Sunday, May 23, 2010

What the Budget Cuts Mean

http://www.ajc.com/news/government-waste/ajc-special-school-central-533227.html
AJC Special: School
central offices costly
-
Gloria Talley, deputy superintendent for teaching and learning with DeKalb schools, explained the many functions the central office performs.

“Let me tell you what we do,” Talley said. “We recruit and hire teachers. We write their checks. We train teachers in current practices and current strategies. We monitor teachers. We monitor principals. We assist principals in how they work with teachers. We have textbooks to purchase. We write curriculum. We have technology to oversee and to help implement.

“There’s a testing component that we need to oversee. There’s planning that we assist our schools with, and data analysis to help schools make decisions. That list doesn’t even include student security and safety.”

She continued: “I don’t want to get into the debate about how many bodies you need to run a central office because people sit on different sides of the fence. I believe that schools need support and that’s what we’re here for.”

Cobb County
106,079 Students
$34,470,248 spent on General Administration
-
DeKalb County
96,907 Students
$49,159,245 spent on General Administration
-
Yep, it's all about you and the Central Office, Gloria Talley.
-
-
In an unbelievable display of insouciance, completely ignoring the reasons why there was a $100 million budget deficit and what led to it, the DCSS Central Office led by Ramona Tyson, and approved by the Board of Education, cowardly made cuts to the lowest paid staff and new teachers, you know, the people who actually work in the classroom and school house, where the students are.

In fact, the only administrative department/division that had any substantial cuts was the public relations division. And the one reason why this division had administrator layoffs is that Board of Ed members and the highest ranking Central Office administrators (Tyson, Bob Moseley, Gloria Talley, Marcus Turk, Ron Ramsey) felt the PR staff allowed the media to report too many negative stories on DCSS, whether the stories were deserved or not. The BOE, Crawford Lewis, Tyson, etc. got egg on their face, so the PR staff was gone. Of course, the only upper level PR administrator who did not lose her job, Philandria Guillory, is the daughter of a powerful former board member, Frances Edwards. Funny how family members of board members fared well in the budget cuts.

The most telling budget cuts comes from the the systems IT department, aka MIS, Management Information Systems. Ramona Tyson was the administrator in charge of this department while it grew from a small support services department to a massively bloated and ineffective monster of a department, with hundreds of employees and a $20 million annual budget. The annual budget doesn't count the millions spent on eSIS. And many parents and taxpayers don't know that even with hundreds of employees, MIS relies on Dell for much of the real technical dirty work of installations, server maintenance, etc.

The cuts made by Ramona Tyson to MIS are the lead proof on how she doesn't get it, no one else from the Central Office gets it, and that the Board of Education has never "got it". What cuts were made to MIS? Well, a few CTSS employees were let go. Who are the CTSS'ers? The employees who provide front level support to teachers and staff in the school building. Did any MIS administrators have to worry about the budget cuts? Nope, Tyson took care of her own.

Because the MIS Dept. has little quality control, yes, there are stories on how some CTSS'ers are unprofessional and unhelpful, like son of Frances Edwards, Jamal Edwards, who went six months not being seen in his assigned school. But the majority of CTSS'ers were productive employees who tried their best to serve their assigned schools and navigate the ridiculous MIS procurement and equipment replacement process. Again, it's telling that whenever a Central Office administrator wants a new computer, he/she receives it in a flash, while many teachers, especially in elementary schools, have ten year old desktops and smart boards that don't work because Tyson picked a brand with incredibly expensive replacement bulbs. You should see the technology, especially flat screen TV's, in the new Central Office HQ at Mountain Industrial.

So the budget was balanced, with some early retirement, but the bulk of the cuts came from the school house, with teachers and in school support staff being let go. The source of the bloat, and the decision-makers who spent millions with no return on investment from #$%^ like America's Choice, eSIS, etc., are still in place with their six figure salaries and their complete lack of understanding of what the school house needs, or that some older schools are falling apart. Tens of millions are spent anually on Instructional Coaches or Supervisors or whatever Deborah Rives (former DCSS regional super who now works for America's Choice) and Gloria Talley call them are still out of the classroom assigning nonsense busy work to actual teachers who actually teacher our children.

The bloat is still there. The massive upper management is still in place. Hundreds of administrators, managers and staff who have nothing to do with the classroom are still there. My hope is the new superintendent will instantly recognize this and clean house. But without a new Board of Education, that will be extremely difficult and unlikely.

I'd like to hear from you where the real budget and personnel cuts should have been made, and what we can do as parents and taxpayers to out those focus back on the student, teacher and school house!!! Post away!

136 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cowardly is a strong word to use, but it's accurate. It's almost as if Tyson and her upper staff made a conscious decision to protect as many administrator jobs as possible, and as many non-classroom manager and staff positions as possible too. It is insane that MIS survived with narely a mark. And that the Gloria Talley/Deb Rives army of instructional supervisors wasn't completely let go.

Anonymous said...

Gloria Talley is not only the third highest paid employee in DCSS, her army of instructional coaches are all highly paid, even though some have only a few years of teaching experience. You have Talley's staff bossing around teachers who've been in the classroom for decades.

For this school system to work, we need well paid master teachers and principals. Our princials are well paid, but our teachers are not only underpaid, they have to deal with so much nonsense and busy work from Talley and Deb Rives.

So many in DCSS do everything they can to score one of the many of hundreds cushy administrator or managers jobs, and then fight to make sure they stay in those positions forever, and bring in family and friends with them. Get out of the classroom, score an admin job, and you're set for life.

In the best school systems, like Decatur, teachers want to stay in the classroom, or become a principal or asst. principal. They don't hurry to get out of the classroom as soon as possible. They are well compensated, get the resources they need, and the administration, get this, actually listens to them!!

Until the focus at DCSS is on the student, teacher and classroom, we'll be stuck with a massive bureaucracy forever.

Cerebration said...

Just a clarification - Deborah Rives is not employed by DCSS --- she was an Area Superintendent up until a couple of years ago and left to take a nice job with America's Choice. After which, DCSS promptly spent multiple millions on a contract with AC.

Anonymous said...

If cuts had to be made in the school house, I wish they had been made based on merit or at least what the principals recommended. As a teacher in DCSS, I work with far too many people who come to work to collect a paycheck and avoid work. I also work with some of the most devoted educators I've seen. In the corporate world you are asked to prove yourself each year for your pay increase and continuation of employment. There is a serious flaw in the school system when people who should be let go are not. Its discouraging to know that no matter how hard I work, it will not be reflected in my pay nor will anything be done about the slackers who collect the same check I do.

Cerebration said...

Wait a minute -- Talley is jumping into the fray - in defense of ADMINISTRATION? Is there ANYONE in DCSS who would publicly state similar "job descriptions" for teachers? Principals? Librarians???

OMG! I thought she was leaving -- she needs to get going - now!

Love this line from the article --

DeKalb schools have more people making $100,000-plus a year than any district.

So -- looks like we've been on target all along! We were right - DCSS is a bloated, self-serving jobs program!

Cerebration said...

I was struck by this quote from Molly Bardsley - who used to be a very active DCSS parent --

Parent Molly Bardsley of Tucker has three children, including a sixth-grader and a seventh-grader who no longer attend school in DeKalb. Bardsley says the county’s schools are drowning in bureaucracy.

She decided to send her daughters to Ivy Preparatory Academy, a charter school for girls in Norcross.

“There’s an enormous number of layers there in DeKalb and nobody really seems terribly empowered to do anything,” Bardsley said. “You have a problem, and the principal — even if they’d like to solve the problem — they have to keep kicking it up the chain.

“I wanted a school where the money and the energy was being focused on educating the children as opposed to this giant bureaucracy that DeKalb has grown.”

Bardsley says bureaucracy is not an issue at her daughters’s new school.

“At the charter school, the highest level of administration is right there at the school. The principal is empowered to make decisions. She does not have to go to an area assistant superintendent, the associate superintendent, the deputy superintendents, the deputy chief superintendents.”


That pretty much sums it up - except to say that the administration does not care one lick that the Bardsleys or so many others have taken their children out of DCSS. After all, it doesn't effect their paycheck one tiny little weeny bit.

Cerebration said...

Fulton County: Fulton County schools, with 440 central office jobs, will cut 53 vacant positions and 10 that are staffed.

Gwinnett County: With 489 central office positions costing $35.5 million, Gwinnett says it will freeze hiring for central office positions, except critical need, saving $8.5 million.

Clayton County: With 494 jobs in the central office, Clayton plans to cut three cabinet-level posts, three directors, one assistant director and 10 coordinators, all of which are higher-ranking jobs. It also plans to cut about 35 lower-ranking central office jobs, such as administrative assistants, for a savings of $5.3 million, district spokesman Charles White said.

Cobb County: Cobb plans to cut 45 of its 360 central office positions. It did not list the jobs except to say that it has eliminated an associate superintendent position. It’s cutting another 23 slots, but they are positions such as custodians, bus drivers and mechanics, according to an e-mail from the system’s chief financial officer. The cuts are projected to save about $4.9 million.

DeKalb says its has 982 central office workers, but that includes mechanics, maintenance workers and school police officers. The district is cutting 150 “central office” jobs for a savings of about $11.5 million. Those cuts include one associate superintendent, an area assistant superintendent, two secretaries to area assistant superintendents and scores of maintenance workers, custodians, painters, school police and secretaries, among others.

Cerebration said...

So, if I'm reading this right, DCSS is cutting 4 admin - central office people - and "scores" of regular people who happen to be under the central office umbrella.

Anonymous said...

What about all of the teachers who have not received schedules for next year? Will DCSS maintain its bloated administration while cutting these teachers? What, exactly, is going on here?

Cerebration said...

Got this good pile of info from the Get Schooled blog comments thread on the cuts -

Here are some departments below that you may want to look at. There are many other employees besides all those $100,000+ managers, directors, assistant directors, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, Deputy Superintendents, etc. that no doubt were in your calculations.

$9,000,000:
Did you include benefits – estimated at 20% to 25% in DCSS?
That figure alone would have bumped up the DCSS $49,000,000 AJC calculation to $58,000,000 (using the more modest 20% in benefits). $9,000,000 more spent in benefit money would buy an awful lot of teachers.

