Friday, March 5, 2010

DeKalb teachers' pay could decrease 6.25 percent

From Today's AJC

DeKalb County teachers could see their pay decrease as much as 6.25 percent next school year.

The school board voted unanimously Friday morning to issue about 8,000 contracts to teachers, principals and other certified staff for next school year with the option of a pay reduction or furlough days. The pay cut is capped at 6.25 percent.

DeKalb schools must cut at least $88 million from its budget for next year. The board is scheduled to approve the budget in May, but teacher contracts must be issued before April 15.

“This does not bind the board to take any particular action, it just binds the board to leave the door open,” board chairman Tom Bowen said.


Interestingly, the AJC is also reporting this:

About a quarter of DeKalb County’s residents weren’t counted in the last census, causing the county to lose about $41 million in federal funding, County Commissioner Connie Stokes announced Wednesday.


That felt like the old one-two punch!

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

No wonder DCSS has to decreae teacher pay.

Parents and teachers, please look at these salaries. How do you think our teachers feel about this?

Position: Mechanic, Air Conditioner/Heat (HVAC)
Educational requirement: High school diploma or GED
Experience: 3 years
Salary: $43,111 to $58,665

Position: Teacher, Science, Language Arts, or Social Studies
Educational requirement: College degree
Experience: 3 years
Salary: $ 42,288 (salary for a teacher with 3 years of experience)
$ 58,248 (salary for a teacher with 20 years of experience)
$ 59,376 (salary for a teacher with 30 years of experience)

Below is the job description on PATS for HVAC personnel (DCSS currently has 5 openings):
“The Mechanical Maintenance Department is seeking a qualified HVAC Mechanic. The minimum requirements include a High School Diploma or GED equivalent. A minimum of three (3) years experience in HVAC installation and control systems is required. Two (2) years experience in industrial or commercial HVAC is preferred.
Position: Mechanic, Air Conditioner/Heat
Salary: $43,111.20 to $58,665.60”

Chime in teachers and tell us the service you get from HVAC. Their position requires a high school diploma and 3 years experience. Most of you will never make the salary they make.

The BOE wants to cut teacher salaries and teacher positions.

Now you know why outsourcing is a great idea.

If this doesn’t make you want to write your BOE members, I don’t know what will.

Anonymous said...

Wait. There’s more.

Position: Mechanic, Kitchen Equipment
Educational requirement: High school diploma or GED
Experience: A valid Freon certificate and 5 years experience (preferred)
Salary: $43,111 to $58,665

Position: Teacher, Science, Language Arts, or Social Studies
Educational requirement: College degree
Experience: 3 years
Salary: $ 42,288 (salary for a teacher with 3 years of experience)
$ 58,248 (salary for a teacher with 20 years of experience)
$ 59,376 (salary for a teacher with 30 years of experience)

Below is the job description on PATS for a Kitchen Equipment Mechanic:
“Plant Services is seeking a Kitchen Equipment Mechanic to work in our Mechanical Maintenance Division.
The minimum qualifications include: A valid Freon certificate is required with a valid warm air certificate being preferred. Five (5) years experience as a commercial kitchen equipment mechanic is preferred. The applicant must have the ability to repair and maintain commercial hot and cold line equipment in the school kitchens-ovens-dishwashers-ice makers-walk in freezers……. The applicant must pass a Kitchen Equipment assessment test.
Position: Mechanic, Kitchen Equipment
Salary: $43,111 to $58,665”

Anonymous said...

Those are actually what those salaries should be. The thing is, we should be contracting out HVAC, kitchen equipment maintenance, etc.

There are so many good companies in the metro area. We can get a higher level of service without being stuck for paying benefits and 30 years of pension after an employee retires!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:36 pm
I do not agree that a 20 year veteran teacher should make less than an employee in the school system who does a job that requires only a high school diploma or a GED.

