Did Clayton make right decision with $7 million for staff?

When the AJC reported that Clayton County was going to use $7 million of its federal stimulus dollars to give the system’s 7,000 employees five additional days of pay, I thought it was an odd decision.

The money will be paid today to certified and classified employees. (In exchange for the pay restoration, Clayton schools employees will have to work five additional days at professional development activities. So, while teachers have five more days in school, students do not.)

I just thought that a county with so many educational challenges may have come up with a better use of $7 million. Then, I received this note from a Clayton teacher, which I wanted to share as it raises the exact right point:

I work in Clayton County and recently we have found out that we are getting our five lost workdays reinstated, along with a lump-sum check for the five days’ worth of pay. We’ve been told we don’t have to take the check or work the extra days, but I’m sure that would go over just swimmingly.

Do you know of any other districts around Georgia that are doing this? I can appreciate the gesture, but I feel that when so many jobs were cut maybe this money should have gone back into providing more support instead of five non-instructional days as the kids won’t be there.

57 comments Add your comment

Fire Bad Teachers

December 15th, 2010
1:13 am

Why does it seem students are always last on the minds of decision makers?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Serge Butman and stanley lines, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Did Clayton make right decision with $7 million for staff? http://bit.ly/fD885j [...]

teach1

December 15th, 2010
5:45 am

I don’t know of any others but I think a nice lump sum check would be a great moral booster, which a truely needed in many districts nowadays. As for working the extra days, you can’t tell me that the 5 days wouldn’t go a long way to cleanering up old files, preplanning for next year and just plain old dusting the classroom! I guess that is IF they allow you the time to do those things and don’t workshop you to death. I am interested in what others think.

MS Man

December 15th, 2010
5:46 am

I think a lot of districts should hold onto that money as defense against Deal’s decisions to cut K-12. I hear he is looking at a 5% cut for state funding again this year to education. That 7 million wouldn’t go that far, but it would take the bite out a little for FY12. Its not going to be pretty and I don’t think local boards are doing a good job of sharing this information with their staff, teachers, and the public.

That being said, having the PL days back is a direct benefit to students, if the time is used well.

Ernest

December 15th, 2010
6:05 am

I have to agree with teach1, it will go a long way towards boosting employee morale. Happy employees are more productive employees. The beneficiaries of the increased productivity will be the students.

Also factor in that the employees will also SPEND this money which provides a boost to the economy. After all, isn’t this part of what stimulus dollars are supposed to do?

schlmarm

December 15th, 2010
6:24 am

Maureen, unless you’ve walked in the shoes of a CCPS teacher, don’t be so quick to say the money could have been used better elsewhere. You have NO idea what is going on there. There is so much waste in that county as it is, still paying all these inept central office people, who do nothing but create more paperwork and snoopervising as Dr. Trotter calls it, that it’s about time the teachers got their paycut restored. Seriously. Dekalb teachers got their money back, Fayette teachers got their cut restored, so why shouldn’t Clayton? And your paper keeps printing how state revenues are UP.

Jesupjacket

December 15th, 2010
6:28 am

I wish we had this opportunity down here. I may sound selfish but both my wife and I are teachers in a system with each of us getting 10 furlough days. I would greatly appreciate the paid time in the classroom (BTW, I spend 4-8 hours a week at school EXTRA and she spends more than that). Administration knows caring teacher will do the work anyway. Thank Goodness our major local industry paid their taxes early so we can be paid Dec. 17th when we get out instead of Dec. 30th as we were originally scheduled earlier this year.

Dekalbteacher

December 15th, 2010
7:03 am

We got that in Dekalb. I was required to sign a CONTRACT last year that had a salary on it. The county changed my pay AFTER I signed the contract. We also lost our step increases and contribution. What I want to know is how is it that we have to sign a contract that binds us but not our employer? We may love our jobs but this is also a career and I am tired of being treated like a volunteer who should be happy with whatever is thrown at her. Of course I will be working on my restored days, I am a special ed teacher with NO planning period. I have tons of paperwork and planning to do. DON”T assume teachers are goofing off just because the kids aren’t in the building…

Dr NO

December 15th, 2010
7:14 am

“I just thought that a county with so many educational challenges may have come up with a better use of $7 million.”

