Oops. DeKalb sends wrong contract language to teachers. Corrections going out.

I am baffled how a mistake of this nature could occur with something as critical as teacher contracts, but here it is:

MEMO TO: Certified Instructional, Supervisory, and Administrative Personnel

FROM: Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer

THROUGH: Dr. Cheryl L. H. Atkinson, Superintendent

REFERENCE: Clarification Memo Regarding Employment Contracts for the 2012-2013 School Year

Thank you for your contributions to the DeKalb County School District. Please allow this memo to serve as clarification to the Employment Contract for the 2012-2013 school year you received on April 30, 2012.

Each year the District includes in the employment contract certain measures leading into the budget process. This amount generally reflects a lower amount due to the timing of the budget process and the State of Georgia required deadline for contract issuance. According to state law, the deadline for contract issuance is before the deadline for the final adoption of the operating budget. The contract you received reflected the language from the 2010 contract and should have reflected what was printed on the 2011 contract. The Superintendent intends on recommending to the Board of Education, at a minimum, the same number of work calendar days for FY2013 as worked in FY2012.

Please know that the Superintendent DOES NOT intend to take a recommendation to the Board with any additional reductions in pay from the current work calendar. Our goal is to deliver to the Board of Education a balanced budget that will support all District operations.

As teachers, you are on the front line of the District, impacting lives everyday. We appreciate your efforts and are committed to pushing as many dollars to the school as possible. Upon final adoption of the FY2013 budget, you will be notified, in writing, of such action and your salary will be adjusted accordingly, as it has in the past few years.

Once again, please know that we are working hard and doing all that we can to have a balanced budget and lastly, I would like to reiterate that the Superintendent intends on recommending to the Board of Education, at a minimum, the same number of work calendar days for FY2013 as worked in FY2012.

For additional information regarding this clarification memo: please email the Division of Human Resources at hr-info@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Thank you once again.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

161 comments Add your comment

Being Censored by @Maureen

May 1st, 2012
5:00 pm

This is terribly unfortunate, but why in G-d’s name should you be surprised?? They spend nearly $50M on central admin costs and $10,5K per pupil, and yet they don’t even graduate 60% of their students? Nothing surprises me in our public education system. I feel sorry for the teachers that there is incompetent administrators and IT systems in place.

MA

May 1st, 2012
5:00 pm

That is one HUGE OOPS!!!!! Glad I don’t work for DeKalb County.

edugator

May 1st, 2012
5:00 pm

This is just one of several mistakes. Far more serious is that numerous teachers found out by letter yesterday that their contracts were being delayed. Even principals were caught by surprise by this. No explanations, other than there was an “overage” of teachers in some areas. Perhaps some will receive contracts in the next several days, but it’s an unprofessional way to run a business.

And don’t even ask about retirement benefits (403B or Social Security), which apprently aren’t even part of the discussion.

Ned

May 1st, 2012
5:01 pm

If this is the best our HUNDREDS of front office employees can do it almost makes you wonder if they are all worth retaining, doesn’t it?

Beverly Fraud

May 1st, 2012
5:06 pm

DeKalb, Clayton, APS, and Fulton. The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence.

Angela

May 1st, 2012
5:13 pm

Okay, Cheryl did not send the wrong contract message to us. It is in fact the correct message just worded differently. We were told in staff meeting that the reason for the 6.25 reduction was just in case the budget had a short fall. However, according to Cheryl’s webenair she has proposed to the board (who has NOT approved the budget for next year) that the active school calendar for this school year (2011-2012) be the same calendar for next school year (2012-2013). She also, proposed that teachers keep their same current salaries. Well, this means that we will have furlough days that will equal to just below the 6.25 or they will add to equal the 6.25 reduction.

It is clear that Cheryl does not have any respect for teachers in any form or fashion. She seems to think that we are just plain ole STUPID. Either way she does not plan and will make sure that we do NOT get any of our salaries back or a raise in any form. Again, DCSS teachers either way we will end up with a 6.25 reduction. Also, keep in mind when you sign your contract the county is only obligated to pay us that printed and noted salary on the contract.