I do agree that those jobs should be outsourced. Then let's see what the market will bear and how many employees are necessary to get the job done.

Anonymous said...

So, while all this is going on Dr. Lewis is on "self requested" vacation enjoying his 15% pay increase.
Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I wouldn't mind the HVAC and other Mechanic workers making that much money, if they did their job correctly the first time. The problem that I see, is that we hire people and they don't really know what they are doing so we sit without air or heat for months at a time.

I would prefer to contract it out, however, I am not sure if the board would actually expect those contracted it out to do the job correctly the first time. It doesn't appear to be the DCSS way to do things correctly the first time.

As a teacher, I find it difficult working for a system that doesn't follow the golden rule that I was raised with: Do it right the first time. This goes for educating the children to fixing something not working properly.

I hope that all employees who are making over a certain salary threshold are going to see a pay reduction and not just teachers and administrators.

Anonymous said...

Pay decreases are across the board and impact all staff. Twelve month employees will actually see a larger percentage pay cut (the 6.25 percent) because they work more days.

For those of you concerned about class size increases, keep in mind that class sizes were increased by 2 last year. We are almost back to the point we were when Gov. Barnes reduced class size, but with one big difference.

Before Barnes reduced class sizes, classes in grades K-3 could and did have paras.

Anonymous said...

I think the Board approved contracts going out with up to a 6.25% pay reduction. No one will have an higher percentage, although in dollar amount the higher salary positions will see more dollars lost.

Anonymous said...

I too have taught in rooms so cold in the winter that I had to wear gloves. It can't be healthy for children who are there all day long. We have so many children with asthma. Inadequate heating and air doesn't help. I would really like to see it contracted out to a company that would do the job. It would be a much healthier environment for the children.

Anonymous said...

Regarding increasing classroom pupil teacher ratio:

If the BOE were really concerned about class sizes and ensuring teachers could provide individual help for struggling students, they would have cut, consolidated and outsourced in every area but the classroom. I think we need a BOE that puts the classroom first.

Please email your BOE members and also email our new interim superintendent Ms. Ramona Tyson.

Ms. Tyson's email is Ramona_Tyson@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us. I'm sure she would be like to hear comments from DeKalb parents and taxpayers regarding the budget proposals.

Anonymous said...

@ Cere
Could you possibly put a link to email Ms. Ramona Tyson, our new interim superintendent, on this blog perhaps near the Board of Education email link?

I think Ms. Tsyon would like to hear from parents/taxpayers. She is probably already getting emails (I know I've emailed her with my concerns), but a link would make emailing her more convenient.

Her email is:
Ramona_Tyson@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

happy said...

I was at the meeting and what they voted on was to give authority to Ramona Tyson to sign the contracts, which could result in people getting up to 6.25% less pay. But these would be 12 month employees, teachers top out at 5% -and it could be in the way of salary deduction or furlough days.

Go to: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/fy2011-budget.html
and click on "Budget Plans E,F,G,H, and I" - slide 6. They can pick and choose from these plans or add items not listed, but this gives board members a starting point to try and find $88 million to cut. Anyway you slice it, it ain't pretty.

Anonymous said...

Sro's, Prevention/Intervention Specialist, Secertary III, Plumbers, and the list goes on and on of who makes more money starting out than Teachers. Cut those people salary first before Educators. Twenty Sro's have school system car's that they drive home and only five lives in Dekalb County. I've heard reports that two lives near the Alabama state line and two lives near the S/C state line. How much are we really wasting on gas on these Sro's and how is this helping our kids.

Anonymous said...

NO TAKE HOME CAR'S FOR ANY SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS!!!

Anonymous said...

Although I hate the paycut, I would rather have a job making a little money than sit at home and wonder if I would ever find a job. Most of us always focus on the negative and not the positive. I am thankful. When the economy get better DCSS please give me my money. Maybe I will apply for the job in the kitchen or HVAC jobs posted on pats. LOL

I am a teacher in Dekalb

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:33,

DeKalb parents and taxpayers support our teachers. And our cafeteria workers, bus drivers, school nurses and front office staff.

