In DeKalb, authority granted today to cut 430 school posts

With tonight’s meeting on the further winnowing of the potential school closing list and this morning’s session of the school board, DeKalb County is dominating local school news today.

According to the AJC:

The school board voted Tuesday morning to give interim superintendent Ramona Tyson the authority to reduce up to 430 positions, board chairman Tom Bowen told the AJC.

The exact number of employees will be determined May 30, Bowen said.

The layoffs are needed to help with an anticipated $115 million shortfall.

I plan to attend the meeting tonight of the citizen task force charged with recommending which schools to close and will post an update. I suspect that it will be another packed house as last week’s meeting was standing room only.

Any good news on the school front lately? Feel free to post about your winning science, debate or problem-solving teams. We need a shot of positive serum amid all this bleak cutting. (I was counting on a Race to the Top win yesterday to boost spirits, but maybe next round.)

60 comments Add your comment

Nature Dude

March 30th, 2010
1:40 pm

Any wagers on how many lay-offs will be district level administrators? My money is on NONE!!!

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mift

March 30th, 2010
2:05 pm

It is all gloom and doom out here. As the ecomony return look for teachers to flee.

Joy in Teaching

March 30th, 2010
2:07 pm

Has anyone noticed that 200 of those (paraprofessionals) were people who directly worked with students? Parapros do not get paid very much and can have a very big impact upon students when it comes to working with very young or special needs students.

It sounds to me like they are cutting some of the wrong people here.

anon

March 30th, 2010
2:15 pm

where would “out here” be? i dont have the right to ask. im not giving my real name. regardless, once this news spreads, it will be gloomy everywhere.

Cassie

March 30th, 2010
2:39 pm

Here in South Georgia, the #6 school in the state is about to be closed because of this financial mess and the sort sighted school board members. Here in Ware County the only cuts you will see is a cut to the educators and students who excel. It seems to be the plan to force them to go to the warehouse high school that is at the bottom of the ranking list. Parent have no say!

Welcome to our little world of Dekalb

March 30th, 2010
2:54 pm

Everyone who is concern about our children’s education need to do something about this. The government is robbing our children of their education. We can’t continue like this. Write your government(State Legislative). This lets me know how much our legislative cares and values education. They rather take someone from a job than raise taxes. I am very upset with the possible outcome of everything in the state of Georgia. We can’t blame the Board for the cuts. The cuts are in every school system in Georgia. But we can blame Gov. Sonny Perdue for not making the necessary changes to budget. The Rebutts got the economy like this now its going to take the Democrats to get us out of this.

Don’t be scared!

RAISE TAXES

concern

March 30th, 2010
2:55 pm

Enter your comments here

concern

March 30th, 2010
2:55 pm

Let your voices be heard.

CA Civility

March 30th, 2010
3:00 pm

I’m sad o hear of the 430 people losing their teaching jobs, but
shocked that union representation does not exist to bargain
for concessions to save the jobs. Every state has differences,
but I find it difficult to see short term solutions that will create
even larger problems in the long term. Every teacher that is
laid off effects small businesses in the local economies even
more. I imagine many teachers are facing the same dreadful
news across the state,and that is great deal of money to take
out of the economy. I know the money comes from taxes,but
the public salaries of teachers are spent in the private sector.
When Georgia comes out the severe recession, there will
probably be a huge teaching shortage which will create long
term problems especially as the teaching force is aging
nationally.

Used to be Disgusted

March 30th, 2010
3:17 pm

Just got word that some teachers in Forsyth are going to teach six classes next year. OMG!!!

Just A Teacher

March 30th, 2010
3:29 pm

Disgusted, I’ve had 4 different preparations all year and had to resign as department chair because the work load was too great. I, for one, am not afraid to do what it takes to shed some light on educational funding EVEN IF IT MEANS EVERY TEACHER IN THE STATE CALLS IN SICK UNTIL OUR SCHOOLS ARE FULLY FUNDED. It’s just an idea. I think they call it the chalkboard flu.

anon

March 30th, 2010
3:34 pm

unfortunately any teacher that starts any such “flu” or a strike loses their teaching certification.

DeKalb Conservative

March 30th, 2010
3:49 pm

Will losing 430 professionals (not all teachers) negatively affect small business in DeKalb and the surround area, yes. Will penalizing small business by raising taxes to maintain the 430 spots hurt more, yes.

Small business has already cut back and reacted to the recession/depression. Government is much slower to react because it focuses around set budgets and calendar year changes, not immediate changes to cash flow.

