seven-month "Reading Right Program," called the "Saturday Academy," which was designed to improve reading skills of 80 DCSS fourth-graders who scored between 790 and 810 on CRCT reading areas.

The twice-monthly program was held at Darton College and employed six certified teachers and four paraprofessionals from the DCSS, who were paid $25 per hour.

The system, in turn, paid Sabbs $6,500 per session, or $13,000 per month for seven months.

Graper provided a quarterly budget for the program which included:

— Staff and Instruction — $19,467;

— Materials — $6,667;

— Transportation — $1,500;

— Awards, t-shirts, etc. — $2,667;

— Meeting Space — $3,200;

— Guest Speakers — $1,500;

— Parental Training — $1,000.

The report noted that attendance in the program was irregular and never approached the projected 80 students at any one time. Although requested, Graper never provided a complete attendance roster.

The program was funded with Title I money.

Individual class attendance numbers were provided by DCSS interim Director of Curriculum Merita Jones. Those numbers indicated that attendance ranged from 10 to 15 students per class, but toward the end of the program those numbers "fell off dramatically."

Coleman said he requested more detailed information from Graper and Sabbs in addition to personal interviews.

The report noted Graper "failed to be fully responsive" to Coleman's inquiry and appeared at her interview with her husband and attorney, Maurice King. The interview was canceled.

Sabbs did not respond to Coleman's requests.

"As a result of the unwillingness of Dr. Graper and Mr. Sabbs to provide full and complete information on the relationship between Sabbs and Associates and the Dougherty County School System, it is impossible to fully complete this investigation and provide the board with the complete analysis of this program," Coleman wrote.

Calls requesting comment from Graper today were being directed to her voice mail.

Comments

waltspecht 2 years ago

Isn't it time someone lost their job, or even looked at jail time? This might be a fraud perpetrated against the Government. Not tracked, not observed and definately not what was advertised. I seem to remember an early commentator that said they met at Ryan's for breakfast when they were supposed to be in class. Wonder if that was true?

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Terry.Lewis 2 years ago

According to the report, the children were bused to Ryan's for lunch.

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Support 2 years ago

How does the media get the report sooo fast without an open records request?

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Terry.Lewis 2 years ago

Because Murfree does not respond to ORR, one must be a bit resourceful in obtaining public information.

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Progressive 2 years ago

YES!!! I have said before, there is little accountability shown from this School Board. Now watch to see how long it takes for either this Board or Murfree to take any action. Just the fact these 2 individuals were not cooperative should be grounds for immediate termination. Similar to Eric Holder and the Pres. I know it is a different topic, but it is time to start taking tough action to vote them out of office, and let others know that abuse of policy and their positions will not be tolerated. A message that we have had enough of this waste and abuse must be sent!

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Support 2 years ago

First of all Sabbs is not an employee so he can't be terminated.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

But his WATER HOSE can be CUT OFF!!

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waltspecht 2 years ago

No, but he can be blocked from any future contracts with the Municipality and the County for questionable practice.

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jglass 2 years ago

WOW.................it just keeps on coming!!! So there were to be up to 80 kids per Saturday only 10 to 15 kids per class and then if dropped drastically???? It appears that the numbers were drastically LOW the entire time. The snakes in the grass keep on coming out. Why would Graper have her husband and attorney at a meeting if she were not hiding something. There needs to be checks and balances and checks and balances within that office on Pine. Funded with Title 1 money............the money was wasted. How do you come up with those figures if it only involved 10 - 15 students per class and then I am assuming none after a short period of time. I think someone should be fired. Someone violated the policy............seems like all of the policies have been and are being violated. Until some firing goes on, it will continue.

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Jack_Frost 2 years ago

Something amiss at the Dougherty County School System? Say it ain't so?

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SMHgain 2 years ago

Awards and t-shirts for 15 students costs over $177 per student? As usual, richly rewarding "friends" with taxpayer dollars is the name of the game here in Dirty County.

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Jacob 2 years ago

Wow. What a clown show. Where are the clergy to demand that the children of Albany are spoken for and worthwhile? If they are truly the leaders of the community they claim to be, their silence is deafening.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

Kids now have an opportunity to improve their reading skills for free at the Downtown Public Library. Contact the library and ask about the "Paws for Reading Program". It started last month and kids get to read to dogs and a cat to help their skills and self esteem.