We don't support the massive bureaucracies of the Central Office, Sam Moss, MIS, school police department, too many assistant principals, instructional coaches/supervisors, etc.

BOE: Put the focus on the classroom and school building. Everything else is secondary.

Anonymous said...

Get votech so we can have kids earn these salries 3 years after graduation!!

It's clear that teachers are underpaid....

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:14

I understand your pain. My room was 85 degrees yesterday (talk about money to burn). It's been that way most of the winter.

The air/heat system is so noisy that sometimes I have to shout to be heard over it. Every day I come into my classroom there is a film of dust on my desks. I have many students with asthma. This can't be healthy, and of course it's not a good learning environment.

The students ask all the time about the heat and cooling system because it's so uncomfortable. We're the adults they're with all day so of course they think we can fix it.

I'm not complaining about salaries. Teachers would just like to have a reasonably heated, cooled, and healthy environment for our students. We're not getting that now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cere for the link to email Ramona Tyson, DCSS's Interim Superintendent, regarding ideas about the DCSS budget crisis.

This will help link parents/taxpayers to Ramona Tyson, the person who makes the decisions that are so important to our children's future.

Parents/taxpayers, use this link (directly above the Recent Comments section on the right hand side of the DeKalb School Watch web page) to email Ramona Tyson, the person who holds your child's future in her hands.

Share your opinions of what you want for your child with her as well as the BOE members.

Cerebration said...

You're welcome - and thanks for the good idea!

Anonymous said...

The person over HVAC was a plumber and through pope he was put over all the people that go out and work on everything in the schools. Remember it is not what you know but who you know.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think Mrs. Tyson is going to do something positive behind Dr. Lewis' back? You might as well email Dr. Lewis directly. For all we know, he is telling Mrs. Tyson what to do.

"Parents/taxpayers, use this link (directly above the Recent Comments section on the right hand side of the DeKalb School Watch web page) to email Ramona Tyson, the person who holds your child's future in her hands."

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the many well-dressed America's Choice folks with clipboards and laptops visiting our classrooms? These visits, coupled with the trips that many DeKalb educators and administration took to California, it's a wonder we can afford to keep the lights on. A larger problem is while schools cannot afford things like photocopies and much-needed HVAC repairs, consultants and administrators who sit in their offices eating hot wings and talking on the telephone are burning through stimulus money in a frenzy.

Crawford Louis' timing worked for him; he's being paid to be investigated. Patricia Pope broke the law and received a nice severance package. Turns out that in DeKalb the best way to prosper is to get caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

Anonymous said...

Has Pat Pope been charged and terminated? Which law did she break?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:33 pm

I assure you Ms. Tyson is not used to getting emails or talking to parents in the other roles she has had in DCSS.

I think an overwhelming number of emails will give Ms. Tyson a much clearer idea of what parents/taxpayers want from DCSS.

By all means, please send as many emails as possible to Ms. Tyson. She is a "numbers" person. I guarantee she will have someone counting the emails to see what parents are thinking.

All it takes is one click on the "CLICK HERE to Email the new Superintendent, Ramona Tyson" link above the Recent Comments section on the right hand side of the DeKalb School Watch webpage.

Anonymous said...

FYI - www.dekalbparentsareunited.com has posted a VERY detailed summary of the meeting.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:59 pm

"Pay decreases are across the board and impact all staff. Twelve month employees will actually see a larger percentage pay cut (the 6.25 percent) because they work more days."

That's not true. Teachers are paid year round. The 6.5% cut is on annual salaries. The algebraic formula is 6.5% x X if X represents your annual salary. The equation doesn't change - just the number that X represents.

