DeKalb teachers also have questions about salary

DeKalb teachers also sent me some money questions, which I directed to the state Department of Education. State responses are in bold

Q: DeKalb’s “fiscal crisis” has us teachers talking. And no one — from administrators in the building to the Georgia Association of Educators representative — seems to know what happens if DeKalb Schools can’t make payroll. Some teachers seem to think the state would honor our salaries.

A: The state can’t pay a school district beyond what they receive at the beginning of each fiscal year budget and the supplemental budget.

Q: Others assume that the state’s required number of instructional days and our signed contracts would prevent the system from ending the year early and furloughing even more days.

A: Because contracts are done at the local level and are unique to each district, you would want to talk to the DeKalb Board Attorney about this one. I’m not sure if their contracts allow changes in the middle of the year.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

30 comments Add your comment

Married with (School) Children

December 19th, 2012
2:36 pm

Back in November, Dekalb slashed the pay of most of their Principals…. so, yes, Dekalb’s contracts can certainly be changed midyear.

da bear

December 19th, 2012
2:45 pm

Teacher contracts can only be enforced one way. They can punish the teacher if the teacher does not do what the contract says. The school system can change the contract at will. Thus, legally, it is NOT a contract, as it only binds one side. Of course, the state enforces it anyway.

Without a union, tho, it will never change. I am lifetime against unions, but if the teachers keep getting shafted, maybe its finally time.

da bear

December 19th, 2012
2:58 pm

Case in point. The state announced a 95$ increase in my insurance per month, starting in January. I have aleady signed my contract. Wanna bet what would have happened if I had claimed breach of contract and refused to continue to work?

I would have had my certificate shredded for MY breach of contract. The state/local board, doing the same thing if AOK.

The state changing my pay after the fact is perfectly OK>


December 19th, 2012
3:19 pm

3 years ago here we had our contracts not followed because the county decided in the fall, after contracting with us for 190 days in April, that we would get 186 days. There is no holding them to a contract, even one signed months earlier.

Old timer

December 19th, 2012
3:23 pm

In the 80s our pay was slashed….even with a contract…..

10:10 am

December 19th, 2012
4:02 pm

@da bear:

If the Georgia Association of Educators’ parent union hadn’t spent so much money getting Obama and other Democrats reelected this year—some of that extra $168 each member coughs up for NEA membership might be available to help lessen the impact of a budget shortfall.

See also:×7

Chuck Shick

December 19th, 2012
5:02 pm

They are producing the dumbest students in the Metro area, and want a raise???

What am I missing here?

Dedicated Dekalb Teacher

December 19th, 2012
5:28 pm

Chuck Shick-

I have been teaching 18 years, and I haven’t had a raise in 6. In fact, I was making MORE 4 years ago, and cost of living has made it that much worse. My children are FAR from dumb. In fact, most of the kids I teach are brilliant. I have to work extraordinarily hard to teach a class that is challenging and engaging. Do I deserve a raise? You bet I do.


December 19th, 2012
5:45 pm

I wish teachers would take a Saturday and protest how they are being treated by the state and county officials. Can they do this with out being fired? Teachers need to have their voices heard. The state of Georgia does not appreciate teachers.


December 19th, 2012
6:12 pm

DeKalb Schools needs to let a substantial percentage of their non teaching staff go in order to meet teacher payroll. They need to eliminate expensive and unproven programs like America’s Choice and Success for All that consume tens of millions of per pupil dollars. The 50 teaching positions recently advertised could easily have be filled by certified personnel who are certified to teach but currently do not teach. Security employs over 200 personnel yet only the 40+ middle and high schools have security personnel. The 80+ elementary schools are on their own with a buzzer system to let outside personnel in. The technology department consumes over $10,000,000 a year in salary and benefits with little connectivity or technology access for students and teachers. The “beloved” Fernbank Science Center currenty has 20 highly paid non teaching positions to support their 20 teaching positions even as field trip money for Fernbank has been discontinued and the 20 teachers are mostly in the schools giving one science lesson a year to student classrooms. DCSS spends almost $8,000,000 for Special Ed non teaching personnel while Gwinnett spends less than $2,000,000 for non teaching Special Ed personnel. Gwinnett has twice as many Special Ed students and has better academic uit comes for them. The list goes on and on.

There are tough decisions to be made to ensure every student has::
1. A safe and clean learning environment
2. A competent, well compensated teacher in a reasonably sized classroom
3. Abundant access to cutting edge and well maintained science and technology equipment

The superintendent and the BOE do not have the will to slash non teaching personnel and high priced (and totally unproven for DeKalb students) educational programs in order to ensure the 3 basic components listed above that EVERY DeKalb student deserves. Taxpayers need an administration that will make these three components a reality in every school.


