Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Parents want schools chief to give back raise


Well, I had to miss the board meeting tonight, but a blogger on another thread informed us that the board approved nearly $300,000 to improve the lighting package for the stage in the board offices. Jim Redovian was the only board member to vote against this SPLOST change order stating that there are other more pressing projects that the SPLOST money should be spent on and in light of today's financial climate he could not spend that much money for the Board to look better on TV. Thank you Jim!

Now, the AJC is reporting that Dr. Lewis "stared straight ahead Monday night as parents and teachers asked him to return his $15,000 raise." The AJC goes on to say, "The board is considering teacher furloughs and cutting programs, such as pre-kindergarten classes, art courses, magnet schools and Montessori programs, to offset the deficit." And, "30 school employees protested outside. The teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria workers held signs criticizing Lewis’ raise and questioned their proposed pay cuts. Last month, the board voted to raise Lewis’ salary from $240,000 to $255,000."

We also learn that "Lewis previously has said if the program cuts are not made the school system will have to raise property taxes. But at 22.98 mills, DeKalb already has the third-highest school tax rate in the metro area, according to the superintendent."

"The DeKalb county commission also is facing an $82 million deficit and considering drastic cuts to prevent raising taxes.

Seleste Harris of the Organization of DeKalb Educators said the board needs to look at the [millions] the district spends on instructional specialists, staff development positions and human resource workers.

Seven parents from Huntley Hills Elementary School brought a list of possible budget cuts to the board, reductions they hope will help save the Montessori program at their Chamblee school."

"Shelli Wells, whose child attends the Montessori program at Briar Vista Elementary School, told the board she feels the district is not prioritizing expenses.

“Never when we were looking at [our personal household] budget did we cut food or electricity or things that were necessity,” said Wells, who was laid off from her corporate job. “I think we have to cut things that are extra. … I don’t feel the education is extra. That is our food.”

I think that is a great comment.

183 comments:

Cerebration said...

Please add your input as to what else went on at the meeting - we'd all like to know!

FWIW - Maureen Downey has an interesting thread on DCSS parents and our anger and organization -
Read it here.

Anonymous said...

The blog mentions that Seleste Harris of the Organization of DeKalb Educators said the board needs to look at the $700 million the district spends on instructional specialists, staff development positions and human resource workers. Either Ms. Harris misspoke or that is an honest typo. The general operational budget is $851 million dollars. We know that approximately 90% of the budget, which is $766 million goes towards compensation for ALL employees. Hopefully we can get a correction to this.

themommy said...

The most interesting part of the meeting was at the end during Board Member comments, which are suppose to be limited to 2 minutes each and weren't.

Let's see if I can summarize/paraphrase. This is not in the order they spoke, nor is it exactly what they said. I am sure I will leave someone/something out.

Paul Womack wants a policy on how DCSS citizen committees operate. He wants one set of bylaws for all the committees that clearly states how terms of the members are defined. If this policy is approved, then the current committees will be disbanded. But, don't panic, he said basically to the current committee members -- you might be reappointed. (So, anyone care to share who he is after on the CAC (SPLOST Oversight) Board.

Dr. Walker wants us to raise the millage rate two Mils. He believes that the citizens of DeKalb need to invest in our children. He thinks though, that the general public is more likely to support cuts rather than a tax increase.

Jim Redovian agreed with Dr. Walker about the need to "invest" in children, however Jim pointed out how drastically state funds have been cut. He is worried that if we raise our millage rate that our state funding will be decreased even more. Also, two mils will cap out our ability to raise taxes the next year, where a 56 million dollar deficit is already projected.

Sarah Copeland-Woods spoke at length about the need to validate the programs we are using/purchasing. She said test scores at low performing schools are still low. She says the Board must be more diligent in their research before approving these contracts.

I think that there were at least 2 common themes between Zepora Robers, Don McChesney and Tom Bowen. These were -- we have to make decisions that are good for every student in the system not just yours and we love it when you give us creative, out of the box suggestions. (Apparently, some Montessori parent offered a suggestion instead of just being critical.) Ms. Roberts asked that people not send ugly emails using fake names, email addresses and/or phone numbers.

I know I left someone/something out. Sorry for any omissions.

Anonymous said...

The BOE knows what they need to do:

1. Close and consolidate schools with low enrollment
2. Cut, consolidate, and cross-train personnel in non-teaching positions
3. Outsource as many support functions as possible including but not limited to Information Systems, HVAC, food services, and Professional Learning
4. Bring the cost of magnet and theme school operation in line with regular schools

Actually, DeKalb spends 91% of their budget on salaries while other metro systems spend 85% of their budget on salaries. 6% of $900,000,000 budget is $54,000,000 annually. Our shortfall is $54,000,000.

We don't have lower pupil-teacher ratios or better teacher pay than other systems so it is obvious that administration and support is higher than other metro schools.

Go to the DeKalb County website to see that only half of our personnel are teachers, media specialists or counselors:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/fastfacts.html

These figures were copied straight from DeKalb's website:

Employees Total 13,842
Teachers, Media Specialists and Counselors 53.1%
Support Personnel 42.3% Administrators 4.6%

Please share these figures and the link they came from with your DeKalb County BOE member. It's hard to dispute what you publish on your website.

Note that teachers, media specialists and counselors who directly work with students comprise only 53% of DeKalb's work force. How can we have quality education when only half of our staff actually work with students? We have less and less teachers every year and more and more administrative personnel.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:06 AM, the BOE may know what they need to do, but they do not have the will to do so. They honestly believe the public doesn't know what we're talking about..."because we don't have all the information they have". Interpreted: We don't get to gear all the BS the Crawford, Marcus Turk, etc. feed them.

This BOE is loyal to this administration, especially now that they extended C Lew's contract. The only tool we have for change is to vote out of office the 5 BOE'ers who are up for re-election this fall. The current board will not be swayed by any of our arguements.

Anonymous said...

This below is from the Get Schooled blog. More evidence that Lewis has lost his mind. His administration office budget grew 20% in just two years! There is no excuse for this.



Please note the following numbers for General Administration Salaries and Benefits for the Dekalb County School System
07-08 Year 09-10 Year
$7,498,399 $9,039,991

Am I the only one wondering why Central Office Salaries and Benefits increased 20% in two years? You may access this budget at:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/budget/files/FY2010%20Approved%20Budget%20Book.pdf

Cerebration said...

Right on, Anon. And we have talked about that huge increase in admin costs here before. The responses we get are either - those are Title 1 jobs - or that's a normal increase due to inflation.

Busner said...

CLew's "administration office budget grew 20% in just two years! There is no excuse for this."

And there is NO excuse for extending his contract.

And there is NO excuse for voting him a pay raise.

And there is NO excuse for increasing his expense account.

And there is NO excuse for allowing him to remain the Superintendent of OUR public schools.

Folks, start saving your money and banking your vacation time. Come the Fall, we will ALL need to do EVERYTHING we can (donating money, time, energy and effort) to FIRE this School Board and ELECT new members who will do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Busner is right. We need to recruit the best and brightest of DeKalb residents to consider running for BOE. They are arguably the most important elected officials in the county, but we do not necessarily get the best of us to run for those positions. And when we do (Ernest Brown, Shayna, Marshall Orson, Ella) they are outmanuevered by political pro's like Walker and Womack. We not only need five brand new BOE members, but we need our best and brightest to run, and we need to support them. It hurts me deept to know that we have Gene Walker and Don McChesney when we could have had Ernest Brown and Orson or Ella instead.

No Duh said...

As we watch in awe while our BOE members continue to praise and reward Dr. Lewis with more and more cash and perks (pushing $300,000), I would like you all to consider the following -- the salary of the President of the United States (whether Republican or Democrat).

"The president earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 non-taxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment. The most recent raise in salary was approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton in 1999 and went into effect in 2001."

And by the way, the Vice President of the United States makes $221,000.

Also, I'm not talking about these people's annual income (which is clearly more than the above given investments, book royalities, etc.). I am asking you to compare Dr. Lewis' salary for working hard to President Obama's salary (remember Obama haters that George Bush earned the same amount).

Anonymous said...

I think AIG and Goldman Sachs executives will give back their bonus money before Lewis gives back his $15,000.

Anonymous said...

I've heard good comments about Ernest Brown. Does anyone know if he is running again?

Cerebration said...

I must tell you all - it's a lot to ask someone to run for BOE. It's expensive. That's one of the reasons why Walker and Womack won - they had a whole lot more money to spend on fancy printed mailers, etc. I know that unless you have some big donors - or deep pockets of your own - you will either lose - or end up with a big debt. If you want a candidate to run - you MUST support them financially. And you must work VERY hard to support them vocally to your community. Door to door. The candidate cannot do it all by themselves while we all stand around and cheer.

Anonymous said...

DCSS has lost focus on why anyone working for it have a job and receive a pay check. DCSS employees receive their paycheck because of the children. Without the kids we'd all be out of work. The kids and their education need to be put before anyone's salaries, retirement, fixing up central offices, buying unneeded furniture, having a corporate wellness center, paying for cars and gas for personal use, non-classroom televisions, and so many needless positions making $100,000+.

Every employee in DCSS should be counting their lucky stars that they have a job. Just look around your neighborhood and see the number of people laid off and out of work. Teachers should not complain about furlough days as we've been the least hit by furlough days as far as state employees go. Dr. Lewis, we all think that we're worth more than we are, give your raise up and save face-you look like an a$$.

Our children and their needs are not being put first or even appear to be thought of at all. They are the reason anyone working in DCSS has a job. They are the reason we have DCSS. It's time we put the children first, make the necessary cuts to employees, salaries, schools, programs, and other unnecessary expenditures. We need to tighten our belts the old fashion way. If you haven't noticed, people trying to keep up with the Jones' are many of the people who are in trouble economically right now. We cannot afford the fanciness and no one in their right mind is trying to keep up with us. Make the tough decisions and make the cuts necessary to have not only a balanced budget, but money in our surplus. Our children should be our priority.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Womack won?

He seems to be a "do nothing" kind of BOE member.

I'm a long time Northlake community member (30 years in the Briarlake neighborhood), retired, and would be glad to go door to door to try to unseat him.

Cere,
Can you tell us again who is coming up for election fall, 2010?

It appears almost anyone could do a better job than the board we have now.

Cerebration said...

Actually, I disagree. I have come to think that Paul Womack is actually very dedicated and hard-working - and could very well be sly like a fox. I think all the board members have their hearts in their jobs - they are all good people. Truly, I actually respect them all - it can't be easy.

I just happen to disagree with many of their decisions and the way they blanket endorse the actions of Dr. Lewis. I think we need a board that is very tough-minded and can make hard decisions without worrying about the repercussions. The first decision to be made would be to replace the superintendent - with a seasoned super from a highly successful state. Someone with no connections and who is not beholden to anyone. This could very well be a 5 year team - to set up the system for a long-term team. There are people who specialize in these kinds of recovery - and that's what we need -- recovery.

The following board reps terms expire this year:

Zepora Roberts - District 7
Jim Redovian - District 1
Sarah Copeland-Wood - District 3
Jay Cunningham - District 5
Gene Walker - District 9

Anonymous said...

has anyone declared for area 5? I would love to know who is running against Jay

Anonymous said...

PERDUE,GEORGE E "Sonny" GOVERNOR
Salary $139,339.44
Travel and Expense $38,212.46

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that Paul Womack is dedicated and hard working, but is he getting the job done? Our school system is so broken. He may be sly like a fox, but is he producing results? I would have to say no.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 7:45 -- Careful comparing CLew's salary to the governor. Albeit he (Lew) gets paid 2X, in Lewis' own words "he's a bargain". With Crawford's immense responsibilities, I am sure the Governor agrees.

The board needs to proivide a Superintendent's Mansion. Tony Pope can design it, Ms. Pope & friends can build it, and Lewis can use it to throw coctail parties for friends and family. Maybe Sembler can find an appropriate spot -- former DSA/Kittredge comes to mind.

Just think how this will benefit our students!

Cynical? Yes.

Anonymous said...

BOE Members, are you reading this blog? Not just this string, but the blog?

Look at the news. And read the comments here -- on this string, or the many others on this blog, or AJC's Get Schooled blog, or Channels 2, 5, 11, or 46. NO-ONE other than you thinks he's a capable leader. How many more signs do you need to get it? Haven't our children suffered enough?

Regardless of your views, the public and DCSS staff have lost all confidence in Dr. Lewis. There is NO directive he can issue to improve the district that will be enforced or taken seriously.

If status quo isn't OK with you, what's you plan for change?

Parentof3 said...

Does anyone know where to find a map showing the boundaries for each of the five districts up for election this year, so that we can begin finding and recruiting candidates?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lewis returning the 15K in a manner of speaking is too much like the readjustment of the purchase of the county car and the siphoning out the gas debacle. IMHO the honorable path would have been for him to reject any talk of a raise period.The more righteous path would have been to
"cowboy up" and admit the shortcomings of his tenure and offer to take a reduction in pay.
He already took the money. Giving it back doesn't make him a hero. A hero would have not taken it in the first place.
It is leadership by example.

fedupindcss said...

I think it would be good to see some younger members on the school board. Most of these folks are decades away from dealing with educational issues, and they are way different today than they were in even the 90's (much less the 70').

As for the Womack discussion, my biggest concern is his "Lakeside-centric" worldview (kind of like that famous poster of a New Yorker's view of the world). He represents a much larger area, but he is all about Lakeside. He also seems a bit thin-skinned for a political veteran.

Anonymous said...

Regarding "Does anyone know where to find a map showing the boundaries for each of the five districts up for election this year, so that we can begin finding and recruiting candidates?"

