Is DeKalb waiting for a “budget fairy” to wave away its money woes?

I hate layoffs but am not sure DeKalb County Schools is serving its employees by pretending it can avoid them in this dire budget crisis.

As one parent said after the school boarded 5-2 last night to instruct Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson to find $20 million in cuts elsewhere, “What are they waiting on, the ‘budget fairy?”

The problem is that it is near impossible for the county to cut $20 million without layoffs at this point.

“If they don’t do it now, at some point during the school year, the numbers aren’t going to match up,” Herb Garrett, executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, told the AJC. “It’s going to be pay me now or pay me later.”

The layoff proposal would have affected 120 paraprofessionals, or teachers’ aides, an unpopular option among some parents especially with a school board election around the corner on July 31.

According to the AJC:

But DeKalb schools may be out of options. It’s unlikely enough teachers will choose to retire or quit to get to the number needed to balance the budget. The district has already agreed to $60 million in cuts to support staff and programming, and may not be in a position to absorb more cuts.

“She’s got to come up with a different plan, one that does not include reduction in force,” board chairman Eugene Walker said before the 5-2 vote against layoffs. Only Tom Bowen and Jay Cunningham voted for the layoffs, with Pam Speaks and Paul Womack absent.

Throughout the budget process, administration officials had been telling board members that they hoped to avert teacher layoffs. Typically, far more retire or leave voluntarily each year than the number of positions cut from the budget.

Walker and other board members said they didn’t think they’d have to lay anyone off when they voted for the budget. But board member Jay Cunningham said he understood that layoffs were a strong possibility. It’s “common sense,” he said. “If you vote for this, this will happen.”

In recent weeks, teachers have been leaving at a rate of about 20 per week, too slow to meet the requirements of the budget cuts. Laying off teachers once school starts will be more difficult emotionally because children and parents will have developed relationships with teachers, Garrett said.

Some teachers who attended Monday’s meeting praised the board’s decision. So did Lisa Lake, whose child attends a Montessori program affected by the teacher cuts. “They’re saying we need to stop and re-evaluate now,” she said.

Avoiding layoffs, however, is just wishful thinking, said David Schutten, president of teachers advocacy group the Organization of DeKalb Educators. He said the board gave false hope and that he expects layoffs eventually, or else the school system will spend money it doesn’t have and wind up in debt next summer, unable to make payroll.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

270 comments Add your comment

Question

July 17th, 2012
10:10 am

Where were Speaks and Womack?

Frankie

July 17th, 2012
10:11 am

So what other areas would they cut from.
Bus service
School Board raises
School Board expenses
Teachers
activities
sports
programs.

I am not hearing what other areas are being affected or are on the potential chopping block.

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
10:23 am

Can we, as DeKalb School parents, file a class-action lawsuit against the State of GA and this nonsensical equalization crap? What DCSD sends to Gwinnett Schools could cover this. I just cannot get my hands around the fact that a school district that cannot even make payroll has to send money off to another school system. It’s insane!!!!

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
10:24 am

And yes, layoffs will have to happen. If it must be teachers then those layoffs have to happen now and not weeks after school has begun.

Frankie

July 17th, 2012
10:25 am

By the numbers.

The DeKalb County school board voted June 21 to cut $78.6 million from the fiscal year 2013 budget. The 10 largest line items are employee pay and benefits:

$14 million: increase class sizes by an average two students per class, resulting in the elimination of at least 200 teaching positions.

$10.2 million: increase special education class sizes by an average two students per class, resulting in the elimination of an undisclosed number of teaching positions.

$7 million: eliminate 200 general education paraprofessions, or teachers’ aides.

$6 million: two furlough days, meaning teachers will be paid for two fewer planning days.

$5 million: lay off 70 from the central office.

$5 million: reduce overtime pay.

$4.7 million: eliminate 188 bus monitors.

$4.7 million: decrease employee health insurance subsidy.

$3.7 million: reduce the number of magnet school teachers.