December 19th, 2012
6:15 pm

“Gwinnett has twice as many Special Ed students and has better academic uit comes for them.”

Should read:
Gwinnett has twice as many Special Ed students and has better academic outcomes for them.


December 19th, 2012
6:33 pm

After reading the SACS report about the Dekalb BOE, I doubt seriously if they or their attorney know the answer to the second question. Dekalb can’t even operate under an established budget.


December 19th, 2012
6:44 pm

Dedicated Dekalb
Teacher……”I have to work extraordinarily hard to teach a class that is challenging and engaging.”

As a retired teacher , I feel so irritated by people slamming teachers who have no idea what work with kids is all about . Bless you because you do it for the right reasons ..
“Work is love made visible”
Kahlil Gibran


December 19th, 2012
7:00 pm

I’ll bet it’s a virtual certainty that all DeKalb high-level school administrators will get paid.

As for the lowly teachers, who knows?

Teachers may experience what I did once. My boss told me I was due for a raise. Two days later, I was called into her office and laid off.


December 19th, 2012
7:34 pm

“Right to work.” What a play on words. Better would be “right to get screwed.” As has been correctly pointed out by previous posters, we have NO guarantee our “contracts” will be honored. I signed a contract 4 years ago and then lost 2 days pay due to furloughs. HELLO, that contract was BROKEN by the employer. I get it, Sonny created an untenable situation for the counties by not honoring his responsibility and the counties were forced to break their contracts with us because they had not the money to do so. BUT THE CONTRACTS WERE STILL BROKEN. And you expect any of us to ever trust the state/county again? Those contracts we sign each year have been proven to be worth less than the paper they are printed on. THAT is Sonny’s & the various legislatures’ true legacy for education in this state. Broken trust.

Just A Teacher

December 19th, 2012
7:40 pm

@Phil . . . “I wish teachers would take a Saturday and protest how they are being treated by the state and county officials. ”

Why Saturday? I think it would be much more effective on a week day.

teach one

December 19th, 2012
9:14 pm

DeKalb cannot continue to offer its teachers salaries that are not commensurate with other districts in the metro area and expect teachers to stay. Teacher salary has declined while those who central office admins’ salaries have increased. Looking at the report, we see where the money has been going. We need help, and we need it right now. Save our schools from these corrupt people, Mr. Governor.

Sandy Springs Parent

December 20th, 2012
12:18 am

What I don’t understand is why the teachers of this state don’t see the correlation of their dropping salary’s with the teacher’s being key to Voting Sonny Purdue into Office. We had low class room sizes, 17 kids in Kindergarten plus and an aide in 2000. Along with a set schedule of teacher salaries to bring the Georgia teacher saleries up out of the bottom tier to the top tier of the nation. I believe that starting salaries were $ 37K + in 2000, My daughter had a K teacher right out of UGA, I believe that is what she told me she maid. Unfortunately, I believe she is still sitting at about $40,000 after getting married and having two kids now. She has has to add the ASP bookkeeper duties to help makes ends meet, for her young family, so sad.

Old timer

December 20th, 2012
6:18 am

Purdue and Deal were better choices than King Roy……he really screwed over GA teachers during his ONE term in office. I doubt anyone teaching then would ever vote for him again…..even if he was the only choice. The last governor that really like education and educators was Zell Miller.

drew (former teacher)

December 20th, 2012
8:03 am

Contract? CONTRACT?? What a joke! What teacher’s sign is not a contract….a contract is an agreement that protects BOTH parties involved.

Dekalbite@old timer

December 20th, 2012
10:04 am

“Purdue and Deal were better choices than King Roy……he really screwed over GA teachers during his ONE term in office.”

By what measure. Class sizes were under 30 for high school and in the low to mid twenties for elementary. If class sizes were to exceed those numbers, the superintendents were told there were no exceptions. They had to trim in the admin and support ranks and salaries to ensure low pupil teacher ratios were kept in place – no exceptions, no excuses – DeKalb County had NEVER trimmed in the Central Office until Barnes put that in place. In addition, he did not cut educational funding and allow superintendents to have free reign over class sizes and teacher salaries. How many teachers like the pay cuts and increased class sizes that Perdue and now Deal have put in place? Can any content area (math, science, social studies and language arts) teachers say teachers and students have been better off under Perdue and Deal?

The ONLY way to rightsize the Admin and Support side of the school systems is to put low class sizes in place and then tell superintendents – no excuses, no exceptions – if you want state funds – trim EVERYTHING but the classroom where students are being taught.


December 20th, 2012
1:58 pm

The problem is that their are two Dekalb County school systems; North Dekalb and South Dekalb and the CRCT scores bear that out.

