Friday, May 14, 2010

So, please share what you know about who has been let go...

A recent commenter made the following request - and I think it's a good idea. Apparently, the axes have begun to fall - and it is surprising just how many school-based employees are getting their pink slips. Please, if you feel comfortable, share with us who has been let go from your school and how that will effect education this fall. (Just share their job type and the effect it will have, no names, please.)

241 comments:

1 – 200 of 241   Newer›   Newest»
Fernbank Volunteer said...

One administrator and one teacher from Fernbank Science Center, laid off yesterday. Layoffs due to $$, not performance-based. FSC is part of Central Office, thus part of the "150 people cut". However, the teacher is a certified teacher, and the administrator was the head of the STT program who spent hours each work tutoring students to help them catch up in Science.

Mr. Moseley was the "Up in the Air" guy. For those who like the game Clue: "Mr M, in an office, with a rulebook".

Two fine educators, and the Board should be ashamed of itself for maintaining that teachers aren't being fired. It's a nice lie to hide behind, but it's students who will lose out with the loss of these two dedicated teachers.

Anonymous said...

We also lost a para educator. This man worked with our special education population. He is trained in that area and studying to be a teacher. The Area Superintendent just arrived at the school. Sat down with the principal and read a script. Then she left the principal to pick up the pieces of this man's life. Why are the cuts impacting the school so harshly? The staff is taking a salary cut and will be expected to do more work. That really makes for a positive and strong work environment.

Anonymous said...

Any lawyers out there who can file a restraining order to halt dismissal of any/all certified teachers or paras who have student/classroom contact and responsibilities?? If I knew how I'd do it and I don't think LegalZoom has restraining orders!

Anonymous said...

Given what is happening in Cobb and everywhere else in the US, legal action won't work.

I heard the entire PR department is gone from the photographer to the person at the top.

Anonymous said...

I do not know anything about how the support staff at our high school has fared. I know the CTSS is usually MIA and doesn't fix things, so probably that position is safe...

However, at the school, there are two teachers that I know have resigned, both of whom decided to go for lower or no pay (Peace Corps) for security and satisfaction. One is being replaced, but the other one is not - they plan to have two current teachers take on the classes. I guess this will be no prob with the increased class sizes.

Anonymous said...

OK, let's assume traditional "legal action" isn't won't work. From the history of writings in this blog, on the face, there appears to be plenty of evidence to suggest crimes have occured which IMHO, fall under RICO statutes. Further actions taken under the umbrella of a criminal enterprise can not be legal. Court steps in with "cease and desist (sp?) order and we let
special court appointed master begin to sort out the mess.

Anonymous said...

To Fernbank Volunteer:
Will the Fernbank teachers be given jobs in the classroom or were they completely dismissed from the county?

Anonymous said...

We lost three paraprofessionals at our school. These people really work hard and make a difference in children's lives. They were devastated.

Ella Smith said...

Nothing can be done as this is a work at will state. Teaching is not a secure job anymore. If you have two years of unsatifactory evaluations you get your pink slip. The problem is also that as a member of the public we do not know what a teacher's evaluation looks like. This is confidential information.

On another note I was interviewed a few minutes ago in my front yard regarding the Adam Stadium incident and my fight to make sure an investigation occurs. Watch Channel 2 tonight to catch up on the incident.

Cerebration said...

I must say, the people in this state need to really brace ourselves. I heard a state level person say that overall, schools will be dismissing up to 10,000 employees statewide. I'm not sure how this will improve the economy... don't you think these layoffs will just make things worse for next year? More foreclosures, less spending...less tax collection, more deficits. A vicious cycle, with no true plan for recovery.

Anonymous said...

I was at Dresden Elementary today. There are some teachers there upset because they are losing a really good para. Apparently, once they exhaust the N/I lit, they then go to last hired/first fired.

Ella: those eval forms don't tell you much. You get a C (Satisfactory) or an F (Needs Improvement), nothing much in the middle quantitatively, the rest is notes. My evals were always excellent, but at the end of the year, there was nothing higher than an "S" to circle on the form.

So I'm sure some mediocre, barely acceptable para survived this round, while this para at Dresden, who was spoken of highly, is out.

Fernbank Volunteer said...

Anonymous @ 8:56. They were dismissed from the County and not offered other jobs, unlike other teachers who were offered jobs. They did not receive a contract.

Ella Smith said...

This information from Georgia Department of Labor Partners with Page, Advocating to Assist Educator in this time of crisis came out this week. I thought I would share. The situation is hitting teachers hard all over the state.

Georgia Department of Labor Partners with PAGE, Education Advocates to Assist Educators and Families

ATLANTA (May 12, 2010) – State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond announced today that the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is partnering with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and other educators groups to launch a statewide effort to provide assistance to thousands of laid-off administrators, teachers and other public education personnel.

“The Georgia Department of Labor is proud to partner with the leading advocates for public education in our state to support and assist educators and staff who are being laid off,” said Thurmond. “We will work closely with the leaders of these organizations to disseminate information regarding unemployment insurance and our re-employment services.”

Dr. Allene Magill, PAGE executive director, added: "PAGE is very pleased to partner with the Georgia Department of Labor to provide information and resources to educators and their families who have been hit very hard by the current economic crisis. We are very appreciative of the leadership demonstrated by Commissioner Thurmond and his staff in working with us to provide this timely and important information to those who are losing their jobs."

The GDOL and partner organizations will host a series of employment transition workshops at locations across the state. Laid-off workers will be briefed on how to file for unemployment insurance benefits and the wide-range of support, re-employment, training and career transition services available at the state and local level. The locations, dates and times are listed below:

· The Atlanta Marriott Century Center, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

· Atlanta Airport Marriott, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

· Marietta Campus, Chattahoochee Technical College, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

· Macon State College, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

· Albany, Hilton Garden Inn, June 4-5 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

· Paulding Campus, Chattahoochee Technical College, June 11-12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

· Dalton, N.W. Georgia Trade and Convention Center, June 11-12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

· Savannah Hyatt Regency, June 19 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Plans are also underway to establish permanent transition centers strategically located across the state to offer a comprehensive array of employment related information, resources and services. The department and partner agencies will help with securing employment, retooling skills or going back to school. State and federal financial resources are available for education, training, job search and related expenses.

Visit the GDOL Website www.dol.state.ga.us for further information.

****

PAGE, the state's largest organization for professional educators, is a nonunion association of more than 78,000 teachers, administrators and support personnel members providing professional learning to enhance competence and confidence, build leadership and increase student achievement.

Ella Smith said...

Actually teachers and paras are begining to see big changes in evaluations. It is my understanding that Dr. Lewis was pushing administrators in Dekalb Schools hard to identify teachers who needed to make improvements. I have heard this many times.

I did not agree with Dr. Lewis on many things. However, I respected him for trying to make sure that good teachers were in the classroom.

Today teachers are being let go with one bad evaluation with 12-24 years of service that I know of at my school along. Things have changed. No one is safe from a pink slip. You make an administrator angry and it might be your year to get a pink slip. Teachers are scared of losing their jobs.

It is horrible that teachers are required to take a pay cut this year but even worse than taking a pay cut is to lose your job. Taking a pay cut is the worse of two evils.

Cerebration said...

The AJC is doing a story on this --

AJC wants to talk to non-renewed teachers today for news story

I’m Jeffry Scott, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter, who would like to talk to teachers today who are losing or have lost their jobs because of budget cuts backs at school systems across Metro Atlanta. I can be reached by email: jlscott@ajc.com. Or on my cell phone: 404-805-1332.


Send him an email tonight if you're interested in sharing...

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/05/14/ajc-wants-to-talk-to-non-renewed-teachers-today-for-news-story/

teachercreature said...

I was going to post something sarcastic about expensive chairs,lack of a pay raise,etc., but then I read this thread about the recent layoffs. I'm reminded of how blessed I am to have a job, no matter how flawed the system may be. Tonight I'll channel my frustration in another direction and say some prayers for those who lost their jobs. Whatever your own personal spirituality, send some positive thoughts towards those who were affected.

Anonymous said...

Can you spot the difference?? What makes this case any different than actions taken by DCSS Administrators?


Ex-contractor Pleads Guilty to Stealing
Updated: Friday, 14 May 2010, 9:09 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 14 May 2010, 9:09 PM EDT

ATLANTA (AP) - A former contractor with the Bureau of Prisons has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $15,000 of government funds to buy iPods, televisions, uniforms for her son’s baseball team and assorted electronics.

Michelle Dunmeyer pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of stealing federal funds. Prosecutors say the 46-year-old stole the money by using federal credit cards while she was working as a contract specialist between July 2005 and September 2006.

They say she also used a government card to pay for more than $6,000 worth of gasoline for her personal car.

Dunmeyer is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13 and could face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

Cerebration said...

They say she also used a government card to pay for more than $6,000 worth of gasoline for her personal car.

Now that sounds familiar... didn't she know to syphon it out?

Ella Smith said...

celeb, now thesyphon it out story must have truth to it. Otherwise who would make up a story like that.

Anonymous said...

Several people that were in the lay-offs in June of 2009 was told that they would try very hard to get them other jobs within the system. (not true) The one thing that i never understood is the people that were in the lay-offs all had large numbers of years with the system and the people who had just been employed kept there jobs. Also at the sam moss center pat pope was still hireing people with very large salaries.

I stopped trying to understand dekalb a long time ago. I feel very sorry for all the people that are losing there jobs. God will close doors but he will always open another one and i will pray for all of you.

Remember this don't trust anything that they tell you, they lie very well.

Anonymous said...

I think that there must be some openings again in October. DCSS has never allowed schools to plan for their incoming populations. Even at 36 (or 38) kids per class (middle and high school), they will need additional teachers once the October fte counts hit... they will have to come from somewhere.....

I cringe every time I think about how skewed the priorities are; how long it will take the kids to recover from this mess; and the need to take it to zero and rebuild. We desperately need a receiver--at least those who lost money with Madoff and other schemes like his have someone looking to get back the money that went into the wrong place.....

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Fernbank volunteer, for exposing the truth that despite what we are reading in the AJC, some teachers are being laid off - no placement in a school. Given the state of science education in our state, it is disgusting to me that DCSS would let even one excellent science teacher go, while preserving administrators in Central Office. These people do not care about education.

Anonymous said...

I do not know anything about how the support staff at our high school has fared. I know the CTSS is usually MIA and doesn't fix things, so probably that position is safe...

Meanwhile, worthwhile, hard working CTSSes got cut from large places that needed them.

Dekalbparent said...

Parents, if you know or hear of anyone who lost their job, let them know how much you appreciate them - even if you do not know them personally or never had occasion to work with them.

If layoffs are being smoke screened behind dicey evals, it is all the more important that we communicate our appreciation. These are bleak times.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if they did any lay-offs at the sam moss center and transporation?

Anonymous said...

Wonder how many relatives/family friends of BOE'ers and upper administrators were let go?

I'm guessing the Frances Edwards clan (David & Philandra Guillory and no show where in the heck are you Jamal Edwards) have nothing to worry about. Same goes for the relatives/friends of Zepora Roberts and Sarah Copelin-Wood.

Anonymous said...

You are very correct no friends and family will lose there jobs. I would money on that.

Jamal will show up when ever he wants to and no one will do anything.

Anonymous said...

Here is what I don't understand about the state of Paras in DeKalb. At the Board Budget committee meetings, there were repeated references to the fact that well over half of all regular ed paras in DeKalb are not earned positions from the state and therefore, no state dollars are received for those positions.

I believe the number of unearned paras was about 700. Where are these paras and how do these schools get them? At my child's school, we have often been just one or two students short of earning a Kindergarten para and the school system refuses to allocate one.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it,while everyone in public relations(?) department were let go ie bowen, rhame etc., Philandria Guillory was the only one able to keep her employment - she was moved to PDS24 (DCSS TV).

Anonymous said...

Guillory was already in PDS, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Opps. I meant to post that Guillory was already working for the TV station. (PDTV)

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03am

Yes, lots of sam moss employees were let go but not upper, upper management. Some middle management, some secretaries and at least 8 painters. The dust hasn't quite cleared yet to know who is leaving. It's sad. At this point it appears to be all lower positions.

Cerebration said...

Those are very poor management decisions—letting go of mostly lower level employees. It takes many more of them to make the budget cuts work. I wonder who will paint anything now.

The PR Dept fiasco (if true) is a travesty. It's blatant nepotism. I guess that was their motivation for contracting with a PR firm. $25,000 to replace in house staff - what a bargain. (We'll need to keep tabs on just how much they really end up spending on PR.) I suppose they left Dale Davis as spokesperson. He is going to be very, very busy here pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

No management positions were cut from MIS... only the workers

Anonymous said...

Philandrea reported to Julie Rhame but oversaw the TV station. It was actually run by the two lower level guys who reported to her. In addition to their regular duties,the rest of the PR department spent large amounts of time correcting Philandrea's many mistakes (particularly her spelling, grammar, etc.)

Philandrea was given a budget that she spent twice over by subcontracting to her family members. Again, their work had to be corrected.

Her boss and all her coworkers were given the ax this week, while she and her two workers were placed under MIS. Anyone in the PR department could have run that TV station and done it better and under budget.

EVERYONE in DCSS knows she is incompetent. There is no way that her mother did not factor in to this. Relatives of BOE are truly sacred cows. With about the same skills.

Anonymous said...

