Thursday, January 28, 2010

OK - so what happened?


I had some emergency work to do - and couldn't get to the budget meeting tonight. Please report what you heard and saw - they didn't televise it - so you guys are the official reporters! Did they get their 'asses whooped'???

UPDATE -- There has been a link set up to submit budget cut ideas -- send your ideas to (copy & paste the address below)
budget-suggestions@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

92 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sarah Copelin-Wood was conspicuously absent tonight!! Nice representation for her district!!!

Many people asking not to cut Montessori programs and magnet programs. It was good to hear others say they would support cutting transportation for the choice programs and redistricting the whole county.

One great point was open communication and how this meeting seemed to be buried on the website and if it wasn't for parents calling the room wouldn't have been very full. Many people making points about cutting the administrative staff and if they move to the school house their pay needs to be cut too.

Tom Bowen wrapped up saying no concrete decisions have been made and there has been a link set up to submit budget cut ideas to
budget-cuts@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Anonymous said...

I learned today, at least as of this moment, it appears that while they are eliminating some magnet and Montessori programs, the others remain unscathed. The other programs will have the same amount of points next year as they do this year.

Seems unfair to me.... Does it make sense to anyone else?

SongCue said...

Even though the school system did a terrible job of advertising this meeting, it was well attended. A whole crowd was there in red shirts, which I didn’t understand. A bunch of them had speaking slots. Many were from Huntley Hills Montessori, Evansdale Magnet, Briar Vista. There were also folks from ODE and some independent speakers. All good, some with good suggestions, including cutting transportation for magnets, cutting county administration even more, etc.

Also, at the end of the meeting, C. Lewis asked one of his assistants to post a link for people to make additional suggestions. Here it is and it should be up and running tomorrow: budget-suggestions@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us.
Jim Redovian and Sarah Copelin-Wood were no-shows. (How in the world do you not come to this meeting? I hope they had very good reasons). Tom Bowen and others were writing down several of the suggestions people made.

The meeting was covered by all local TV stations so watch the news tonight.

I only heard eSis mentioned 2X, more than one person was for Budget D, the BOE member’s budget of raising the millage rate. But there were several people who were really eloquent at eviscerating the board and administration for C.Lewis’ raise and not cutting enough at the county admin level. There were also good speakers who railed at any cuts being made to art, music, PE, or anything else that affects children and teachers.

When I went to my car, there was a flyer on it (and every other car in the lot) from www.DeKalbWordpress.com. I vaguely remember this site and got on it when I got home. It's an info site for DeKalb Parents. Not a blog, but you can sign up for their email list. They had advertised the meeting on their site and told everyone to wear red shirts.

That’s the scoop from where I sat.

Ella Smith said...

I agree. Most of the speakers where for making sure the Magnet programs did not get cut. Two speakers spoke regarding Coralwood and keeping the kindergarden or P-K program there to ensure inclusion.

Huntley Hill parents took up most of the time. It was sorta like the situation at the closing of the special education school.

Teachers apparently want the raise in the millage rate. However, I am not for sure I can support this at this time. I would have to think long and hard on this one. So many individuals are having problems. Cuts need to be made at the county office level and not at the school house. Dekalb County Schools needs to stop being an employment service and start educating students as its top priority.

Anonymous said...

Jim Redovian and Sarah Copelin-Wood FAILED to attend the meeting.

Inexcusible.

One Fed Up Insider said...

I can promise you this Ella... I am a teacher and a tax payer in DeKalb County and there is no way in HECK that I want my property taxes raised.

The only way that I would agree to it is if and when CLew and 75% of the worthless people in Building A and Building B are gone.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher and tax payer in DeKalb, I agree with Insider and do not want to see an increase in property taxes. There are so many foreclosed homes in the county right now. The economy isn't good and higher taxes for some will hit already hard hit parts of the county even harder. How can anyone justify a tax increase when they aren't spending money in a fiscally responsible way now?

Anonymous said...

Message to the BOE: Read over the comments on this blog site. Frustration is at an historical high. Confidence in you and the superintendent at an historical low.

Get it together and do something -- or the public school system in this county crashes, bringing down children, industry, and already suffering property values along the way. This is not what we elected you for.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher. I was at the meeting. I do not support a increase in property taxes because the board and Dr.Lewis need to cut the administrative bloat BEFORE anything else. My concern is that if they simple raise the property tax they will fail to address the more important spending issues that have contributed to this mess. I'd rather the DCSS cut waaaaay back on the spending and cut jobs, close schools, etc. before anything else. Teachers have been asked to email their own budget suggestions as well...but like someone/many someones have already stated on this site, I fear the board and Dr. Lewis already know what they are going to do. Tonight and subsequent input sessons are all for show.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cere for the post to solicit an update. I was not able to attend and was very disappointed not to be there. I am not surprised at all that the big stakeholders ( magnet parents ) were there. They are always a vocal group and who can blame them ?? I think that a majority of them would acknowledge that the magnet situation has been an unequal and unfair distribution of county resources for many years but would show up at any meeting to beg and plead for this to continue.... I mean really a class size of 1 teacher for 18 students when when are being threatened with twice that size...... Heck, last year, did you hear the screams over changing door to door transportation to a hub transportation !? Or, oh my, they might lose a German teacher - What, one of their three?

Frankly, long overdue elimination of magnets needed in my opinion. And not because I don't think that they are a great thing, but it was never really allowed to be what it was supposed to be ( blatantly high achievers ) and it is a travesty that our children suffer at the expense ( literally ) of providing special treatment for a limited number...

But, I fear that the earlier post was correct - C Lew and his cronies have made their plans and these meetings are just a test drive.

Now, not having Sarah C-W or Redovian there. Gotta say, that is either some nerve or some apathy on their part.

I will participate in the post but I am pretty jaded on DCSS operations at this point.

Anonymous said...

A property tax increase will NOT address the fundamental budget problems in DCSS.

At best, a property tax increase will delay the inevitable (and necessary) elimination of administrative waste.

At worst, a property tax increase will exacerbate the depressed DeKalb economy. A property tax increase would accelerate the ongoing decline in property values, dampen growth, discourge business development and thereby decrease the amount of property taxes actually collected.

A property tax increase will not solve the myriad problems in DCSS.

The solution to the budget problems will require a dramatic decrease in administration. Central office programs and staff must be reduced significantly. Redundant positions should be eliminated. Unnecessary jobs and irrelevant programs should be discarded.

Anonymous said...

The budget problems in DCSS are not caused by Pre-K, magnet or theme school programs. And the elimination of them will not solve a $56 Million shortfall.