$18,000,000:
Did you consider MIS (Information Systems)? This department of 290 employees consumes $15,000,000 in salary and with 20% benefits $18,000,000. Many of the titles are “hidden” in the state Salary and Travel spreadsheet. Here are the personnel titles you should have considered that fall under the MIS budget:
Technology Specialist, IS Personnel -Transportation, IS Personnel – Support Services, IS Personnel – Other Support, IS Personnel – Miantenance, IS Personnel – Instructional Serv, Information Services Clerk, Information Services Personnel

$7,000,000:
Did you know that the “Instructional Supervisors” are Central Office personnel (often listed as coordinators)? There are 62 of these employees who cost DCSS almost $6,000,000. With 20% benefits, they cost DCSS over $7,000,000.
Here are just a few of the titles of DCSS Instructional Supervisors:
Magnet and Theme School, Gifted Coordinator, Title 1 Coordinator, Assistant Director Health and Wellness, Assessment and Accountability Coordinators, Educational Media Director, Elementary English/Language Arts and Social Studies Coordinator (2 of them for this job), Middle School Math Coordinator for Middle Schools, Content Coordinator for Reading First, Content Coordinator for Science (Elementary), Content Coordinator for Science, etc.

$7,000,000:
How about the “Staff Development Specialists” on the audit spreadsheet? Did you know they are our Instructional Coaches who “train” teachers (never teach a child). There are 80 of them and they account for over $6,000,000 in salary. With 20% benefits this figure comes to over $7,000,000.

$5,000,000
Graduation and Literacy Coaches:
$4,000,000 in salary and $5,000,000 with benefits for 60 employees.

$12,000,000:
Did you consider the Security Personnel/Security for DCSS as Central office employees? DCSS has 218 Security employees at a cost of close to $10,000,000 in salary and with benefits $12,000,000. (As a basis for comparison, Gwinnett County Schools with 156,000+ students to our almost 97,000 students has 49 Security Personnel/Security at around $2,000,000 in salary and benefits).

Cerebration said...

CONTINUED --

$4,000,000:
How about Human Resources? I went to the DCSS website and downloaded their .pdf document that list every HR employee and their titles. Then I used the state Salary and Travel audit to make a spreadsheet that listed every name and salary using Autosum function to calculate their salaries. They have 60 employees and salaries of $3,500,000. With benefits this comes to over $4,000,000?

$5,000,000:
Did you consider Fernbank Science Center? Ms. Tyson certainly considers Fernbank Science Center personnel as Central Office employees. She recently let go of 2 employees as part of those 150 Central office employees (one was a teacher and one was administrator) the AJC listed. Most of the Fernbank Science Center personnel are listed as “Other Instructional Provider”. Fernbank Science Center personnel (29 teachers and 36 admin and support personnel) cost around $4,000,000 in salaries and almost $5,000,000 with benefits.

$4,000,000:
Family Service Center employees cost $3,500,000. With benefits this figure soars over $4,000,000. This department is a favorite place to “park” BOE and former BOe members’ relatives.

$6,000,000:
Did you consider the “Miscellaneous” category that DCSS placed many employees in. If you look what these employees do, you will find many Central Office employees. DCSS has over $6,000,000 in salaries that are marked “Miscellaneous”. A far greater number of our personnel are dumped into this “Miscellaneous” category.

Anonymous said...

The Area Assistant Superintendent for Region I is retiring. One Associate Superintendent retired at the beginning of the school year and never was replaced. Every Region Office not only has a secretary but also a coordinator. Most of the Region Superintendents have only elementary school backgrounds. It may help if there were some more ones with high school experience. Some of the issues in high school are not the same as in the elementary schools. From our High School Graduation Test Scores, it appears that schools may need more support with math and social studies. Due to the furlough days it appears that there will be fewer staff development days.
Also, it is a tremendous responsibility to be a principal. They are on call 24-7. If there is a storm, they have to go to their building to check it. They are held accountable for test scores, teacher retention, building safety and repairs, health inspection, after school functions, parental involvement and anything else that the schools decide that they should do. No I am not a principal. I am a parent who works with her school. We are currently on our third principal in the last four years. If this one stays, I will be shocked. It truly is a thank less job. It is also very easy to look from the outside and draw conclusions. I know. Before I became involved in the school, I had a totally diffent view. It is hard to get repairs done in a school.Please be careful of blaming one category for all problems. It is very difficult to get rid of bad staff members, even if you were not the one who hired the person. I am concerned that with the reduction in Points, schools may get staff members that do not want to be at a certain school. This can create problems for everyone, especially our students. I wish that school based cuts had been done with more care

Anonymous said...

Cere-
FSC let at least 3 people go, one who was in the non-teaching category. An additional teaching position will not be filled (a longtime PhD level teacher passed away unexpectedly, several months ago). That is at least 4 positions, and I have heard there may be more.

Cerebration said...

Another interesting - related topic -

A billion-dollar burden or justice?

Georgia taxpayers spend $1 billion a year locking up so many criminal offenders that the state has the fourth-highest incarceration rate in the nation. When it comes to overall criminal punishment, no state outdoes Georgia.

Could this possibly correlate to our inability to educate so many of our people? Could this possibly still be carryover racial inequities? Newfound Jim Crow-type ideals?

Read this very interesting report at WEB DuBois Society and then think about it -

FROM SLAVERY TO
MASS INCARCERATION


For several reasons, black youth in America today are in a state of emergency and in dire need of a lifeline. We believe, like W.E.B. Du Bois believed, education is that lifeline. But, according to the statistics, the standard approaches aren't working.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Society is leading the way with a new approach. An approach that's helping black students to rise above the negative statistics, narrow the academic achievement gap and influence their peers to make academic excellence a top priority and a concrete reality.


What will these budget cuts mean to the educational opportunities of our black and other minority youth? How can black leaders make these kinds of direct cuts to black youth -- simply due to their own greed to maintain a six-figure lifestyle for so many insiders? This is an enormous disconnect in the black community, IMO. They seem to be throwing the futures of many of their own under the bus to save themselves, when in reality these decisions will only serve to increase the problems highlighted in the prison report.

Harsh? Maybe - but I've been pondering this possibility for a long time. Greed really does trump virtue and righteousness - I truly hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Cere,

It is not harsh. Somehow we have lost our way. Perhaps, when there is a conclusion to the investigation and trust can be built again, things can begin to improve. I do not feel that anyone in the schools that has gone through this RIF experience feels that the schools are the main focus. I include in this the people that were not RIF'ed. They saw good people lose their jobs. People that came to work every day and did an exceptional job with the students.That really makes you feel loyal and appreciated. Students also feel that they have lost some of their best support people. At least that is the way my children feel. There are many displaced teachers, paras and counselors that have no idea where they will work next school year. Or for that matter, the day that they will begin work.

Dan M. said...

The article makes a solid point about Central Office's being overstaffed. But equally important is that in Dekalb, administrators and managers (and some admin assistants), are highly overpaid. The Ernst & Young salary audit showed that, at the time, DCSS was overpaying at least $15 mil per year to administrators and managers. Would love to see the full audit posted online.

DCSS admin salaries is where the real money is, and a main reason why so many teachers aspire to get out of the calssroom. Why not get paid more to work an easier job?

Anonymous said...

I am a CTSS that was spared in this round of foolish cuts. First of all, let me say that I am very disheartened as to what happened to my colleagues that were not spared. Like I, these guys really cared about their staff members and students and did whatever was necessary to make sure the technology was running efficiently every day.

Everyone know that the CTSS is the lowest paid employee under MIS. We have not had an increase over the past 3 years. Since I was spared, I have been assigned to an additional school with close to 1000 students and over 500 computers and laptops and many other technology that I'm expected to provide service for in addition to my current school that has 480 students. I will also be required to take the 7 furlough days. As such, I have made the decision to do all I can this summer to find another job and move on so I won't be subjected to the type of treatment my not spared colleagues received and be pressured to do much more with very, very little pay.

Kim Gokce said...

Yes, what Molly said. She has on more than one occasion cut to the quick regarding DCSS. The empowerment of principals and the investment in school houses would do wonders for our "system" in DeKalb.

I have often tried to understand the "public vs. private" school performance and reputation in my area where there are more high schoolers in private schools than public. There are many factors that are obvious (selective application, parental involvement, private resources for tutoring, etc.) but I am increasingly convinced that much private school successes have to do with the empowerment of the school house principal, headmaster, and faculty.

It seems our leaders have been busy building an educational system instead of simply building and empowering schools (and how about maintaining, too?). As impressive as Mountain Industrial Center is, it is a stretch to link this wonderful facility to future success in our schools.

Kim Gokce said...

Dan M: "DCSS admin salaries is where the real money is, and a main reason why so many teachers aspire to get out of the calssroom."

Another fundamental dynamic undermining our public system ... the incentives should be offered to those who want to stay in the school house. How about these for guidelines:

1) The highest salary range in the system should be for principals.
2) Each principal will have a salary no higher than the highest paid teacher in the building.
3) No system overhead position/title shall be paid more than the lowest paid principal in the system.

Is that too complicated to manage? What flaw is there in this guideline? Our money and the system power structure should be flattened so the school house is the center of gravity and the most desirable place to work in the system.

Anonymous said...

Could Talley be more defensive? If I hadn't had several personal conversations with her over the years, I might think the AJC got the tone wrong. However, that is how she is.

HR should have been shrunk as very little hiring is happening. Staff/professional development is notoriously bad in DCSS so cuts should have been made there.

Instead, they cut the instructional coordinators, maintainence workers, etc and left so much bloat.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:39 pm
"From our High School Graduation Test Scores, it appears that schools DO NOT need more support with math and social studies. " We need more teachers that actually teach the content to students.

In my career starting in DCSS, I had jobs within the schoolhouse as a teacher and outside the schoolhouse as a support person working in almost every school in DCSS and working with thousands of teachers and students. I also was a DCSS parent for 13 years (K-12).

The problems with our budget are simply too many admin and support personnel and too few teachers. DCSS lost its focus in the 1990s and never regained it.

New principals are put in place every time the scores come out so it’s not surprising that your school has had numerous principals. Removing a principal and putting another one in his/her place is an excellent way to deflect criticism from the instructional leaders of DCSS.

If you had ever sat in some of the meetings and listened to the disrespectful comments administrators and support personnel make about teachers, you would be appalled. You would think teachers are the most unmotivated personnel in the world because they aren't bent on a "career path" in DCSS. And you would think teachers are really just too dull and/or lazy to understand the hundreds of policies, programs, procedures, meetings, training sessions, and reports that are required of them. Teachers are the low people on the totem pole. Many teachers are not treated with the respect they deserve so this is what many young teachers learn is acceptable behavior by supervisors (not necessarily principals – there is a veritable “army” of instructional supervisors, coaches, managers, directors, etc. all pressing down on teachers). When these young teachers become supervisors, they often behave in the same manner as these supervisors since these were their role models.