I am a para who was let go on Friday. My Area Superintendent, who was at my school Thursday, said nothing to me or my principal. I actually saw her and spoke to her. On Friday another Area Superintendent came to my school and read me a script and handed me a green folder and gave me a number to call for additional information. I was told that I could go home at that time. I did not leave. It was about ten o'clock in the morning and my students still needed me. I talked to a friend of mine at a high school in Stone Mountain. This person was also a para. She went through the same kind of experience. She works with special education students that have profound impairments. Just like me no promise was made that the DCSS would help us find other employment. Her principal also was not able to give any input in the decision about the staff members that he needed. Her school has had some real serious problems this year. She said that everyone is mad at the principal. It is not his fault. He was not included in the process. I came back later and talked to my principal. She was not aware that this would happen until the Area Superintendent walked into the building yesterday morning. The principals had no input in these decisions. It had nothing to do with our evaluations. My evaluations have been strong. My principal has helped me every way she could both on a professional and personal level.She helped me to apply to a program to assist me in getting my certification. Before I even asked her, she promised me to do anything she could to help me. Understand Dekalb has no respect for their principals or their staff.
I did hear about people being let go at Sam Moss. These are not high level people. I heard it was about 40. All of the painters were let go. It is hard to believe that all of the painters were the last people hired. The lady that helped me with certification at the County Office was also terminated. I am working on my certification to become a teacher, or at least that is what I thought that I wanted to become. While on this journey in Dekalb, I cannot tell you how hard the people in the schools work. Sometimes I drive by my school late or on the weekends, I am on my way home from college.
My principal is in the building all by herself. Our custodians work all kind of crazy hours trying to keep our very old school with the leaking roof looking good. I hope that WSB will request records. You will find that no high level secretary or staff member lost their jobs. We have a Deputy Cheif Superintendent, A Deputy Superintendent, Several Associate Superintendents, lots of Executive Directors and then they have coordinators to help them. All these people have personal clerical support. I would bet you my salary that none of these people loss their jobs. The police officer that has come to our school to arrest a student that was in possession of enough drugs to supply a small county, was terminated. The only female detective was terminated. These are not people making a great deal of money. So no Ella in the DCSS this was not based on evaluations.
The bus drivers at our school told me that their hours and pay had been cut.Do you realize how hard it is to drive a bus on the roads and highways of DeKalb?
My family does not work in DeKalb. I would imagine that no staff member related to a board member or a high ranking DCSS offical lost their job on yesterday or Thursday. I do not think that this was done in a fair way. All this time that was wasted on trying to keep someone in charge of the school system that should have left gracefully much earlier could have been used to plan on how to make cuts that would not hurt the schools and the students. The schools are being impacted by these cuts. There is no such thing as morale in the DCSS. These cuts will hurt students.

No Duh said...

Wow, I know I've knocked the PR inadequacies at DCSS, but getting rid of all of them is throwing the baby out with the bathwater...

I truly believe the inadequacies were the direct result of incompetent leaders (Lewis, etc.) who would not allow the PR people to do their jobs.

Just watched the two newsreports about the furniture and have to admit, Dale Davis is an embarassment. Did he get laid off?

So, now we have an interim superintendent who admittedly will say "no comment" to the media. And no PR staff to handle media -- and don't forget people -- INTERNAL communications.

Welcome to the "cone of silence."

Anonymous said...

I know we aren't suppose to mention names, but a brother in law of a second in command DCSS employee was recently hired as a roofer. Wonder if he lost his job?

My board member tells me that current board policy (which was conveniently forgotten in the retirement contribution fiasco) protects senior people. This board member promises me that the board will be changing this policy.

We will see.

If you live in S. DeKalb, can you elaborate on why Frances Edwards holds such power still, even after losing her position?

Anonymous said...

From what I hear, the good news is that Dale Davis is gone. The bad news is that P. Guillory is still there. The board wanted to keep PDS-TV (it's an election year folks and they must pander to the viewing audience of voters!). So since she's the "Director" of PDS, she and the other two PDS employees get to stay. The reality is, all the PDS personnel report to Rhame, who was really the one running PDS because PG's so incompetant....plus no one wants to work for her cause she's so difficult to work with. Tyson knows this yet was most likely being micromanged by the board (think Eugene Walker who is buds with Frances Edwards). Plus, Rhame is white - probably a big strike against her in some board members eyes.

I hear the PR people being let go are a photographer, a writer, the partners in ed person (who raises money for the schools) and Rhame. These are some of the most talented and hardest working folks in Central Office. And if they hadn't been moved aside by Lewis and were allowed to do their jobs (instead of DDavis), there would be no reason to hire a PR firm. All they needed to do was fire Davis and bring in a decent media person and allow Rhame to do her job from a strategic vantage point.

I'll bet that $25K for a PR firm is a bogus number cause there's no one on earth who would bid on a yearly contract for that amount of money. Smells fishy to me. The pricetage for a PR firm for a whole year is going to be well into the 6 figure range. Time will tell, so we'll have to wait and see.

No Duh said...

Also, to the folks just laid off and those who will hear their fate in the next few days....

Please remember, you have just been thrust into a grief process. Anger is a big part of that process, but it is only one stage. It will pass and you can then focus on the truth. Was it all that great working for DCSS? Were you really happy in your job, with your co-workers, with coming to work everyday?

I want to give you a "mantra" that got me through a couple of lay-offs myself. As I slipped into anger, I forced myself to repeat "This is happening FOR me, not TOO me."

I can't tell you how helpful that was in changing my attitude, mindset and engery level. It particularly helped when sitting in interviews for new jobs -- I was able to radiate excitement and willingness, and not anger and bitterness.

Please try it.

Thank you for your service to DCSS -- for caring for our children -- and for your integrity.

Anonymous said...

According to AJC, over 100 teachers were laid off. How can this be? We were assured over and over by BOE that cuts would be to administration and support. And it sounds like there was no input from principal as to who would be let go. People are really demoralized. I hope they can make it through one more week of school.

Cerebration said...

This is all very sad - and odd. I really have to wonder, was this planned for a long time, but perhaps Lewis just didn't have the guts to do it? Could it be that he recommended Tyson as hatchet-woman? She's the only one with corporate experience (this stuff goes on all the time in the business world.) Maybe, just maybe they said to him, "Make the cuts or go home" and he chose home... I wonder now.

The perception is that Lewis' departure is due to "criminal" investigations - but no charges have been filed against anyone - and it was November, 2008 when Lewis first investigated Pope. It was October, 2009 when the DA raided Pope, Vince Pope and Moody's offices. It was Feb 25, 2010 that the DA searched Lewis' home. The latest promise is a wrap-up in May. We'll see.

I blame much of our current financial troubles on our legal troubles - by way of distraction, suspicion and millions in legal fees. No one had their eye on the ball - educating our children and fixing up our crumbling, unhealthy schools. Now we have the fallout of this 18 month drama - and it's only hurting ordinary, hard-working people.

Cerebration said...

BTW - which budget is paying for the Heery-Mitchell legal fees? So far, we've heard numbers ranging fro $12 to $21 million. And they haven't seen the inside of a courtroom.

Anonymous said...

I was given a contract but will be reassigned due to a point loss at my school. I did not receive and have not received one word from anyone at HR or even my principal about this or where I will land. I was simply given a sheet of paper at a faculty meeting with my name highlighted. If I have a job fine, but this is just a tacky way to treat a teacher who has laid it on the line daily for the students. I never thought I'd be ready to change careers but I am. The custodial staff gets more respect than the educators.

Dan M. said...

Nice job, Ramona Tyson. Firing low level employees while allowing highly paid/overpaid upper level administrators to keep on digging us into budget holes. What's that phrase immortalized by John Bolton: "Kiss Up, Kick Down".

It's pretty darn telling that you did not cut the waste and bloat that you personally built up in the MIS Dept. Pretty darn telling that the 150 people let go from the Central Office really aren't any Central Office decision-makers, you know, the ones who purchased $2,000 chairs while some of our older schools crumble.

And it's shameful that relatives of BOE members were of course kept on no matter ther competence level (Where in the World is Jamal Edwards?).

Hoping the new superintendent, someone from far outside the system, will absolutely clear out almost all of the current upper level DCSS administrators.

Anonymous said...

please stop listening or believing anything the BOE says...true story...last January we were told we would be let go June 30 2009 and not to try and block any attempts of being reconsidered. All calls and emails to the BOE and CLewis were met with no replies. When communicating with the BOE by phone they all lied and said "we never voted for you all to be let go." Well we all know they all had a say and in those executive sessions they really don't care about people only what's in their best interest. The salaries they cut on June 30, 2009 were soon replaced with more than 40 to 200 new employees all in "B" building and at the service center. Those recently hired people still have their jobs and they have not made a year in DCSS. You have too many church members that are in positions of leadership that are hiring their fellow members, this is not right especially when you know they are barely out of high school and not qualified for the salary they are receiving.
There is no reason for custodians to be suffer layoffs. No one in DCSS will pick up a piece of paper off the floor or under their desk unless they are custodians...just a fact that I have witnessed in building B new "Mountain Industrial."
How can you justify cutting 40 people making under $26,000 where is the savings. They aren't in teacher's retirement. So who is the BOE and the Superintendent fooling....you leave folks making $80,000 and up running around doing nothing for 5 of the 8 hours they are at work. I have monitored what takes place in these heavy departments that claim to need all 100+ personnel when it only takes 10 or less. Gotta love the fiends and church member plan...and you all know who and what you have done and all i can say is shame on them for not balancing the scales and still screwing the taxpayers and most importantly the students.

Ella Smith said...

Ms. Tyson sent back the expensive chairs. In her defense this has not been posted and should be. The school board and the current school superintendent do not get the credit for the good things that they are doing.

I am sad by all the lay-offs. However, in the school board's defense cuts have to be made and when personnel is approximately 85% of the school system's budget cuts have to be made here. Due to the state of the economy I feel more cuts are probable coming down the road in the next year.

I spoke this morning to an impression candidate to take the Labor Commission's place. Due to his strong stand and support for education in this state and his willingness to push for ways to make sure our teachers' coming out of our institute are qualified to teach our children I may endorse him as a candidate. I was extremely impressed. I think as a state official he will support education and he made it clear he will not let politics or a party stand in his way of helping the people of this great state get jobs and he will do everything he can do to improve education in this state. He definitely has my vote on November 2nd.

Education our children should be one of the stop responsibilities as the state government of Georgia. Currently I am concerned about this as I do not believe it is. We spend so much time bashing the school board on this blog however, I do not believe the problem of teachers losing their job is the entire problem of the school board. The school board gets it money from the state.

The problem is the state government. Look at all the representatives who are not going back to represent this state. I heard about 1/3 of them are not going back. These guys also get paid just a little bid of money for what they do and the decisions they made are vital to our state.

We do need more teachers and less administration at the county office. We do need fewer Instructional Coaches, Lead Teachers of Special Education, and Intructional Supervisors and more Teachers' and Special Education Teachers with part-time positions as Instructional Support Specials and coaches. This would help a great deal. These individuals need to continue to be in the classroom. I think all administrators should be required to go back into the classroom and continue to teach a class occassionally so they do not forget what the purpose of the school system is which is to educate our children.

Teacher said...

Irony: fire the PR people, but then spend $25,000 for a new PR consultant, per Ms. Tyson's most recent statements last week.

Anonymous said...

Ella 11:19am....I agree that budget cuts must be made.....but where and who has done the evaluations to define where the most money from the budget is being spent. Truth be told everyone can see where the most money is going...salaries...but whose salaries are larger and who provides the most support for the schools....it our schools are consistently nont making AYP why are we paying all of these coordinators and instructional workers and Title I workers in administratie positions and salaries...and why is HR so heavy...they have more HR staff in DCSS than the state or local government of any large state (Texas and California) to name a few. Check the record and check the names....they have done it to us again....and darn it something should be done about this...I for one am fed up of sucking it up for the team when everyone else just skates by and gets paid for not performing. Calling all SACS members get in here we have a Clayton County BOE situation..imcompetence and they all must go....one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch.

Anonymous said...

Ella,

I am a special education classroom teacher at a high school in DeKalb. My Lead Teacher does come to assist in the classroom. She also does the transportation forms, eligibiltiy forms, discipline manifestation hearing, IEP's on new students and helps train the new teachers that have no course work or experience in special education that are teaching in great numbers at my school. I respect you, but you are not in the classroom in DeKalb. You maybe able to go on what someone reports but I live this experience.
I also do not fault Ms Tyson. She is trying to do a good job. I know that the state has been unfair to DeKalb as well as other metro counties.
We have been aware of the budget problems for some time. Before we got to this point, hard choices needed to be made. We didn't need an Executive Director of Fitness. We had Julie Rhame, who was experienced, why were we paying for a different person to be the DCSS spokes person. Much of his day was spent driving around with our former superintendent.
Why did we promote people to Exe. Director, at a time when the their was a crisis. Perhaps we should have delayed the implementation of certain programs.
Ella, I know that you are running for school board, but there were both bad and good choices that our school board made. The individuals in the school were not allowed to give input on critical matters impacting them.
This year at the "Pep Rally" that Dr. Lewis held with all teachers he was most concerned about the media finding out negative information about the school system.
He told teachers to e-mail him and call him. He said this so that they would not go to the media with problems. The superintendent says this and then expects a principal to be able to do the things that he has to do to make a school better.

Anonymous said...

The irony is that teachers and paras and others who directly impact instruction are being terminated so thAt we can spend MILLIONS driving kids all over this huge county so that they can attend magnets and stt. Parents of students who choose to do this should be required to provide the transportation.

Anonymous said...

My school will lose two paras. This may sound harsh, but the two involved honestly don't work very hard at all. They spend more time socializing than anything. It's honestly a good thing for the taxpayers with this specific case.

Anonymous said...

Searched board policies...no mention of anything in regards to seniors being protected except age discrimination which could be applicable to anyone...concern is that "lay offs" and "non school closures" are similar because neither one had a fair and equitable plan...Too protect a "senior" sitting and sleeping on a job making 6 figures while firing a para that works directly with children is ridiculous...county is too concerned about the "seniors" that have more money filing law suits and winning...it goes back to establishing an evaluation measure tha is connected with students...if you are doing your job and it has a direct impact on students...then stay...if not...goodbye...Well goodbye BOE because you are using the excuse that a board policy exists to protect seniors but then you ignore another one regarding TSAs...what a mess! People barely making it are the ones let go...other people sitting in plush expensive chairs get to stay...go figure!

Dekalbparent said...

Ella - Thank you for posting that the $2000 chairs were sent back. I agree that we need to be evenhanded in our discussions and not promote untruths. I wonder where the replacements came from and what they cost. Also were the $1400 chairs also sent back?