The budget crisis in DCSS is the result of central office mismanagement, waste, fraud and abuse. Plain and simple. That's the problem.

Eliminating Pre-K, magnet or theme schools will never fix DCSS's budget problems. It will simply allow those responsible for this disaster to continue their mismanagement, waste, fraud and abuse.

Anonymous said...

Couple of ways to look at this ...But wouldn't it make sense to look at the system overall to address 56 million? Agreed, that a major revamping at county office is needed but are saying that this avenue alone should do it?

How much would the county save by the elimination of the magnet and montessori programming? Anyone know?

M G said...

One of the speakers tonight said the information she was given by the district office was the savings would be a little over a million dollars. She suggested totally eliminating the magnet transportation hub system for the same savings.

SongCue said...

I'm looking into FTEs for Magnet and Theme schools and how that translates monetarily. I will try to get that info asap.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Songcue - If you are looking into the budgets for specialty areas - will it include transportation and the county positions that support these programs. It seems like going to the hub system for transportation decreased the budget by several million but , for some reason, I am thinking it was still over 3 million? But that might not be accurate....
Could be a double benefit if they have to cut luxury programs and would also lose some of the county not so needed positions. I have always wondered if the magnet system went away , what the benefit would be to the regular schools - To have an infusion of different styles...

Cerebration said...

Someone had such a great comment on another thread, I'm moving it here for you all to re-read.

Anonymous said...
Out of the 13,285 employees of DeKalb Schools, only 7,500 are teachers while 5,800 are administrative and support personnel. 42% of our employees being administrative and support personnel is simply too high.

91% of our budget is spent on personnel while other metro systems average 85%. This creates a $54,0000,000 annual shortfall in our $900,000,000 budget. Ironically, the shortfall that Dr. Lewis is predicting in 2010-11 is $56,000,000. This figure is strikingly close to the annual shortfall we have been experiencing for years due to our abnormally high support personnel percentage.

Even though DeKalb spends a higher percentage on personnel than any other metro Atlanta system, our children do not have better pupil-teacher ratios, and our teachers' salaries are not higher. That means that we have considerably higher personnel expenditures than other systems in the administrative and support area.

We taxpayers pay taxes to educate our children, not to guarantee that all employees keep their jobs. Reduction in Force, furloughs, percentage decrease in pay, or outsourcing are all options for DeKalb Schools support personnel. These options would not impact our children's education to the extent that the items in Dr. Lewis's proposed budget would. Dr. Lewis's budget proposes cutting teachers' salaries, increasing pupil-teacher ratios, and increasing furlough days for teachers in order to keep everyone in their jobs. Increasing furlough days on a county level as well as well as a state level will eventually force us to decrease student instructional days.

Teachers are the heart and soul of children's education. Teachers as a percentage of the DeKalb County Schools has been steadily shrinking. Currently, our teachers are stretched to the breaking point as less and less personnel teach (only 58%) and more and more employees are administrative and support personnel (42%). The student is the real loser in this situation.

January 27, 2010 1:20 AM

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SongCue said...

Cere, the post you copied and posted at midnight were the remarks made by someone at the meeting last night. I thought at the time that the speaker made GREAT points.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, the post that Cere posted (and someone delivered last night) is the way I would like to see this discussion go.

On another note, Redovian is out of town. They sprung this meeting on everybody. Only he and Bowen have full time jobs (how did we end up with a school board of retired folks, someone please tell me). No idea where SCW was, her health hasn't been good the last few months.


We absolutely must begin a long term discussion about how this school board will function in the new economic reality.

Anonymous said...

However, teachers make more in DeKalb than some of the other metro counties. I am not proposing a pay cut, but feel we should all know our facts.

Anonymous said...

Cobb teachers will be required to take 3 more furlough days this school year.

Anonymous said...

Give Redovian a break He was out of town and crawford didn't give much advance notice. Remember that Redovian does some really nice work in honor of his son:

http://dunwoodynorth.blogspot.com/2009/11/dunwoody-stage-door-players-hosts-9th.html

Redovian is a good, common sense type of guy.

Ella Smith said...

I am very opposed to lowering teacher's salaries. Teacher's are professionals and deserve the money they make. Many of them have advanced degrees and as teachers they are required to continue to school. I do not think most people realize that Professional Learning is ongoing for teachers.

Teaching is not like a typical job that you take training for and occassional go back and have In-Services. Today in Education Professional Learning in many school systems is ongoing weekly and mandatory and takes a great deal of time.

However, I did hear on the radio this morning that Dr. Lewis had announced that teachers in Dekalb County will be taking 3 forlough days this semester. I am assuming this is on top of the 1 day already planned and the previous reduction. This may be a necessary one time situation. I sincerely hate to see this. However, if the money is not their at the state and not there at the county I guess it cannot be helped at this time.

I do believe that consolodations of schools must happen. I like small school and see the benifit. However, some schools in the county are just too small and too costly and this school system must be more wise in economic times.

I am supportive of magnet schools. However, transportation must be cut entirely. I also feel that we cannot justify 18 students in a classroom anymore in these charter schools. This is unfair to our students in our regular schools and giving the magnet schools perferential treatment. However, magnet schools not successful need to be cut.

Special needs schools like Coralwood who are provided inclusion to special needs students need to stay. Otherwise the special needs students would not be in an inclusive environment. To make a cut like this would be unthinkable.

AS mentioned earlier, I sincerely believe many Team Taught Teaching Position could be cut and parapro shadowing service provided which would be so much cheaper and save the county millions of dollars.

I used to have my Autism Students shadowed by a para who would take notes and make sure their accommodations were provided and to help them in class. These services could be provided by a parapro, in a classroom for less than 1/2 the cost and save millions of dollars and provide more job opportunities at the same time. This is just an idea. As a special education teacher most people would think this odd that I would recommend this but I have always seen this as a waste of money in many situation as time is not aloted for planning and many times actual Team Teaching is not occuring. Many trained paras could do an outstanding job.

Anonymous said...

Here is how brilliant that weasel Crawford Lewis is: Up front were two older female School Resource office. In the back and in the hallway were the two younger male school police officers who escorted him in anf out of the meeting.

(And I'm nt sure why the Bryant Center needs two SRO's, maybe that's why we have such a bloated school police dept.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about Jim Redovian, I am sure he is a really nice, down to earth guy. But, the question is, how effective is he? I e-mailed and called him last year on an issue with no response whatsoever. I met with representatives at the county office , asked them for suggestions and they said to contact him. Sadly, I had to admit that I already had and did not receive a resonse. His comments in the televised board meeting are insightful and actually appear to create meaningful conversation now and again.
I am extremely impressed with his commitment to the memory of his son. I have the greatest respect for this. Again, I just wonder if he hasn't had enough DCSS in the big picture.

