DeKalb: Cutting 148 from central office staff to save $10.7 million

The calls for DeKalb County Schools to cut back on its central office staff are being heeded. The AJC is reporting today that Superintendent Crawford Lewis is calling for 148 employees to be laid off and that the cuts will come from all areas of the central office.

It sounds like the parents are being heard. Many have been critical of central office bloat and inflated salaries for jobs that don’t have much to do with student learning. (Now, if Lewis would turn back his raise, DeKalb parents would be even more certain they are being heard.)

According to the story:

The reduction in staff is necessary to meet a projected $88 million deficit, Superintendent Crawford Lewis told board members Wednesday morning. The staff cuts will save the district about $10.7 million, Lewis said.

The 148 positions represent about 15 percent of the district’s 982 employees in the central office, according to Ramona Tyson, the district’s deputy chief superintendent of business operations. The district is also looking at furloughs or pay cuts, along with closing schools and cutting programs.

46 comments Add your comment

mift

February 24th, 2010
12:58 pm

Henry is doing the same- prgrams like media, technology, art and music are being cut

Sick&Tired

February 24th, 2010
12:59 pm

Wow 982 employees for Dekalb County Schools, I say they need to cut it in half. What kind of positions fall under their central office. There are some major coporations that don’t have 982 employees. There are call centers that handle calls from all over the world that don’t have that many employees.

If they can’t run a school system with 491 employees they need to find another occupation.

For Economy

February 24th, 2010
1:22 pm

How about they take away these jokers (especially the superintendent) gas cards too. It could save a bunch of money, since last year he was filling up 2 or 3 times a day.

Cammi317

February 24th, 2010
1:36 pm

They need to start with the Superintendent! How could he accept a raise and in the same stroke put people out of work? I guess the poor baby just could not live off of the $240,000 he was already making!?!? I don’t care how much comparable size district supers are making, when you are faced large deficits and massive layoffs YOU DO NOT DEMAND OR ACCEPT RAISES.

Joy in Teaching

February 24th, 2010
1:41 pm

There are many, many school systems in the state that don’t even have half the staff that the central office in Dekalb has.

And to think: I was griping the other day with how the central office in my county seems bloated with its 25 or so employees.

Wow. Just…wow.

UnhappyParent

February 24th, 2010
1:54 pm

It is incredible that our School Board members voted to give Lewis a raise while concurrently discussing how to close our schools and reduce the number of teachers in our County. Don’t forget, not only did they agree to raise his salary, they also gave Lewis an additional $18,000 a year for his expense account. This is the Superintendent that fills his gas tank 2-3 times a day (he siphons out the premium gas he pumps in error), purchases a personal automobile impermissibly, and allows a construction scandal to occur right under his nose (he gave Pope a raise after he discovered Pope’s misdeeds). I say, vote them all out!!!

What a Joke

February 24th, 2010
1:57 pm

OK, I just read this post from Beverly Hall. It’s posted on APS’s home page. Wouldn’t you at least run spell check first? The quotations are mine -

Dear Parents, Employees and Friends of Atlanta Public Schools,

My commitment to this district and this profession is guided by the belief that education is the great equalizer; it’s the most reliable pathway to success. I am proud of the professionals who work beside me and in our classrooms each day providing a world-class education to each of our nearly 50,000 students. An independent panel will conduct a very thorough and careful evaluation of recent state findings regarding erasure frequency anomalies on last year’s CRCT answer sheets. In the meantime, please know that we remain “focus” on the rewarding work of educating our city’s most precious resource.