1. Go to:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us

2. Click on Board of Education

3. Fly out menu will let you click on Members Districts

4. Download a .pdf file that shows the members' districts

I hope this helps. If you need any more help, just post it on this blog

Anonymous said...

Being a Northlake community member, I can't beleive Womack is Lakeside oriented. He must not have seen the toilets and falling down facility that is Lakeside. If he is pro-Lakeside, he certainly has not been effective. Maybe he should look at the posts about Lakeside on this blog, and then go to the school and see for himself.

Anonymous said...

"think it would be good to see some younger members on the school board. Most of these folks are decades away from dealing with educational issues, and they are way different today than they were in even the 90's (much less the 70')."

If they understood educational technology, they would realize how behind the times DeKalb is in technology. eSis, 2 computers in classrooms that hold over 30 students, few computer labs, and technology that doesn't work and/or is unreliable make teachers throw up their hands in disgust.

Younger BOE members might demand that DeKalb administrators and the MIS department remember that we are in the 21st century. Walking into our classrooms is like walking into 1970's classrooms. Maybe our current BOE members are right at home with that environment.

John Heneghan said...

Caution...these may be very old and out dated.

Here are maps of the DeKalb School Board County local districts and the at large districts.

Anonymous said...

You have got to check this out. Just posted on the Dekalb School job site is opening for Deputy Superintendent of Teaching & Learning. Salary of $163,000.

Anonymous said...

Don't have the complicated organizational chart in front of me...is that an old position or a new one?

Anonymous said...

I thought positions outside the schoolhouse were frozen. DeKalb could hire 4 teachers for this price.

Anonymous said...

Organizational Chart shows Ms. Talley currently in this position.
Most companies in tight times look to how they can better organize rather than just filling positions as usual.

Anonymous said...

Position was posted 2/9/10 - brand new. It is posted so someone outside the school system can apply - I guess we'll be adding to our employee roster. Reports to Deputy Chief Superintendent for School Operations. It appears Bob Moseley holds that position.

Busner said...

The following Board members MUST be defeated in November:

Zepora Roberts - District 7
Jim Redovian - District 1
Sarah Copeland-Wood - District 3
Jay Cunningham - District 5
Gene Walker - District 9

We need new representation in Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.

I will personally $upport any credible candidate who runs against these incumbants. And I will rai$e as much money a$ po$$ible to support them.

Talk is cheap. Blog posts are too. It's time for us to put our money where our mouths are. And I'm ready to do that. NOW!

Anonymous said...

It has been confirmed... Talley is leaving at the end of the school year.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gloria Talley and Tony Hunter, it is pitiful how old computers are in our elementary schools. I'm glad DCSS administrators all have nice computers, but gets your heads out of the sand, stop wasting our tax money on adding more administrators, and pay attention to what other districts are doing technology-wise:

http://www.decaturnewsonline.com/news/article_c01031a0-1648-11df-912e-001cc4c002e0.html

Board Approves a Touch of Apple for Decatur Schools

Although the City Schools of Decatur's decision to enter into a three-year lease for new school computers will not cause quite the stir as the recent unveiling of the Apple iPad, the district school board's agreement with Apple could certainly have a deeper impact in the Decatur community.

At their Tuesday, February 9 meeting the board approved the lease of 124 new Apple computers for use at all district schools, signaling a desire to keep Decatur students on the leading edge of technology.

"If we don't find a way to push for those devices to get into student hands, we are doing them a disservice," said Board President Valerie Wilson.

The Board has not approved a system-wide computer upgrade for a couple of years. The growing student population and fast-moving technology has prompted individual requests for 58 computers from individual schools. The new district agreement with Apple will actually save the system over $17,500 and mean twice as many computers in the classrooms.

The cost for the three-year lease of 124 computers will come to $129,580. This initiative will also allow student to use the handheld iPod Touch as an educational tool throughout the system. These currently popular devices can sync applications simultaneously so that they can be used for a multitude of activities, such as quick research.

Wilson adamantly supported the efforts to increase the availability of more advanced technology in the classroom, citing the iPod initiative as one means of doing just that. She said that encouraging the proper, honorable usage of the iPods and of electronic devices in general could cut down on cheating, while allowing students to use these devices for academic purposes.

The system will have the option to purchase the computers for $1 at the end of the lease term.

Anonymous said...

"The new district agreement with Apple will actually save the system over $17,500 and mean twice as many computers in the classrooms.
The system will have the option to purchase the computers for $1 at the end of the lease term."

Wow, new computers while actualy saving money? That is the opposite of the DCSS way.

"The cost for the three-year lease of 124 computers will come to $129,580. This initiative will also allow student to use the handheld iPod Touch as an educational tool throughout the system. These currently popular devices can sync applications simultaneously so that they can be used for a multitude of activities, such as quick research.

Wilson adamantly supported the efforts to increase the availability of more advanced technology in the classroom, citing the iPod initiative as one means of doing just that. She said that encouraging the proper, honorable usage of the iPods and of electronic devices in general could cut down on cheating, while allowing students to use these devices for academic purposes."

A Board of Ed chair actually pushing for increased use of technology in the classroom? We'd never get that from any of our BOE members. A Board of Ed member that realizes students should and want to use electronic devices to make learning more productive and enjoyable? Imagine Paul Womack or Sarah Copelin-Wood or Gloria Talley even attempting to comprehend how today's technology can be used for academics in 2010??!!

Anonymous said...

"You have got to check this out. Just posted on the Dekalb School job site is opening for Deputy Superintendent of Teaching & Learning. Salary of $163,000."

WHAT!!!!! How can this be posted before Talley retires? Will the new person be on payroll at the same time Talley is???

I GUARANTEE Talley will be retained as a consultant in some form or another. I have heard this from many people including a former BOE member: The superintendent and BOE like having former upper level administrators around as consultants. They don't realize that we need some clean breaks from administrators who have overstayed their welcome. Talley, Moseley, Ramsey, etc. all sort of expect some income when they retire as DCSS consultants.

Dekalbparent said...

Did you know (clearly no one at DCSS admin does) that Apple is eager to partner with schools and school districts for innovative programs?

I know of a local [private] school that has been given state of the art technology, a laptop for every student, ipods for lectures and podcasts, video cameras, transportation for selected students and teachers to conferences, and educational seminars for teachers in return for their allowing Apple to publicize what they do with their technology.

Folks, this could happen here.

Anonymous said...

Dekalbparent, I don't think that could happen here. Lewis and Tony Hunter would find some way to politicize it. They would make Apple hire some family and friends as consultants. They would make sure that administrators got the fanciest equipment first before students and teachers.

I'm all for having DCSS work with Apple or Microsoft, but only after we elect five new BOE members and Crawford Lewis is fired or made to retire. Would love for DCSS to hire the Decatur superintendent, or someone who knows technology and has no ties of any kind to DCSS.

Dekalbparent said...

from another thread.

I am going to report waht I heard at the BOE meeting. Draw your own conclusions.
When Redovian said he could not vote to "spend over $300,000 to upgrade the lighting at Mtn Ind when there were more pressing needs", Walker replied that the money was looking to the future. He said if we don't plan for the best technology, we are wasting money. Lewis then said "if we don't put in this new lighting, we might as well close down PDS24."

Anonymous said...

Job advertisement says start date of 6/01/2010.
How much would the school system save if the School Board directed Dr. Lewis to not hire any consultants or rehire anyone who is drawing a retirement check?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Talley has a rolling year-to-year contract? I thought she did, but I'm speculating.

Reason I ask is this:

If she's leaving this June, the BOE would have known about it last year as she wouldn't have added the rolling year to her contract. If that's the case they should have double checked the $400K Hollywood expense instead of allowing her full checkbook access to hand out what some perceive as good-bye favors.

If she did renew the rolling year, it means she's likely being pushed out. The BOE doesn't push people out without at the same time giving them a sweet package -- like full pay for the entire contract term (even though they won't be around) and then maybe a kicker in addition.

What a disaster that would be if they're paying her $200K+ to go away!

Anybody know what her contract term is, or how to find it out?

Cerebration said...

I would pose the theory that she is going to another state - or even to America's Choice - of her own choosing. She can't possibly want to remain a part of this system. I've always heard that she has big plans to work at the state level (Sec of Education?) - and coming from DeKalb would be a bad mark against her statewide.

She came here from North Carolina not all that many years ago. I'm sure she's questioning why she ever did that. But beyond that - we need someone over curriculum and instruction who will fight for EVERY child. It always seemed to me that Gloria was all about the college-bound - and had not interest in the rest.

We are responsible for educating nearly 100,000 students. Each and every one deserves to leave this system prepared to succeed in life - be that in a college career or the working world. The citizens we raise should be given the gift of being able to support and care for a family of their own.

Anonymous said...

It will never happen that Apple partners with DCSS. Apple has tried to get DCSS business for years.

MIS is strictly a Microsoft shop. DCSS has a few Macs, a few per school (mainly in the art department), but by and large MIS upper management do not want to have to cross train everyone to learn the Apple software. Network folk run MIS, and they are trained in Windows, so Windows it will remain.

In addition, MIS network managers do not want Apple computers on their network. They cite security issues.

In the schools that have managed to get Apple labs, the students love working with them.

Here are some examples:
Hawthorne Elementary School's PTA raised money for a Mac lab.
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/hawthorne/computerlab.html


Stone Mountain Media Center wrote a grant to get a Mac lab.
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/stonemountainhs/applelab.html

Henderson Middle School has Macs, again bought by the Media Center with Media center funds. Sorry no picture on their website.

There are a few more media centers that have used media center funds for Apples. The media center tend to like Macs.

Basically, an earlier post on this blog was right - we do not have anywhere near the number of computers per class that other systems have.

For example, Forsyth Schools has 5 computers in every classroom, several carts of laptops, 1 or 2 computer labs, a mini lab in the media center, many media center computers, and an ACTIVboard in every instructional space (i.e. any place that kids are taught - media center, small special ed rooms, etc. you will find an ACTIVboard).

Every teacher in Forsyth, APS, Futon, and Cobb have been issued laptops.

Where do we spend our millions of technology dollars? Personnel, eSis, Internet security, etc. - just not in the classroom.

Do the teachers feel the technology they have is kept in tip top shape? You need to ask them that question.

Anonymous said...

As someone with IT experience, Apple is much better with network security. That is a ridiculous excuse by the school system MIS dept. They are lazy and don't want employees to have to cross train. Apple is superior for media centers and school library applications.

We need to push the BOE to have Georgia Tech do a complete evaluation and audit of DCSS technology needs. Georgia Tech would be happy to do so, and we need an independent organization to do it. I have been very, very unimpressed with the knowledge of Bryant Center staff I have dealth with.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we need to replace Jim Redovian. Jim has been enormously helpful to parents at Huntley Hills. At the budget committee meeting last week, he spoke very forcefully to the board advocating for the concerns of teachers and parents. It is clear that he sees the frustrations we are feeling at the ground level. While I disagree with some of the votes he has made, I think he has a very realistic view of the flaws of our school system and the realities of our budget.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Has anyone seen the AJC online headline about more CRCT test scores being questioned? The author says there is a hearing at the state this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Jim Redovian is a good board member, and is the one most in tune with parents. He "gets it". He doesn't always reply to every e-mail or phone call, and he should do better, but he really listens to parents in person before and after meetings and events. Redovian is respectful to parents.

Womack and Walker speak down to parents and try to make you feel inferior. Both of them have a whole lotta Foghorn Leghorn in them.

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. Really wish DCSS would do better with best practices, and get away from the know it all, add more administrators, no problem with nepotism, spend, spend, speand approach.

http://www.wallacefoundation.org/KnowledgeCenter/KnowledgeTopics/CurrentAreasofFocus/EducationLeadership/Pages/Improving-School-Leadership-The-Promise-of-Cohesive-Leadership-Systems.aspx
Improving School Leadership: The Promise of Cohesive Leadership Systems

http://www.wallacefoundation.org/KnowledgeCenter/KnowledgeTopics/CurrentAreasofFocus/EducationLeadership/Pages/evaluation-of-the-school-administration-manager-project.aspx
Evaluation of the School Administration Manager Project

Insider said...

For current board districts, go to: http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/maps.html#

Look for BOE district map links at the bottom.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 12:59

Regarding technology for students in DeKalb schools.

Thanks. After your post I went to the Forsyth Co. Schools website to check out what you said.

I’ll share in this post what I found with regards to technology for Forsyth students. You were right that their students have tremendous access to technology.

Forsyth has approximately 50,000 students – i.e. they are about half DeKalb's size.

You can see how rich the instructional technology is by going to this link:
http://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/129410616215138857/site/default.asp?129410616215017890Nav=|&NodeID=1324

Forsyth also has the Citrix system. Every child can remotely access the school software from home, collaborate on projects, submit lessons to teachers, etc. Teachers can in turn collaborate with students, grade student assignments, electronically return them to students, etc. Of course every teacher is provided a laptop by the school system so they can all access the Citrix system.
http://forsyth.schoolwires.com/129410616215017890/FileLib/browse.asp?a=374&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=93159&129410616215017890Nav=|&NodeID=3622

Look at the software they have for students. And if the students do not have this software, they don’t have to buy it. They can access it remotely.
http://forsyth.schoolwires.com/129410616215017890/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=109249&129410616215017890Nav=|&NodeID=5920

Every teacher has an interactive board:
http://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/129410616215017890/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=53894&129410616215138857Nav=|&NodeID=248

They have much more – like student apprentices in technology, etc. Go to the Forsyth site and see for yourself.

They must save a fortune on copiers, copier paper, toner, etc.

This probably sounds like sci fi to DeKalb parents, but it is obviously real, it’s happening and there's no reason our students can’t have this too if the BOE becomes good stewards of our taxpayer dollars.

SongCue said...

