Monday, February 22, 2010

Plan to attend these board meetings

The following BOE meetings that will happen this week - people really need to be there if they want to know what is going on with the budget.


The DeKalb Board of Education Committee on Budget, Finance & Facilities will hold a meeting on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 10:30am in the Superintendent's Conference Room at the DeKalb County School System's Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center, Building A, 3770 North Decatur Road in Decatur, Georgia. The purpose of the meeting is to review Board policies and system-wide operations as it relates to finance & facilities.

Meeting information can be accessed online by going to the Board of Education and Meeting Information website by clicking here.

There will also be a called work session of the full board on Fri. 2/26 at 10:30 am - more information to follow.

Both have been confirmed by email from the board secretary.

UPDATE: The new parent blog "DeKalb Parents United" has published their detailed notes from this morning's meeting.

And the AJC has posted this article on the meeting.


Dekalbparent said...

At the meeting at Oglethorpe Power, CL said the meeting on Feb 26 (Fri) would be when he would announce his proposed changes to the budget plans to deal with the $88M shortfall.

Dekalbparent said...

Cross-post, but I really need to vent, here:

We keep hearing from our BOE members "If you knew all the facts / the whole story / what we know, you would understand".

First of all, I find this quite condescending and dismissive. Do we your constituents not possess the cognitive muscle to grasp these things?

Second, you are my elected representative. Why should I NOT know what you know? Why are you not telling me?

Third, if you know stuff I don't know, thus leaving me making erroneous decisions because I have insufficient information, how do you know that YOU have all the information. Just because you get a bunch of pages in a binder does not necessarily mean you were given all the information - you have what they gave you...

I am really sick and tired of the attitude we are getting from ALL our elected representatives on the BOE!

Cerebration said...

I agree. It reminds me of the Military Academy debacle. The board insisted that the teeny, tiny Heritage School could fit 600 high school students. No way - it only has 18 little classrooms, no gym and only 40 parking spaces. Try as we might to convince them - they all told us we were mistaken - even though their own website agreed with us as well as the evacuation maps on the building. One of the neighbors even measured the square footage of the building. No matter - we were still "wrong". It was very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Good point DK Parent. This board constantly dismisses parental concerns, and always sides with the superintendent and administration. The BOE needs to be supportive of the super and administration, but not dismissive of parents. When push comes to shove, the superintendent and administration reports to them. They are the boss.

I am sick and tired of my BOE rep's always saying "you don't know what I know" and "the public is misinformed".

There has to be checks and balances, and someone has to represent parents and taxpayers. We need five new BOE members elected this fall that are going to be truly reprsentative, and not condescending and dismissive.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is if we elect the BOE reps, how did the county get saddled with CL in the first place? I've had a child in the DCSS for only 3 1/2 years & I dislked the man the 1st time I heard him speak. He sounded shallow, disingenuous and condescending. Pretty much the way he's come off every time I've heard him speak since. I agree we need a new a new Board. One that is about the children first. So, how do get a new superintendent?

Anonymous said...

A new BOE can and probably will hire a new superintendent if that's what they are elected to do.

The history of how we got Dr. Lewis is complicated with BOE infighting and certain factions that didn't like Dr. Brown, the first superintendent who was not a DeKalb insider.

Dr. Brown was busy dismantling the Central Office bureaucracy when he was replaced. Dr. Lewis was a compromise candidate who has gotten along very well with the BOE. For this BOE, there hasn't been an expenditure they didn't like.

giftedkids said...

"For this BOE, there hasn't been an expenditure they didn't like."

That is not saying much for the BOE at all. I just want people who will work their hardest to do right by all of the children of Dekalb, North & South.

Or perhaps it is the goal of the DCSS to go the way of the Clayton County School System......Must it come to that before the community at large stands together to hold all of them accountable & everyone collectively work to fix it?!

Anonymous said...