$2.7 million: eliminate DeKalb’s contribution to pre-kindergarten teachers’ pay.

Does the School board participant in any of these cuts, ie furlough days, increase health care costs?????

How about no seminars or conferences for the next two years, instead of furlough days take away two paid holidays, what about the 403 benefits, reduce the school year, find ways to reduce the amount of energy used at the school (lights being left on 24 hours a day), gas and electric bill reduction, etc.

The Deal

July 17th, 2012
10:29 am

I really take offense at the tone the AJC has struck regarding this issue, and I direct this at both you Maureen and Ty. With a total budget of one billion dollars, there are plenty of other areas to cut besides the fundamental and core part of a school system, teachers. Why is there still no call for a complete removal of the non-teaching personnel instead of teaching positions? There should be zero central office left before one more teacher is fired. The purpose of a school system is to teach kids. For that, you need kids and teachers. Therefore, those are the last areas you touch.

If you need more specifics, we have a superintendent who makes over $250,000, we have three law firms plus over 20 full-time “legal staff”, we have overblown communication and broadcasting departments (nice to have but certainly not more important than teachers), we have bus transportation for people who choose to send their kids to a school other than their home school, we have bus transportation in general (make everyone who isn’t on free/reduced lunch pay for bus services like in other school systems), we have properties that could be sold, we lease expensive space for graduation ceremonites instead of having them at school-owned stadiums, we pay for expense accounts and travel for board members and the superintendent, we have assistant principals for schools that have fewer than 500 students. Need I go on?

TEACHERS AND STUDENTS ARE THE FOUNDATION OF A SCHOOL SYSTEM.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

July 17th, 2012
10:32 am

To reiterate: When was the last time that the DCBOE was subjected to a comprehensive financial audit by a competent, disinterested, out-of-state entity? An external auditor who’s a member of the same civic club or church as the BOE chair can’t be expected to provide the FRESH EYES that the DCBOE and the other 179 local BOEs in GA need. Need, not want.

Tired

July 17th, 2012
10:34 am

I had considered voting for my area’s incumbent school board member. But since he lacks the spine necessary to do the tough work of balancing the budget, I have no choice but to vote for his opponent.

living in an outdated ed system

July 17th, 2012
10:37 am

It didn’t have to be this way. Failure to adapt to market forces decades ago has created the snowball effect. And now, judgment day has cometh. Very sad.

OEStar

July 17th, 2012
10:51 am

@The Deal – AMEN. You made many VALID points.

My husband works for DCSB in Plant Operations-Ground Dept. I work for state government. We both have endured cut salaries, a hefty rise in health insurance, furlough days, increased duties to account for those that were laid off (though so blessed to still have a job) and the threat of still losing our jobs after all that. You have people in higher up offices/positions that are making the (wrong) decisions to make cuts in the wrong places, making exorbitant salaries and making sure that they have raises though we haven’t had on in 5 years. Let them takes cuts in salaries. The purpose of the school system is for the children to learn. That can’t be done if teachers are cut!

bootney farnsworth

July 17th, 2012
10:55 am

@ deal,

one of the reasons the staff, both working and professional, have so little patience for most faculty is their willingness to throw everyone – and I mean everyone under the bus before allowing a hair on their heads to be touched.

its time for you to pull your head from your bum and deal with simple reality. sanctimonious dolts like you are not immune from reality simply because you are a “teacher”.

in all my years at GPC I have often had to deal with faculty who were unable to boot up a computer, could not figure out how to stop a 16 mm projector, and could not be bothered to do simple things like empty their own trashcans.

despite your arrogance a fair amount of faculty are incapable of doing more than surviving in their own classroom.

the day I got RIFed at GPC, one of the faculty came up to me fussing about their increased workload. didn’t even bother to ask if I was still employed.

self righteous jerk.

bootney farnsworth

July 17th, 2012
10:57 am

@ OE Star

I’d be careful cozying up to deal. based on his/her posts, left of up deal your husband would be out of a job. he’s not a “teacher” after all.