As an aside, tomorrow evening, Feb. 11, is the winter DeKalb PTA Council dinner. These dinners are attended by a PTA officer from each school, the principal, top DCSS administration (including Dr. Lewis), and several board members.
The winter meeting is the one at which PTA lifetime members are awarded and former council presidents are present--all this is to say everyone will likely be on their best behavior.
But I'll bet the tension in the room will be palpable....it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall and hear table conversations.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Redovian has uniformly supported Dr. Lewis' proposals, approved his recent pay raise and contract extension.
Guess if you want things to stay the same you should put him back on the board.

Busner said...

Redovian is the prime example of what's wrong with this Board of Education. Redovian knew it was wrong to allow CLEW's administrative overhead to grow 20% in two years (while DCSS was incurring record deficits) and he allowed it to happen! Redovian knew it was wrong to extend CLew's contract and he voted for it anyway. Redovian knew it was wrong to give CLEW an increase in his expense account and he voted for it anyway. Redovian knew it was wrong to give CLew a raise and he voted for it anyway. I could go on for days about Redovian. He may be a "nice guy" who "gets it". BUT Jim Redovian's actions are the actions of a Board Member who consistently FAILS to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

A vote for Jim Redovian is a vote to keep things the same in DeKalb County Schools

Redovian Apologists, wake up and smell the coffee.

Anonymous said...

What is this that Eugene Walker has posted on his website talking about "Between a Rock and a Hard Place. http://drepwalker.com/
The DCSS and CLewis don't know what that really means since they all seem to be doing just fine...while everyone else including students try and figure out the next move in this whole mess.
Also just saw on CBS46 that one of Stephenson Middle School Spanish teacher Mr. Rafer Grier has a record of sexual misconduct with a minor and no one in DCSS Human Resources caught it. News 46 brought it to their attention. Then why are we asking employees to have background checks if the system is not doing its job....All the parents of Stephenson MS students should be outraged...I am and my child is not even in MS. This kind of slip up could have been deteremental and still could have serious reprecussions for the DCSS.

Really Eugene DCSS is caught between something and it's certainly not a rock and a hard place.

Anonymous said...

Redovian Apologists, wake up and smell the coffee.

That's rather rude.

Dekalbparent said...

@Anon 4:15

The post on Dr Walker's website is verbatim what he said during his "2 minutes" remarks at the board meeting. He appeared to read it from a paper when he said it, so I guess he is going for wide distribution. He did preface his remarks with a warning that he was going to go over 2 minutes, though, which of course caused most everybody else to do the same.

@Anon 1:50 - LOVE the Foghorn Leghorn observation - absolutely perfect.

Cerebration said...

Well, while I can agree with much of what Gene Walker says, he is missing some pretty big points. If he would really read this blog, he would understand that until this administration and this board is made up of people who have the trust and respect of the public they serve, we will look at each and every proposal they present with cynicism. This group has blown it. We have a COO of construction under investigation by the DA - an investigation requested by the superintendent himself. Then we find that our superintendent was either scamming his P-card to buy gas for his whole family, or he is really so dumb as to think that pumping premium gas into his tank was a fatal mistake for his car and got someone to siphon it out. (Which by the way, if proven to be false, makes Dr. Lewis a liar to the DA.)

We also have very, VERY high costs administratively and in support. Only a fraction over half our employees are teachers. That is ridiculous. DeKalb has served as a jobs program under Dr. Lewis - to award his favorite friends and family. Some serious trimming needs to occur before we go around asking taxpayers to save the jobs of Lewis' special friends like the EXECUTIVE Director of "Health and Wellness".

Raise taxes as Job 1? Nope. Nada. Zip. Just put your little "Plan D" away Gene - and get to some trimming!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comment Cere about Eugene's plan D which is why I stated "Really Eugene DCSS is caught between something and it's certainly not a rock and a hard place." Tehy should really do a job switch and see whta real teacher's deal with day to day in DCSS. And now we have six (6) schools under the cloud of suspicion of cheating...Really? Seriously?
We have a lot to do and let's start with administrative and leave teacher's and their pension's alone.
What kind of organization are we running where child molesters, rackeetering, cheating, stealing and lieing is best known as DCSS finest....We look really bad from a leadership standpoint...jmo

One Fed Up Insider said...

I have not been able to blog all day because I have been at school, with no heat in my classroom, no copier that works, and no computer to communicate with parents.....

Could someone please help me... I may have been dreaming this last night but I thought it was on Channel 2 (I could be wrong there also) the 11 o'clock news.

CLew was on TV and stated that the teachers of DeKalb County would not get their retirements back as of July as he had promised. It is just not in the cards this year.

Well my thinking is if it is not the cards for teachers and everyone else, it better not be for him either.

NOW AGAIN, please let me restate, I don't know if it is true or I just had a nightmare. Could someone out there please help this 18 year veteran...

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Premier DeKalb! Yeah right. If you say it Dr. Lewis it must be so.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the latest in the ajc.com....

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-schools-on-state-295379.html

Please read and discuss.

Cerebration said...

To synopsize the AJC article -
The Georgia Department of Education released official results from their investigation into cheating on the state 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT).

The investigation scanned all test takers’ answer documents to detect erasures, flagging classrooms with wrong-to-right changes that fell above the state average.

The following schools fell on the state’s severe list, meaning 25% or more of the school’s classrooms were flagged with wrong-to-right changes that fell well above the state average.


DeKalb County

Cedar Grove Middle, 35.00%
Dekalb Path Academy, 25.00%
Dekalb Truancy, 66.70%
Glen Haven Elementary, 44.90%
Shadow Rock Elementary, 40.00%
Stoneview Elementary, 48.10%

Cerebration said...

That said, if you check out the article - the Atlanta Public Schools is horrendous! I can't believe how many schools in that system have suspicious test results...

Anonymous said...

Re: The $400K Hollywood America's Choice Junket

Redelivery of the info learned on the junket was conducted at our school today. The presentation itself was pathetic. Forty-five minutes of trying to show how America's Choice is compatible with another instructional program on which teachers spent two years of mandatory staff development. The fact is, AC and the other program are not compatible, despite the "reality" created in Hollywood.

We learned nothing from the redelivery. One teacher commented, "This is all we'll get from the four days our folks spent in LA."

When will the insanity end?

Anonymous said...

DeKalb Path Academy is a charter school not affiliated with DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@6:26pm -- Admittedly I may not be up on things, but unless something has changed recently, DeKalb Path is a DCSS (public/free/choice) independent charter school. The DeKalb BOE has authority to approve or deny their charter. This school, like its "independent charter school" sisters are grossly underfunded compared to other public schools. That's a blog string in itself.

Nonetheless, I challenge anyone reading this blog to go take a visit. You may complain your school has no music room. They don't either. Oh, and they don't have any instruments... but they do have Home Depot empty pails that are their drums (literally) and other stuff they've made from PVC pipe and strings. You should hear the children play!

They are a consistent AYP performer -- while serving a near 100% immigrant and economically disadvantaged population. I challenge you to take a looksie. Meet with Suittwan Cox the CEO and hear her story, you'll re-think what is actually needed to educate children. They're doing it there with no resources and a lot of dedication and love.

Cerebration said...

I sure hope the school system does not view charters as completely independent and not part of the system.

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear more about the America's Choice program from the people who got trained.

I think one person who posted tonight gave his/her take on it.

After all the BOE approved this expenditure of $8,000,000, and now they want to cut teachers' pay and pack more kids into classrooms (like little sardines).

Is it worth it? Not one program that I'm aware of has helped our students yet they have cost tens of millions. As a matter of fact they have probably added to our teacher pupil teacher ratio problems as they've sucked funds out of the classroom. Why would we believe this is any different?

Anonymous said...

Cere--
Depends on what you mean about "viewing" of charters by DCSS. As far as providing support, DCSS and CLew do the bare legal minimum. As far as micromanaging or showing up at events celebrating any of the achievements made by the charters despite the poor support they receive DCSS and CLew are all over it.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope the school system does not view charters as completely independent and not part of the system.

The opposite is true. These start-up charters view themselves as independent and not part of any system - except the money that the system brings them.

Cerebration said...

Well, that's not good. All of our schools are part of the system at large and should not view themselves or be treated as different or outside the system.

Anonymous said...

How dare Dr. Walker say that the citizens of DeKalb need to invest in our children. What the h** does he think we've been doing? The question begs to be asked: What have they been doing? Do not give them anymore money! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We have been fooled, lied to, and manipulated. Place the shame where it truly belongs; it's time for a change.

Anonymous said...

A vote for Jim Redovian (or another incumbent board member) is a vote to keep things the same in DeKalb County Schools.

And EVERY CITIZEN needs to wake up and smell the coffee (not just Jim Redovian's enablers).

Anonymous said...

http://www.cbsatlanta.com/dekalbnews/22526441/detail.html

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- DeKalb County Schools didn’t know they had a teacher arrested on charges of aggravated child molestation and statutory rape until CBS Atlanta News told them.

Stephenson Middle School Spanish teacher Rafer Lamar Grier is charged with four counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of statutory rape that allegedly happened in 2008. Grier was not arrested and jailed until Feb. 5 of this year; the whole time he was teaching young students.

CBS Atlanta News asked the tough questions to the DeKalb County School District about why they didn’t know about the accusations against one of their own teachers.

A spokesman with the DeKalb County School district said they couldn’t have known about the accusations of molestation and rape against Grier unless he or someone else came forward to tell them about it.

In a statement to CBS Atlanta News from the DeKalb County School District, they said:

“The DeKalb County School District learned of the arrest of Mr. Grier after receiving the media inquiry from Channel 46 and subsequently researching the DeKalb Jail web site.”

The school district goes on to say:

“The school district is extremely shocked and disappointed by these charges and will undertake swift and appropriate action, allowed by law, pending disposition by the courts on this matter.”

It is not known if any students were involved.

The school district says Grier has worked for DeKalb County schools since 2000.

Parents CBS Atlanta News talked to said they just wished someone would have told them about the serious accusations facing a teacher who spends his time surrounded by their children.

“I feel they should have sent us a letter or something stating that this is going on or something to that fact,” said Carolyn Banks.

Banks has a daughter in the seventh grade at Stephenson Middle School. She said the accusations against Grier are shocking.

“It kind of stunned me because we’re not aware this is going on, and nobody else informed us about it,” said Banks.

A spokesman from the school district said they do not plan to formally notify parents about the arrest unless a conviction is made.

Grier's next court date is set for Feb. 16.

FIRE THE FIVE said...

http://www.cbsatlanta.com/dekalbnews/22526441/detail

MEMO TO THE BOAD OF EDUCATION:

Here are some relevant questions you're constituents want answers to:

How many Central Office Administrators are employed in human resources (HR), employee relations (ER) and other staffing related 'jobs'?

Which central office employees are responsible for checking the backgrounds on job applicants, potential employees and new hires?

Who are these employees supervised by?

Who is responsible for this inexcusable breach?

Who will be held accountable for it?

Anonymous said...

Was it the school system or the county who hired a Director of Human Resources without a background check, the guy was actually on the job for a month, and then they found out he was a felon??

I don't expect DCS HR and Internal Affairs to check everything all the time, but annual background and driving record checks on every employee at the start of the school year is Human Resources 101.

Maybe Crawford will write a letter to everyone demanding support for the teacher, like he did for the Atheron principal who cheated on the CRCT. Ha!

Cerebration said...

It was the school system. But the guy was vetted by an employment search firm - the same one who brought us Pat Pope.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember that guy's name. I want to google him and see what C Lew's excuse was.

I remember that Vernon hired an Asst. Chief of Staff without a background check, and it only came to light when he was accused of sexual assault at a Vernon birthday bash.

I am almost positive the school system can have free background checks done by the county police department. This is one way the county gov't and school system can work together with, and it benefits all county residents. They don't play nice together, and its time we demand the couny commissioners and board of ed members work together with no drama or delay.

Anonymous said...

Cere 10:33 -- Another tidbit, the search firm's (Lanta Group) CEO was personal friends of guess who? Crawford Lewis.

Anonymous said...

@11:32 -- Darren Ware

Anonymous said...