DeKalb Voter

February 24th, 2010
2:02 pm

Hey DeKalb County Board of Education: Start with that clown that you have for a superintendent, Crawford Lewis, that joke that you have for an attorney, Josie Alexander (let her go back to school and take a course in Constitutional Law), and that office which is always in shambles, the so-called Office of Internal Resolution. Yes, I think that a metaphorical meatcleaver ought to be applied to this office. State Senator Ronald Ramsey spends months at the Capitol, leaving his office in the shaky hands of Robin Goolsby. I think that this is the same woman who was literally pushing one teacher representative out of the building one day — with many witnesses watching. I don’t know if they understand simple battery and so forth. Or, if they understand the First Amendment at all! Uh, now let’s see, Robin, have you ever heard of “freedom of association”? You might want to ask your boss, Ron “Shut Down Grievances” Ramsey, if he knows anything about the First Amendment, O. K.?

Yeah, board members, these would be good places to begin…but, hey, this is YOUR decision, not mine.

What a Joke

February 24th, 2010
2:04 pm

And if you read the rest of her post, there is more.

BTW, Maureen – I’ve had some business recently that took me to Long Middle School in APS. You don’t even have to go into the building to see a huge hand painted sign in their lobby that says “Carpi Diem – Seize the Day.” I’d love to see a photo of that in the paper!

I’d laugh if it weren’t so sad.

PaulaD

February 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

Central Office is not just Building A. It includes other sites, such as Fernbank Science Center and some other Centers. Do the parents critical of “central office bloat” consider the salaries of those who maintain and teach at/in the planetarium, forest, library, STT program, bird watches, field trips, and Countywide professional development, part of the “bloat”? DCSS might be skinnier without Fernbank Science Center, but watch out for anorexia!

Dr. John Trotter

February 24th, 2010
2:18 pm

Pitiful, isn’t it? Why quotation marks around focus? It is not a quote. Should have been focused, not focus. Not “anomalies,” Beverly. We are talking about widespread systematic cheating.

pooh bear

February 24th, 2010
2:28 pm

I am a parent volunteer at one of the South DeKalb Elementary Schools with between 300 and 400 students. I fully support the consolidation of every school that does not have enough students(450) to receive state per pupil funding. The school board and the administration should be held responsible for allowing this shortfall for so long.

I have been dismayed by many of the administrative staff with whom I have come in contact. They do not seem to be interested in excellence or innovation in education. If they have to put in one extra hour of work, they are not for a new program. The teachers with whom I work and the principal are very hard workers always looking for extra money to help bring enrichment to very poor children. Because of that, we’re always new sources of money.

The one office I do work with extensively is the one working with small grants for which teachers and individual schools can apply. We are regularly notified of these grants and their deadlines, our teachers can participate in a course that will help them learn to write grants, and the office will even read the grants and critique them before we turn them in. Our school has received thousands of dollars from these small grants that have helped our teachers with materials, field trips, instruments -everything but the kitchen sink. And, guess what? This office which actually brings dollars into the school system (It also handles the government grants) is not being cut by the 15% quoted by Crawford Lewis’ flunky, but over half of the staff have been told they’ll lose their jobs. That is, one of the few offices in Building A or B that actually brings real money into the system is being cut by half. Good grief!

Booklover

February 24th, 2010
2:28 pm

Local school boards need to cut the bloat at central offices everywhere in Georgia. The secretaries have secretaries. Why does the school nutrition department at the board office need 10 employees for a district of a few thousand children? Why do we need curriculum specialists at the board office in addition to the one in our building?

The state also needs to combine some of these small counties’ school systems to same money and management costs, but that will never happen because the good ol’ boys enjoy their local fiefdoms too much.

Disgusted

February 24th, 2010
2:33 pm

Up in Hall County our Super and board cut 140 positions for this school year.
Practically all of them were nontenured teachers. The board did not bother to follow its own RIF policy and we were nowhere near the defecit Dekalb is. No press coverage really though. Principals were
directed to tell the teachers chosen they should resign instead of
take the nonrenewal and that they would definitly not ever be hired
back if they did take the nonrenewal.

Interesting comparison.

Greg, Marietta GA

February 24th, 2010
3:15 pm

Hey Dr. John, I agree that misspellings in a letter from the superintendant are pretty disheartening, but before you go and criticize her punctuation, you probably ought to read the entire post carefully. Whoever posted that passage added the quotations to point out the error.

