Now, it appears DeKalb is not filling high-paid secretary’s slot after edict from new school chief

In an update this afternoon, DeKalb Schools spokesman Walter Woods said the district will not be filling the central office secretary’s job posted with a salary range of $53,000 to $72,000, far higher than some teachers earn. And the job only called for a high school diploma or GED.

Since it was published here on the blog last night, the job posting has generated widespread condemnation from DeKalb residents and employees who cited the system’s financial constraints.

Nor were readers appeased by earlier explanations today from Woods.

Here is his latest note, which I have followed up with a call and e-mail to make sure that it means the job is going unfilled for the time being. (Woods did get back to me and says the job will be filled but only after the salary and position review.)

New school chief Cheryl Atkinson wins a point in my book for a sane and sensible decision.

From Woods:

Dr. Atkinson has been in meetings, but I did speak with her and she asked me to give you an update:

Dr. Atkinson has asked staff to delay filling central office positions until the salary review is complete in January.

The School System advertised for central office and other positions as they came open under the normal process. But Dr. Atkinson had not seen the advertisements, nor the 2004 descriptions of positions and salaries.

She has now directed that any advertisements for central office positions come through her office for review.

Dr. Atkinson started the salary and position review in response to longstanding parent and citizen concerns, and the public should have confidence in that review process.  Again, appreciate your forum and the issues it raises. We’re glad the public has this place to voice their opinions.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

89 comments Add your comment

Dunwoody Mom

November 11th, 2011
3:52 pm

Good decision Dr. Atkinson. I applaud you for this.

Giving a drink to a drunk

November 11th, 2011
3:59 pm

Dr. A must be thinking, “what have I gotten myself into?” She probably looks around her and wonders, at any given moment, what dumb thing is going to be done that she’s going to have to clean up.

Ernest

November 11th, 2011
4:11 pm

Maureen, I still hope the AJC follows up with the story, especially the legal requirements. I agree with Dunwoody Mom, Dr. Atkinson should be commended because we are focusing more on compensation for administrative assistants rather than what is going on in the classroom. The bigger story will be the retirement payments for all civil servants and the impact that will ultimately have on the economy. When retirees outnumber workers, we will need to make difficult choices on either budget cuts or revenue increases.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 11th, 2011
4:28 pm

The sanitizing effects of a little AJC “sunshine.”

Fed-up Dekalb Taxpayer

November 11th, 2011
4:36 pm

Amen, Dr. Spinks.

Mike

November 11th, 2011
4:43 pm

Well done Maureen! Amazing how a little scrutiny and question asking can head these things off.

Wish we had some media folks up here in Hall County that would do the same instead of trying to help silence the tipsters.

Jan

November 11th, 2011
4:50 pm

What?!? DeKalb County may have mistakenly hired someone with a spine and the courage to do what it right?!? If this is true, God take pity on Dr. Atkinson. Because the criminals, oops I mean, administrators profiting from the DeKalb County School system won’t.

DeKalb Taxpayer

November 11th, 2011
4:54 pm

I also hope the AJC will follow up on the job and compensation for personnel outside the classroom in DeKalb County and other counties as well. It will be easier for Dr. Atkinson to do her job if the public has a good grasp of where the money flows in DCSS. She will need all the public support she can. The 2004 Compensation Audit that Ernst and Young conducted at Johnny Brown’s behest was never made public and then Johnny Brown was let go. The AJC said that the Ernst and Young consultant Jim Landry summarized for the BOE that DeKalb was paying around $15,000,000 a year in salary overpayments to non-teaching personnel (and that was in 2004 – one of Walter Woods references was to 2004 so it makes one wonder if they are working off some of that data).

As soon as Dr. Brown was gone, the BOE granted a multimillion dollar buyout to get high paid personnel to retire. Dr. Lewis proceeded to hire an unprecedented number of highly paid personnel back and give more raises – many friends and family. The same personnel he hired are in the county today. Dr. Atkinson will need all the help she can get to “right size” the number and pay of the non-teaching personnel. The school system with 15,000 employees (6,400 teachers and only around 3,500 being regular ed teachers teaching the grade level and content areas that determine performance measures) is one of the largest (I recently read second largest) employers in the county.