Below is the way personnel get added to the DCSS bureaucracy:

Positions are created because someone has an idea for a program that sounds good to them. They sell it to "Upper Management" and "Upper Management" sells it to the BOE.
A few examples are:
1. TeachMaster (DCSS curriculum on a CD Rom - consumed millions and had us hire a high priced "Curriculum Director" with her cadre of high priced coordinators). BTW, this was never used since the Georgia Curriculum came online. Abandoned with millions down the drain with absolutely nothing to show for it.
2. High Schools that Work – Program from the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) program. BTW Gloria Talley worked for the SREB before she came to DeKalb.
3. Springboard - the scripted learning program sold to DCSS by the College Board (millions every year). Teachers don’t like it, but Lewis and the Central Office did.
4. America's Choice - another scripted learning program which caused us to hire 80 high priced Instructional Coaches
5. eSIS - Complex gradebook software that replaced one infinitely less expensive that already worked. Programmers and trainers were devoted to it - did they hire people for this - probably.
6. Schoolnet - $7,000,000 - We "rent space" on the Schoolnet server to collect and manage our student data (Data is still stored on the AS 400 that DCSS owns, but Schoolnet seemed so much easier to get reports from). The problem is we don't have enough computers for kids to take the benchmark tests and the reports are not timely enough and accessible enough for teachers to be of any use. More personnel required for a system that does not benefit students.

B. All these programs and many more are eventually phased out (they always are), but the personnel hired to run them stay, but never in the function of teachers. They get absorbed into the vast bureaucracy of DCSS admin and support. Over time, this has created a nightmare whereby personnel outside the schoolhouse begin to believe that the school system functions to keep them employed.

Anonymous said...

Respect for DCSS will not be regained by the TAXPAYERS for the Central Office staff, until....
Ms. Tyson, Mr. Moseley, Ms. Mitchell, Dr. Thompson, Mr. Turk, Philandra Guilroy, Philandra's husband, _____ Guilroy, who runs transportation, Jamal "Where's Waldo" Edwards as well as any hire from the Dr. Lewis reign of terror.

Folks, we need to teach these folks that they work for US and for our children. We trust them to spend OUR taxpayer dollars wisely and not just line the pockets of these friends and family of former Board members and Superintendents.

The arrogance of Ms. Talley, who thankfully is leaving in June, is astonishing! These folks actually think that their leadership doesn't stink! Most of us at this blog, beg to differ. This AJC piece should be a wake-up call to every DeKalb taxpayer and it's time that we ask these folks, that "lead" the Central Office, to turn in their keys and leave the spacious new building they designed, behind.

Until we see definitive change in the LEADERSHIP of DCSS, our schools do not have chance at success.

Keep calling, emailing and bugging these folks. The more we sting them and rat out the folks who think that DCSS is their personal gravy train the better off we'll be in the long run

Dekalbparent said...

Ditto Kim 1:55. I have had my kids in both public (DCSS) and private school. One of the GREAT things about private school was that the buck stopped with the head of school. You pretty much knew exactly who to talk to about any concern, and you could get an appointment with them.

I was not always happy with the outcome of a particular conversation, but I could count on having the conversation within a couple of days of the issue's arising. I felt like I had an actual stake in what was going on in my kid's education, and that I could actually do something about it. This, in turn, made me more willing to work cooperatively with the administration, because it felt like we had a common goal.

The DCSS bureaucracy makes it impossible to feel this sort of shared mission - there are clearly many very different agendas in DCSS.

(BTW, we left the private school because of cost and the superiority attitude of many of the students; "My purse cost more than yours, so I must be better in all ways." I do not imagine this to be the case at Ivy Prep - I am a very big fan of that school.)

Molly said...

@ Cere - With regards to your earlier comment, I still have one child in a DeKalb school and plan to remain active in the school and the DCSS for many years to come. (Though I'm sure there is more than one administrator who wishes I would leave altogether.)

Dan M. said...

1) Kim Gokce needs to run for BOE! KG, don't make me give out your phone number, Kim, and have a 1000 parents call to recruit you!

2) Anon 2:32 is right on the mark. I too have heard administrators, support staff and even BOE members, talk disparringly about teachers. The focus is now and has been on the Central Office and support departments. They consider teachers to be a dime a dozen. An experienced master teacher should be the most revered employee in the system.

3) One of the worst ends results of so many administrators is what Anon 2:32 gives examples of: They make huge, expensive, multi-million dollar purchases to try to justify their positions and salaries.

You know what TeachMaster, High Schools that Work, Springboard, America's Choice, eSIS, Schoolnet all have in common:
First, THEY SUCK! Secondly, they were purchased without any input from teachers. Thirdly, they were purchased by administrators who have no clue on what is needed in the classroom. Fourthly, they are all terribly expensive, and some of the companies hired DCSS staff to grease the wheels for the purchase. And again, THEY SUCK!!

Things have to change, people.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:39 You have elementary principals and Assistant principals with no elementary teaching experience. They don't understand what it takes to teach a child to read. Our system is very flawed.

Anonymous said...

I agree that many administrators, school-based have no experience in the regular classroom. DCSS has employees at every level and in every building that should be let go...evaulation system is flawed...files are thick with documentation...yet they return day after day doing nothing. This is happening in the corporate world too..except they "fire" folks much faster for much less. School based employees can write and implememnt curriculum [in fact they are doing so]. They don't need a central office staff member dictating what to do. We have the DOE frameworks, GPS standards, and resources...let us teach...give us pay raises when you let go of all the folks that make $100,000 +
instead of pay cuts and/or furlough days.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:01am....

"It's almost as if Tyson and her upper staff made a conscious decision to protect as many administrator jobs as possible..."

If you think that anyone other than Tyson, Moseley, and Thompson have any power in decision-making, you're fooling yourself. Even before Tyson became interim, the list of decision-makers was restricted to those 3 + Lewis. The rest of the "upper staff" has been shut out of decision making for some time and was practically punished if they tried to bring some sense to the table.

DeKalb has been a dictatorship for several years now. Tyson speaks of improving morale?? What a laugh. She treats her people the same way that Lewis did...horribly. Many posters on this blog assume that a great group of "upper staff" have some control over what happens. Sadly, that is not the case. Maybe if it were, we wouldn't be in such a miserable state right now.

Anonymous said...

I live in Dekalb County, but I homeschool my own children (actually my wife does most of the schooling). Though I realize every school is different, every teacher is different, and every child is different, I often receive confirmation (from news about DCSS schools) that I made the right decision to keep my children at home. An alternative for me would have been private christian school.

That is not say that my children would receive a completely inferior education at every school in my attendance zone. However, the information that continues to surface regarding DCSS leaves me suspicious about what really goes on in this school system. My own experience as a product of public school is comparable to the schools of today.

Oh, did I mention that I also teach at a Dekalb county school?

........ although I don't know how much longer I can continue to do this in Dekalb.

.

Anonymous said...

Parents and Tax Payers of DeKalb,

What this is means is that the focus of DCSS is not on educating the children of DeKalb, but keeping highly paid people who are friends and family employed. The people running DCSS do not care if the children receive a quality education. They just care that they are able to keep their highly over paid jobs.

Our children are suffering because of greed. Please vote new people into our school board in who care about the children and will not support the same old, same old of hiring and retaining friends and family no matter what.

Anonymous said...

I think that the people that train teachers and write curriculum were laid off. Proving, that those farthest from students, teachers and classrooms were not affected by this budget.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. This post went on the graduation test article. It should have gone on this one:

I don't think the AJC figures of $49,000,000 for Central office personnel are correct. I think $71,000,000 is more accurate. Actually, if we add 20% benefits, then $85,000,000 is even more accurate.

Go to the Georgia DOE website to view the certified administration and support personnel numbers for DCSS. The figures on this page are for DCSS personnel who hold teaching certificates but do not teach. The latest figures are for DCSS school year 2008-2009. Please see the weblink below.

http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

Administration: $49,000,000
DCSS has 534 administration personnel with teaching certificates who average $91,296 each which is about $49,000,000.

Support: $62,000,000
DCSS has 939 support personnel with teaching certificates who average $64,653 each which is about $62,000,000.

Subtract the Assistant Principals and Principals salary: $36,000,000
DCSS has 420+ Principals and Assistant Principals who make a combined total of $36,000,000 (state Salary and Travel audit 2009)

$49,000,000 + $62,000,000 minus $36,000,000 = $75,000,000 for Central Office personnel. Add 20% in benefits, and the figure is $85,000,000 in Central Office salary and benefits.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster who said that the waste is not just in the Central Office personnel salaries. The worst waste in their decisions for millions and millions in programs that do not have any teacher input, teacher buy-in and that not only fail to improve student achievement, but actually are detrimental to our students' learning. Inevitably, 100% of the time, these programs are phased out.

Tens of millions of taxpayer educational dollars down the drain.

At some point in time the Central Office personnel and the BOE must take some responsibility for the purchase of these programs that have not helped and in many instances harmed the classroom.

No accountability is asked by the BOE and no accountability is given by DCSS administrators.

And the poster is correct in that many DCSS Central Office personnel and the personnel in the companies that sell to DCSS move fluidly between organizations.

Anonymous said...

Budget cuts mean that those teachers who love teaching, will continue to do the best they can under any circumstances. If a teacher has a choice to leave DCSS, they probably will leave or change careers. If a teacher needs the job and benefits, then they are stuck.

Budget cuts mean that some great support personnel in DCSS were RIFFED or left before they were RIFFED. There were lots of good, hard working "central office" personnel who were let go because the policy of tenure kept many friends and family.

Budget cuts mean that some personnel who had longevity or connections were left in place, irregardless of their work ethics or contributions to the system, teachers, or students. Many of these people have the 6 figure salaries, and many of these people were moved into Title I funded positions to "protect" them.

Budget cuts mean that teacher morale is low. I have never been so discouraged in my many years as a classroom teacher in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@ Dan M
"The article makes a solid point about Central Office's being overstaffed. But equally important is that in Dekalb, administrators and managers (and some admin assistants), are highly overpaid. The Ernst & Young salary audit showed that, at the time, DCSS was overpaying at least $15 mil per year to administrators and managers. Would love to see the full audit posted online."

Yes. I would too. And you never will. Even the BOE meeting that the Ernst and Young consultant presented the $15,000,000 in salary over payments (April 1, 2004) is not listed on DCSS eBoard, let alone the summary or the audit which should have been an attachment. We know the meeting took place, because it is referred to in another meeting. The slate has been wiped clean.

I challenge any current BOE member to ask for the $341,000 Compensation and Classification audit summary that the Ernst and Young consultant presented to the BOE April 1, 2004. I don't think they can get it either. I don't think they can even get a summary of the meeting from April 1, 2004.

