DeKalb teacher: Why is county hiring a secretary at an annual salary of $53,186 to $72,285? Good question.

UPDATE: at 10: 39 a.m. Go here for county explanation but it’s not a clear one, at least not to me.

UPDATE at 8:36 a.m Friday:  DeKalb spokesman told me via e-mail that he would provide “some information” on this later this morning.

A DeKalb teacher sent me this outraged note about a current job posting for a secretary in DeKalb’s central office:

As a teacher and a taxpaying citizen, I am outraged to find that DeKalb County Schools has posted a job opening (1271-2011) for a Secretary to the Chief Officer who would make more than I do. The salary range is $53,186.40 to $72,285.60, but unlike me or many of my colleagues, this person needs only a high school diploma or a GED. According to the web site, the job is posted for only a week (Nov. 4-Nov.11).

Given the support for SPLOST (even if the voting numbers were low), furlough days for us teachers, increases in insurance premiums, and the possibility of further budget cuts, this salary does little to evidence DeKalb’s ability to manage taxpayers’ money.

So, I went to the school district web site, and the teacher is correct. I recognize that top secretaries earn good salaries, but this seems high for a starting salary, especially in a down economy. The job requirements appear standard — I couldn’t see any rare skill set being sought –  so I am unsure why the salary range is so high.

It’s midnight, but I will call DeKalb in the morning about this job.

From the site:

The DeKalb County School District is seeking a highly qualified candidate to serve as Secretary to the Chief Information Officer.

EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE: High school diploma or GED equivalent required. Associate’s degree in office management or other related field preferred. Minimum of one (1) year experience in an administrative support position required.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
May require: Knowledge of current office best practices and procedures; use of office machines and equipment; proper and business English, spelling, grammar, and punctuation; methods and techniques used in recordkeeping; principles and practices of supervision; organizational and department functions Skill in effective oral, written and interpersonal communication; taking and transcribing dictation and a variety of materials that may include statements and minutes; composition, setting up and typing a variety of correspondence, reports and other materials Ability to perform a variety of administrative support assignments; meet and interact with various governmental officials/community representatives, students, parents, personnel and other visitors.
$53,186.40 to $72,285.60

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

77 comments Add your comment

Public HS Teacher

November 11th, 2011
12:31 am

This is an outrage. However, most everything about the “central offices” is an outrage.

And, regardless of what classroom teachers say, regardless of what parents say, regardless of anything, like a giant monster, the “central offices” continue to grow along with their salaries sucking up money from classroom funds.

Public HS Teacher

November 11th, 2011
12:33 am

Now listen….. if Georgia had a real teacher union – this sort of thing simply would not happen. That is the wonderful checks-and-balance part of having teachers represented in a real union.

But, trying to convinece ignorant Georgia conservative republicans of that is useless.

David Sims

November 11th, 2011
1:21 am

Possibly this job was opened for someone in particular, and the solicitation of applications, and the assessment thereof in pursuit of the “most qualified” applicant, is a sham because the job is earmarked for that special person for whom it was made available.

Very Passionate About Our Schools

November 11th, 2011
4:15 am

Absolutely outrageous. For 50 years I was a secretary and neither I or any secretary I knew and worked with ever made this kind of money. This is exactly why I did not vote for SPLOST and until the Board and the Palace cleans up their act, I will not vote for any increases for the system.

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
4:24 am

When you voted for SPLOST you told them “Everything is A–OK. Keep doing EXACTLY what you are doing, as we have no intention of holding you accountable for your behavior.”

Enjoy paying for that secretary; it’s what you RICHLY and FULLY deserve.

mountain man

November 11th, 2011
6:26 am

This is what you voted for SPLOST for. Me and my money are staying out of Dekalb County. You can pay for this by yourself. Want to bet the person for this position was chosen well in advance of any job posting?

mountain man

November 11th, 2011
6:29 am

And let me guess – Teachers with Masters degrees need not apply.