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/8868818/detail.html
School System Hires Convicted Felon
April 20, 2006

DeKalb County -- DeKalb school board members want to know how a five-time convicted felon was hired by the school system. In February, Superintendent Crawford Lewis hired Darren Ware as human resources director. Lewis apparently didn't know that ware had convictions dating back to 1986. Channel 2 Action News uncovered convictions on forgery, burglary and theft. The school board says a search firm called the Lanta Group was used, and that firm recommended Ware. Dr. Lewis made the final decision to hire Ware, and the firm reportedly has done other searches for the school system. Ware was fired and escorted out, but community advocate Dr. Harry Ross claims the superintendent is ultimately at fault, and is calling for his resignation.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cafepharma.com/boards/showthread.php?t=92432
Search firm finds DeKalb a criminal for top HR post

By KRISTINA TORRES
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/22/06

When DeKalb County Schools received Darren Ware's résumé Feb. 10, a months-long search for a new human resources director appeared to be over.
The two-page document showcased a dynamic, accomplished professional with an MBA and 20 years of experience.
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The Lanta Group, the search firm the school system had hired, urged school officials to set up an interview quickly, warning in an e-mail that Ware was "being pursued by others."
Sharp-witted and personable, Ware knocked interviewers' socks off in person. But, as records released this week show, it was too bad he forgot to mention his past.
On Friday, having cut ties with the search firm that found them a convicted criminal for their high-ranking post, DeKalb County school administrators said they were reviewing their hiring practices and how they use information supplied by search firms.
Ware's glowing résumé, meanwhile, grew paler Friday: Spokeswomen at both UCLA and Rutgers University — the schools where he said he got his bachelor's and master's degrees — said they had no record of a student with his name.
Using search firms to find management-level employees is a common practice for school systems. What happened to DeKalb is a system's nightmare, since officials expect a candidate's credentials to be vetted on the front end to save time in the end.
"The Lanta Group was responsible for that initial screening," DeKalb system spokesman Dale Davis said. The system fired Ware on Tuesday after results from a background check — completed by the system as part of its new-hire process — indicated he had a criminal record in New Jersey.
Marc Gorlin, who co-founded the Atlanta-based Lanta Group in 1998, did not return detailed messages seeking comment Friday. DeKalb paid his firm, which it has used before with no apparent problems, nearly $38,866 for the search.
The system uses search firms to fill nonteaching positions, especially if the position is considered to be in a specialized area.
Davis said other people were in the running for the HR job.
Ware, 44, outshone them all.
DeKalb hired him on the last day of February with fanfare; Superintendent Crawford Lewis had publicly stated that filling the position was a key step forward for his two-year leadership.
Ware, according to records obtained through the state Open Records Act, said he was coming off a nearly three-year HR stint at an Alpharetta pharmaceuticals company. There, according to his résumé, he reduced turnover from 55 percent to 32 percent and instituted a "'pay for performance' culture."
He said he worked before that at an Atlanta-based security and transportation company, as well as companies in New Jersey starting in 1988.
Missing was this: According to records from courts and the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Ware had a criminal history, facing a series of charges between 1986 and about 1994 that included burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, forgery and violation of parole.
In DeKalb, the Monday after he was hired, Ware filled out paperwork that included a notarized statement saying he had never been convicted of violating the law.
He also consented to be fingerprinted for a background check — a check that regularly takes six to eight weeks to complete. In the meantime, for $155,000 a year, he took the lead of a department that oversees 14,000 employees in Georgia's third-largest school system.
Ware could not be reached for comment Friday. Reached at home Thursday, he said he had no comment "at this time."

Anonymous said...

I hope they didn't get any more DCSS contracts after the Darren Ware debacle!

http://www.lanta.com/
The Lanta Group
6000 Lake Forrest Drive
Suite 495
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 404-256-7383
Fax: 404-256-7384

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dr. Lewis did hire a convicted felon for the job of Human Resources director in 2006. Dr. Lewis didn't know he was a convicted felon. Rather he relied on a employment research firm who obviously didn't vet him as well as it should have.

DeKalb Schools spend an enormous amount on their Human Resources personnel. According to the state of Georgia salary report,the current Human Resources manager makes $165,035 a year and her assistant makes $74,402). Yet Dr. Lewis used an expensive human resources firm. What did taxpayers get for all that money?

Use the link below to see a summary of the WSB story:
Here is a WSB article about it:
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/8868818/detail.html

As I recall, DeKalb Schools paid a substantial amount to the search firm that hired him. Maybe someone remembers the exact figure.

Dr. Lewis needs to remember Harry Truman's words, "The buck stops here." He is happy to take the money, but he also needs to take the responsibility when his decisions prove inept and costly to DeKalb taxpayers and DeKalb students.

I don't believe any corporation or business would keep Crawford Lewis employed with the poor business decisions he has made.

Anonymous said...

So Derren Ware made $155,000 a year in 2006. Very interesting. The current Human Resources head Jamie Wilson made $165,0000 in 2009 (according to the state of Georgia 2009 salary report).

So in 3 years from 2006 to 2009 the Human Resources head experienced a salary increase of $15,000 ($5,000 per year or 3% per year increase).

It's nice to know that teachers' pay was frozen while these administrators were/are getting raises.

I guess that shows where DeKalb Schools' priorities are.

BTW - I'm not a teacher, but I am a parent and a taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

They are about to have a very important meeting at the service center regarding the budget and what areas will be cut.....interesting since the BOE has said nothing when attemptig to email them for answers. Who's spinning tales today I wonder...hmmm

Anonymous said...

May I add that Jamie Wilson does not have any HR experience at all...Not one of his degrees is in HR to my knowledge....just another one of CLewis boys...wonder what skeletons are lurking in his closet...with a little digging I am certain something will be as rotten as all of CLewis other flunkies......

Anonymous said...

You are right Anon...Jamie Wilson was a Principal at Atherton E.S.....what is DCSS trying to do get fined or something. If you are running this school system like a business then you need true Human Resource Management...not fake outs. He doesn't know the law according to HR standards which may be why we have so many personnel lawsuits that have been won lately.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/schools/elementary/atherton/files/62A1FD20EA724E90AFD7EB3C239A2D5D.pdf

Anonymous said...

When a DeKalb teacher renews his certificate, he must pay $40.00 for a background check. This is done through the School Police Department.

Anonymous said...

Two comments on the recent CRCT scandal:

1) How stupid do you have to be to change CRCT answers after all the hubub on this same topic this past year? Quality teachers = quality education.

2) Crawford defended his "We're family, let's all support the cheaters..." memo drafted after the last CRCT cheating episode. If you really believed it, where's your memo this time daddy?

Cerebration said...

I'll bet Jamie Wilson was a terrific principal. I respect the guy a lot - but I think he should have stayed where his gifts and talents are truly needed. Why does Dr. Lewis always do that? Promote our best principals into management jobs? He wouldn't dream of putting an experienced businessperson in as a principal. Does he really think that educators are so special that they can effectively do anyone else's job?

Put Jamie back as a principal-we really need good ones. Just look at what happened to Atherton after Jamie was replaced. Think about the possibilities for Atherton had those kids had good, caring, honest leadership like I believe Jamie to be.

Anonymous said...

"DeKalb paid his firm, which it has used before with no apparent problems, nearly $38,866 for the search."

So four years ago, C Lew paid $40k for a position that paid $155 per year? That is incredibly high.

And this is classic C Lew: "Superintendent Crawford Lewis had publicly stated that filling the position was a key step forward for his two-year leadership."

My sister works in HR for a large company, and she was shocked to hear that a principal with no HR is head of HR for an organization with 13,000+ employees!!

She cannot be promoted unless she earns a masters degree in HR from an accredited school like Maryland of Clemson. Unfortunately, all the online dimploma mills offer "certificates" in HR.

She says the the amount of rules and regulations for HR change rapidly, and there is no way someone with years of experience would be qualified to run a large HR dept.

I guess C Lew took a liking to Jamie Wilson. Why do we have a system where all the principals want to get out of the classroom and into the Central Office??? Oh yeah, administrators make the huge bucks in DCSS, without having to deal with actual students and teachers, and they get to work 9 to 5 pm. Don't be around the Central Office parking lot at 4 pm on a Friday, or you'll get run over by staff flying out of there early for the weekend.

Cerebration said...

Something is fishy here.

I have a sneaking feeling that Dr. Lewis hand-picks these people and then uses his friend at the search firm to "find" the person Lewis wants placed. He did this with Pat Pope as far as I can tell. Pope had been consulting with DCSS for a couple of years (as Patricia Reid, even though she was married to Vince Pope and serving as his CFO). Then, when Lewis presented the idea to get rid of Stan Pritchett (which was a good idea, stated by the SPLOST 2 forensic audit) and find an "emergency" replacement, he endorsed Pope (Reid). He presented her to the board as the person selected by the search firm. Oh and by the way, she is married to Vince Pope, but he has agreed to finish his current DCSS work and not bid on anymore. (Semantics.)

Now, why would he want Jamie in there so badly? Does he perhaps like to surround himself with people who might feel indebted to him for some reason?

Like I said, something is fishy.

Anonymous said...

Leadership DeKalb graduates:

Zeporah Roberts – 1988

Frances Edwards - 1990

Barbara Dover - 1993

Crawford Lewis – 1994

Bebe Joyner (former BOE)- 1996

Philandrea Guillory - 1998

Gwen Keyes Fleming (we all know who she is) - 1999

Marcia Tate (formerly with DCSS) - 1999

Elizabeth Andrews (former BOE)- 2001

Lynn Grant (former BOE) - 2001

Bob Moseley - 2001

Marilyn Drew (former DeKalb Parks Director - fired. Target of reverse discrimination suit) - 2002

Marcus Turk – 2002

Stan Pritchett (former DCSS head of Transportation – now Pres of the insolvent Morris Brown College) - 2002

Sharon Sutton (yes, Sharon “It must be identity theft” Sutton) - 2003

Jamie Wilson – 2004

Lee May (BOC)- 2006

Garry McGiboney (former DCSS ) - 2006

Cassandra Anderson-
Littlejohn (former BOE) – 2006

Audria Berry - 2007

Cerebration said...

More on the child molester teacher - from CBS Atlanta

The investigation into a teacher accused of child molestation and rape began years ago, but parents are just finding out about it now.

Stephenson Middle School Spanish teacher Rafer Lamar Grier is in jail, charged with four counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of statutory rape. Court documents said Grier had sexual relations with a girl under the age of 16 in January and April of 2008.

Grier was indicted nearly a month ago, but he was still teaching at Stephenson until he was arrested on Feb. 5.

“What is most shocking to me is that these allegations surfaced in December of 2008. It was brought to the attention of the principle of the school, the allegation of child molestation, and apparently nothing was done to stop it,” said an anonymous parent who had a daughter in Grier’s Spanish class at Stephenson.

DeKalb school officials said they knew about the allegations against Grier, but did not know he was arrested until CBS Atlanta News told them Wednesday.

Parents with children at the school said they’re disturbed that they’re just finding out about the allegations now. Other parents who wished to remain unnamed said the school knew about the allegations of molestation and rape long ago.
“There was a note given to the principle [sic] that said this teacher was a child molester in 2008,” said the parent, whose daughter was in Grier’s class. “If this person was indicted in January and they’re still teaching in February, there’s a problem.”

DeKalb County School Officials declined numerous requests for an interview.

They said over the phone that they run background checks on employees every five years, but there is no way for them to know if someone like Grier was charged or arrested unless someone comes forward and tells them.

It is not known if the young girl Grier allegedly had sexual relations with is a student.

Grier has worked for DeKalb schools since 2000. His next court appearance is set for Tuesday.

Cerebration said...

You know, we also have a teacher (who is ALSO a county commissioner) - Sharon Barnes Sutton - who has several arrest warrants against her for passing bad checks.

Check out the story on Atlanta Unfiltered

Yes, Sharon Barnes Sutton is a business ed teacher in DCSS - DOLA (DeKalb Online Academy). Business! Someone had better pass Dr. Lewis a note to inform him - I'm sure he doesn't know.

Anonymous said...

Cere 5:38...not to burst the Jamie Wilson bubble but he is as corrupt as CLewis and Pat Pope..Maybe he became corrupt after he received his PhD..who knows..I know he's one of the one's that will follow CLewis out the door when he goes. He's inefficient as an HR manager. And maybe he was a good Principal..who knows...but I do know he lacks experience, qualifications and regulations which cost companies millions in lawsuits when you put sub-par labor in professional positions. I think this was one of thos..."I owe you a favor" kind of jobs. Clewis always looking out for his boys....Too bad they all must trravel the same corrupt road...I speak from wealth of knowledge and experience dealing with HR. He passed over goo qualified persons to promote his "friend" what a joke this Super has turned out to be...others must look at us with utter laughter...The BOE and CLewis only care about their own agendas...Not our children. And also, all employees must pay for their own background checks. Even corporate pays for their employees....how cheesy is that..maybe that's why things are so out of sync.

Anonymous said...

Do anyone know what happen at the meeting at the service center today?

Anonymous said...

The meeting at the Service Center basically stated that there would be several school closing due to enrollment numbers.(no suprise here) Also there would be cuts across the entire DCSS and that there would be no "one year extensions of salary" if you take a lower paying position you would then accept the salary effective immediately.

BTW the budget shortfall is larger than they are reporting to the press. At the meeting it was announce that the DCSS has a 70 million dollar deficit. Wonder why are we being told inaccurate figures. Makes me believe that someone is still lieing abou the money. Just how broke is DCSS? Also the announcements would come in April/May with most cuts coming in June 2010.

The BOE is still working on what areas would be affected so for now we all have to hold our breath and wait to see who has a job and will my child school close within the next two years.

I believe that was all that was discussed. But I wonder if everyone is having this meeting with their staff or is this just a support services situation.

I'm all about budget cuts...but they must start chopping off the top not the bottom. We have seen this in the past and we are still deep in debt so what was the point of the last layoffs, was this just a smoke screen for some deeper plot or did we really save money. Cause our school copiers are still broke and no one seems to have any answers for use on when they will be repaired.

This hinders progress within the school or have the BOE and Clewis forgotten what they were hred to do?

Anonymous said...

Very sad.

Broken copiers, broken computers, broken heating and air. Why don't we look at outsourcing many MIS and Service Center functions? Let's see if we can save money and get our schools working for our children.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a parent, but I know I would only want them to cut teachers as a last resort. We don't need a higher pupil teacher ratio. It's too high already.

Cerebration said...

Actually, the reliable word on the street is that the shortfall is at least $88 million. And there will be even less to go around next school year - more cuts in 2010-11. It's really bad. Add to this - the county deficits and DeKalb is looking pretty bleak.

Lewis and the board had better get going - time's a wastin'. Chop. Chop. Let's see some consolidation in the administration - and then in the schools.

Anonymous said...

223 people account for $25,000,000 in DeKalb salary costs ($30,000,000 if you count retirement, TSA, and insurance). I just did an Excel data sort of the DeKalb Schools employees who make over $100,000 a year, and the number is 223. I added up their salaries and computed their benefits.

That seems rather excessive to me when we have teachers and students crammed into classrooms like sardines.

How many more students do they want to cram into the classroom so that these 223 individuals can keep their $100,000 + salaries?

Forsyth County Schools has only 56 people who make over $100,000 a year. They have 50,000 students.