Georgia School Wellness Summit: The Cornerstone of Academic Achievement

Friday, March 12th and Saturday, March 13th, 2010

March 12: 1:00-5:00pm
March 13: 9:00-4:00pm
University of Georgia Conference Center, Athens, GA
Registration Fee: $45.00

Sponsored by: Georgia Action for Healthy Kids, Georgia Department of Community Health, Division of Public Health, Georgia Department of Education, and Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition

Please join us for this exciting event! Sessions include:

•Preparing your school for House Bill 229
•Proven Best Practices to improve nutrition and PE inside the school community
•School staff wellness programs
•Fuel Up to Play 60
•Take 10 - Classroom Exercise
•Finding and writing grants for your wellness programs
•School wellness basics
•Best ways to leverage local resources for free
•Youth Panel

Our goal is to share proven success stories, provide critical information, tools and resources to aid in promoting health and wellness within Georgia schools.

Cerebration said...

•Finding and writing grants for your wellness programs

I hope someone will make a presentation about the fabulous wellness center funded by Kaiser and installed at the new Stone Mt facility for the Open Campus and DECA (ahem!) - oh - and for the teachers and administrators!

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Brown was busy dismantling the Central Office bureaucracy when he was replaced."
I have to add that he was also busy creating one of his own. What DCSS really, truly needs is a person who knows how to run a business and work within a budget. In my house, we do not spend more than we can afford to pay. It's amazing that those in education and government do not grasp that simple concept.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brown had many detractors and I wasn't a fan of his myself, but non-teaching personnel has swelled in numbers under Dr. Lewis far beyond what Dr. Brown had. That's what's sucking up our instructional tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

I am just wondering, was the press release that Dr. Lewis was making an announcement today/tonight in regard to 4 school closings in Dekalb true or false? My understanding was that the Task Force would present their suggestions on March 9th. Anyone know?

M G said...

I copied this from the CPTF link on the DCSS website.....
Main » Public Engagement » CPTF
The Citizen's Planning Task Force

Tuesday February 23, 2010: There have been multiple incorrect reports in the news media that DeKalb County Schools will announce the names of four schools to be closed during the week of February 22-26. No announcement of school closings will be made during this week. The next step in the school closing process is that the Citizen Planning Task Force members will receive multiple scenarios of proposed school closings on March 4, 2010. These proposed scenarios will be the topic of discussion at the next scheduled Task Force meeting on March 9, 2010 at 6:00 PM at the William Bradley Bryant Center (cafeteria) located at 2652 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur, Georgia 30033.

Anonymous said...

how will cutting 148 jobs keep the DCSS from bankruptcy? Stop BSing and get on with some serious cutbacks....that's ony $10 million. The state will be cutting more than that and so will the Department of Ed. CLewis is so fake that's real talk DCSS citizens...get a real BOE and find a real Superintendent....,in fact..cut the BOE in half..this is why nothing get's many chiefs

Anonymous said...

Well let's see - cutting 148 jobs saves $10.7 million. That is about $72,300 per job.
Since they say the jobs cross all sectors of the Central Office let's use the $72,300 average times the remaining 834 jobs in the Central Office. That amounts to $60,298,000 still being spent on the Central Office.
Nope not impressed !!!!

Anonymous said...

We are even more unbalanced in our support and admin to teacher ratio than we the DCSS website says. Last year Lewis did away with 275 teaching positions, so by now we must be below 50% of our personnel teaching students in the classroom.

Lewis can say he's not cutting teachers, but if he ups the pupil teacher ratio, DeKalb will simply need less teacher positions. That's what his budget did last year in order to reduce the number of DeKalb teachers by 275:

As teachers resign and retire, Dekalb won't fill those positions. They'll just pack more students into the remaining classroom.

DeKalb can save lots of money and everyone is happy that they kept their jobs except the students and remaining teachers (i.e. the actual classroom where learning takes place). Both students and teachers will be packed like sardines into classes.

There will be less and less individual attention paid to students as class sizes swell.

Write your BOE members and ask them to cut in admin and support areas rather than increase the pupil teacher ratio.

I'm a retired teacher of 30 years. I've been the "beneficiary" of many learning programs, but I must say getting the pupil-teacher ratio down is the most effective way for teachers to be effective with students.

Students aren't widgets. They are individuals. We need to have the time to teach them as individuals.