Also, they left out some qualifications – must be female, good looking, single, and ready to go on “educational” junkets.

redweather

November 11th, 2011
6:43 am

What that job announcement means is that the Chief Information Officer already has someone he/she plans to hire. Since the applicant doesn’t need more than one year of experience in an administrative support position, I suspect someone’s daughter or niece needs a job.

mountain man

November 11th, 2011
6:45 am

Or mistress. Check it out – I will bet anything the person who fills this position will be female ( and, dare I say it, African-American).

The General

November 11th, 2011
6:49 am

The person to fill this position was selected long before the job was posted. That’s why the qualifications for it are so low and the salary so high.

Dekalb schools suck. I feel sorry for you folks stuck there.

Dunwoody Mom

November 11th, 2011
7:22 am

I thought it was “A New Day in Dekalb County Schools”?

Inman Park Boy

November 11th, 2011
7:44 am

If you dig deeply enough, I’ll bet you will find that a relative of someone already working for the Board will get that position. Gotta’ take care of the family, you know.

K. Ridley

November 11th, 2011
7:54 am

Oh my where to begin. Point #1 – Teachers work 195 days this position works 240 days. Should the position not get paid for working 45 more days than a teacher? I think NOT! Point #2 – In a position of this nature it is exhausting and sometimes abusive to take constant complaints from parents, etc. most of the time about the teacher who is making gripe about this very issue. Point #3 – I know plenty of individuals with Doctoral degrees who cannot write a sentence without typographical or grammerical errors, must less write correspondence of calibur that this position would require.
So…….continute to bash if you would like but I would suggest you don’t judge or throw stones until you have all of your facts!!

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
8:01 am

Well using your logic K. Ridley, do you also advocate that janitorial staff be paid more than teachers, as they work more days than teachers?

And not to belabor a point but, it might not be wise to talk about (admittedly correctly) individuals with advanced degrees who can’t write, then immediately follow it up with the phrase “correspondence of calibur.”?

Maybe THAT’S the problem; people intuitively recognize, given DCSS’s reputation, that a person of “calibur,” will be hired for the position.

cris

November 11th, 2011
8:02 am

Is “grammerical” a word?

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
8:05 am

@cris if you understood the “correspondence of calibur” that was being presented, you wouldn’t be so critical.

I’m just waiting for the poster to advocate that janitorial staff be paid more than teachers, because they work more days than the teachers do.

redweather

November 11th, 2011
8:16 am

Sadly, “grammercial” probably is considered a word these days in DCSS.

K. Ridley

November 11th, 2011
8:18 am

Sure, why not have a custodian get paid what they are worth. Don’t you value your trash collector’s? Probably not. You would rather think that you are better than everyone else. I did not say I had a doctoral degree and could write memos perfectly, I was saying that secretarial staff can. All I was saying is look at the whole picture and be fair to EVERYONE!
Teachers are great but they really need to stop complaining and focus on educating our kids.

P.S. Continue was misspelled in my original post as well.

Mike

November 11th, 2011
8:24 am

Pfft. That’s nothing.

According to open.ga.gov Hall County Schools paid a substitute teacher over $109,000 about two years ago. Paid a principal friend of the superintendent’s an extra $9,000 a year as a travel bonus for two years on top of his over $100,000 salary to drive back and forth from home to work and had a couple of secretaries over the $50,000 mark.

Nobody seemed too worried about that up here.

K. Ridley

November 11th, 2011
8:27 am

Great points Mike!

Maureen Downey

November 11th, 2011
8:28 am

@Mike, Not sure about the travel bonus. Why did your school board approve that for one principal and not others?
As to the secretaries, I can see earning over 50 grand if they have been there a while as longevity tends to pay off in certain government jobs.
But hiring someone into such a job at $53,000 to $70,000?
Maureen

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
8:32 am

“I did not say I had a doctoral degree and could write memos perfectly, I was saying that secretarial staff can.”