Anonymous said...

Ella,

You are very wise.

Teachers deserve their salaries. Now I will admit that some of them are pretty hefty..... But, it seems to make sense to look at taking those treasured resources of knowledge and spread them into the classrooms.

For example, the staff of a magnet school are very well paid. Most have been there for some time and they have an incredible wealth of knowledge that would be an infusion into classrooms in these cost conscious times. Don't get rid of those folks, just disseminate their methods. Benefitting all, not just a few.
Then you would eliminate the cost of the programming but not lose all of the benefits....

It is important for parents to look at creative ways to make the best of these difficult times. I totally agree with carving away at the county structure but it is going to have to happen in multiple spots. Let's all give up the special agendas and look at the best situations for all of the kids in the county.

Coralwood, once again, agreed. I think it should be waaaay down the list for consideration of elimination.

Ella Smith said...

We do have a School Board of retired individuals who do devote a great deal of energy to the Dekalb County School Board Affairs.
Is this good or is this bad? I perfer not to make comments about this as I am 54 and I am close to retirement age myself in a few years and I do not think we should ever discriminate against anyone. Anyone has a right to run for school board. You do not have to have children at all so you do not have to be a stakeholder in that sense.

However, I have always wanted to see more current stakeholders with children on the school board. We do have some with grandchildren. Bowen has young children. But, this is not a requirement.

Ella Smith said...

However, Coralwood may also have to suffer some cuts just like all the other schools. Being an individual who is disabled I can say, "The school can not get perferential treatment." The law does not intent this. However, to benifit these childrens' needs exceptions need to be made regarding inclusion and these program to assure that the least restrictive environment is provided for these children to meet their individual needs.

Did Lewis just announce the forlough of 3 days for the Dekalb County Teachers this morning? I just heard it this morning on the news. I think I would have heard about it last night from the teachers' union if they had known about it.

Anonymous said...

"However, I did hear on the radio this morning that Dr. Lewis had announced that teachers in Dekalb County will be taking 3 forlough days this semester. I am assuming this is on top of the 1 day already planned and the previous reduction. This may be a necessary one time situation. I sincerely hate to see this. However, if the money is not their at the state and not there at the county I guess it cannot be helped at this time."
This is incorrect. You must have misunderstood. Lewis announced that the existing cut temporary cut in the pension allowed DCSS to avoid an extra 3 day furlough to teachers.

Cerebration said...

Good comments all around. One thing to think about regarding magnets and Coralwood - they are actually quite similar. It's easy to say - cut the program for the high achievers - but don't cut the special ed. But in reality, they are both special ed, more or less. Students in these categories (placed there by test scores) earn much more FTE credit than a "regular" student. I'm not positive on the FTE number, but say a regular 2nd grader is 1.0 FTE. A gifted student may be 1.4 or 1.6 and a special ed student may be 1.8-2.0. Funding is proportionate to these numbers.

So, you can see that if you moved the kids at Coralwood into a regular classroom, their funding would have to go toward support for them. It's exactly the same with the gifted students. They earn more support due to their learning nature. It wouldn't be fair to just take their extra funding and divvy it up among the entire class as a bonus, would it? You'd have a lawsuit for sure.

And Ella - you are so right about the paras. My daughter has LD and some of the most helpful, supportive staff over the years have been parapros. They can definitely handle the support positions in special ed. The 'team teachers' I experienced, with degrees in special ed, didn't ever really team teach - or teach or support at all. They just kept the gradebook. The exceptions were at Shamrock. We had a couple of gems there - but they have left the system. The only one left there is the one who yelled at me, "Mrs X, that's bullsh*t".... I tell you the truth.

Cerebration said...

To clarify - I realize that there are gifted students already in regular classes at regular schools - and those of you who are parents of these students know that they must be given special services. My point (not well-made) was that moving all these gifted students may not actually save the money you think. Now, the transportation, maybe. But then again, would you take transportation away from special ed? Then why from gifted?

I'd like to see the programs at Kittredge and Chamblee replicated. Teachers originally were supposed to be trained in the methodology by doing in-services at KMS, etc. That never happened. And then Johnny Brown watered the program down by lowering the requirements in order to go out and hand pick 2 students from every elementary school. He was interpreting the original intent of the school as being a model for integration. But - many of the students he placed were not officially "gifted"- so he kind of made of mess.

Anonymous said...

"Out of the 13,285 employees of DeKalb Schools, only 7,500 are teachers while 5,800 are administrative and support personnel. 42% of our employees being administrative and support personnel is simply too high."

These figures are incorrect. See the state of Georgia Report card at
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

It lists only 534 administrators and 939 support personnel to 6886 teachers. If you dispute these figures, complain to the state department of education.

If you click on more information it will explain what kind of position is included in each category. Or you may see

http://gaosa.org/reportinfo.aspx#pers


Administrators

System Superintendent
Administrative Supervisory Personnel
Director of Psychoeducational Program
Even Start Director
Director of Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS)
Director of Child Serve
Vocational Director
Vocational Supervisor
Youth Apprenticeship Director
Adult Education Director/Coordinator
Athletics Director

Support Personnel

Special Education Personnel
Student Service Personnel
Information Service Personnel
Paraprofessionals/Teacher Aides
Rehabilitation Counselor
Librarians/Media Specialists
Teacher Support Specialist
Nursing Assistant
Enterprise Technician
Staff Development Specialist
Hearing Officer
Lunchroom Monitor
Other Professional Staff with Valid Certification
Special Education Specialists
Kindergarten Specialists
School Food Service Personnel
Diagnosticians
Speech-Language Pathologists
Audiologists
Physical/Occupational Therapists
Orientation/Mobility Specialists
Recreational Therapists

Anonymous said...

If you think lay offs alone will fix this you are being too simplistic. How many people do you have to lay off to cut $56,000,000? If each one averages $100,000 a year (and they do not-the average is about $90,000) then you would need to lay off 560 people. They actual average is closer to There aren't 560 people in building A and B. Many, many “administrative and support” people are actually in the schools or the service center. These include principals, assistant principals, bookkeepers, janitors, secretaries, and clerks. At last count there were over 400 principals and assistant principals in the system. In addition there are graduation coaches, media specialists, paraprofessionals, and counselors, nurses, and MIS people in many of the schools.

Cerebration said...

Anon, your numbers only add up to 8359 employees. We really do have somewhere around 13,500.

Anonymous said...