We must have a plan of action for the next school year before we leave this year. Remember, Cheryl earns 300K and none of this affects her salary in any form or fashion. She can still vacation in any country she chooses, just like APS (Beverly Hall) and still SMILING.

teachertoo

May 1st, 2012
5:17 pm

I cannot tell you how disheartened I am to be working in Dekalb. I am sad for the students and sad for myself. I so want to believe that we can turn this county around, but all I can do is give my best to my students every day and hope that the state wakes up and takes us over. Another audit that threatened county office workers ignored. More charges for Crawford Lewis, isn’t the county that is too broke to pay teachers paying his legal fees? Our tax annuity…history. Just heartsick.

Dekalb taxpayer

May 1st, 2012
5:18 pm

Baffled, Maureen, really?

Beverly Fraud

May 1st, 2012
5:19 pm

Will Dr. Cheryl lead by example and make her own 6.25 dependent on finding it for teachers?

Beverly Fraud

May 1st, 2012
5:22 pm

Sounds like a golden opportunity for those professional organization that represent teachers to hold the Supt. and the board to a promise to take their own 6.25 pay cut if they can’t find it for teachers.

Will they step up to the plate and make such a call?

Dekalbite

May 1st, 2012
5:30 pm

Does anyone think the BOE will uphold Central Office cuts that Dr. Atkinson may recommend that will affect their friends and family?

Not only should Dr. Atkinson lead by example, all of the BOE members should be taking significant pay cuts. Has anyone heard the BOE members say they will be taking pay cuts as well?

Ms. Tyson reinstated much of the travel budget this past year – much to the delight of many admin and support personnel. In light of the current budget crunch, that does not seem to me to have been a very fiscally prudent move.

Nikole

May 1st, 2012
5:36 pm

@ Angela—Actually, the county is obligated to pay you AT LEAST what the state of GA pays us. This year, I get about $20 extra in my check to make up for the fact that my pay doesn’t meet the amount that the state gives to Dekalb for my pay. This amount will be even greater next year, due to me moving up a step on the state schedule and earning my specialist this year.

Dekalbite@maureen

May 1st, 2012
5:40 pm

Many of the administrative and support personnel are careless. Unfortunately, carelessness has not been dealt with in a manner that would encourage employees to double check their work. When you tell someone in the admin and support side they made a very big mistake that adversely affects students and parents, you are often met with apathy and an “It’s no big deal. I’ll fix it when I have time” attitude. It’s like DeKalb Schools has a “too big to be wrong” mentality. Ask teachers if that is not true.

Customer service to teachers and students is generally very poor in DeKalb. The administrators and support personnel who give good customer service (God bless them) are doubly appreciated in DeKalb because the expectations are so low.

Enough Already, We feel the pain

May 1st, 2012
5:47 pm

Wow, Dekalb School Watch has blasted the incompetents with suggestion for a Monday morning plan for DeKalb County School System Educators. Thank you for speaking for our retirement, salary restoration, and future contributions. Seems like Cheryl has proven to ALL, she is not the lady for the job. How embarrassing, again! Come from behind the doors and stop making decisions by yourself. This is a large school district, not a country little block of schools in Ohio.

Angela

May 1st, 2012
5:50 pm

@Nikole,

Perhaps you should share how you are able to get such in your check. I have had my specialist for over three years. You see the only way that you can increase your check like that is to earn a higher degree. And, I am not sure that you are aware that the county pays you according to their scale not the state’s scale. The school systems are only obligated to pay you according to your degree level which mine is T6. Again, they are only obligated to pay you what is on your contract that is also, based upon the school systems pay scale for your earned and proven degree level. Just a note that all of that is about to change. Because you will only be paid for your degree level if you are already currently in that position. Such as administrative degrees you will only earn that pay and upgrade if you are already in that position not looking for a job in that position. I do not know all of the in’s and out’s of this you might want to check into it. It does not affect me so I did not learn as much about it.

Beverly Fraud

May 1st, 2012
5:51 pm

Also from DeKalb School Watch

Clearly, David Schutten and ODE have sold out.

Can anybody make a compelling case that he hasn’t?

When will the apologists for ODE realize that NON advocacy is a part of the problem?

yes i am worried

May 1st, 2012
5:51 pm

I think it is possible that Dr. Atkinson is being sabotaged, either with an intentional error meant to make her look bad or just plain old bad advice. When you add this to the calendar debacle, it does make you wonder.