That's like setting fire to $341,000.

Anonymous said...

...."many of these people were moved into Title I funded positions to "protect" them."

Ahhh. Title 1 - First Lewis's piggybank and now Tyson's piggybank. Expensive personnel balancing on the backs of our most indigent students.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:32 pm

$15,000,000 a year in salary overpayments to non-teaching personnel is pretty big stuff. I think the problem has just gotten worse since then.

Cerebration said...

So glad to hear you're still hanging in with us, Molly!!

Anonymous said...

Why does Human Resources have 3 Directors and 1 Chief Human Resource Officer? Is that top heavy?

Anonymous said...

Please don't forget that DCSS closed the Graphic Arts/Printshop June 30, 2009. These employees provided all the printed material for the schools to open successfully without paying outside over the top cost...another bad idea brought on by Patricia Reed/Pope whoever she is. The district has suffered this last year since we cannot get our copiers services as need nor can we get the regular need forms printed for next to nothing in house. Support is needed for the schools to function properly and I believe not much thought goes into what areas will be cut based upon the needs of the faculty/staff/students...isn't that the overall objective. Now that the summer is here we are back to trying to figure who we can call to get the sopier fixed and how can we get forms printed since we have no copiers. At least before we had apoint of contact who would call Milner and a rep would be out to fix our problems...what do we do now...who will help the schools and who will pay for the printed material on the open market? Our schools are already running over budget. The BOE should be really looking out for us not putting us further in debt....they must leave...quickly and quietly.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 5:54... Those that write the curriculum and train the teachers are "Instructional Coordinators" for the content area. Unfortunately, these folks are often confused with Title 1 Coordinators, Title 1 Instructional Coaches, Graduation Coaches, Instructional Changes coaches and Lead Teachers Special Education (who are also all "Instructional Supervisors" on the publicaly released salary document). This is who bloggers are all lumping into one category that I have seen called "Gloria Talley's Army."

We must be careful that we have ALL of the right facts. The only folks mentioned above that were laid off were the Instructional Coordinators for the Content areas for elementary, middle, and high school. In fact, these departments took the biggest hit- not the PR Department.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:39 pm


Not that long ago, DCSS had one coordinator per content area _ Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies.

We had almost as many students and did better in standardized test scores than we do now.

For example, Ginny Mickish was the Language Arts coordinator for all of DeKalb County. Her door was always open to teachers, she knew what was expected of students from Kindergarten to 12th grade in the area of Language Arts, and she didn't have so much time on her hands that she invented reams of paperwork for teachers to complete as well as recommend buying expensive and ineffective learning programs.

BTW - Ginny also was the head of ESOL although she did have one other person to help her with that.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:57 pm

It's worse than you think.

"
$4,000,000:
How about Human Resources? I went to the DCSS website and downloaded their .pdf document that list every HR employee and their titles. Then I used the state Salary and Travel audit to make a spreadsheet that listed every name and salary using Autosum function to calculate their salaries. They have 60 employees and salaries of $3,500,000. With benefits this comes to over $4,000,000."

Anonymous said...

"You know what TeachMaster, High Schools that Work, Springboard, America's Choice, eSIS, Schoolnet all have in common:
First, THEY SUCK! Secondly, they were purchased without any input from teachers. Thirdly, they were purchased by administrators who have no clue on what is needed in the classroom. Fourthly, they are all terribly expensive, and some of the companies hired DCSS staff to grease the wheels for the purchase. And again, THEY SUCK!!"

Right on, man. Right on!
I am a vet. teacher. I have to live with these junk programs. They cost too much, take way too much time and effort away from the students, and we really believe that they exist to line someones pockets.
In short, as the man said:
They suck.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:48
You are correct, there was a time when there was one instructional coordinator per content area. When I first started in the classroom- there were two. There was however, no AYP, no GHSGT and no NCLB. The two coordinators did the best that they could to support the teachers in their content areas. They were also respected as Master teachers and content area experts.

I believ that all too often nowadays- the decision making is taken out of the hands of those experts who directly support and have close contact with the teachers. I refuse to believe (and know) that these experts opinions were not teaken into consideration when adopting some of the expensive programs that the county has invested in over the past several years. The general public and bloggers here are mistaken on this for sure.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Has anyone had the same probably that I had tonight with eSH*T.... I had a few students that actually have an average above 100. Why, because they went above and beyond the call of duty. Several extra credit projects that were available. I guess I made my extra credit assignments too fun this year.

Now when I go to post grades.. I get caught in loop H@LL. I have to hit the "has to be less than 100 but more than a 0". 35 - 40 times I had to hit this button. Then it would let me go and finally post the grades.

Great going DCSS. Let's not encourage students to work harder. I have spent 4.5 hours in your Loop H@LL.

Am I upset. You are correct.

Anonymous said...

eSis - $4,000,000 because it meshed with Schoolnet - $7,000,000. What an utter waste MIS - $18,000,000 has stuck us with.

Anonymous said...

"I believ that all too often nowadays- the decision making is taken out of the hands of those experts who directly support and have close contact with the teachers. I refuse to believe (and know) that these experts opinions were not teaken into consideration when adopting some of the expensive programs that the county has invested in over the past several years. '

Then why do we need so many of these experts? To meet with, nod and agree with their supervisors?

DCSS has the lowest number of "Meets AYP" in the metro area - lower than Clayton and APS. Obviously, what is being done at the Central Office is ineffective. I really don't know how it could get any worse.

Actually, I was outside the schoolhouse and in almost every school working with thousands of teachers and students for a decade in DCSS so I guess you might say I'm not quite the general public or ordinary blogger. You're right in that the Central Office and the support departments are more political than educational.

Cerebration said...

Anon, 9:39 PM - we have tried to figure out the difference between "Instructional Coordinators" "Instructional Specialists" and "Instructional Supervisors for a very long time.

Please read our post and conversation on the topic and help shed more light on the subject for us.

Clarity on the "Instructional Specialists" vs "Instructional Supervisors"

Anonymous said...

In case anyone was worried we don't have enough people to staff the Central Office, we have quite a few to direct and coordinate even if we lost all our coordinators and coaches.

The list below is only a PARTIAL list. There are many, many more Central Office employees. Most of them are licensed teachers.

The following people are higher level personnel than the coordinators (62 of them for $7,000,000) and coaches (140 of them for $12,000,000).

Estimated salary and benefits are $10,000,000 just for the ones below. And they are just the tip of the iceberg:

Kelli Harris Wright (Dir. Elementary)
Gwen Leverette (Elementary Executive Administrative Assistant)
Sonia S. Croft (Elementary Administrative Assistant)
Rachel Fiore (Elementary Content Coordinator for Science)
Vonzia Phillips (Director of Middle School)
Ms. Angela McWhorter (Middle School Administrative
Assistant)
Ms. Karen Whitmire (Middle School Reading/English Language Arts Coordinator)
Mr. Benjamin Ridgeway (Middle School social Studies Coordinator)
Karen Lewis (Middle School Secretary)
Terri Brown (Middle School English/Language Arts Coordinator)
Stacy Stepney (Director of High School)
Francena W. Lewis (Coordinator of High Schools That Work)
Sandra Nunez (Director of ELL)
Tony Eitel (Assessment Executive Director)
Brenda H. Jones (Assessment Coordinator)
Anita Rogers (Exec. Administrative Assistant)
Gloria Traynum (Assessment Instructional Technology Specialist)
Amanda Ware (Assessment Coordinator)
Ron Sebree (Athletic Director)
Mike Cammack (Athletic Coordinator)
Janet Francis (Athletic Coordinator)
Chris Chilton (Athletic Specialist)
Mark Brock (Athletic Information Officer)
Meredith Cooksey (Executive Assistant to the Director of Athletics)
Bettie Key (Athletic Budget Specialist)
Scott Coleman (Adapted Sports Coordinator)
Karen Lowery (Athletics Accounting)
Jennifer Hiott (Athletics Marketing Associate)
Alice Thompson (Executive Director for Student Assignment)
Delmas Watkins (Director Career Technology)
Paul Camick (Career Ed Vocational Director)
Stephen Edwards (Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator)
Dionne Johnigan (Career Ed Vocational Director)
Vikki Williams (Career Ed Vocational Director)
Rosalind Dennis (Director Educational Media)
Sonja Alexander (Staff Development Director)
Lakissa Jackson (Staff Development Executive Administrative Assistant)
Noreen Price (Staff Development GATAPP/PACES)
Alvin Perry (Class Size Reduction Management)
Leigh Turner (Staff Development Pro Corps)
Aleigha Henderson-Rosser (Staff Development Professional learning Institute)
Karen Edwards (Staff Development Pro Corps Bookings)
Kathy LeDuke (Staff Development Room Reservations)
Thalia Raybon (Staff Development Stipends/ Transcripts)
Pearl Holley (Staff Developmemt Course Registration)

Anonymous said...

Contd.

Ms. Paula Swartzberg (Research and Development Director)
Ms. Alexis Smith, (Research Coordinator)
William “Mac” Sudduth, Grants Coordinator
Carol Thurman, Research Specialist
Angela Birkes, Research Specialist
Curtis Grier, Research Specialist
Enes Selimovic, Executive Secretary
Audria Berry (Office of School Improvement Executive Director)
Barbara Adams (Office of School Improvement Data Entry Specialist)
Barry Cross (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Alain Davis (Office of School Improvement Assistant Director)
Karen Ealey (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Sharmaine Greenland (Office of School Improvement Executive Administrative Assistant)
Jackie Marshall (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Janine Mathews (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Betty Matthews (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Kechia Minter (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Beverly Partridge (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Anderia Russell (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Lacretia Tarver (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Sandra Mason (Assistant Director of Student Support Services for SST)
Thelma Smith (Student Support Services Administrative Assistant)
Vasanne Tinsley (Assistant Director of Student Support Services for Guidance, Counseling and Mentoring)
Andrea Brown (Support Services Administrative Assistant)
Terescah Lemon (Student Support Services Head Counselor)
Jennifer Errion (Prevention/Intervention Assistant Director)
Beverly Balloon (Prevention/Intervention Executive Secretary)
Antoinette Friday (Student Support Specialist)
Nicole Knighten (Interim Director, Governmental Relations/Special Projects)
Marilyn Seaver (Governmental Relations Executive Secretary)
Nancy Van Wyk (Governmental elations School Council/PTA Specialist)
Gale D. Thomas (Director of Student Support Services)
Brenda Thomas (Administrative Assistant for Psychological Services)
Deborah Rives (Facilitator Region 1)
Felicia Mitchell (Facilitator Region 2)
Sheryl Croft (Facilitator Region 3)
Rita Wyatt (Facilitator Region 4)
Wendolyn Bouie (Facilitator Region 5)
Horace Dunston (Facilitator Region 6)
Quentin Fretwell (Director Student Relations)
Angela Crawford (Assistant Director, Special Education)
Cindy Bertram (Assistant Director, Special Education)
Carolyn Smith (Assistant Director Student Services)

Anonymous said...