I think what you meant to say is that 12 month employees make more than teachers (who doesn't - even the Kitchen Mechanics and HVAC Mechanics - $43,111 to $58,665 - provided they have a high school diploma or a GED - please see latest PATS posting).

If I'm a Kitchen Mechanic and make $50,000 a year, I'll see a reduction of 6.25% or $3125 in my annual salary. So now I'll make $46,875.

If I'm a teacher and make $45,000 a year, I'll see a reduction of 6.25% or $2,812. So I'll now make $42,188.

Anonymous said...

I have been a teacher since 1989, the least 11 years with DeKalb County. I live in DeKalb and pay taxes in DeKalb. Although I dislike increases in taxes of any kind, I would rather experience an increase in my property taxes versus a decrease in my paycheck. The mathematical comparison is too easy. I have a hard enough time feeding my family of 5 (one income) while I look for a 2nd job. (I wouldn't mind the grayeyard shift @ Walmart if they would hire me - it seems that I'm over qualified) The absence of a step increase in pay for the past 2 years has essentially amounted to a (cost of living) pay cut, yet my employer, DCSS, is asking me to bite the bullet even harder this time through proposed plans to cut my pay by 5%.

I have heard all too often through my administration to just be thankful that I have a job. Well, I am thankful....I wake up every day and give thanks to God, but not to DCSS. .....America's Choice,eSIS, Academic "coaches",weak discipline policies, CRCT waivered students (students who fail the CRCT but are still passed on to the next grade)are just a few of my problems with the system that is embroiled in financial and ethical scandal.

While I realize that we're in a Global economic downturn, I would hope that the county would do more to KEEP TEACHERS and PARAPROFESSIONALS, LIFT MORALE, and IMPROVE EDUCATION without the EXTRA HEADACHES that seem to overshadow our primary objective.

Cerebration said...

And -- one more thing to remember -

Everyone - attend or tune in to Monday's meeting -

MON, MAR 8 @ 6PM, Board Business Meeting, Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center, Building A. Williamson Board Room, 3770 North Decatur Road

Dekalbparent said...

Oh, we could dream, couldn't we?

http://www.pe.com/localnews/rivcounty/stories/PE_News_Local_S_cuts02.392a346.html

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:06

I am a teacher and tax payer in DeKalb as well. I do not want my taxes to be raised for an increase in salaries. More money is not going to lift morale.

Teachers want to teach, and not be bogged down by systems and programs that do not work and take excessive amounts of time. Teachers want to have training, so that they can affectively help their students. Teachers want schools where bullying, weapons, and disruptive behavior are taking seriously, so that they can focus on teaching. Teachers want a top administrator who doesn't look shifty and is honest and makes the same sacrifices he asks the teachers to make.

We are very lucky to only have a 6.5% pay reduction. There are many places in our country where teachers and other workers are taking an even bigger hit or loosing their jobs.

I look at my students and know that there are several parents in my class who have been out of work for some time with no work leads in sight. How can I complain? I also see parents and families struggling because of their own reduction in hours and salary trying to pay rent and mortgages. Again, how can I complain?

We get paid very well and work hours that allow us to get a part time job if our salary does meet our needs. I realize that many of us put in more than our time at school for school, but as I tell my students-Life is not fair. Look at what you do have and be happy with it, as we're not going to change the salary situation for some time, and it may get worse before it gets better.

Increasing our taxes is not the answer. What happens next year or the year after, or even later this year, when the deficit could be even larger? What happens to our property values that are already sinking because of the many foreclosures in our county and the school system that appears to be floundering and in disrepair?

The economy is bad every where and we should be thanking our lucky stars that we have jobs and will probably not get laid off. Morale went down, when Crawford Lewis was given a raise, while asking us to take a pay decrease. Morale goes down, every time the school bully acts up and nothing is done, because the principal is afraid he'll loose his job. Morale goes down, each time esis isn't working and you know that you're going to have to spend your personal time once again getting grade inputted. Morale goes down, when the training you receive sucks and leaves you with more answers than questions, because the trainer received the training second and third hand. Morale goes down, when you're forced to teach to the stupid CRCT instead of give your students the top notch education that they deserve.

