Unbelievable. They don't get it. And they don't want to.
The school system actually has less students now than it did when Crawford Lewis took over as superintendent. So what happened under the Lewis administration? He hired over 1,000 more administrators and staff during his tenure. The Board of Ed looked the other way. Why not? Property tax revenue was flying in.
But the Lewis way is unsustainable. Over $20 million per year and 290 employees for the formerly Ramona Tyson-run, with no measure of effectiveness, MIS. Millions for large staffs at Human Resources, school police, the Central Office, etc. A large number of highly paid instructional supervisors and coaches, yet our teachers complain that they only recieve busy work from them, like how bulletin boards in their classrooms should look (?). More administrators making six figure salaries than ever before, more than any other school system in the state, yet the first cuts to be made are to the schools and teachers.
A property tax increase is not the solution. It addresses the symptons, not the disease. This is the opportunity for the BOE to "right the ship". To out the focus back on the class, the teacher, the school building. Not on $300,000 lights for televised meetings. Not hundreds of thousands to repace an already decent parking lot, at you guessed, the new Central Office HQ. Not for the weak $8,000,000 America's Choice curriculum, which makes teachers into autobots, and the AC company conveniently hired a high ranking DCSS administrator to grease the wheels for the purchase.
It has to end and end now.
More than four out of five households in the county do not have children in DCSS. Yet Board members, led by Gene Walker, want to increase property taxes instead of reconstituting the system. Long-time board members Sarah Copelin-Wood and Zepora Roberts, who has no problem with nepostism and cronyism, since its benefitted her, have no problem with having a thousand more administrators and staff than we do teaches. They would never consider a lean and mean administration. Nope, DCSS is a jobs program. it's disappointing to hear that Jim Redovian may favor a property tax increase, as he has stated before there is too much admin bloat in the system.
"Board member Jay Cunningham said he is undecided." Say NO, Jay Cunningham.
We all need to demand to the Board of Education that everything needs to change and change now. We will no longer accept the bloat, the waste, the departments that expand and expand yet don't serve teachers and students. Say NO to a property tax increase. treat the disease, not the symptoms.
To look up your own state legislator, follow this link.
Big surprises on possible DeKalb closure list, including Kittredge
DeKalb schools deficit nears $115 million; targeted school list released
As DeKalb County school district learned its projected deficit had soared to nearly $115 million, budget committee members weighed in Thursday on possible tax hikes and program cuts and agreed on sweeping staff cuts.
Meanwhile, the Citizen Task Force charged with selecting four DeKalb elementary schools to close in a cost-cutting move, released its short list of targets.
The school board is split down the middle about raising property taxes but has decided to save some popular programs and cut staff deemed “fat.”
Board members said new state funding cuts have increased their shortfall for the fiscal year 2011 budget from $88 million to $115 million.
That means cutting even more jobs and programs, or raising taxes, they said. But with a 22.98 mill tax rate, the school board has little wiggle room. The state legislature caps school tax rates at 25 mills.
“If we don’t cut, we’ll be right back here anyway,” board member Don McChesney said. “A millage increase is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.”
While the board expects figures to continue to fluctuate, Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson said, “To be really prepared and sustain the organization in the next fiscal year, we have to target ourselves somewhere between $115-$120 million.”
Those who said they do not want to raise taxes are McChesney, board chairman Tom Bowen and members H. Paul Womack and Pamela Speaks. Board members Eugene Walker, Zepora Roberts, Sarah Copelin-Wood and Jim Redovian said they are looking at raising the millage rate by amounts varying between half a mill and 2 mills. Board member Jay Cunningham said he is undecided.
While undecided on a tax hike, the board’s budget committee agreed Thursday to cut staff and keep some popular programs, including pre-kindergarten, magnets and Montessori.
Tyson said she reviewed proposals from parents and decided to maintain, but cut staff from, the magnet and Montessori programs.
For Adriana Gaffga, maintaining Montessori means she will keep her two children at Briar Vista Elementary School next year instead of putting them in private school.
“I came into the district just because of that program,” she said.
The budget committee also agreed to cut at least 427 jobs, including 200 paraprofessionals, 150 administrators, 59 media clerks and 18 technology specialists. The majority of the jobs were deemed “fat” in the budget, McChesney said.
Bowen said that in DeKalb —the state’s third largest district — staff growth has outpaced enrollment.
“My preference would be no tax increase this year and use the tough budget to make the reductions that are long overdue in terms of getting the organization to be most efficient,” he said.
A half-mill increase would add about $33 a year to property-tax bills for owners with homes valued at $200,000.
“If the economy ever improves, we can roll the millage back,” Walker said. “This constitutes in my mind that we can spread the pain across the county.”
The board is scheduled to vote on the budget next month.
One parent, Ronda Ward, said she is willing to pay more taxes if it means her son could stay at Meadowview Elementary, one of four schools being considered for closure to save about $2.35 million.
“If there is a half mill that can solve this situation or 2 mills that can solve this situation, I implore you to do it,” she told board members.
Task Force to consider school closings
The task force charged with recommending at least four elementary schools to close next school year has trimmed its list of possibilities.
Earlier this week, it eliminated 62 schools from consideration.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained the list of 21 schools still under consideration on Thursday.
The panel will consider these schools on Tuesday. A public meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
The recommendation is due next month to the school board, which will vote on the final closures.
Closing four schools will save about $2.35 million, officials said.
These are the schools being considered:
Ashford Park Elementary
Bob Mathis Elementary
Briar Vista Elementary
Flat Shoals Elementary
Gresham Park Elementary
Kelley Lake Elementary
Kittredge Magnet Elementary
Laurel Ridge Elementary
Rock Chapel Elementary
Sky Haven Elementary
Wadsworth Magnet Elementary