DeKalb Conservative

February 24th, 2010
3:58 pm

$10.8m / 148 employees is $72,297 total cost saved per employee. I’m assuming that’s factoring other costs of having an employee other than salary.

Pays to be in the govt sector.

mift

February 24th, 2010
5:18 pm

DeKalb Conservative- No it doesn’t pay. 1/3 of that amount is surely benefits. Again, I question why folks like you think that professional with college education as should be paid as if they deserve a pauper’s portion. Why is it that and educator cannot make a decent wage? Could it be jealousy?

d

February 24th, 2010
5:37 pm

Can we hire Kathy Cox to run DCSS instead of Crawford Lewis — she’s a bargain at $129,000 compared to Crawford’s $255 — and we’re likely to get the same results.

Allen

February 24th, 2010
5:48 pm

Let’s see, if 148 employees = $10.7 million, then all 982 would be $70 million.

Of course, that’s not the case–there’s salary differences to consider and we probably do need to retain SOME of those 982. The point is, don’t make a big deal of 148 when there’s 834 being retained, and still more than 5,500 non-teaching employees, if I recall correctly, in a system with a not significantly larger number of classroom employees. There’s still a LOT more cutting that should be done outsde the classrooms before we start cutting inside them.

Personally, I’d like to see something close to half that $115 million cut from admin (which would bring us into alignment with what other local systems spend on admin), and the rest made up in selling excess property, MINOR classroom cuts, cuts to extracurricular activities, and taxes. But it has to start with cuts to where it is needed least–the incredibly bloated administration.

Dr. John Trotter

February 24th, 2010
5:55 pm

Greg: I am sure that you are right. I just glanced at the statement. I don’t see the statement now. Sorry for my apparent error.

ScienceTeacher671

February 24th, 2010
6:11 pm

I’m with Booklover – other districts ought to take note and do the same. And a district that won’t keep classes or teachers unless they are state-funded ought not to have positions at the county office that don’t receive funding either.

So far as secretaries go, our district has some who make more than the least experienced teachers. Meanwhile, my former coworkers tell me that the private sector company where I used to work has let all the secretaries go. They told the managers that they had voicemail to handle their calls, and computers with word processors so they could type their own memos and reports. It seems to me that people at the board office could follow that example.

Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo!

February 24th, 2010
6:48 pm

Why don’t we have a state law that requires 75% of educational dollars be spent at the classroom level? Simple. Straight forward. Direct. Put the money in the classroom instead of administration.

d

February 24th, 2010
6:56 pm

Pallazzo, I believe we do have one that says it’s actually 65%….. what we really could use is a waiver for SPLOST funds which are strictly for capital projects. The people fussing about the artificial turf in Cobb County don’t realize we can’t use those funds for the operations budget.

Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo!

February 24th, 2010
7:13 pm

d, I have not been in the classroom for a while but I believe that 75% is more than 65%. Correct me if I am wrong. And if 75% is not enough, let’s make it 85%. The money needs to be spent at the classroom level.

d

February 24th, 2010
7:28 pm

I’m not saying 65% is more than 75%. The problem is that mandating that percentage, whatever the number is, in the end can be detrimental. What *does* need to happen is start a budget from scrap and decide whether or not an individual program, position, etc helps a child learn. If the answer is no, don’t fund it. We need clean, safe schools, well fed students, well trained teachers. We do *not* need mandates such as use teacher time to create instructional boards, excessive testing, and so on. The money spent on that stuff is part of the 65%. Does it help the students? It demoralizes them. We’ve started the testing season and will be doing some sort of testing for the majority of what’s left of this semester. To take from a friend of mine, if someone has a professional teaching certificate, they need to be in the classroom at least 5 hours a week — regardless of position — so they don’t forget what goes on and how their edicts affect learning. Once that’s done, then we can talk percentages.

Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo!

