Sunday, October 24, 2010

No more furloughs

According to the AJC, DeKalb to end school year's furloughs, give payouts to full-timers.

Full-time DeKalb County schools employees will get an equal share of $14.6 million as part of education funding offered through a federal program, school officials said Friday.

In addition to allowing employees the choice between a retirement fund contribution or a lump-sum check, the district will end any furloughs scheduled for the remainder of the 2010-2011 school year, officials said.

“It sounds like [the board] came up with a solution that everybody gets something out of this, especially the people that are living at the poverty level,” said David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators.

The district received $18.3 million from the Education Jobs Act Funding, $10 billion in education assistance being given to states that must be used for staff.

66 comments:

Open+Transparent said...

I can hear the condescending tone when Womack says about DCSS employees in the article when he says:"I would hope they would be happy,".

I have never met a school board member who is as constantly condescending, dismissive, stuck in the past and even a bit sexist, as is Paul Womack.

Anonymous said...

Womack is horrible and McChesney is not much better on this issue. The two of them do nothing to help with teacher morale.

Anonymous said...

After a meeting last year, I witnessed a parent was talking to Womack, and he got annoyed with some of her questions, called her "missy", and said he was a business man and that she didn't know anything about the business world.

Hey paul: She's the Vice President of IT for a local company.

She has a young child in the school system, wanted to get involved, and it was the first time she ever attended any kind of DCSS meeting, let alone interact with a BOE member. She is exactly the type of parent we need to be involved with DCSS (heck, she's an IT vice prez), yet after her run-in with Womack, I don't blame her if she never attends another BOE meeting.

Dan Magee said...

Don McChesney will take any phone call from DCSS parents and actually listen to concerns.

He won't always agree with you, but he'll always take time with the parents in his district, and I give him much credit for doing so.

I have personally e-mailed him and Gene Walker many times. McChesney each time followed up with replies and phone calls. Nothing from Gene Walker. Nada. That says a lot of what is important to both of them, and how they value DCSS parents and taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Georgia should return to the old days--superintendents were elected and board members appointed by a grand jury.

The political nature of the beast would be limited to one person-the superintendent, who is elected by all of the voters in the county or system.

Board members could be appointed based on their school policy expertise, business expertise, or community involvement.

We could avoid all of the political bs that many board members create.

Anonymous said...

Dan

I agree with much of what you said. But McChesney's attitude that teachers should just be grateful to have a job has been more than evident the last year. From my perspective the teachers are the most valuable assets this school system has. From McChesney's public attitude, he does not appear to feel the same.

Accessible he is, flexible with some of his opinions he is not.

Anonymous said...

McChesney, I'm not even in his district, has given me time via email, on the phone and after BOW meetings. I think he is one of two BOE members who is not afraid to ask the staff a tough question.

You don't have to agree with him on everything, but in this current environment, we need the tough questions asked of the staff!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Womack condescending comment. He's always arrogant and very dismissive, and also obsessed with bringing back his beloved Briarcliff High School.

I loved it when someone a while back on the blog called him "Foghorn Leghorn"!

Anonymous said...

It is McChesney who is obsessed with Briarcliff. Ask him, he will tell you. Womack may be as well, but McChesney is right up there.

I find that both men's attitude towards teachers during the budget process in the spring was unforgivable.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how will this work? Staff only got an announcment but with no amount or explanation. I know that the AJC quoted 900 dollars. This would not be enough to cover the loss from the remaining furlough days for all staff members.Depending on your work schedule, 12 month people loss 15 days. This is not just administrative individuals but also custodians and clerical staff. So, there must also be some kind of payment for those days.
Does staff get a pay out and be paid for the remaining furlough days. I agree that something needs to be done now. Insurance, medicine co payments are all increasing.I cannot remember the last time staff in the DCSS got any kind of raise. Also, when and how will staff get the money that was with held from the TSA accounts for last school year?
On another issue, the timing of the release of this money and the news about Mr. Cunningham are both coming out very close to election time.
Could staff have been helped earlier?
Why had this information about Mr. Cunningham never surfaced before now?

Anonymous said...

"Why had this information about Mr. Cunningham never surfaced before now?"

The previous conviction of theft of over $12,000 and the three alegations are serious. I could care less whether the timing is election-related. The public shold have been made aware of all this much earlier. I'm just glad it has come out. Cunningham is actually lucky is didn't come out earlier, as DeKalb is one of the top counties in the state for early voting. Many people have already voted in Cunningham's district without knowing about the McDonald's theft, punching a guy in the head, pulling a gun, threatening a female parents, etc.