Yes, morale is down, but throwing money at the situation isn't going to solve the problem. Morale was down three years ago when I started in DeKalb, when teachers were receiving their step increases and cost of living adjustments. I really don't see that much difference, expect that teachers want a raise because Crawford Lewis asked and received one. Let's just be honest.

Anonymous said...

@anon 9:00

Respectfully, are you kidding?! You think teachers would feel better taking a 5k hit versus paying 150.00 more with taxes? After we have lost multiple years of salary, exponential losses in our retirement and now you think teachers would not want to just be able to keep the little money left... You think morale would not be affected in a positive way knowing that you don't have to jockey for a part-time job along with the rest of the 10% of unemployed Georgians. How can you use that as a rationale statement? Teachers have been taking it on the chin (and lower) and the perspective you bring seems more than a little draconian, disconnected and punitive. BTW I am a veteran teacher and second generation DeKalb county resident.

Dekalbparent said...

Both of the most recent posters have good points:

Anon 9:00 says that morale would be raised by

having safe schools where discipline is fair, swift and non-negotiable,

giving teachers the freedom to teach the curriculum without worrying about state tests,

providing training is relevant and succinct (no more wasting all day for 60 minutes' worth of usable material),

having a computerized gradebook that does what it is supposed to do, is easy to use, and works reliably,

having supportive administration in the school,

and
making sure the schools are in basically good physical shape.

The computerized gradebook issue and the school maintenance involve money. The other things don't (not sure about the testing point -it would involve a big philosophical change - substituting ITBS for CRCT, etc... or maybe just saying "we trust you to cover the material sufficiently to satisfy CRCT")

Anon 7:48's point about teachers taking hit after hit, while other DCSS employees don't seem to be is also legitimate, from where I see it. I really DON'T see anybody but the teachers getting hit so hard - if you make 45-50K a year and your retirement is not being funded, it's a much bigger sacrifice than if you are making 120K a year.

Teacher morale is absolutely essential - there are non-monetary ways DCSS can raise it, or at least keep it from sinking further (like taking a page from the Riverside administrators' book), but making d@mn sure they don't keep hitting teachers in the pocketbook would go a long way.

BOE, please start thinking about what it would take to run a good DCSS in lean times - for Pete's sake, ask the teachers - and then trim what isn't necessary.

(P.S. I read about a school system in Washington state that was facing big-time budget crunching. They set up a series of public forums, each 3 hours long, where citizens and school personnel would meet with individual BOE members to hash out their suggestions. Then the BOE met in to discuss the results of the meetings, then there was a public BOE meeting to walk through everything. Sounds labor-intensive, but boy is it transparent. They knew they had buy-in at all levels.)

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:48

We raise taxes and when things get worse next year, what is going to happen? Raising taxes is not the answer and is a short sighted solution. Spending wisely and cutting programs that are unnecessary and cost effective are better answers.

State employees across the state have taken bigger hits than we have so far. They are glad to have a job. We (teachers) need to suck it up and stop complaining about our salary. When teachers complain about their salary they turn the public that they are working for off. Doesn't DCSS have enough problems?

No, it's not fair that we haven't had a step increase or a cost of living increase as we've expected, but life is not fair.

Knowing ahead of time that this is going to happen and what the cap is, is a blessing. We can tighten our financial belts and prepare. Other state employees are not so lucky.

I realize that teachers work hard, but to simply raise the taxes so that the entire school system, not just teachers can keep their pay is such a short sighted solution, as foreclosures have hit the county hard, and people aren't buying houses of any sort right now. Having even higher taxes with a less than stellar school system gives a home buyer another reason not to buy their home in DeKalb.