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agonized 2 years ago

Sad to say that the dogs and cat will conduct themselves more professionally than some people...

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Same Old Sh**, Different Week

I'm starting to understand more about how these Mercedes, BMWs, and Jaguars are being paid for. (Title I) Should rename it Title I (for Import). Of course I already knew.......just the proof is coming to the fore.

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brendajohnson 2 years ago

I would be willing to bet that Graper was directed to enter into those contracts from Murfree. Those who balk at unethical practices would most likely be looking for a new job.

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Happy 2 years ago

Those contracts started before Murfree.

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brendajohnson 2 years ago

Graper was not Title I Director prior to Murfree's reign of terror, so again, maybe she isn't ultimately responsible.

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Happy 2 years ago

Agreed. Youngblood was and he is now running for school board, hmmm go figure.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

What does Mr. Youngblood have to do with this? He's not even a board member as of yet. And when he does take Machske's place he will be a good board member since he has both a financial and educational background. We need him up there to help with situations like this.

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Happy 2 years ago

He was in the position that Graper is in before he retired.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Are you saying that Mr. Youngblood put those contracts in place?

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whattheheck 2 years ago

Since federal money is involved, and we know little about even this one case, perhaps the feds should be asked to investigate how we use such monies. How much Title 1 money do we get, Terry?

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brendajohnson 2 years ago

In FY 2012 the DCSS received approximately $8.3 million in Title I funds and $3.2 million in Special Education IDEA funds. (http://www.albanyherald.com/news/2012...)

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

walt.....walt..........walt.......how many times do we have to be jolted into the reality that THE FEDS DO NOT WANT TO STOP THE FLOW OF MONEY TO THEIR BOUGHT-OFF VOTERS!?!? Put on a pot of coffee and WAKE UP!!

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Support 2 years ago

"DCSS attorney Tommy Coleman issued a report to Board members Friday in which he issued an opinion.." AN OPINION! Tommy Coleman is not a GDOE Title I Consultant. What does GDOE say about this? I'm sure their opinion is different from this attorney who is VERY BIAS and LOVES trial by media and DOES NOT KNOW ALL THE RULES THAT GOVERN TITLE I. He can't say if the program was beneficial or not. HE DOES NOT KNOW ALL THE GUIDELINES. Give me a break!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Blame the messenger. Works for your constituency.

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stc1993 2 years ago

Did you read the other artical today? The state said it didn't qualify for the money.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

I was trying to do the math. $91,000 divided by 80 students is a little over $1000 per student. $91,000 divided by "10 to 15" students is somewhere between $6,000 to $9,000 per student. "Fell off dramatically"........well how do you calculate that?? Can we just agree that it probably cost about $10,000 per student AND WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY WHATSOEVER...........(this is when Sabbs and Graper drive away in their expensive luxury import vehicles that cost in excess of $100,000.......)

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ittybittyme 2 years ago

Waiting for written posts blaming white folks for this situtation!!!

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MRKIA 2 years ago

BUBBAVET-RU, COACH, DCSS CHEERLEADERS , PASTORS , REVERENDS, NAACP??? ANYBODY??? OUTRIGHT FRAUD AND NOT ONE CHILD HELPED. NOT THAT THEY WANTED IT ANYWAY. THESE "PROGRAMS" MEAN NOTHING AND ACCOMPLISH LESS THAN NOTHING. IT'S ALWAYS A LOSS. NOW: WHO'S GETTING FIRED???

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Contracts are reviewed by counsel? They are legal binding documents, we need full-time counsel.

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Trustbuster 2 years ago

Well, the Murphee Gang has made another misstep. It appears that the gang is not accountable to the board. One of his subordinates carried out similar practices under another system. The school board should take charge and hold those accountable for misusing taxpayers' funds. Why should the taxpayers continue to flip the bill for someone's lack of accountability. FIRE THEM!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

"The School Board" will vote 4-3 to uphold all manner of shenanigans, unlawful deals, and support most people that do the same. What ya gonna do? Should......would......could.......but dint.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

FIRE THEM......Yes! But their cohorts will just Blame The Messenger....right Mr. Terry Lewis?

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Support 2 years ago

No one is blaming the messenger just make sure the facts are accurate.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years ago

My facts have been accurate.