DeKalb Schools has 4 times the number of $100,000+ employees that Forsyth has, yet we only have 2 times the number of students.

Of course, they also have abundant technology, clean schools, and a low teacher turnover rate. Maybe their is a correlation.

My source for pay is the Excel spreadsheet I exported from the state of Georgia website Salary Reports (I used both the DeKalb County and the Forsyth County reports).

Cerebration said...

Excellent, Anon 10:37 PM!! You are all turning into such amazing data miners!

Anonymous said...

BOE: Supposedly you are the leaders.

If so, it's time you make the hard decisions. Jettison the non contributors now.

Doing so later just sucks up more money from the education of our students in the interim -- you should be spending this $$ on improving things for those enrolled.

One Fed Up Insider said...

The bad thing about the copiers is that they are already out sourced on a bid. I am tired of getting used equipment every 5 years. Why can't we get new like Building A and Building B? Why can't we get more than one copier like other schools? One copier for 95 teachers and 1400+ students is a lot for one machine.

Yes, I know you all say about going green but until kids can get the technology at home, parents are always going to win you assign something web based and they do not have a computer at home.

The copier at my school has been down for the past 15 days. That is 3 weeks worth of material that I am behind because the kids are having to copy the notes down by hand and it is a slow process.

I will never be able to catch up at this pace.

Anonymous said...

How can CLewis announce that the DCSS will pay into tax shelter annuities as of July 1 with an 88 million deficit? I am starting to think he can't do the math or maybe he's just not thinking clearly

Anonymous said...

They should have used that money that was spent for that trip to calif. to purchase equipment for our children. They could have had that same training here in ga. and if not then forget it. We are all living on a budget and it is time we get rid of lewis. He does not put our children first and when someone cheats about a tank of gas, he must think we are all stupid. I want my tax money to be spent on my children and it has to stopped. I have to buy my gas to get to work and he should only used that car for school business.

Anonymous said...

Do they still have Robert Tucker working in Ramsey office? That is a waste he retired years ago.

Anonymous said...

"DeKalb school officials said they knew about the allegations against Grier,"


WHAT!!!!!!!!!!! The second they became aware of the allegations, Lamar Grier should have been at least transferred to a position away from any school where he would have no contact with any children!!!

That's Human Resources 101!!! Jamie Wilson, how do you not know to do this??

This is the type of idiocy that happens when your superintendent fills jobs not with those most qualified in their profession, but with principals who don't want to be principlas anymore (Stan Pritchett, Charlie Henderson, Steve Donahue, Jamie Wilson), or people who are related to BOE'ers or other administrators (Marcus Turk, Philandra Guillory, David Guillory).

Anonymous said...

TSA payment deferrals could turn into very expensive Social Security payments for DeKalb County. Lewis and the BOE need to tread lightly.

The BOE funded Tax Sheltered Annuity obligations Lewis deferred payments into in order to balance the budget last year has quite a history.

DeKalb employees voted to opt out of Social Security in 1978 (some employee groups could do that in the 70s before so many did it the Feds. stopped that option).

At that time, the DeKalb BOE voted to establish TSAs for all employees and continue to pay into this TSA at the 1978 social security rate (somewhere around 6%). Later the BOE deferred paying into the TSAs until an employee's fourth year (probably as a cost saving measure).

Social Security rates kept rising, but the BOE continued at 1978 rates and deferring for new teachers.

The federal government passed the "Windfall Elimination Provision" in 1983 stating that any employees who retires from a system that is not under Social Security will not collect Social Security if they did not contribute into the Soc. Sec. program. Furthermore, if they had another job in which they contributed to Social Security, the employee incurs a penalty on any Social Security they are due unless they contributed for 30 years (not the quarterly provision everyone else is under).

The Feds passed the "Windfall Elimination Provision" to try to encourage systems to opt back into Social Security as well as shore up the Social Security system financially.

If the BOE continues to suspend DeKalb's TSA, the employees may opt back into Social Security if the majority vote for this. Employees would then be a part of the Soc. Sys. and collect the benefits they are owed at retirement, according to their contribution. The Feds would be delighted.

The employees would begin to pay their salary percentage into Soc. Sec. and so would the BOE. Only now the BOE would have to pay at current Soc. Sec. rates as well as not be able to defer those new employees.

I'm sure the Feds will not care if DeKalb feels they have the money to pay into Social Security or not. DeKalb will not be able to suspend Soc. Sec. payments, defer on new employees, or pay the 1978 rates. Can you opt out of your income tax or social security tax because you're taking a hit on your income?

I think Lewis and the BOE are playing with fire if they touch BOE TSAs anymore.

Lewis and the BOE are known for shortsighted financial decisions. I would not want to see us burned on this one. It's a biggie and th Feds are not forgiving.

Ella Smith said...

It is bad everywhere.

Fulton County's deficit is 108 million and the cuts to teachers are going to be big next year. The classrooms are all going to be staffed at 32-35-1. The state leg has a waiver on the table right now for 35-1 in a classroom.

If you have a job that really is not needed in Fulton you are gone. Instructional Support Teachers jobs are on the line. Teachers jobs are on the line big time. It is looking really bleak to say the least.

The problem is not only in Dekalb. Yes, the problem is bad in Dekalb because Dekalb is over staffed at the top. However, the school board and Dr. Lewis has to do something about it. I have heard a great deal of grief about letting employees go. This has to be tough. However, this is what Dr. Lewis makes the big bucks for and POSSIBLE how his raise can be justified by someone.

The school board has to make hard decisions and direct Dr. Lewis to make cuts at the top. Now even if we get a big dontation to build locations like the fitness center which is nice it also takes money to keep up and run. Employees are needed and right now the system cannot afford this.

The School System could not afford to use SPLOT MONEY to build a nice facility for themself for the administrative staff and the school board. SPLOT MONEY should first be spent on our children's schools. I think this is not what the people of Dekalb really want the SPLOT MONEY to be spent for first. WHO MAKES THIS FINAL DECISION?

The School System cannot afford to spend 16 million dollars in attorney fees over a 1/2 million dollar debt. It would have been better to have negotiated a deal in this case. NO telling how much money was spent on the other side also. The only people to win here are the attorneys.

There have been some very poor decisions made. However, some of these decisions were not made with the School Board currently seated.
The build-up of administration at the county office has not all been on this school board watch either.
However, we elect these school board members to fix the problem.

This current school board will have to make some very big decisions in the next few months. Many of the current school board members may choice not to run again. Who knows? Regardless of who is elected next November we need to also start working our legislature body. They are making major cuts to education. Some of it has to be made. However, they need to make cuts in other locations also and this needs to be emphasised by the people of the state.

We are spending a great deal of time blaming everything on the School Board and I agree the school system has a mess to deal with. However, we also need to be looking at our state legislature. They are sitting on 1/2 billion dollars in lottery reserves that they need to tap to help the children of Georgia. Our schools are in a crisis. Our legislature needs to act. Our governor needs to look for places to cut money first other than education. Educational funds is the easy fix. Where else could money in the state be cut also?

Dekalb taxes are also taken to give to poorer counties. So if we pay more ml rate then more of our tax dollars will be taken to give to poorer counties. The formula is still in affect. I do not want to give more money away that does not get to our children. We need other ways to fund our schools than just our tax dollars or we are giving part of that money to other school districts to educate their children. This is one reason the Metro School Systems are suffering so bad.

Anonymous said...

As a parent of a DeKalb schools student, I am extremely concerned by lack of action by the DeKalb County School System regarding a teacher under investigation for aggravated child molestation and one count of statutory rape!!

The school system was apparantly aware of the charges, but allowed the teacher in question to remain teaching children, instead of being put under administrative leave.

These changes need to be made now, today, Crawford Lewis and Jamie Wilson:

-DCSS now only does background checks on employees every five years. Background and driving checks should be done every year, two years or three years on every DCSS teacher, employee, volunteer coach, etc.

-DCSS charges teachers $40 for a background check when they are re-certified by the state. These background checks should be done for free or at little cost by the county police department. Teachers should not have to pay for a background check, especially when they do not cost the county anywhere close to $40 to perform.

-Teachers or employees under criminal investigation for chages such as assault, molestation, rape, etc. should not be allowed to remain in a school or position where they have contact with children. They should be placed on administrative leave or transferred to a position where they have no contact with students.


This administration is incompetent. There is no justification for this teacher to have been allowed contact with children under such severe charges.

Anonymous said...

Not only does it does not cost $40 to do a background check, the school system has its own (and bloated) 180 person police department, which should be able to do it for free or very little cost.

SongCue said...

Folks, I attended an event last night and was seated by a woman I've known professionally for a while. I hadn't known she was a DeKalb resident until we started talking about the schools. As we were talking she said that she thinks the school board is pretty good and she likes her rep---"Edwards, I think." I told her Frances Edwards wasn't on the board anymore and that her new rep was Jay Cunningham. She admitted that--maybe--she doesn't pay as close attention as she should. This woman is a public health nurse who works with pregnant teens. She's incredibly busy!

Let's all remember that we each have friends, neighbors, and colleagues like the woman I described. She's a great person, but not keeping up with this. This cannot be overstated: We need to be talking about the state of the school system with everyone in our social/professional network! It's time to find these good candidates and support them for school board runs!

Also, is this a teacher furlough day? Sorry if I missed that piece of information. If it is, I want to say I'm sorry to our teachers and thank them for all they do!

Anonymous said...

Also, is this a teacher furlough day? Sorry if I missed that piece of information. If it is, I want to say I'm sorry to our teachers and thank them for all they do!

Um, no. Today and Monday are previously scheduled DCSS holidays.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Post Ella-

Folks, I think DCSS has heard us- whether they will listen is yet to be determined.

However, Ella is correct that we need to turn our attention to the state legislature and do it in a hurry. They are cutting education funding to the bone and many are advocating a tax CUT in these times. Despite our state constitution, they have pushed all the costs of education onto the local communities.

If the Montessori and Pre-K folks can pull together 100 parents dressed in red for a DCSS meeting, I think that in the future this time might be better spent at the state legislature.

Cerebration said...

Click on the photo of the Capitol on the right hand column of the home page of this blog to follow what the legislature is up to regarding schools.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cbsatlanta.com/video/22536291/index.html

This is crazy!!! The teacher was accused of rape and child abuse??? Nothing was done despite the principal knowing about the charges???????

Anonymous said...

I do not pretend to know the legal issues involved, but I suspect they are not talking about taking TRS contribution any longer because they found that it is not legal to do.
When DeKalb opted out of Social Security they had to commit to an alternate retirement system by law.
I would suggest the DeKalb teacher organization get an opinion from the Social Security Administration to clarify just what is allowed.
Would not surprise me to find that DeKalb has to pay back what they have already taken out.

Anonymous said...

Who is the principal at Stephenson Middle? If he/she was aware of the rape and child abuse charges against the teacher, he/she should be under criminal investigation, or at least would be by a tough, aggressive DA like Gwinnett's Danny Porter. Gwen Keys is leadeship DeKalb buddies with Crawford Lewis. And even when she does investigate the school system, she allowed lewis to change to focus on the investigation to Pat Pope instead of him.

Anonymous said...

I think many, many critics of what happens in Gwinnett schools would disagree with you about Danny Porter. Gwinnett School System is notorious for ignoring the open meetings requirement and Danny Porter does nothing.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading this for the first time and am completely shocked. It's one thing for a DCSS employee to be in trouble for a bad check or something along those lines, but this clown was under investigation for rape and child abuse???!!!

How was he allowed to teach middle school stduents? If the parent statement about the principal knowing about it is true, that principal needs to be fired, as does anyone in DCSS Human Resources who knew. it seems like DCSS Human Resources is content to wait until a person has been arrested. The least they could have done is get him out of the classroom or placed on leave.

I didn't think the DCSS administration could surprise me anymore, but I was wrong. This is a MAJOR mistake.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb has 61 people employed in Human Resources. 9 of them make over $100,000 a year and 3 more make over $90,000 a year. Their combined salaries including benefits comes to $4,504,816.

These figures do not include what it takes to run the sub finder computerized system. In addition, I'll bet there are a number of employees in MIS that work with HR since they use a computerized system for applying to DeKalb. Someone must do the programming, etc.

The breakdown is as follows:
Salaries: $3,591,165
BOE TSA Contribution: $215,469
BOE Retirement Contribution: $332,182
BOE insurance contribution: $366,000

I used the state of Gerogia published salary figures referred to on this blog (I looked up each person and entered their salary information into an Excel spreadsheet and then an AutoSum function).

I went to the DeKalb Schools website and downloaded the .pdf file that lists every HR employee. You can download the HR list by going to the address below and then clicking on the words "Staff Directory" on the right hand side menu.
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/humanresources/

I think you'll be surprised at how many people it takes to do some of the job functions. There is some consolidation, but not much. Most everyone has their own department.

As you can see almost one million dollars out of 4.5 million is in benefits or close to 25% of the salary cost. Even if we outsourced many departments and paid the same in salaries, we could avoid as much as 25% in benefit costs. That's a huge savings, and it goes on year after year.

I know people say you don't know what quality of work you get from outsourcing, but I ask the teachers - could it get any worse?

The great thing about outsourcing is you don't have to renew their contract if they don't do the work.

Cerebration said...

This is exactly why Pat Pope is still employed by DCSS - no charges have been formally filed. So - we continue to pay her $200,000 salary plus hundreds of thousands more per month for consultants to do her job since she's now been relegated to a small desk in a corner somewhere with very few official duties.

Also - remember the other middle school teacher who was caught by the police actually "in the act" in his truck behind a Mexican restaurant in Clayton Co at 1 am with one of his former 8th grade students who was still underage?