If a teacher wants to complain, they should be complaining about not having the money put into the annuity plan this year, not about their take home pay.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:39

Agreed. Teachers had better not offend the tax payers since they are handing you salaries you little deserve.

While we are at it, let's ask all real teachers---the teachers who teach for the children, for the love of their craft to voluntarily take a 50% paycut and work for free on saturdays so Dekalb can graduate 99% of all students on time.

Since some people have been unemployed for almost 2 years, teachers, you have no right to complain. Your job is so easy anybody can do it.

Forget about retirement---the State will kill you with work instead.

Anonymous said...

@anon 6:04 - aren't you being a little hard on anon 5:39? i have to admit it unacceptable to stomach a tax increase when high dollar programs ( yes, magnets ) have not received the skeptical budgeting eye.

I would ten times rather have a tax increase to support teachers salaries' than to pay for luxury programs for other people's children.

But, when the BOE/Lewis are so self serving that they cater to this group of parents and do not have the guts to make the hard decisions - I will say no to a tax increase and no to splost iv.
I will rally against that as long as they are spending millions of dollars in specialty programs and millions of dollars in choice transportation for a priviledged few.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is clear----The Sovereign State of Georgia wants people (teachers, college professors..etc..) to work for free.

Indirectly, it is in fact, us, the citizens of Georgia through our elected legislature representing our electoral will, who EMPOWERED the ridiculous PPP (Pay for Performance Perdue) to ask that teachers work for free.

Dare we now presume the State of Georgia better than Waffle House and Walmart? WW & Walmart personify the enlightened corporations.

If Georgia does not have enough "money" to educate its students for 180 days, let it educate them well for 170 REGULAR days! Quit taking the citizens of fair Georgia for idiots!!

Anonymous said...

Instead of crushing teachers in 7 period high schools with 6 classes/day, cut the school year by 10% and everyone's salary by 10%.

There is no way your kid/my kid is going to receive 180 days worth of education in a class overflowing with 35-40 kids and a beat-down teacher.

Your kid/my kid is going to be better off with 170 days worth of education in a class at 25-30 and rested teacher.

Damn be the test score results---your kid/my kid will do fine with whatever score he/she gets.

Anonymous said...

anI'm a DeKalb educator. If my salary must decrease anyway - I'd at least like to have a day off. Furlough days are temporary, salary reductions are much longer lasting.

Cerebration said...

We posted an article about the concept of raising class size AND increasing teaching time to 6 out of 7 period days on the blog before - Back to the topic of the block

This is huge, really. I was given a chart that evaluates the savings for this move - Basically, the chart shows that at an average cost of $70,000 per teacher (this includes benefits), the cost of teaching 5 of 7 periods with a class size of 20 students is $8.3 million at Lakeside HS. Increasing class size to 25 and increasing instructional time to 6 or 7 periods would cost $5.5 million. A savings of about $3 million - in one school that houses 1700 kids. Sounds like a lot? It would be - in lost learning, lowered test scores and the loss of our best teachers.

This is not worth it. No way. Dr. Lewis was apparently heading down this rabbit trail when he "stepped aside" from his duties due to the DA's investigation. (Which now has us paying over a half million in salaries to two of our top people who are doing nothing at all.) My theory is that the board encouraged Lewis to step aside for the cuts - because the people will freak on him - after he fought and scratched to get himself a raise and other increases. The board knows that WITH Lewis, they will get NO buy-in. So - hasta lavista Lewis - and enter hatchet Tyson. (Once again, just my personal theory.)

Beyond this silly teaching 6/7 periods, the cost they are not going to address is the cost of the block schedule.

Teachers on the block only teach 3 of 4 periods - longer periods in fact. So teachers on the block are teaching HALF as many students per day (3x25=75) than 7 period teachers teaching 6 periods (6x25=150) - they are doing so with a longer break!