@ Cere 11:36pm

The state of Georgia has established categories so taxpayers can compare how many employees for example DCSS has to do certain functions as contrasted to other counties. Taxpayers can also compare salaries.

The problem is DCSS has over 400 titles for employees outside the schoolhouse. Other systems are like this as well, and they have personnel performing similar functions but they job titles are discrete to their counties.

To compare personnel with similar functions, the state of Georgia establishes a title and lists the job functions of that title. Everyone in DCSS who performs those job functions gets grouped under that title regardless of what they are called in DCSS. For example, people who work on HVAC or kitchen equipment are all called Mechanics on the state Salary and travel audit. Coordinators, Assistant Managers, etc. may be grouped under the state title of Instructional Supervisor.

It's really whatever category DCSS Human Resources decides to place that person based on the job functions they perform.

For example, Cere - you say you are in corporate communications. I say I am in corporate advertising. Our friend is in Customer Communications. We may all perform the same functions but have different titles. It's hard to compare our salaries since we all have different titles. However, our company may list us under one category when it comes to our pay schedule because we perform similar functions - we just hold different titles.


That's what the state of Georgia is attempting to do - standardize the job categories so that personnel who do similar functions will be under one category (i.e. Instructional Supervisor, Mechanic, Staff Development, etc.) Then we can see how many Instructional Supervisors DCSS has as compared to Fulton.

Instructional Supervisors (a state of Georgia term) are usually called coordinators in DCSS, but I have seen some assistant managers listed under Instructional Supervisor as well.

Actually, the person who did the back to back posts on that blog did a very good job of explaining the difference.

Cerebration said...

Thanks - I know it's complicated - and we've learned that many of the people with the word "Instructional" in their job title are very helpful to teachers and hard-working. Many of them have been laid off. I have met some teachers who were really upset at losing certain "Instructional" people last week...

So - bottom line - let's not use that term with a broad brush.

Anonymous said...

From the lists posted at 11:39 and 11:40... I see only four or five folks that I know of that were laid off last week. The majority of those are Instructional Coordinators for the content areas. The remaining were left in tact.

Many of these folks are certified and I believe would be happy to go back to the classroom if it meant that they would remain employed. Unfortunately, they were not given this option. instead, they were shown the door.

I agree Cere- we must be careful with the broad strokes.

Anonymous said...

Let me say what budget cuts mean. My child came home upset because her best teacher will not be teaching next year. The man has a doctorate from Harvard. He makes it clear that the children should go to college, and he actually teaches them. Children passed the graduation test because of this man's help. What is DCSS doing to our children?

Anonymous said...

I still say: time for vouchers -- money directly to the school house and turn the school house into a "minibusiness" (I know it won't be perfect) -- infuse competition. let the local school districting lines be first controlling factor, let it be broader than that, let there be a way to use the money out of district and for charters and private schools with a small fraction "rolling up" to administration for those rolls that are necessary, as so "nicely" put forth by Ms. Talley and then figure out a way to get the Title I funds back to the schoolhouse and following the child if they stay within the Title I system. The current system is failing and this one that I'm proposing can not be any worse and is bound to be much better --we might as well give the power to the parents and the local schools and take it out of the hands of administration. Everyone knows that money talks.....

Anonymous said...

Anon last night--
Great list.
Here's a challenge for you or anyone: can we put together a list of Friends & Family?
I think the only way the AJC and others will pick up on this is if we hand it to them on a silver platter, so here's the concept--no idea if it is feasible:
essentially a spreadsheet with 1. name of employee 2. position 3. salary 4. years in position 5. patron(s) that got him/her the job and (separately) keeps him/her there and where said patron fits in the scheme--current BOE, former BOE, high-level DCSS, etc. 6. relationship to patron(s)--friend, family, campaign contributor . . . 7. is current position (patronage position) a promotion or were they initially hired on through patronage, or both
What say you all?

Goodland said...

I want to know what can be done to put pressure on the county to get this fixed. The SPLOST $ we voted for was not intended to build a new admin building, it was for the schools. I saw a teacher with a floppy disk this past week. Seriously - a floppy disk. All the while the Superintendent can shower at work???? Something has to change and now. The teachers are dying on the vine. Our kids are bored to tears. My son's class 'finished' the curriculum 2 weeks ago and they basically did nothing in class. He was reading over 250 pages a day b/c he finished the work so quickly and there was literally nothing for him to do.

Ideas parents? AJC? Anyone?? I'm thinking something with voice that culminates with voting these people out. But I'm interested in major buzz now.

Anonymous said...

Sonja Alexander (Staff Development Director)
Lakissa Jackson (Staff Development Executive Administrative Assistant)
Noreen Price (Staff Development GATAPP/PACES)
Alvin Perry (Class Size Reduction Management)
Leigh Turner (Staff Development Pro Corps)
Aleigha Henderson-Rosser (Staff Development Professional learning Institute)
Karen Edwards (Staff Development Pro Corps Bookings)
Kathy LeDuke (Staff Development Room Reservations)
Thalia Raybon (Staff Development Stipends/ Transcripts)
Pearl Holley (Staff Developmemt Course Registration)

--
Audria Berry (Office of School Improvement Executive Director)
Barbara Adams (Office of School Improvement Data Entry Specialist)
Barry Cross (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Alain Davis (Office of School Improvement Assistant Director)
Karen Ealey (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Sharmaine Greenland (Office of School Improvement Executive Administrative Assistant)
Jackie Marshall (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Janine Mathews (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Betty Matthews (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Kechia Minter (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Beverly Partridge (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Anderia Russell (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Lacretia Tarver (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)


Is it me, or are we paying a whole lotta taxmoney for the very, very bloated Staff Development and Office of Student Improvement Departments?? Ask any teacher, and these two departments are developing staff and ain't helping with any student improvement.

Anonymous said...

Hey Audria Berry, how many darn admin assistant/accountant/data entry staff do you need? Want an example of BLOAT? Just look up the DCSS Office of Student Improvement!



Barbara Adams (Office of School Improvement Data Entry Specialist)
Karen Ealey (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Sharmaine Greenland (Office of School Improvement Executive Administrative Assistant)
Janine Mathews (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Kechia Minter (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Beverly Partridge (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Lacretia Tarver (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)

Anonymous said...

Why does Jennifer Errion, of Jaheem Harrera infmay, need her own "Executive Secretary"??

Don't believe anything you hear about Central Office staff cuts. Ramona Tyson refused to make any of the necessary hard cuts.


Jennifer Errion (Prevention/Intervention Assistant Director)
Beverly Balloon (Prevention/Intervention Executive Secretary)

Anonymous said...

Student Support Services
Horace Dunston (Facilitator Region 6)


Ha! I was wondering where they stashed Horace Dunston after he embarassed the school system:
http://www.wsbtv.com/video/20007801/index.html

You don't get fired from the DCSS Cental Office. You keep your salary and het moved somewhere where you'll do less harm.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:18 pm
You left some names off, so I included all the names on the DCSS website:

Professional Learning
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/learning/

Sonja Alexander (Staff Development Director)
Lakissa Jackson (Staff Development Executive Administrative Assistant
Noreen Price (Staff Development GATAPP/PACES)
Alvin Perry (Class Size Reduction Management)
Leigh Turner (Staff Development Pro Corps)
Aleigha Henderson-Rosser (Staff Development Professional learning Institute)
Karen Edwards (Staff Development Pro Corps Bookings)
Kathy LeDuke (Staff Development Room Reservations)
Thalia Raybon (Staff Development Stipends/ Transcripts)
Pearl Holley (Staff Developmemt Course Registration)
LaTonya Spurling (Staff Development Bookkeeper)

Office of School Improvement
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/improvement/contacts.html

Audria Berry (Office of School Improvement Executive Director)
Barbara Adams (Office of School Improvement Data Entry Specialist)
Barry Cross (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Alain Davis (Office of School Improvement Assistant Director)
Karen Ealey (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Sharmaine Greenland (Office of School Improvement Executive Administrative Assistant)
Jackie Marshall (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Janine Mathews (Office of School Improvement Accounting Associate)
Betty Matthews (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Kechia Minter (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Beverly Partridge (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Anderia Russell (Office of School Improvement Parent Community Liaison Specialist)
Lacretia Tarver (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)
Renee Conner (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Linda Crowley (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Bianca Hamilton (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Cleophus Jones (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Virginia Lucear (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Donna McBride (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Andrew McGee (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Jacqueline Mitchell (Office of School Improvement Director of DeKalb Graduates)
Margie Smith (Office of School Improvement Director of DeKalb Graduates)
Tyrus Wade (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Rita Williams (Office of School Improvement Coordinator)
Etoy Capell (Office of School Improvement Administrative Assistant)

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:25 pm

"Don't believe anything you hear about Central Office staff cuts. Ramona Tyson refused to make any of the necessary hard cuts.

This is the Family Services Director:
Jennifer Errion (Prevention/Intervention Assistant Director) $109,091 with benefits $136,363
Beverly Balloon
(Prevention/Intervention Executive Secretary)"


You know you've "arrived" when you get your own executive secretary

You're absolutely right. If Ms. Tyson refuses to cut at the top, we will end up with an intolerable situation at the schoolhouse. Ms. Tyson and the "Upper Management" will be sitting in a beautiful new facility. I don't like the idea of "Upper Management" in a new $30,000,000 facility for the simple reason that they will be further removed than ever from the packed, sweaty, dirty, moldy classrooms that so many of our children sit in every day. None of them visit in the classrooms. If they ever come to the schools, they sit in the air conditioned principal's office. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Talley and her minions are all mesmerized by their view of their own self-importance. Unfortunately they work in a closed circle and outside opinions are not solicited and definitely not welcome.

They are so far divorced from the reality of the classroom that they tend to view its members, students and teachers, as an annoyance that must be controlled and contained rather than trusted and inspired.

As a result each year brings more and more directives, enforced guidelines, paperwork requirements and any additional petty annoyances that they can dream of to prove to themselves that the educational process of DeKalb County Schools is totally dependent on their stranglehold and their brilliance.

As long as the BOE buys into this denial of the real world and the glorification of Admin over teachers and students, DCSS is doomed to be a second rate system lead by second rate people.

Dekalbparent said...

Alvin Perry (Class Size Reduction Management)

In the current environment, what exactly would this person's job be?