If you think the secretarial staff DCSS chooses to employ writes memos perfectly, or even remotely close to perfect, you have a long way to go in your understanding of the dynamics of hiring practices at DCSS.

And the question wasn’t should janitors be paid fairly, it was should janitors be paid MORE than teachers because they work many more days than teachers, since YOU used that as a rationale to pay the high school educated secretary more than a teacher.

But I see you conveniently sidestepped that question.

School Teacher

November 11th, 2011
8:42 am

As a teacher, I agree that we are grossly underpaid. Although secretary’s jobs are challenging as well, I’m disgusted that a person with limited experience and low educational qualifications enters a job making more than teachers.
Anyone that has been in a public school classroom knows that teachers are not simply teachers; but the job has many other built-in jobs, including secretary, mother, psychiatrist, judge, lawyer, lobbyist, advocate, and the list goes on.
I look forward to the day that society places a higher value on teachers.
Knowing that we work way harder than most other professionals but make considerably less is-simply put-sad.

bessbear

November 11th, 2011
8:42 am

Definitely agree with all who said they already have this person picked out. Having worked in HR, I know that is how it is done. To appear that are giving equal consideration, they only post it for one week and hope nobody notices. I always wished we could make this type of employment scam go away.

Dunwoody Mom

November 11th, 2011
8:43 am

An individual with a only a high-school degree should NEVER make more than a teacher. PERIOD.THE.END.

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
8:46 am

Looks like K. Ridley beat a quick and hasty retreat!

Mike

November 11th, 2011
9:01 am

@maureen

The principal was a ‘good friend and mentor’ of our Superintendent. His own words. The guy was also a retired RESA director and superintendent.

I don’t believe the Board knew about the shady supplement until the State auditors pointed it out after getting a tip about it.

The Board did however sign an affidavit after the fact to cover Schofield’s rear end. The payments mysteriously stopped after that. He was the only principal to ever recieve anything like that. Close to $20,000 for driving to work and back.

Taxpayer money flushed down the drain.

Mike

November 11th, 2011
9:04 am

And the $109,000 substitute teacher now works at our Central office as an Executive Director.

Mike

November 11th, 2011
9:07 am

Regarding the travel bonus- I would be surprised if any other government employee in this state ever received such.

Colonel Jack

November 11th, 2011
9:12 am

@K. Ridley – “Don’t you value your trash collector’s?”

Don’t I value my trash collector’s what? His truck? His job? His paycheck? His overalls?

Sheesh.

Colonel Jack

November 11th, 2011
9:17 am

And this hacks me off as a teacher, because it took me 23 years – and a Specialist’s degree – to make the salary they speak of starting this secretary’s position with. (Granted, I don’t work in DeKalb County, but try to convince me the county I do work in is different. Go ahead, try. Give it your best shot. I’m all ears.)

Ernest

November 11th, 2011
9:25 am

It’s interesting reading comments about salaries at it appears many don’t know what the salary ranges are for different positions. Does anyone have an idea what the compensation ranges are for an Executive Assistant for a C level executive in a metro area? One can take a look at the salaries paid for similar positions for other metro area school systems and see this is within the range paid.

Dunwoody Mom, I know plumbers and electricians with high school diplomas that make more than teachers. The market determines what they make.

Dunwoody Mom

November 11th, 2011
9:29 am

Ernest, with all due respect, I know you are a cheerleader for this system, but a secretary with only a high school degree should never, ever, ever make more than a teacher, EVER…… Your comment about plumbers and electricians is irrelevant to a conversation about the worth of a teacher over a secretary.

dkt

November 11th, 2011
9:33 am

Ernest,

Please see Dekalb’s job posting for a bookkeeper at Chamblee High School. This person would work the same number of days and hours and would have the same qualifications. But this person would only make between $30,000 and $41,000. Also, this job is posted until filled-not only for a week.

As someone who advocated for SPLOST and Dekalb’s ability to manage funds responsibily and ethically, can you explain how Dekalb’s offering this salary-whether it is reflective of metro salaries (which I don’t believe it is for a beginning positions with so few qualifications)-proves that Dekalb is working in the best interest of students.