Out of the 13,285 employees of DeKalb Schools, only 7,500 are teachers while 5,800 are administrative and support personnel. 42% of our employees being administrative and support personnel is simply too high.

These figures are incorrect. See the state of Georgia Report card at http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009 it lists 534 administrators and 939 support personnel to 6886 teachers. If you dispute these figures, complain to the state department of education.

If you click on more information it will explain what kind of position is included in each category. Or you may see

http://gaosa.org/reportinfo.aspx#pers


Admini-
strators 600
601-649
650
651
660

665
670, 671
672
673
675
680 System Superintendent
Administrative Supervisory Personnel
Director of Psychoeducational Program
Even Start Director
Director of Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS)
Director of Child Serve
Vocational Director
Vocational Supervisor
Youth Apprenticeship Director
Adult Education Director/Coordinator
Athletics Director
Support Personnel 300-305
400-414
415-433
434-437, 439
438
440, 442-443, 445
441
444
446
447
448
449-450
451-468, 470-474, 486-499
469, 475
476
477-478
479
480
481
482-483
484
485 Special Education Personnel
Student Service Personnel
Information Service Personnel
Paraprofessionals/Teacher Aides
Rehabilitation Counselor
Librarians/Media Specialists
Teacher Support Specialist
Nursing Assistant
Enterprise Technician
Staff Development Specialist
Hearing Officer
Lunchroom Monitor
Other Professional Staff with Valid Certification
Special Education Specialists
Kindergarten Specialists
School Food Service Personnel
Diagnosticians
Speech-Language Pathologists
Audiologists
Physical/Occupational Therapists
Orientation/Mobility Specialists
Recreational Therapists
People keep asking for how much. It is in the four budget proposals. All three of the alternatives proposed by Lewis have these features

1. Central Office Reductions $4,254
2. Reduction of Programs $10,957,969
3. Reduction of Schoolhouse Positions (Attrition) $13,463,530
4. Utilities Savings $1,000,000

5. Amount to be made up from salary reductions for every employee except janitors, food service workers, and bus drivers or a tax increase $26,500,000.

The 4th plan (the Walker plan has numbers 1. and 4. but no program or salary reductions


You need to understand that number 3 is the art, music, PE cut that will be included if all the smaller schools only receive state allotted points. Presently DCSS overfunds some schools to be sure that they have the same opportunities for learning as a larger school would afford under the state funding formula.

Also the magnet and special programs that produce dramatic results (the high achieving magnets) with the exception of STT are not being cut.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully, I do think that eliminating magnets will save money. And I do think that the resources will only be spread into regular classrooms if the personnel are distributed.

I think that magnets and montessoris are great, we just can't afford them. The cost all around ( programs, buildings, transportation, expensive staff at low ratios ).

The children with special needs who are not candidates for inclusion deserve transportation , many of them require 1-1 services and /or accessible vehicles. This is drastically different than swapping the ends of the county with children because of a " choice". Very different,

The history has been not so pretty for magnets in terms of eligibility , lottery issues, etc. A very strong reflection of how hard it is to implement this for some, not all.

Anonymous said...

DCSS is in crisis. A meeting was called to address that crisis. Jim Redovian and Sarah Copelin-Wood did not attend.

Jim Redovian does not reply to emails, voice mails or regular mail. (Sarah Copelin-Wood does.)

If a BoE member cannot perform the essential functions of the job, that BoE member should resign. It's nothing personal. It's just business.

Cerebration said...

Anon - again, your numbers only add up to 8359 employees. We really do have somewhere around 13,500. What do the missing 5,000 or so people do - according to the state website???

Cerebration said...

The over-arching point is - if we have over 13,000 employees, and only 6886 of them are teachers, we simply have a whole lot of extra people.

mal615 said...

I am a parent of two magnet kids, and I realize how fortunate I am that both were "lotteried" into the program, and how unfair it is that all gifted children across the county don't get the same type of treatment and teachers. That being said, I think that if the county cuts transportation to Kittredge, CMS and CHS, the only kids who would apply to them will be the ones from the more affluent, northern part of the county. Then we'll be back to the same issue there was before the lottery system - brain drain from the northern schools and much less diversity in what will become a magnet system of privilege rather than the wonderful program it is right now. If you cut out the transportation, you should cut the program all together and reallocate those resources to make gifted education consistent throughout the county. Of course, I'm not naive enough to think that those resources would be reallocated in a way that would benefit any of the students.

Cerebration said...

Here are more interesting bits of knowledge from the state's report card -

Number of Students in 2009: 96907
Economically Disadvantaged: 66.00%
Students with Disabilities: 9.00%
English Language Learners: 8.00%
Did this District make Adequate Yearly Progress
in 2009? No

So - if you divide the 96907 students among the 6886 teachers, you get a very misleading teacher-student ratio of 1:14. We all know that's not the case.

Anonymous said...

Two quick points about cutting magnet programs.

One, C Lew won't do it because the magnet programs are both a 'money maker' and a 'prestige maker' for DCSS. They bring in more than they cost. And they garner accolades that make it appear the system is producing positive results.

Two, even if the BoE forced him shutter the magnet programs, DCSS's mismanagement and incompetence would eliminate any potential savings.

Case in point: the superintendent's transportation efficiency plan. This 'ending of door to door tranportation' was billed as a sure fire way to immediately save DCSS $16 million. But did it? No! DCSS eliminated a significant program in order to save money and managed to not save any money at all.

It would be easy to end all athletic programs in DCSS and save millions of dollars. (And, let's be honest, high school varsity sports only benefit a very small percentage of the student population.) But even if you eliminated all sports and slashed those millions from the DCCS budget, CLew and company would squander that money, there would be no 'savings' and every year we'd still face budget crisis.

Anonymous said...

Kittredge, CMS, CCHS are not "gifted" magnet programs. This is the fallacy that some of the parents try to "push". The programs at these magnet schools are for "high achievers". But, of course, I do not consider a 3.0 average and 75 cumulative on ITBS to be "high achieving". Do you?

Anonymous said...

mal615

yes, you are very fortunate, however, don't feel sorry for those of us who did not get "lotteried"

as a parent of a child who did not get " lotteried " i learned some valuable lessons.

after getting over the " magnet loser sour grape syndrome " i came to realize that it wasn't actually so bad to stay in a regular school and see that my child was appropriately challenged, we put way too much emphasis on getting " all of them together " in one spot. i don't think that dcss even does research to show that this setting make a difference . my child's standardized test scores in a regular school are not much off the mark from the magnet scores.

so, maybe it was stinky to begin with but it helped me to gain a different perspective that the children really do fine, north end or south end.