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stc1993 2 years ago

We taxpayers ought to Email the GBI & beg for an audit of the DCSS. IF enough of us tell them somethings rotten they will have to listen. Write the state attorney general if enough people complain & say we are sick & tired of this BS they will have to do something. I'm tired of them giving my tax money away to their friends.

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MRKIA 2 years ago

I GUESS THE GOVERNOR WILL BE SENDING DOWN MORE INVESTIGATORS AS SOON AS HE IS FINISHED REMOVING VELVET RIGGINS, WHICH WILL BE ANY MINUTE NOW.

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chinaberry25 2 years ago

Attendance records are the most important things in a classroom. Coverups are never acceptable in this type of money. Time to cut the umbilical cord.

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ECantorGOP 2 years ago

I'm a 20-yr educator in the DCSS. This is absolutely ridiculous. I've constantly tried to work with the superintendent and/or BOE, but come on now!!! Someone HAS TO BE FIRED on this one!!! WOW!!!! I am speechless after reading this article!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Don't hold your breath.......it WILL kill you.

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rrats1 2 years ago

What's so sad is that not all DCSS schools get Title 1 money. Then the money the county does get is spent irresponsibly. I bet those schools who don't qualify for Title 1 would like a cut of that $91,000!

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

I would like to see a change in the legal department. They need full-time counsel. What we have now is costly and not working.

This things should be pointed out ahead of time, she have gotten a lawyer, now who will defend the school system, let me guess, we will pay more money to our part-time lawyer.

We will stay broke, with this system.

Offer the job to our part-time lawyer, if he turns in down, go outside and find someone.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Translation: Fire the Messenger. Hire a suck-up who will do what the "Black Pastors" ask him/her to do.

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Progressive 2 years ago

Wrong direction B_r. There should not be a need for a Full-time lawyer. There needs to be responsible administrators and Schoold Board reps doing the right job, and holding others accountable to do theirs! It is time to remove the corruption. If we do not, expect more of the same.

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agonized 2 years ago

Bv_r, I do not know of any school system in the state who has full-time counsel, by which I guess you mean in-house counsel as a part of the administrative office downtown. That is VERY expensive. More importantly, I don't know of any school system in the state that has the NEED for in-house counsel. To say that DCSS needs this is essentially saying that they run afoul of the law so frequently they need someone there at all times to say something is a no-no or to slap on the wrists. That's pretty sad. If you think people are mad now, try having THAT position approved.

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Happy 2 years ago

They are paying Coleman more in legal fees than they would for hiring a full-time attorney.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

What are we paying for part-time counsel? can anyone tell us?

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

200 hundred an hour times 1000 hrs = 200,000 300 hundred an hour times 1000 hrs = 300,000 400 hundred an hour times 1000 hrs = 400,000

Two questions: What are we being charged an hour? How many hours per year?

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years ago

My first thought was, "...$1,000 per student, to teach them to read...probably not a bad deal..." Second thought was, "...$6,000 per student...now, that sounds criminal..." The good folks of DOCO should be flooding the Governor's office with emails, letters and calls, asking the State to step in and fully investigate the DCSS. Blame it on Whatley, blame it on Murphree...white, black, yellow, it doesn't matter. The DCSS continues to prove they are unable/unwilling to clean up their mess. If this is not a criminal matter, then, there ought to be a law!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Eyes, yes there is a law. It's called "Mob Law" and it's the same law that was in effect the night of July 4th and it's the Prime Mover in Albany and Dougherty County for the foreseeable future........based on how it's been going for the past 12 months. The TIDE has almost TURNED for the worse and forever.

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stc1993 2 years ago

It is criminal why do you think she brought a lawyer to the meeting.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Legal counsel suppose to keep the system out of mess, not wait until they are knee deep in it, take the blinders off. They are costing us our eyesight.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

He's gotta find the Secret Treasure (aka stuff that Murfree ordered people to do off the books) before he can act, right? Maschke had tried to find out how the $700,000 in "consultant fees" aka funneling of funds to Friends of Murfree was being spent but it took a long time and probably was an accident that it was revealed in the first place.

B-r you are one DUMB F>>>!! I'm really surprised that when the Mosquito Truck comes through your neighborhood spraying that you don't keel over and die because your brain cannot be any larger than.......................................

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Support 2 years ago

Not if you can make over $400,000 from the school system of taxpayer dollars.