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/20078168/detail.html

http://ww2.ajcmobile.com/wap/news/text.jsp?sid=1001&nid=5409598&cid=3216&scid=108&ith=2&title=Clayton+News

He's in jail. But this is a big deal. Child predators seek out employment that puts them in close contact with children. There's no way that HR can know who will turn out to be a predator, however, if someone reports that they have knowledge of a teacher having relations with a student, then the principal and internal affairs should definitely investigate.

Anonymous said...

Correcting my figures as to HR employees and cost, there are 60 employees accounting for $4,504,816 in salaries and benefits, not 61. I want to be accurate.

Anonymous said...

I wrote every BOE member asking them to cut, consolidate and outsource before we touch our teachers and students.

I reiterated that parents are more interested in reasonable class sizes with competent teachers than saving administrative and support jobs. He wrote back that DeKalb now faces an $88,000,000 dollar shortfall, and he expects it will grow to $100,000,000.

We have let ourselves get into this situation by funding too many personnel positions and programs outside the classroom.

How many children can be packed into a classroom? How many instructional days can be cut?

If the BOE does not do some serious cutting on the admin and support side, I expect we'll find out the answer to those questions.

Anonymous said...

My board member, too, wrote me that by April the shortfall is expected to be $100,000,000. Further, he stated that the state is telling them that revenues will be flat or declining for the next three years.

With a number that big, I'll bet that everything is on the table.

Anonymous said...

Two part post...lots of bloat

Dr. Jamie L. Wilson, Jr.
Chief HR Officer
Executive Admin. Assistant
Betty Guthrie
678-676-0168
Mrs. Patti C. Reed
Director of Employment Services
Executive Admin. Assistant
Janitrea Sebree-Kelly
678-676-0177
Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey
Director of the Office of Internal Affairs
Executive Admin. Assistant
Sonya Clunie
678-676-0181
Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith
Director of Staff Services
Executive Admin. Assistant
Wanda Ngote
678-676-0342

Awona Porter (678) 676-0447
American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Robin Goolsby (678) 676-0391
Sonya Clunie (678) 676-0181
Certification
Beonka Anthony (678) 676-0255
Kimberly Cooper (678) 676-0349
Charlotte Lucas (678) 676-0359
Hazel Maupin (678) 676-0190
Certificate Issuance
GACE Teacher Examination Information
Certification Renewal
Teacher Certification
Employer Assurance Forms
Parents Right to Know (NCLB)
Requests to Review Employee personnel file
Code of Ethics for Educators
Ronald Ramsey (678) 676-0201
Criminal Background Check (CBC)
Patti Reed (678) 676-0366
Betty Guthrie (678) 676-0168
Direct Deposits / Credit Union Deductions
Kristen Collins (678) 676-0746 - Direct Deposits
Awona Porter (678) 676-0447 – Credit Union Deductions
Employee Discipline- Internal Affairs
Derek Carson (678) 676-0297
Robin Goolsby (678) 676-0391
Alicia McIver (678) 676-0310
Janet Scott (678) 676-0420
Robert Tucker (678) 676-0178
Employment-Centers, Departments and District
Office Staffing Admin.
Elwyn Pruitt (678) 676-0183
Marie Blewett (678) 676-0199

Anonymous said...

More bloat:

Employment-Elementary Schools Staffing
Administrator
Linda Frazer (678) 676-0224
Linda Woodard (678) 676-0189
Ariel Baker (678) 676-0220
Employment-High Schools Staffing Administrator
Tova Jackson-Davis (678) 676-0216
Deidra Victorian (678) 676-0182
Employment-Middle Schools Staffing
Administrator
D’Ann Griffin (678) 676-0306
Laronda Zachery (678) 676-0336
Employment Services Staffing Specialist
Emma Bethel (678) 676-0169
Prince Leboo (678) 676-0185
Alice Taylor (678) 676-0195
Employment - Special Projects Administrator
Linda Frazer (678) 676-0224
Employment and Experience Verifications
(written)
Angela Benson (678) 676-0347 FAX # (678) 676-0187
Written Verification of Employment
(Mortgages, Apartments, Housing, etc.)
Dates of Employment and Salary
Wage and Salary Verification for Accident Information
Extended Leave of Absence-Certified Personnel
Kristen Collins (678) 676-0746
Certified Questions and Process
Extended Leave of Absence-Classified Personnel
Jermel McElveen (678) 676-0351
Classified Questions and Process
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Patricia Carter (678) 676-0354
Insurance Services
Denise Bowden (678) 676-0011
Annette Diaz-Guadalupe (678) 676-0011
Cheryl Poteat (678) 676-0011
All questions pertaining to: Health, Vision, Optional Life,
Dental, Short-Term Disability,
Long-Term Disability, Beneficiary Changes
Job Descriptions
Jacquelyn Crawford (678) 676-0461
Nichole Burkett (678) 676-0328
Legal Deductions from Paychecks
Lori Mays (678) 676-0348
Bankruptcy, Child Support, Garnishment, Tax Levy, Alimony, and
Student Loan Garnishments
Open Records Request and Production of
Documents, Depositions and Subpoenas
Derek Carson (678) 676-0297
PATS & PORTAL
Val Head (678) 676-0795
PATS Support Center
Daaiyah Abdullah (678) 676-0005
Cynthia McKenzie (678) 676-0005
Lola Scott (678) 676-0005
Receptionist for Human Resources
Debra Lindsey (678) 676-0179 – Staff Services
Betty Pittman (678) 676-0171 – Employment Services
Records Request for Documents
Carolyn Clark (678) 676-0296
Shelia Allred (678) 676-0293
Release from Contracts, Resignations, and
Terminations
Patti Reed (678) 676-0366
Janitrea Sebree-Kelly (678) 676-0177
Retirees Returning to Work (Hourly Rate
Determinations)
Nichole Burkett (678) 676-0328
Jacquelyn Crawford (678) 676-0461
Retirement Counseling (PSERS and TRS)
Certified & Classified
Lolita Morrison (678) 676-0353
Sonya Taylor (678) 676-0362
Purchase (Buy Back) of Retirement Service
Continued Health/Dental Coverage
Salary Administration
(Compensation/Classification)
Jacquelyn Crawford (678) 676-0461
Tekshia Ward-Smith (678) 676-0342
Salary Information - Certified Personnel
Lorna Clarke (678) 676-0345
Meta Simon (678) 676-0399
Pay Adjustment
Salary Questions for Certified Employees
Evaluation of Service Credit for Salary
Contracts for Employment
Salary Information - Classified Personnel
Brenda Golden (678) 676-0365
Tanya Cooper (678) 676-0792
Salary Questions for Classified Employees
Pay Adjustments
Evaluation of Service Credit for Salary
Salary Schedules
Nichole Burkett (678) 676-0328
Sick Leave Bank
Derrick White (678) 676-0358
John Brown (678) 676-0745
Sick Leave for TRS Credit
Sonya Taylor (678) 676-0362
Sick Leave Transfers to DeKalb
Jacquelyn Crawford (678) 676-0461
Nichole Burkett (678) 676-0328
Student Loan Deferment Requests
Angela Benson (678) 676-0347
Carolyn Clark (678) 676-0700
SubFinder Computer System
Automated System (678) 874-7827
SubFinder Assistance (678) 676-0352
Substitute Teacher Contract and Pay
Kristal Poteat (678) 676-0344
Substitute Teacher Staffing
Denise Davis (678) 676-0214
Mildred Campbell (678) 676-0191
Supplemental Pay
Lorna Clarke (678) 676-0345
Tax-Sheltered Annuities (Personal)
Awona Porter (678) 676-0447
Tax Withholdings-Federal and State
Awona Porter (678) 676-0447

Anonymous said...

Whole lotta executive Administrative Assistants. Whole lotta bloat in DCSS HR.

Two people for background checks?? Then how come background checks are only done every five years?

Hey C Lew and BOE, ya wanna cut the budget. Start with DCSS HR!!

Anonymous said...

What;s the over/under that she is related to DCSS Athletics Director Ron Seebree?


Director of Employment Services
Executive Administrative Assistant
Janitrea Sebree-Kelly

Anonymous said...

More bloat.

DCSS Internal Affairs:

Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr. Director &
Title IX Coordinator 678-676-0181
Dr. Robert Tucker (PT) Coordinator 678-676-0178
Ms. Robin Goolsby Legal Coordinator 678-676-0391
Ms. Alicia McIver Investigator 678-676-0310
Ms. Janet Scott Legal Compliance
Analyst 678-676-0420
Mr. Derek Carson Legal Compliance
Specialist 678-676-0297
Ms. Sonya Taylor-Clunie Administrative Assistant 678-676-0181

Anonymous said...

Incredible bloat in Internal Affairs. Fraud, too. I guess they would know best how to get away with it. Ronald Ramsey is gone for 40 days a year as a state senator when the Georgia General Assembly is in session, but he collects a full-time DCSS salary. Plus a salary from the Georgia General Assembly. Does he have a DCSS car? Does he drive it to the Georgia General Assembly every day? BTW - he is completely useless and ineffective as a state senator, too. Take a look at his record online. And, while you are there, note that he says nothing about working for DCSS in his bio. Nothing! Apparently he doesn't want it known that he is engaging in fraud by double-dipping state funds. I wonder what the IRS knows?

Anonymous said...

More on DCSS Internal Affairs:
Janet Scott in Internal Affairs is a teacher -- formerly with Chamblee Middle School. Not that great as a teacher -- how is she qualified to be a Legal Compliance staffer?

It is entirely possible that Robert Tucker and other retirees from DCSS who come back as "consultants" are breaking the law by working more hours than allowed by the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). Go to: http://www.trsga.com/. Again, I wonder what the IRS knows? Tucker is supposed to be reporting his continuing employment to TRS. I'll bet he is not doing that.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't we be better off with no central administration at all... one high school, one middle school and their feeder schools become a district and do away with all of it and allow everyone to magnify just what's going on at the school house!

Anonymous said...

Janet Scott in Internal Affairs is a teacher -- formerly with Chamblee Middle School.

Some posters just cannot stop with the personal attacks. Why?

Anonymous said...

I agree with personal attacks. Let's just stick with the facts. They're powerful enough.

The facts are:

1. Almost half of our employees are in support and admin positions rather than teaching positions.

2. DeKalb spends 91% of its budget on salaries while other metro systems spend 85%. Since we don't have a better pupil teacher ratio or higher teacher salaries, this difference must be in admin and support personnel. If we can bring this 91% figure down 6% to 85% we will realize a savings of $54,000,00 (6% of $900,000,000 budget).

My BOE member acknowledged this figure in his response to my email.

Remember this is not personal - it's just business - the business of educating our children within a reasonable classroom size and providing competent teachers.

Anonymous said...

I made the comments about Ronald Ramsey, Janet Scott and Robert Tucker. They were facts, not personal comments.

Ronald Ramsey: Of the 28 primary bills sponsored by Ron Ramsey in 2009, 14 (50%) were merely to recognize, commend, honor or offer condolences. Three bills were to create study committees and one bill was to request an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. None of his sponsored legislation was passed. In short, Ron Ramsey’s legislative “contributions” do not justify paying him a full time salary for part-time work.

I was on staff at Chamblee Middle School when Janet Scott was a teacher there. She was mediocre at best. Now she is qualified as legal compliance staff?

I am a member of the Teachers Retirement System and am familiar with the TRS rules for working following retirement. I have often wondered about DCSS retirees who re-appear as consultants. Are they cheating the system?

Just the facts, ma'am -- just the facts.

Anonymous said...

I too know many employees who I think are less than stellar. However, I don't think we can effectively influence the budgetary process by selecting individuals that should be let go.

Uniting in opposition to cutting teacher pay and increasing the pupil ratio will pressure the BOE to make their cuts in the non-teaching areas.

We need to rebalance our employee ratio so that many more people teach in classrooms than administrate and support (something that is not happening now).

According to DeKalb County's website, only a little over half of our employees actually teach. That needs to change:

Total employees 13,842
Teachers, Media Specialists and Counselors 53.1%
Support Personnel 42.3%
Administrators 4.6%

See website address:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/fastfacts.html

Anonymous said...

I agree with the recent posts that our focus must be on changing the leadership in the Count.
If a new Board is elected that is willing to replace Dr. Lewis and then work hand in hand with a new Superintendent to assure the maximum resources are put into the schools, they can determine what Central Office jobs are critical and who best to fill them.
New leadership can determine best business practices that would result in an effective, efficient
Central Office that best serves the schools and our students.
When businesses reorganize and establish the essential positions needed anyone interested and qualified for a position has to apply - even if the job was what you used to do.
We are a long way from determining who best fits the needed positions and unless a new board is seated that sets their first priority to find a new Superintendent nothing will change.
We must remember the current Board and Superintendent put the School system in the position it now finds itself in.

Anonymous said...

I was on staff at Chamblee Middle School when Janet Scott was a teacher there. She was mediocre at best.

Again, your opinion. Keep the conversation going with facts, not personal opinions - your arguments will have merit and seem less about personal vendetta.

Cerebration said...

I agree. Opinions are subjective. Please don't call out people by name and then state your opinion of them. I will leave these comments, however, because the relevance goes to whether or not our administration is hiring the most qualified people for the central office staff. I worry that the central office has become a jobs/rewards program for school personnel. Office staff should be business and legal people - not teachers and principals. We need good teachers and principals in the schoolhouse - please stop taking them away from the children where they are needed.

Anonymous said...

Most of the admin at the central office could not maybe it as principals and that is why they are there. I won't call any names but they know who they are. We call them failed principals.

This is one of the main reasons we are having so many problems, you have all this top heavy staff who are not trained for the positions.

You have (2) principals at sam moss. These people are not trained for plumbing, hvac, roofs, kitchen equip.,pest control, glazing, carpentry and etc. You can't blame them lewis put them out there.