Cerebration said...

mal615, I agree with you, except that eliminating the programs altogether and implementing them in individual schools will only harm the very same children. Some of the ESs in our area have up to 20 kids who qualify to apply to KMS - as Johnny Brown pointed out to us - some schools only have 1 or 2 at most. So what will happen is - the schools up here will do a very good job of picking up the ball and creating great "Discovery" type programs for their gifted kids, but there are many who would have enjoyed the diverse experience of KMS will have to return to a home ES that may not serve their needs very well. Again, it's just another looming lawsuit.

I think we all agree here that our administration has lost our faith and trust. Unless and until we see them implementing serious, hard-core cuts to areas that do not directly effect children and teachers, we will not back away and agree to any more cuts to the classroom.

Anonymous said...

DCSS hasn't done any research on the effectiveness of magnet programs. System officials have been asked to by the Teacher advisory committee for years and nothing is ever done.

Think they are hiding something? Probably?

Keep in mind that Dr. Brown was going to do such an evaluation before he was run out of town.

Cerebration said...

You're so right about the real reason Anon -

"they garner accolades that make it appear the system is producing positive results."

Cerebration said...

I'm so glad you reminded me of the state report card website, anon. There is very good data there.

For instance -

DCSS test scores --

CRCT Math AMO = 59.5%
CRCT Reading/ELA AMO= 73.3%

Certified Staff Position Ratios

Teacher/Administrator Ratio 13:1
Teacher/Support Person Ratio 7:1
Teacher/Staff Ratio 5:1
Student Enrollment/All Teachers 14:1

Student data

Special Education 8.5%
English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) 5.8%
Early Intervention Program (EIP)
(Grades K-5) 16.3%
Remedial Education
(Grades 9-12) 1.0%

Of Retained students - 61.5% are male

2008-2009 grades 7-12 number of drop outs -
51,581

2008-2009 grades 9-12 number of drop outs -
34,443

Graduation Rates
White - 90%
Black - 77%
Hispanic - 73%


And you can see that of these 8359 total employees profiled (teachers and in-school support staff - AKA "Certified Personnel")

5601 are black
2472 are white
109 are Hispanic... 109!!! Our school district is nearly 10% Hispanic and we can only employ 109 Hispanics???

Anonymous said...

But next year when the instructional services stay the same at KMS, and some (more) schools don't have music and/or art, how do we justify that?

Anonymous said...

You can't justify it, As the magnet parent stated earlier, it is easy for them to see how very fortunate they have been. And, rest assured, they are the first group to yell loudly when fearful of losing those resources.
But, I cannot see the overwhelming downside to this change in the system. And I can't see a lawsuit over a gifted or high achieving child not getting that level of services. If that were the case, all of the lottery losers would have lined up for a class action.
The time has come for all parents to acknowledge that the system needs to change, internally ( county ) and externally ( programming ).

Cerebration said...

Actually, I think this is exactly why Wadsworth remains open, even though they only have about 150 kids. Lawsuit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are several outstanding lawsuits against the system for KMS. In fact, if you want to sue DCSS, you may need to take a number. There are ALL kinds of lawsuits - about ALL kinds of issues.

That would make a great post - anyone care to write it? How many outstanding lawsuits are there against DCSS? How does that number compare to other systems?

Ella Smith said...

Frist and farmost, all the students in Dekalb County should have the same ratio of students in the classroom except special education students and gifted students. This is not happening. Some magnet schools have very small classes and this needs to end. This is not far to the other students in the county. These students should not be given preferential treatment because their childrenn go to a magnet school of choice. If magnet school stay then class sizes should be equal across the county. No exceptions-except in Special Education.

However, in saying this we waste a great deal of money in Special Education. As a Special Educator I have said this for years. Exchange Team Taught Teachers with Shadowing Paras who travel with the same students all day. This may actually be more benificial to some students and more cost efficient.

Why on Earth does the state have 1/2 billion dollars setting in the bank from the lottery when the schools are sufferring so in our state? Again, why on earth does the state have 1/2 billion dollars setting in the bank from the lottery when the schools are suffering so severely in our state?

Dekalbparent said...

Ella, as the parent of a special needs student and a special needs advocate, I say you are completely correct that a Shadowing Para is better for the student than Team Teaching.

While team teaching is great theoretically, even in the most optimal situations, the special needs student does not get the individual coaching they get with a para. In the less optimal situations, the team teachers trip over one another.

One of the things special needs students require most is the ability to advocate for themselves. A trained special needs para can model this and help the student learn to take over the task. No team teaching situation can do this.

Cerebration said...

Allow me to repost my earlier comment on the special ed team teachers

And Ella - you are so right about the paras. My daughter has LD and some of the most helpful, supportive staff over the years have been parapros. They can definitely handle the support positions in special ed. The 'team teachers' I experienced, with degrees in special ed, didn't ever really team teach - or teach or support at all. They just kept the gradebook.

The exceptions were at Shamrock. We had a couple of gems there - but they have left the system. The only one left there is the one who. when I requested that the 8 page study guides to be given to my child earlier than the night before the test, as given her dyslexia, it's too overwhelming for her to fill it all out in one evening, the team teacher yelled at me, "Mrs X, that's bullsh*t - your child is just playing you.".... I tell you the truth.

Cerebration said...

This is important - talking about special ed - do you realize that according to the numbers posted above from the state doe reporting site, 9% of our students are special ed? For a comparison - 9% of our student body is Hispanic and 9% of our student body is white. We're talking about a lot of kids - 9,000 or so!

Anonymous said...

Interesting overviews on the magnet situation. Funny that when you start to talk about it and break it down, the issue becomes more and more clear.

1) not really for high achievers
Okay, 75th percentile and 3.0 GPA; Is that really a high achiever? But then, wait , work really hard to get them classified as gifted and you get more money and points....

2) high transporation costs ( can we say entitled here ? )

3) increased county operational expense - sometimes for a separate building which we know is more expensive to maintain as the system gives a constant threat to small schools.

4) no research to back it up ( are we surprised that this group scores the highest on standardized tests ? really ?

5) class sizes that are half that of a regular classroom ( and which population could benefit from a smaller class ? )

6) creates a significant level of inequality of resources across the count ( sounds like they should be the ones to sue the county ? )

Okay, I don't get it, why are we supposed to not ask for magnets to be considered for elimination in these times when the whole system should be squeezing?

Cerebration said...

We're not totally saying that. We're saying - unless and until we feel that the administration has made all possible cuts to administration, waste and bloat (which involves consolidating schools and departments) then we will not accept cuts to ANY classrooms.