February 24th, 2010
7:42 pm

d, I agree with you. But the legislature is not interested in numbers, it is interested in a percent of a percent of a success/failure rate. It has nothing to do with children learning. Let’s make the parents responsible for their child’s learning. If a child fails two years in a row; where 50% pass, then the parent must pay the school system the cost of educating that child. It puts the edcational responsibility back on the parent, where it should be.

d

February 24th, 2010
7:53 pm

DeKalb offered, as a potential calendar, the “balanced” model with a week off in October and February. Parents screamed bloody murder because who would take care of the kids. I agree the education of a child is the responsibility of a parent and will never say school choice is a bad thing — until they take tax dollars to do it. If you want something other than what the public school provides, you should work for and earn it. If we’re going to subsidize private school education in the form of vouchers, there’s a real nice Porsche Boxster I would love subsidized as well, but till I can possibly dream of affording that, I’m going to have to work hard and save for it. I will gladly put any of my students abilities against those of private schooled children — and assuming equal levels of parental support, I know mine will hold their own.

Back to the DCSS budget, I still want to know how we justify $255,000 for a county superintendent while our state superintendent makes $129,000.

In Ed

February 24th, 2010
8:01 pm

Disgusted, here are the REAL facts – Hall County’s Superintendent and Board did not have a RIF policy last year. Teaching positions were lost due to budget cuts. Principals were not directed to tell those chosen that they should resign instead of taking the non renewal. Principals made sure that those affected understood the difference between the two options of resigning as opposed to nonrenewing. The final decision was the teacher’s. There are serious implications if a teacher’s credentials indicates that he/she were nonrenewed.

If you are one of those who was let go from Hall County, take a look at your attitude. It may have gotten you to that point where your Principal felt that it was in the school’s best interest to cut you loose. Also, take a look at your spelling – it’s deficit, not defecit.

Rhee fan

February 24th, 2010
8:19 pm

Michelle Rhee, where are you when we need you? Please come to Georgia/DCSS and show them how its done.

Disgusted

February 24th, 2010
9:32 pm

In Ed, you are wrong on all counts.

Example:

