DeKalb budget tonight: A sideshow that left everyone dissatisfied

DeKalb County residents will see taxes and class size rise in a difficult school board budget vote tonight that will likely  irk a lot of folks in the county.

There was no way the board could not aggravate someone with an $84 million deficit to overcome and very hard choices to make.

DeKalb’s protracted and painful budget process highlights the inability of this school board to coalesce, even when faced with a grave crisis. Rather than coming together to resolve what may be the state’s worst school situation, board members sniped at one another, putting on what amounted to a sideshow. (New school chief Cheryl Atkinson might be pining for Ohio about now.)

I am not sure if school board members just don’t like one another or if they believe the public bickering wins them point with their camps.

According to the AJC:

The board voted to raise taxes. It also increased class sizes, even for special education students, while adding two furlough days for teachers and cutting the number of their aides.

The Fernbank Science Center suffered, too, but not as badly as previously proposed. The board cut $1.9 million — about 40 percent — from the center’s $4.7 million budget; Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson had recommended a $3.2 million cut.

Overall, the district’s budget was reduced by $77.5 million.

“A cut is a cut just like if you cut your hand, so it’s going to hurt,” said board member Pam Speaks, who was in the minority opposing both the tax increase and the budget cuts. Voting with her were Paul Womack, Nancy Jester and Don McChesney.

Voting for the cuts and the tax increase were: Eugene Walker, Jesse “Jay” Cunningham, Sarah Copelin-Wood, Tom Bowen and Donna Edler.

The tax increase was by 1 mill to raise another $14.8 million, pushing the limit to within a mill of the voter-approved cap of 25. The two furlough days come atop four furlough days implemented in prior years. All the furlough days would be teacher workdays and would not affect the attendance calendar.

The decision came only after board members spent more than an hour attacking one another, eliciting groans from the near-capacity audience. They argued about whether money was mishandled by officials in the administration that preceded Atkinson’s.

“They act more like middle school students trading insults than adults trying to pass a serious budget,” David Schutten complained afterward. He’s the president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, a teachers advocacy group. Despite the deep cuts, including the two furlough days and the loss of 200 paraprofessionals, he said he was satisfied with the outcome. After all, the board had tossed around the idea of cutting 300 paraprofessionals and adding a third furlough day.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

73 comments Add your comment

gradgrind

June 21st, 2012
10:08 pm

Recall or relocate.

Anonmom

June 21st, 2012
10:10 pm

Split the system.

Dunwoody Mom

June 21st, 2012
10:19 pm

I am not sure if school board members just don’t like one another or if they believe the public bickering wins them point with their camps.

All of the above. I’m truly embarassed and ashamed at what I have seen from this BOE this week.

MiltonMan

June 21st, 2012
10:20 pm

You clowns in DeKalb keep electing these Democratic morons. What else do you expect?

Dunwoody Mom

June 21st, 2012
10:21 pm

Well, ODE Members, David Schutten was “satisfied” with the outcome. How do you feel about that seeing as the district AGAIN balanced the budget on the backs of the teachers and students.

LOGIC

June 21st, 2012
10:39 pm

The spectacle was more than this finance person could bear. First, the approach to the cuts was neither logical nor sound. This has put Atkinson in the worst light in my opinion. To raise taxes YET still increase class size AND add furlough days AND cut 200 parapros is quite despicable. At least let me feel like my taxes saved some angst in the classroom!

Dr. Walker needs to be investigated immediately. His inability to acknowledge the known budgetary transgressions are appalling and only imply that he is somehow involved in the misappropriation because of his ADAMANT stance to say that everything was copacetic with previous budgets.

Atkinson also shows herself, along with the majority of the Board, as incapable of looking for what is best for the county. As Districts, 1, 2, and 4 provide 60% of the revenues for DeKalb and whose home values have taken the biggest hits, they will now pay more taxes to the other counties who receive almost 75% of the budget allocations. The special programs like Fernbank aren’t teaching kids to read or write.

I am sure that Atkinson secured the raises for her $150K inner circle and that those furlough days really won’t matter to them because the $10K increase will cover it. And, she increased her media budget.