From the AJC Get Schooled blog;
The state Board of Education voted 9 to 2 Monday to lift all limits on class size over the next year in response to the deepening budget crisis facing Georgia schools, a crisis so great that some systems fear they won’t even be able to make payroll in the fall.

Describing the measure as an emergency response to a worsening financial picture, the vote means that Georgia school districts can raise class size by 5, 10, 15 students — or as many students as they choose — without seeking permission from the state board of education.


http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/05/23/class-size-after-state-board-vote-monday-the-skys-the-limit/

Anonymous said...

@ Dekalbparent
"Alvin Perry (Class Size Reduction Management)

In the current environment, what exactly would this person's job be?"

LOL....
I was just thinking of posting Alvin's position because it sounded so ridiculous. He has had many, many different positions in DCSS. This has to be the most humorous if we were not in such bad shape.

His salary is $97,272 - with benefits his job function costs DCSS taxpayers $121,590.

I'm sure the teachers and students who will be "piled high and deep" in classrooms next year will rest easy knowing DCSS has a "Class Size Reduction Manager" on the job.

Ella Smith said...

Class size reduction manager-You have got to be kidding on this one.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

Ok, Enough already with the endless lists of personnel who make the big bucks in DCSS. We can always point the finger or paintbrush at these people and decide without any informed justification that they ALL NEED TO GO !

HOWEVER........

Let's re-ceheck the title to this thread: "What the Budget Cuts Mean"

Right now, they don't mean a thing. In August, they will mean a Lot.

WHY ???

Because, DCSS doesn't broadcast complete information. We get information in pieces unless the media or circumstances FORCE the powers that be to "come clean"- which will be necessary by the start of the next school year.

I still believe that many faculty and staff positions(central office and shoolhouse)will change so much that we can only speculate what the end will be.

MEANWHILE...

I suggest that all concerned stakeholders and bloggers should use their collective resources in reporting VERIFIABLE informtion regarding changes without inciting any ill feelings towards those employees who just happen to be well-paid. (Sure, I know some are overpaid, but not all---and no I am not one of the overpaid workers. I will have 7 unpaid furlough days next year to complement my first furlough day tomorrow.)

God Bless America and please, please, please help the leadership in the Dekalb County School System.

.

Anonymous said...

@ Teaching at a DCSS High School

Since the independent Ernst and Young audit said that 2,500 non-teaching employees were overpaid by $15,000,000 a year, overpaid employees are actually a very big deal. If salaries had been adjusted in 2004, this post would read:
"What the Mild Budget Cuts Mean"

Overpaying non-teaching employees (teaching employees are paid similar to other metro teachers per the audit) has everything to do with the budget.

Until we cut non-teaching employees and reduce non-teaching salaries, we will not be able to provide an adequate education for most of our students.

No one says all admin and support need to go. But leaving the decisions up to the current administration (does anyone think Dr. Lewis thought up all of these non-teaching personnel on his own?) is not very promising. After all, the members of the current administration benefited the most from the made up positions and promotions.

Parents/taxpayers should be looking over the shoulder of the decision makers who got our children into this situation. Simply expecting them to "do the right thing" is not enough, mainly because they have no conception of what the "right thing" is.

Anonymous said...

Alvin's just another failed principal that the school system placed in a nothing slot to get him out of the schools. A big difference between DeKalb and APS is Bevery Hall. She'll fire a princpal like that. DeKalb just hides them away but pays them top dollar to do nothing. Fail and get paid big in DeKalb. Succeed and get hounded out. Think of all that money the County could get and actually spend on kids if all those failed principals were let go! Nope, DeKalb gets rid of teachers. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Yes. That's always been the joke in DCSS. If you fail as a principal, you'll just get a cushy job in Transportation. With the Great Recession, it's not so funny any more.

Anonymous said...

This board has proven to provide a critical function - forcing greater transparency from the district. But some on here - particularly some of those who "name names" need to know that they have (at times) come close (if not crossed the line) into defamation territory. Just trust me - I know that definition and where the line can be drawn in litigation. My advice - control your emotions and make sensible, learned, well-studied posts. And know that attorneys who litigate such matters can subpeona IP addresses and find out who you are even if you post as anonymous. Just trying to help some of you out. Be careful - continue your service to the public in this forum - but I'm telling you that some of you need to tone it down and be careful.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Have to agree with Anon 8:49.

DCSS motto.... "You screw up.. We move you up.

Also did any notice the not so full truth on our First Class this morning.

The one where we voted 70.1% for Sept. 3, 2010. That was not even an option when we took the surverymonkey survery.
They stated that the Sept. date was an emergency day granted by the state under a state law provision.

Ok, I really do not trust anyone in the Central Office anymore. What ever ray of hope I had just went out the window. How could you lie to DCSS employees?

I like how they threw that one in there, just so that we could keep our parent teacher conference nights.

Is there anyone out there that feels the way that I do?

Cerebration said...

As DeKalb Parent pointed out - there's a good discussion at Maureen's AJC "Get Schooled" blog -

Class size: After state board vote Monday, the sky’s the limit

Dekalbparent said...

@Insider - I would like to have a witty comment or a pithy observation, but I am at a loss. I can only share in your despair.

Over and over again, we keep thinking "How stupid can they think we are?" and the keep showing that they think we are abysmally so.

I wish there were a way that all of us - teachers, support staff, parents, taxpaying citizens, could rise up with one voice and have them hear us: "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore!"

Anonymous said...

DeKalb Parent, I too wish that people rising up would help to stop the madness. Unfortunately I think that the schools will get much worse before they get better.

Today was my last day in DCSS and probably teaching. I left, not because I do not like to teach, but because I cannot put my children through the madness of DCSS and want them to receive a better education. I will homeschool my children for as long as we live in DeKalb.

I wish that there was a way to find out how many school age children live in DeKalb. How many of those children go to school in DCSS, how many attend private schools, how many attend true charter schools (not the conversion charter schools that are really charter in name only, but have to still abide by DCSS rules), how many attend the virtual schools, and how many are homeschooled. I think that it would be very telling to see these numbers.

Anonymous said...

Alvin Perry was the first Principal of Redan Middle school. He was suddenly transferred from that position to the county office. It was rumored that he got caught in an intimate situation with his female Assistant Principal.

Last I knew Horace dunson was assistant superintendent for district 5. When did his position change? Does this have anything to do with the Carol Thedford scandel? He was her immediate boss. Parents complainted to him for years about her and he did nothing.

Anonymous said...

BIG QUESTION? My daughter graduated this weekend...is her diploma valid? It is signed by Crawford Lewis. Crawford retired April 16, 2010. His filty little signature cant authorized a pencil purchase. How is it that he can sign off on diplomas that were not completed until May.

Should it not have the Interim Superintendent's name on them?

I am calling SACS on this one.

Anonymous said...

Please save yourself a call to SACS. Crawford Lewis' signature is on the diplomas because the diplomas were ordered well before he parted ways with DCSS. The superintendent's signature has no bearing on the validity of the diploma-- heck, none of the signatures do. None of them are even original signatures. The diploma is only a keepsake, really. What matters is that your daughter's high school will issue a transcript (usually to a college) that states she is a HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE. That's the legal document.

Anonymous said...

OFUI... yes, I noticed that as well and thought it was a pile of horse manure. I'm also furious that they're giving us three pre-planning days before school starts in August (so we can have more time to sit in meetings and not get anything accomplished) but they took away our ONE planning day before the return from winter break. NO ONE on our faculty to whom I spoke voted for that. I call shenanigans on that whole "survey."

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:45. I gotcha. It is just ridiculous the crap that DCSS throws our kids. GET THE TRANSCRIPT AND GET THE HECK ON...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad they didn't order all new diplomas. At least we saved a little by not having to print a substitute superintendent's name on them. That would have been a total waste of money. I vaguely recall something like that having happened some years back.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:35...that is BS. That is why the things that happen in Dekalb happen. Parent and stake holder dont really care. I am from up top. NO WAY IN THE H@#* would they get away with this. Up top the gangsters and crooks are on the street and in the alleys. Down here they work in the school system where they dress nice and sit behind a desk to rape our kids (academically) and pilage tax payer dollars.

ITS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE ACTION!!!

While parents are not standing up for their kids, the kids are falling down a deep hole like little Alice, wondering when someone is really goin gto stand up and fight for them.

Anonymous said...

Interesting posts all up and down this page. I do know people must be careful about defamation of character etc. Also interesting to note that the very posts that talk about anonymous quotes are, well anonymous!

This might be the only place people can speak their minds about certain DCSS employees. I do think we must have decorum but if the story can not be told how will things change?

The Budget Cuts mean poor leadership at the top, BOE and upper management! We're finding out every day that CLew ran a wild place, where Friends and Family were treated SPECIAL using OUR money, and folks that bucked the status quo were demoted, moved or placed into the warehouse office space.

It's time we move forward but nothing will change as long as the current leadership, top to bottom remain in place. Tyson, Mosley, Turk, Thompson, Mitchell, Guilroys etc.. should do the right thing for Dekalb County and resign!

The fact they sit in those nice new offices and continue their plan of bankrupting our schools and using our taxpayer dollars to line their own pockets is ludicrous!

It's time for change!

Anonymous said...

Nepotism is was the first fatal blow in the death of Dekalb.

Second was the stakeholder ignorance to the true reason for Johnny Browns dismissal.

Third was the stakeholders allowing the board to put that weasel Crawford Lewis in the office of the superintendent.

Fourth was Ronald Ramsey in Internal Affairs by Crawford Lewis.

Fifth was the appointment/hiring of "Patty" Pope. I call her Patty because that what she did was pad her pockets

DCSS is in the ICU. We need a board moral transplant to save DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Is Harold Lewis, assistant director of plant services any relation to CLewis?

Dekalbparent said...

I direct your attention to today's Get Schooled - more bad news about state education funding.

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

To : Anon @ 8:35 & Anon @ 9:12

The Clayton County Schools system decided 2yrs ago to redo the diplomas its graduates were to receive due to the incorrect names of the Superintendent and a School Board Member. The graduates were given an empty cover at the ceremony and received their actual diplomas in the mail a few days later. The bill for redoing the diplomas was about $80,000. The company that produced the diplomas (Herf Jones) did not charge the school system for the cost of reprinting the 3000 diplomas.

Now, two years later, with all the negative publicity surrounding Dekalb, in the midst of the worst economic crisis we've seen in the past 40 years------how could you dare suggest that Dekalb should have paid to reprint diplomas for about Twice as many graduates. That's over $150,000 that I'm sure Herf Jones would not have been as willing to redo at no cost.