The total cost for these schools comes in at $116.6 million. Changing all of these schools to ALSO convert to teaching 6 of 7 periods and increasing class size from 20-25 would only cost $81.6 million. An additional savings of $35 million! (IMPORTANT TO NOTE: converting the block to a 7 period day teaching 5 of 7 would cost MORE.) (Again, there is the future loss in learning, etc...)

The total number of teaching jobs lost by making this high school conversion --- probably around 300.

Watch this folks. I would wage a huge bet that this will occur - or at least they'll try to float the idea - test the water.

Personally, unless and until the central office, etc is cut to the BONE, should we start hacking away at what occurs in the classroom.

Cerebration said...

I do have one cost savings that could possibly be a little better -- drop the extra credit DeKalb requires in Social Studies. (The state only requires 3 - DCSS requires 4). That way, we could go back to a 6 period day (teach 5 of 6?) and offer 24 chances to earn 23 credits. But then again, judging from the abysmal pass rates for a variety of classes at Lakeside (59% of freshman failed a class), that may hamper the graduation rate.

Anonymous said...

Cere,

You are beginnig to make sense.

All school go to 6 period day.

All teacher teach 5 classes.

School year is shortened by the same salary ratio of reduction.

5% salary reduction, 5% less teaching days...

I don't want my kids to think you get things for free in America!!

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a real reluctance to switching with one of the hold ups being (wait for it) textbooks. It seems to me that we could use our new lease to own process to really save on filling in the holes.

Anonymous said...

I think the BOE and Ms. Tyson are playing a game of "chicken".

If they squeeze our classrooms with our children hard enough, we'll cough up a tax increase instead of getting control of a school system that has less than 50% of its personnel teaching. I think a new BOE is in order. Remember 5 of them come up for election this November.

Meanwhile, keep those emails coming to them and to Ms. Tyson. Cut, cut and cut some more until we have more teachers than support and admin.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the chart analyzing the cost at Lakeside of a 7 period day with a class size of 20 students - I wish! My Lakeside child has more like 32 in a class. That is in some "advanced" and AP classes I know of; I suppose classes labeled "gifted" would be required to have a smaller size.

Regarding the statistic that 59% of Lakeside freshmen are failing a class, that is bad but also good in a way. People on this blog have testified to pressure on teachers not to fail students. Maybe Lakeside is a bit better than some other Dekalb schools because students are allowed to fail.

I see teachers who had the best of intentions at the beginning of the year and who struggle valiantly, but with large class sizes, ill-thought-out curricula and state requirements (example: GPS math), and unprepared students, it is almost impossible for them to do their jobs successfully.

Things can't get better without unimaginable radical changes at the federal, state, and local levels, and they are certainly going to get worse in this economy.

Anonymous said...

Cere quotes a figure of $70,000 average cost per teacher including benefits - where did this figure come from?

I calculated that the average cost per teacher at KMS is $79,227.50. This answers the question about whether the magnets have the more experienced teachers...

Anonymous said...

the school system uses a figure of 65,000 average salary and benefits.

I know of at least two retired teachers (so they had about 30 years in) who came back and are teaching at KMS. They must cost a fortune.

Cerebration said...

All of the information I posted in the above comments came from the principal's "State of Lakeside" packet that was handed out at the meeting. And yes, the number I've heard Lewis toss around is $65,000 cost per teacher. (This includes benefits.) For some reason, the chart in the Lakeside packet used $70,000 and a 20 student per class number. It's all relative. The main point is - the board is continuing to look at increasing class size, making teachers teach 6 of 7 periods per day (which is unfair in comparison to teachers who teach on the block) and reducing paras, media specialists and others who directly impact students.

I think this should be the VERY LAST of the go to solutions. There is much more that can be cut before we dig into classrooms. Cutting teachers, increasing class size, etc - is the easy way to cut costs. I'd like to see the board and the superintendent work a little harder to cut other places first.