I am sure that people are happy that they have their bussing, prek, Fernbank, Montessori, etc. when while we continue to water down the value of the most fundamental components of education.

There are aren’t qualified candidates to consider and after an exhaustive search, the best this BOE leadership could get was Atkinson.

The worst part of the evening was to see how racially divided we insist on being. I am disappointed (and disgusted) in each of the Board members (and Atkinson & Perrone) for their votes, comments, ineptitude, financial illiteracy and demeanor. Perrone especially was a disappointment for not knowing his budget. Isn’t Edler a CPA? What about Jester? Isn’t she an actuary? Couldn’t there have been a little more substantive financial conversation instead of not understanding which motion was up first?

THIS IS TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. I can only vote for 2 of the 9 clowns who are messing with my property value and community.

The time has come to leave the pillaged shell that is now DeKalb if you don’t split the system.

AGOG AND AGHAST

June 21st, 2012
10:44 pm

This was a no win situation for people who actually work with our children in the school where learning is SUPPOSED happen. There won’t be too much of that going on this year. The big winners are the usual suspects: the ones earning the highest salaries. Bigger classes, even for students with disabilites and fewer paraprofessionals to help the already overworked and underpaid teachers. No media clerks, so the remaining media specialists won’t have time to enhance learning for the students.This is SHAMEFUL. I am sick of the whining about how these board members did not mismanage/misappropriate funds. Yes you did and you still are doing it. BTW, I am not impressed with a 6.25% salary cut for those who make $100000 or more. I am even less impressed by a 6.25% salary cut for those with $200,000 or more and have all sorts of allowances and expense accounts in addition to the salary. They don’t need to worry about no matching funds for their retirement. They can afford to put more money into that retirement acccount. Now 6.25% of $50,000 or less, in addition to six furlough days and insurance subsidy cuts, that represents those who are feeling the pain. You make all the cuts to teachers and staff who are actually with students throughout the day- not the administrators. The BOE and the superintendent have made it very clear that their money is far more important than educating our children. Where is the state of Georgia? Where is the Georgia DOE? Also, board members were moaning about how this district should be more in line with other districts. Take a look at the heirarchy in those districts; the top levels at DCSD are NOT in line with other districts, even the ones with more students.

d

June 21st, 2012
10:45 pm

This ODE member realizes how much worse it could have been. We have to live with the people DeKalb citizens elect (Womack)… I feel if the DeKalb electorate actually voted for people wo truly care about DeKalb students and not *I* am not going to raise taxes Womack-like board members, we would not be in this situation.

valid questions

June 21st, 2012
10:47 pm

Milton Man, Bowen, Speaks, Jester, Womack and McChesney are republican or lean republican.

The two furlough days should be student contact days. And I am a parent. DCSS has a stupid calendar next year, coming back for two days after Memorial Day. What a waste.

They truly don’t like each other and it shows. Hey SACS — do you even care?

AGOG AND AGHAST

June 21st, 2012
10:50 pm

@ Dunwoody Mom: Dave Schutten should not be confused when membership drops for the upcoming school year. It will not be due to the fact that DeKalb educators can’t afford the dues (which is highly likely with these cuts), it will be due their dissatisfaction with his satisfaction.

LOGIC

June 21st, 2012
11:05 pm

Interesting that my post had the name of the former CFO removed. It is factual to state that he and his office did not account for interest on our bonds and is part of the reason in our bond rating downgrade and a whole host of other budgetary missteps. Doesn’t even take an MBA to figure that out. Hope the AJC knows something I don’t and that we can’t mention his name because of something that could actually hold some of the idiots at the Palace accountable to the taxpayers.

Eric1997

June 21st, 2012
11:18 pm

@AGOG & Dunwoody I think ODE members realize that no one else was there speaking for employees, no good options were available for them right now and your bashing the president they elected isn’t going to change that… Or do you have any other suggestions for how to have fixed this mess?

Stop the welfare for generations

June 21st, 2012
11:19 pm

Time for tax paying citizens to move out of Dekalb county.

will not pay for Marta pensions/Grady / School principal pensions of 150k.