DeKalb Conservative

March 30th, 2010
3:54 pm

I like Just A Teacher’s idea idea of “chalkboard flu.” I think every teacher should consider doing this. I’m sure while the all the teachers are out sick awaiting full funding and the kids in the class are watching cartoons because their sub didn’t have a lesson plan, there won’t be any negative impact.

Get smart. There’s plenty of 20-somethings with teaching degrees not working in a classroom that would relish at the opportunity to get your job. In fact, first they’ll get your job, then when you can’t make the mortgage and go into foreclosure, they can maybe even purchase your house.

bell curve

March 30th, 2010
3:55 pm

Will having a underfunded education system penalize small business as well as the rest of Georgia? Yes.

Angela

March 30th, 2010
4:07 pm

Eveyone should be concerned that DeKalb Schools has 8,800 admin and support personnel versus 7,000 teachers and media specialists. Soon the 7,000 teachers will be 6,700 and the admin and support will be 8,400.

Of course, the catch is almost all the admin and support personnel that are being cut actually are in the schools.

You don’t cut your core business until you cut the positions you can do without in order to run the core. DeKalb has the highest admin and support levels in the metro area. Maureen calculated DeKalb has 155 employees per 1,000 students. No one else even comes close to us. With so many employees you would think we have smaller class sizes. We don’t so that let’s you know we don’t have these extra employees as teachers.

Dekalb fills class sizes to the maximum. As a matter of fact, the new Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson is going to use the new “improved” maximum class sizes as a way to cut more teacher positions.

Perdue and the Legislature should have decreased the class sizes and told the school systems to deal with it. Only then would the huge numbers of admin and support be pared back. The state government is “enabling” the poor management of systems like DeKalb.

Dr. Lewis increased the admin and support personnel by 1,500 employees in 4 years. Compae the 2005 state Salary and Travel audit to the 2009 state Salary and Travel audit to see that there are 1,534 more employees while we have less teachers. Dr. Lewis cut 275 positions just last year per the DeKalb Schools website – 2009-10 budget page.

Angela

March 30th, 2010
4:08 pm

@ Dekalb Conservative

Obviously you haven’t taught.

Used to be Disgusted

March 30th, 2010
4:09 pm

I’m glad to see that teachers are finally talking about the “chalkboard flu.” You’re never going to get anywhere until you get their attention. If so many of you call in sick repeatedly, to the point that it costs them so much money that they don’t dare continue down the same path.

Thanks, DC, for posting on this board, as teachers can see clearly who their enemies are.

What about it, teachers? Had enough yet? As long as you let them keep kicking you while you’re down, you can’t expect them to do anything different.

All they love is money, so cost them money. It’s really pretty simple.

Tonya T.

March 30th, 2010
4:20 pm

Dekalb Conservative:

Trust me when I say my son has had (and currently has) one of those 20somethings you talk about. They suck. Big monkey balls. I like experienced professional working on my car, taking care of my health, and teaching my children. Sorry. Many of the kids who teach kids are ineffective and lack the critical thinking and classroom management skills of more experienced teachers.

Tonya T.

March 30th, 2010
4:22 pm

And laying off parapros is beyond idiotic. Laying off office staff makes a heck of a lot more sense and doesn’t affect the classroom. just saying.

DeKalb Conservative

March 30th, 2010
4:40 pm

@ Angela, Used to be Disgusted and Tonya T.

Thank you for branding me as the enemy. This is a title I will cherish. You have uncovered your true motivations, and it isn’t the kids. As the enemy I will do battle with what I consider to be the moocher class, especially when the moocher class is responsible for educating, or in this case indoctrinating children.

Every teacher was a dopey 20-something at one point. It is between taking a 20-something out of a Starbucks or Olive Garden, giving them a “chalkboard flu” teachers classroom, then I’m all for it. Consider it an investment for the future of education.

I wish all chalkboard flu teachers a speedy recovery. I image it is tough packing your house because of a foreclosure post flu, but you’ll be okay. I’m sure you’ll land on your feet. Plus, I think there might be a job opening up at Starbucks and Olive Garden. I heard there’s a few 20-somethings that have moved out of apartments in the area too… they said something about getting a new teaching job.