First, Dr. Lewis and then Ms. Tyson cut teaching positions – i.e. they didn’t fill positions when teachers left. DCSS lost close to 600 teaching positions between 2009 to 2011. Is it any wonder that our student achievement has fallen so fast?

DeKalbite

November 11th, 2011
4:56 pm

I think AJC hit a nerve there. I imagine DCSS is hoping the AJC will now drop any investigation into pay and compensation at DCSS.

Jack

November 11th, 2011
5:09 pm

I reckon not enough light was shown on Hall.

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
5:37 pm

Maureen, you want to know why some posters get upset that you don’t CONSISTENTLY ask tough questions, as befitting the AJC’s self-proclaimed role of “watchdog”

This is EXACTLY why.

Today it would be entirely appropriate to name “Get Schooled” SUNLIGHT, and thus at least one ABUSE of the taxpayers’ funds was stopped.

Again, today is THE perfect example of why posters (at least some) get upset with the Get Schooled blog.

May the day come when organizations like DCSS live in MORTAL FEAR of “Get Schooled” LOL
(Sort of LOL…actually some of us would LOVE it)

Kudos!

catlady

November 11th, 2011
5:39 pm

More light, more light! Bring in the spotlights!

Jb

November 11th, 2011
5:55 pm

Funny how we’re jumping all over a realtively insignificant position that’s, let’s face it, relatively small potatoes – a difference of a few thousand dollars at most. We’re on a true race to the bottom, where everyone is expected to “sacrifice” and make a pittance – “We want more people with $30K positions where they have to struggle to get by just like us! Now we’re being efficient!”. Yay, go us. A secretary could be coming in to this position at the top of their career – $73K is not over-the-top in that case. And this secretary would be able to buy a home, shop in the area, etc. This is bad? “Controversey” like this distracts us from where the money REALLY is being vacuumed to – the top! There is no longer a corellation between what people at the top earn and what value they create – they can tank entire companies and still come out with millions in “severance.” C’mon people, focus your outrage where it really matters!

Dekalbite@Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
6:08 pm

Maureen and the AJC are dealing with billion dollar entities, and these billion dollar entities are the official sources for news dissemination. The AJC like many print commodities has cut employees and is making do with less resources. DCSS is a 15,000 employee organization. There are layers upon layers within the organization. They have numerous political ties with the county officials, business community, and the state government including the Department of Education. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get information from an entity that can spend literally tens of millions a year on the best lawyers money can buy?

How much credibility would Maureen have if she only presented one side of a story?

I don’t think the AJC has gotten anywhere near the credit they deserved for investigating the APS cheating scandal. This was huge.

DannyX

November 11th, 2011
6:42 pm

I have criticized Maureen and the AJC in the past for not doing enough reporting on issues like this. I have seen a complete turnaround and congratulate Maureen on the excellent job she is doing covering the issues. Great job Maureen.

Now if I could only figure out the strange postings of Beverly Fraud!

justjanny

November 11th, 2011
6:52 pm

non-certified employees should never earn more than a classroom teacher…just sayin’

Beverly Fraud

November 11th, 2011
6:53 pm

“I don’t think the AJC has gotten anywhere near the credit they deserved for investigating the APS cheating scandal. This was huge.”

It was indeed huge. And I myself have given credit where it is due. (Even if I have been critical of a certain someone’s position that Hall be allowed to finish her term, a decision that might end up costing APS untold thousands of dollars)

And again, credit where credit is due, as you can see in today’s earlier posting. And when I posted that Jean Dodd was ABSOLUTELY right about cheating in 2001, despite her own “ethical problem or two” I was QUICK to acknowledge that Maureen’s description of Dodd’s ethics was MUCH more accurate than mine.

We don’t mind giving kudos, and believe it or not, as in the Jean Dodd example, we don’t mind when Maureen has a TOUCHE` moment at our expense.