This overspending and wastage needs to stop.

Tax payers are getting tired of supporting govt union workers and free loaders.

d

June 21st, 2012
11:20 pm

I think the main lesson that needs to come out of this is for District 4 – it seems Mr. Womack is going to try to bring down DCSD single handedly and the voters there need to realize that next month.

ClassroomTeacher

June 21st, 2012
11:35 pm

As a teacher in DCSD, I teach every student who comes to my class regardless of their race. I teach students, I do not teach African-American students, White students, or Latino students. My students depend on me each day to provide them with the instruction that they need. I do not care if their parents are Democrats or Republicans, if their parents are rich or poor, or if they live in a house, apartment, or hotel. Over the past few years I have seen a trend of calling for the school system to be split into smaller districts so that the money goes to “our own kids.” This needs to stop now! Teachers, Cops, and Firemen serve the entire county and we care about all that we serve. Politics is something that is learned and I don’t think the education of all of our children in the county should be tarnished by politics. As a county we need to work together to improve the conditions for all of our citizens. There needs to be an end to this me first thinking that has permeated the county. Get on board to help all or leave.

Miss Management

June 21st, 2012
11:52 pm

I am not sure if school board members just don’t like one another or if they believe the public bickering wins them point with their camps.

Are you kidding? They can’t stand each other. Half the reason they are contrary with each other is because they can!

The Deal

June 22nd, 2012
12:02 am

Do not forget that 4 voted against this budget. The ones to blame are the 5 who voted for it – Wood, Edler, Cunningham, Walker, and Bowen. New blood (read: Edler) doesn’t always solve the problem because they say one thing when they are campaigning and do something else entirely when it comes to voting.

The entire central office should be zero-base budgeted. Scrap them all and only let those back in who prove that their job and work is essential to student achievement. Any others can stay home.

I can’t believe our taxes were raised, and, yet teachers are being fired by the hundreds (paras, magnets, class size), class sizes are being raised, and nothing positive is being done FOR our students. Nothing!

Does anyone have a clear list of the areas whose budgets increased? Didn’t I see somewhere it was Dr. Atkinson’s office and the Board’s expenses? Up by several million $?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

June 22nd, 2012
1:58 am

Whatever happened to “a city too busy to hate?”

The sins of the fathers (and mothers) will again be visited upon their children.

SAD

June 22nd, 2012
2:16 am

This could affect me. I think the board should consider another option like going through each school and each department and making cuts in other areas. There are some positons that could be removed. Then place these employees in other positions as employees retire or resigned. Cut back on some of the admin asst. positions and make them all 10 months positions. There are admin asst that in higher positions that make $66,000 a year. That’s more than teachers with more than 10 years teaching. Cut back on some of the custodian positions make some of those jobs 11 months. But don’t cut the heart of education the paraprofessional. Paraprofessionals do a lot to in educating our children. More are needed in the other grades besides Kindergarten and Special Ed.

Defeated

June 22nd, 2012
7:19 am

This Dekalb educator truly feels defeated…I love my job, but I can’t afford to have my salary cut a fourth year in a row…six furlough days may not seem like alot to people but for me an expectant mother this October, it’s an additional 500 dollar reduction in my monthly income. I honestly don’t know what to do. But on August 13th, i’m expected to have my classroom ready for students with supplies that l have to pay for out of my OWN pocket because my school gives me NOTHING to start the year with(no funds in the budget and some parents don’t bring in supplies). I’m expected to greet each student with a smile and be ready to hit the ground running. But when the school day ends I have to worry how i’m going to keep my home, pay bills, pay childcare when my child comes….I could go on and on but it’s not going to change anything. Yes, I am thankful to have my job I do realize it could be worse. But as a single person with 18 years of teaching experience and an EdS degree, I should not be struggling with finances.

Pardon My Blog

June 22nd, 2012
7:24 am

Well once again instead of doing the obvious budget cuts (transportation, central office, 25% salary cuts to higher paid administrators i.e. Atkinson) instead they decide to short the students and have the North side of the county foot the bill for more mismanagement and misdeeds. Unreal.