I also agree that our troubles are partly due to what the state has done, but they have been made much worse by what has gone on at the county level and the BOE's lack of questioning of DCSS decisions.

Anonymous said...

Ella -

Is it true that you are running for a DeKalb County Board of Education seat? I must have missed that announcement.

Representing which district?

What is your platform and what are your specific, detailed, quantifiable goals?

Who are your supporters and who is funding your campaign?

Where do you currently teach? When and where will you post your resume?

Based on what we are currently experiencing with DCSS and the BOE, transparency and full disclosure are essential. Please respond.

Anonymous said...

All --

Let's make a list of short-term (School Year 2010-2011) assistance we can provide to the remaining teachers and staff in our schools to help them get through the remainder of this school year and the upcoming school year. I will start:
(1) Pledge one day of vacation/ personal leave from your jobs to "man" the stations for the upcoming August 2010 Registration Day. This will enable teachers to have a full-day of pre-school preparation in their classrooms. This will also require a Saturday morning in late July for training.

(2) Develop and implement a volunteer "Parent Aide" for each teacher in your school -- elementary, middle, or high. The Parent Aide will be each teacher's "go-to" person to recruit other reliable parents of students in each teacher's class(es) to provide necessary assistance such as assembling and copying handouts, assembling instructional PowerPoint presentations per teacher directions, creating bulletin boards, etc. The whole purpose is to take on as much non-instructional work work as possible on a volunteer basis to enable teachers to focus on instruction and still have a life outside of school hours.

Cere -- if you think this is a good idea, please start a page where ideas for helping teachers could be listed for everyone's perusal and consideration.

Anonymous said...

The gifted coordinator's position has been dissolved. So have several subject area coordinators' positions. The people in these positions that I have worked with work so hard, doing multiple tasks like managing textbook selections, coordinating paperwork required by the state and federal government, and managing all the bureaucratic mess they are given by all those above them. (Each piece of paper generated by us for our coordinators was required by someone above them. We often joke that they create the paperwork to justify their jobs.)

The instructional coaches, however, are still with us. My experience is that some of them are helpful, but most of them take advantage of the freedom this position offers and don't work very hard.

I am a long time Dekalb teacher and have seen the increase of top down management do nothing to help us in the classroom. The one move that has had the biggest impact has been when they lowered class sizes.

Anonymous said...

Ella or anyone else who can clarify,

Why should we celebrate the superintendent's decision to return over-priced furniture only when the gross mispenditure is revealed? You agree that there needs to be cost reduction, yet you don't look to the real waste. Why, for example, does Dekalb County spend any money on its own news channel/services when our high school students could be applying what they're learning? Not only would we be fulfilling the real "business of education," but also reducing the budget.

I,too, am a longstanding teacher in Dekalb, but I have no respect for a board that spends 40-50% of its meetings discussing their rights and a board that thinks that raising citizens' taxes would be the solution. Even though I've made less money for the past four years, I cannot support a situation that would result in continued mismanagement of money.

Can you explain why wee need so many out of school personnel, and why so many "school-based" employees are not even teachers working in the classroom? If Ramona Tyson is so transparent, why will she tell us only what % of the budget is spent on salaries and benefits instead of telling us what % of the budge is spent on the salaries and benefits of people who students actually deal with and know?

Is anyone going to contact 11alive or the AJC to see if they can start finding out which positions were axed?

Teacher said...

Information about who got fired should be available, in the same way that information about people's salaries was available a few months ago. Parents, you should demand that information--obviously, we teachers can't and won't, for fear of job action.

Anonymous @ 11:35 makes a very important point. Sitting outside the "schoolhouse", it's easy to think that anyone not in the classroom is wasting money, but that's like saying that anyone not standing at the stove hasn't contributed to the meal that's produced (to use an analogy). Without someone to research the best prices at the grocery store, take time to go out and get it, survey what the family likes to eat and how best to serve it--let alone, to pay the rent for wherever the family lives and the fuel for that stove--even the best cook in the world won't succeed.

Similarly, classrooms need well-chosen textbooks, IT that works, teachers who are trained effectively to use it, safe and useful materials, a discipline plan that works, and, yes, lead teachers to shepherd students through the IEP process. There are thousands of students in DCSS whose only academic, counseling, and even studying resources are what the school offers, and some of the "non-school-based" positions were for them.

And, farther up, teachers need benefits coordinators, HR people who look out for them, and maybe even someone who gathers data on the school system to help it improve itself.

A lot goes into making a school system good, and much of this effort should be devoted to activities that support instruction. Who knows best which activities these are? I'd argue: teachers, and teachers alone. Listen to what teachers say they need, and you'll be a long way to getting rid of the real chaff in this particular wheatfield. But don't reflexively object to any position that isn't "directly" related to teaching--it takes a village to educate a child, but everyone in that village doesn't need to be a teacher. They just need to be empowered to use their skills toward a common goal--preparing young people to succeed in life.

Anonymous said...

Someone said early that the board is only doing what they have to do. Ok then do it fairly and make sure that if a friends and family should be in the lay-offs then treat them as they do everyone else. It is very sicking to watch someone like jamal edwards keep his job who does nothing and someone who works there but off lose there job. Don't take up for this board because they sit on there fat buts up there and let all this happen. Why? because they want to make sure none of there families are hurt. That whole crew needs to be gone. I know of many, many family members that should be gone and i can asure none of them will be touch. When they did the lay-offs in 2009 lewis friend from his college days that had only been with the system about 18 months and she kept her job. The lady did not even know how to do a e-mail. So please, please don't take up for that board it makes my blood boil.

Another thing until you walk in the shoes of these people you can not understand what it does to someone who is loseing there job and some made up positions for friends and family keep there jobs. Let me stop because i am just sick of people who take up for that board. They lie, lie, lie.

Anonymous said...

Ella,
Proof the expensive chairs were returned?
Is there a press release or newspaper article that I missed?
Thanks,
Anon teacher

Anonymous said...

Chairs returned for spendable dollars or credit on overpriced supplies??

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1:02--I am so happy to see some solutions! I agree with previous posters on other threads that one of the benefits of this blog is the space it give folks to vent about frustrations. BUT, I am THRILLED to see some pro-active ideas rather than just complaints.

I love the idea of parents chipping in to help out...I'll definitely be working this idea at my children's school! Any suggestions as to where folks can meet who want to help in the fall?

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 9:55 am
"This is all very sad - and odd. I really have to wonder, was this planned for a long time, but perhaps Lewis just didn't have the guts to do it? Could it be that he recommended Tyson as hatchet-woman? She's the only one with corporate experience (this stuff goes on all the time in the business world.) Maybe, just maybe they said to him, "Make the cuts or go home" and he chose home... I wonder now.
"

I wish these people were as smart as you seem to imply. Maybe we wouldn't be in such bad shape. Dr. Lewis just got caught up in hubris - plain and simple.

And Ms. Tyson in no "corporate powerbroker". She was a 25 year old DCSS business ed teacher who became an educational consultant for IBM - a support/marketing position - no revenue or expense or managerial responsibilities. She and another teacher were on an "exchange program" that IBM formed when IBM was losing DCSS bids to Apple. IBM was positioning itself to be DCSS's sole vendor and the exchange program was just one of many positioning actions they took at that time. Their effort were pretty successful too (IBM was awesome in their politics - I went up against them at AT&T during that time period). DCSS has been a solid IBM shop since the around the early 1990s. MIS won't even let Apples connect to the DCSS network.

I don't think Ms. Tyson is a "hatchet-woman". She made cuts based on politics (who's politically connected, who knows who, who is in and who is out, etc.). Ms. Tyson is above all extremely political. This is a great talent. It's more powerful in school systems that in corporate because at some point profit has to be a factor in a corporation.

If you ask Ms. Tyson, she will have a perfectly logical "data driven" formula she was using, but everyone knows real data did not drive these cuts.

As you pointed out, the lower level people were let go, and in particular school based personnel. School based personnel are not in the upper echelon "relationship circle" (if so they would not be working in the schoolhouse) so of course they're mainly the ones let go. That's logical to the people who run DCSS.

Why would anyone think Ms. Tyson would let high level managers go? These are her colleagues and friends. These top level people really like Ms. Tyson and actively helped her get her job as Associate Superintendent of MIS and then Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations. How did you think she got there? Crawford Lewis got his job as superintendent based on relationships and discontent with Brown in the Central Office. They formed an alliance with BOE members as they literally staged a coup against Brown.

Lewis and hired and promoted based on relationships. Why do you think he overlooked the Ernst and Young audit? It's like a family in the Central Office. The people you see let go are not "family members".

Look at the memo Dr. Lewis sent out to "All DeKalb Employees" when the Atherton principal and Assistant Principal confessed to changing students' answers on the CRCT:
"DeKalb County School System is a family, and during difficult times family should come together. As a family, I am asking the entire system to reach out to Dr. Berry and Mrs. Alexander and show your support. An e-mail, card or phone call will go a long way towards showing Dr. Berry and Mrs. Alexander that we still care about them. "

In DCSS's administration, it's always and only about relationships. The solidarity among top level managers is monolithic. The only way top level managers and the family and friends of of current and former top level managers and BOE members will ever be cut is if we have a new BOE and a new superintendent totally beholden to no one. Otherwise, they have "jobs for life" and their friends and family members have "jobs for life". You parents will come and go. They will outlast you.

Cerebration said...

Nail on the head comment posted earlier:

The irony is that teachers and paras and others who directly impact instruction are being terminated so thAt we can spend MILLIONS driving kids all over this huge county so that they can attend magnets and stt.

Jay Cunningham fought for this - as did Zepora and Sarah. This ADDED at least $2 million in cost back into the budget. I would say probably more, as to eliminate this transportation to magnets would have saved $4 million - but keeping it - even with half the number of "hubs" will not cost half - $2 million. Don't you think? It makes sense that it would cost $2-3 million to keep those buses moving. $2-3 million would have saved a lot of jobs in the classrooms! $2 million = 80 people making $25,000 - and those are the folks who were cut - in order to transport a few hundred kids around the county.

Remember that at the polls - JAY, SARAH AND ZEPORA voted for busing instead of jobs.

Cerebration said...

Good idea on the help topic - we'll get one going next week... teachers, please notice as you finish up this week - what can parents do to help in August?

Cerebration said...

Anon, 3:33 PM, you make me cry - mainly because I know in my heart you are right. Wah!

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight!!!! Mrs. Alexander did not confess to anything, which is why her criminal charges were dropped. Dr. Berry confessed and was charged as a result. Dr. Lewis only sent out that memo to cover his own butt for what really happened in that investigation. You all just couldn't see through the smoke screen because all of you have always believed everything or every word that has come out of that man's mouth.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:30 pm

"I am a long time Dekalb teacher and have seen the increase of top down management do nothing to help us in the classroom. The one move that has had the biggest impact has been when they lowered class sizes."


Barnes lowered class sizes and took no excuses from superintendents and BOE members. That was the only thing had ever that the effect of forcing DCSS to cut in the admin and support end. When Perdue came in, he immediately raised class sizes and it went back to business as usual.

Cerebration said...

I do agree - the state COULD force DCSS to spend money more wisely by implementing laws like - maximum class sizes (smaller) and percentage of operating budget spent directly in the classroom. Other than that, GA Open Records should make school systems publish how much they are spending on attorneys and to whom.

Notice -- David Schutten of ODE just gave out an AWARD to Ron Ramsey for Best GA Delegate for schools! I ask - exactly WHAT has Ramsey done for schools in the legislature?

State Sen. Ronald Ramsey (D-Lithonia) was recently named Legislator of the Year by the Organization of DeKalb Educators (ODE) because of his commitment to public education in Georgia.

“I am honored and humbled by this award from the Organization of DeKalb Educators,” said Ramsey. “It is of utmost importance to protect our educators. They work diligently to ensure our children receive a quality education. In turn, we must work to ensure they receive fair treatment in the General Assembly.”

“We appreciate Sen. Ramsey and all his work for educators,” said David Schutten, President of ODE. “We look forward to continuing to work with the senator to further promote public education in Georgia.”


David Schutten is also serving on eduKALB.

http://senatepress.net/sen-ramsey-named-legislator-of-the-year-by-organization-of-dekalb-educators.html

Anonymous said...

The problem with croynism and nepotism is that you go down slippery slopes together as you climb the "management" ladder. That links you in a way that makes it very difficult to ever make fair decisions when it comes to demoting or letting someone go. You're pretty much beholden to each other at that point. Is this too obtuse?

Anonymous said...

Gotta love it. Teachers taking back control of the classroom. Teachers having right to teach withouth having to deal with students not respecting other's right to learn!!

Maybe it wasn't done as tactfully as it could but good for her telling it like it is and how it should be!


Posted: 11:36 am EDT May 15, 2010
Updated: 2:34 pm EDT May 15, 2010

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- A metro Atlanta family is outraged after receiving what they call a threatening voice mail message from their child’s teacher.

Shankysha Harper sat down exclusively with Channel 2 Action News reporter Eric Philips and played the recorded message.

Harper said the message was left by her 12-year-old son’s teacher at Miller Grove Middle School in DeKalb County.

“His attitude is unacceptable … and I will not have him in my classroom for the rest of this year,” the message said.

The message went on to say: “I did tell him if he opens his mouth I will knock the hell out of him.”

The DeKalb County School System has launched an investigation.

“The teacher saying his behavior was unacceptable … her voice mail was unacceptable,” said Harper.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Got A Story Idea? E-mail Reporter Eric Philips At eric.philips@wsbtv.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


School officials said the teacher, identified as Tocarra Smith, resigned the day after leaving the voice mail.

Harper is seeking legal advice on what to do next.

“She laughed after she said it … so you know, it’s like she didn’t care, so why should I care about the actions towards her. That’s my child,” said Harper.

School officials said when they complete their investigation, they'll send the results to Georgia's Professional Standards Commission -- the state agency that governs teacher licenses.

Anonymous said...

Business 101, The number one controllable expense in any business is payroll. Start at the top and work down. This allows for fewer casualties. Dekalb needs to chase out the waste.

Anonymous said...