Strange postings? Maybe outside the box (like we couldn’t use some of THAT when it comes to education) but strange? LOL

1gadawg

November 11th, 2011
7:09 pm

i want to know what happened to the salary of the interim Director? Was her salary restored to the normal level or did it stay at the overinflated level?

Guest

November 11th, 2011
7:17 pm

“A secretary could be coming in to this position at the top of their career – $73K is not over-the-top in that case. And this secretary would be able to buy a home, shop in the area, etc. This is bad?”

The job only requires a GED and one year of experience, which is probably more than enough to push papers for redundant administrators. Very few seasoned, college-educated secretaries make $73K–even in cities that are much more expensive than Atlanta. Furthermore, taxpayers foot the bill for excessive public-sector salaries, so your argument that the person who lands the job will somehow stimulate the local economy is ridiculous.

dekalbschoolwaste

November 11th, 2011
7:21 pm

As a longtime DeKalb county parent, I have watched in amazement as money is wasted that could have been better spent on my children. We parents are told that there just isn’t money in the budget to have arts and foreign language in all of the schools while our school infrastructure crumbles around our children. In 2004 a comprehensive study was done of the salary structure in the DeKalb County school system which found that the administrative offices were severely over funded- both in numbers and in salary levels. This information was ignored by the school board and Crawford Lewis – to date no action has occur as a result.

The link below offers additional information-

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/11/its-time-for-that-salary-audit.html

Who my baby daddy?

November 11th, 2011
7:34 pm

Even with gamma rays focused on this organization it would still be way too dark. In fact, its a black hole for DeKalb taxpayers money.

Fred

November 11th, 2011
7:36 pm

@Dekalb Taxpayer: Only 6400 of 15,000 employees are teachers? Would you please post your source? I’m not disputing you, I’m just to lazy to look it up. Only 42 percent of the County School employees are teachers?

That’s criminal. Yes, I understand we need cafeteria workers, custodians, physical plant folks, bus drivers and such but REALLY? When I went to school, coaches were teachers. Does that still hold true today? Many cafeteria jobs were held by students (they used an elective or free period, it defrayed their lunch costs and what not. only low income students were eligible). Just how MANY “administrators” do we really need? How much is this audit going to cost?

Just damn.

Ronin

November 11th, 2011
8:26 pm

Given the recent findings regarding APS and Dekalb school systems, I’m not shocked by this job posting. You could be a well qualified candidate yet have NO chance of landing this position if you aren’t connected to the right people. Public schools have become a bastion for both cronyism and nepotism. The so called leaders play politics with public funds and field the only state paid education in town. It’s no wonder that the district schools don’t want competition. They have their own kingdom to run and tax dollars to pilfer

I’ve said it before and will say it again. Your local district school is a jobs program that is not accountable for results or efficient management of funds allotted for the education of children.

You are forced to pay property tax to support an education system that provides a poor return on the capital provided for services. Refusal to pay your “school”/property tax will result in a tax lien on your property and then seizure of same. Until district schools are faced with competition from other schools, there is little reason for them to change/improve, since their the only no cost option available.

As to the voters that supported the SPLOST tax: “may fortune favor the foolish”.

Dave

November 11th, 2011
8:33 pm

I didn’t read all the comments; but, why all the kudos for the Doctor (I love those honorifics) when the job shouldn’t have been posted for the high salary in the first place. She was on the job as I understand it, I’d like to hear why it was posted in the first place. It seems that sensibility is the second option after being caught.

Eric

November 11th, 2011
8:33 pm

Jb @ 5:55p is right!

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 11th, 2011
8:43 pm

Jb,

What’s the title of this blog?

Dave

November 11th, 2011
8:51 pm

I probably shouldn’t have taken a shot with the “honorific” title thing in the comment above. I’ll assume that Dr. Atkinson has a PhD. But, it bothers me that people seem to deify a degree. You can either do your job or you can’t. And, if it matters, I have a J.D. and would never think of using the title Doctor.

say what?

November 11th, 2011
9:10 pm

Now spread a little of that sunshine on her friend’s plan. One new Deputy superintendent came str8 from being an elementary school principal. But then again the BOE rubber stamped that selection. I believe this time the ajc blog and the community worked before the BOE could pull out the stamp. well done.