Dekalb County Schools has NO MONEY to pretend to spend even if its for a good cause. Suggesting that we do so is beyond principled - it may be the right thing to do , but not practical for the money we don't have. Think with your pocket and your vote (November elections) , not with your emotion.

It all makes me angry, too. I work for the county.

.

Anonymous said...

Ok this is the last week of may and no news from Ms. keys. I understood she would have the information on lewis and pope/reid this week. I hope that there will not be a cover up on this. And what are they going to do with pope? Her contract is up in June. I will not be surprise if she comes out of this clearned. When you work for dekalb you always have yourself prepaired that only little people get hurt and the big fish get moved with a up grade in salary and a nice new positions.

Cerebration said...

Anon, 3:10 PM, we have never been able to figure out if Harold Lewis is related to Crawford - some say yes, some say no. Anyone know for certain?

Also - right on about the diplomas - it would be a waste to reprint them. They are fine as is...

Goodland said...

I have just emailed Ms. Tyson asking her to let me know what pay cuts her admin staff have had and how many furlough days they'll be subjected too. I'll let you know if I hear back from her. This issue must not rest.

Goodland said...

Check out this link, looks like something 'formal' is getting organized. They also have a page on Facebook.

http://edukalb.org

Cerebration said...

Goodland - perhaps you were busy when we had the discussion about eduKalb --

Read it here -

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/05/edukalb-announces-intent-to-guide.html

===

Darryl - I'm very sorry about your job loss.

Cerebration said...

Anon 6:18 PM - I totally share your concerns - completely agree - Gwen Keys has until Friday to meet her deadline of "wrapping this up in May"... Let's see if it just fizzles out over the summer and becomes the multi-million dollar investigation that never was...

To borrow a regular poster's phrase - Cynical? Yes!

Goodland said...

Sorry, i'm new to this blog.

Cerebration said...

No need to be sorry at all Goodland - we are happy you found us and hope you will keep on sharing your thoughts!

There's a lot of good material on this blog - if you are ever bored, feel free to sift through our archives - start by clicking Mr. Potato Head.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE EXCUSE ME for suggesting that money be wasted in dekalb to do what is right for the kids.

Good only knows 20 times that amount has been wasted or misappropreated to benefit other people and not the kids.

IT IS THE PRINCIPLE of for once doing what is right and in the benefit of the students who have long been forgotten.

As for Herf Jones. they are business people. I would be as it was with Clayton, a big and good PR move. The bill for them at cost is no where near that amount for actual out of pocket expenses.

Paper and ink would not be anywhere near 150,000. Actual labor would be minimal. Herf Jones makes a lot of money off the school systems.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

Again to anon @ 10:54 pm

We're all entitled to our own opinion of course. I'm just glad to see that you chose to omit such verbage as "rape" and "pillage" this time.

No matter how well intentioned your suggestion may have been, it is essentially a dead issue since graduations have taken place already. I know of no students who have refused their diplomas, demanding that the correct signatures should be in place. As important as it may be to you that those signatures be correct (whether Herff Jones foots the bill or not), I appeal to your concern as a stakeholder that you hold the BoE members accountable for this and other snafus when election time comes.

Let's focus on the bigger picture. We're in trouble and we need all hands on deck working together to turn this ship around.

.

Anonymous said...

From what i have been told none of the high paid positions and the friends and family were in the lay-offs. I talked to a person who told me he had been with the system over 27 years and he was in the lay-offs. I also know that the frances edwards family was not touch. Not one person in that family have that much time. Jamal has been missing most of his time with the system. This person came from the sam moss center and it is my understanding that mosely has a relative out there who just walked in the door. So how do they explain that. How can you lay someone off with that kind of time and keep others? I understand that the budget had to be cut, but do it fairly.

All this waste was not the good people who came to work everyday and did there work, this started a long time ago with lewis and that top heavy central office of friends and family. Tyson will never do anything to hurt the friends and family she is just like the rest of them.

Since june 30,2009 thru june 30, 2010 many employees lives have been turn up side down and i have not heard one person say that they were treated with any kindness at all. We must all pray for each other and pray for the children in dekalb. The door may be closed know but another door will open.

Anonymous said...

The devil is in the details. We need to hold the entire elected school board and top administrators accountable. They need to know that their every move and expense is being monitored. We need to be as aggressive as Dave Ramsey is to someone in Chapter 7...they cannot walk away from the debt they owe the children and citizens of Dekalb County to have the best...excuse me Premiere School System in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

Afer all that money was spent for the trip to Californina for the meeting about America's Choice, it has been decided that no new schools will be adopting America's Choice for the upcoming school year. I can't remember how much TARP money was spent for this endeavor....I think between $300,000 and $400,000. Another waste of stimulus money.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon 8:45, even though your news was not something we like hearing. As the previous poster said, we need to be watching them with an eagle's eye...

I can't decide whether to scream or sigh.

As far as the diplomas go, we decided my kid's diploma was a collector's item - not only did it have Crawford Lewis' signature, but it had the wrong date on it - our best guess is that all diplomas were printed with the last date any graduations occurred, so that they could all be printed in one run. I don't know if this has always been the case, but I applaud whoever decided to do it that way, because it probably saved some bucks.

(That person probably was laid off, too...)

Goodland said...

Here's the reply I received asking Ms. Tyson about her admin cuts/furloughs. Granted, their salaries still seem very high given the crisis going on at the schools, at least they're taking part of the hit too. I still think the cuts should have been deeper at the admin level to allow the 'school house' employees to remain fully funded.

Mrs. Maddox,

The Board of Education approved the budget on May 10, 2010 that included
150 administrative position cuts at central office totaling to $11.5
Million dollars in salaries and benefits. In addition, all 12-month
employees will receive 15 furlough days. I am included as a 12-month
employee and will receive the 15 furlough days as the Interim
Superintendent. When appointed to Interim Superintendent back on February
25, 2010, I elected and included in my contract to receive the same cuts
as the employees prior to the board approving the budget in May. Teachers
who are 10-month employees will receive 7 furlough days. Thank you for
your email and please know your concerns are duly noted.

Ramona H. Tyson
Interim Superintendent
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
678-676-0010 office
678-676-0709 fax
tysonr@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

No Duh said...

Didn't Johnny Brown also order diplomas reprinted? Or was it Crawford Lewis after Brown left? Seem to recall something like this happening in DCSS...

No Duh said...

But glad they didn't reprint the diplomas.

Just wish "premier" wasn't splashed all over the letterhead, football fields, logos etc. I say use it up and NEVER reprint that word again until DCSS deserves it!

Anonymous said...

As someone who has personally been negatively impacted by Alvin Perry, I'm THRILLED to see his name come up on here. Dig deeper. I'm afraid to do so, but there is more. On the topic of student achievement - at my high school, I know of three teachers who were forced to change grades before checking out for the summer (many averages were below 50), because of parental refusal to sign remediation forms/deficiencies. Each of these teachers went above the call of duty to follow protocol, but did not receive the form back. The message is you can pass even if your average is WAY below the cutoff, as long as you know how to play the game.

Anonymous said...

Goodland... you wrote to R.Tyson. She answered you. Do you believe her?? But you did not ask her if she got a pay raise when she got her "new title". I think that is a very important question. YES, she was head of MIS for a number of years and it was hell and damnation while she was there. She stepped on a lot of good people to get there. Those of us that are low on the totem pole got a belly full of her while she was there and now her hand picked, hand trained successor, tony hunter is doing the very same lame job. "DO like I SAY because I AM THE BOSS. You DO NOT get to question me." My question tonight, though, is will DeKalb school system loose it's accreditation because of tonight's news? If only someone will just do the job right and not let these sleeze balls get away with this mess!!! I can't afford their greed!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:45 pm

"fer all that money was spent for the trip to Californina for the meeting about America's Choice, it has been decided that no new schools will be adopting America's Choice for the upcoming school year."

Does that mean DCSS will be doing away with the 80 Instructional Coaches (teachers who do not teach) hired to implement America's Choice - Benefits and salary of $8,000,000 a year and very irritating to teachers?

Anonymous said...

You can't really add thousands of non-teaching employees over 5 years while you cut teachers in the classroom, over pay 2,500 of those non-teaching employees and then when it comes time to cut the budget - say well, everyone needs to have the same pay cut and we'll just let a few hundred more teacher positions go unfilled.

That's not looking out for the children. We are a school system, not a jobs program. Parents would prefer to cut outside the classroom more than inside the classroom. After all, it's our money footing the bill

Ms. Tyson really doesn't get that. She thinks we care about all those non-teaching jobs lost if we provide enough teachers to teach our kids. Well, teaching our kids is what the whole system is supposed to be about.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone's posted on this. But one of the cuts is in school libraries. They said that they were cutting media clerks but they did not mention that middle schools and high schools that now have two librarians are all being reduced to one per school. No one was laid off but the numbers have been reduced. Many of these facilities have large collections and lots of use. Without clerks or a second librarian the success of school library programs will be greatly affected. This may be the first step in ending the library programs in the schools, something that has happened in other states. In 2001 the American Association of School Libraries named DeKalb as having the best library program in the nation. How things have changed.

Anonymous said...

why didnt we cut counselors? No one knows what they do on a day by day basis.
What are preventative specialist needed for?
Let cut these both.Teachers do all of the work, while they hide out in their plush offices.
One counselor can barely pronounce her words.

Anonymous said...

Budget cuts mean-Make conselors work on the elementary level and stop submitting in reports that shows where they conducted business throughout the year. Most of them have not a clue on how to visit the students. So, directors over this program, come out and make house visits. Better yet, teachers would love to evaluate counselors. Since everyonr else receives an evaluation, why donot counselors? DCSS wake up, your counselors are not making house calls.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:32 pm

I agree there should have been cuts to counselors before we cut teacher positions.

There are 305 elementary, middle and high school counselors. Their salary cost is over $21,000,000 (average of $68,852) a year and with benefits the counselors cost DCSS over $26,000,000 a year (average cost of $86,000 per counselor).

Look at the average teacher pay - average per DCSS teacher is $54,586 (counselors on average make 26% more than teachers in salary).

I'm not aware that any counselor positions were cut.

Nor were there cuts in the family services specialists (how many specialists does DCSS have?). There are 73 of them, they perform many of the same functions as the 305 counselors, and cost around $3,500,000 in salary and around $4,400,000 with benefits (average around $49,000 per family services specialists)

So the counselors and family services center personnel have a combined total of 378 and cost DCSS over $30,000,000 a year. This seems like an area that could have used some cuts rather than teachers.

I know everyone says these are necessary positions, but I'm wondering why they would cut teacher positions (the people who actually instruct our kids) before they would cut in this area. Surely you can't say we can do without teachers, but not without every single one of these folks.