The same goes for all the relatives and friends that have key positions and the high salaries. This is how it works when a positions comes available they tell you to go on pats. 99%
of the time they already know who is going to get the job. Your training don't mean jack when it comes to relatives, friends etc.

And if you want to keep your job i would suggest you say nothing, you could end up in a back room.

Anonymous said...

Dear Board Members,

Can some one explain the differences between a director, a coordinator, an assistant superintendant, a deputy superintendant...etc....An hierarchical chart would be nice.


Can you furnish us with basic salary floor for all these positions.

There is a salary chart for classroom teachers, why not charts for all the other staff members...

Vox Noctae

Anonymous said...

Deputy superintendents are higher than assistant superintendents. Assistant superintendents are higher than directors. A director is higher than an instructional coordinator.

As far as salary goes - Let's suppose a director is over an instructional coordinator who has a doctorate and 30 years experience and makes makes $112,000 on the salary scale. Then the director must be make at least as much his/her subordinate even though the director may only have a B.S. and has 3 or 4 years experience. No one can make less than his/her subordinate. This pumps up salaries considerably.

An extensive and very expensive personnel independent audit was done under Johnny Brown. This audit showed that DeKalb had over 100 salary schedules, 1 for teachers and over 100 for support and admin personnel. The auditors had every employee (except teachers) fill out detailed forms of their job functions, etc. They attempted to standardize and consolidate employee positions so HR could get a handle on the incredible number of positions. In other words, they found numerous employees doing the same jobs, but paid different salaries.

Unfortunately, nothing was changed so we have the same situation today.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 10:04 AM

Even if the fact that Janet Scott was mediocre as a Chamblee Middle School teacher was just my opinion (it is not!), how is she qualified in any way to handle Legal Compliance? That was the point of my post.

Way too many DCSS employees are in NO way qualified for their jobs.

DCSS has become a jobs program for Lewis and his cronies and their friends and family. It is time for that to END NOW with all under-qualified and unqualified employees dismissed. Let's see if they were doing anything of value. If so, post the job and let them re-apply only if they can meet the basic qualifications for the job (besides the ability to fog a mirror).

Anonymous said...

Hey Vox, don't forget to ask the difference between a "Director" and an "Executive Director"??!!


Does a director have the same responsibility as an executive director, but an executive director gets more pay 'cause Crawford likes you more?

It is mind boggling to me that head of DCSS Management Information Systems Tony Hunter, who worked for a company that did installations, and had no educational degree or experience in educational technology quickly worked his way up to director, then executive director...DESPITE the horrendus rollout of eSIS. I asked some IT exec's I know, and the four things they immediately said is before you go system-wide with a new software that is so different you 1) do a test rollout at a few locations, 2) you evelauate the good and bad from the rollout, with extensive surveying, 3) you make the needed changes, 4) when you rollout, you train, train and then train some more. They also said it should have been done at least a few weeks before school as the start of school is incredibly stressful and simply not the time to force a brand new software that must be mastered immediately.

Anyway, someone please tell me the difference between a "Director" and an "Executive Director".

And someone PLEASE tell me why Yvonne Butler, with absolutely NO educational degree or prior expereince in public health/employee health & fitness, skipped being a director and went right to "Executive Director of Corporate Wellness".

Back to Exec. Director Tony Hunter, ask any teacher, the last thing DCSS MIS provides is customer service to teachers and students!

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/mis/

Management Information Systems (MIS) is a customer service oriented team of professionals dedicated to the seamless integration and implementation of technology across the school district. Our philosophy is to expand the walls of the classroom by providing access to information and programs anytime, anywhere for anyone in a 21st century learning environment. Our customers are students, teachers, staff, parents and community. It is our job to convene the unique collaborative partnerships that result in improved student achievement and business operations productivity through the use of technology. MIS works in tandem with other departments, vendors, and service providers to provide high-quality solutions to internal and external customers that are research-based and data-driven.

Anonymous said...

Why did DeKalb buy eSis?

The online gradebook "SmartWeb" system did everything that the Middle and High School teachers wanted. And "Making the Grade" software did everything the Elementary teachers wanted.

So why did DeKalb spend millions on eSis?

eSis was supposed to provide the data that "upper management" (a.k.a. Central Office coordinators) needed to crunch.

The instructional coordinators wanted an online system that took assessment (testing) data from the AS400 (mainframe that holds the database for all students) in a format that they would be able to manipulate in order to generate reports. That's what they do for a living.

Unfortunately, Ramona Tyson (at that time MIS Executive Director) and Tony Hunter (MIS Director) did not understand that DeKalb did not have MIS personnel with the expertise needed to mesh the database from the AS400 with the eSis system - even though they were told by the programmers how difficult it would be to write programs that would integrate the data from DeKalb's mainframe into the eSis system.

Who are the losers in this situation? The students as their teachers wrestle with this system that doesn't meet the needs of the students and costs taxpayers millions.

Who are the winners? Ms. Tyson (salary $165,035.69) and Mr. Hunter (salary $114,627.65)who got promotions.

Anonymous said...

Schools on closing list:

Allgood, Atherton, Avondale, Bob Mathes, Meadowview, Midway, Toney, Midvale, Clifton, Columbia, Dunaire, Flat Shoals, Peachcrest, Rainbow, Brockett, Smoke Rise, Gresham Park, Hambrick, Jolly, Sky Haven, Kelly Lake, Snapfinger, and Wadsworth.

M G said...

Are you sure about that list? It looks like the list from several years ago. Wadsworth ES was closed and now houses the former Browns Mill Magnet program.

Not sure when they were updated, but here's the enrollment for those schools from the DCSS website and there are 11 other schools below the 450 number that was given last time as the size needed for state funding for an elementary school.

Allgood - 600
Atherton - 450
Avondale- 450
Bob Mathis - 340
Meadowview - 365
Midway - 505
Toney - 470
Midvale - 397
Clifton - 425
Columbia - 577
Dunaire - 650
Flat Shoals - 457
Peachcrest - 350
Rainbow - 560
Brockett - 463
Smoke Rise - 480
Gresham Park - 292
Hambrick - 797
Jolly - 510
Sky Haven - 300
Kelly Lake - 412
Snapfinger - 470
Wadsworth - 300


Ashford Park – 380
Briarlake – 430
Briar Vista – 391
Hawthorne – 425
Kingsley – 400
Kittredge - 420
Knollwood – 330
Laurel Ridge – 347
Livsey – 354
Medlock – 325
Rock Chapel - 420

Anonymous said...

That number isn't right for Laurel Ridge. And the penalty for not having a 450 in an elem school is only about $100,000 per school. There are so many other factors to take into account.

Cerebration said...

Those numbers are totally wrong. You have to go to the state website and check the official FTE count that was submitted in October.

Go here - to pull Oct FTE counts for DeKalb:

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_enrollgrade.entry_form


You will see that Wadsworth has 165
Laurel Ridge has 406
Allgood has 477
etc -- really, very different numbers - this is why we have been questioning the enrollment figures and plans for closings and additions. It seems decisions might be made using flawed data.

Molly said...

Anon 8:29, where did that list come from? I can't believe that it is correct. Three of the five elementary schools that feed into Tucker Middle and Tucker HS are on the list. There is no way that they will close 3 schools in the same feeder pattern...there is no where for the kids to go.

Anonymous said...

Good news. The materials for the committee discussing school closings and redistricting are now on line.

While more materials will be added, the preliminary materials are available here:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/public/CPTF/

They were just posted last night.

Anonymous said...

Only closing 4 schools folks -- not the entire list.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that they are looking at clusters of areas of underutilized schools. Underutilized is based on spaces available vs students. So a school may be on the list that has 450 students but 750 spaces.

Other schools didn't make this list, because if you close the school then there will be no where to send the students because all the surrounding schools are full.

Anonymous said...

Just returned from a school meeting about the school closings and was told that more than four or less than four could close.

There are two meetings coming up about the school closings. March 4th and March 9th. These will be public hearings. April 14th will be when the recommended school closing are presented.

It appears that the people on the task force will be rational and not emotional about this decision. The fact, is that we have too many vacant seats for students that do not exist. We are not utilizing our facilities to our best advantage.

What is sad to me, is that the parents at this meeting were more upset about the possibility of their school closing and not the other budget cuts and loss of education that their child will receive at whatever school they go to next year.

Parents did not seem to understand that raising the tax level is not going to solve this problem. It's going to be a problem for some time to come. Our county has already lost property values because of the number of foreclosures and higher taxes with a poorer education isn't going to make this area come back any quicker.

Cerebration said...

This is a task force of excellent people - I am confident that they are level-headed and will make the best recommendation for the system overall.

Totally confident in this group.

I just hope Dr. Lewis and the board follow their advice. This never happened with the Blue Ribbon Task Force - which was also a terrific group that worked very hard and brought solid recommendations to the board. I can't think of any that ever came to fruition though. Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I do not think anything will be done unless we get a new BOE and a new superintendent.

Hopefully, this blog and others like it will post the names of candidates running for the BOE.

Generally, BOE races have very low turnout, but the current concern with classroom cuts will likely increase the turnout. Larger turnouts will most likely not be good news for BOE incumbents.

Anonymous said...

The Blue Ribbon Task Force's recommendations still haunt the system.

One was not to sell properties and another was, if you redistrict, stay within the same high school cluster.

The BRTF was a mess because so many of the members were there to advocate only for what was important to them.

I know someone on the planning committee and they feel like there is a very strong commitment to following through.

Remember, that originally no schools were going to be closed until 2011, but the Board budget committee asked Dr. Lewis to go ahead and get some closed for next year. At that budget committee, a majority of the board was there (either as members or in the audience).

Anon 9:57 has some really good points. There isn't much of an understanding out there about how grim it could be next year.

Anonymous said...

It should have said "some of the Blue Ribbon Task Force recommendations still haunt us."

Anonymous said...

Crawford must be reading this blog, because he named Ernest Brown to the committee. Very smart political move by him. He knows brown can beat Walker in the election this November. Stay independent Ernest...don't be swayed to support Lewis when five new BOE members are elected. it will be time to clean house.

Cerebration said...

I recall that the BRTF recommended the "regions" - in which students could freely move between schools - and that never happened... Now we have laws from the state effectively demanding the same thing - but I still know a lot of students who can't get a transfer. Flexibility was a goal of that task force, but from my perspective, we still don't have much - you still have to know the right people to get a transfer.

I liked the regional idea. In fact, I think the regional superintendents should be actual superintendents of smaller regions that can run as is they are almost independent. Then the superintendent could function more as a CEO - evaluating new ideas, watching the budget, seeing to it that things are equitable and bringing new technologies and grants to the system. The way it's set up now - everybody and their brother goes directly to the superintendent for every little thing.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 8:44 am

The regional superintendent concept has been tried before in DeKalb and with disastrous consequences.

In the mid 1990s, DeKalb was set up into small regions, (I don't remember the number - I believe it was 16 regions ).

Each region was supposed to be it's own "business center" with its own executive superintendent (a regional superintendent by a different name). The success of the schools in that region was to rest on the shoulders of that regional superintendent. This is a sound business model the BOE was told.

A bureaucratic nightmare ensued. Each regional superintendent hired his/her own fulltime content coordinators (what power!). Each "team" had a social studies, math, language arts, and science coordinators, an assistant superintendent, and a few others.
Within a year, Dekalb had close to 100 very highly administrators on the "teams".

The coordinators were drawn from classroom teachers. Many were very good teachers.

Meanwhile, everything at the teacher and classroom level went on as before. Most teachers were not aware of these changes as all this went on above their heads and didn't impact the classroom as far as they could see. Mainly the teams met and planned and met and planned. Of course, there was a rather substantial impact on the budget.

The business model didn’t work as planned. Regional superintendents kept changing so no one was ever in place long enough to take responsibility for his/her area. Also, the area boundaries began to change. Some areas were collapsed into other areas and others were eliminated. Political infighting ensued among the regional superintendents as to who would be left standing and who had the power. A "clash of the Titans" began in the Central Office. Who has the power continues today.

The "team" members began to be shuffled between teams or put into Central Office positions created for them so they wouldn't have to go back into the classrooms (huge decrease in pay). The "team" members were very nervous during this time, fearful that they would lose their admin positions and their pay increases.

But in the end everything worked out for the team members - Central Office positions were created for them as the "team" concept was slowly phased out. Most of the original team members are gone due to the Brown and Lewis buyouts. The regional superintendents who made the highest bucks were absorbed back into the system, and jobs were created with titles commensurate with their pay when they were regional superintendents.

That "team" business center concept of the mid 90s was the beginning of rise of the Central office administrators. The Central Office came to be filled with numerous highly paid instructional supervisors and coordinators. Power centers and alliances were established. Those “team” positions morphed into different positions to match the alliances and power centers we have today.

Many people in the Central Office today may not realize they owe their jobs to the legacy of the "team" concept

Before the "team" concept of the mid 90s, Dekalb functioned with very few coordinators.

For example, the Language Arts coordinator Ginny Mickish handled all of Language Arts as well as ESOL so teachers knew exactly who to go to - and by the way, Ginny didn't mind if any teacher came directly to her with any concerns or problems. Her door was always open.
.

The idea of regional superintendents was tried 15 years ago. The results Dekalb saw:
1. They were not really independent
2. They promoted some horrific infighting and "turf" wars
2. They gave rise to a horrific bureaucracy that we are still trying to tame today
3. The regional boundaries and superintendents were shifted so frequently no one was ultimately responsible for anything

We are trying to shrink our admin and support staff. Based on past experience, this would add to it.

Cerebration said...