FYI

June 22nd, 2012
7:26 am

As ridiculous as this Board is, everyone needs to remember that they are part-time, elected officials who are not making the budget proposals – now or in the past. They would listen to the recommendations presented by the Superintendent and his/her staff.

For the outcry to unseat these members, you need to remember that the stupidity is coming from the administration. Having been there in person, Atkinson kicked off the meeting by removing a line item (#19) but did not say what it was. Old handouts were available in the conference room and the line items were not reviewed in a logical way. She PURPOSELY skirted real conversation and facts and I find her behavior unethical.

The Board members didn’t know how to submit and vote on motions on the voting sequence and they voted for a tax increase first prior to discussing the cuts. Yes, the deal was struck before hand, but give people the facts.

Secondly, it does not sound like even information hogs like Jester had all the details – like the detailed budget. If they did, they would have point blank asked about the real number of central office cuts. Yet, they “sort of” asked.

So, without the official information at hand, our elected officials gave the Superintendent and her CFO a pass, allowed them to keep the fat in their budget and put the burden on the taxpayers, teachers and students with tax increases, furlough days and the elimination of 200 parapros AND more students per class.

DCSD, Atkinson and Clew Crew need to be removed ASAP (in addition to the Board, but that is old news). For all the rambling that Womack did last night, he was correct in saying that there needs to be an investigation because the administrations (previous and current) are letting the Board bear the brunt of the pain with the electorate. Granted, it would be better if this Board knew how to ask intelligent questions and use deductive reasoning, but for the chump change that they get to sit on this Board, we can never expect qualified candidates to run if they actually need to make a living.

If you don’t think DeKalb and the DA’s office is corrupt, then why hasn’t CLew been tried already? With Pope’s cancer, the further the date gets pushed out, the less likely she is to testify.

Disgusting.

Pardon My Blog

June 22nd, 2012
7:38 am

I agree with @FYI and this is one time I did agree with Womack. The State probably does need to step in and remove the whole group because corruption and mismanagement will continue. Even though the Board members are not part of the budget proposal process, it is their sworn duty to know all line items and to be reviewing the budget and expenses on an ongoing basis. It is also their duty to ask the hard questions so that they are fully informed. We, as the taxpayers of DeKalb, have the responsibility to vet the candidates that running for Board positions in order to prevent those with a criminal background, such as Walker, from ever getting that position in the first place.

Hey Maureen!

June 22nd, 2012
7:44 am

What is interesting, if you could weed out what was said in the last two meetings by Bowen and Womack, is that prior cuts were never made. At an earlier budget committee, it was reported that the system had 820ish paras but three years ago when 100-200 were suppose to be cut, the system had 800. What the heck happened?

I remember cuts being made to the magnet program, but very little really changed.

Maureen and Ty, this would be a great story if someone could wrap their arms around it. It would also be great to follow it through to the fall, what staffing we have had this year vs next.

say what?

June 22nd, 2012
8:17 am

@ Hey Maureen! every year positions would be RIF’d to get them off of payroll for the upcoming year (July 1). Because they would get their pay through August( 10 months salary spread over 12 months, so September-August) they would be OK. Suddenly, right before school began, they would appear again. This is is DCSD has met the budget for several years. Move people, then move them back.

I am disappointed that Dr. Atkinson’s crew ( her friends network) will receive a pay increase regardless of what occurs with everyone else. I am even more concerned that the influx of friends is occurring. What she is saying to all of you employees and taxpayers, as she brings people in as principals, is that none of you are of value.