Midway

July 17th, 2012
10:59 am

“I guess I’m speechless right now,” Cunningham responded. “Give me a solution. Anybody, give me a solution.”

I guess school board member Jay Cunningham thinks it is not his job to come up with a solution. Finding solutions is what he was elected to do. Fact is there are many solutions staring him in the face, as many on this blog point out all the time. Legal fees, busing, central office downsizing, are all obvious choices.

Of course Dunwoody Mom is also right on the mark, sending money to Gwinnett is beyond absurd. DeKalb County is suffering from a total failure from our elected officials, Republican and Democrats, state and local. The lack of competent leadership is depressing.

The Deal

July 17th, 2012
11:00 am

@bootney, the issue of competent vs. incompetent teachers is not what we are discussing. Also, I’m not a teacher. Obviously having been a teacher and having been RIF’d and having any number of other underlying anger and mental issues, you chose to misinterpret my post.

My point is that there is nothing more fundamental to a school system than teachers. Our school system should staff and pay as many teachers as it takes to provide a quality education to our students. Everything else, when it comes down to it, is extra. Therefore, when there are very lean times, you cut the fat (people who don’t see students) vs. meat (teachers).

bootney farnsworth

July 17th, 2012
11:04 am

that deal with…

DCSS is extremely overstaffed in every possible way (including teachers). the only sensible things to do is to -which means DCSS won’t do it- is to have an external agency of both educators and business professionals do a massive head to toe audit of everything and everyone (including teachers) to see if every position is a) necessary and b) affordable.

anyone making over six figures who was not there 5 years ago, but viewed as vital/worthwhile should be subject to a 15% salary cut.

I strongly agree faculty should be the very last ones touched. but not at the expense of keeping low producing and/or low class sizes.

bootney farnsworth

July 17th, 2012
11:06 am

no deal,

I took your point just fine.

I know a self righteous jerk when one posts here. if you don’t find a mirror

Frank Candor

July 17th, 2012
11:08 am

Can someone please tell me why Dekalb County had 8 asst. principals working at Stone Mountain H.S. for a summer school enrollment of 450 students???? Another egregious misappropriation of monies…. Teachers told me most of the asst. principals were just sitting around in the library playing on their smartphones….. Go figure…..Teachers need not be cut from the budget, for class sizes are already unmanageable, and many students will not get the academic attention that they need.
( Remember, the Crossroads newspaper just reported to the Dekalb Board that 1 out of 5 Dekalb seniors did not graduate from high school with a high school diploma)…. Instead, cuts need to be made in Central Ofc. where the avg. employee is making 25% -33% more than the avg. teacher…. Ramona Howell Tyson’s and Cheryl Lynn Howell Atkinson’s salaries alone are one-half a million dollars—and that’s just the salaries of TWO people who happen to share the same maiden name….hmmmmmm… more of the same ol’ cronism from the Crawford Lewis era that is being played out in the media at the expense and detriment of the teachers…. Dekalb County teachers need to refuse to be browbeated into silence for fear of not having a “J.O.B.”( Just Over Broke), and begin to speak truth to power….

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
11:09 am

@The Deal, of course are the lifeblood of a school district and they should be kept and paid much higher salaries and the DCSD Central Office needs to be cut bare bones. We’ve discussed this ad nauseum. However, the reality of DCSD is that is not going to happen. We have to face that fact. So, in facing that fact, moves, whatever they may be, have to happen now and not weeks into a school year.

The Deal

July 17th, 2012
11:16 am

Bootney, we might in agreement if you would stop calling me names. I am fully in support of an audit that touches every hair in this system, including teachers. Believe me, my children have had their fair share of bad teachers in this system. I do think there are issues in this system from the bottom up, from the top down. Womack called for a forensic audit, and it was voted down by the board.

My posts on this particular thread are addressing Dr. Atkinson’s desire to shirk responsibility for the fact that she said, when she presented her budget to the board, a 2 student increase would not result in RIFs based on prior years’ retirements and attrition. When her forecast did not come true, she decided to dump the entire burden on the teachers (and students) instead of backing up and reevaluating.