Oh no…absolutely not. Its the path of least resistance in Clayton County and with the lack of combined brain power Im surprised they decided to give to these teachers. Most of whom shouldve been fired long ago. CC is a mess and will be from now on.

Congrats to the CC citizens and remember “Its our turn now”…AHH AHHAHA!!

Randy

December 15th, 2010
7:18 am

Same old sad story throw money at a problem and it will go away. How about this for a change, if the teacher is incompetent fire him/her. The only employers who do not hold their employees accountable are the federal government, state government and any union jobs. All of who get special protection from the feds. So keep on people……….keep right on voting these clowns into office and keep right on throwing good hard earned money down a hole.

Joe Frank

December 15th, 2010
7:37 am

First, let’s get one thing straight, GA teachers are no longer underpaid! An average salary for a teacher who has been on the job for 5 years is 50,000.00 plus benefits. By retirement most take in at least 65k. Not bad. A jr exec in the REAL world will work 60+ hours a week ALL year long and make the same money.

ateacher

December 15th, 2010
7:47 am

I’ve been teaching 5 years in a metro area school with a Masters and my salary isn’t near 50K. Check your facts. Our salaries are public record and online

catlady

December 15th, 2010
7:49 am

Joe Frank,not sure where you got your numbers.

Given the 6 furlough days last year and 10 this year, and the additional duties and responsibilities beyond planning and providing instruction to even more students, I would think every system would want to do this. Not even mentioning the stay late and at home work. Sadly,ours is going the other direction.

JL

December 15th, 2010
7:49 am

Wow, Joe! And what county is that in where the average salary for a 5th year teacher is 50?? You must be assuming all teachers carry advanced degrees, which isn’t actually the case. And even then, with the way salaries have been cut, the average still isn’t that high! Get your facts straight.

Courtney

December 15th, 2010
7:54 am

You get what you pay for. If you want an advancd society that is moving forward then you value education. If you want to become a slave to China then allow our children to sit and do nothing.

Dr NO

December 15th, 2010
7:58 am

Nice try Court. Seems you been watching to much CNN.

high school teacher

December 15th, 2010
8:08 am

Our county also received stimulus money, and they did re-instate a few positions, but they are holding the bulk of it until January when we may get more cuts from the State…and it’s accruing interest. Thankfully, our board members and financial officers have been very transparent with the economic situation, and they have managed funds admirably.

V for Vendetta

December 15th, 2010
8:09 am

Dr NO,

CNN? CNN wants us to be slaves to China because they admire the effectiveness of China’s economy. They admire North Korea even more.

just wondering

December 15th, 2010
8:12 am

Well at least they did something with the money, Fulton County schools are still sitting on theirs and has not announced what they are going to do with it. Maureen do you have any insight on how FCPS is going to use thier stimulus money? APS, Gwinnet, Cobb, Dekalb, and now Clayton have all made it known, whether we agree with how or not.

Call it like it is

December 15th, 2010
8:13 am

This should be no surprise to anyone. Has Clayton County made any correct moves in the last decade to bring their education level on par with the rest of the nation. Unfortunately I attended Clayton County Schools from 3rd grade to 8th grade, when my parents had finally had enough and we then moved to Cobb County. My freshman year was a huge struggle, the other students was far ahead of me in every category. With the extra help of the Cobb teachers they got me back on track and by my sophomore year, no problems. All teachers and school system are not equal.

Incorrect title

December 15th, 2010
8:15 am

Your article’s title on the front page of the AJC is entirely incorrect. These are not teacher “raises”, but a restoration of their original salary that was stolen from them after they signed their contracts. Get your facts straight before you publish incorrect information that defames an already demoralized group of people.

perry

December 15th, 2010
8:16 am

I like Randy comment some teacher voting these clowns in office and they keep on cutting salaries and the last governer played the teachers to vote for him and what did he do for them nothing.Go think about it.T/C.