bell curve

March 30th, 2010
4:53 pm

Dekalb Conservative, I certainly do not post to make enemies and I am sure that you have the best interest of our students at hear. With that being said, I understand the current budget crisis we are in is serious and that all sectors must suffer accordingly. My issue is with the Perdue and Republican leaders who cut funding from education when the money was there. Mr. Perdue began his austerity cuts years ago, when they were not necessary. I feel this was done not because of budget restraints, but due to political philosophy. There are many members of the legislature who wish to eliminate the public school option and move to a private system of education. Their mantra is “schooo choice” and “vouchers” both of which are fine in theory but mostly impossible to achieve in anything other than an urban setting, which most of Georgia lacks. Instead of running to Washington for a handout, they should stop the continual reform process, fire the guru’s and return the teaching to the true experts, the teachers. I am 47 and came from a world of teacher led classroom grouped by ability. I dont’ think one teacher ever cared if I “liked myself” that was not their job. We would have plenty of money for the necessary if we eliminated the reform. I think we do each other a diservice by fighting over what I think we all agree is important, having our children learn.

Used to be Disgusted

March 30th, 2010
5:05 pm

Teachers, see what you’re up against? DC exemplifies perfectly the forces that are ruining our state.

“Chalkboard flu” will get their attention because it will cost them money.

DeKalb Conservative

March 30th, 2010
5:06 pm

@ bell curve

You make alot of good points. First, let’s call school choice / vouchers for what they are, “middle class suburban entitlements.” The same people that complain about big govt spending want massive, multi-thousand dollar entitlements for however many kids they have.

Coming from MA, which is highly teacher union rules, I feel a teacher with some of your views would not be comfortable voicing them up there. This is wrong. I think we can agree some of your fellow teachers have an overinflated self-value.

I’ve been very excited to see school closings w/ 100% firings. I like this because of the provision to rehire up to 50% of the staff.

I’m not going to defend Purdue’s actions, but his intent, cut costs, are correct. Costs should be cut and waste still exists. Teachers on this blog know where waste exisits within their school and community, but too infrequently voice concerns. With 3 metro Atlanta counties facing $100m+ school budget issues, it is time to review cash flow, monthly cash flow. That might mean semester budgets, not annual. The “use it or lose it” spending approach to budgets will need to change because certain good programs are being cut while other non essential programs are being continued.

For every teacher getting no money for classroom school supplies there are examples, such as grands keepers having 10 years worth of baseball field chalk lined up in a warehouse because they had a “use it or lose it” budget and had to spend the money.

d

March 30th, 2010
5:08 pm

Maureen — you want good news? WE DIDN’T WIN RTTT!!!! That application was so flawed and the consequences would have been unimaginable. I’m not opposed to reforming the public schools, but that was certainly not the way to go.

DeKalb Conservative

March 30th, 2010
5:10 pm

@ Used to be Disgusted

You’re being ignorant. Chalkboard flu will get the “silent majority” very very angry (as if they aren’t already). Some 60’s radical thinking such as chalkboard flu won’t bring me to my knees, it’ll bring teachers to their knees when they are stocking up on Ramen Noodles at Kroger because the public backlash resulted in mass firings.

Either stock up on vitamins now and don’t call out, or call out and stock up on Ramen Noodles. It’s your choice.

bell curve

March 30th, 2010
5:13 pm

The problem I have with Perdue is that he cut the basic funding for education for no other reason than becaue he could. I can tell you that teaching a class of 25 is much better for all concerned that teacing a class of 32. We can no longer rely on parents (in most cases)to make their students behave. We are then constrained by the constant push to meet AYP to keep any and all students, including those who place no value on education, in the building. When we have rules that are not followed, such as allowing children to move from one grade to the other even if they have failed all parts of the CRCT, we restrict the teachers ability to teach. Many teachers feel that since it is very hard to legislate parents, they are made responsible for all of the educational ills.

Tonya T.

March 30th, 2010
5:17 pm

Dekalb Conservative:

There was a time that new teachers were mentored before and during their initial classroom experiences. I am the parent of a special needs kid, so please save the rhetoric. My concern is more for the children than most here, because I’ve worked from the inside to see how screwed up the system is. School systems DO NOT listen to their teachers by and large, even when the suggestions ARE for ways to make the classroom experience better and not spending buttloads of money on stuff kids don’t need.

Branding you as ‘the enemy’? Exactly where did I post that? I challenged your point-of-view, but it may only be a snapshot of your opinion of education. I’m talking about current-day classrooms, not ones from 10 or 20 years past. my son has young teachers, who have more degrees than experience, and I’m less than impressed.

Teacher infrequently voicing concerns? Nope, not the case. They are just flat out ignored and disregarded. or they get marked with a scarlet letter for being a ‘complainer’ and the repercussions that come from speaking out.

Go Knights!

