Hey Nancy,

What's Up With That

If you have a question and would like to ask Nancy "What's up with that?", please email Nancy@NancyJester.com.

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What is Grover Norquist Referring To?

Hey Nancy,

Local Boards of Education are required to publish tax and expenditure data. See https://ted.cviog.uga.edu/ted/Default.do . Don’t know what Grover Norquist is referring to, but it appears [you are] campaigning on something that is already there.

What’s up with that?

Del Parker
Accounting Manager at Ga Dept of Education


  1. I hope this offers clarity:

    I am advocating for adopting a system of financial integrity indicators that are rated and disclosed via a report generated by the State DOE. I would like to see us adopt a system similar to the Financial Integrity Reporting System of Texas (FIRST). This system collects data on 20 indicators of fiscal health for each district in Texas (they have over 1000). Each indicator is scored and a composite FIRST rating is then given to the district. Districts are required to hold a public meeting to discuss and disclosure their FIRST rating. Furthermore, Texas has a list of consequences for districts with poor performance records, including poor fiscal management. We have nothing like this in the state of Georgia.

    Here is what the Texas Education Agency says of the FIRST:

    The purpose of the financial accountability rating system (Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, § 109.1001) is to ensure that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and achieve improved performance in the management of their financial resources. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to manage their financial resources better in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes. The system will also disclose the quality of local management and decision-making processes that impact the allocation of financial resources in Texas public schools.

    I also advocate for on-line check registers. Most districts in Texas now have these so that taxpayers can see timely data for each financial transaction. They can find this information easily on the district’s website. There is no need to hunt for data or only have access to old information.

    The Cato Institute released a report titled “Cracking the Books” in which Georgia received an F for reporting of educational expenditures. I agree that we need to improve our financial reporting and disclosure for our educational tax dollars. School districts are not even required to hold a public review of their proposed budget. (If there is a change to the millage rate they must hold meetings about that.) This year HB 886 was introduced to require school districts to hold 2 public meetings prior to passing the budget, requires the budget be placed online, and requires that a line item budget be made available upon request at no charge.

    Another missing aspect in Georgia’s stewardship of the public’s money is that we do not determine the efficacy of each dollar spent. Other states are performing studies where they are “studying the intersection of academic progress and spending for efficiencies in public education.” Georgia should be doing this as well.

    The Georgia DOE website does not offer an intuitive and helpful system of data that can combine relevant and timely information on the finances of each district. Georgia’s citizens should be able to access a report that not only has financial data but also the correlating achievement and staffing data. This will allow Georgia’s citizens to see the results they are getting for the dollars they are spending.

    The bottom line is that HOW we spend the taxpayers’ money will drive results. We are not even measuring this. We make getting information difficult and often provide old data. We must do better.

posted by Nancy Jester in Finance,Georgia Education,Nancy Jester and have Comments Off

Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform support Nancy Jester

Red 

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Cost of Government Center announced their support of Nancy Jester today in the Republican Primary for Georgia State School Superintendent.

“ATR and COGC  laud the efforts of Ms. Jester to improve the education system in the state of Georgia through sensible spending, increased transparency and strong accountability” said Norquist.

Mr. Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at President Reagan’s request.

Jester said, “I am honored that Mr. Norquist, ATR, and the Cost of Government Center are supporting my campaign.  I am dedicated to giving Georgians transparency and robust disclosures so they can see how their education tax dollars are being spent.”

Please help spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends and family.  Ask them to join you, Grover Norquist, Erick Erickson, Sen. Josh McKoon and former Sen. Eric Johnson in voting for Nancy Jester, the proven, effective, conservative candidate for Georgia State School Superintendent.

And on election day, or when you go vote early, remember, “Nancy Jester is sixth on the ballot, first for kids and taxpayers.”

 

posted by Nancy Jester in Georgia State School Superintendent Race,Nancy Jester and have Comments Off

DeKalb Accreditation

I am pleased to hear the DeKalb school system’s accreditation status has been upgraded from “probation” to “warned”.  I worked diligently to shine light on the poor fiscal management of DeKalb.  Some of my work was even cited in the SACS report from 2012.   Clearly DeKalb still has a long way to go.  Academic achievement and growth in many schools is unacceptable.  DeKalb’s graduation rate, at 58.9%, is far too low.  Of the 25 high schools in DeKalb, 8 have graduation rates below 50%, while only 4 have rates above 75%.  All four of these schools are specialty or magnet schools. 

I appreciate that SACS finally recognized that DeKalb needed some sort of intervention.  The entire episode exposes the structural weaknesses in our state’s accountability model.  While SACS can provide a useful and supplemental service via their third party accreditation products, Georgia must not continue to abdicate it’s role in holding districts accountable for their results and financial management.  AdvancED/SACS has 5 standards for school district accreditation.  While these standards are meant to drive improvement in various processes for a school district, not one standard measures outcomes for children. There is no minimum graduation rate or achievement level necessary to earn accreditation. 

In many states, the accreditation status of schools is determined by their Department of Education or comparable public agency.  Texas and Virginia both accredit their schools based on defined, measurable performance results.  Their graduation rates are 87% and 89% respectively.  These states are rewarding success with autonomy and no longer accept failure without consequences.  Additionally, Texas has a Financial Integrity system that has 20 indicators that measure the financial health of a district and push money to be spent in the classroom.   

From the Texas Education Agency’s website:

“The purpose of the financial accountability rating system is to ensure that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and achieve improved performance in the management of their financial resources.  The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to manage their financial resources better in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.”

Georgia has 0 financial integrity measurements for our school districts.

If Georgia had a system for financial integrity, like Texas, DeKalb county could not have engaged in the deceptive budgeting practices I uncovered.  School districts would be forced to allocate money to instruction and not a bloated bureaucracy.  If Georgia’s Department of Education had an accreditation system like that of Texas or Virginia, our schools would be rated and accredited based on measurable performance outcomes. 

I am running to be the State School Superintendent to bring these types of structural reforms to our state.

posted by Nancy Jester in AdvancED SACS,DeKalb County School District,Georgia Education,Georgia State School Superintendent Race,Nancy Jester and have Comments Off

Campaign Reception in Support of Nancy Jester

Campaign Reception in Support of Nancy Jester
Please Join Us
Honorable Eric Johnson
Brigadier General Denis Shortal, Dunwoody City Councilman
Senator Josh McKoon
Representative Tom Taylor
J. Max Davis, Mayor of Brookhaven
Bate Mattison, Brookhaven City Council Member
Todd and Kimberly Cochran
Molly Dye
Shawn Keefe
Eero and Angela Maki
Donna and Terry Nall, Dunwoody City Councilman
John and Lauren Oselette
Melanie Stockwell
Rich Thompson
Terri and Doug Thompson, Dunwoody City Councilman
Stefan and Lisa Victory
___________________________________________________
Monday December 9, 2013
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Café Intermezzo
4505 Ashford-Dunwoody Road
Dunwoody, Georgia 30346
____________________________________________________
Suggested Contribution Levels
Host $1,000 ~ Friend $500 ~ Attendee $250 (per couple)
_____________________________________________________
Kindly RSVP to Robyn Lynch
______________________________________________________
Make Checks Payable to:
Nancy Jester for State School Superintendent
2472 Jett Ferry Road, Suite 400, Box 177 – Dunwoody, GA – 30338
Nancy Jester
2472 Jett Ferry Road
Dunwoody, Georgia 30338
posted by Nancy Jester in Georgia State School Superintendent Race,Nancy Jester and have Comments Off
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