Well, we have to start with electing a new BOE in the fall. They have set the tone for everything. If they had any shame, every one of them should resign and save us the trouble.

Anonymous said...

I believe the reason why none of the present BOE members will resign is because as long as they stay on the board, they are protected by a directors and officers (D&O) insurance policy -- a form of insurance that protects board members against financial liability & damage resulting from lawsuits related to their conduct and fiduciary decisions as board members. This is also the reason why they will fight like the devil to get re-elected. It is no longer about the students -- and it has not been about students for a very long time.

It would be interesting to know if such a policy also exists for DCSS management -- and how far down into management it goes. I would guess there was such a policy covering CLew-less. Is it still in force now that he has been dismissed?

What about Pat Pope? A D&O policy for her? She should be promptly fired and indicted for gross mismanagement of federal and state funds. DCSS is not protecting itself by keeping her on payroll.

Plus, now that Pat Pope's marriage to Tony Pope has been annulled because she "forgot" about her first one, Tony Pope can testify against her. I'll bet he will, too, if offered a plea bargain to save his own skin.

Anonymous said...

I'm nervous about this eduKalb group from the Chamber of Commerce. A lot of these folks are Vernon Jones supporters and are big government folks. They want to ride up to the money trough like the rest.

Folks, to take our schools back it has to be grass roots local levels.. Folks that live in the neighborhoods, have kids in the system etc..

Do not trust anyone giving people awards for nothing! Especially when one works at DCSS and the other wants to be elected to the BOE.

I grease your hand you grease mine! Folks, we must clean everyone out! Top to bottom, how can we trust anyone if the same folks stay on? Moseley IS the problem, along with the other CLew lackeys.

Time for TOTAL change at the DCSS! We cannot wait we must move now for the kids!

Anonymous said...

Salary and benefits for Lynn Cherry Grant's family members.

One of Lynn Cherry Grant's relatives.
2004: $43,750 (School Secretary)
2009: $81,000 (MIS)

Another Lynn Cherry Grant relative:
2004: $51,011 (Plant Operations Sec/Clerk)
2009: $71,250 (Security Officer)

All these BOE members' relatives (I really should put together a list) and NOT ONE have I ever found that actually teaches any children. Do you think the BOE say to their relatives - Don't go into teaching - the real money is outside the classroom. Obviously it is.

Anonymous said...

Actually, not laying Dale Davis off may not be so bad. He makes Tyson and the BOE look so bad. If he is the representative for DCSS maybe he will help be an agent for change.

Anonymous said...

What's the percent that come out for BOE elections - 20%. So getting out the vote is the whole key.

Anonymous said...

This year there were several positions created in upper level managment: Executive Directors of: Plant Services, MIS and a newly created Executive Director of Wellness; there were two higher level Deputy Superintendents; there was a transportation director of special projects, which pays about 107,000 dollars a year, then of course Ms Pope was moved to a position to work on special projects.We sure have a lot of special projects in this county.
Going back a few years the Department of Public Safety was split and there became a security department that was given a director. This director was given an assistant director. There is only one man that actually come to the school to work on the cameras and last year they did away with the assistant director in that department. The person who was the coordinator of the two Psycho-Ed centers was promoted to the director of the two psycho-ed centers. We went from having Directors and Executive Directors of HR and Finance and Plant services to CFO's and CEO's which raised salaries to over 165,000. Year by year these changes cost the DCSS money and now it has cost paras in the schools, and secretaries and work man their jobs. The Central Office layoffs were not people in high levels. They were every day people probably making well under 40,000 dollars a year. A para at the top of the scale would never reach that amount no matter how good they were.
Parents these cuts will impact the school. Look at the comments from 8:15 and 8:56 last night. There may have been some individuals that were not doing their job, but some very excellent people also lost their jobs.Look at the comment from this morning, of the para who lost his job on yesterday. Cere, the local problems that added to the state problems were in place during the administration of Dr. Lewis. He was in charge when the positions I described were created. There is a week left in school. We were read a letter yesterday by our principal stating that the cuts were over for now, but that there may have to be additional cuts based on economic circumstances. Please encourage the school system to follow the path of the county and offer an early buy out to both school based individuals and county level people. If you did, there would be no one left. People have been hurt too much this year. I am a teacher. Please remember that we are human. Yes, we make mistakes but the individuals at the school be they teacher, administrator or custodian are held to a higher standard than those over us. Anyone can come to the school and tell us what we are doing wrong, but they offer no real support. If changes are not made, we are going to lose a lot of good and caring people.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

No reason to get nervous about eduKALB until they endorse a slate of candidates for BOE. When that time comes, I hope all who read this blog will be a voice in "getting out the vote" for whomever we individually choose to support AS LONG AS IT'S NOT THE CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS!!

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

......oh yeah, I forgot.

Will someone please please please find a viable candidate to promote, support, and elect as a replacement for Zepora Roberts !!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:01, I don't support what the teacher said, but I totally understand why she said it.....she probably has had NO support, parental or administrative, in dealing with this rude child. There is very little that a teacher can do to discipline a child. And nobody knows this better than the child. The public has no idea the abuse that teachers are required to put up with from parents and children. The Deartment of Staff Development has a specialist in what DCSS calls "Customer Service." Refer the poor teacher to them. BTW, Customer Service in DCSS means "no complaints", even if a parent gets mad simply because you are doing your job.

Anonymous said...

BOE members are paid and receive a small expense account. Do they receive heath insurance or any other benefits? Is the BOE the sole source of their income or do they have other jobs?

Anonymous said...

If ZR isn't on the BOE, what will happn to her daughter?

Anonymous said...

@6:09 -- BOE members can participate in the DCSS health insurance plan. If they elect to they pay premiums just like other DCSS employees. It's up to a BOE member if this is their only job.

Ella Smith said...

First of all the last school board race was during a presidential election and we had a big turn out. However, individual like myself who had I believe about 41% of the vote to 27% and 28% of the other two guys went into a runoff and people do not come back out for a runoff. I have always believe that individuals who are retired do better in run-off elections as to the definitely make-up of individuals who vote for run-offs is very different.

However, the school board elections are now during the Presidential and Governors' elections. The turn out is good. There just are too many people normally running and when you get into a run-off anything can happen.

I am running for district 9 school board if I do not change my mind from now until the end of June. One of the first people I told was Dr. Walker a few month ago of my intention. He was extremely kind. Of course Celeb has also know since the 2008 election I have been playing with the idea. However, the behavior of the school board lately let me to believe changes do need to be made. There are too many politics and too many racial issues.

The school board should not be trying to teach history lessons of horrible instances in our past from the seats of the school board. Horrible things have happen. However, dwelling on them does not help the teachers, students or citizens of Dekalb. This is not why we elected our school board members to office.

I was a special education teacher in Dekalb for probable 12 or 13 years. I had older children who qualified for disabled services in the past who have been served throught the special education department of Dekalb.

I am not indicating that Special Education Lead Teachers are not used. I am indicating that if we spent the extra money we are spending on Lead Teachers of Special Education as Administrators to spend part of their time in the classroom and do the same job at a school we might be saving money and we might have a few more special education teachers in the classroom or a few more paras to serve the students.

I have taught in Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett and in Gwinnett the Special Education Teachers do all the paperwork that the Lead Teacher of Special Education does and they teach full time. The special education teachers may have a little more support with paras for the special education students in class. The point is that we need to try to be putting as much administration costs back into the classroom and spend as little as possible on individuals who just push papers all day. We need to look at the papers being pushed and see if these could be condensed to save all the money being spent here.

I am not opposed to Lead Teachers of Special Education. I am just not so sure that we need as many as we currently have. I would perfer to see more special education teachers and paras like the Gwinnett County School System has.

I would like to see more accountabilty for money spent and student achievement, more transparancy in doing business of the school board, more effective equipment for teachers and school safety is a very important to me.

I would like to see the county commission and school board work together like was the intent when our CEO took office and one of the items he ran before on.

I would like a lean and affective county office.

Anonymous said...

I work in a DCSS elementary school and we lost two paraprofessionals that work with profoundly handicapped children. They were kind, patient, hardworking and loving teachers who just happened to be hired later in the year. This, while two other paras in the school still have jobs when one rarely shows for a whole week of work and the other has made an art form out of incompetency. I don't get the feeling that anything other than hire date was used for letting go of the 100 para positions. I feel confident that my principal would have chosen differently if given the chance. Yet he will be held accountable for the success of the school. The decisions the board made will involve cutting classroom teachers/paras and it will impact students. Elections can't come soon enough!

Anonymous said...

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/23566064/detail.html

How many stories will DCSS have in the local media (granted, almost of all very deserved)?

Teaching at a DCSS High Schol said...

With all due respect to teachers of special education students:

I do not believe that special education programs serve the needs of students with disabilities in Dekalb County High Schools.

I teach high school math. My departmental colleagues all voice the same opinion: Resource teachers do not know math. Hence, they are of very little assistance to the teacher they are TEAMed with in the math class. The resource teacher is supposedly able to assist all students in the class providing special education expertise to specifically address the needs of those few students (max. 7 per class) that are on their roll. Inevitably, the resource teacher ends up "learning" the math concepts (if they choose to) just as the kids are learning them. Often, the resource teacher comes to class late, does not get a substitute teacher when they are absent, schedules meetings & conferences during class time, does their own personal work during class (like writing term papers for advanced degree programs) and serves as a highly paid paraprofessional-grading papers and checking roll without having to do nearly as much work as the content teacher.
Some resource teachers even have nerve to complain about their work load (20 students total per semester on block schedule) when they have to work on "all those IEP's"

However, I am sure that DCSS is not really interested in this assertion.

Does anyone else share the same experience or viewpoint?

Anonymous said...

The Collaborative Model was adopted because it saves the system money. More students can can be served with fewer teachers..And we cann sell it to the parents because "their kids are in regular ed."

Anonymous said...

Layoffs went as follows, your principal was required to be present. One of the Area Executive Directors came. Sat in a chair read you a script and told you that you could go home. They handed you a folder and told you to call this lady at the Central Office for questions. You were told your last day was the 24th. That gave you about one week to make plans and say your good byes. There must have been a better way to do this. I was informed in the morning. I was working with students and a teacher on some testing that needed to be completed. It would have been unfair to them to leave. I know that things are bad every where. In DeKalb you have to wonder how many of our layoffs were due to bad decisions. At my school five paras have resigned. I still have to be let go. Then if those jobs are not filled. I can apply. There are many people leaving the DeKalb County School System. Staff has been treated in such a poor way that it will take a long time for it to heal. As I left the office, I had to step around the leaking ceiling tiles, not stop at the water fountain that has brown water so that I could go down stairs back to my classroom that has not had any air conditioning. I had to try and compose myself to remind my students during recess to stay away from the fire ant mounds that have not been sprayed. There have been work orders put in for all of these things. I can take satisfaction in knowing that the new office on Mountain Industrial has nice new furniture.

Anonymous said...

This "TEAM" collaborative concept sounds much like the way LeBron James is TEAMED with the rest of the Cavaliers.

In the end, high expectations are left unmet. We lose , go home home for the summer, try again next year, and after a few years of futility we come to a crossroads of whether to explore the free agency market and move on or stay where we are hoping against hope that it's going to better next year.

......The grass is always greener on the other side of the county line. .....or maybe they just use better fertilizer.

Anonymous said...

RE-POST:

PARENT-ADE*
*not misspelled -- a play on words!

Let's make a list of short-term (School Year 2010-2011) assistance we can provide to the remaining teachers and staff in our schools to help them get through the remainder of this school year and the upcoming school year. I will start:

(1) Pledge one day of vacation/ personal leave from your jobs to "man" the stations for the upcoming August 2010 Registration Day. This will enable teachers to have a full-day of pre-planning in their classrooms. This will also require a Saturday morning in late July for training parent volunteers.

(2) Develop and implement a volunteer "Parent-Ade Program" for each teacher in your school -- elementary, middle, or high. The Parent Aide will be each teacher's "go-to" person to recruit other reliable parents of students in each teacher's class(es) to provide necessary assistance such as assembling and copying handouts, assembling instructional PowerPoint presentations per teacher directions, creating bulletin boards, etc.

(3) If you can't give a whole workday, consider volunteering to do computer work in your home office one evening: updating a syllabus and/or other handouts; updating a test or a class roll sheet with contact information; provide your skills in setting up a blog or a website for one or more teachers.

Let's link arms in solidarity with our teachers! The whole purpose of Parent-Ade is to take on as much non-instructional work as possible for the upcoming school year on a volunteer basis to enable teachers to focus on instruction and still have a life outside of school hours.

@ Anonymous 3:27 PM
You asked where folks who want to help our teachers could meet. My recommendation is for this to become a PTO/PTA/PTSA project in each school. It is likely that the PTO/PTA/PTSA has access to call a meeting at the school and/or send out an e-blast about the Parent-Ade Project.

Remember to contact parents who were active in your school, but whose children have moved on or graduated. They may be willing to get involved once again.

My last child graduated in 2000, but this is something I definitely want to do.

Most DCSS BOE members running for re-election are toast. Ultimately -- good Lord willing and the creek don't rise -- they may be indicted, convicted and go to federal prison. But, the upcoming election -- or indictment of DCSS BOE members -- won't happen soon enough. A recall would not be any faster. So, we are honor-bound to step up and provide extraordinary assistance to help our teachers get through the end of this school year and the coming school year.

Get in touch with your PTSA and see what it will take to make this happen for your school. Remember Fernbank Science Center, too. They don't have a PTSA, but they will need your help.

This is important! This is payback to the teachers who have helped your children -- and to the teachers who taught you, making it possible for you to be where you are today.

Now -- what can we do to assist the teachers and paras who were laid off?

Anonymous said...

@7:27 pm -- Go visit Warren Technical School. TVs 2,5,11 and 46, and AJC you should too.

Warren Tech is DCSS's vocational tech school serving special needs high school students. Arguably they do it better than any other location in the country. And they have the trophies to prove it.

Don't believe me? Just ask those regular ed at Lakeside who competed against them recently only to see Warren go home with the bigger trophy.

Time for some good press -- this is a nice place to start.