Anonymous said...

The $900ish is in addition to cancelling the remaining furlough days. As I understood it, and I wasn't paying total attention, employees' paychecks will be recalculated to include the furlough days. And yes, custodians will get all the remaining furlough days restored as well.

does this help at all?

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see this money returned to teachers and staff members. This was a real hardship on the people at the lowest pay levels. Does the family eat, pay rent, or fail to take needed medicine? Now the BOE needs to start working out the budget for next year so we don't have to revisit the furlough day issue again.

Anonymous said...

“It sounds like [the board] came up with a solution that everybody gets something out of this, especially the people that are living at the poverty level,” said David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators.

As a taxpayer, Fed state and County, I didn't get anything out of this. Where is the VALUE for my money?

People who shouldn't be employees of DCSS in the first place get made whole on their inflated salaries. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

While the teacher furlough days are a hardship, I made plans for my days! Now, they are being cancelled. Of course I would rather have the money but this up and down roller coaster has been very hard on all of us. Many of us tried to make the most of a bad situation by making special plans for ourselves...what to do now?

We have used up so many furlough days already (4), that giving back the other three days is so small that maybe it would be better to just leave those furlough days, especially for teachers.

This little piece of the pie payout should not be given to people who are already overpaid...teachers and all schoolhouse employees should get a much larger cut than the other half of the county employees since we don't even know what those people are doing to make things better in the schoolhouse.

Last year, we have a four day weekend in Feb without a furlough day. This year, they used a furlough day...they need to restore that lost day in Feb so we can keep our special Feb plans. We are exhausted by the large class sizes and lack of parental involvement and increase in unprepared children and new students being placed in our classes on a weekly basis!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Paul Womack, but he's right about the TSA money. I want my TSA contribution repaid, with interest. Was withholding that money even legal?

Anonymous said...

Restoring the furlough days is a nice gesture, but I have a feeling that taxpayers will end up paying teachers the money that they should have received for their retirement back with interest when all is said and done. That would be 2 years of payments now. That money should have been paid before we stopped the furlough days.

It appears that the board just doesn't understand how small actions (stopping the payment of teachers retirement or Social Security) will most likely lead to larger problems (lawsuits about nonpayments). When will the board wise up?

Anonymous said...

The decision to opt out of social security was made during Womack's last term. I am certain that they didn't foresee the economic challenges that were coming.

Anonymous said...

"That money should have been paid before we stopped the furlough days."

Spoken like a non-teacher.

Consider this instead:

Your employer steals $4000 from your retirement fund; the employer steals another $4000 from you via "furloughs".

Now that your employer has come into $3000, you are OK with applying the $3000 to your retirement fund and absolving your employer of both crimes?

No, missy! This employer owes you principal and interest. This employer stole over $8000 and you are just getting $3000!

Anonymous said...

Why don't these stupid teachers opt back into social security?

Clearly, had they been in social security, DCSS would not have been able to abscond with the loot.

Teachers: get back into social security right away!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:04... I want to thank you for calling us "STUPID". I was still in college when DCSS opted out of Social Security.

Like my mother said, if you can't say anything nice... Keep your thoughts to yourself.

Anonymous said...

@4:11

Do you want to opt back into social security?

Anonymous said...

Why don't these SMART teachers opt back into social security so they don't give control of part of their retirement income to the POSSIBLY STUPID and UNETHICAL board members?

Clearly, had they been in social security, DCSS would not have been able to abscond with the loot.

Teachers: get back into social security right away!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:11 here.

No I do not want to be in Social Security... Why you may ask.. It will not be there when I am ready to retire..

I work hard put my spare money into a ROTH IRA every month. Needless to say, even with the stock market crash, I do have a nice nest egg. It helps when YOUR PARENTS (notice I did not say teachers) guide you when you are at home. Could I be driving a brand new car now.. YES.. But I am saving for my future and driving a sixteen year old car.. YES.

When children are raised correctly we do not have to depend on social security. It is those of us who spend like it is going out of style who depend on the government.

Anonymous said...

While social security MAY not be there when you will need it, it is CERTAIN that the DCSS retirement IS NOT there!!