How about sending some of those 80 Instructional Coaches back into the classroom to help our kids. That's $8,000,000 in personnel cost right there that can be re-employed in an academically sound manner.

Cerebration said...

The board may wish to take action on the following information that was sent to the blog -

A recent analysis of the datasets (school year 2008-2009) submitted by the Dekalb County schools reveal that there may be a possible non-compliance of Georgia's Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TAADRA) of 1997.

Under the TAADRA law, school systems are supposed to generate a Certificate of Non-Compliance for any student between 14-16 years and with 10 or more unexcused absences during a school year. Further analysis of data shows that DCSS had reported 3428 students ages 14-16 years with 10 or more unexcused absences, whereas they reported only 795 Certificate of Non-Compliance for Attendance reasons ( and 1288 total). All data is based on various data reports submitted to the DOE by the DCSS for school year 2008-2009.

The board needs to understand that a school district is exposing itself to criminal and/or civil lawsuits if they don't enforce TAADRA act effectively.

Paula Caldarella said...

148 jobs? I think it goes without saying, but that is not enough to cut from the Central office - not nearly enough. Keep going Dr. Lewis - you can do it, you really can!!! That Central Office should be lean, lean, lean, before you ever begin to think about cutting items that directly affect our the students in the district.

Anonymous said...

Was there any mention of class size changes next year? Gwinnett has proposed an increase of 1 student per class.

Molly said...

There was talk about a waiver to increase class size with an additional 5 or 6 students per class in the elementary schools and 3 in the high school. (Middle school wasn't mentioned.)

There was also discussion about possibly needing to shortening the school year if the crisis gets worse.

Anonymous said...

Five or six students in elementary school? That is outrageous! I hope that everyone will start letting their board members know that this is unacceptable. Cut everything else then impact the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Fulton County School System just received renewal of their SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) system-wide accreditation. Here is what system-wide accreditation means (as reported in the AJC):

"The systemwide designation signals exceptional performance, with strong leadership in the central office, good governance, and pursuit of high standards and best practices for students and staff. It is considered a step up from the typical accreditation of individual schools."

DeKalb County School System also has SACS system-wide accreditation which expires on 6/30/2012. Do you think that DCSS meets even one of the characteristics of SACS system-wide accreditation?

Dr. Mark Elgart, president of SACS K-12 Division is who to contact: I have heard that he lives in DeKalb County and is concerned about his property value and that of his neighbors if SACS takes steps against DCSS. Also contact Dr. Mike Bryans, director of Georgia SACS at

Anonymous said...

FYI - there’s a very detailed summary of today’s budget meeting on

Annie said...

More on SACS and system-wide accreditation ...

SACS has admitted to Lakeside High School and Chamblee Charter High School parents that they have huge files on issues with DeKalb County School System. So why haven't they acted?

Busy lifting accreditation from Warren County Schools? Among the serious infractions at Warren County: not using Roberts Rules of Order for board meetings. Read all about it here:

SACS-CASI and its parent, AdvancED, are charged with ensuring the quality of education in our schools. SACS-CASI and AdvancED are supported by our tax dollars paid by school systems in annual fees and fees associated with the accreditation and renewal processes.

Why are SACS-CASI and AdvancED not doing their job? If they abdicate their clear responsibility, then what is the value of their accreditation?

Cerebration said...

Good thinking, Paul Womack!

“We don’t want to affect the programs in the classroom. But ladies and gentlemen, that is ultimately going to happen,” Womack said. “Everybody has a sacred this and a sacred that, but there is nothing sacred except our kids.”

M G said...

Add 5 students in elementary school --- sure, that will put Kindergarten at 25 students, 1st-3rd at 28, and 4th-5th at 35.

Simply unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Annie- what in the world do you mean by writing that SACS has told Lakeside and Chamblee parents that they have huge files on DCSS. I am a very active parent of a student at one of these schools and I have heard no such thing.

Please don't spread unsubstantiated rumors.

More importantly, I don't want my child in the same situation as Clayton county, i.e. graduating from an unaccredited school system.

And no one else should wish this on DCSS. Talk about your property values plummeting.

Anonymous said...