@ joe frank

December 15th, 2010
8:19 am

I’m chiming in with other posters: get your facts straight. I have a master’s as well as 5 years experience and I am making nowhere near $50,000 . . . furloughs, increased benefits and such notwithstanding. The openrecords.gov site is running on misguided data, too. They personally list my salary as something I should have made before they froze step increases. I would love to be able to make even that salary!

Maureen Downey

December 15th, 2010
8:21 am

To all, I saw a GSU study from several years ago that I will try to unearth. (I had a paper copy of it and it is buried in one of our moving boxes.)
It listed the average teacher salary in Georgia at the time at $57,000. Keep in mind that was based on what teachers were making based on state data. Clearly, we have many teachers whose salaries reflect years in the profession and advanced degrees. This was not the average starting salary, but the average of what the state’s teachers earned.
Maureen

teacher&mom

December 15th, 2010
8:34 am

This misinformation that is perpetuated on this blog is staggering. To Joe Frank….and any others that believe teachers are overpaid, here is a link to the state teacher salaries. You can go back as far as 2003. A teacher with a Master’s degree is a T-5.

http://www.gadoe.org/fbo_budget.aspx

PLEASE remember that local districts may offer a local stipend. Once again, the majority of systems in GA are rural and the stipends are small, 4-6%. With furloughs (and your rural counties are the ones taking the most furlough days), the stipends have disappeared.

If you find information that says the average GA teacher with a T-5 certificate and 5 years experience makes 50K, please make sure you compare that amount to systems outside the metro area and make sure you are looking at the salary of a 190 day teacher. Some folks, based on their job descriptions, may have an extended day contract.

Also keep in mind that after year 17, teachers in GA receive NO STEP RAISES. Unless you go back to school, you’ve reached the top of the pay scale.

Pluto

December 15th, 2010
8:41 am

Why didn’t they just hire some more administrators or front office people. I don’t think there are eough administrators in Georgia. Here’s what I did; I got a second part-time job. If you believe you are underpaid get another job. As far as 5 days in the classroom without students, why bother? If your file cabinets need attention get in early or stay late.

New School

December 15th, 2010
8:42 am

What should teachers make? The answer is simple – whatever teachers in the private schools make. That’s the litmus test because they don’t have the option of going to the public for more money. The product they provide (education) has to be worth what people are willing to pay and they have to budget their expenses accordingly.

TopPublicSchool

December 15th, 2010
8:52 am

Follow the MONEY TRAIL…
There is plenty of money on top…and they all have their soiled hands in it.
Occasionally they sprinkle some to the bottom…but if you follow their trail of crumbs you’ll figure out what’s going on.

Atlanta Public Schools has many tricks to manipulate the money. Principal Reich can just pick up the phone and have a check cut without criteria or APS administration approval. Go Figure…it depends on the zip code of your castle in ATLANTA. COMP TIME in exchange for Reich Loyalty.
Supplies? A Bonus Check? Crumbs for those willing to follow the leader.

The BIG LIE “Reorganization Plan”
http://www.youtube.com/user/TopSchoolAtlanta#p/u/10/jbf-BeZsqas

Reich attempted to manipulate Washington DC Whistle-Blower Attorney, Richard Condit.