I had my Roth IRA invested primarily through ENRON, Goldman-Sachs, and Countrywide. Thank God I am 64 and drawing "some" income from social security.

In Support of Fiscal Clarity said...

Pathetic that we are supposed to feel grateful for restoring what was ours to begin with--the salaries and benefits that we agreed to when we signed on to work at DCSS! The Board took the cheapest way out, perhaps the route that it believes saves them from a lawsuit now that they have "sort of" given us back our pensions.

This tiny amount of money is nothing compared to what they have taken away in lost COL increases, step increases and, most important, the Board TSA. Of course they give people a "choice"--confident that most people, especially the more poorly-paid employees, will grab up the ready cash rather than putting it into their retirement funds. This saves DCSS tons of money in the long run, because even $900 invested today would grow into a tidy sum 20 years from now if it were deposited in the Board TSA. But it's impossible to get a straightforward explanation of how the Board TSA works--just try asking any DCSS employee to explain the retirement options h/she has, and you'll be astounded how obfuscated the situation has become. Most do not understand the distinction between the TSA (a 403B plan and optional), the Board TSA (BOE is the sole contributor), and the TRS (the defined benefit plan). This is not a system that takes care of its own: rather, it's one that seeks to own those who take care of it.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic indeed.

DCSS employees are so grateful that DCSS has returned a fraction of what was stolen (COLA, step increases, TSA contribution, Social Security)!

BOE: go find an egg to suck on!!

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I am glad they are giving an option, because as this is my fourth year working in DeKalb (my 6th as a teacher), I would have seen nothing if it was strictly an investment back in TSA. The sad thing is, I am making a mere $300 more than a first year teacher now because I decided I like teaching in this county. I must be crazy. Fortunately, I did set up a 403(b) as soon as I could so that I don't have to rely on this particular board of education to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

3:59 As a teacher in DCSS up until May 2010 I don't see how one can say that the board has stolen anything from its employees other than the TSA money. This money is to be paid instead of Social Security.

Teachers sign a contract and they are told what their salary is going to be for the year. As a teacher, I never thought that they were stealing money from me in my salary, but I did feel that they were stealing from the teachers and their retirement when the board chose not to contribute to TRS.

The board steals especially from 1-3 year teachers, as they are not even able to get TRS until year 4.

Sorry but I don't consider furlough days as stealing, as these were told to teachers up front.

I don't think that Social Security is a good option either. I think that each person should be able to put this money into an account of their choosing, and be in control of their money. I don't want DCSS or the government being in charge of my retirement. As I know that neither is responsible enough to do the right thing or look out for me.

Anonymous said...

6:42, you took the words right out of my mouth. It seems that most don't understand that the BOE has to approve a balanced budget. With less revenues coming in via property taxes, TOUGH decisions had to be made with respect to salaries. It was either eliminate the step increases along with adding furlough days or ELIMINATE MORE PEOPLE. Perhaps there as some employees that would rather get their step increase but also have their work load increased due to fewer employees around.

Anonymous said...

@6:42

There are 3 counts of theft:

1. The BOE took furlough days WHEN the money was available!(Fig leaf: the digest was better than we tought; Thruth: we can't hide money with all this scrutiny from DA, Feds, State, and CEREBRATION)

2. The BOE failed to pass on the full step increases given by the State in the last 5-6 years.

3. The BOE failed to pay either the ANNUITY or the Social Security contributions

Anonymous said...

If DCSS employees seriously threaten to opt back into Social Security, DCSS will cave in.

DCSS does not want to pay the 6.2% for Social Security for every employees (including all first year employees). It would cost them tens of millions more a year than restoring the 5% TSA (particularly since this was only obligatory after 3 years of service).

The BOE will only restore the 5% TSA if they perceive it to be less than their contribution to Social Security (6.2%).

By the way, this would not preclude your ability to contribute to your own personal TSA (403B).

Anonymous said...

What I want to know, being a riffed employee of over 20 years, is where's my cut to pay off what I am owed from when the board illegally stopped my contributions last year?

When we were let go, we were told that money would be restored. Haven't seen it yet!

Anonymous said...

Teachers and employees- please do some research and educate yourselves.

You do not have an absolute legal right to many of these benefits. Read the papers. State and local governments throughout the nation are now bankrupt because the defined benefit pension plans that government employees particpate in are too expensive. Not enough employees are paying in, the investment returns have evaporated, pensioners are living longer life spans, poor investment decisions, etc. have all contributed to this very real problem.