Shaking My Head

June 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

The DeKalb County School Board continues to amaze and stupify me… They have continued to cut teacher and staff pay while allowing the entitlement of Magnet School Transportation to live and breath. I say entitlement, because no other county provides this transportation. Being that DeKalb does and will continue even in the most dire budget crises, shows me it is nothing but a continuation of the old court ordered M to M program of getting the kids out of the hood and into schools in the north end of the county. Why in the hell should over a million dollars be spent to allow bus service for so few “randomly selected” students? That is over a million dollars taken away from the betterment of the overall system. If those kid’s parents want to get them out of their neighborhood school, then they should be responsible for getting them to other end of the county and not the tax payers. Edler had the gall to sit there and as if she did not understand what entitlement people were talking about. OMG! I am sure she fully understands the entitlement. If she doesn’t she is dumber than her board co-hort Copelin-Woods! That whole board needs to be fired, investigated and indicted where the shoe fits.

John

June 22nd, 2012
9:34 am

At what point does the state gov’t step in and start an investigation into the happenings of Dekalb School System Administration? Nothing will change in the county as long as it remains as divided as it is now. 2 different voting bases with different needs. Time to split it. Until that happens, we’ll have more of the same.

Maybe I'm Amazed

June 22nd, 2012
9:55 am

For all the bickering going on last night, Womack had the right idea. The whole shootin’ match needs to be investigated from the superintendant, to the board to the over bloated county adminstration. How do we get the state involved before all of these clowns totally ruin the DeKalb County Schools? I have kids in the system and we do not have much further to go before we hit bottom!

ParaMom

June 22nd, 2012
10:00 am

What happened with not touching the classroom? 200 Paras touch a classroom! We insist on maintaining the 1.1 mil for magnet, theme busing. This is a select group. If you do not want to attend your neighborhood school, provide your own transportation. We need to keep in mind how we can impact the biggest group. It’s time to cut magnet transportation.

You need to start looking at your neighborhood because Elder suggested on Wednesday that we need to look at school consolidations and closings. Communities need to be proactive and come together with a plan to present before they bring it to us. Show we are willing to work together to help save money and be creative.

I was disgusted that the meeting was not handled well and the Mr. Walker did not control it as the chairperson. I did not see much professionalism in these proceedings. I commend McChesney, Speaks and Jester’s demeanor and calmness.

It’s going to take the parents coming together to help get us through this mess and get involved to help advocate change in our system. Join you local school councils, get educated and help educate your neighbors to we will have change.

Fried Out

June 22nd, 2012
10:12 am

The DeKalb County School Board is officially the Dumbest County School Board, no only in the state, but in the country. This school systems has been in shambles for years with corruption and nepotism being the norm. Every time there is a budget crunch, they ask the teachers to suck it up while the same old corruption and nepotism is allowed to continue. Well guess what? Mmorale is at an all time low in DeKalb schools and I doubt there will be any decent teachers left in the system. The good ones will all head for school systems that value them and the deadwood terrible teachers will be all that is left.
Hey school board…Thanks so much for nothing you bunch of ignorant, political hacks!

Scared to Death

June 22nd, 2012
10:15 am

I recently moved to DeKalb county and have young children. I am now scared to death to send them into the system. There does need to be an investigation into what has and is going on. Time to get a second job so I can send them to private school.

Why Don't Dekalb Residents Get It?

June 22nd, 2012
10:22 am

I am usually a huge supporter of our local “online” newspapers such as the Patch and the AJC, but I have to call out the comment of the 1 mill rate increase equalling $80 a year for the $200K home.

Even with $80, I expect to get something decent. For $80, I can get a week’s worth of groceries for my house – 6 or 7 meals for a family of 4. I could go buy something practical that I will re-use time and again.

What is DCSD giving me for my $80? Bussing for kids whose parents want them in a magnet school, but won’t drive them? Why are they entitled to participate in a special program at my expense and my kids lose their Para and have MORE kids in their class?

Again, MY HOUSEHOLD is not getting ANYTHING for the $80 AND I can’t write it off as a charitable donation. At this point, most of my property taxes should be written off as a charitable donation because my local school is not benefitting from the majority of taxes I pay!

PLEASE HAVE THE STATE TAKE OVER and KICK ALL OF THEM (Super, Cronies and Board) OUT IMMEDIATELY!

G

June 22nd, 2012
10:27 am

This Dekalb resident and husband of a Dekalb teacher currently has our house on the market. It has been a struggle seeing her pay decrease the last 4 years, and now it is best we get out. It will only get worse. Expect the same issues to show up next year, and 1-2 years after that. These are quick fixes, and nothing will change unless a whole new system is in place.