The truth behind a Reorganization Plan…Follow the money…A “real” investigation at Jackson would possibly expose cheating on issues around misuse of public funds. The Jackson Elementary leadership was also savvy at eliminating those students that would cause their test scores to drop. Currently, the teachers at Jackson can not speak. The public needs to demand that NOT ONLY those involved in the manipulation of test scores …report what they know… But ANYONE with knowledge of corrupt activity in APS should EXPOSE the TRUTH. The misuse of voting procedures and the falsification of documents to receive school awards at Jackson are ongoing. The Jackson neighborhood needs to demand EXCELLENCE in their public school. In addition to test score fraud, manipulation of documents to obtain public funds could lead to possible criminal charges for those involved.
http://www.TopPublicSchoolCorruptionAtlanta.com

TopPublicSchool

December 15th, 2010
8:55 am

City of Atlanta Principal’s Salaries

According to public records from the State of Georgia, the highest paid public school Principal in the City of Atlanta is Vincent W. Murray. Murray’s salary is $132,760.92. There are 71 Principals who earn more than $100,000 annually. Find below all Georgia public school Principal’s salaries in the City of Atlanta up to June 30, 2007. Smaller salaries more than likely indicate a Principal or interim Principal that wasn’t employed the entire year.

TopPublicSchool

December 15th, 2010
8:55 am

Yes, the master manipulator is still employed at Jackson Elementary School.

In 2007 it her salary was posted on the INTERNET as REICH,LORRAINE B PRINCIPAL $115,438.08

TopPublicSchool

December 15th, 2010
8:56 am

Yes…Reich is still Principal at Warren T Jackson Elementary School,

See the research of Salaries in Atlanta Public Schools 2007

google: City of Atlanta Principal’s Salaries

Just A Teacher

December 15th, 2010
8:58 am

@schlmarm . . . “Fayette teachers got their cut restored.” When did that happen? Those of us who stuck with the system through this mess were given 1.5% back out of the 4.5% we lost last year, but it was a one time thing. Our salaries are still just as low as they were last year.

Dr. Tim

December 15th, 2010
8:58 am

Sounds a lot like a payoff, doesn’t it? Politics as usual.

teacher&mom

December 15th, 2010
9:07 am

Back to the original topic. The county next door that did receive RttT funds, has also eliminated their furlough days. Maybe more than one county chose to use their funds this way.

I would also be interested in what type of professional development Clayton Co. has planned for the 5 days. If it is quality professional development, then the money is well spent.

Please remember that RttT requires systems to implement programs that will be self-sustaining after the money is gone. Most systems will turn to staff development to meet the “self-sustaining” requirement. Hiring additional teachers isn’t really smart because the county will have to pick up the cost after RttT.

TopPublicSchool

December 15th, 2010
9:07 am

And Governor Sonny Perdue wants to turn a blind eye to this corruption?

Pass it off on the NEXT Governor???

Someone needs to advise him correctly…and open the investigation of APS starting with the issues uncovered in this case. Warren T. Jackson Elementary Leadership has a direct line to the comptroller’s office in APS. What is going on?

EnoughAlready

December 15th, 2010
9:18 am

You people are never satisfied and you can’t win regardless of what is done. If you don’t pay them enough you are BAD and when you decide to pay them you are just as BAD.

If we can continue to give Wall Street millionaires kudos for the bonuses they receive, what’s $7 million to a group of teachers?

Hey, our leaders are fighting to keep the Bush tax cuts for people who don’t need them; so what’s 7 million to give to a group of teachers?

I’m sure the $7 million dollars will help the economy a lot quicker than what the wall street executives or those millionaires receiving the Bush tax cuts will do in the next few months.

teacher&mom

December 15th, 2010
9:20 am

I found a mistake in my earlier comment. I stated that teachers no longer receive a step increase after 17 years. That has been changed to 20 years of credible service.

TopPublicSchool

December 15th, 2010
9:33 am

If this is the TOP LEADERSHIP in Atlanta Public Schools…
What would you expect from the BOTTOM???