Very, very few employees in private industry have any type of pension at all. And no one gets health insurance after they retire in the rest of the world.

Be glad that you have your very good TRS state retirement plan and consider phasing out the Board sponsored annuity in favor of participating in Social Security. It is much less risky.

Anonymous said...

"It was either eliminate the step increases along with adding furlough days or ELIMINATE MORE PEOPLE."

They could have eliminated all the "excess" salaries they are paying contrary to what the 2005 audit recommended.

They could not have given these 10-15% pay increases to these cabinet members to look the other way.

Then and only then, could you speak to teachers about SHARED sacrificed!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:59

"They could have eliminated all the "excess" salaries they are paying contrary to what the 2005 audit recommended."

The Ernst and Young independent 2004 Compensation and Classification audit that Dr. Lewis and the BOE (Zepora Roberts and Sarah Copelin-Woods were on that BOe) tabled said that DCSS non-teaching personnel were being overpaid by around $15,000,000 a year as contrasted to the comparable job functions in the marketplace.

Over time (6 years - 2004 to 2010) this savings would have equated to $90,000,000 in savings. This is very close to the deficit figure that led Ms. Tyson and the BOE to cut teacher positions, increase class sizes, cut the TSA, and and cut schoolhouse support positions (CTSSs and paraprofessionals).

Anonymous said...

@6:42 & 6:57

Be it administrative theft or theft by incompetence, the results are the same: the BOE stole (wrongly took) over $10000 from my sister since 2005!

This $10000 was used to increase the salary of the cabinet members who were accidentally looking the other way for the last 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Saying that the board stole money from teachers in the form of a salary is not true. There are many other state and county employees who have had way more furlough days than the teachers and they aren't complaining half as loudly.

The only thing that teachers have a right to complain about and frankly they haven't made big enough commotion about is their TSA Contribution that the district is required to pay because the teachers opted out of Social Security some years back.

Teachers knew what their salary was going to be when they signed their contracts. If they didn't like it, don't sign and look for another job.

Yes, the board could have right sized many salaries and cut many positions, but that did not happen, even though imho it should have been done right away. The family and friends tradition in DCSS is difficult to stop. How does one cut a family member's job or salary? Not many could do this-I could without a problem, but I've been called cold hearted, so that explains a lot.

Teachers who claim that they were stolen from bring the rift between tax payers and teachers and DCSS even deeper.

The only people who should be crying about having anything being stolen from them, are the children, as many receive an inadequate education in poorly maintained buildings with DCSS employees who forget that if it wasn't for the children not one of the employees of DCSS would have a job. As our children are the real losers in the battle of quality education in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

at 9:16

" How does one cut a family member's job or salary?"

Really? It's hard to right size the salaries of friends and family members but is OK to have 12 000 people take furlough days?

All that to benefit someone has a job he/she did not deserve with a pay raise he/she did not deserve

Anonymous said...

at 9:16

" How does one cut a family member's job or salary?"

The children are victims as well but I am addressing staff furloughs.

Anonymous said...

at 8:55

"Be it administrative theft or theft by incompetence, the results are the same: the BOE stole (wrongly took) over $10000 from my sister since 2005!"

Think you could find a lawyer to take this case? Another of the reasons we can't get much done in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

The children who are ill educated should be suing our district. Quite frankly, I wish that a few of the kids who are not able to read and are in middle and high school would sue the pants off of DCSS. Maybe then the district would reconsider the jobs program it has become and look at the real mission of any school district, which is to educate the children under its care.


Our children deserve better and don't have a choice and have to go where their parents are able to send them. The teachers are free to find employment elsewhere, if they don't like it in DCSS.

Lefty said...

It is ultimately a parent's job to see that their child can read -- whether the parent can read or not.

Anonymous said...

It is ultimately the Board of Education's job to see that tax revenues are being spent on actually educating children.

Anonymous said...

McChesney is the BOE member who complained to me about his constituents. He said "They elected me and now they're trying to tell me how to do my job!"

1) Not all of them voted for you.
2) You represent them. They have every right to tell you what they want you to do as their representative.
3) It's not a job, it's an elected position.

(He also said this blog - not that it was ever mentioned in the conversation -was a bunch of crap and one of the prime causes of the troubles they are having now.)

Anonymous said...