Shar

June 22nd, 2012
10:28 am

@Ms. Downey, would you please update your readers on the status of the DCSB elections? Last I read, the sitting Board members were ignoring the Legislature’s mandate that they consolidate districts and downsize from 9 to 7 members. With primaries soon upon us, the Board simply refused to comply and identify the new district lines, thereby prohibiting any new candidates from entering the race since they couldn’t know if their residence qualified.

With the fatuous and corrupt performance of the DCSB so painfully on view, will voters have choices next month or have they been effectively disenfranchised by this intractable Board?

Teed Off in DeKalb

June 22nd, 2012
10:47 am

I am really teed off about having my taxes increased by 1 mil or even 1 cent. Why should I or any other tax payer be forced to pay more to this bunch of inept and corrupt bozos? Talk about pouring more money down the rat hole know as DeKalb County Schools.
If I felt the money might actually do some good and help better educate our students, I would be first in line to pay the extra amount. As it stands now, I am totally disgusted this group of jackals is allowed to shake down the tax payers once again. Despicalble, totally despicable!

Mary

June 22nd, 2012
11:01 am

When will the similar issues in Clayton County schools be brought to light in this blog? Why is AJC/Get Schooled seemingly afraid to allow bloggers to sound off about CCPS when Gwinnett, DeKalb, APS and others are regularly featured? Someone must have a really good sounding “I’ll sue you for libel” attorney in the wings…Didn’t newspapers used to have some “kahones” when it came to stuff like this? Disappointing…

catlady

June 22nd, 2012
11:56 am

Call it the “Jerry Springer”code of behavior or the “Crack Mama” code of behavior. Either the board members have seen it on TV or they have seen this kind of behavior in their homes. Neither puts them in a favorable light. Dekalb citizens, is THIS the best you can do?

Over This

June 22nd, 2012
12:09 pm

I agree with “Teed Off in Dekalb!” WOW: raise my taxes AND take from the kids, #!@#%#!!!… WE have got to be more responsible with our vote… Based on last evening’s vote, my district BOE representative definitely didn’t listen to me or anyone in my community. Just over this, for now.

Welcome to our World of Dekalb

June 22nd, 2012
12:35 pm

Nothing has changed!
Still Corrupted
Still Nepotism
Still Mismanaging funds
Still Dekalb

The board is not doing all they can to cutting the budget. There are too many other options that they can consider. But the staff doesn’t have to lose jobs and class sizes don’t have to increase. Just from the top of my head I see some areas that could be cut back to save money. NO ONE WOULD LOSE A JOB. My plan would guarentee raises by the 2013-14 school year. The board needs to put thier selfishness aside and think about the children and the employees. We can’t continue go on like. this

Why Don't Dekalb Residents Get It?

June 22nd, 2012
12:39 pm

Remember, we can’t vote for the administration. This debacle has Atkinson’s fingerprints all over it. The Board Members are the perpetual lemmings who believe the Super and don’t fight for what is right (or even know what is right). DeKalb got walked all over yesterday with an “in your face” we can do what we want to do approach to this budget that further impoverished the poorer districts by taking resources away and penalizing the teachers and catering to the special interest groups.

Fernbank supporters – be ashamed. Our kids in the poorer area schools don’t have the bare basics and you think it is your right to exist with exhibit builders, $100K scientists, etc. on the backs of the taxpayers, students and teachers.

Each DEKALB child has the right to a comparable education regardless of the district they are in. Special interest groups continue to rob these poor children whose only hope for success is education.

I am most disappointed in Donna Edler because she was supposed to be an agent of change for our district. I thought that she was a proponent for the kids who don’t have a voice and voting for that budget last night goes to show that leaving kids to fend for themselves is ok.