Warren T. Jackson Elementary/ Northiside ATLANTA…Mt. Paran Road
http://www.youtube.com/user/TopSchoolAtlanta#p/u

one second

December 15th, 2010
9:36 am

maybe the county was thinking it would honor the contract it had with its teachers???? Wall street firms and bankers are always talking you have to honor the contract. Seems like that goes for everyone but teachers. For the last 6 months all I have heard is teacher bashing. Too much pay, bad teachers. blah, blah, blah…. What does people want teachers to work for FREE?

oldtimer

December 15th, 2010
9:38 am

I retired in 2006 after 31 years. I have a T-5. I made $65,000 that year. (Clayton Co) I taught in another southern state and received credit for 30 years and my master’s and made $46,000. The second state paid for no insurance benefits etc. Teachers here pay $1000 a month for family health and dental insurance. I know the past few years have been hard in GA…but there are places that make it harder for teachers to get ahead. I will say in the second state, in this rural community, I was given more respect and autonomy in my classroom.

V for Vendetta

December 15th, 2010
9:52 am

EnoughAlready,

You’re right. We should just take money from people who have it. Since they have it, we are morally justified to take it whenever we wish. Not having something is clearly a sanction on someone who does have something.

Moron.

oldtimer

December 15th, 2010
11:01 am

Lisa B.

December 15th, 2010
11:59 am

The current teacher salary schedule shows a teacher with a four-year degree is making $36,524 for the 5th year of experience. On the current salary schedule, a teacher with a four-year degree will not earn $50,000+ til his or her 21st year of teaching. The state salary schedule does not include local supplements, but many if not most of us have lost local supplements already.

Me

December 15th, 2010
12:21 pm

Maureen – doesn’t that 57K figure include administrators and medical doctors who teach at certain venues. I seriously doubt if one took just K-12 classroom and support teachers that the average would be that high.

Me

December 15th, 2010
12:22 pm

teacher and mom — I don’t believe any RttT has been sent out yet

HS Public Teacher

December 15th, 2010
12:23 pm

I support this decision by Clayton County (did i just say that?). In fact, I think it ridiculous that teachers were asked to work without pay, period.

Could I go to my medical doctor and ask him to treat me without pay? Would he do it?

Could I go to my auto mechanic and ask him to repair my car without pay? Would he do it?

Teachers in Georgia have already had their pay impacted by the economy. We have not had a step increase. That should be enough. It is ridiculous that various school systems also insist that teachers work x number of days without any pay at all…. who does that?

Remember that teachers also regularly pay A LOT of money out of their own pockets for general classroom supplies. However, this is meaning that there just won’t be money in our pockets at all to take from!

Yes, it is all for “the students” but come on – teaching is not a voluntary position, it is a paid job. We expect to be compensated just as any other job/profession.

HS Public Teacher

December 15th, 2010
12:26 pm

Here is a thought….

Call Mr. Sparky and say that you have a job for them to rewire your house. However, you want their workers to do this without pay due to the economy.

If you can get them to do this without pay, then I will accept teachers working without pay as well!

HS Public Teacher

December 15th, 2010
12:28 pm

@Lisa B.

Every school system has their own teacher salary schedule. Some are vastly different from others.

say what?

December 15th, 2010
2:01 pm

The school system says we will give you back those 5 days and pay you to come in without the students in the building- and you still complain, no less to the AJC. You want the money, you don’t want the money? You want to go to professional development, you don’t want professional development?

Enough already.

Just a Thought

December 15th, 2010
2:29 pm

Did Clayton make the right decision? Yes. Teachers took a pay cut and now they are getting it back. Why would anyone disagree with that? If you do disagree, would you pass up getting your pay cut back (right before the holidays at that)?

Just a note to the Clayton County bashers, contrary to popular belief there are some exceptional dedicated teachers in Clayton who have not jumped ship (yet) because they know that all kids deserve good teachers. I know several. They are stressed, overworked, and underappreciated but they are hanging in there despite all the political craziness, thank goodness.

I also recently checked the AYP results for Metro area schools. If I am not mistaken Clayton had more schools make AYP this year than Henry, Dekalb, or APS with 82% of their schools making AYP. It ain’t perfect but it is progress. At least Clayton is moving in the right direction despite what the naysayers may believe. Maybe the SACS cleanup was good after all.