That is a Shame

November 11th, 2011
9:12 pm

Maureen, you think that is something the secretary for Beverly Hall and Kathy Augustine at APS probably made just as much.

Yet they cheated me out of $2,000 per year in my position. Everyone in my position were making $52,000 a year but I was only paid $50,000. I inquired but got the runaround. So I retired.

Check it out!!!!

That is a Shame

November 11th, 2011
9:16 pm

An APS secretary to the deceased executive director in the facilities department was given an upgraded title AND a ridiculous salary when she was only a “secretary”.

This happens in school systems all the time. It is not what you know but who you know.

dekalb weary

November 11th, 2011
9:18 pm

Maureen thank you for writing on this. It takes cohones for the DeKalb administration to even consider filling this position in light of furloughs, more taxes, larger class sizes, etc. My guess is that they wanted to promote someone into this ridiculously high paying position and were probably required to advertise (for a day or two) before filling the position with a pre-selected candidate.

The state and federal governments have hiring Freezes! Why doesn’t DeKalb County schools? Heck, if I was a teacher I’d apply. Being an executive secretary has to be a lot easier than teaching physics to 35 high school students.

This salary is more than many engineers, accountants and starting lawyers make.

20,000 citizens voted against SPLOST IV. Guess the administration just doesn’t care.

irisheyes

November 11th, 2011
9:53 pm

“Heck, if I was a teacher I’d apply. Being an executive secretary has to be a lot easier than teaching physics to 35 high school students”

I’d apply for that job. The starting salary is what I make with a masters degree and 13 years of experience. It’s a great salary for someone fresh out of high school.

Next time people complain about the high salaries in schools, they need to remember this. I bet there are a lot more overpaid secretaries in central offices just like this one.

why doesn't...

November 11th, 2011
10:51 pm

that AJC sunlight ever want to shine at the Clayco posse?

DeKalbite@Fred

November 11th, 2011
11:28 pm

“@Dekalb Taxpayer: Only 6400 of 15,000 employees are teachers? Would you please post your source? I’m not disputing you, I’m just to lazy to look it up. Only 42 percent of the County School employees are teachers?”

Look at the Georgia DOE figures for number of DeKalb teachers in 2009-10:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010
(and then click on the Personnel and Fiscal Tab)

Total – 6738 including full time and part time teachers

Ms. Tyson recommended and the BOE adopted cutting another 300+ for the 2010-11 school year.

6,738 minus 300+ is around 6,400 teachers.

DeKalbite@Fred

November 11th, 2011
11:37 pm

Here are the figures showing how Mr. Lewis and Ms. Tyson cut so many teacher positions.

Looking closely at the budgets in 2009-10 and 2010-11, it looks like Dr. Lewis and Ms. Tyson eliminated around 600 teacher positions. What kind of an impact did eliminating all these teachers have on DCSS student achievement?

It was interesting to take a close look at the proposed 2010-11 budget sheet that was approved by the DeKalb BOE:
http://dekalbparent.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/20102011budgetrecommendations.png

According to my calculations, Ms. Tyson pegged the cost of a teacher at $65,000 in salary and benefits.

Example #1:
Ms. Tyson recommended reducing Magnet Points (a Point means a teacher) by 20 points for a savings of $1,300,000. $1,300,000 divided by 20 = $65,000.

Example # 2:
Ms. Tyson recommended eliminating 8 DECA (DeKalb Early College Academy) Points (Teachers) for a savings of $520,000. $520,000 divided by 8 = $65,000.

Example #3:
Ms. Tyson recommended eliminating 8 Single Gender Points (Teachers) nets a savings of $520,000. $520,000 divided by 8 = $65,000.

Example #4
Ms. Tyson recommended eliminating Target Assistance Points (extra Teachers for schools that need additional help for students for various reasons) for a savings of $3,965,000. Divide $3,965,000 by $65,000 (cost of a teacher) = 61 teachers.

You can see how Ms. Tyson assigned a value of $65,000 as the cost of a teacher throughout the budgetary process.