We do disagree on one thing, though. Based on the projected class sizes for the 2012-13 school year, I do not think we are overstaffed with respect to teachers. I do think we have many teachers who are not good that should be replaced with quality teachers, but that does not mean we are overstaffed.

Midway

July 17th, 2012
11:16 am

“I know a self righteous jerk when one posts here. if you don’t find a mirror”

Hey bootney, look in the mirror!

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
11:19 am

@The Deal – I would like to see some data to support your claim that the school system is not overstaff with teachers. In all of these discussions and arguments, I have not seen any data to back up any anything. That is what is most frustrating. If one side or the other could provide real data for their arguments, there might be some solutions, Right now, it’s just talking back and forth.

bill

July 17th, 2012
11:20 am

The teachers are the first line defense. They do the real work. Fire them and get only lower level teachers for a long time. The notion of offering teachers contracts then trying to fire them a couple weeks before school starts is truly unethical. The board made the correct choice. Why is there such a short fall anyways. Crawford or what? Time for real solutions. Fire the teachers should the very last thing. Talk about dropping property values, see what happens when you fire teachers for no cause with contracts, like the diplomas will mean anything soon the way this is going.

The Deal

July 17th, 2012
11:21 am

DM, aren’t class sizes thatare so large as to require a waiver from the state enough to prove that we are not overstaffed with teachers? You’re suggesting we have large classes and then, what, hundreds of teachers just sitting around in the halls? This idea that we have too many teachers is coming out of left field. And I can’t believe we’re discussing it when we have hard data coming from DSW2 that states that teachers only make up 1/3 of our staff numbers.

Pride and Joy

July 17th, 2012
11:26 am

I hate that the lowest paid people are on the chopping block, parapros and bus monitors.
Here’s my experience: In my day there were no parapros. It was just the teacher.
Today, teachers have parapros but do they actually use the parapro to help teach?
My experience, which is limited to my own children, is that the teachers (APS) use the parapros to do the work they don’t want to do themselves such as filling out paperwork. If that’s the case in Dekalb, the role of parapro isn’t worth the money. Teachers should do their own paperwork. What I expected parapros to be doing was real assitant teaching work. For example, when the teacher is with a group of six helping them to learn to read, the parapro is with anohter group of six helping them learn to read.
In my experience, the parapro’s skills are wasted.
What is your experience in Dekalb?

Pride and Joy

July 17th, 2012
11:28 am

Why can’t we cut the superintendant’s salary and benefits?
Cheryl Atkinson makes a quarter million dollars a year. She also has staff.
She should be a model and voluntarily take a pay cut and reduce her own benefits. That’s what a good leader would do.

Disgusted in Dekalb

July 17th, 2012
11:30 am

The school board approves a budget proposed by the superintendent that includes a reduction in force, and then that same board refuses to approve the reduction in force. A board member cries out “give me solutions.” Isn’t this the definition of dysfunctional? What do they have to do to get the attention of SACS—start slugging one another?

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
11:35 am

@Pride and Joy – I’m hear you. When I was a student in the DeKalb System (granted it was a very long time ago) but, teachers did not have assistants and we had classes sizes of 30+ and somehow the DeKalb System was one of the top school systems in this state. I have to agree that the BOE has a lot of culpability in this. They approved the budget and now they are backtracking on giving the okay to implement the budget they voted on. Dysfunctional does not even begin to describe this BOE. School starts in 4 weeks. I am holding DeKalb School Officials and BOE Members responsible for making sure teachers and students are not affected by their games.

bill

July 17th, 2012
11:38 am

The superintendent suggested reduction in force after giving contracts out. Use people then throw them away. Like dekalb schools has too many police and teachers. You believe that I have ocean front property in Nebraska for sale for ya.