Student Advocate

December 20th, 2012
7:58 pm

@dekalbite – right on! @phil – I think a more effective protest would be Friday afternoon lining the street from the palace to Stone Mountain Freeway. I work hours and hours of unpaid overtime anyway grading papers so I could just bring a chair, a sign, and do my grading while voicing my displeasure about being treated like an unimportant peon.
Further,to demonstrate the contempt towards teachers, now the teacher of the year banquet will be changed to be employees of the year including palace personnel. Disgraceful.


December 20th, 2012
9:57 pm

@Chuck— I “produce” nothing. I work with students that come to school severely lacking skills and I push them to their absolute limits. I work with students with severe behavior and academic issues. I damn sure deserve a raise!


December 21st, 2012
9:20 am

Maureen can you look into the rumor that the Dr. Atkinson is leaving. I know the first rumor was debunked. What about the this time. It seems to be coming from alot of places.


December 21st, 2012
11:33 am

@hey, I know for fact she is not leaving! Cheryl has a contract for 2 years and plans to see it out! She is working hard to make great changes and clean up lewis and browns mess!


December 21st, 2012
11:36 am

I really wish dekalb would require parents to have to committ to community school hours. Then they would see teachers have to raise and teach students! They send these bad children to school and expect mircles. Be involved stop allowing you kids to raise you and be a parent!

Ole Guy

December 21st, 2012
11:28 pm

Bear, keep in mind the different types of unions (I don’t recall, from my days in academe, the names of the various types, however…). The massive labor unions, comprised of huge numbers of semi-to-non-skilled members, have a bad history of unrest, typically leading to much labor/management “head butting” over (lets call em what they are) self-serving issues, ie MONEY. I believe these were/are called open shops. Closed shops are typically comprised of members of varying skill levels, ie the Airline Pilots Association/ALPA members hold the apparent skills of aviators, with the obvious levels of responsibility and authority. Historically, watch makers formed one of the first closed shops; these members held skill levels which went far beyond “sweat-of-the-brow labor.

Please do not misinterpret my descriptions as indicative of a preference over one type of union over another. Though I have never held union membership, I have had to “co-exist” with union labor, and I am somewhat familiar with the myriad “rules”, etc, under which open shop unions often operate. Quite frankly (and somewhat subjectively), I believe open shop unions, on balance, inflict more harm on an organization than good. However, the closed shop variants generally hold their concerns over issues of safety and “product effectiveness”. While issues of money and benefits, of course, are always at or near the front burner of priorities, closed shop concerns, in my opinion, center, primarily, on organizational goals.

For this very reason, it is important for the teacher corps to align itself with the right type of union, one which “enables” both labor and management to coexist.

Too idealistic? Perhaps…However, to paraphrase a favorite saying of someone I will always respect: “There comes a time when you’ve either gotta (sic) “eliminate” or get off the pot”. Howboutit, teachers, you gonna stop “straining” and do something?

Claudia Stucke

December 23rd, 2012
6:27 pm

I don’t know if the county is still doing this, but during my last few years as a teacher, the county withheld contributions to our retirement fund. The county’s rationale was that this cost-cutting measure would ensure that we would not have to have furlough days. We had furlough days, anyway; and the county still withheld contributions. Is this even legal?

Ole Guy

December 24th, 2012
12:20 pm

Ms Stucke’s experiences highlight an issue which I have tried to illuminate with no apparent success…not that yours truly would benefit. Rather, the entire teacher corps would stand to benefit, however, judging from the lack of anything resembling action, one is left to believe that the teacher corps is content to simply allow their ranks to be steamrolled, misused and abused by the educational powers that be. The very title of this blog topic, “…QUESTIONS about salary” should be “…demand to know WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING WITH OUR SALARIES”! (as un-Christmas as this retort seems to be, I feel it is way beyond time when you teachers need to start thinking about developing them professional spheroids).

Ms Stucke, the question of legality is way way past. One might have posed the very same question, several days ago, as the tragic events at Newtown rapidly unfolded. It is painfully obvious that you, the teacher corps, have allowed your profession to be raped, shot up, and repeatedly raped again while you stand by and question “is this even legal”? Claudia, it don’t matter whether it’s legal or not, you (collectively) have allowed it to happen…over and over…so the question of legality is really quite moot.

You’ve read my “suggestions” before: organize your ranks so that you may express your positions, to management, as one collective voice. At present, you, the teacher corps, represent no political voice whatsoever; it is ONLY through political pressure that your professional concerns will ever see fruition.

Enjoy this Joyous Season; enjoy the time you spend with loved ones near and dear. However, as you ring out the old and ring in the new, the realities surrounding your profession will remain unchanged….UNLESS; UNTIL you do something.

Merry Christmas