As you continue in your difficult endeavor to make the necessary, deep cuts to the school system budget, the online bloggers who converse and debate on the subject have gathered information and input we hope you will consider during deliberations.
We have over 2,400 "unique" visitors and several thousand page loads every day at the blog. Many of these readers and contributors do their own research and post what they learn. Here are some of our suggestions:
CUT CENTRAL OFFICE MORE! They have much more bloat to be eliminated.
If you look at the Georgia Open Records you will find many other areas that can be examined for cuts before cutting the people who work with the students directly at the local school.
562 employees at a cost of $28,800,437 in salaries and $228,868 in travel expenses.
Job titles for the above include:
79 BUSINESS SERV SECRETARY/CLERK
And CENTRAL SUPPORT/DATA CLERK
17 DEPUTY/ASSOC/ASSISTANT SUPT
46 GENERAL ADMIN SECRETARY/CLERK
48 GRADUATION SPECIALISTS
51 INFORMATION SERVICES CLERK
219 MISCELLANEOUS ACTIVITIES
(over $5.5 million)
42 OTHER INSTRUCTIONAL PROVIDER
20 PLANT OPERATIONS SEC/CLERK
93 STAFF DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST
(over $6.5 million)
26 SUPPORT SERV SECRETARY/CLERK
Eliminate DOLA completely. Use the State's online virtual school, it's better and the credits transfer seamlessly.
Magnets should be funded at the same level as other schools, following state guidelines.
Eliminate take home cars except for the superintendent and a couple of on-call security officers (who must live within a 15 minute response time).
Sell off closed property where possible. Do a complete audit of exactly what the system owns and then sell off the properties we simply do not foresee needing in the future. Heritage School is a great example. With only 18 classrooms and 40 parking spaces, it is far too small to serve as a viable school in the future and would make a great park for the neighborhood. The county has money for greenspace. District 2 has been severely under-served in parkland and need this property to be conserved as a park.
Put ALL high schools on the 7 period day. If you insist on making teachers teach 6 of 7 periods to full classes - do so for ALL high schools. And set a limit on the total number of students a teacher may have on his or her roster. (You could take it a step further and eliminate the extra credit required in Social Studies that is not required by the state for graduation. If you do this, you could consider going to a 6 period day or a modified schedule.)
Create a public/private partnership to run Fernbank Science Center. Put the Fernbank science teachers in the classroom where they are desperately needed. Let the private entity keep the scientists they choose and they can offer in-service training for all of our science teachers on an on-going basis.
Audit the security department and reduce it. DeKalb has far and away more security officers per student than any other metro system.
Gwinnett County Schools with 150,000 students to our 100,000 has 49 Security personnel for a cost of $2,500,000 in salary and benefits. This is an average of $51,000 per Security employee.
DCSS has 218 Security employees at a cost of $12,500,000 in salary and benefits. This is an average of $57,300 per Security employee.
Does anyone feel that their child would be less safe in Gwinnett schools?
Consider the long-term commitment required by retaining so many people in administrative positions, regardless of whether or not their salaries are paid with Title 1 funds;
I don't think any taxpayer begrudges retirement costs for the 7,000 (soon to be 6,600) teachers who instruct our children every day because we want to ensure stability for the students. However, DCSS is now in the situation where turnover among the non-teaching ranks is minimal while the turnover among teachers is phenomenal in DCSS.
Paying retirement costs at 9.25% for 8,800 non-teaching personnel (not to speak of the astronomical Health Care benefits) will eventually break the DeKalb School System. Many observers would argue it's already broken.
1. Cut admin and support personnel dramatically
2. Increase teaching personnel
3. Decrease the teacher turnover rate
Double-check the data you are using to make your decisions.
I do not trust the data the school board is using to make decisions. We need to demand an audit. First, we cannot trust that they have the number of students correct. Unbelievably, our board reps won't even believe their own enrollment numbers submitted to the state. They keep repeating the mantra - "we have 101,000 students" -- We do not.
The number reported to the state on the October 2009 Official FTE count for DeKalb was 97,958, however, the State website currently shows DeKalb with 96,907 students.
Check out these numbers yourselves - at the DOE Reporting Site and the DOE system description site.
By and large, the public you serve is very concerned that the vast majority of the cuts will be made to the classroom. Teachers and others who have direct contact with students have given up enough. It is time to dig deeper, get out the scalpel and make thoughtful, deliberate reductions that will serve to improve the delivery of education for the future.
and the DeKalb School Watch Team