@Midway

July 17th, 2012
11:40 am

As someone pointed out on DSW this morning, it is the School Board Chair, Dr. Walker, who said it is not his responsibility, and every proposal Dr. Atkinson brings forth that negatively impacts thefriends and family network he rejects outright. Why do you think he kept and keeps degending the obviously incompetent fired former CFO. Son of a retired administrator snd part of the friends and family network. Keep in mind his son is a SRO so he was opposed to cutting them from 12 months to 10 months. The Central Office us already at near bare bones. Just talk to any teacher who is displaced and is attempting to get answers from HR. There is not much fat left. And if the state decides DeKalb is in violation of state law by not having a balanced budget, there goes the accreditation issue again. Walker is the one shirking his responsibilities, not Cunningham.

bill

July 17th, 2012
11:50 am

Must people want save themselves or thier job(pay amount) or on taxes, but who has actually walked into some thses schools. Firing teachers and police is the worst thing you can do. These schools are barely safe now. Saving money will only cause serious issue in some of these schools. People need to really see these school for yourself in session.

Jeanine

July 17th, 2012
11:50 am

I and number of other recently retired Dekalb Teachers would like to offer our services.
We are convinced that, together, we could locate the cuts required to balance the budget in one afternoon. It would not involve any person who is directly involved with students. There are millions of dollars still in that budget that could be cut with little or no negative consequences for students
Just get a group of current and retired teachers together for a few hours and that budget would be balanced in a matter of an afternoon……and probably would have a surplus when we finished.

Dunwoodian

July 17th, 2012
11:56 am

So sad, my son’s teacher from last year just bailed. Can’t blame her, she got a 50% pay raise to go to APS. The principal just bailed too, off to Fulton County. The Pre-K teacher of ten years of so bailed, says it no longer makes financial sense to work and juggle her own children’s care.

This school system is rotting away.

Facts

July 17th, 2012
12:00 pm

@Midway, your correct and why the public cannot see that puzzles me. Dr Atkinson didn’t create this mess. It existed for years and now we wanna blame the new super. Lets be honest the board has been in place long enough to know this info and they want to put the blame everywhere else. These are the board members we put in place and now we want to shoot the messenger.

Frank Candor

July 17th, 2012
12:05 pm

The teachers in Dekalb County signed a “contract” in late May 2012, and they have Yet to receive it back….This is the first time ever that teachers do not have a copy of their contracts… How do ppl go back to work in three weeks without a contract??? Cruel and unusual punishment at best-

Disappointed In DeKalb

July 17th, 2012
12:08 pm

Atkinson is a bigger disappointment than Crawford Lewis. She is way over her head and doesn’t even realize it. Study the DeKalb Budget!!! Cut every increase starting with the Supt.’s General Budget from $4.6 million to $8 million. Ofcourse, no explanation what so ever, with a $ 3.3million dollar increase in Purchased Professional & Technical Services. Move over to the Division of Communications where total expenses increased from $154,000 to $960,000 ( explanation : SACS told us to do it) Bull!!! There is a decrease in Curriculum & Instruction (wow). Finance shows an increase from $12.4 million to $24.4 million, there is $12 million right there. Revisit Charter Funding. Human resources increase nearly $5 million dollars!! The NEW LEGAL SERVICES Division, where Ramsey received a $50,000 salary increase, has a $2 million increase. There is no need for continuously hiring consultant and Atkinson Friend to do the work that staff is hired to do. Every penny spent should be an open record. Transparency is a BIG problem in Dekalb. More than $20 million can be found without any more cuts to the school house. Wake up Board and stop being afraid of SACS & the DA. If you have no power then we don’t need a BOE.