This throwing out cutting magnets is a way to get us to fight amongst ourselves and ignore the fact that the emperor has TOO MANY clothes!

Ella Smith said...

Celebration this is the point.

I am very much for magnet programs. As you know I am an individual with disabilities. I want the best for individuals like myself also. However, how we spent the money we get is also important.

Magnet schools should have the same number of students as other schools except, special studnet classes regulated by the federal government. Modifications need to be made. Special treatment of students can no longer be given. Of course parents do not want changes, if you have a private school setting in a public school. However, Dekalb County School is a Public School and must offer equality for all its students. It cannot be about a small group of students. It must always be the big picture. This is when making decisions gets really hard.

Again, I am supportive of magnet programs. But I am also supportive of equal class size and equal paras for students throughout the school system.

I think all small school under a certain size need to be consolodated. This is hard. But it must be done to save money.

I think the fat must be cut out of administration at the central office. This is hard. However, I just heard Dr. Lewis say he could not sleep thinking about all the money spent on the central office last night. Dr. Lewis wants to do the right thing. Dr. Lewis is a good man. I do not always agree with everything he does. However as I always have said on this blog I do believe his heart is in the right place. I do not think he should have gotten a raise, but he earns every penny he makes.

Anonymous said...

Ella: "I just heard Dr. Lewis say he could not sleep thinking about all the money spent on the central office last night."

Funny, I couldn't sleep either thinking about that $20,000 check I'm going to have to write for private school. (smile)

Boo Hoo Crawford. We feel sooo bad for you. How 'bout another raise, or another car on the cheap to make you feel better?

Dekalbparent said...

@Anon 10:27

1 How are the magnet schools a money maker for DCSS?

2) At the risk of being soundly booed - what if the "high achiever" magnets were closed and the kids went back to their home schools, but DCSS re-instituted tracking? We seem to have agreed that there are lots of kids who could handle the magnet programs - why not put them together in their own schools? Then the home schools get the FTE points for the "gifted" kids. Costs for small self-contained magnet schools disappear and magnet transportation costs disappear, too.

Ella Smith said...

This was happening at Henderson. My son Austin is Gifted and Talented and was placed in a certain group of students at Henderson that were gifted and talented and he has done extremely well in school for the most part. He is a little too social right now. But, this is my own personal issue to pull the stings in on him.

However, I heard that the county did away with this program at Henderson which was very sad to me. My son got services at his home school. I could not have been more pleased. My son has always went to his home school.

This could happen. We have got to go back to community schools in this county to survive. We are stretched too thin.

Close the magnet school also at Chamblee and move Cross Keys students to Chamblee and make it a more community school. Turn Cross Keys into a Tech. High School, if this is what the county wants but tell us up front this is possible your plan and stop not giving what is deserved to the Cross Keys community and students.

Ella Smith said...

Dr. Lewis is a great guy. I do believe this. I do not know him well enough to make judgements inappropriate about him at this time. I know Elizabeth Andrew's loved him dearly and she was a great school board member and a great friend of the children of this county for years.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being soundly booed - what if the "high achiever" magnets were closed and the kids went back to their home schools, but DCSS re-instituted tracking

This is done at Peachtree MS. The impact (gifted) students are together for their core subjects, high-achievers with their group and general with their group and so on. I believe it is the same at Dunwoody HS.

Anonymous said...

Everyone, you're falling into the trap that Crawford, Marcus Turk and the BOE want you to fall into. They threw out possible cuts to montesorri, magnets, special ed, etc., knowing that those are very emotional issues, and everyone would rather pay a property tax increase before losing those programs.

But it is a class misdirection. We must force the BOE to severely cut the huge Central Office bloat, to stop paying for 545 Instructional Specialists and Supervisors, to stop pay millions for poor software and programs like eSIS and America's Choice, to make sure every support department like Info. Systems and Sam Moss is operation as efficiently and productively as possible, to stop paying for a $12 million, 180 person school police department that is more concerned with being bodyguards for the superintendent than anything else.

Focus on the need to cut administration. Not move them around. To eliminate those positions. To end nepostism. To stop paying $30,000 a year expense accounts. Focus on cutting the waste & bloat.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 3:27 is spot on.

Don't fall for "Washington Monument Syndrome".

Keep your eye on the ball, people!

This financial disaster was not caused by montesori or magnet programs. It's caused by waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in central administration.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:35: Don't forget nepotism.

Ella Smith said...

Agreed. However,as a past teacher in the Dekalb County School System over 10 years ago I thought we were stretched pretty thin then. I never had money for anything in my classroom. I really did not have the books I needed. I taught special education. There was no money getting down to the classrooms then. This has always bothered me a great deal. There is too much money being spent at the top.

Give more money to the teachers to spend on the students' needs and stop sending our Instruction County Office Staff and Special Education Instructional County Office Staff to meetings or Inservices which never gets back down to the students.

We really do not need many of these positions. However others are needed. For instance in Gwinnett County as a Special Education Teacher I had to do all the academic testing for a re-evaulation and work with the Phychologist. Here we have Lead Teachers to do this who do not teach classes.

Anonymous said...

All three plans mentioned support current district-wide personnel that move to the school-house next year, their current salary for one more year. I will not appreciate making my $30,000 per year as a high school mathematics teacher of AP classes while my colleague next door makes $116,000 to teach business and remedial math courses, even if it is only one year. DeKalb students would benefit from smaller class sizes, especially at the elementary level to master content. Less discipline problems, more instruction. We could take the difference between the "displaced" district person current salary and what their actual teaching salary should be and hire another teacher.

Anonymous said...

Folks, this constant bickering about the magnet and Montessori programs is distracting EVERYONE from the real issue. We have tons of unnecessary positions in admin that need to go. Get rid of the entire "Leadership" program and the Corporate Wellness position and send the Curriculum Specialists (who can teach) back to the classroom at a teacher salary. Eliminate all the activity buses because they are not academic. Stop hiring consultants to sell us more programs we don't need and just generate paperwork for the teachers. Send the graduation coaches packing.

My son is a very talented athlete and even the coach admits he should have made the basketball team. Yet he didn't and I am not advocating that we ELIMINATE school sports because it is unfair to some.

BTW, I don't know about Kittredge or DSA (maybe that is where your beef is) but the magnet classes at Chamblee Middle and Chamblee High generally have the same number of students (more in some cases) than the resident classes. There is only one gifted course at each grade in the high school level and that is Language Arts and there are gifted classes for both resident and magnet.

Ella Smith said...