How about it media? Let's balance out the negative reporting with a story of DeKalb Schools serving their students in an exceptional manner. Warren Tech, as you may remember after all was recognized nationally as a recipient of a "Point of Light" from the Bush (senior) administration.

Anonymous said...

@ @ Anonymous 7:27 pm

Yes. I believe you. My nephew teaches 8th math in a middle school in rural Tennessee in a Title 1 school. He has had to do collaborative teaching now for the last few years with the special ed teacher. He says the exact same things you say. He says he would rather have a paraprofessional he can count on than have to contend with a special ed teacher who does very little and is undependable. I told him to assign her work and make her pull her own weight, but I know it's hard to do that with someone who is supposed to be your peer.

Anonymous said...

@ Ella

"I am not opposed to Lead Teachers of Special Education. I am just not so sure that we need as many as we currently have. I would perfer to see more special education teachers and paras like the Gwinnett County School System has."

You are absolutely right Ella. Special education needs teachers teaching children. The ratio of Lead Teachers to special education teachers in DCSS has always seemed terribly inefficient to me as well. You have seen a different more efficient model that works for kids. I hope you run Ella. Higher turnout will definitely work against the incumbents.

Anonymous said...

I am a special ed teacher. We lost 3 special ed paras in our building on Friday. All of which were just wonderful at their jobs. I have a Lead Teacher for Special Ed that really does nothing. She spends her time at my school hiding, to the point that when people need her they are always checking around, and asking "have you seen her?" It would take at least 5 of her to do the amount of work these paras did for a fraction of the cost (in fact she makes more money than the 3 combined). She NEVER helped in any of our classrooms or with my IEPs or other paperwork. The loss of the paras will directly impact our special needs kids, but we could lose our LTSE and never notice she was gone....

Anonymous said...

Aren't there like - what 1 Lead Teacher for Special Ed (who doesn't teach kids) for every 3 schools? I know the ratio is exceptionally low.

Anonymous said...

Paras are the backbone of special education in DeKalb. I hope that parents of special education students raise some hell, so that their children receive the education that they deserve.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:19 pm and Ella 6:51 pm


These non-teaching specialists have really stayed under the radar. The Lead Teachers for Special Education are non-teachers with teaching certificates. There are 87 of them and they total around $8,000,000 in salary and benefits. When looking them up on the state Salary and Travel audit, look for Special Education Specialists.

Would someone who is in special ed let me know if this is incorrect. Every one of them I looked up is assigned to East DeKalb CS.

When? said...

It's time for the "U" word here in Georgia for teachers. Even though unions aren't 100% protection against being fired--just look at NY or California--they are the only way to ensure fair practices and agreed-upon procedures for things like layoffs. Plus, they have some clout--the BOE wouldn't be able to just take away a pension plan unilaterally. Only by taking a strong stand about conditions that affect their working lives, from class size to technology to pensions to layoffs, can teachers hope to establish a strong professional identity. In DCSS, everyone has to promise to never engage in collective bargaining if they want to keep on working. So, no effective professional organization has been established. Maybe the unfairness of all that is ongoing, will push people to at least the point where they will consider a more organized approach.

Anonymous said...

Here are 290 certified teachers who do not teach on child and cost DCSS $27,700,000 in personnel costs.

DCSS appears to have more non-teaching Special Education Specialists than any school system:

DeKalb: 87 for $8,000,000
Fulton: 9 for $1,000,000
Gwinnett: 18 for $1,800,000
Atlanta Public: 56 for $4,600,000
Cobb: 22 for $2,000,000

Do we just have more non-teaching people with teaching certificates than any other school system or what's going on?

With salaries like the ones below, why would teachers want to teach?

Look at this for non-teaching teachers in DCSS (numbers of them and salary and benefit cost):

Instructional Supervisors: 62 and cost $7,200,000 a year
Instructional Coaches: 80 and cost around $8,000,000 a year
Graduation Coaches: 48 and cost $3,500,000
Literacy Coaches: 13 and cost $1,000,000
Special Education Specialists: 87 and cost $8,000,000

$29,700,000 for these 290 teachers who don't teach is more than Ms. Tyson saved by cutting every penny of DCSS's 15,000 employees' TSAs.

Unbelievable. $29,700,000 and not one child taught. Has Ms. Tyson even looked at the number of non-teaching teachers certified but not teaching in DCSS and compared our numbers with other counties? Maybe she sees no problem with this. I sure do. No wonder she's had to lay off so many lower income employees. These people make big bucks.

Ella Smith said...

Teaching at a DCSS High School

I am a highly qualified Special Education Teacher. I team teach part of the day. I do see the benifit of team teaching. However, I also totally agree with everything you said in your blog. I have for years. Even though I am an Special Education Teacher and an Individual who is disabled and believes Individuals with Disabilities deserve equal options as other students to excel in their team taught classes. I also have been in the schoolhouse in Dekalb, Gwinett and Fulton and Dekalb could do a better job of preparing it team teachers if it plans on the program working. A special education teacher should not be in a classroom if they are not highly qualified. I agree a para would serve the same purpose in many cases and save the county tons of money.

I have long believed in shadowing programs also which is a para traveling with a group of students who makes sure their homework is do, or mom or dad is emailed, their agenda is filled out or mom or dad is emailed that reports back to a teacher or department head who oversees them. This would save tons of money. However, some of this money would be lost also due to FTE. With special education it is not that simple. However, I would have to do a little research and I do not believe federal money paids the entire salary of special education teachers in team taught classes.

However, if the team teaching positions are working and the team is strong and the students are benifiting I think it is a great way to provide additional service to all students as they have two teachers instead of one.

Just because I am a special education teacher and just because I am an individual who is a person who is disabled I am not blind to what I have seen in many cases in the schools myself. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

There are many places the school board and school system could re-evaulate programs and make sure they are working. All school boards are very big employers. In fact school boards are the top employers in the nation. However, we should not be running an employment service and all areas need to be looked out in a time of financial crisis and cuts must be made. It is not pretty and individual will be let go. There is no good way to let go good hard working individuals who have served this community and their students so well.

I do know what it felt like. When I first took a job in Dekalb I was not always told that I would have a job until the third year. This was years ago. However, it was common not to immediately give new teachers in the county a job immediately until the county had ample time to evaluate the situation and make sure the new teachers would actually be needed. It is a horrible feeling.

However, on the other hand many people are in the same boat in our county and state and for the first time the state officials are cutting the budget to the bone in education. The school board does not have a choice but to make cuts. I do believe in making big cuts at the administrative offices. However, many individuals are necessary to run a big school like this. An outside company doing an audit would probable be worth the money as to make sure politics are not the reason cuts are made in certain areas and not in others. An audit should tell us from a neutral unbiased source where the money should be cut.

Ella Smith said...

Dekalb Parent....I just heard out of a school board members mouth the chairs were sent back by Ms. Tyson. I feel this is correct. The news media only look for the bad to tell. They leave out many times the good facts to make news.

I was interviewed the other night. I said actually good thinks about how the school system responded to my concerns regarding the student injury at Adams. The media takes parts of information all the time to make news. I have seen this over and over again.

My father-in-law as a judge did one interview with the press. They took his statements and cut and pasted them to make a story. He never spoke to the press again. News stories are many time cuts and pieces to make news.

Ella Smith said...

I have no proof the chairs were returned. I just heard from a school board members mouth they were. I know how the press takes pieces of information sometimes and not others.

Email your school board representatives and ask them and see if this is true.

Anonymous said...

Ella --

Which board member told you the chairs have been returned? Why has that person not made this information public?

I would definitely need some documentation that all of the chairs have been returned -- for cash and not just for credit.

Based on everything we know about the DCSS BOE, why would anyone still be credulous enough to take what they say as the truth?

Ella Smith said...

Fulton County always have Lead Teachers of Special Education on the cutting block.

I am not indicating that many of them do not work hard or that their job is not benificial. I am saying cuts need to be made and no place should be exempt from making cuts. This is unfair to all the students of Dekalb County.

I am supportive of giving parents choices also with magnet programs in the school system as long as the school system can afford them without hurting the overall majority of the students in the county.

However, I am very torn about the transportation. I feel that taking children to another school is a choice that parents should have. However, I do not feel it should be off the cutting block in a time of crisis. I again think money should be spent in the classroom and not on transportation. Instead I think we should be doing everything in our power to make every school, a school of excellence. Principals and county administrators must be held accountable for this. That is what they get paid the big bucks. If they cannot produce results then we have many other certified administrators who would like to give it a try and make the salaries that these administrators make.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the chairs were returned (if they were) only after the inquiry from the media.

Anonymous said...

The timing of these lay offs were horrendous. There are so many task that must be completed at the end of the school year. Do not forget that final exams still must be given. There is a hugh principal check out that must be done. If we are looking at positions to consolidate or eliminate, we could look at the Region Superintendents. Dekalb currently has 6 Regions. Each of those Regions are over a group of schools. Each Region Superintendent has a coordinator. There is at least one administrative assistant for each region. The Region Superintendent send messages throuhg the coordinators that the school must complete. I am not sure exactly what they do. I am not sure where that individual was as Cross Keys was falling apart. I am sure that no one in those offices lost their jobs. With the exception of one or two of them, they do not have high school experience. They are not much help to the high schools.The layoffs are painful. They are additionally painful because you question the fairness of them and the process being used. How was it decided that certain jobs were not as important as other jobs. I can understand the seniority issues, but why were certain jobs eliminated and others were left standing. No one sought the input of the individuals in the schools. This would have been a great function for some of those Region Superintendents. They should have been on the sides of their schools. Principals should have had a chance to state the services that their schools needed.
What about the bathrooms at Lakeside. I bet they would have voted to keep someone in the system that could improve those as opposed to some coordinators and Region Superintendents. This is not to say that they are all not necessary, but the main purpose of some of them seems to be to make sure that no bad information ever made it to the office of Dr. Lewis. This has been a hard week end and this will be a difficult week. I work in a high school. Tomorrow my co workers will return to work knowing that they will not have a job at the end of the year. Some of them are very active and have been working with the seniors in graduation practice and other senior issues. It seems like we were told at one point that every thing would be done not to impact the schools. That was not true. My classroom needs painting. I guess the custodians who make almost less than anyone else should add that to their long list of duties,since we no longer have any painters in the county. Does anyone know how the areas that were eliminated were selected.

Ella Smith said...

Annonymous, I am not giving away my source. I am sorry. I hear many things I do not share on this site. I only shared this to put some light from a different prospective. You are welcome to check and see if the information I heard a school board member say is correct or not. I do not know who you are as you are Annoynmous so this is information I cannot share as I choice not to put this person on trail on this blog. In fact this is the only board member who has ever been rude and direspecful to me as a human being. However, I believe if you want to find out if this information is true or not it would be best to check with your school board member. I am assuming the information is correct. However, information can be spinned in many directions and people are made to believe what a group of people want them to believe. I do not believe this is the case here. However, I have been wrong before and will be continue to be wrong many times in my life to come.

I heard from the school board superintendent himself and most of the school board that they were going to give back the money taken away from the teachers secondary-like retirement account vs social security and then the board turned around and attempted to do something else this spring. I thought that was pretty interesting and I could not believe what I had heard before and now. This makes it extremely hard for the employees in this county to trust their school board members.

Anonymous said...

They are consolidating the 6 regions to three.

Anonymous said...

Ella -

Thank you for posting a partial response to the questions I posted yesterday about your candidacy for DCSS BOE:

"Is it true that you are running for a DeKalb County Board of Education seat? I must have missed that announcement.

"Representing which district?

"What is your platform and what are your specific, detailed, quantifiable goals?

"Who are your supporters and who is funding your campaign?

"Where do you currently teach? When and where will you post your resume?

"Based on what we are currently experiencing with DCSS and the BOE, transparency and full disclosure are essential. Please respond."


It was a lengthy answer, but answered only the question about which district you will be running for. District 9.

First of all, it is important to know who is supporting you and who is funding (or has pledged to fund) your campaign. Complete transparency!

Next, it is important to see specific, detailed, quantifiable goals. "Ideas" won't cut it -- not now, not ever. Your platform must be explicitly stated and everything you propose must be based on publicly available fact and must be measurable.

Finally, where do you currently teach? When and where will you post your complete resume?

Please respond with specifics.

Anonymous said...

At my school they lost one very good paraprofessional. This person worked one on one with a very difficult autistic child. They were successful while many others assigned to this child were not. there are quite a few very incompetent paras left at this school that have been displaced many times in their career. It's easier to displace someone than fire them. Now that person gets to stay while a really good para is now looking for a job.

Anonymous said...

Since one person is retiring, I heard that they were consolidating the regions to 5. Anon 9:07 makes a good point. How were the decisions made on what jobs were to be eliminated. One person has heard 3 another 5. Information is so hard to get. Ella, we do appreciate you trying to share information. I feel it is difficult because we do have to sneak around and get information. It was help if the school system would be more open.
Signed:
Parent and Staff Member

Ella Smith said...

I cannot make comments about the bathrooms at Lakeside. This is one of the reasons I had to leave the Dekalb County School System as a teacher. The problem is a lack of bathrooms at Lakeside High School to deal with the number of students at Lakeside. The condition of the bathrooms is another topic.

I needed to be able to use the bathroom between classes in order to teach. I asked for a classroom location close to the bathroom as a 504 accommodation and I was moved out to a trailer. The doors where locked at 4:00 PM daily in the back adn I could not even get into the school back then to use the bathroom afterschool.

The school system and the 504 coordinator was very ignorate about 504 Law. The Person who was over the program back then is still walking around in her little tight skirt as an administrator at the county office. She was useless and knew little about the law. I am thankful to see such a knowledgeable individual like Dr. Wilson as the HR Director. He should keep the school system in complaince with many legal issues. I am very impressed with his knowledge of the law. He was one of my professors at school this last year and I can not tell you how sharp I think he is and how much I learned from him as my professor. He is an excellent teacher. I am sure he was an excellent teacher and principal also.

Anonymous said...