College Professor

June 22nd, 2012
12:44 pm

Unfortunately, I own a home in DeKalb, and my money is wasted on the public schools. Only one solution exists for the rampant waste and confiscatory taxes that the utterly incompetent and shameful school board imposes on property owners: The city of Atlanta, the city of Decatur, and all parts of Fulton and DeKalb counties south of Memorial Drive should unite to form King County; the rest of Fulton and DeKalb unite to form Freedom County.

NTLB

June 22nd, 2012
1:22 pm

@MiltonMan—the Republican clowns that have FAILED to create jobs, curtail government corruption, AND continued to slice the state’s educational budget are truly the ones to blame.

Blue, not red, is the color of most of this nation’s top performing (in education) states.

Atlanta Media Guy

June 22nd, 2012
1:23 pm

Dr. A seems to be be an extension of the Clew Crew! A Billion dollars over the past 4 years could not fund our school system, really! These dolts have continued the corrupt ways of the Clew Crew! SACS is silent, David Schutten must be getting something from someone, if I was a teacher this clown, Schutten would not be my representative to DCSS. Walker got half of his tax increase, Ramsey got his raise and I still can’t figure out what this guy does! Ramsey still does not have DCSS has his employer on his campaign website. Tyson is still in the building, as well as so many others from the Clew Crew and they continue to get their money. Teachers you’ll pay more if you get sick, your retirement is really messed up now, since you signed the agreement and you left Social Security trussing DCSS would keep their end of the deal. DCSS honest really, those funds are gone forever. Kiss the good teachers good bye forever. DCSS is sure to be stuck on stupid for a few more years.

Nothing is going to change, teachers are lowlife to the palace staff and the 5 on the BOE that voted for this crap sandwich.

I do have couple of questions.

- 2 years since the Tyson led redistricting fiasco, can we get a good accounting on the savings that closing the schools and moving around helped the budget…

- Can Former CFO, Turk be brought up on any charges relating to the awful job he did as CFO..Was it purposely done or was he just an idiot.. I’m just wondering since this guy was such a rock star, when he and Tyson faced down Clew regarding Clew’s p-card abuse [sarc.]

DCSS mired in the muck of mistrust and misinformation since 2004!

my2cents

June 22nd, 2012
1:25 pm

So the State won’t step in until the school system is on the verge of losing accreditation or based on grand jury recommendations. Truly, the lunatics are running the asylum. This situation demands leadership and there is no way to get it.

Atlanta Media Guy

June 22nd, 2012
1:25 pm

Hey, I meant a BILLION DOLLARS per year, the last 4 years. Sorry about that..

Atlanta Media Guy

June 22nd, 2012
1:29 pm

Hey Milton Man! State Farm hiring 500 more over the next year in Dunwoody. NCR hiring over 1000 in Duluth and Suwanee. KIA brought a lot of jobs.. I know of 6 other companies expanding in the perimeter CID. Even your blue man, Labor Secretary, Michael Thurmond had better news then you are belching.. Who is your source.. just wondering..

Digger

June 22nd, 2012
1:49 pm

Attentive Parent

June 22nd, 2012
2:44 pm

Well, I wasn’t going to comment but I was in a meeting this past week where the representative from the Georgia school board association told candidates for area school boards and the state legislature that the board must defer to the superintendent they hired on virtually all operating decisions.

In fact I wrote a post about it because I don’t think this is well known. Nor do I think it is healthy. I made the point in the meeting that it would explain the dictatorial mindset I am hearing from parents about from all over. After I spoke up and the meeting ended I had a lot of people coming up and saying that it leaves the super only accountable to SACS. And SACS not really accountable to anyone.

There are school districts now from what I was told anecdotally where the district super does not feel any compulsion to return board members phone calls unless they are part of the majority voting bloc.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-is-really-in-charge-the-school-board-the-super-the-accreditors-or-unesco/

If my reference to UNESCO make no sense, that’s a June 5 post.

Welcome to our World of Dekalb

June 22nd, 2012
2:53 pm

@ Dekalb residents

Fernbank needs to be shut down and reorganized. The curriculum is not in line with the GPS. The planetarium has shown the same shows since the 70’s. There is more technology on the computer. It would be more beneficial if they sold the property to the Atlanta Astronomy Club some type of organization. Place the teacher into schools to teach science related to state standards. Fernbank costs a lot of money to continue. Like the space shuttle it needs to take it final voyage with Dekalb.