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Progressive 2 years ago

Strike 2. Wrong again B_r. Legal provides direction when asked by the Administration or by the School Board, and researches blatant policy violations such as referenced in this article: "Board Chairman James Bush instructed Coleman to look into the contract and report back to the board." It is the Board and Administration's responsibility to establish, know and follow approved policies. If they do not, they should be held accountable.

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stc1993 2 years ago

Bubba we don't need a full time lawyer, We need a new school board.

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sumterco 2 years ago

"The report noted Graper "failed to be fully responsive" to Coleman's inquiry and appeared at her interview with her husband and attorney, Maurice King." WOW..guess who the new lawyer for Sumter Co BOE is...Maurice King. He is now going to have to represent his wife. This guy is a joke. Thank goodness for Dougherty Co. It's the only one that can give Sumter Co a run for its money.

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Happy 2 years ago

I believe the attorney and her husband are two different people.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years ago

They are. That was my bad for not drawing a distinction.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

He wil make a good one for our system.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

Maurice King? PLEASE! He would not be good for our school system. Get real, man!! If you worked in the legal field you would know that King is a joke of a lawyer.

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URWrongAgain 2 years ago

Sorry, but the numbers don't add up:

-Two-page contract????- should have at least included a detailed budget proposed by the contractor so the system could see what it was getting before committing the dollars.I haven't seen the contract, but two pages????? Should have a policy that all contracts subject to review by the school counsel (whether you like him or not). Would go a long way towards CYA. -Ten instructors (teachers and paraprofessionals) at $25 per hour for two weekends per month does not seem to reach the quarterly amount reported for staff and instruction.(not saying that the numbers are wrong. Just don't add up...by a lot). Specific hours should be reported. -Federal funds and no formal attendance report? I hope they didn't share the names because it could violate privacy rules, but at least they could have provided them to the attorney. -Busing students to Ryan's for lunch might seem like a good idea (incentive for attendance), but a more cost effective method would have been to serve meals on-site (poorly designed program). Just saying. -Would really like to know if the teachers were current or former DCSS teachers- if Title I allows, I would hope that they would identify and supplement effective teachers.

Just my two cents.

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waltspecht 2 years ago

Now the real question, Just how much did the reading scores of all the students origionally enrolled in the program improve? No one seems to want to address that!

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PatrickY2K 2 years ago

Ms Graper won't even provide a list of students who participated.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Hold on walt, if you have standards of achievement and then test to measure achievement......that induces people to cheat.

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FlunkyMonkey 2 years ago

I have a feeling that it is just a matter of time before Tommy Coleman is replaced with an attorney as crooked at the board. You know, someone who will tell King Murfree and his court jesters that they are right and can skim all the money they can get from the school system...If Coleman goes, so does the rest of the accountability factor.

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jglass 2 years ago

The Saturday Academy is not mandatory for those students having reading difficulties, that is why they could care less about going. Bottom line, the kids will get "bumped up" to the next grade regardless. I did not say they will pass, they will be promoted up, this happens ALL the time. That is why so many in our society are illiterate, you can put some of the blame on the "system". Now, since Murfree wants to go back 10 years, do you think he wants to blame all of this mess on Whatley. Please put your "big boy panties" on and get this mess straightened out Murfree. I am so tired of my tax money and federal money and what ever else money being wasted and thrown away.

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carbonrob 2 years ago

Looks like Mr. Sabbs is laughing all the way to the bank!

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AnotherMom 2 years ago

I'm not sure I understand the connection between Sabbs, Phoebe & DCSS. What was Sabbs/Phoebe providing for the $91,000 they received? Why were we paying to use an offsite classroom & not using one of our own buildings for the Saturday program?

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Happy 2 years ago

So now that phoebe has acquired Palmyra, owns a church their next mission is a school system takeover by using Sabbs and Lane Price...hmmmm....

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Cartman 2 years ago

Hey Murfree and Sabbs. Don't let these detractors get you down. We citizens of Lee, Mitchell, and Worth Counties thank and appreciate you. You have helped our counties hold our own or even slightly grow and you helped drive up our property values, even during these dire economic times. Keep these hits from the DCSS comedy show coming. Don't stop now.

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Jacob 2 years ago

Wow. I wonder if any of the four who voted for # 34 feel the least bit embarassed by the series of blunders and misdeeds he is responsible for? It seems that their consituents would demand change for the sake of their children.