Anonymous said...

Ronald Ramsey -Did he receive a pay cut? He only listens to one side- Administrators!! And Area Directors who phone in advance and help him to fire people unjustly.One is retiring. Thank God for giving her the wisdom to leave. No one admires her.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, do you have a list of activities that counselors perform at school? No one seems to know, not even them.Who is over this program and how do you contact him or her about incompetent counselors? OOps, i forgot. They may be members of the same organizations,water runs deep on this one in DCSS. pink and green, or purple and gold.

Anonymous said...

Wait, DCSS has 73 family services specialists in addition to 305 counselors?? Holy cow!

I already knew that a family service specialist is a position where BOE liked to stash family and friends, but I never knew that there were 73 plus a whopping 305 counselors.

Would love to see a personnel audit for those two areas.

Dunwoody Mom said...

What is a family services specialist? Is that the social worker?

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom 3:36 pm

They are not the social workers. That's another group of DCSS employees. There are a couple of DCSS BOE family members in this group. It seems redundant - like a job the counselors and social workers should be doing. Here is how the DCSS website (Office of School Improvement) describes this group:
"Parent Centers
This premier school system has established eleven Parent Resource Centers throughout the county. All centers are open Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and one night per week. Centers are also open on Saturdays. You may call for the times. The centers are designed to empower parents to assist their children in maximizing their full potential. Two facilitators manage each center. The centers’ resources are focused on instruction, economics, health, and cultural awareness for students in grades PreKindergarten through grade 12. There are computers available for use by parents, as well as a lending library giving parents the opportunity to take resources home with them, on loan. Parents will benefit from workshops on topics from test prep information for their children to finance for themselves. Resources are developed with the input of all disciplines from the departments within the DeKalb County School System and with the support of the community."

Below is a website address. You will see a BOE member with her daughter who is the Center Facilitator:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:5F-KqDEstZYJ:schools.dekalb.k12.ga.us/mclendon/administration/files/674947187FCE4E51B9E8D2EC2A7A4990.pdf+parent+center+newsletter+dekalb&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgIhkrol8n_ybpK0G9_v2onQBTIt4rd783KkvhgFlu8hCYEB-V66oS5J1qKDtUN220KzQFk7IT9D7tMi2sOMTfa4KcsV_pYTstMMdENs0SjkAdDyauyq8lFYfgQsTVkGnhatsX1&sig=AHIEtbSeP3EwTGNrfDClJX0XI1ZjcmMUjA

Anonymous said...

Now that Shannon was forced out to include Yvonne Butler as the director of wellness, let see how many grants she can actually write without someone else' help.
Next, do we need a wellness person? Let's cut her salary and let her work as the head lady in the kitchen since she likes to cook on Martha Stewart. Good ole chicken salad. Wonder how much she makes to lie about nutrition and her book deals that Ronald ramsey needs to investigate for selling during school hours. Boot her out DCSS. She should be in a cell with pat reid smiling. She a friend of frances edwards clan and stan watson.

Anonymous said...

Teachers,
Are you still waiting until "data driven decisions" transform your classroom?

DCSS taxpayers have seen absolutely no benefit from SchoolNet, purchased by DCSS for $7,000,000 (actually we're still paying for it)in 2008, supposedly to collect student data and crunch it in the Central Office for their reports.

Teachers don't have the access they need to the benchmark testing so it's really been worthless as far as feedback for instruction goes. And eSis was purchased for $4,000,000 (we're also still paying for that0 in order to integrate with SchoolNet.

So $11,000,000 later (after we get through paying for both of these programs) we have absolutely no benefits to show for this expense.

Here's a link with Ms. Tyson praising the SchoolNet purchase. Below is the online article from February, 2008 with her quote. Here is the quote from Ms. Tyson. Does this sound like someone cut and pasted some buzz words together? Pitiful doesn't even begin to describe this quote. Pitiful for our students who have at most 2 computers per classrooms of 32 (or 34 or 35?).

""We are very excited about implementing this web-based Instructional Data Management System (IDMS). It will help us transform our data analysis from retroactive to real time," said Ramona Tyson, Associate Superintendent of Management Information Systems. "IDMS will provide DeKalb's teachers and administrators the power to make data-driven decisions and to better individualize instruction in technologically advanced and fresh ways that will undoubtedly help DeKalb build more efficient educational programs, thus positively affecting student achievement.""

http://www.redorbit.com/news/education/1246624/the_dekalb_county_school_system_dcss_chooses_schoolnet_for_datadriven/index.html

Cerebration said...

Interesting . . .

The Office of School Improvement, Dr Audria Berry, Executive Director, has listened to and
answered the call of DeKalb County School System parents. The result is the establishment of two
new Parent Resource Centers. The new Centers will be housed at McNair Middle School, 2190
Wallingford Dr., Decatur, GA 30035 and Fairington Elementary School, 5505 Phillip Bradley Dr,
Lithonia, GA 30038. Just as the existing centers, these sites have resources available to DeKalb
County School System parents, covering grades Pre-K through twelve. These resources cover the
entire spectrum of education levels; exceptional education, regular education, and advanced
learners. The centers will begin their first workshop sessions in June of 2008. The Facilitators look
forward to serving the population at both schools and all the feeder school sites. Information on the
grand opening, tentatively scheduled for March 2008, is forthcoming. The two new centers bring
our number of Parent Resource Center sites to eleven.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think these centers are paid for with Title 1 money. The directors are paid very well - much more than most teachers.

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

now, you know better, Anon -

;-)

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 5:09 pm

If it is Title 1 money it must be "free" money - just federal income tax money.

Since Title 1 doesn't pay the benefits though (around $1,000,000) on the 73 Family Center employees, I guess local taxpayers in DCSS pick this up.

Cerebration said...

True. But the reason for pointing out if an item is Title 1 funded is that cutting that program won't save jobs elsewhere. It just cuts our use of Title 1 funds - which can't be used for regular teacher or other regular salaries... It's not a budget trade-off...

Anonymous said...

The problem is with the way Title One money is used. Do we really need 73 Family Center Employees? Is the pay scale that the jobs are on a valid one? Is this a good use of Title One funds, in other words, do families really use the Family Center? What are the actual numbers?

The problem that I have is that I do not see Title One money being used in the best way to benefit the children. Is spending money on America's Choice the best way to spend these precious dollars? I do not think it is. Is having teacher coaches who do not help teachers in the classroom, and who are highly over paid, the best use of Title One funds? Again, I do not think it is.

I understand how Title One funds need to be spent, but I question if we are using this money in the best way to benefit the children of DeKalb and give them a quality education. DCSS has been a good steward of the money it has received, which is becoming more and more apparent to me.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 7:46 pm

That is true to an extent. But in elementary and middle schools if Title 1 math and reading funds are used for teachers who directly instruct struggling students, this effectively lowers the math and reading class sizes. With proper scheduling, Title 1 reading and math teachers can take these students who need individual attention during the reading and math blocks.

The Title 1 math and reading teachers become "extra" teachers for math and reading.

Much of the negative aspects of larger class sizes deal with individual attention for students who struggle with math and reading.

Lowering class sizes and providing small group instruction is important for students. That is the only reason we are concerned about the elimination of teacher positions - the impact on students.

How Title 1 funds are used as pertains to instruction of students is extremely critical for so many of our DCSS students in Title 1 schools.

Anonymous said...

I just want to know if there is a way to get out of this 10 year lease or contract with Esis. What idiot signs a 10 year lease/contract on software period. The first round should have been a test run of at the most 3-5 years. Oh I know the idiots...

Anonymous said...

Gloria Tally said they monitor principals at the central office. Well who in the heck was monitoring Carol Thedford and the non text books that she purchased? Oh wait...let me be fair...she did hide the book purchases from you...so I will have to give you the benefit of the debt that you would have caught that one...yea...yea let me BE FAIR!!

Cerebration said...

Very good points Anon 8:49 PM... Title 1 used to go for direct support to students - and it worked.

Anonymous said...

In the AJC today - does this mean they'll cut the excess bloat in the Department of Professional Learning? http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/budget-woes-could-mean-540029.html

Anonymous said...

Well of course they'll cut Professional Development since the state legislature removed the requirement that teachers have 100 hours of professional development every five years to coincide with their certification renewal.

DCSS required every certificated professional to amass 20 hours per year to insure that everyone has the required hours in 5 years.

So this could be a big saving in cutting central office staff.

Anonymous said...

Budget cuts mean that the top people will remain in their positions untouched. Their kids, cousins, family members, greek friends, and all will be spared.
How can the public obtain obtain a list of all the people who were cut or forced out? Then review the list (family and friends list) with the people who were cut and this show you how unfair the DCSS really is. The BOE promoted people who Lewis recommended without any facts on these people work ethics and yet, continually to hold them in high positions. Principals walk around in schools acting as though they own the school. Assistant Principals have no mind or their own and bacially have not a clue as what to do because some of them were hired by Area Directors. A couple of principals that were hired by one Area Director were demoted and lord help the ones that this Area Director hired as Assistant Principals. So this is what budget cuts mean. You must belong to a certain family, group, or organization, to keep your job in DCSS. The new school year is going to be very interesting this year. Let's wait on the publication of the list that shows the people who were cut and you will just shake your head in agony.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Simply PAYING for AP tests is an issue for high poverty schools, for example. Also, in cases like Walton (5% "poverty") there is a TON of private tutoring going on ... why does the public school get credit for this? Just saying ...

Kim, I think this is the reason that the Newsweek rankings do not take into consideration of test scores.

IMO, the Newsweek rankings can serve as a moral booster, especially in the case of Dunwoody HS, that has been "beaten up" by members of its own community and its newspaper (The Crier).

I say kudos to any student that takes the inititative to challenge themselves with AP courses and other honors courses.

Anonymous said...

With all of the budget cuts, did you leave out, Yvonne Butler's $112,000 salary and position as a wellness nothing director was not touched. This is a job that was created for Butler by Crawford Lewis who never monitored this lady travels nor her school to see why she was allowed to sell cookbooks to her staff members during school time. Plus, did Crawford Lewis know that Butler paid a trainer to come to her school then had teachers pay the trainer when actually grant money was used? Gym equipment was purchased/leased for teachers but using what money? Plus, Butler was paid money to speak on behalf of how much weight she lost with her sugar free diet/ program. Donot leave out her company Ennvoy which she used for tax purposes along with being paid that hefty salary from Dekalb County School System. Is this what the budget cuts missed booting out? BUTLER and her cunning money deeds. This lady is very slick and has great street sense but no administration sense to manage no one.