One place is central office staff. Another is Fernbank. Another is school consolidations. (Too bad they didn't act on this back when they promised - last December.) Another is transportation - how about security (we seem to be much too "beefed up") and then - maintenance. (Outsourcing is a viable option for many services) As well as MIS (outsourcing - again.)

Anonymous said...

Something no one seems to be keeping in mind: many of these mechanical positions, HVAC, Kitchen Mechanics, MIS, Plumbers, Electricians, etc work 12 months/year, where as teachers work 10 months/year.

That is approximately 20% fewer working days for teachers. A truly fair assessment would be to increase a teacher's salary by 20% to see something comparable. Teachers have opportunities to work summer school, where 12 month employees have no such opportunities.

Also, please keep in mind that salaries need to be competitive to attract quality applicants. Whether or not THOSE applicants are hired is another story. However, these things seem to be overlooked on this blog quite frequently.

Anonymous said...

"these mechanical positions, HVAC, Kitchen Mechanics, MIS, Plumbers, Electricians, etc work 12 months/year, where as teachers work 10 months/year."

Contract it all out!!!

Kim Gokce said...

How ironic is it that we have lots of folks at central administration working hard to find budget money?

Joking aside, I think it is important that everything is "on the table" so that a fair assessment can be made by the leadership and, perhaps more importantly, DeKalb citizens. In my civic fantasy, we would have a few metrics that we would use as targets of impact.

Yes, I want a management performance scorecard ... why can't we ask for it to be used to make comparisons about budget decisions and ongoing performance of management in good times and bad? Wouldn't every citizen benefit from having this data available during these painful budget discussions?

For example, items like:

Teacher/Employee - the ratio of the total number teachers to the total number of employees. Guessing this one is floating around somewhere ...

Teacher Salary/Employee Salary - as above, in dollars.

Teacher/Student - everyone knows this one but I would like to see it system wide AND for each school. Isn't this already published???

Teacher Salary/Student - as above, in dollars system wide.

Admin/Teacher - again, I would like to see this system wide and for each school.

Admin Salary/Teacher - as above, in dollars. Ella and I took a crack at this in a rough analysis of the GA BoE data last year but this needs to be formalized/made accurate.

Annual Operating Expense per Student - system wide and for each school (implies op-ex/schoolhouse, too)

Capital Cost per Student - system wide and for each school (implies cap-ex/schoolhouse, too). Also, school property not in use goes to "School plant overhead" figure allocated to each school proportionally, don't you think?

Annual Transportation Expense/Student - system wide and for each school

Any other good ones you would like to see besides departmental ratios per student (police/student, etc)? How much of this data is available publicly already in a form we can produce/track these? For what is not readily available, how do we get it?

With a budget as big and complex as DCSS, this simpleton tax payer wants to look at 10-20 metrics and leave the details to DCSS. Aren't we the ultimate executive board for the system?

Show me some executive decision and performance data and let our paid leaders short through the details knowing we are managing THEM to these type of metrics!

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of areas to cut that would not directly affect classrooms and our students.

Start with eliminating expense accounts for central office personnel. Secretaries who make $70,000 per year (more than teachers with 20 years of experience)and have a $750 per month expense account should be first on the list.

With classroom teachers spending hundreds of dollars of their own money to make sure their classes have what is needed, why do employees who make more money need expense accounts? WASTE

Why order new hundreds of thousands of dollars on new reading books when the ones we have are just fine? WASTE

Why should anyone who makes over $100,000 a year need a gas card from the county? If you can't afford gas on that salary, your budgeting skills are seriously in question! Waste

Also, why do you need a company car - with a $100,000 grand, you should be able to afford a couple of hundyai's and still buy your own gas! Let's get serious, the BOE - Bored Of Excuses - has not taken one step in the last couple of years to seriously eliminate the obvious waste in our county. Teachers are tired of taking one for the team. Especially when the team at central office gets all the bonuses and we just get the excuses!