I do agree with the comments above that incompetence has not been punished in DeKalb. There has been no incentive not to make a mistake. I hear Dr. Atkinson and her top people have a mean streak, so if this was an avoidable error, I hope heads role.

Dunwoody Mom

May 1st, 2012
5:55 pm

@yes, I am worried, the thought of “sabotage” crossed my mind – and I am not normally one of those who buys into such ideas, BUT, despite what some want to believe, Dr. Atkinson, from what I have been told, totally intends to revamp the Central Office. It will take time and not as quick as we would like. Because of this, she has made some people very unhappy….

Pardon My Blog

May 1st, 2012
5:55 pm

What a bunch of morons! Hate to say we told you so when she was hired, but …… And what about all the incompetents still pulling a paycheck that Lewis hired to fill created positions at the central office? DeKalb, we need to clean house totally. Get rid of the BoE, get rid of the Superintendent and clean house at central.

Dunwoody Mom

May 1st, 2012
5:56 pm

David Schutten is Eugene Walker’s lacky.

Dekalbite@yes i am worried

May 1st, 2012
6:02 pm

Heads need to roll when a shrug and “no big deal” is the attitude. To err is human, but when the attempts to correct the error are slow to none, that is sheer incompetence.

I agree that Dr. Atkinson is walking a tight rope. I remember when Dr. Brown sent many of the Central Office administrators back to the schools. What an uproar. You would have thought he was the devil incarnate. Many Central Office personnel sought to gum up the works, and many more set their minds to get rid of him. With the BOE’s help, they got their wish – and Crawford Lewis came in.

Lewis created whole departments, gave many promotions, and placed numerous employees on 11 and 12 month schedules with the corresponding extra pay. If you were in the non teaching arena during the time of Lewis, you made out very well indeed. Teachers and students – well, they didn’t make out so well, but the money had to come from somewhere. How does everyone think he lasted so long in the superintendent job?

Angela

May 1st, 2012
6:06 pm

@yes i am worried,

Her people are who put this out. The lady is no different than Crawford Lewis who is still in the news.

yes i am worried

May 1st, 2012
6:11 pm

Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith is from the Lewis administration. She is not new. I am confused as to why no national search was conducted to fill the very important head of HR position. Additionally, who is she connected to? (It is a reasonable question to ask in DeKalb) Where is her doctorate from? Again a reasonable question?

Angela, do you work for DCSS?

Dunwoody Mom

May 1st, 2012
6:12 pm

@Angela, HR is not headed by “her people”.

Beverly Fraud

May 1st, 2012
6:14 pm

Will David Schutten ask the board and Supt. to lead by example, or is it true he really is Eugene Walker’s lackey?

Angela

May 1st, 2012
6:27 pm

@yes i am worried

Yes.

truthmissle

May 1st, 2012
6:31 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

FutureTeacher

May 1st, 2012
6:32 pm

@ Angela

“Just a note that all of that is about to change. Because you will only be paid for your degree level if you are already currently in that position. Such as administrative degrees you will only earn that pay and upgrade if you are already in that position not looking for a job in that position. I do not know all of the in’s and out’s of this you might want to check into it. It does not affect me so I did not learn as much about it.”

So, this basically means that if I have a Master’s Degree and am seeking a job with DeKalb- I wouldn’t get paid at the level commensurate with my degree? They’ll just start every new hire at T4 Step 1? Where did you hear this? I realize you said you don’t know the “ins and outs” but where do you suggest one look for such?

Angela

May 1st, 2012
6:38 pm

@Dunwoody Mom

@Angela, HR is not headed by “her people”.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

The letter we received concerning our deduction in pay reads:

MEMO TO: Certified Instructional, Supervisory, and Administrative Personal
FROM: Dr. Cheryl L. H. Atkinson, Superintendent
REFERENCE: Employment Contracts for the 2012-2013 School Year

It does not say anything about HR. And, I did not say that her people were in HR. I said that her people put this out not HR and did not even mention HR. Her people are who she brought down and is paying them each 150k+ each.

However, Thank you for the information I was not aware of that!

Angela

May 1st, 2012
6:39 pm

@FutureTeacher

This is being done by the Georgia PSC not any school system.

bootney farnsworth

May 1st, 2012
6:40 pm

anyone trying to get on with DeKalb right now is either

1-connected
or
2-insane

Dunwoody Mom

May 1st, 2012
6:42 pm

@Angela, I certainly hope you are not a teacher because you don’t seem real bright. Human Resources in any company is in charge of hiring and firing.

