Do DeKalb County schools really need to spend $163,908 for a deputy superintendent?
That’s one of the many questions being asked by parents in the county facing school closings and larger classes because of the budget shortfall.
Many Georgia parents get into the nitty-gritty of their school systems, but I would have to say that DeKalb parents and teachers are among the most vigilant. In responding to the budget crisis, I have received many thoughtful e-mails raising issues about DeKalb’s spending and where possible cuts could be made.
Here are some sharp comments and questions from DeKalb parents and teachers that we ought to consider:
-We are told that there is a “budget crisis,” but administrators are still willing to spend $7 million on new textbooks. As an English teacher , I have found that the best grammar books are the Warriner’s handbooks, and much of the literature we teach is already accessible, so my peers and I can’t understand why we need these “updated”materials. What is the purpose of the Promethean Boards and online textbooks purchased by the county if we can’t use this “updated” technology to supplement the material in the existing texts?
-Could you look into the textbook adoption and purchase procedure? Other than an “expiration date” on the existing text or a lease agreement with a company, what determines the necessity of a new text, especially in language arts?
-How, exactly, does the administration use the feedback of teachers in the decision making? What research supports these decisions? If there is research, how current is this and how does it address online materials?
-Could you also investigate the $8 million for America’s Choice scripted curriculum? Why is this such a sound purchase? What, exactly, is DeKalb County saying about the quality of its teachers by purchasing a curriculum that presents everything a teacher should say and teach? Doesn’t this approach defy the RTI approach — demanding that teachers individualize lessons and assessments for students doing poorly- that the county is trying to implement? (This is a question that applies across counties in Georgia.)
-Is there a way for you to also investigate communication in the county? It seems that with the 900+ positions in the county, one person from one department makes decisions and institutes policies that contradict those from someone else. Also, what type of review does the county conduct to determine which policies and initiatives are working or redundant?
-How many different programs is the county currently instituting, and to what effect? Is “success,” as addressed by Superintendent Lewis, determined only by increased graduation rates and AYP? What about End of Course Test scores? What is the link between these programs and his “success”?
-Could you find out more about the central office positions the superintendent (Lewis or Uyson) is proposing cutting? Is it true that some of these people will be moving back into the classrooms? if so, how will their qualifications and experience be weighed? Some of these people taught for only two or three years more than 20 years ago. Despite the long absence of teaching, will they still be granted seniority?
-And what about this ad? Amidst scandals, a massive deficit and layoffs, not only in DeKalb County but nationwide, don’t you think they could find someone to fill this position for a LOT less than $163k?
“The DeKalb County School System is seeking a well qualified individual to serve as Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning in a large urban school district. One of the major responsibilities of this position will be to ensure the daily, effective and efficient delivery of instructional programs. This position will report to the Deputy Chief Superintendent for School Operations.
Position Title Deputy Supt, Teach & Learning Qualifying Certification
Educational Leadership (P-12) (704/)
Location / Responsibility Centers Number DEPUTY SUPT-TEACHING&LEARNING /721
Salary $163,908.00 to $163,908.00″