Teacher Reader

June 22nd, 2012
3:18 pm

Watching board meeting last night was appalling. I don’t think that those running the school, the board or Atkinson understand the economic climate of the world right now. We cannot afford to be spending on wants and can only afford needs. The situation this year is likely to continue year after year until spending is reigned in.

1. More cuts need to happen at the Palace-all levels, MIS, grounds, transportation, and any other department that does not actually teach a child. Also, all other employees should be having increased work loads, as teachers have been dumped on time and time again.

2. NO ONE should be getting a raise of any kind. If we can’t pay our teachers the salaries that are in our salary schedules, than no administrator, secretary or toilet cleaner should be getting a raise of any kind.

3. Text books are not needed every year. Teachers just get used to the books that they are using and then they are asked to learn new books. How is this benefiting the children? New text books are nice to have, but under these economic conditions, replacing every 5 years is way too early.

4. Busing to choice programs. Parents made the choice to send their child to these choice programs. Then they should pay to get them to that school.

5. If these choice programs are getting the same number of points and students as the neighborhood schools, what would happen if we closed these choice programs down and put more energy into making our neighborhood schools provide a quality product?

6. I am tired of paying more in taxes living in District 2 and not getting my monies worth. I teach my son what a good value is when we make purchases. The money that I send in for my school taxes is equivalent to throwing money in the toilet and flushing. Who wants to send their child to a school that is over crowded? I am glad that I can homeschool, but am angry that my tax dollars are not being used in a way that benefits the children.

7. School districts are not about employing people. School districts are about educating children. I do not think that Dr. A or the board truly understands this mission. Every child in DeKalb deserves a quality education, which is tough for any teacher to give if their class is over crowded and they are being asked to grade more papers with the same amount of time.

8. Fernbank Science Center programs could easily be handled at the high schools. The Fernbank Science teachers do not have the large class sizes of the high school teacher and can of course accomplish more. As one who loves science, ALL kids deserve a quality science education, not just those lucky enough to have their name drawn in a Fernbank lottery.

9. I am tire of the racial garbage that is constantly played. It’s not a matter of black vs. white, poor vs. rich, it’s a matter of what is truly best in helping to improve the education of ALL students in the county. School buses don’t educate a child. Secretaries and highly paid administrators don’t educate children. The district could easily do with out many jobs and still educate the children. This is what needs to be done. Those voting for the tax increase and for this budget need to be removed when their position opens up, as they do not have the best interest of the children of DeKalb in any of their motives.

10. School board members should have to disclose ALL family members working for the school system and where their children attend school, if appropriate, as part of running for the district, that way voters can see where school board members true loyalty lies.

11. Voters need to go to the polls in July and vote for the children. Right now too many in our school board are about the adults and non-teaching employees, and have lost interest in giving our children a quality education.

12. Dr. A was not my first choice as superintendent, and I don’t care for her now. She is more of the same, which is why those who voted for her liked her. I still wonder who she knows to have gotten her job.

13. My nightly prayer is that someone will come and and dismantle the DeKalb school system. Not break it into two or three districts, but throw everyone who has made any decisions on the programs chosen, the way teachers teach, the budgets, the way a penny is spent, out and the district starts anew.

14. As soon as we can get out from being under water of our home, we are going to sell. We will give the thing away if we need to, so that we can get out of this county. The corruption here from the school district to the race track the CEO is trying to build without permission has got to stop. I am tired of seeing my hard earned money spent in unwise and unjust ways. I thank the board for showing their true colors these past weeks, and for getting my husband and I to work harder to get the heck out of here.

15. The tax increase may just be “$80″ to some, but as others have pointed out, my extra $80 isn’t really necessary, if Dr. A made a better budget and made more cuts for unnecessary staff, than no tax increase would have been needed. The way my family would spend this money is a much better value to my family than giving to the district, so that the kids have larger class sizes and fewer people really helping them (para pros, and media specialists).