From:
https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/ePolicy/policy.aspx?PC=GBKA&Sch=4082&S=4082&RevNo=1.11&C=G&Z=P
Board Policy
Descriptor Code:GBKA
Professional Personnel Lay-Off
Reduction in Force
RESPONSIBILITIES AND PREROGATIVES OF BOARD OF EDUCATION
The most important functions of the Hall County Board of Education are to employ personnel and manage resources within the limitations defined by the funding sources of the school system. Consequently, it shall be the prerogative of the Hall County Board of Education (hereinafter the “Board”) to abolish job positions, to reduce the length of the work year and salary of certificated or non-certificated personnel (hereinafter “to downgrade”) and/or to reduce the number of employees when seeking to cope effectively with program changes or financial exigency.
REASONS FOR REDUCTION IN FORCE (HEREINAFTER “RIF”)
The Board shall consider a reduction in the professional work force to include the abolition of job positions, the downgrading of an employee’s position, and/or the reduction of the number of employees, as a response to the following:
a. A decrease in student enrollment in the Hall County School District which would necessitate a decrease in personnel or a discontinuation of programs;
b. A change in state or local curriculum, personnel, or financial practices which would necessitate a change in or elimination of program or services provided by the Hall County School District;
c. A lack of funding for programs, personnel, or services provided by the Hall County School District;
d. Any reasonable reorganization plan to achieve a more efficient school district.
APPLICABILITY OF POLICY
This RIF policy shall apply to all personnel employed by the Hall County Board of Education. Nothing in this policy, however, shall be construed to extend to professional personnel any expectation of re-employment or due process rights greater than are available to the specific employees under the Fair Dismissal Law of Georgia; nor is this policy to be construed to mandate the promotion of an employee to a position of higher rank, authority, or compensation, even though the employee who is to be terminated may be qualified or certified for a higher position.
RIF PROCEDURE
When the Superintendent of the Hall County School System determines that the application of this reduction in force policy is necessary, it shall be his or her primary responsibility to prepare for presentation to the Board of Education a plan for reduction in force (RIF) in the affected program area(s).
In making recommendations for termination or downgrading of employee positions, the Superintendent may consider any position or employee of the Hall County Board of Education.
Factors to be considered by the Superintendent in devising a RIF plan shall include, first and foremost, the professional expertise, effectiveness and overall job performance of individual employees as reflected in annual evaluations as well as the superintendent’s own observations and knowledge. Only where demonstrated competence and expertise are equal among employees shall other factors such as tenure status, level of certification, and length of continuous service with the Hall County Board of Education be considered in order to make recommendations for the termination or downgrading of an employee’s position.
In order to develop a RIF plan, the Superintendent may consult with any and all school district personnel who might have information which would enable the Superintendent to rank employees according to overall job performance. Once the Superintendent has completed a comparative assessment of employees, he or she shall prepare and present a plan for reduction in force for Board approval and action.
Any certified employee faced with layoff under the guidelines of this policy may request a transfer to another position within the system to fill a vacancy if one is available and if the staff member is qualified to fill the vacancy.
NOTICE AND HEARING PROCEDURES
If the Board acts at the recommendation of the Superintendent to terminate an employee under contract or to downgrade an employee’s position, the Superintendent shall notify the affected employee in a manner consistent with the provisions of Georgia’s Fair Dismissal Law and he or she shall have whatever rights the Fair Dismissal Act provides for such employee.
Hall County Schools Date Adopted: 11/11/2002
NOTE: The State of Georgia has moved the Georgia Code. This new environment no longer allows us to link directly to the Georgia Code. For example enter 20-02-0211 in the search window and the Georgia Code will appear.
Georgia Code Description
O.C.G.A. 20-02-1160 LBOE tribunal power to determine local school controversies; appeals; special ed provisions
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0211 Annual contract; disqualifying acts; fingerprinting; criminal record checks
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0940 Grounds/procedure for terminating or suspending contract of employment (Fair Dismissal law)
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0942 Nonrenewal after acceptance of 4th consecutive contract; tenure
O.C.G.A. 20-02-0943 Powers of LBOE under fair dismissal act
These references are not intended to be part of the policy itself, nor do they indicate the basis or authority for the board to enact this policy. Instead, they are provided as additional resources for those interested in the subject matter of the policy.

Disgusted

February 24th, 2010
9:33 pm

In the filter.

Disgusted

February 24th, 2010
9:47 pm

And In Ed, if you are going to be a self appointed typo, spelling and grammar Nazi on a blog- the words principal is not capitalized. Also you used the word ‘indicates’ improperly. ‘Indicate’ would be the correct usage.

Disgusted

February 24th, 2010
9:49 pm

Sorry, word not words. Typo. Don’t want to offend the sensitive.

Disgusted

February 24th, 2010
10:00 pm

Hall County’s RIF policy can be found here

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/ePolicy/policy.aspx?PC=GBKA&Sch=4082&S=4082&RevNo=1.11&C=G&Z=P

Board Policy
Descriptor Code:GBKA
Professional Personnel Lay-Off
Reduction in Force

The superintendent also publicly said all the laid off teachers were ineffective and then had to back up over that when called on it. Some of the people laid off had not even had observations performed yet by administration at the point they were told. The Hall BOE and administration took what they saw as the easy way out in only laying off nontenured teachers.

It's Me

February 24th, 2010
11:43 pm

If you have a job in a school system that requires you to travel to different locations in that system I see that as part of your JOB and should not receive any reimbursement. Thank you Mr. Womack! I certainly hope other Board members will follow you. You are correct that Everyone will have to give. Some employees will give when their jobs are eliminated.