Paul Womack can talk the talk, but he cannot walk the walk. Never has. Never will.

I will not vote for SPLOST -- and, in fact, will actively campaign against it -- if Crawford Lewis is still superintendent and if any of the present board members are re-elected.

Cerebration said...

This is the issue with the system-wide accreditation. Good schools will go down with the bad and the bad decisions made by administrators will harm all schools. Our system has never made AYP - as a system. However, there are many schools that always make AYP. This system is very diverse and has a huge range of needs, skills and community support. There's really no way that SACS could or should punish an entire system because pieces of it are not doing the right thing. That would be terribly wrong. We need to push the board and administration to do the right thing for students in every move they make. The cuts to administration proposed by Lewis are a very good start. Very encouraging. Keep going.

themommy said...

SACs isn't interested in whether we think the system is well managed. They regulate a very specific kind of behavior and they regulate some financial stuff as well. (Mostly just that systems have enough reserve money.)

In Warren County, the issue is the Board Chair wants to be superintendent and is standing in the way of initiatives. In Clayton County, the issue was micromanaging by board members (a board member had a football coach fired for not playing her child enough, for crying out loud).

While these kinds of behaviors were very common in DeKalb a decade or go, they are much rarer now. In both the Warren and Clayton cases, board members and system employees went to SACs. They had the evidence.

We can suspect things, but unless we have hard proof, SACs hands are tied.

What we do have, is a long (minus the Brown years) of hiring Supers. from within who have to much history with the other employees of DCSS. It isn't just Lewis. Halford wasn't much better and I don't hear great things about Freeman.

If I recall correctly, when Brown took over, Halford, who opposed tax increases, had left so little money in the bank that SACs could have put DCSS on probation.

Cerebration said...

(From the parents united blog)

"Womack – requested the Board consider waiving their $4K out-of-state travel allowance."

"McChesney – we need a 2 year plan, not a 1 year plan, and we have to prepare for the worst."

"Cunningham – para professionals cut would change the strategy, what effects would it have on the schools? Seems it would have a profound effect on learning."

"Dr. Walker – believes the markets will come back and has hope we will see some relief. Everyone should pray."

Anonymous said...

We better hear these cuts from Lewis:

-Eliminate DOLA, the online academy. The state has a pretty good online academy already. Even though this means County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton will have to go back to the classroom!

-Cuts to the school police department. 180 staff members, two directors, four admin assistants, nine detectives. What do we get for such a huge staff? We have to thak MARTA police for their good job of going after truants, it's not the DCSS police dept. catching DCSS truants, especially those from the Alternative School.

-Major cuts to MIS. This dept. has what...a $24 million dollar budget?? This department does not serve the classroom teacher. I'm not sure who they serve, except when an upper level administrator wants their computer worked on, MIS comes running.

-Executive Director Corporate Wellness. The Kaiser grant, a temporary grant, only pays a portion of her salary anyway.

-Graduation coaches and other state/fed paid-for staff that DCSS still have to pay for their benefits and pensions. Just because the state or feds may for some positions, doesn't mean DCSS has to take it, because their are always strings attached, like DCSS being stuck with pension and bene's.

-No more take home cars except for the superintendent, and a dramatic cut in the fleet. If administrators have to go to metings, reimburse their mileage. Ron Ramsey better NOT have a take home car.

-No more crazy, ridiculous, inexcusable purchases like re-doing the Mountain Industrial parking lot, when it's fine, $300,000 for BOE TV lights, cross country training trips, etc.

-A small increase in fees for athletics. Football is expensive. If you have to pay a little more, so be it.

There are still many things to be cut, Crawford and BOE, before you make cuts to the classroom.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoodymom 2:34 pm

..."148 is not nearly enough cuts"....

You're so right.

I’ll do 2 posts to show you the immense number of non-teaching Central Office personnel.
We have 62 Instructional Coordinators $7,000,000 in salary and benefits), 80 Instructional Coaches ($8,000,000 in salary and benefits), 48 Graduation Coaches ($3,400,000 in salary and benefits), and 13 Literacy Coaches ($1,000,000 in salary and benefits).