Adding the number of teacher positions eliminated in Example #1 (20), Example #2 (8), Example #3 (8), and Example #4 (61) = 97 teachers.

Now look at the Increase in class sizes (highlighted in blue). Ms. Tyson recommended increasing class sizes by 2. She assigns a value of $14,000,000 in savings. If you divide $14,000,000 by $65,000 (value of a teacher), the additional number of teaching positions eliminated = 215.

Now add the 215 additional teaching positions eliminated to the 97 already eliminated in Examples #1, 2,3, and 4, and this equals 312 positions eliminated for the school year 2010-11.

This comes on top of Dr. Lewis eliminating 275 teacher positions the year before (see BOE meeting notes Executive Summary 4-13-09). Eliminating teacher positions was the largest portion of saving for fiscal year 2009-10 (we didn’t have as big a deficit at that time). See quote from BOE 4-13-09 BOE meeting below:
“Further proposed reductions include an increase to class sizes. The increase in class size will still keep DeKalb Schools below the state maximum requirements, prior to the state’s increase. This action will save $18.1 million and will reduce the staffing needs by 275 teachers. ” or if you don’t want to look up the BOE meeting, here is a link to the 2010 budget (see Executive summary) where Lewis states the budget cuts 275 teaching positions:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/budget/approved-budget-(2010).pdf

Of equal concern should be that 600 teachers left the system in the last 2 years. Ms. Tyson stated that she did not cut teacher personnel. She only eliminated teacher positions through attrition. Obviously she and Lewis felt confident that the attrition rate is in the hundreds every year. This points to an enormous teacher turnover rate. Studies show that a high teacher turnover rate has the effect of decreasing student achievement for Economically Disadvantaged students, a group that has a difficult time showing the same progress rate as their more affluent peers. DCSS Economically Disadvantaged students mainly reside in our Title 1 schools.

Michael

November 11th, 2011
11:52 pm

Assuming the job was advertised solely for legal reasons, I wonder who has to explain to the relative of some administrator why they will not be getting the job they were promised. I’m sure they will find another position for their GED holding relative.

Thank you for helping me see the light

November 12th, 2011
1:44 am

I’m a classified employee with 22 years of public school experience, 11 years in a middle school and 11 years at central office. Through training, college courses and performing job duties, I have gained a great deal of knowledge in personnel, curriculum, budgets, technology and earned professional certification in human resources. I didn’t have to learn how to care about children. I knew long before I started working for the school system that children don’t care what you know, they need to know that you care.
I go to work every morning to provide support and assist teachers so they can focus on teaching. . The superintendent and CFO could tell you I am a voice for teachers at central office.
I have no idea if Dekalb County had selected someone for the position, but the level of responsibility is what determines the salary. Normally, the assistant has to know everything the director knows because they are always in the office to assist customers even when the director is in meetings or visiting schools. It’s not just answering telephones and taking messages.
I haven’t had a raise in 4 years, been furloughed the last 3 years, been doing the duties of 2 positions for more than 2 years–and I don’t get a contract. I start taking phone calls from home in the morning, eat lunch at my desk, and work at home in the evenings–no overtime ever. It didn’t bother me before, but tonight I realize that public perception is that I’m unecessary and any moron could do my job.
The job that was advertised was not an entry level position, requires skills that someone fresh out of high school does not possess and the salary posted was not unreasonable. . When comparing the salary to a teacher’s salary you have to remember that this position works 50 DAYS MORE THAN A TEACHER!!!
I wonder how I’m going to feel going to work Monday morning now that it is painfully obvious how people really feel about the job I do.

Burroughston Broch

November 12th, 2011
2:27 am

@ Thank you for helping me see the light

I suggest that you take off your educator blinders because you’re not going to get any sympathy here.

Outside education, a full time job (if you are fortunate to have one) requires you to work much more than 50 DAYS MORE THAN A TEACHER. Outside education, a teacher’s job is considered a part time job.

Spare us the self pity, please.

howdy1942

November 12th, 2011
3:16 am

It’s just ashamed that it took a teacher to have to contact a newspaper to bring the matter to the attention of the public. Why could not the management that reports to Dr. Atkinson have done the right thing? This is simply another example of how far things have gone amiss in the Dekalb County School System management. You would think that grown up, mature people focused on serving the students and the County would have known better.