I do not have a problem with Chamblee per say personally. I think this is strictly a choice. My son has friends who have made this choice. However, the parents should provide transportation for this choice.

I do have a problem with small classes in Montessori programs and other type of magnet programs while regular classrooms are having to take in again a couple of more children possible next year. I do believe class sizes should be cqual and certain programs should not get special treatment other than Special Education Programs.

The schools in the whole county do need to be redistricted and some small schools need to be closed now to save money. These small grade schools of 180-280 students are a drain on the system.

Ella Smith said...

I do not know any teacher in Dekalb County School System making 30,000 today.

The lowest paid teacher on provisional certificate makes approximately 36,000 a year. A first year teacher who is certified in the area teaching makes approximately 41,000-42,000 the first year with a bachelor's degree. With a masters degree a first year teacher would start out at about $44,000 a year. A teacher with a specialist starting out would make about $48,000 a year and a doctorial degree about $52,000 a year starting out their first year.

An average teacher in Dekalb County Schools probable makes 55,000 a year or more.

However, on the other hand teachers are limited on getting raises and going up the pay scale unless they go into administration.

Many times we think of teachers as being low paid employees and even though our pay is not what it should probable be it is not nearly as bad starting out as many other occupations with a four year college degree.

Anonymous said...

In reading the comments about the magnets, I do not think the respondents are being tricked into anything. I think they have been clear about the message - examine the costly things that the county can no longer afford and magnets are one of those.

It is not as if the group questioning the continued existence of magnet and montessori schools are not aware of, or not in support of, cuts at the county office level.

More so, I think the message ( if I understood the comments correctly ) is that cuts at the county office level are not enough and it is prudent to eliminate programs that are very costly while benefitting a small number.

Clearly, the group who are invested in the continuation of magnets would like to focus on the county office and not their system of educational priviledge.
So, plenty of agendas to go around I think...

I think that magnets are great, I think that montessoris are great, I just think that the county cannot continue to fund the icing on the cake..... The pie has always been large enough that a large enough group did not assemble to question the inequities of the magnet system. But, now that the pie is shrinking quickly, it is a different story.

PCMS does separate the high achievers and the gifted for some classes. I have met parents of all groups and they have been of the opinion that they children were appropriately challenged in this setting.

So, as one person with a vested interest, I feel that my eyes are open. I am not picking on the specialty programs... All options should be examined for potential cuts..... county positions,magnets,montessoris, transportation,

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed someone commenting on this, but did anyone else notice that the student/teacher ratio of 14/1 is larger than the teacher/administrator ratio of 13/1. So, the county thinks the teachers need more supervision than the students? As a teacher, I find this insulting. As a parent, I am appalled.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Has anyone been able to find the link to post budget suggestions…Crawford and his promise to have a way to send info doesn’t seem to have made it to the home page yet… not surprising!

Anonymous said...

"An average teacher in Dekalb County Schools probable makes 55,000 a year or more."

Amazing how many stafers in the school police dept. are making much more than the average teacher.

Cerebration said...

The email address is in the first comment. I'll add it to the post -

There has been a link set up to submit budget cut ideas -- send your ideas to
budget-cuts@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Anonymous said...

The county is doing the math backwards.

1. Teachers need o be paid more, not less

2. Students, by federal law, need to get an appropriate education. If a magnet program needs 25 kids and$x in resources then that's what it should get. If a special needs class needs a student teacher ratio of 3:1, then that's what it needs.

3. Every corner that can be cut in the budget needs to be examined. That includes salaries for people over $100K a year. Guaranteed you kind find a competent teacher with a degree in Curriculum and Instruction who will be willing to take a pay increase to do an administrative job for 75K while you cut the salary of a 6 figure do-nothing administrator. If its a good idea to cut experienced teachers at the top of the pay scale to bring in cheaper new blood, then its a good idea for administrators too.

4. Once you've figured out the cost, and cut all the fat you can cut...then you figure out the millage rate. But you do it this way and the classrooms don't suffer. The teachers get the supplies they need, the kids get the education they deserve. And we all benefit in the long run, as we get money put into the economy from students who graduate and get jobs, rather than having to pay to build more prison cells and homeless shelters.

themommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Once again, as troubling as it may seem, there is little to no legal protection for children who are labeled gifted. SORRY.

DeKalb is the only school system in Metro Atlanta to offer magnet programs at the elementary level and one of the only ones to offer them in the state.

The state requires that schools meet the needs of gifted students. But it gives schools and systems a variety of ways to do this. Parents don't love them all, but that is the way it is.

DCSS is offering choice programs that cost far more than other school systems spend on similar programs. Each of these programs could operate with far less staff and still be successful.

Cutting the fat doesn't mean just from the central office but also from schools. We have schools that are really top heavy. Should be fun to watch the school board scramble.

Molly said...

Ella said I do have a problem with small classes in Montessori programs and other type of magnet programs while regular classrooms are having to take in again a couple of more children possible next year.

This certainly isn't the case at Huntley Hills. In fact, for years, the Montessori classes were often a good bit larger than the traditional classes. After Nancy Creek was closed and Huntley Hills absorbed half their population, our traditional and Montessori classes tend to be of equal size. People also should know that unlike magnet students, Montessori students who come from out of area have never gotten transportation. Unlike magnet students, Montessori students also don't get permanently reassigned to a different feeder pattern - once they leave elementary school, they are sent back to their home middle school.

Ella Smith said...

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and did not feel weel so I stayed home and at the last minute decided to go hear Cathy Cox speak. After hearing Cathy Cox speak yesterday individuals should also be mad at the state legislature.

The state continues to cut money from education. Should they not make deep cuts other places first?
We all know cuts have to be made but without the stimulus money Dekalb County Schools would have been cut 1 Billion dollars over a short period of time according to Kathy Cox.

When the state cuts the money the special programs for the gifted students who are not in the school are going to be on the cutting block as their needs can be meet at the home school.

Just like in special education the county does not have to offer a BMW but can offer a Impala of an education instead. When the other students are getting an Impala education is it fair to offer the other students in magnet a BMW?

No one is opposition to the programs. We would love to see them stay. However, when tough decisions are made cuts have to be made. The money is just not there. The School Board cannot cut from basic programs so the magnet programs can continue. This would not be right either. The School Board does not want to cut Art, PE, and other very important subjects from the curriculum either. The magnet programs sre the icing on the cake and when you do not have the money to buy the icing for the cake you eat the cake without the icing.

However, the budget crisis is so significant that cuts from the schoolhouse may have to be made and if it happens it will start with counselors, additional APs, Art teachers, Music Teachers, PE teachers, etc. This is not what the
School System wants. However it may be a necessary to provide our students in Dekalb the basic education required for them to provide.