Also, the “world class” market does determine a higher salary for qualified teachers.

dcss failing

November 11th, 2011
9:38 am

@Ernest. In the private sector, a secretary to a high level executive might make this kind of salary, but NOT with only one year’s experience. If they only had a high school diploma or a GED, they would have to have many, many years experience to make that kind of salary. Their duties would also be much more complex and involved than this job posting describes. If this salary is comparable to those at other metro school systems, then something is REALLY wrong!

what's best for kids???

November 11th, 2011
9:39 am

A GED??? It took me three degrees and 15 years’ experience before I got that kind of money.

Lee

November 11th, 2011
9:41 am

That salary range is not out of line in the corporate world for an EXECUTIVE SECRETARY (ie, a secretary who supports an officer of the company). That said, most of the executive secretaries that I have encountered have years and years of experience and many have college degrees and/or other training.

I just don’t see how you can justify that kind of money for someone with a GED and one year of experience. I agree with the previous bloggers who say the job is already in the bag for someone and this posting is just a formality.

what's best for kids???

November 11th, 2011
9:45 am

Maureen, please follow up on this; it really is a disgrace.

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
9:47 am

“It’s interesting reading comments about salaries at it appears many don’t know what the salary ranges are for different positions”

Sorry Ernest, but the MAJORITY of the comments are coming from people who know FULL WELL what a secretary with a SINGLE year’s experience and a GED would command on the open market.

Hint: It ain’t 50-70K. This is EXACTLY the type of mismanagement that made people leery of the SPLOST.

But you wanted it, so enjoy paying 70+k a year for the GED qualified secretaries you RICHLY and FULLY deserve.

what's best for kids???

November 11th, 2011
9:49 am

OH! And check out the pay for one with a Masters’ Degree:

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: The minimum requirements include a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and a L-5 certificate or a valid Georgia Professional Standards Commission approved certificate in Educational Leadership at level L-5, NL-5, or PL-6. A minimum of seven years successful school leadership experience is required.

44K for this one. Are you kidding ME???

Dunwoody Mom

November 11th, 2011
9:54 am

Here is one taken from the Fulton County School system:

PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANT II (190 DAY) MIMOSA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
JOB QUALIFICATIONS: High school diploma or GED certificate.
Typing speed of 30 wpm and a 70% or higher on the basic skills test as administered by the FCBOE test administrator. Knowledge and skill in basic accounting, purchasing, and budget management. Bilingual Preferred
JOB DESCRIPTION: Performs various clerical, administrative, and general office duties involving word processing, record and file maintenance, mail distribution and telephone reception for a department or group of professionals.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Maintains established office files and records in accordance with internal procedures.
Receives and refers telephone callers and visitors.
Responds to routine requests for information and refers more complex requests to appropriate staff member.
Using word processing equipment, drafts and types routine letters, reports and memoranda from specific instructions.
Produces a variety of correspondence and reports using a PC and software for storing, retrieving, formatting and integrating data.
Interacts with customers, suppliers and employees outside of the department on behalf of the supervisor.
Maintains appointment calendars.
Assist in the formulation and tracking of departmental budgets and related functions.
Undertake projects as assigned to support office functions.
Collect and maintain accurate data for various departmental services and functions.
Other duties as assigned by the Program Administrator.
REQUIRED EXPERIENCE: Minimum of 2 years experience in a clerical environment required. Experience with SAP business solutions software preferred. Experience using Microsoft Office, including Microsoft Word and Excel Spreadsheets required.

OTHER INFORMATION: The following is required for a complete application and must be received by the closing date in order for application to be considered for this position:

Non-Teaching Application* (List at least 2 current references on application providing their email address)
Letter of interest (specifying position)
Current resume
*Apply online at http://www.fultonschools.org
**We do not accept any application material via email
***An assessment will be given to those candidates who are strongly being considered for this position.
APPLY TO: Employment Application Processing Office
SALARY: $22,701.00 – $26,793.00 - Actual salary placement will be based on Fulton County Board of Education experience and education calculations from the Non-Teaching Salary Schedule – Professional Scale (A) 190-Day Grade 24.