MEMO TO: Certified Instructional, Supervisory, and Administrative Personnel

FROM: Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer

THROUGH: Dr. Cheryl L. H. Atkinson, Superintendent

Angela

May 1st, 2012
6:45 pm

@yes i am worried

This is my earlier post.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************
Angela

May 1st, 2012
5:13 pm
Okay, Cheryl did not send the wrong contract message to us. It is in fact the correct message just worded differently. We were told in staff meeting that the reason for the 6.25 reduction was just in case the budget had a short fall. However, according to Cheryl’s webenair she has proposed to the board (who has NOT approved the budget for next year) that the active school calendar for this school year (2011-2012) be the same calendar for next school year (2012-2013). She also, proposed that teachers keep their same current salaries. Well, this means that we will have furlough days that will equal to just below the 6.25 or they will add to equal the 6.25 reduction.

It is clear that Cheryl does not have any respect for teachers in any form or fashion. She seems to think that we are just plain ole STUPID. Either way she does not plan and will make sure that we do NOT get any of our salaries back or a raise in any form. Again, DCSS teachers either way we will end up with a 6.25 reduction. Also, keep in mind when you sign your contract the county is only obligated to pay us that printed and noted salary on the contract.

We must have a plan of action for the next school year before we leave this year. Remember, Cheryl earns 300K and none of this affects her salary in any form or fashion. She can still vacation in any country she chooses, just like APS (Beverly Hall) and still SMILING.

FutureTeacher

May 1st, 2012
6:47 pm

@ bootney…..True. I have a year before my degree is finished, so who knows what will happen by then, but I’m not optimistic.

Fericita

May 1st, 2012
6:50 pm

My husband got a letter from APS saying they overpaid him last year (even though he was paid the amount he was contracted for) and we owe them $. The contracts give no guarantees to the teachers anyway.

Spedteacher

May 1st, 2012
6:55 pm

@Angela your pay is in two parts – one part is paid by the state and the other is what the county pays as supplement which is why different counties have different pay scales. Every county has to pay what the state scale is, whether they pay a supplement is up to the county. My county doesn’t put the actual pay on the contracts anymore and there is nothing we can do about that. If we want a job, we sign and hope for the best.

Angela

May 1st, 2012
6:57 pm

@Dunwoody Mom,

Apparently, you are not too bright. I was reading my letter. When I replied to you. Are you going to tell me what the letter said that I received? My letter and no one in my school letter received on Monday with contracts said through anyone.

chillywilly

May 1st, 2012
6:59 pm

Dekalb County School Board, GET RID OF CHERYL ATKINSON RIGHT NOW! The woman is incompetent, is way over her head and NEVER should have been hired in the first place. TERMINATE HER IMMEDIATELY!

Dunwoody Mom

May 1st, 2012
7:01 pm

@Angela, we weren’t discussing yesterday’s letter, but today’s letter. Wake up.

Dekalbite

May 1st, 2012
7:07 pm

“Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith is from the Lewis administration.”

This is true. Tekshia Ward-Smith has been in HR since the Lewis administration. She was an assistant principal making $69,819 in 2004 (teaching certification is middle grades since 1992).

Human Resources:
2007: $89,000.
2008: $101,811
2009: $111,847
2010: $112,512
2011: $111,337

She’s now the Chief Human Resources Officer. I believe she took Jamie Wilson’s place. He was making $164,000 a year. Don’t know what her new salary is.

It’s surprising that our Human Resources is not handled by a someone with a degree in Human Resources since DCSS employs 15,000 employees and is a billion dollar industry.

Bonnie Zagrodny

May 1st, 2012
7:13 pm

Yes, I did not even get the courtesy of a letter. I was told at 3PM not to go to East DeKalb to pick up a contract because no contract was there. After 11 years of hard work I expected more. Perhaps I am stupid. Right now I haveno idea what is going on. This would NEVER be tolerated in the private sector.

Dunwoody Mom

May 1st, 2012
7:24 pm

Hopefully after this nonsense and the previously reported “snafu” of paying people no longer employed by the school system will prompt having an individual over Human Resources who actually has had experience and knows how to run an HR department.