These decisions will be tough and we all need to pray for them that they make the right decisions. We need to pray that they put politics aside and always put the children of Dekalb first in every decision that they make.

Ella Smith said...

Molly, this is nice to know. I was told the classes were much smaller than other classes and that a para was in each class. I must have been provided wrong information. If I was I appoligize. How many students are in the classes? Is there a para?

I am the first to admit when I am wrong and I do make mistakes as I am given incorrect information some of the time about a situation.

I am in class all day today. However, I will come home and be looking for your response. I want to know the facts and I want to be put straight if what I said was incorrect. That is what this blog is all about. Correct information is what we are looking for.

Anonymous said...

Oops, early comment I meant to say $50,000 [not $30,000] for my salary. sorry for error.

Square Peg said...

While the magnet programs are inequitable, especially Kittredge, I want to put the kibosh on the argument that dispersing magnet students and staff will invigorate the "home" schools. The problem is that the home schools' cultures are not necessarily receptive to "best practices" from the magnets.

Example: several years ago I had a discouraging conversation with a school staff person who had formerly worked at one of the high achiever magnet schools. The conversation concerned a request a teacher had strongly urged me to pursue for my child. The ex-magnet staffer's answer was "Absolutely not. If you want that, go to Chamblee." My jaw dropped; if it had been so easy to go to Chamblee, we wouldn't have been having that conversation.

I was involved in another instance in which a nonmagnet teacher refused to permit an opportunity which is taken for granted by magnet students and which many of them participate in. He didn't give a coherent reason for refusal; the activity was simple and brief, and the small funds needed were not an issue. He had registered groups of students for it in the past. I did not bother trying to go over his head because, given the culture at the school at the time, I expected zero support from the chain of command.

Despite the negative experiences, I am very, very grateful that there are some outstanding nonmagnet teachers who give very generously of their time and energy helping their students to aim high and achieve, just like some wonderful magnet teachers I've known. I am very worried that these talented and dedicated teachers, magnet and nonmagnet, will get fed up and leave Dekalb as soon as they can.

Anonymous said...

Square Peg, Maybe the solution is to require all schools to run like the magnet programs, so that all children have the opportunity to receive a quality education. If local school teachers and administrators do not want to make the necessary changes, they can look for another job. It is about time that the parents and community who pay the salaries of the everyone working in DCSS demand more than what we are getting. People are getting paid a great amount of money (teachers, administrators, and custodians, etc.) and we have a right to demand that all of our children are receiving a superior education. Dr. Lewis wants to call this Premier DeKalb, than lets all step up to the plate and make it a place where each child in the system has the opportunity to experience the very best that we have to offer. Let's take the magnet programs to our home schools and allow all of our schools to shine.

Shayna said...

My understanding is that Kittredge was supposed to be an "incubator" -- when it was created. The teachers were to learn how to teach with its models and then they were to disburse back to the home schools and share what they had learned with the other schools so that all schools, and many more children, could benefit from the methods. This has never happened as the teachers like teaching at KMS and don't want to return to the other schools. There are aspects of KMS that are difficult to replicate without the extra dollars (and this is where the non-magnet parents begin to resent the magnet program, particularly when they've been in the lottery, which is done randomly and differently every year, unsuccessfully) -- KMS gets extra funding for extra points for art, band, orchestra, p.e., and foreign language beginning in 4th grade for each child for 4th, 5th and 6th grade (compare to Henderson and its feeders that starts language in 7th grade). I think it would be ideal for each and every elementary child to have these programs in 4th grade -- in fact there are studies correlating higher math scores with foreign language -- but they do cost money. But disbursing the teachers to teach in the KMS compacting methods with the KMS expectations would really go a long way to getting some of the benefit into the community. Another aspect of KMS that could be replicated is having "subject matter experts" teaching various disciplines (e.g. math, science, language agrts, and history) and having the students change classes. Finally, my understanding of some of the "cultural problems" in some of the schools where kids can not learn is related to lack of discipline --if a principal is unable to get a "pro-academic" menatality into his or her school house such that a student is intimidated away from learning (and I heard this comment at way too many meetings) and this intimidation results in the child needing to shift schools, the children creating the intimidation need to be dealt with and the principal that is unable to maintain a "pro academic setting" needs to be replaced. If it's rampant, perhaps a more creative approach within the community would help (e.g. a field trip to prison, recruting the assistance of the local minister/priest or some equilavent).

Anonymous said...

As usual the magnet "promotors" want to keep their little niche, no matter the cost and the fact that the cost of the magnet programs deny needed services to other students.

Anonymous said...

Good points Shayna, Children in magnet schools get more services and county resources. So, where it used to be just unfair that a group got more, now it has become a system that the ones who are getting more contribute to the decrease in services for the regular schools, And that seems to have been enough to get folks to pay attention,
Now, Anon you are most correct. The magnet parents will whine very , very loudly and they will propose many things. That the magnets are the best things in the county, that other parents are picking on them, whatever they can come up with to protect their kingdom. But,I have yet to hear a reason that makes me change my view , DCSS can hardly afford the resources for a regular school and classroom, we cannot afford to provide magnet calibre services for a few. The wisdom and teachings should be spread into the schools for the benefit of all of the children and the county.

Anonymous said...

Where is GAE and ODE on this?

Top investment staffers at the Georgia Teachers Retirement System received pay increases of up to $108,000 last fiscal year even though the fund they manage lost money and most state employees went without raises amid the state’s fiscal crisis.

Dekalbparent said...

Great post, Shayna! The KMS teachers DON'T want to move - they have the teaching environment all teachers would love to have.
Several years ago, there was a plan to have teachers from other schools shadow KMS teachers for a few days (not enough) and then go back and teach the Kittredge Model at their home schools.

Too many problems with that to enumerate - not the least of which is the "train the trainer" method, which doesn't work if the trainer has only a brief training period and then is supposed to go back an teach others while handling her/his own classes, too. I don't know if it was ever ever attempted.

All this said, the KMS teachers are not a different, better species than other DCSS teachers. They just have an environment and the flexibility to be creative.

(BTW, the compacting takes place in a small group handled by a completely separate teacher - the "CAT" teacher - so the regular class room teachers will often have a ratio of less than 17:1.)

We can't afford this at this time.

Dekalbparent said...

We have seen two different emails to send budgets suggestions to.I tried both and one bounced, but I got a reply from Ramona Tyson's office acknowledging receipt of the other. the address is:

budget-suggestions@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Pass it on