@ Ella Smith, 8:25 AM

"I have no proof the chairs were returned. I just heard from a school board members mouth they were. I know how the press takes pieces of information sometimes and not others.

"Email your school board representatives and ask them and see if this is true."

This is unacceptable. Particularly in the current climate of rampant lies from the DCSS BOE, posting what is essentially hearsay, as if it is fact, is unacceptable -- and irresponsible on your part. If you were, in fact, given this information from a BOE member, why didn't you name the BOE member who told you? Redeem yourself: Name that DCSS BOE member now.

After stating something as fact, why did you retreat into telling people to write their BOE member and see if what you just stated as fact is true? Part of the problem with the DCSS BOE is that they are not responsive to e-mail.

You say you are considering running for the DCSS BOE for District 9. Well, the bar is set a whole lot higher now -- and so far, you sound like same old, same old.

Anonymous said...

Anon,
Please, please, let us be civil to each other.The chairs may have been sent back. The chairs may have not been sent back. To me the main point is that chairs that cost so much should have not been purchased in the first place. Even though the money could not have been used to save jobs, it could have been used for repairs or improvments in the school.
Our former superintendent had to either select those chairs or he allowed someone to select them. There should have been some guidelines in place concerning the amount that the furniture should cost.
We can disagree.
I for one would like to focus more on the impact of the layoffs. There are almost 120 comments on the blog concerning this in less than two days.
You can tell that this is an issue that hurt and impacts many people.
I just realized. The students will begin to find out this information this week
I wonder how they will react?
Visit some of the schools around the system. Look at the furniture, the carpet, the condition of the water fountains, the toilets, the lack of reliable air conditioning.
There were many places that money could have been used.
Ella, is just trying to share the information that is her experience. I thought that was what each of us try to do on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to be careful about lumping people together. The Lead Teacher for Special Education at my school is great. She helps with data collection, writing IEPs, provids instructional teaching trainings for the staff, and is visable and active in the school. She is very supportive and even comes into our classrooms and teaches our classes and provides us with strategies to help our students succeed. Yes, she may not have her own classroom but she is very helpful in training and supporting the special education teachers, special education paraprofessionals, and general education teachers.
I know there may be some Lead Teachers for Special Education that do not do their job. However, there are also A LOT of teachers and paraprofessionals that do not do their job and we are not looking at getting rid of ALL of the teachers and paras. There are people at all levels that do not do the job that they are hired for but that does not mean all of the other people at that level do not do their job.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:58 is right. Our Lead Teacher is also great. She is visible. The students and staff love her a great deal.
I also agree that it is wrong to lump all people into one category. A worker at Sam Moss told me that all of the painters in the school system were let go.
This speaks to a question that was raised earlier today. How were the decisions made to make the cuts?

Anonymous said...

"I for one would like to focus more on the impact of the layoffs. There are almost 120 comments on the blog concerning this in less than two days.
You can tell that this is an issue that hurt and impacts many people."

Agree!
DCSS needs to be transparent about who was let go and what the process was for determining the layoffs. From what I have read here, the layoffs are non-sensical and included lower paid staff, science teachers, and others with critical positions in instructions, will many other administrators were retained, at high salaries. We, as taxpayers, payers, and teachers, NEED TO KNOW!

Anonymous said...

Oops, typo -
should read: We, as taxpayers, parents, and teachers, NEED TO KNOW!

Anonymous said...

I hate to say I told you so.... but I posted comments forewarning that this would happen several times. I guess I needed to create an alias... I am in the process now! Its just not safe....

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:35 pm

I too believe we need some administrators to run the school system, but with the exception of the 62 Instructional Supervisors, these rest of the 290 non-teaching personnel are not Central Office personnel. They are classified as support.

Do teachers need this level of "support" when we are packing students into classes of 35? 36? Could these people not teach at least part of the day. Before the Assistant Principals were called Assistant Principals, their titles were Lead Teacher. In many schools I taught at, Lead Teachers used to teach a class or two a day, usually in the remedial end. This was great for the students to have some extra help (usually he/she would take a math and/or a reading class). This was also great for teachers because then the Lead Teacher truly understood the needs of the classroom. Somehow, they morphed into Assistant Principals, way too busy to teach students.

In DCSS we have 939 certified teachers ($82,066 in salary and benefits) who do not teach and in addition ARE NOT administrators. They are there for "support" purposes.
source: DOE
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009_

I think we've identified a few hundred of them:
Instructional Supervisors: 62 and cost $7,200,000 a year
Instructional Coaches: 80 and cost around $8,000,000 a year
Graduation Coaches: 48 and cost $3,500,000
Literacy Coaches: 13 and cost $1,000,000
Special Education Specialists: 87 and cost $8,000,000

FSC supporters, schools that about to close, schools that are facing redistricting, and magnet parents, you need to be asking questions about these non-teachers. Ms. Tyson says the budget will be deeper next year and we should expect more cuts. Where will those cuts come from? We now know where the cuts will be from the priorities Ms. Tyson and the BOE set this year.

Every parent in DCSS should be asking Ms. Tyson and the BOE about the incredible number of non-teachers and showing the comparison between DCSS and the other metro counties.

Anonymous said...

I work with DCSS and must say I have been shocked at how DCSS has a motto of "It's the principal's school. They can do whatever they want." Nobody above them disciplines them, investigates them, or watches over them. Almost everyone who has any power in DCSS are all friends or sorority sisters or fraternity brothers or attend the same church. Principals are allocating points to keep and get rid of certain personnel at their schools and no one will look over this and tell them how to do it better or even legally! For example, some schools don't have the points (the number of kids) for certain positions, like school counselor, but because the principal wants that person, other people who work directly with the children in a classroom are being cut. Please question your school's point system. This is how school's are cutting employees and keeping their friends or the loyal. The parents have all the power. They just need to stand up and say something!!! Teachers and staff will be hounded and evaluated poorly until they are fired or quit if they complain.

Anonymous said...

In response to the comment about Assistant Principals helping by teaching a class or 2 a day (used to be called lead teachers)... This is an impossibility with the current culture of DCSS. The philosophy there is the higher you go the less work you should do- hire people around you to do your job. That is why they are so top heavy (too many people doing one person's job). So principals at every school do not have to lift a finger except for maybe a bit of paperwork. The assistant principal is literally expected to do everything and they are extremely busy (and they bother teachers who are too busy teaching and doing paperwork to take on their administrative responsibilities). Meanwhile the principal just sits around. I have never worked at a school system where the leader gets to take it easy for years and the assistant principal is expected to work like a dog, earning their next higher position. Where I am from duties are split between the administrative team and the teachers are not hounded to do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:57 AM

I am being civil.

I refuse to be credulous.

Ella Smith stated that the chairs were returned as fact. Then, when challenged to document that fact, she backed right off, refused to "reveal" her source (an elected official) and, quite frankly, sounded not that very different from the present BOE members.

Ella Smith has stated that she is going to run for the DCSS District 9 BOE seat. It's a new day and Ella needs to get comfortable with transparency.

BTW -- I was not focusing on whether or not the chairs were returned instead of the fact that they were even ordered. I never said I was. I simply pointed out that Ella should not state as fact something she is unwilling to document.

I was civil, but not credulous.

Dan M. said...

Ella, Tyson may have returned some chairs, but you're missing the point. $200,000+ spent alone on the new superintendent office. Millions more for the Mountain Industrial Complex, despite it being low on the SPLOST list. They want a couple of hundred grand for a new parking lot when the current one is fine. Individual offices for every BOE member, a perk no other BOE in the state has??!!

The media has done a decent job of covering DCSS malfeasance. The stories are out there because they are well deserved, no other reason.

No Duh said...

"They want a couple of hundred grand for a new parking lot when the current one is fine."

OMG! Have you ever driven through the lower parking lot at Henderson Middle School? Small children have vanished forever in some of those potholes (for transparency's sake, that was hyperbole!).

Anonymous said...

Who cares if they returned the chairs? They shouldn't have bought them in the first place. They shouldn't have even built the new offices until EVERY school in Dekalb was in decent order.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous To the Anonymous person -If you keep up with the Budget revisions, there were 9 outstanding CTSS(s), last hired who lost their jobs on Thursday. Unfortunately, those 9 CTSS were equipped with top certifications, and have young fresh technology knowledge. Now they are gone. We lost several shocking positions in MIS & telecommunications. Hopefully, temporarily. Please identify your school and please don't make a generic comment about CTSS(s) because we are not all MIA. I know that a majority of us(CTSS(s)) are out at our perspective locations working. We are the first level of contact to fix your computers asap so you will not have to wait. If your CTSS is the Principal's pet, and holding all of those other club sponsor duties during the day, report it to HR or I.A. But please don't make a negative open judgement about us. We(CTSS) are not responsible for eSis either, it is handled by a different group of eSis techs. However, several of us have asked for training. Yes, I have heard of some CTSS(s) not doing their jobs, and it makes the rest of us(CTSSs) upset. Because we are doing our jobs, but are not appreciated, and given bad evaluations.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear god CTSS's losing their jobs while Where's Waldo, er, Jamal Edwards, is still on MIS payroll.

Ella Smith said...

The School System absolutely should be more open. However, many times on this blog we get information and run with it like it is facts and sometime it may be true but we might be 1/2 of the information.

I hate to see any employee have to be laid off. I wish the school system had the money not to have to do this. Every employee laid off has family members, members of the community and members of their faculty which are extremely upset and sad over the lay-off or pink slip. There is no easy way to let any employee go. A family, a person and a taxpayer are affected which turns around and affect the whole community at large.

No Duh said...

Cere:

Based on the back and forth between Ella and one of the many Annonymi, perhaps this blog should consider creating a thread for each person who runs for BOE.

No offense to Ella (an original and regular blogger on this site), I do think blatant campaigning on any old thread that gets started can pervert the power of the blog. If this site is seen as a tool for favored candidates, or as a trap for unfavorable candidates, don't we risk losing our objectivity.

Like a newspaper, and as editor of the blog, you can make an endorsement of any candidate you want. But, separating the threads for the candidates would enable "one-on-one" discussions between candidates and bloggers and leave the other threads for those bloggers who are discussing/venting/informing/commenting on DCSS as a whole.

The candidates don't have to put themselves out to the populace on this blog (like Ella is doing), but the offer for them could be made.

Just a thought....

Dekalbparent said...

Speaking as a parent of two kids who went through DCSS Special Ed, I would say that there are some Lead Teachers for Special Education who are useless, and some who are priceless. We were thrilled to work with the LTSE in our elementary school. I wish I could name names - she has a child with disabilities and takes her responsibilities seriously.

The same is true of school psychologists - we have had the pleasure of working with a terrific school psych at our high school.

I agree there are far too many certified teachers not in the classroom, but we cannot use a broad brush to decide who to "non-renew". I would say that they should have (once again), gone to the people who know - the teachers. Ask them about their experiences:

Something like: "We must eliminate some positions in Special Ed. Have you felt supported by those assigned to your school? Have they helped you to do your job better?"

This could be an anonymous questionnaire, with only the school identified. We know DCSS can do this - look how many times they had parents, teachers and students answer questions about block scheduling and CIP.

Ella Smith said...

Anonymous said...
Who cares if they returned the chairs? They shouldn't have bought them in the first place. They shouldn't have even built the new offices until EVERY school in Dekalb was in decent order.

I agree someone should not have bought the chairs to start with.

I also agree that every school in the county should have been updated before the county got a new county office. I think the timing of this new office complex, the new individual offices of the school board members really hit a nerve in the community.

I just hate that Ms. Tyson is in a situation to have to take the heat due to poor decisions of others. Who approved all these additions? When were this addiitions approved. Was it this current board or the last board who decided on the individual offices for school board members or the extra nice interior designer price tag items? How made these decisions? I just do not believe it was Ms. Tyson as I heard she immediately returned the chairs when she was aware of the cost.

Ella Smith said...

I just decided to run definitely and I will have current website up and running in a couple of weeks.

This website was not started to answer political questions on out of respect to Celeb. Celeb is someone I feel is my friend and I feel she supports me for doing in my heart what I feel I need to do. I do feel it may be inappropriate to use her website incorrectly for any other purpose than its original intention. I also have many supporters throughout the county who have encouraged me to run and who support me. I can not list all these people on this website. This would also be inappropriate at this time. I am looking for supporters to help me in my campaign at this time.

Email me at ella.smith@att.net and I will be glad to answer any individual question you might have or if you want to help me on my campaign.

I will let you know when I have everything set-up and you may also ask me questions through my website. I get out of school in a little more than a week and this will give me appropriate time to set items up appropriately.

Anonymous said...

Ella --

Once again you said that you heard that Tyson returned the chairs. Please. If you are going to state something like that as fact, then say where/from whom you heard it.

If you don't wish to "reveal" your source, which you previously said was a BOE member -- an elected official -- then say nothing at all.

Your credibility is damaged by your lack of transparency.

Anonymous said...

@ Ella - would you please share with us which educational institute you attended, and Dr. Wilson was your professor? Also, I will certainly vote for you. But, first we need to get a family tree consultant to research the roots of every potential candidate of superintendent, and BOEs. We need names of their college buddies, roommates, their wedding parties, godmothers of their children, debt they owe to former college professors, etc. We really do not need a superintendent. We need a group of persons in that position. Please name one teacher or support personnel who could directly call up the superintendent to inform him or wrongdoing with a principal. Absolutely no one. That's why employees went directly to the media. They were stopped cold, detoured back down to those area superintendents. They simply sided 99% of the time with the principals. But check out how many principals have been demoted and forced to resign within the last year. It was made public in the Common Ground newspaper. Which shows that the superintendent should have accepted those phone calls from those abused employees. The superintendent couldn't save his dear friend's daughter, Euna McGruder, principal's position, who treated every employee like a prisoner. The lady has split personalities. But, all of the employees and parents at two schools had to suffer for years, before something was done. It concerns me that there is not a psychological test for these principals on a monthly basis. These principals are promoted based on who they know. They hired one from the outside. How this angry, insane person got in over everyone else; was simply who she knew, and taught at the university. We need an outside agency to help fight against this nepotism. We need to keep the APIs who does all of the work. The principals do not do anything, except stay in their plush offices until dismissal. We do not need these one leader position. Let a group make decisions over the school. Do not allow one controlling, authoritative, bullying, conceited "online doctorate degree" principal control these schools. Lewis gave the principals all of this control when he took over. Mr. Ramey piggyback the "CEO" mentality for principals, and demanded employees to handle problems at the lowest level possible. How could employees settle a disagreement with a monster principal. I am not only speaking of one, there are several. To the new BOE: Please take back all of this power out of these principals' hands.