Angela

May 1st, 2012
7:38 pm

@Dunwoody MOM,,

Please DEAR HEART, Read my comment. That might just let you know what the real deal is. Because I am there in the mix and affected by all of this. You are OUTSIDE.

************************************************************************************************************************************************
Oops. DeKalb sends wrong contract language to teachers. Corrections going out.
************************************************************************************************************************************************Okay, Cheryl did not send the wrong contract message to us. It is in fact the correct message just worded differently. We were told in staff meeting that the reason for the 6.25 reduction was just in case the budget had a short fall. However, according to Cheryl’s webenair she has proposed to the board (who has NOT approved the budget for next year) that the active school calendar for this school year (2011-2012) be the same calendar for next school year (2012-2013). She also, proposed that teachers keep their same current salaries. Well, this means that we will have furlough days that will equal to just below the 6.25 or they will add to equal the 6.25 reduction.

It is clear that Cheryl does not have any respect for teachers in any form or fashion. She seems to think that we are just plain ole STUPID. Either way she does not plan and will make sure that we do NOT get any of our salaries back or a raise in any form. Again, DCSS teachers either way we will end up with a 6.25 reduction. Also, keep in mind when you sign your contract the county is only obligated to pay us that printed and noted salary on the contract.

We must have a plan of action for the next school year before we leave this year. Remember, Cheryl earns 300K and none of this affects her salary in any form or fashion. She can still vacation in any country she chooses, just like APS (Beverly Hall) and still SMILING.

Pardon My Blog

May 1st, 2012
7:39 pm

If only people knew what Dr. Lewis did to assemble his “team”. His criteria was very simple and should be blatantly clear to everyone. Do you honestly think that these were the best candidates that applied for these positions? Think again.

Dr. Atkinson is naive to think that the employees at the central office are working with her. She is not qualified to handle this system and they know it and there is a faction that feel threatened so they will “show her”.

Pardon My Blog

May 1st, 2012
7:40 pm

@Angela – Obviously you are not an English teacher and if so, you probably need some refresher courses.

leigh

May 1st, 2012
7:50 pm

intends on recommending? Oh please. And if any of you are missing any commas, I know where they are. god help you people in Dekalb Co.

Angela

May 1st, 2012
7:55 pm

Namely Dunwood MOM,

It seems to behoove me when people know more than the people who are affected by the issue or concern.

“The title is: Oops. DeKalb sends wrong contract language to teachers. Corrections going out.”

Everything, that is printed in this blog is not what we hear. For, the most part we hear and know more of what is going on because we are inside. What comes to the outside is merely LEEKED. And, just for the record Ms. Dunwoody MOM, HR merely hires based upon recommendation from the principals or whom ever the interviewer is needing the position filled. And, just for the record those people that have been recently fired or demoted or otherwise it has come from Cheryl Atkinson herself. I know that because I am on the inside. A principal or boss or any certified personnel there is a process they cannot be immediately fired without that process unless they have done something illegal. And, then it still has to be proven with phyical evidence. Again, I know that because I am on the inside not outside. All terminations must be cleared via the Super.

Angela

May 1st, 2012
7:59 pm

@Pardon My Blog

I don’t have to be for your information. If I make a typeo it is just that. I am not on this blog or making comments on this blog for perfection. I am not being paid here to teach anything and neither are you. Perhaps, you should go to a perfect blog where everyone is perfect. I am not the only one on here with grammar typeo error. But Thank you for your perfect comment and concerns. I will still be paid to teach those that I do and they make it to the state with their writing skills.

Angela

May 1st, 2012
8:01 pm

Before you comment about someone else’s English, check your own. Did you mean FRACTION instead of FACTION?

*********************************************************************************************************************************************
Pardon My Blog

May 1st, 2012
7:39 pm
If only people knew what Dr. Lewis did to assemble his “team”. His criteria was very simple and should be blatantly clear to everyone. Do you honestly think that these were the best candidates that applied for these positions? Think again.

Dr. Atkinson is naive to think that the employees at the central office are working with her. She is not qualified to handle this system and they know it and there is a faction that feel threatened so they will “show her”.

Pardon My Blog

May 1st, 2012
8:03 pm

@ Angela – I do believe you mean “leaked” and the principals can only interview the applicants that HR has filtered, in other words, those that HR believe fill the required “criteria”.