That's a total of $19,4000,000 yearly in salaries and benefits for these coordinators and coaches - average cost per employee is $95,500 in salary and benefits.

All 203 of these employees have teaching certificates. 203 classrooms at 26 to 1 pupil teacher ratio equates to 5,278 students that could be served in the classroom. 144 of these employees are already assigned schools as instructional coaches - they just don't teach children.

In case you're worried we won't have anyone to staff the Central Office, we still have quite a few to direct and coordinate.

The personnel listed below would still be in place to coordinate everything even if the 203 referred to above are back in the schools.

The list below is only a PARTIAL list. There are many, many more Central Office employees. Most of them are licensed teachers. The following people are higher level personnel than the coordinators and coaches. Estimated salary and benefits are $10,000,000 just for the ones below. And they are just the tip of the icebeg:

Kelli Harris Wright (Dir. Elementary)
Gwen Leverette (Elementary Executive Administrative Assistant)
Sonia S. Croft (Elementary Administrative Assistant)
Rachel Fiore (Elementary Content Coordinator for Science)
Vonzia Phillips (Director of Middle School)
Ms. Angela McWhorter (Middle School Administrative
Ms. Karen Whitmire (Middle School Reading/English Language Arts Coordinator)
Mr. Benjamin Ridgeway (Middle School social Studies Coordinator)
Karen Lewis (Middle School Secretary)
Terri Brown (Middle School English/Language Arts Coordinator)
Stacy Stepney (Director of High School)
Francena W. Lewis (Coordinator of High Schools That Work)
Sandra Nunez (Director of ELL)
Tony Eitel (Assessment Executive Director)
Brenda H. Jones (Assessment Coordinator)
Anita Rogers (Exec. Administrative Assistant)
Gloria Traynum (Assessment Instructional Technology Specialist)
Amanda Ware (Assessment Coordinator)
Ron Sebree (Athletic Director)
Mike Cammack (Athletic Coordinator)
Janet Francis (Athletic Coordinator)
Chris Chilton (Athletic Specialist)
Mark Brock (Athletic Information Officer)
Meredith Cooksey (Executive Assistant to the Director of Athletics)
Bettie Key (Athletic Budget Specialist)
Scott Coleman (Adapted Sports Coordinator)
Karen Lowery (Athletics Accounting)
Jennifer Hiott (Athletics Marketing Associate)
Alice Thompson (Executive Director for Student Assignment)
Delmas Watkins (Director Career Technology)

Anonymous said...

More of those Central Office personnel (But still so many more. I couldn't list them all):
Paul Camick (Career Ed Vocational Director)
Stephen Edwards (Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator)
Dionne Johnigan (Career Ed Vocational Director)
Vikki Williams (Career Ed Vocational Director)
Rosalind Dennis (Director Educational Media)
Sonja Alexander (Staff Development Director)
Lakissa Jackson (Staff Development Executive Administrative Assistant)
Noreen Price (Staff Development GATAPP/PACES)
Alvin Perry (Class Size Reduction Management)
Leigh Turner (Staff Development Pro Corps)
Aleigha Henderson-Rosser (Staff Development Professional learning Institute)
Karen Edwards (Staff Development Pro Corps Bookings)
Kathy LeDuke (Staff Development Room Reservations)
Thalia Raybon (Staff Development Stipends/ Transcripts)
Pearl Holley (Staff Developmemt Course Registration)
Ms. Paula Swartzberg (Research and Development Director)
Ms. Alexis Smith, (Research Coordinator)
William “Mac” Sudduth, Grants Coordinator
Carol Thurman, Research Specialist
Angela Birkes, Research Specialist
Curtis Grier, Research Specialist
Enes Selimovic, Executive Secretary
Audria Berry (Office of School Improvement Executive Director)
Barbara Adams (Office of School Improvement Data Entry Specialist)
Barry Cross (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Alain Davis (Office of School Improvement Assistant Director)
Karen Ealey (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Sharmaine Greenland (Office of School Improvement Executive Administrative Assistant)
Jackie Marshall (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Janine Mathews (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Betty Matthews (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Kechia Minter (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Beverly Partridge (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Anderia Russell (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Lacretia Tarver (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Sandra Mason (Assistant Director of Student Support Services for SST)
Thelma Smith (Student Support Services Administrative Assistant)
Vasanne Tinsley (Assistant Director of Student Support Services for Guidance, Counseling and Mentoring)
Andrea Brown (Support Services Administrative Assistant)
Terescah Lemon (Student Support Services Head Counselor)
Jennifer Errion (Prevention/Intervention Assistant Director)
Beverly Balloon (Prevention/Intervention Executive Secretary)
Antoinette Friday (Student Support Specialist)
Nicole Knighten (Interim Director, Governmental Relations/Special Projects)
Marilyn Seaver (Governmental Relations Executive Secretary)
Nancy Van Wyk (Governmental elations School Council/PTA Specialist)
Gale D. Thomas (Director of Student Support Services)
Brenda Thomas (Administrative Assistant for Psychological Services)
Deborah Rives (Facilitator Region 1)
Felicia Mitchell (Facilitator Region 2)
Sheryl Croft (Facilitator Region 3)
Rita Wyatt (Facilitator Region 4)
Wendolyn Bouie (Facilitator Region 5)
Horace Dunston (Facilitator Region 6)
Quentin Fretwell (Director Student Relations)
Angela Crawford (Assistant Director, Special Education)
Cindy Bertram (Assistant Director, Special Education)
Carolyn Smith (Assistant Director Student Services)