Ella Smith said...

Annonymous email me personally if you want to know who told me this. I definitely do not tell everything I know. I am assuming you are Anonymous because you do not want anyone to know who you are. Email me @ella.smith@att.net and identify who you are. Let's be open and transparent on your end. I currently am not a public official. I am a citizen who just cares about making wise decisions to help the school system. Since I do not know who you and you are not open and transparent and are trying to make me look bad on this blog I have enough self-control and confidence in my decision not to broadcast information like this anyway except to clarify there are always two sides to a story that should be told on both sides. Many times the news only tells us information to show the bad side of the Dekalb County Schools. There are many good things also. One of the best thing about our School System in my opinion is the diversity. We have students from all over the world in Dekalb. I love my children having this type of experience.

Anonymous said...

If you are a parent or other concerned citizen in DeKalb, please consider volunteering at your local school. We just lost 29 library clerks, hard workers, who do a lot of routine tasks so that media specialists are able to work with students and teachers.

This was done on a seniority basis. Last in, first out with no regard for the size of the school and no publicized plan for how they will equalize the staffing problem they have created. We lost a lot of good people last week.

If you would like to help, please call your local school. There will be lots of opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Education...students learning.
Imagine a teacher allowed the freedom to be creative and innovative, teaching with passion a group of diverse students with varying learning styles. Imagine students not just passing a CRCT or EOCT or HSGT, but retaining and using information learned throughout their adult life. Students are our future...what are we teaching them now? How to make poor decisions...how to argue...how to fail them...very sad indeed.

Cerebration said...

Wow - what's with the interrogation of Ella? 9:13 AM and the rest, she just recently announced her intention - I'm not even certain she's actually done the paperwork... have you Ella? If you know Ella, she ran last time and lost to Don McChesney, so her viewpoints and platforms have been out there for quite a while. I do know that Ella teachers at North Springs HS in Fulton, as she has stated here several times in the past. She has also been a soccer coach.

Ella's been here a long time. Shayna posts here as well - and Marshall has contributed articles. All three ran for school board last time and lost (but not by much - they all still have large numbers of supporters). Anyone is allowed to comment on this blog - and we're happy to post articles. We don't have official information on candidates yet - the deadline to apply isn't until sometime in June, I think. Anon, you are really jumping the gun asking for platforms already. Waaaaaayyyy ahead of the rest of us. Whoa boy! (Or girl...)

The League of Women Voters does an excellent job of posting the responses and opinions of candidates, and we will share that here as they are created. Also, Emory Lavista Parent Council in the past has hosted some excellent candidate forums, which we will post about. And the AJC has committed to a much more in-depth review of candidate's platforms and opinions this fall. However, we are just a blog - and do not report. (I actually have a whole 'nother life beyond this blog if you can believe it!) We simply exist to share the information we find and allow a free-flowing discussion on the topics at hand. I'll leave the work of reporting to the reporters who actually get paid to do the job. That said, it is our intention to do our best to "play nice" and we will certainly be monitoring and deleting comments we deem as crossing the line of civility. I think this election could be a fairly wild ride - especially if it happens in conjunction with criminal indictments and the Heery-Mitchell trial.

So, again, the field is still wide open - if you're considering running for school board, visit this website for deadlines, forms and other info. We look forward to sharing candidate information as it becomes available during the election.

http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/default.html

Dan M. said...

" I wish the school system had the money not to have to do this."

Ella, they have more than enough money. It's just how they have chosen to spend it. At least $15 mil on inflated admin/staff salaries. Huge purchases with no return on investment, like eSIS and America's Choice. Too many administrators who have nothing to do with the classroom even though they are under Gloria talley and Deb Rives. Millions on Mountain Industrial while some schools crumble. Bloated staf's for MIS, school police, the Central Office, etc. Funding DOLA even though it duplicates the state online academy which is better academically.

They have more than enough money in this current budget to keep on teachers and necessary school staff. The upper level administrators choose not to spend it that way, and the BOE enables them to do so.

(Yes, I know Title I and SPLOST funded many of the large purchases and constructon)

Cerebration said...

I completely agree with you, Dan. The money is there - it's just completely misappropriated.

Ella Smith said...

Dan I also agree there is money misappropriated.

However, I also believe that the state is making giant cuts in the school budget and cuts must be made somewhere. I see the cuts at Fulton and hear about the cuts in Cobb. If the numbers are correct we really do well also not to have to lay-off more employees than we did.

I also believe that no program bought can take the place of truely highly qualified teachers who have a passion for teaching, truely care about the bottom line which is student achievement, and get results.

Anonymous said...

A school system is only as good as the way they spend their funds. People must remember it is not how much money you have, but how you spend it. This goes for your everyday finances and for the school system's budget.

Cuts did need to be made, but the right cuts were not made. We continue to pay people too much for the job that they do and no one has the guts to get rid of their friends or their family.

Hopefully new blood is on the horizon, as I fear that the quality of education will continue to get worse, if the current school board stays in place.

Anonymous said...

I was telling my 91 year old mother who was a Registered Nurse for many years (1941 to 1971) in Tennessee about the teacher situation here where they are putting money into admin and support and are continuing to cut the number of teachers.

My mom said not to worry. This reminded her of what happened in nursing around 20 years ago when nurses were low paid, asked to perform miracles, and so many other medical positions were created that siphoned money from direct patient care. She said this discouraged young people from going into nursing, patient care plummeted, and eventually they had to pay double in salary to get nurses back into the field.

She asked me if I remembered when nurses made about the same as teachers. I said yes (I'm pretty old myself, and a retired teacher) I did. My 91 year old mom explained that now nurses make so much more than they used to make (and much more than teachers) because the exodus of people from the nursing field - a critical field - occurred when working conditions became unattractive and nurses were not respected or valued. She said that by the time it was finally acknowledged that society could not do without nurses, there was a shortage in a field that is very stressful and involves a lot of hard work. People who would have been nurses had moved into other fields. The result was and is much higher wages in general for nursing.

My son, a DCSS science teacher who is leaving teaching this year, got a real kick out of his grandma's comments. My son and I decided that in around 5 to 10 years some noted economist will be saying the teacher shortage and the need to pay twice as much for teachers is analogous to the nursing shortage and subsequent pay increases for nurses that preceded this by a generation.

Remember folks - my 91 year old mom said it first! Now I know why my mom's my best teacher.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The white leather chairs were not sent back. The chairs were sent out to be reupholstered. The chairs in question are now brown and are back in Tyson's office. So now the cost of the chairs is even more than they originally paid for them. The person feeding Ella that info knows she will come to this blog and report it, whether it is true or not, so sad....

Anonymous said...

Why would you reupholster new chairs? I call foul on your comment.

Cerebration said...

I hate posting rumors, but I will say that I believe it was Paul Womack letting people know that the chairs were returned - he was upset at the news media for not reporting the "good" news about DCSS. They are all quite upset at the media. Problem is, you can't shoot the messenger. Our board has enormous problems to solve - and more on the horizon. First and foremost, we have to find a new superintendent. I can't imagine the race-based arguments over that one. Second, we have to brace ourselves - we are hearing that indictments are coming down (I'm hoping the DA is just waiting for school to end as a gesture of kindness and respect to our teachers and students) - and then we also have the Heery-Mitchell trial, which certainly is on-hold waiting for Pat Pope's contract to expire (we're watching the board carefully to see if they actually spend another $200,000 to extend her contract).

The chairs are just a symptom of what is wrong with our system. We have a deep lack of integrity, a narcissistic sense of self and a lack of quality in our leadership. The biggest, most important decision to be made to correct this is who they hire as a new superintendent. They must show the courage to find someone of very high moral character, integrity and intelligence to help us right this ship - ASAP!

Cerebration said...

Here's a quote from an AJC article last Friday (the deadline set by the state to renew contracts)

Cobb is eliminating 579 teaching positions to compensate for a projected $137-million budget shortfall next year. . . .

But as of Friday, systems were cutting loose hundreds of teachers into a down economy. Fulton expects to cut 200 to 250 teachers. Gwinnett school officials said they are not renewing contracts for 150 teachers. DeKalb County won’t renew 105. The City of Atlanta won’t renew 33.


http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb-students-demonstrate-in-527581.html

Cerebration said...

As bad as that sounds, 105 is only 1.5% of the 7000 total teachers. Cobb is apparently in really bad shape - and they are letting go of some veteran teachers. Fulton didn't end up as bad as expectations (at one time rumors were about 500 teachers losing jobs there...)

I have to point out - much of the funding issues are coming from the state cuts. The cuts have been so deep and so consistent over the years that, as our board pointed out, funding has actually flip-flopped from the state contributing 60% to now the locals pay 60% and the state only pays 40%. Be very concerned about your state legislator and let them know that long term - cuts to education are devastating to the health of our state economy. This is not wise.

Cerebration said...

Here's another example of some very odd decisions by state leaders -

With Gov. Sonny Perdue’s backing, lawmakers nixed funding for the Promise teacher scholarship and HOPE teacher scholarship programs, first started by then-Gov. Zell Miller in the 1990s. Thousands of students and teachers have benefitted from the scholarships, but many of them had no idea the state was even considering killing the program.

Meanwhile, lawmakers during the 2010 session ignored other Perdue budget recommendations and preserved an engineering scholarship for private Mercer University and saved grants to all private college students. Legislators also increased awards to private college students who earn the HOPE scholarship.


http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/groups-school-cuts-not-528581.html

Anonymous said...

About 45 people were let go from Sam Moss, not based on seniority as told by Tyson the day before...no one can figure out exactly how it was determined...btw...Harold Lewis is still on board at over $100 k a year and doing nothing....

Anonymous said...

If schools would not have increased hiring, especially for unneeded positions during the good times, they would have a reserve to weather these tougher times. This is what my family does with our budget. Earning more money does not mean that we spend more. It is time that we hold the districts accountable for their poor spending habits. It is ashame that the state is cutting funds, but this is happening everywhere. Districts who thought ahead and saved money for a rainy day, are not is as bad shape as those that spend, spend, spend, on positions, programs, and what not that is really not needed.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ, but i have seen with my own eyes.DCSS decided they did not want the white chairs, it seemed to "flashy" So now they are brown or maybe DCSS can supply documentation that proves me wrong.If you are correct and i am wrong , then what did the new chairs cost? It is still and will always be a mess until the entire BOE is replaced.

Anonymous said...

Tyson talked about transparency when she talked to teachers. It seems to me to be a fabulous time to be transparent. Why doesn't she come out and tell if DCSS has the chairs or if they were returned? Of course being transparent, means showing documentation that they were returned and how much the new chairs cost. You can't just say that you're going to be transparent, you have to show this by your actions.

Cerebration said...

I don't know anything as factual about the chairs - I tried to point this out. If you really want to know, file a Freedom of Information Request. We have a link to a n Open Records request generator in the Favorite Links column -

http://www.splc.org/foiletter.asp

Send it in and then come back here and let us know what you find out for certain.

Remember, please, this is simply a blog - where we try to discuss information as it becomes available - we are not a news service - we are not journalists and we do not do investigative reporting. We just try to gather all available info about DCSS in one place - sort of a clearinghouse - with discussion. We're mostly just concerned parents and community members - with regular jobs. I can tell you for certain that none of the main contributors to this blog work for the school system - nor ever have. We are just trying to monitor what we consider some freaky behavior and misspending of our tax dollars.

---

For reporting - visit these news organizations -

The AJC
The Dunwoody Crier
CrossRoads News
On Common Ground News
The Champion
Creative Loafing

We have links to all of these in the favorite links column and we try to bring their reports to your attention as they become available.

Anonymous said...

Cere, I agree with you about finding out through the Freedom of Information Act. My point is that Ms. Tyson made every teacher stay after their regular school day and gave us a speech about transparency and how she was going to be more transparent. I am not seeing it. I would think that this would be a great time for a real leader to come out and set things straight if the chairs were returned. As a parent and tax payer, I am tired of lip service with no follow through with the administration.

Cerebration said...

No argument there!

Anonymous said...

"The chairs are just a symptom of what is wrong with our system. We have a deep lack of integrity, a narcissistic sense of self and a lack of quality in our leadership."

Spot on Cere!!!Someone should report on all the senseless spending that is "protocol" when an event at a school involves the BOARD. When our school was newly opened, we were expected to fete the BOARD in grand style....specially prepared food...decorations...teachers and students serving...All for one of their work meetings. It took hours of planning and preparation! And then one of our wonderful BOARD members had the nerve to ask a teacher (who was assisting and serving) to go "out" to get a specific brand of bottled water that she prefered.
This antedote reveals so many things that are so wrong in DCSS on so many different levels.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

"As bad as that sounds, 105 is only 1.5% of the 7000 total teachers. Cobb is apparently in really bad shape - and they are letting go of some veteran teachers. Fulton didn't end up as bad as expectations (at one time rumors were about 500 teachers losing jobs there...)


Yes. But last year Lewis already didn't fill 275 teacher positions. In addition, Cobb is almost as much a poster child for poor management as DCSS. So I guess we need to count that as 380 gone from DCSS.

Cerebration said...

That's true - I didn't think about it that way. I also don't mean to make light of the cuts - I personally think that NO teachers should be cut - all cuts need to come from the other half (actually more than half) of employees who do not directly impact the education of children.

Anonymous said...

The comments about "the chairs" are ridiculous! Dale Davis, the voice of DCSS, had a chance to tell the 11 Alive Reporter that the chairs were returned or in the process of being returned.

