January 11, 2010
David Schutten, President
Organization of DeKalb Educators
100 Crescent Centre Parkway, Suite 290
Tucker, GA 30084
Dear David and Members of the Organization of DeKalb Educators:
On behalf of the Officers of the National Education Association, 3.2 million members strong, I send our support, in solidarity, for your combined efforts to protest the DeKalb County School Board’s decision to grant the Superintendent a raise of $15,000 in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Depression, and against the backdrop of teacher furloughs, pay cuts for education support professionals, and a multitude of sacrifices by educators.
The Board’s decision is insulting and demoralizing, and it is critical that you continue to call attention to this hypocrisy. Your “Blackout Day” on Thursday showed the administration the level of frustration and disappointment with the Board’s recent vote. There is no doubt that the Board is sending a terrible message to parents, students, and school system employees who suffered pay and benefit decreases in the wake of a budget crisis.
The mission of the DeKalb County School System is to “form a collaborative effort…that maximizes students' social and academic potential preparing them to compete in a global society.” To accomplish that mission, the Board must operate in a way that is both fair and responsible, and reflects the fact that great public schools are essential to long-term economic growth. We salute you for standing strong in your efforts to protest a raise that is built on the backs of 4,700 hard-working, dedicated, underpaid, and underappreciated members of ODE.
Stay strong, stay united—and make your voices heard for what’s right and what’s fair!
Dennis Van Roekel
cc: Jeff Hubbard, President, Georgia Association of Educators