Student Advocate

July 17th, 2012
12:09 pm

They just won’t listen to suggestions for cuts. Atkinson was hired with the notion that she would have a backbone.
HR will continue to be a mess until someone qualified is heading it up. The reason you don’t get answers is not because it’s “bare bones” but it’s dysfunctional and inefficient because of poor leadership. All the fat cut? Not buying it.
heres an idea. Let’s hold CO people to the same rules as teachers.
Overtime? What’s that? TEachers always work it, but never will get this perk in a million years. Cut it completely out.
Supplies? Teachers spend their own money to have the supplies to make their classroom better for the kids.At the board meeting one member stated a figure for supplies and how huge of an increase in spending for FY 2012. CO: buy your own post its and pens, tissues and paper clips.
Make sponsoring an after school club or academic team a requirement for CO folks – teachers spend all the after school hours plus unreimbursed weekends taking their student teams to competitions and meets. How many CO sponsors spend 12 hour Saturdays in another town with a group of students competing for a the Reading Bowl or Science Fair?
And NO SECRETARIES! Who the heck in the real world has a secretary? You have a county paid smartphone? Sorry, no secretary for you. Meetings are set up through email and there are a myraid of ways to get a message to someone on your subsidized smartphone. Teachers do all of their own “secretarial” or “administrative assistant” work. Sometimes a para could offset some of this so the teacher could invest his time in planning lessons and reflecting on them to make them better, working with a child at lunchtime, etc. No para for us?No secretary for CO folks.
I could go on and on.
The public and the auditors see fat, time to go on an austerity diet.
The public also doesn’t trust any of you on expense accounts. Time for the online checkbook. And mileage register for county cars. If you aren’t in favor, then you must have something to hide.

Student Advocate

July 17th, 2012
12:15 pm

“Make sponsoring an after school club or academic team a requirement”

The reason for this is it will weed out the ones who don’t want to do actual work and won’t put the children of the system first. Remember it’s all about the kids.

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
12:21 pm

@Dunwoodian – yep, when you start losing good teachers because it does not pay them to teach and raise a family we’ve gotten our priorities all messaed.

vee

July 17th, 2012
12:28 pm

They’re not waiting for the budget fairy to wave it’s magic wand…they’re waiting for the 7/31 election.

Cobb Post 5 voter

July 17th, 2012
12:44 pm

This is the same situation which David Banks, of Cobb County, wishes to put his school system in. He has continuously proposed to bet rid of all the money in reserves. Pay attention David Banks, this is what happens when you try to play Santa Clause.

Understanding Atlanta

July 17th, 2012
12:45 pm

This is only delaying the inevitable. If the BOE was willing to look into not touching teachers but outsourcing other jobs such as custodial services, and maybe even maintenance they would have more room to work with. But even that comes with it’s own sets of challenges. We can’t sit and with wool over our eyes and pretend that the tax digest isn’t decreasing yet to expect the same number of schools, teachers, and support staff is crazy.

There have to be tough decisions that are made and yes some of those are political in nature, but that’s what we get with any bureaucracy including a school system. I honestly believe layoffs are inevitable. I’m very sure they wouldn’t be if we had properly redistricted a few years ago and gotten rid of these empty seats and started to somewhat liquidate some properties…but that was too much for DeKalb County to handle.

Dekalb Mom

July 17th, 2012
12:49 pm

@Dunwoody Mom, I agree, the state needs to revisit the equalization formula used. We have definitely been left in the cold. DEKALB seems to always pay more then their fair share on most things and nothing is done.

Our PTSA president reviewed the budget line by line and she says that we can save $20 Million if we eliminate the ITBS testing alone. This test is obsolete and was developed in the 1930’s as a way to improve teaching. Out of 50 states, only 4 states use it. If parents want the test, they can pay a test fee for their child. If it is meant to help teachers to teach the students, it is clearly not working in Dekalb County and should be eliminated.

I have a child in a magnet program that is not near ANY public transportation and the CFO wants to remove the bus service that serves the magnet and theme schools in Dekalb County. The sad fact is that almost 800 of the schools 1,300 students rely on the school bus. When I complained about the cuts to BOE McChesney, I received a response with legal mumbo jumbo about bus transportation is not an obligation of the school system. REALLY? I think we need to chuck them all and start all over. We need people in place that are for the children and not their personal agenda.