March 30th, 2010
5:45 pm

Centennial High School won the Georgia AAAAA state academic bowl competition on Saturday!!! (After losing to Brookwood on High-Q, they beat them, as well as Walton and others at the state tournament.) Go Knights!

DeKalb Conservative

March 30th, 2010
5:45 pm

@ Tonya T.

I hate to appear insensitive, but since per student special needs costs are dramatically higher than non special needs costs, how can special needs be better financially managed? You see it first hand, what core requirement need to be funded, what shouldn’t be funded (I’m sure there’s some waste)? I might be wrong, but I suspect because of regulation the impact on special needs students will not be nearly as dramtic on non special needs students, or even gifted students.

Barriers to entry are creating your son to be taught by people with more degrees than classroom experience, as is an intense focus on providing for special needs compared to the resources it would have received just a generation ago. Without knowing more details, I can speculate that if your son was in 1950’s, or even 1970’s America his daily life would be dramtically different. We don’t live in that society. More people are being diagnosed as special needs and schools are now much better funded.

I hadn’t put much thought into it, but I suspect there will be a spotlight on special needs spending.

Jabberwocky

March 30th, 2010
6:01 pm

Amen to the stupidity of letting parapros go. ANyone who has daily instructional contact with students should be the LAST to go. What’s the matter with these cretins????????

Teacherforlife

March 30th, 2010
6:13 pm

@DC – Special needs money (most of it) comes from the Fed Govt, so we have less choice in how to regulate that money….

BTW, I totally agree with you about the chalkboard flu; bad idea all around. We, as teachers, need to protest the cuts that hurt our children, but we need to do so in a legal, responsible manner. What are we telling kids if we have a mass “sick-out”? I think we’re saying it’s okay to lie and be underhanded to solve problems. That’s not a message I want to send my students.

I’m not opposed to campaigning for GA to change its laws about collective bargaining. I’m not opposed to voicing my protests in person and on paper. I’m just opposed to doing so in an unethical manner.

Old School

March 30th, 2010
6:24 pm

Everyday that passes reinforces my decision to retire after 36 years. Yep, the best news I can share is 33 more days!

CA Civility

March 30th, 2010
6:29 pm

Response to Dekalb Conservative (Disagree with many of your thoughts,but you stated your position
clearly)

Dekalb Conservative said…I’ve been very excited to see school closings w/ 100% firings. I like this because of the provision to rehire up to 50% of the staff. I’m not going to defend Purdue’s actions, but his intent, cut costs, are correct. Costs should be cut and waste still exists…

Why would you be excited about anyone either in the private,or public sector losing their job ?
Is it your contention that the teachers being laid off in the state represent wasteful spending?

Used to be Disgusted

March 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

DC,

Thanks for reminding me about the wonderful republican majority in America. That’s why McCain and Palin kicked Obama’s butt, isn’t it? That’s why republicans have huge majorities in congress, isn’t it?

Thanks also for reminding me why republicans are almost universally reviled in states where most people are educated. That wouldn’t have anything to do with your pathological hatred of teachers, would it?

I feel sorry for people who are stuck on stupid, but there it is.

CA Civility

March 30th, 2010
6:38 pm

Old School -Your retirement is probably what many policy makers want
even though your students will miss out on your expertise.
There is a concerted effort to drive down wages,and the
easiest way to do that is to get experienced teachers who
are usually at the top (close to it) of the salry schedules.

anon

March 30th, 2010
6:40 pm

If you think that parents are going to let their kids suddenly be taught by a bunch of young, inexperienced teachers, you’re wrong. Kids themselves will speak up about not liking it, too. I guarantee that if all of metro Atlanta teachers decided to strike or pull a “chalkboard flu” that they could not all be replaced by teachers of the same ability. Also, half of Atlanta would suddenly have to stay home with their kids. This would impact businesses in such a way that the state could not ignore it. We know how politics work – businesses finance government.

Yvonne

March 30th, 2010
6:48 pm

The best thing teachers in this state can do is vote the REBUTTS out, that is the only thing that will get their attention. We voted out Barnes, so Sonny and crew should have known better, but we need to show them again. Teachers need to volunteer in mass to register education friendly voters and work for those candidates who support teachers. Otherwise in the near future expect to see more voucher “specials” for this group or that group. The master plan is to have every school become an NI school and then we will have to close most all of them and give parents vouchers to go elsewhere….and then we will have chaos and the REBUTTS will say it’s Obama’s fault.