I agree that incredible bloat exist in DCSS. My concern is that some who might be cut are the employees who actually work! The secretaries who were identified in an earlier comment actually do the work of their bosses. The bosses spend most of their time in mindless meetings. I hope that when it comes time for your payroll to be processed or you have a question or problem with your benefits, salary, worker’s comp, etc. that there is still a competent person available to help you in a timely manner.

As an insider it will be interesting to see how people who will lose their job are chosen. There are numerous disfunctional Principals who are spread throughout the county (never fired) because they performed poorly as a principal. Send them packing too! It is hard to find common sense or have trust in the current Board and Administration.

[...] from:  DeKalb: Cutting 148 from central office staff to save $10.7 … Chicago White Sox Front Office to Appear in MLB Network Reality …ABQ mayor holds open [...]

Harold

February 25th, 2010
2:24 am

148 is not nearly enough.

We have 62 Instructional Coordinators $7,000,000 in salary and benefits), 80 Instructional Coaches ($8,000,000 in salary and benefits), 48 Graduation Coaches ($3,400,000 in salary and benefits), and 13 Literacy Coaches ($1,000,000 in salary and benefits).

That’s a total of $19,4000,000 yearly in salaries and benefits for these coordinators and coaches – average cost per employee is $95,500 in salary and benefits.

All 203 of these employees have teaching certificates. 203 classrooms at 26 to 1 pupil teacher ratio equates to 5,278 students that could be served in the classroom. 144 of these employees are already assigned schools as instructional coaches – they just don’t teach children.

In case you’re worried we won’t have anyone to staff the Central Office, we still have more than enough to direct and coordinate. There are still hundreds of non-teaching employees with teaching licenses left in the Central Office. They would still be in place to coordinate everything even if the 203 mentioned above are back in the schools.

Angela

February 25th, 2010
2:29 am

Gone are the days when we can afford a research center which is half of what Fernbank is. Fernbank should be a non-profit, able to get funding and stand on its own or merge with the Fernbank Natural History Museum. It would be better for Fernbank and better for DeKalb Schools.

Kelly

February 25th, 2010
12:12 pm

I’m a retired 30 year teacher who still knows quite a few teachers in the classroom.

There are 80 highly paid Instructional Coaches residing in the schools who do not teach students. They are closely monitoring teachers to ensure they adhere to a tightly scripted teaching program (America’s Choice – DeKalb already spent $8,000,000 for this program in the middle of the recession).

These 80 Instructional Coaches cost approximately $8,000,000 a year in salaries and benefits. Armed with checklists, calling frequent meetings, and insisting veteran teachers “stick with the script” they have created has decreased teacher morale and severely curtailed teacher time to plan for students.

These 80 Instructional Coaches could serve 2,000 students as classroom teachers (assuming 26 to 1 pupil teacher ratio – which DeKalb does not have – more like 31 to 1 in the high schools). DeKalb spends $95,000+ for each of the 80 Instructional Coaches in salaries and benefits (source: state Salary and Travel Audit)

[...] here: DeKalb: Cutting 148 from central office staff to save $10.7 … Share and [...]