PS – I have no confidence in the CFO. He came from Florida and attempted to cut the same exact things to balance the budget. That cookie cutter model doesn’t work for every school system. We need competent people working in Dekalb if the school system is going to survive.

carlosgvv

July 17th, 2012
1:05 pm

DeKalb County officials are determined, one way or another, to burden us with huge property tax increases.

Because of this, I can’t wait to vote EVERY SINGLE ONE of them out of office.

Fred in DeKalb

July 17th, 2012
1:06 pm

Facts and @Midway, I agree with your points. This is a situation the current leadership inherited. Dr. Atkinson was brought in to make the tough decisions and the collectively BOE is not following through with her recommendations. She brought a budget proposal in May (it did include a 2% millage increase but protected the school house) however our BOE wanted to nit pick and protect special interests. Their responsibility is for oversight not to handle the operational issues of the school system. Some of the questions asked by Nancy Jester crosses the line and that is probably why SACs reminded her about that. She is not alone in fulfilling her responsibilities. SCW seems out to lunch and only wants to pander to the audience. Has she forgotten about the budgets she approved in past years? The BOE delays is partly why we are where we are today.

It is very disingenuous of the BOE to say they did not understand the extent of the problems. In fairness to them, they had no responsibility for the increasing foreclosures and reduction in property tax revenues. Past BOE members did not help by not making tough decisions either, continuing to protect sacred cows such as small schools and door to door special transportation. If strategic cuts had been made gradually over the years, today’s cuts might not be as drastic.

Some people also need to understand that cutting the Central Office staff will not be enough. Even if that could be done, who would do the work that these people perform? Many don’t understand the levels of compliance that takes place in school systems. The idea about a cross the board 10% cut of non instructional staffers is legally questionable also. David Schutten was right in saying citizens may have a point in that that BOE is not performing their constitutional responsible duty of passing a balanced budget.

Too bad the hosts at DSW censor comments like this from me. Anybody else wonder why?

Fred in DeKalb

July 17th, 2012
1:12 pm

DeKalb Mom, your PTSA president wants the collective taxpayers of this county to pay for the school choice your family made. AMHS was initially sold to the citizens as a neighborhood school to provide student population relief in the SE DeKalb corridor. A change was made the the purpose of the school and not all citizens had involvement in the change. This is not an ideal location for a magnet program. Magnet programs should be centralized and accessible by all residents in the county. This school should go back to what it was originally designed to be, a neighborhood school with a defined attendance zone.

Tough decisions are required with this budget. I’d rather keep school house employees than pay for choice transportation. I think most citizens can agree with this.

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
1:13 pm

Well, Fred, I’ve made my last post over at DSW. There is one moderator over there that is fairly thin-skinned and is dismissive and rude if you don’t “tow” her line of thought. “Freedom of Speech” is certainly not something she buys into.

DCSS Parent

July 17th, 2012
1:16 pm

The June 21 budget cut included “$5 million: lay off 70 from the central office,” so if we need to find another $20 million, why not cut an additional 280 from the central office? We’d eliminate a myriad of problems by doing so!

Dunwoody Mom

July 17th, 2012
1:20 pm

@DCSS Parent, I really don’t understand the reluctance to further cut positions at the Central Office. I do know that many positions that were coded to the Central Office were really teaching positions, but I don’t believe it’s that significant, maybe I’m wrong. For instance, there is a department called “Dept. of Special Services”. My guess is that these were considered Central office positions, but they really are teachers, i.e., speech teachers. Also, If you look at the PAT Employment site, there were numerous job postings that are administrative in function.These are jobs that, quite honestly, need to be put on the backburner.

Disgusted in Dekalb

July 17th, 2012
1:23 pm

Fred, the Dekalb BOE may not be responsible for the housing crisis but they have definitely contributed to the decrease in home values in Dekalb and are continuing to do so. Crummy schools lower property values. Incompetent board members contribute to crummy schools. Don’t get me started on the people who elected them.

New to Dekalb County

July 17th, 2012
1:27 pm

@Dunwoody Mom – will you please provide details on how much DCSD funding is going to the Gwinnett school system and why the funds are being moved?