I hope that the is only the beginning of restoring our school system to greatness.

Beverly Fraud

November 12th, 2011
7:14 am

Quote:

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get information from an entity that can spend literally tens of millions a year on the best lawyers money can buy?

@Dekalblite, three words: Open. Records. Act. It can be done, if it WANTS to be done.

Quote:The AJC like many print commodities has cut employees and is making do with less resources.

True @DeKalblite, but it’s not exactly like Maureen is sitting at Kinkos with Bob from AccountTemps waiting for the copies to be run so they can get the rental van and deliver the paper.

It’s not like Anne Cox Chambers has resorted to eating cat food after all.

There still seems to be a tendency to go after “selected” organizations (not that they don’t deserve it in the case of DCSS) but treat others (DOE is a prime example, as was APS for YEARS) with kid gloves.

WATCHDOGS don’t wear kid gloves, last I checked.

Ronin

November 12th, 2011
7:36 am

@Dave 8:51, your comment:” I probably shouldn’t have taken a shot with the “honorific” title thing in the comment above. I’ll assume that Dr. Atkinson has a PhD. But, it bothers me that people seem to deify a degree. You can either do your job or you can’t. And, if it matters, I have a J.D. and would never think of using the title Doctor.”

No, you’re correct. The last time I was in court the judge didn’t address defense counsel as Doctor Dave or Doctor Jones. It just doesn’t happen. As to the plethora of “doctors” in education, it’s just the continuation of the advanced degree programs. The compensation rate of the state employee is directly tied to the advanced degrees. Also, the masters and Ph D establishes a pecking order in the hen house. So, the “doctor” that is principal of your elementary school normally has a education doctorate, degree in leadership education or maybe a Ph D in library science. None of which, in my opinion, are deserving of introducing yourself as “Dr. Jones”, head of doesn’t meet AYP elementary school. If you want to be addressed as doctor, obtain a degree from a state licensed medical school and practice medicine. Otherwise, it’s Mr. or Ms. Jones.

Oh, as to the starting salary of 72k a year for a secretary, only in a government job.

Is Dr. No, aka Mr. Sunshine on vacation? He normally has enlightening comments on all these topics.

BlahBlahBlah

November 12th, 2011
7:40 am

I agree with many others. A full analysis of all administrative salaries, and the requirements for those respective jobs, should occur. This should be the next big AJC Sunday story. Bloated administrative costs must be brought under control, whether it means reduction in force or cuts in payroll. It is unacceptable for ANY secretary in DCSS to pull down more money than most teachers, and I fear this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Beverly Fraud

November 12th, 2011
7:45 am

@Thank you for…you said this:

“The job that was advertised was not an entry level position, requires skills that someone fresh out of high school does not possess and the salary posted was not unreasonable.”

If this is true then why are the qualifications a GED and ONE year experience?

jim

November 12th, 2011
8:36 am

just because those are the minimum qualifications does not mean that the person getting the job will only have the minimum.

i see that as similar to college’s minimum entrance requirements. from taking students on college visits, i know for certain that you have no shot at getting in UGA, NGC&SU, etc., if you only meet their minimum admission requirements.

And, for what it is worth, the main administrative secretary at our high school is vastly underpaid. before overtime, she likely is scheduled to make 25K/year, but coordinates a ton of the day-to-day things going on there. her skills in the private sector would pay her substantially more, and i guess that she deals with many more stressful situations (e.g., angry parents) each day than most folks in a similar non-school role.

So, to the classified person who posted above, almost all of us who are teachers, administrators, and counselors have a great deal of respect for the work you do. Yes, the educational qualifications for those jobs may be “low”, but the skills our parapros and admin assistants have are outstanding and are integral to how our schools work.

dekalb weary

November 12th, 2011
8:59 am

To the “classified” employee who posted. Your attitude is exactly what is wrong with long term public employees everywhere. An attitude of entitlement to automatic salary increases, huge pensions, paid insurance benefits, job security, etc. The world has changed in the last two years and you much change too. Knowledge and experience should count for something but the job description is horribly outdated. It does not even require high level (or any level of) technology skills. It is a grossly out of date entry level clerical job description and the salary must be revised to match the job. In the federal system, the job description is about a GS 3 or GS 4, at best.

