Category Archives: CUEE 2011-09-27

How did we get here? —JC Cunningham

Received Friday. -jsq
Things really have not changed have they? There are still people out there who believe they can force their will on the people regardless of the circumstances. I still cannot believe that we are here. Consolidation, Unification, where did this come from? What mind first came up with this idea and what is the real motive behind it?

Eight months ago when I heard that Rusty Griffin and his merry band of followers were once again trying to force unification down peoples throats, I never thought it would catch on and would just fizzle away. Oh, how wrong.

Over the months this consolidation issue that I thought would never gain steam is now on the ballot and could possible pass this Nov. 8th.

I have seen this thing divide friends, families, co-workers and even

Continue reading

Steven H. Prigohzy, All-Star and Best-Paid Educator!

We have an all-star athlete class educator advising us, with an all-star athlete salary! Hm, I wonder how much CUEE is paying him?

A Sun Life Financial press release of 26 February 2011, Exceptional Students & Nonprofits, All-Star Team of Pro Athletes, Corporate & Education Leaders Tackle Lagging High School Graduation Rates at Sun Life Rising Star National Summit,

“Steven H. Prigohzy, education advocate and developer of one of the country’s first open magnet schools.”
Well, that sounds like the Steve Prigohzy of CSAS in Chattanooga, whose Public Education Foundation advised the consolidated school system there.

What about this, is this just a coincidence of names? Empire Center for New York State Policy put out a press release of 8 October 2009,

According to the data, the highest paid non-professional school employee (outside New York City) was Steven H. Prigohzy of the New York Institute for Special Education, who was paid $230,000.
It turns out it’s not a coincidence. In a paid death notice in the New York Times, BLOOM, FRANCES R., 18 January 2005, Continue reading

Steve Prigohzy, guru of Chattanooga-Hamilton Co. school consolidation

We’ve seen that Steve Prigohzy’s magnet school, CSAS, was started in 1986. Chattanooga school consolidation with Hamilton County, Tennessee was in 1995. And look who was waiting to tell them what to do: Chattanooga, 1995: City Referendum on Consolidating Schools, and No Legislative Interference, by Smart City Memphis, 1 January 2011, quoting Education Week 2 August 1995,
A month after the election, the board voted to ask the Public Education Foundation to help frame the new system. The move was partly on the advice of educators in Knoxville, who faced a raft of problems after consolidating rapidly with Knox County eight years ago.

The foundation, one of the wealthiest local education foundations in the country, has worked closely with educators in both the city and county. Its president, Steven H. Prigohzy, is a dynamo with a clear vision of where he’d like to take education in the new system.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a county

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Videos by LAKE of CUEE school unification meeting 27 Sep 2011

Videos are appearing in this playlist of the 27 September 2011 school unification propaganda meeting by CUEE and the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce (VLCoC). And if CUEE or VLCoC doesn’t want to see me call it propaganda, nothing’s stopping them publishing their own videos of the event, as I already suggested yesterday. Unless maybe they don’t want people to see their speakers contradict each other.

Videos by LAKE of CUEE 27 Sep 2011
School Unification,
Forum, Community Unification for Educational Excellence, Inc. (CUEE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 27 September 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Sports teams won’t change (Tom Gooding) my sports team changed (Ronnie Mathis) @ CUEE 27 Sep 2011

CUEE and the Chamber hardly need opponents for school consolidation. All they need is for people to listen to what they say to contradict each other. Here’s a good example.

First, Tom Gooding said sports teams won’t change (until there’s a newly elected Lowndes County school board, which of course can do whatever it wants to; read the fine print as he speaks).

Then Ronnie Mathis said he’d been through “unification” elsewhere, and his sports team changed from Vikings to Bobcats. Oops!

Maybe this is why CUEE won’t post videos of its own meetings. But LAKE has, so you can watch this for yourself.

Here’s Part 1 of 2: Continue reading

Questions for CUEE —Etta Mims

Received today.
Updated 5PM 28 Sep 2011: Added preface and other changes to the document by Etta Mims. -jsq
I am attaching an 8 page document I compiled this week to show that CUEE and the Vote Yes supporters are not answering the questions being asked of them. They are dancing around the topics but these supporters are spending alot of money to put our children and the employees of both schools in danger of 4-5 years minimum of changes that will be detrimental to all concerned.

Another interesting note, if you go to the Vote Yes page, and

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CUEE demolishes its own case

CUEE still doesn’t have a plan for improving education. When asked for any concrete examples of education improving because of school consolidation, not one person could come up with one: not CUEE, not the Chamber, not their invited experts. Their invited experts established that consolidation in Troup County not only didn’t save money, it required a bond issue. And it took four or five years of the hardest work they’d ever done, even though they couldn’t give any evidence that it improved education. It was like that on almost every point: the Chamber and CUEE either couldn’t answer the simplest questions, or even more frequently demolished their own case.

The last question asked to give an example of any company that had declined to come in because of multiple school systems. Not only could nobody give an example, but someone, I believe it was Walter Hobgood, stood up at the podium and said when he was working for a large company he had never encountered a case where they looked at the number of school systems.

Early on Chamber Chair Tom Gooding went on at great length about Continue reading

18 years later in Troup County

“Unification” of LaGrange City and Troup County schools was in 1993. Eighteen years later, it’s still a mess.

Natalie Shelton wrote March 2011 for LaGrange Daily News Online, Parents: Seek other options to school consolidation

In considering the change at West Side, officials noted in last year’s budget proposal talks that about 73 percent of its students are bus riders, brought from all parts of the county. The school posts a per-student transportation cost of $1,198, more than twice the zone average of $529.

“Why is West Side so important to the county?” parent Brandi Kennedy asked. “You have buses picking up kids all over the county to go to West Side.”

Because children are chosen to attend the magnet school through a lottery, Kennedy said she couldn’t understand funding the fine-arts focus of the school when it is not more prestigious than other county schools.

There are some unhappy parents and students: Continue reading

Detracking Troup County, according to Terry Jenkins

In Troup County, school “unification” was all about race and desegregation, according to the speaker our local Chamber is bringing in Tuesday evening.

Dr. Terry Jenkins, co-authored an interesting paper in 1997, Detracking Troup County: Providing an Exemplary Curriculum for All Students.

As series of decisions, not unrelated to race, made by the “white fathers” of the city of LaGrange, led the citizens of the city to vote their school system out of existence and to become a part of the county system.
The quotes around “white fathers” are in the paper.

Hm, back when I first encountered CUEE, they were speaking to SCLC in Valdosta late last year, Rusty Griffin among them, and the theme was desegregation. They did not receive a warm welcome. Funny how CUEE changed its tune to “unification” after that.

But the local “white fathers” are still insisting on making decisions for all of us.


Chamber Punts for CUEE

Received today. Guess they’ve forgotten about CUEE’s Kick-Off event back in March, at which CUEE Vice-Chairman Rusty Griffin spoke. -jsq
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:36:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rusty Griffin <chamber @valdostachamber .com>
Subject: School Unification Forum: 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday


Make your plans now to attend the first Vote YES public forum on school unification, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Rainwater Conference Center.

Our guest speaker will be Dr. Terry Jenkins, who served as the Superintendent of Troup County Schools during the unification process of LaGrange and Troup County school systems in 1992.

Many of the same issues and rumors being discussed locally were also debated when LaGrange and Troup County were voting to unify their school systems. In his presentation, Dr. Jenkins will discuss how the school unification issue unfolded in Troup County, its impact to improving test scores and graduation rates, and how the decision to unify their school systems has transformed the community for the better.