Anonymous said...

What in the world is a "facilitator"? Each Region has a Deputy Super or some such thing, why the facilitator?
This is like pealing an onion. How many layers has Dr. Lewis built up?

Anonymous said...

Duncan is the Deputy Super. I don't know why they are listed as facilitator.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lewis proposed significant cuts to the layer between he and principals.

Going back to regions but with only 3 with very little staff.

What this means is that if a parent is really having a problem at their local school and escalates the problem it is going to take longer to solve. (Ok, this presumes that issues are addressed now. I realize that.)

I am ok with this, as I believe that in tough economic situations, everyone needs to share the burden. I want to see cuts that are significant in the central office so that we don't have HUGE class sizes as has beeen mentioned.

Cerebration said...

Great list of cuts Anon!

I think that "facilitator" is the new term for Area Superintendent. I heard Lewis was going to cut these from 6 to 3 (north, central, south).

Deborah Rives is the Area Super who retired and then went to work for America's Choice.

Curious - why are we not hearing about Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett's cuts? Are they having to make substantial cuts? Are we in line with other counties or is something different? Does it have to do with the huge decline in property values in South DeKalb?

Cerebration said...

From the AJC article -

"Lewis is still working on the budget for next year, but the general operating budget for 2009-2010 is $851.1 million, district spokesman Dale Davis said. The district has 101,000 students.

The 148 positions -- which are all filled -- represent about 15 percent of the district’s 982 employees in the central office."

The deficit is now rumored to become $100-114 million. This represents about a 12-14% drop in funds. So, when I see him making what looks like substantial cuts to the central office - is really only the first of what looks to me like what will be across the board cuts. Prepare to see about a 15% cut everywhere - including the schoolhouse.

Cerebration said...

ps, the official October, 2009 FTE count shows that DeKalb officially reported 99,406 students to the state. Are they saying that we've grown by 1500 students in the last 5-6 months? Are we sure we're getting reimbursed from the state for 101,000?

Anonymous said...

I have not heard that they are looking at outsourcing yet for non-teaching personnel.

DeKalb Schools spends 91% of a $900,000,000 budget on salaries and benefits or $819,000,000. Of that $819,000,000 about 25% is for benefits - $204,750,000. Any outsourcing is going to impact that benefits figure even if the salaries are the same.

What departments can be outsourced? Nothing should be off the table.

No doubt,our teachers and children will get better service in some areas - simply because customer service is virtually "non-existent" in some departments.

Anonymous said...

From the recent AJC article:

The cuts will be made in the nine departments that make up the central office, including the superintendent’s cabinet, human resources, finance, transportation and other areas... “It does not target one particular group,” said Ramona Tyson, the district’s deputy chief superintendent of business operations. “This is to be fair.”