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
9:58 am

Looks like Ernest just got hoisted on his own petard!

Atlanta Media Guy

November 11th, 2011
10:01 am

How can anyone be surprised by this? This is exactly why Crawford lewis hid the Ernst & Young audit from public view. Hell, Tyson’s staff couldn’t even read through the boxes given to them completely. They all know what the audit said and they knew they had to hide it. Maureen I hope this begins a time for you and your paper to start digging into DCSS(D?). Past BOE members have told me directly, to follow the money! The fact that an employee that does NOT have a college degree will get paid more then our Teachers and Para Pros. I still can’t believe how everyone seems so surprised by this.

Just A Teacher

November 11th, 2011
10:11 am

Wow! I wish someone would have let me know about this job opening when i still had time to apply for it. All I do is teach. I know my job isn’t as important as a secretary’s is, but my salary is very close to the bottom of that range, and I hold 2 degrees, dual certification, and 17 years of experience. I should have spent more time learning how to file and less time learning how to teach.

[...] If you read the original blog I posted at midnight, you will see that many posters are stunned by this level of pay, which exceeds what some teachers with advanced degrees earn. [...]

Ernest

November 11th, 2011
10:43 am

Let me back up what I said. Salaries for state employees can be found at:

http://www.open.georgia.gov/

Select Salaries and Travel Reimbursements
Select Title
Select Local Boards of Education
Type SUPERINTENDENT SECRETARY for the Title

Export this to a spreadsheet then look at the salaries for Superintendent Secretaries in metro areas. The job listing above was for a secretary for a C level executive not a school. There is a BIG difference is pay for those responsibilities. This at least allow you to perform an ‘apples to apples’ comparison. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts after reviewing this.

dcss failing

November 11th, 2011
10:46 am

Comparing the Fulton County job posting that Dunwoody Mom posted to this one at Dekalb is unbelievable. Fulton’s requires Microsoft Word & Excel. Dekalb’s doesn’t even MENTION any computer skills at all…nothing but the most basic, basic duties/skills. Yes, I realize Fulton’s job is called Professional Assistant and Dekalb’s is called Secretary. There is a $30,000 – $50,000 difference in salaries for these 2 jobs!!!!! Which job description calls for more experience, skills and has more responsibilities? If the justification is that the Dekalb position is to be secretary to a high level Chief officer and the Fulton’s is just a low level assistant, then it should require much more experience and many more skills. This is OUTRAGEOUS. Maureen, PLEASE follow up on this!! All Dekalb taxpayers, email the school board now! This will get approved by the board just like all the other jobs. They don’t bother to look at specific things they are approving. They just approve everything that is asked for in one broad sweep without even reading the reports in from of them. Who is this job reserved for? It is blatently obvious that the posting is just a formality. I can’t wait to see who gets this job. We, as taxpayers, have a right to know. Although now that the spotlight is on, I’m sure they will cover their butts somehow. Disgusting.

yes i am worried

November 11th, 2011
10:47 am

This is typical DeKalb garbage. Someone has already been picked for the job — and this is the salary they demand. If the system really wants to pay that salary, up the requirements — add in college and years of experience.

Ernest, reread the requirements and tell me what COO would hire an admin assistant with so little qualifications at that salary. NONE>

mary

November 11th, 2011
10:55 am

“An individual with a only a high-school degree should NEVER make more than a teacher. PERIOD.THE.END.”

Dunwoody mom, you made a sweeping generalization that you didn’t limit to the education system. You should be more clear in your comments.

Dunwoody Mom

November 11th, 2011
10:56 am

@mary – get with the conversation and the topic of the blog here. We are talking about an administrative positions salary versus a teacher salary.