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MRKIA 2 years ago

WHILE EVERYONE IS AT THEIR COMPUTER, DROP AN E-MAIL TO THE GOV'S OFFICE AND STATE THE NEED FOR AN INVESTIGATION OF THE DCSS AND TO SETTLE THE ISSUE OF VELVET RIGGINS.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Good idea, however, I will drop one to the federal, we need to investigate why the state keep getting involve with majority black school systems, wait, there should be equal attention applied to a school boards in the state. You email big brother and I will email big daddy.

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Jacob 2 years ago

LOL. Careful what you wish for. You are not going to enjoy a truthful answer. Tell me, BBVRR, aren't you embarrassed by your peers? Have you no shame?

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TheBoss 2 years ago

Terry Lewis, WALB has on their web site that DCSS will have to pay back $ 90K in Title 1 funds that were miss spent, you don't mention this in you report. Is it true? If so, that means DCSS is out $ 180 K cause the money has been paid out.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years ago

It has yet to be determined how much, if any, Title I money the DCSS will have to pay back. The system has a Friday deadline to respond to the GADOE's request for supporting documentation.

I will be posting a follow up story within the hour which will explain the situation.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Great, What is the part-time legal fees? Will we save hiring a full-time counsel?

This will make you say wow.

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MRKIA 2 years ago

NO, THEY WILL ONLY BE OUT THE 90K. THE FEDS SUPPLIED THE FIRST 90K. STILL IT'S A 180K LOSS.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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MRKIA 2 years ago

OKAY BUBBAVET_RU, LETS JUST WAIT AND SEE WHICH ONE OF THEM RESPONDS FIRST IF AT ALL. EITHER WAY, SOMEONE'S HEAD WILL ROLL.

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Outtahere 2 years ago

Coleman: Sabbs deal violates policy - Yeah, but what is going to be done about this?? I hope not just going about business as usual! I also wonder if #34 and his gang read these articles and comments. Do you think they feel like their time is coming to an end?

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

This entire incident does give us citizens insight into how "money from the Federal Government" is viewed by people. Free, no strings attached, up for grabs, no rules. Thankfully SOMEBODY at the State level is behaving properly and responsibly in their job.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Full-time counsel, we need help 24-7. Offer the job to the part-time counsel first, then hit the search button for full-time counsel.

How much are we paying for part-time?

How much will full-time counsel cost?

I need facts, media, get me some numbers.

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Cartman 2 years ago

Full time counsel? So there will another level of blame and complicity? Tyrannical bureaucrats love to hide behind phrases like, "I did this on advice of counsel..."; "We ran it through legal before we implemented"; and "our attorney was there and didn't advise us to do differently...". Of course, they only hire yes men attorneys. But this DCSS cronyism is so blatant and obvious that even FEMA couldn't manage this disaster.

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Who are you protecting, and what is it costing us?

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

What you need is a Full Frontal Labotomy B_r before you hurt Self or Others.

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MRKIA 2 years ago

BUBBAVETRU: ARE YOU SURE YOU WERE NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR FOR EVANDER HOLYFIELD? BTW:WHAT IS HIS NEW ADDRESS?? TALK ABOUT A FOOL AND HIS MONEY!!!

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LoneCycler 2 years ago

This details of this story as well as others of late concerning the DCSS BOE and it's actions makes one wonder when the District Attorney will become involved. Tommy Coleman, our former mayor, is an honest man, and I'm pretty sure he's discovered some things that might raise some interest from local as well as state and maybe even federal law enforcement agencies. As a casual observer of the situation it would seem to me that with the amount of money involved and the personal connections between the players in this sad drama something illegal is almost certain to be going on.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

My question is when will SACS and the governor step in?

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Okay, what was our legal fees for 2010, 2011, and 2012?

What do we have budgeted for legal fees?

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

That issue is extraneous. Get the bums out!

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Answer the question, what are we paying?

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years ago

Bubba, do a little independent research and let us know. Look it up, send in a FOIA request. See where you get... It's nothing but a side story at this point. This is not about Mr. Coleman's representation, but, about who he is representing!

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MRKIA 2 years ago

WHY IS THE MODERATOR DELAYING MY COMMENTS FOR SEVERAL HOURS? WHOSE NERVE AM I GETTING ON?

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