Ms. Tyson, why can't decisions about cuts be made with the students as the primary focus, instead of central office R.I.F. "fairness"? Your perspective here is a fine example of what we all have been complaining about. It's a culture of supporting the central office jobs program above the need to support the students and teachers in the classroom. It needs to change.

Cynical? Yes.

Cerebration said...

That same quote jumped out at me. There's a difference between making across the board cuts (evenly distributed - say 15% in every department) or taking a thoughtful scalpel to carve out unnecessary spending with little ROI toward the goal (educating children). I'd like to see more of "B".

Anonymous said...

“It does not target one particular group,” said Ramona Tyson, the district’s deputy chief superintendent of business operations. “This is to be fair.”

The teacher to support and admin ratio has become unbalanced as more and more admin and support personnel have been added and classroom teaching positions have cut (275 teaching positions alone eliminated for the current 2009-10 school year).

Although the DCSS website lists half of our personnel are teaching personnel (a discouraging and disappointing enough percentage), those figures are outdated, and it's no doubt less than half at this point.

Support and admin cuts must be deeper than teacher position cuts to effect a reasonable ratio between the two. Continuing to raise the pupil teacher ratio and pack more kids into classrooms is not the way to balance the budget when over half of your personnel does not teach students.

Cuts in school system personnel cannot just be about "fairness" for employees. What's "fair for the students" must be the driving force for any budget cuts.

Everyone who works for the school system only has their job because of the students. Every decision must come from this premise. I did not hear Ms. Tyson mention what is "fair for the students".

Anonymous said...

Gwinnett has mentioned increasing class sizes by 1 child. No systems in Metro Atlanta (and I would guess the state as a whole) have given out contracts. Gwinnett is trying to wait out the state before proposing a budget.

Fulton's shortfall as of a few weeks ago was 70ish million. I think I heard the same figure for Cobb.

I do think that DCSS is ahead of the game. However, because of the kind of leader Dr. Lewis is, he feels the need to build consensus before taking action. He refuses to just make a decision and stick with it.

Makes me crazy.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:12

If DCSS was ahead of the game, Dr. Lewis and the BOE would not have been growing the support and admin side of the house at the expense of people who teach our children in the classroom.

If they were ahead of the game, they would have been looking at cutting, consolidating and outsourcing since this recession began.

Here are quotes from Dr. Lewis sent out in an Internal Memorandum to all employees 5 weeks ago on Jan. 20, 2010:

..."When dealing with the projected deficit, there are two primary goals: to maintain employment for all employees with NO layoffs and do the absolute best not to raise the millage rate."....

...."But no one loses employment."....

..."The goal, again,
is to balance the budget without layoffs."...

Dr. Lewis has realized there is a physical limit to the number of students he can pack into a classroom although he made it clear early on he would rather raise the pupil teacher ratio by cutting teaching positions (275 in the 2009-10 school year alone) than cut personnel in the admin and support area.

I'll also bet the BOE has been deluged with emails from angry parents concerned with their child's education. Parents want deep cuts in the admin and support side before having their child in a classroom with little possibility of individual attention.

Where were the students in his earlier decisions? Is he currently showing that the students are his first and main concern?

Anonymous said...

1) Why are there so many darn "Executive Administrative Assistants"?? Why not just a regular admin asst? The salary difference between the two is crazy.

2) I haven't seem significant cuts to the school police dept. or MIS. Those two departments have increased in size exponentially over the past decade.

Cerebration said...

"deputy chief superintendent of business operations" Ramona is definitely not. If she were concerned about "business operations" she would cut the budget where necessary to maintain focus on the goal (educating children). No, her quote about balanced cuts "to be fair" shows that she is a government bureaucrat - not a business person.

Dekalbparent said...

Late to the party and can't find the original post, but someone questioned whether the $300K for lights and $200K for parking lot at Mountain Ind was SPLOST money - $540,257 altogether.

Answer is YES - both are change orders to the original contract with Nix-Fowler. In addition, there was a separate change order approved for the same project for an elevator for $56,570. Also to Nix-Fowler