CA Civility

March 30th, 2010
7:02 pm

“Chalkboard flu ” would be the wrong move to make, and would place
teachers in the same position PATCO workers were in ,before President
Reagan fired the workers-the public had very little sympathy for the
striking workers.

Cobb Mom

March 30th, 2010
7:35 pm

For those of you who are Cobb parents, teachers, or concerned taxpayers, Cobb county has a survey on their website about the budget crisis.

To Dekalb Conservative, I have a question – Are your bills more than they were 10 years ago? I know mine are. While I don’t doubt for one minute there there isn’t some waste that couldn’t be trimmed, the fact of the matter is that we are trying to work in 2010 with 2006 money. It’s at the point where we are talking about cutting to the bone, not merely trimming fat.

Tonya T.

March 30th, 2010
7:41 pm

But I’m not talking about strictly special needs. My son has spent more time in ‘mainstream’ classes than special ed. Those are the quality of teachers I’m referencing. There are ways to spend less on special ed and divert it towards gifted, but if i make that statement publicly it will tick people off.

Let’s just say that teaching kids with feeding tubes and non-verbal skills that will spend the better parts of their life in a vegetative state could be best left to CNAs, not certified educators.

garderner on the side

March 30th, 2010
7:57 pm

Sick outs can have very bad side effects. In many other states where teachers can strike the public opinion turns against the teachers and then the parents get mad at the teachers too. I also would not do anything to harm my students, which a sick out would do. There are other ways to battle this.

DC-since there were only 9 Physics teacher graduates from ALL of Georgia’s teacher colleges last year — its safe to say that there are not 20 somethings available for all of those teaching positions.

Dekalb Mom

March 30th, 2010
8:03 pm

Good news! Chamblee Middle School won the State Championship of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl on March 20, 2010. They did this with the help of a very dedicated parent/coach. Go Bulldogs!

Special Ed Tchr for 11years

March 30th, 2010
9:04 pm

I am not in favor of “chalkboard flu”, I agree with Teacher for Life in regards to sending the wrong message to my students. I have taught Special Ed in DeKalb Schools for 11 years now and absolutely love it!! But I love it out of the pure enjoyment of my students. I cannot wrap my mind around calling in around the county and having a bunch of sub teachers in the classroom. I wouldn’t want it for my own three children and just the same for my 14 special needs students PERIOD. In the end, the kids are the ones that will suffer. I will finish out the last 2 months of school and prayerfully go back into my classroom in August to start up another wonderful school year where I will have the opportunity to once again do what parent’s have entrusted me to do with their kids…TEACH.

Welcome to our little world of Dekalb

March 30th, 2010
9:45 pm

Special Ed teacher,
We are teaching our children to fight for what they believe in. If we don’t stand for something , we will fall for anything. A protest needs to be a peaceful demonstration. It also needs to be a statewide protest, since Dekalb County isn’t the only school system facing budget cuts. The protest needs to send a strong message to our legislators. Chalkboard Flu sounds good too me. Then we can have a peaceful march at the state capitol.

Postsecondary Educator

March 30th, 2010
10:01 pm

Good for you “Special Ed Tchr for 11years”!! It is refreshing to hear from a public school educator that loves their career and is there for the right reasons! Keep up the good work and may others follow you lead.

Welcome to our little world of Dekalb

March 30th, 2010
10:04 pm

Angela,

By the way where are you all getting your numbers of employees from in DCSS. DCSS has 15,000 employees. This includes the all the employees. Your numbers are wrong. You are right that it has increase by 1000 since Dr. Lewis has been supt. This a larger than the population of many rural counties in GA. Much the information that you read on -Dekalb Watch is misinformed.

irony

March 30th, 2010
10:04 pm

Don’t lose the focus. The problem is that the budget cuts reflect the current status quo – proportionally more instructors/teachers/contacts with students are being let go than are central office employees. At the end of this fiscal crisis, the disproportions in personnel will be increased not reduced. Is there anywhere that we can obtain a line item list of every employee in the central office along with a job description and pay scale? I suspect that a great amount of money has been spent on creating, assessing, interpreting, and reporting CRCT results – in terms of the personnel that it takes to do this. Is it possible that we’re spending more on the assessment package than the instruction package? Just wondering.

Where can we see this data? The budgets released have overall funds listed, but do not note employees and tasks.

20something teacher

March 30th, 2010
10:33 pm

Just out of curiosity but when would you like teachers to start teaching?? At age 50??? I am a highly effective teacher. Most of the parents request that their students are in my class and oh by the way I was Teacher of the Year at my school at age 28!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!