I’d really, really like to know where this position fits in the organizational scheme. Is this posting for a personal assistant for the new superintendent, or to fill a position to support 5 or 6 executives?

Giving a drink to a drunk

November 12th, 2011
9:01 am

Normally I am pessimistic when news like this comes out, but I have the feeling that the central office is about to undergo some massive change. I envision this situation having played itself out as the overpaid central office person performing his/her job in his normally lazy manner posted this position. Then Dr A. finds out, sighs heavily, requires things like this go through her, waits for the next stupid person to do a stupid thing, and eagerly anticipates the salary audit, which will show she can clean house to the tune of probably 35-45%.

School Psych.

November 12th, 2011
9:09 am

Administrative assistants are much more useful than people want to believe. These men and women are constantly required to juggle multiple demands placed upon them by school personnel, parents, and students. As a school psychologist, I recognize the hard work they put in, and I know that they are some of the most essential people in a school system. One of the first people with whom I establish rapport is the administrative assistant at each of my 4 schools, as these positions have access to confidential student information and are always aware of the goings on of the entire school. Our department’s administrative assistant does a fabulous job of ensuring all of our reports and protocols meet legal standards and helps organize each test kit in the whole system. She deals with multiple departments, all with a cheery attitude and amazing efficiency. Anyone who thinks that just because these individuals are labeled as “secretaries,” they don’t deserve a decent paycheck (especially in the middle of inflation) is obviously unaware of how a school works on a day-to-day basis. I challenge you to go one day without an administrative assistant in your department and see how much these hardworking people do for us.
DeKalb’s crisis is NOT affected by what is honestly chump change in a huge budget that has been mismanaged and corrupted for YEARS. The problems in this district are not at all related to one administrative assistant position.

markie mark

November 12th, 2011
9:15 am

@JB – you remind me of the idiot politician that said “a million here, a million there, soon we’re talking about REAL money”….ALL of this is important….and yes, a secretary with a high school diploma making 70+k a year is outrageous. How in the world do you base your reasoning on reality?

redweather

November 12th, 2011
9:18 am

Every bureaucracy is staffed with people who (1) have been there a long time, and (2) are making very good money for what they actually do. I was one such employee once upon a time. We didn’t want for work, and sometimes things got a little hectic, but for the most part it was a cushy job.

Just because Dr. Atkinson has decided that job notices should go through her office does not mean that anything significant will necessarily change at DCSS. As others have noted in recent days, as long as we voters continue to vote for things like SPLOST, waste and fraud will continue. And don’t forget that one person (Dr. Atkinson) can accomplish very little in a system that employs over 15,000 people. Look at what the APS is going through in its attempts to rid itself of liars and cheaters.

catlady

November 12th, 2011
9:24 am

Perhaps one thing the AJC could do a hard-hitting report on is the proportion of “salary expenses” that goes to people who don’t have student contact, those who occasionally have student contact, those who regularly have student contact, and those who teach a full load. Perhaps one additional category: student service workers (bus drivers, janitorial, lunch ladies) The CO is constantly decrying that all its funds go to personnel costs. How about looking at Dekalb in those terms?

What amazes me is how many coaches don’t teach a full day. The logic is they need time to prepare for their sport. Well, who doesn’t? We had a coach that supposedly spent half his time getting students college scholarships for sports. Now, we are no deep well of student skill. Usually 5-6 students get partial scholarships from such powerhouses as Shorter or Young Harris.

I was talking to a young man in our system who teaches one (1) period a day. The rest of the day he does “outreach.” Yet we have many teachers who don’t have time to (eliminate). (Have you ever noticed you cannot find a teacher right after the students leave? They are all in the bathroom!)

Perhaps the AJC should also investigate how many periods per day some of the teachers work with students. THAT would be eye-opening!