Fascinating history, Anon 10:21 AM. I didn't know any of that. Very insightful and helpful to know - Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 10:45 am

Barbara Dover was one of the original regional superintendents (I don't remember their exact title, but they were set up to function as regional superintendents). Frankie Callaway got her Central Office start as the assistant to Barbara Dover. Frankie guided the team of coordinators. I mention Dr. Dover and Dr. Callaway's names only so you can see the importance this regional manager experiment had when it came to future administrative power and advancement.

The concept of regional management was not bad, but remember these people had no business background. Most of the appointments were built on alliances and personal relationships (much like today's Central Office appointments only with a different organizational structure).

There was no accountability as the regional superintendents shifted from one year to the next, much as we replace principals to keep the balls in the air and responsibility offloaded to a "new and improved" or as NCLB and the state of Georgia likes to say "reconstituted" administration and faculty.

Regional boundaries for the regional superintendents also varied from year to year. A school would be under one regional superintendent one year, another one the next year. This made it impossible to get a handle on the overall success of the regional superintendent. Regional superintendents were regional superintendents one year and then were shifted back into the Central office to run a program the next year.

I'm not sure how you would control this if we brought the concept back. There is no real watchdog over the superintendent since the buck is supposed to stop with him.

DeKalb has a long history of patronage, but this was the most egregious example. The regional superintendents promoted so many teachers into highly paid coordinator positions that they quickly built up power bases and personnel in the Central Office beholden to them for years. The joke used to be "who has the power?" today.

Hiring Johnny Brown was a devastating blow to many of these former regional superintendents - many of them with their respective power bases all vying for the superintendent job. The regional superintendent position, brief as it was, had given them a taste of real power.

The regional manager concept only lasted 4 or 5 years before it was abandoned, but its impact on DeKalb was long lasting. The morphing of these positions into the current Central Office administrative overload was very subtle, slowly transforming into the redundant and bloated bureaucracy we have today.

I'm sure some Central office "old timers" remember this period fondly as a time of upward mobility and the opening of career paths outside traditional the schoolhouse structure.

This opportunity for many personnel to advance outside the classroom is similar to the income and power centers that were created with the hundreds of graduation, math, language arts, early intervention etc. instructional coaching positions that Dr. Lewis has fostered. No surprise there - Dr. Lewis was around when this huge influx of administrators came about. Now you see why our administration that had begun to shrink under Johnny Brown grew again under Dr. Lewis.

As you can see, these auxiliary positions will not go away easily even in these hard economic times of increasing class size and low teacher morale.

Perhaps more posters remember this concept of regional managers and can give their opinions.

Anonymous said...

This really is fascinating, and explains why the Central Office is such a cesspool of bloat. I was talking to a DCSS old timer, and he said that the Central Office really was lean and mean in the 70's and 80's, and then one it just exploded. The Board of Education failed us by never downsizing the bloat after the failed regional supervisor experiment.

We need a Board of Ed that isn't so buddy buddy with the superintendent and upper administrators. The BOE has to be able to make hard decisions and budget cuts. The current BOE loves to tell parents like me "Well, you don't have the information I have" or "Your assertions would be different if you knew".

Anonymous said...

Only a dozen administrators??!! How about 50 or 75, plus the 545 instructional supervisors/specialists!!



http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-to-close-four-314287.html

DeKalb to close four schools, cut top school staffBy Megan Matteucci
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
11:18 a.m. Friday, February 19, 2010

DeKalb County’s superintendent said he will cut at least a dozen top administrators and close four schools to help with the district’s $88 million deficit.

“We can no longer afford to operate schools which are at half capacity,” Superintendent Crawford Lewis told about 50 business leaders Friday at his state of the system address.

With 152 schools, DeKalb has the most school buildings in the state -- despite being the third largest district, Lewis said.

Next week, school officials will identify the four elementary schools that will close at the end of the school year in May. They plan to close another 8-10 schools in May 2011, Lewis said.

The school closures are part of a system-wide trimming of the district to meet a loss in state funding and property tax revenue.

themommy said...

Interesting that the article says next week -- since the committee just started meeting. Megan doesn't always get everything right though and Dr. Lewis misspeaks occasionally as well.

Did anyone go to the State of the System this morning and want to give a report?

Dekalbparent said...

I was at the meeting this morning, and I will go through my notes to put together something. Hopefully, others who were there will also do so, because we all hear through our own ears, and I may not have everything exactly...

As to the AJC article - Lewis said that at the BOE Committee of the Whole meeting next Friday the additional changes to Plans A, B, C and D would be announced to deal with the $56M grown to $88M shortfall. This may be what Megan was referring to.

The school closings will be in two phases:

Phase I will be 4 additional ES closures to be done before school opens for 2010-11 school year. These will be announced shortly before the end of this school year.

Phase II will be the closing od an additional 8-10 schools, Es, MS and HS before the start of the 2011-12 school year.

He said they were not looking to sell because a0 the market is bad and b) you never know when the population shifts might require a closed school to be re-opened. I see the logic, but hanging on too long could still be a poor idea. He also mentioned working with DeKalb County gov't to find a use for the school properties. Not a bad idea to pursue if the two entities can begin to work together.

The thing he said that caught my ear was (paraphrasing) "Every salary counts. We can't carry those who cannot carry their weight." Later on, he said (paraphrasing) "No more leeway for those who cannot carry their weight."

Intriguing.

More later

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to hold onto every property. Some need to be sold now, like Heritage. It is high time that Clarkston buys the DCSS-owned Claskston Community Center.

The Bryant Center is a property in a great location that would sell quickly. There are too many staff there to begin with, but they should be moved to the Mountain Industrial Mega Complex/Sweet Workout Facility for administrators.

Cerebration said...

Dr. Lewis should not be making decisions about whether or not to sell property - he is not a financial expert. He is just uttering urban myth. Yes, the market is low, but will waiting end up costing you as much as you would lose by selling now?

Also - tell me again - why is he still paying Pat Pope nearly $200,000? Didn't he say "every salary counts" - well hers is about 4 salaries-worth!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:09 pm

It will be difficult to sell the Bryant Center. The personnel who run the Bryant Center will argue that the fiber cable and other infrastructure pieces currently at the Bryant Center will be expensive to duplicate, and that redundancy will be be required for a length of time as the shift is completed to Mountain Industrial.

You are right in that MIS is tremendously overstaffed. This would be a good place to look at outsourcing some of the functions currently performed by school system personnel.

Information Systems is an area in which many businesses and governmental entities have used outsourcing quite successfully. The state of Georgia outsourced almost all of their IT functions.

While outsourcing is not a panacea and requires careful consideration, it should at least be evaluated because of the high cost of the non-teaching personnel in the IT department. In addition, the service level has been very poor to the classroom users (teachers and students).

Teachers please weigh in here to talk about the service level of the technology in your classrooms.

Here are some articles on outsourcing in IT:

Georgia state governemnt:
http://www.georgia.gov/00/channel_title/0,2094,1070969_112305286,00.html

Fulton County Schools IT outsourcing:
http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/507170

www.ciber.com/news/pdf/CIBER20071025.pdf

It might be worthwhile to ask the state of Georgia and Fulton County schools how their information technology outsourcing is going.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating information posted by Anon regarding the 'regional superintendent' experiment in the mid 1990's. If you read into that further, you could also say that it started with Dr. Hallford was the superintendent.

This also makes sense as to why Dr. Brown was hired, to clean up the mess created by this experiment. Dr. Brown requested the Performance and Salary Audits, which provided the ammunition he needed to begin reducing the size of the central office. I wonder if as he began getting close to 'protected positions', the Board made the move to get rid of him? This is like a bad soap opera.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:27 pm

Yes, I believe Hallford was superintendent at that time. He came in 1995.

The word on the street was that Dr. Brown was brought in to "clean house" i.e. chop heads at the admin and support level.

He sent many Central Office folks back out to the schools when he determined that departments were overstaffed (don't know about support staff). They totally freaked out. They were calling in every favor they could to get back to the Central Office.

The Performance and Salary Audit was done because there were literally hundreds of salary schedules in DeKalb Schools. As you recall in my former post, an very substantial number of admin positions were created in the admin ranks during the regional superintendent phase, and they morphed into other positions as that experiment was phased out.

Moreover, the support ranks actually had many jobs created - our support ranks began to swell to unbelievable numbers in the 1990s as well. This was also the rise of MIS and the Service Center. Support numbers are what are sucking our system dry during this economic downturn (over 5,700 support personnel), even more than Admin numbers.

Historically, if a job was created outside the schoolhouse in the Admin or Support area, HR would just create another salary schedule for it. There was no standardization. Employees were literally performing the exact same job functions, but they were often on different salary schedules (different titles and pay).

The Performance and Salary Audits (not to be confused with the online state of Georgia audit information referenced in this blog) was very expensive and very thorough. Every single employee filled out a multiple page form with detailed descriptions of job functions and percent of time spent on each job function.

The results of the audit were to collapse salary schedules (maybe to eliminate positions - I really don't know that) since many employees were performing the exact same functions as others yet they had different titles and a tremendous difference in pay. It really nailed these positions as it pointed out which jobs were really the same even though there was a title and pay differential.

The shedding of Central Office personnel and the results of the audit were very problematic for Dr. Brown because DeKalb had/has a well entrenched bureaucracy. They will put up as many barriers to change as possible. He did reduce the number of Central Office administrators (I don't know about support personnel), however Dr. Lewis quietly went about building up the numbers again.

I was not an active fan of Dr. Brown's. I really didn't know him very well. I had heard many controversial things said about him before he came, but now I wonder if much of that had to do with people being scared of losing their positions. I got the feeling teachers didn't seem too fond of him, but I think he got off on the wrong foot when he made everyone leave their preplanning for a pep rally. Maybe some classroom teachers could weigh in here.

Lewis was very much a DeKalb Schools insider although it was a real shock to a lot of people when he got the superintendent. I won't go into the speculation that went on as to why Lewis was chosen, but you are close to the rumors when you mention BOE motives.

If teachers could choose between Lewis and Brown, I can't imagine they would pick Lewis. His performance as superintendent is truly disliked, and most teachers I know have lost all respect for his leadership abilities. If the BOE insists on keeping him, he is really is in a lame duck position.

Of course, no matter what Central Office drama plays out, our teachers and students go on trying to do the best they can with what is left over for them.

Cerebration said...

Leftovers - that's hitting the nail on the head Anon 3:11 PM.

As far as this Brown-initiated salary schedule audit, I remember the huge blow back he took at the time. I was not enlightened in those days, so I didn't advocate for the streamlining he was attempting.

Now, Dr. Lewis, not too long ago, proposed a similar audit to the board. It was expensive - $750,000 comes to mind - but it was mentioned that "Best Practices" would be to do one every 5 years at least. The board voted down the expenditure.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:11 pm

That is the kind of insight and history that makes coming to this blog a GREAT thing. A subtlety when Dr. Brown came on board is that he renamed the other 'superintendent' positions to Executive Director. I recall hearing he did not want any confusion as to who was the superintendent of the school system. Notice we have many types of superintendent titles again.

Dr. Brown was making the changes he thought the Board wanted him to make. You are correct in that many teachers did not like going to Memorial stadium in the hot sun on a preplanning day to sing, 'if you're happy and you know it'. In hindsight, he'd probably choose not to do that. If they knew his plan to dismantle the 'teams' and reduce the size of the central office, they may have given him more of a chance.

Implementing the uniform code is what really got a lot of parents upset. Dr. Brown thought he had a mandate from the Board for this however they scurried like roaches in the light when complaints came from parents. They left him holding the bag on that.

Interesting the growth of the central office occurred during the Hallford years. Some call those the 'forgotten' years because they do not remember many accomplishments during his administration. Now we have a reason to remember him.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Dr. Lewis knows the power of the bureaucracy. It can support you or turn against you. Beware of the bureaucracy you create. They have their own power centers and alliances. Dr. Brown certainly learned this along with the power centers and alliances of the BOE that dismissed him.

Cerebration said...

Thought I'd post this here for posterity -

This is the letter the Organization of DeKalb Educators sent to the board before they voted on Lewis' raise -

To: DeKalb County School System Board of Education
From: Organization of DeKalb Educators
Date: January 4, 2010
Re: ODE Statement Concerning Possible Changes to Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis’ Contract

The members of the Organization of DeKalb Educators are extremely disappointed and insulted that the Board of Education would even consider granting Dr. Lewis a raise or other increase in compensation in the midst of the present economic turmoil, as well as the District Attorney’s ongoing investigation into possible financial improprieties within the school system. Our members and other employees have made numerous sacrifices including:

1. Loss of support personnel in areas such as art, music, reading, media centers, and Plant Services which lead to larger class sizes and decreased student options.

2. A decrease in student and bus driver safety due to over-crowdedness in addition to a loss in
bus driver salary of up to 29%.

3. 2009 losses of the COLA, step increase, and local retirement plan deposits; multi-year losses
of earned experience raises; increased insurance premiums; furlough days; and loss of the local supplement in DCSS’ portion of the teacher salary.

Both the members of our Organization and other County employees feel betrayed. Dr. Lewis agreed to make the same sacrifices as he required of the DCSS employees. It is disheartening to know that the superintendent now appears to have been insincere regarding his initial position. Employees have more work, greater responsibilities and less take home pay due to extensive budget cuts. It now also appears that questionable budget decisions and ongoing litigation may also be factors. Due to the above listed reasons, we urge you to delay any decisions regarding the Superintendent’s contract until all the ongoing legal investigations are completed. We also hope that you think about the message you are sending to the employees on the front line if you grant the Superintendent increased compensation in the midst of an ongoing budget crisis. It is our hope that you, the Board, will do what is right for our members, other employees, other stakeholders, and ultimately, the students of the DeKalb County
School System.

Sincerely,
Organization of DeKalb Educators Executive Committee