Instead Dale Davis, uh uh uh hm hm huh, his way into another embarrassing moment for OUR school system. If the BOE and the bloated, highly overpaid, upper management wants to regain the public trust tell us the truth! Matter of fact, just RESIGN! We cannot trust any of these clowns with our tax dollars and especially with our children's education.

It will be tough for a while but let's take a leap and demand the resignations of Tyson, Moseley, Mitchell, Thompson, Davis, and any Guilroy or Edwards family member along with some others mentioned on this blog. Until then I do not trust these folks with another dime of OUR tax dollars. These folks work for US and until these politicians and gravy train executives get that, they do not deserve to gain any more trust from me.

Anonymous said...

One more thing, if anyone talks to the media they should record the entire interview themselves.

The media, especially the AJC, hung a lot of parents out to dry back when Sembler was trying to purchase the property on North Druid Hills Rd. One reporter, Christina Torres, has lost all respect with many parents when she went directly to CLew with names and data she was given in confidence. Ms. Torres can no longer be trusted with any information since she was part of the problem during Clew's reign of terror. Remember, record all interviews with video or at least audio, that way there will never be a question as to the context of a quote plus it will keep the media honest!

It's sad that journalism, as a whole, has taken the low road, supporting crooked politicians instead of reporting all the facts of a situation.

The public trust is a terrible thing to lose and right now DCSS has little or NO public trust. That's why we must start from scratch. WHO CAN THE TAXPAYERS TRUST!?

teachercreature said...

This just showed up on the AJC. Will be interesting to see what comes of it.
http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/05/17/kathy-cox-to-make-major-announcement-today-at-1/

Anonymous said...

Are 105 contracts not being renewed in addition to how many positions just not being filled due to attrition. I thought the number of teachers positions we were actually losing this year is around 300.

Ms. Tyson has said that regular ed will take on 2 additional students per teacher (regular ed I believe) and I believe the number served per gifted teacher has gone up as well. We have around 3,800 K - 12 regular ed (grade level and content area) teachers. Does it make sense that with we're only losing 1% of our teachers and yet our maximum class sizes need to go up by two students?

The real numbers of teacher positions lost would have to be much higher this year just looking at what Ms. Tyson has asked as the maximum class size increase.

Has anyone added up all of the points from last year in every elementary, middle and high schools, and then done the same for the upcoming year and looked at the difference? That the real bottom line.

Teacher positions lost to "non-renewal" or "not filled due to attrition" are very different from a PR standpoint, but to students there is no difference. There will be a big difference to them when there are only three 4th grade teachers instead of four.

Cerebration said...

You make a very good point, Anon. I do believe these layoffs are in addition to the not to be replaced retirements, and others who leave on their own. Who knows what the real total loss will be?

I only have the Lakeside example to share -

Three teachers are retiring - Principal Reed is expecting 100-120 repeat 9th graders. Some of these will be going on their 2nd and 3rd years in 9th grade. LHS currently has 97.5 FTE points and next year is getting 84.75.

That's a loss of 12.75 "points"... ie: "teachers", paras, counselors, librarians, etc...

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

"I do believe these layoffs are in addition to the not to be replaced retirements, and others who leave on their own. Who knows what the real total loss will be?"

To be truthful, Ms. Tyson should say how many teacher positions are lost to "non-renewals" and how many to positions not filled by attrition.

It doesn't matter one iota to students or parents how a teacher is lost, the impact is exactly the same on students. As an aside, the impact on the remaining teachers as they take on larger class loads is exactly the same as well. Although I still maintain this discussion is not really about employees; it's about students.

I for one would appreciate an honest bottom line number from Ms. Tyson that tells the exact teacher reduction number for DCSS. At least it was on the DCSS website last year that we were going to be down 275 positions for the 2009-10 school year. Ms. Tyson has the absolute precise number. Otherwise, she could not predict the budget.

I have been reading in the paper and on this blog that we're only losing 105 teachers. But with Ms. Tyson trying to plug a $110,000,000 hole, there's no way the 400 or so lower level employees, 105 teachers (they're lower level in pay as well) and the $28,000,000 she's taking from the TSA could possibly bring us down that far.

M G said...

I went back and found my original post concerning the number of teaching positions lost. Since that time, the only change is not requiring teachers to teach 6 out of 7 periods in the four high schools. All of the other cuts remain the same. I italicized that one item.

Here’s my calculation of those reductions with the numbers from the sheet. I used the $65,000 figure for each salary since that is what Dr. Lewis has stated several times was the cost per teacher and the savings amount they list used that amount for items 5, 12, and 13.
5. Reduce magnet points by 20 across all schools - 20 teachers
12. Eliminate 8 DECA points - 8
13. Eliminate 8 Single Gender points - 8
19. Schools with 7-Period Day (Move from 2 planning periods to 1) - 37
20. Eliminate Targeted Assistance Points - 61
26. Reduce Small School Points; Reduce Specials; Consolidate /Itinerant - 49
38. Increase Class Sizes by 2 Students Per Class - 215

Total was 398, now it's 361 teaching positions.

Anonymous said...

Fernbank Science Center lost several talented and dedicated staff. Here is the impact that the loss of one of them will have on the 2010-2011 school year. These numbers are based on actual data from last year, as well as the teaching schedule this instructor developed for the fall. Each of the students and teachers counted would have been directly taught by this instructor through a hands-on, minds-on Fernbank Science Center program. This instructor was not a part of the STT program.

This talented science teacher did not receive a contract for next year, and was not transferred to DeKalb County school.

Elementary Classes taught at Fernbank Science Center
3rd grade: Conservation
1,050 students

4th grade: Forces and Matter
1,120 students

5th grade: Matter
480 students

5th grade: Growing Up Boys and Growing Up Girls
(These are classes that teach children about the changes their bodies go through at adolescence)
1,440 students


Elementary and Middle School classes taught at the local school
Pre-K: Bugs
340 students

3rd grade: Heat
(This is a program that is taught in the auditorium of the High School the Elementary Schools feed into. The program was successfully piloted last year and was going to be expanded to reach every 3rd grade student in the county this year)
6,000 students

5th grade: Matter
840 students

7th grade: Cells
1,200 students

7th grade: Genetic Mutations
480 students

8th grade: Chemical Reactions
1,440 students

8th grade: Density
1,080 students

8th grade: Energy
1,560 students


DeKalb County Teacher Staff Development
3rd grade: 120 teachers
4th grade: 40 teachers
5th grade: 50 teachers


In summary, here are the numbers of students and teachers directly impacted by the loss of this certified and extremely talented science teacher.

Elementary Classes taught at Fernbank Science Center
4,090 students

Elementary and Middle School classes taught at the local school
12,940 students

DeKalb County Teacher Staff Development
210 teachers

Anonymous said...

Don't positions such as Graduation Coach, Registrars, as such count as "points" as well?

Anonymous said...

@ MG and Cerebration

So now we see the real numbers. 361 + 275 (last year) = 636 teachers we have lost. It looks a lot like the economic mismanagement of DCSS administrators is being balanced on the backs of our students and teachers. And that's the DeKalb Way. Protect your "jobs program". I told you Ms. Tyson could put a great spin on the data although to be fair she no doubt had some help. 105 sounds
better than 361. Does this figure even include the 105 non-renewals? I'm assuming attrition wasn't enough, so they had to ax some more teachers in addition to this. 636 teachers loat in 2 years is a pretty hefty percentage. The state DOE site had us at about 6700 teacher for 2008-2009 reporting from DCSS HR so that reads to me that DCSS has lost around 10% of our teachers. Ms. Tyson and the BOE have these figures. It's embarrassing that parents have done so little to protect the people that are directly caring for their children all day every day. Maybe they'll care enough to vote this BOE out in the fall.

Anonymous said...

Instead of just taking a guess at number of teachers lost, why don't you take the time to compare the FTE numbers from each of the last 3 years? That data is available.

themommy said...

With the exception of the one teacher at Fernbank SC, we have not heard anything about any teachers at schools being laid off. Central officer personnel and paras, yes, but no teachers.

Next year, DCSS will have 100s of unearned teachers. There will be fewer than this year (because of non-renewal of low performing teachers--100 or so and because of retirements/resignations) but not because of teacher layoffs.

If the teachers who were fired or are retiring/quitting are certified in certain areas, they may have to be replaced. A displaced kindergarten teacher can't teach high school math.

I expect that DCSS will have to do some hiring, though they aren't ready to say so yet. My understanding is that most of the resignations/quittings were at the secondary level where certification is required to be in the subject area.

The state funding formula is a big part of the problem here. With Kathy Cox resigning, I hope that the next State Super. will see that part of their role is to be an advocate for GA's students.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 3:00 pm

Could you possibly post the FTE link. I would like to compare that to what is reported for DCSS on the DOE site showing the Report Card. I'm assuming to won't show what's happening in the upcoming year since FTE counts won't be until the fall.

Cerebration said...

You can find a lot of data at the DOE admin site - the link is also listed in the favorite links column on the right hand panel of the blog -

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/

Cerebration said...

Just an FYI - the total FTE reported by DCSS for March, 2010 was 98,339

The total (consolidated) budget just approved for school year 2010-11 including the cuts was $1,037,292,826 (yes - over a billion dollars!)

Divide that by 98,339 and you get $10,548 per student.

Why is this not enough?

Well, the general operations portion of that billion dollar budget is only $746,636,912 ($7,592 per student).

But the total amount spent on "non-operations" which I am not certain what that entails, is $290,655,914 ($2,956 per student). I think it's pretty important to find out exactly where that portion of the budget is going.

Anyone know?

Cerebration said...

Also - FTE does not mean "students" - many students count for more than 1.0 FTE (full-time-equivalent). Gifted, special ed, etc can range from 1.2 - 2.0 FTE or more per student.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The state funding formula is a big part of the problem here. With Kathy Cox resigning, I hope that the next State Super. will see that part of their role is to be an advocate for GA's students

Yep....

Cere is right - there is so much information to be found on the GA DOE website. Sometimes it takes some poking around to find it, but you can usually find whatever you are looking for.

Dunwoody Mom said...

FTE reports can be found with this:

http://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_ethnicsex.entry_form

Anonymous said...

Well according to MG we will lose 361 teachers. So what is the rationale for saying 105? I must be missing something. I can follow MG's numbers. Where is the flaw in his logic that would assume 105 teachers instead of his calculation of 361?

Anonymous said...

Hey, anonymous, did you not read the post by "themommy"?

Anonymous said...

How do you find out how many FTE points a school had last year and how many this upcoming year? Is it on one of the websites we go to for info?

Square Peg said...

For the number of points budgeted per school, download the PDF budget documents linked in the upper right corner of this page:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/budget/

The points in the 2009-2010 budget ("FY 2010") may be different from what the school actually ended up with. For instance, Cere tells us Lakeside currently has 97.5 FTE points, but last year's budget said 91. They had to hire more teachers after the school year started.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Square Peg said...

To be precise, since people cite information from this blog, I can't remember well enough to say when Lakeside hired teachers, so ignore the last sentence of my previous post.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Go this this link and choose the date and DeKalb County. The March figures will be the "final" ones for the school year.

http://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_ethnicsex.entry_form

Square Peg said...

Also, we may be talking about two different things: FTE's (students) and points (staff). Around page 20 or 21 of the budget PDFS are the formulas they used to calculate the number of budgeted points from the number of FTEs.

Anonymous said...

There are hundreds of unearned teachers in DeKalb. 100s. They are sometimes reflected in the budget sheets that Square Peg is referring to and sometimes not.

Another of the great mysteries of DeKalb.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...

Square Peg, I have to admit I'm confused too. I thought FTE's were enrollment, then I thought they were points. It's all so confusing!!! I need a primer for all of this

Anonymous said...

@7:02 -- Keep in mind that around 100 are the magnet teachers, unearned, paid 100% with local tax dollars.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

Unfortunately, I don't think the powers that be find it necessary to share with the teachers and concerned community members exactly how many actual teachers will be cut from their respective schools.

I speculate that there will be an abundance of shuffling and staff reassignments that take place during the summer. I don't think that any school will be fully aware of the changes until some time in mid July.

Gotta love working in DeKalb - where communication is encouraged, miscommunication is empowered, yet lack of communication consistently rules the day.

When will we find out publicly who is still on the payroll in the CubMart Complex on Mountain Industrial (For those who remember, this renovated facility used to be 2 stores next door to each other - KMart and Cub Foods).

What's going on at the CubMart ????

Ella Smith said...

It is apparent the frustration at the county office and school board members by employees in Dekalb County.

I agree communication is extremely important. In Fulton we have be aware about what was going to happen regarding lay-offs or pink slips for months. Most of the individuals in question got pink slips in April. They did not have to wait until the last minute. However, we also have teachers who walked out the door. This was not good for the students either. However, communication is key and there does appear to be a problem.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

Hey, does anyone have information about teachers who came over from India or other foreign countries in some sort of special program? I understand that one of the teachers at our school will not be returning next year because the contract with her progamm will not be renewed with Dekalb. I believe this was her second or third year teaching in this country?

Are these teachers accounted for by Dekalb County Payroll or are they on some specialized financial plan like Title I employees?

Are there any Title I employees who will lose their jobs, or have they been granted some sort of immunity through Dr. Audria Berry ?

Anonymous said...

I was informed from an inside source that Dale Davis was let go on Friday.

Anonymous said...

On Monday as we begin to see the actually individuals that had lost their jobs, it became more confusing how the cuts were made. All of them did not seem to be based on seniority. I heard of people have 28 and 26 years of service being let go. Some departments did not lose anyone. All of the options for for furlough days require that we have less time at the beginning of the school year for pre planning. There is only one day for post planning and that is one of the days that can be voted on to be eliminated. If you have a full exam scheudule on the last day of school, when do you grade them and post the grades. It will cause teachers to either water down their exams to make them easier to grade or actually give the exams earlier.
To have the school based cuts done before the last week of school is very hard for everyone. Students are becoming aware that they may lose some of their favorite paras. There are many good paras in the school system. Please pray for us. This is a very difficult time. You can feel the hurt. Perhaps it was done so fast to not give people a chance to think. They were notified on Friday. They began to be processed on Monday. This will impact the school and the level of trust.

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