Alscienceteacher

February 25th, 2010
4:31 pm

Anglea,
Don’t know where you obtained your information but it is inaccurate and dangerously misleading. Fernbank Science Center is not a research center at all. We are an instructional science center and what we do is to teach DeKalb School children a wide variety of science classes. STT (Scientific Tools and Techniques) is one example of an FSC program that has been going for about 30 years to teach 9th grade students interested in science (from schools all over the county). STT provides an introduction to ecology, cell biology, ornithology, geology, astronomy, physics, botany, physiology, and other scientific disciplines in a tightly packed miniseries of lessons with highly qualified instructors. STT graduates have gone on to become college professors, astronaunts, research scientists, doctors and other health professionals. We have Advanced Study programs at FSC where students participate in field studies like Stream or Wetland Ecology, Reptiles and Amphibians, and other elective science courses. High School students, with approval from their local school, can do independent study programs at FSC to work on a Science Fair project or other competetive science event with guidance from a qualified instructor. We also send our instructors all over the county to do outreach science programs in the schools. We conduct staff development programs for Dekalb County science teachers to help them keep their professional standards up to date and provide help and support for classroom instruction. We conduct single visit programs at FSC and other sites around the county for K-12 science instruction. We helped develop and
teach a grant program funded by NASA called SEMAA (Science, Engineering,Mathematics,Aeronautics,and Aerospace)that runs on Saturdays through the school year and during the summer for those “geek” type kids that like science. We also offer public interest science programs that parents can bring their children to and share an experience in science. These FSC educational programs give DeKalb students an opportunity to forge ahead in their own search for knowledge. There is an opportunity for students to get involved in research activity but FSC instructors are not paid to do any research on their own and are not even offered time to do so. Fernbank Science Center has been and remains a beacon of high quality science education for DeKalb County. Programs that we provide here offer a good reason for parents and businesses to come to DeKalb County for an educational opportunity for their children and future employees.
How in the world does it make sense to cut a program like this that offers excitement and hope to our schoolchildren when so much about public education seems to be going wrong?

Dunwoody-This is Interesting

February 25th, 2010
5:47 pm

Heard this, wonder if true. I found it interesting that all new teachers at Dunwoody high school were told that there contracts would not be renewed and central office staff would be going there to teach and keep salaries. Funny how dunwoody parents on on this committee to make these decisions, handpicked from Dunwoody cluster, Okeefe and Deutsch and by Lewis himself appointed one of them. Let’s find out if this is true.

To Alscienceteacher

February 25th, 2010
8:07 pm

Yes. I know how great Fernbank Science Center is. I took students there from the 70s through the 90s for classes. I had instructors come out through the outreach programs. I took my daughter to many classes in the summer, birdwatching, pond studies, walks in the forest, etc. And I know all about SEEMA (I’ve met some of the instructors) and SST (some of my neighbors’ kids took the SST classes).

However, I think the time is past that DeKalb Schools can afford to support Fernbank Science Center. The budget situation is going to last a very long time, and I don’t think it will allow for the extras that Fernbank provides even if they are great extras. The pupil to teacher ratio in the regular classroom is very dire and getting worse. Science teachers in DeKalb County are under the gun to produce results on the EOCT and the GHSGT. The science classrooms are strapped for funds and facing enormous class sizes. It’s very difficult to even get a science teacher for the high schools since the colleges just don’t produce them. We certainly won’t get them if we give them class sizes that make experiments unsafe to conduct. All of our students need daily science instruction.

The funds spent on Fernbank Science Center should be redirected back to science teachers in the science classrooms in DeKalb. This is the most efficient way to make the most DeKalb students proficient in the subject of science. Day after day after day of consistent science instruction for thousands of students is the only way our students can get a basic understanding of science, let alone make AYP, the only measure that the state of Georgia uses to assess a school. If we cannot afford the basics, then how can we afford the extras?

I would not like to see Fernbank Science Center closed. It is a wonderful community resource. I do believe it should be seeking other funding, perhaps grants and/or combining with the Fernbank Natural History Center.

However, I

Knowledge is power

February 25th, 2010
10:09 pm

Dekalb WILL NOT cut its music program, some schools like SWD,REDAN,STEPHENSON,MLK AND MILLER GROVE have some of the best high school bands in he country and the county supports these bands the most, if they do cut music progrmas it wont b from these schools. maybe from tucker,lithonia,avondale or something like that But band is to important to swd,redan,stephenson,mlk and mg.

W.

March 3rd, 2010
5:49 pm

Angela,
Do you think the administration is considering your proposal or have you advanced it? Like you, I am concerned about spending on extras like the Science Center when our science classrooms need more teachers. Please let me know if you have tried to advance this notion to others in the administration. Thank you for your thoughtful approach to the issue.

C

March 9th, 2010
5:34 am

If other states can get that education is the most important thing in a childs life. why can’t dekalb county get it. keep our teachers,and our schools and get rid of all of those high paying salaries.