At 10:10

I know you are trying to make a valid point but if DCSS continues to chase away great teachers (probably those who can go somewhere else) by ineptitude and mismanagement, won't the children suffer?

"The teachers are free to find employment elsewhere, if they don't like it in DCSS."

Anonymous said...

I love how BOE reps call this blog crap! This blog is one of the reasons for all the problems now. REALLY?

This blog has EXPOSED the DCSS for what it really is, A FRAUD! DCSS lays off Para Pros and CTSS', the actual people that help the teachers in the classrooms. Yet they keep these ridiculous programs like eSIS, America's Choice, Audria Berry's Army, which is a total waste of money and the rest of the friends and family that seem to have kept their cushy jobs in their cushy $2K chairs.

Folks, we MUST fire the incumbents running for BOE. They have threatened parents at CCHS, saying you don't vote for me you might not get that new building. The timing could not be better for them. The get reelected, then they vote how the QSCB Bonds and extra SPLOST money gets spent.

I'm sick that Redovians Dunwoody Army has had to steal Nancy Jester signs, lie to voters about Nancy Jester's plans etc..

FOR ALL THOSE FOLKS IN DUNWOODY AND CHAMBLEE, Nancy Jester IS NOT against using QSCB Bonds for a new building at CCHS. However, what is true is that parents are concerned that if they don't vote for Redovian, he will retaliate against them after November 2nd and vote against a new building at CCHS. Redovian should come out right now, before the election, and tell the truth and tell the folks his plans for the QSCB Bonds before the election. Honesty is the best policy! Not idle threats to get reelected

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

Just my own opinion, but knowing members of Redovian's family, I don't believe that Redovian has a "retaliatory" bone in his body.

Just a note: You aren't helping Nancy's cause with your constant attacks on Redovian.

My guess is that the decision on the new building at Chamblee will not be left up solely to the BOE, but wil be part of the entire Redistricting, Consolidation/Closing process.

Anonymous said...

Please prove to me that any board member has said that about Chamblee.

In the Brookhaven Reporter, McChesney was the only board member to express reservations of utilizing the funds for Chamblee, and he isn't up for reelection. Redovian and everyone else quoted was very positive. In case you missed the article, here it is:


http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2010/10/22/chamblee-high-receive-funds-rebuild/

Anonymous said...

If anything, it seems that some in the Chamblee community are using a new high school as a wedge issue for this election. Those squeaky wheels are at it again. That is the reason this school district has so many problems, trying to satisfy different communities without considering what is best for all.

Anonymous said...

@anon 816,
You're right about considering what's best for all. Cunningham made sure that Josie Alexander got a contract to provide legal services. Redovian, Roberts, Walker and Copelin-Wood provided the other votes. This is costing untold millions that could go to kids and teachers.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand (won't list each posting time, as there were several) those who exhort us to "opt back into Social Security"

Can someone explain to me how that is possible? The only way I can opt into SS is to go to work in another county. I cannot pay into ss on my own unless I am self employed.

I didn't start teaching right out of college, so no--my reduced state pension will not be enough. Those of us who worked in the private sector prior to teaching are in bad shape here. And no, we won't get all of the SS we are due, b/c receiving a state pension reduces it. HMM--anyone read Catch-22?

And yeah, sure, tell me that it's my right to go work elsewhere, blah blah blah.

But I am an experienced educator who does right by my students and is very active in my school community.

If I may say so, I will be missed. If you knew me, you would agree.

Anonymous said...

The system has to opt into social security. At present social will reduce its payments to anyone on teacher retirement unless they have already established 30 full years of social security credit. Al teachers are also on the teacher retirement system. Opting inot social security would mean teachers would lose their money at a greater rate than we did in the last two years. Maybe you think we are so stupid that we don't know the law.

Anonymous said...

9:53, the social security reduction cannot possibly be equal to the 5% of annual salary that teachers have lost by not having the TSA funded.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, I agree Redovian does not have a retaliatory bone in his body. However, there are many in the Chamblee area hearing some misleading stories, like Nancy was against the QSCB. Matter of fact Nancy Jester answered to that Friday, on an earlier thread. She is in favor of using QSCB Bonds for a new building in Chamblee. However, she wants to make sure the staff stays on top of this one. There are a lot of hoops (paper work) to jump through when it comes to these bonds. She wants to make sure we do this right!

There have also been Jester signs stolen on Harts Mill and in areas around Dunwoody.

Jim could clear a lot of these stories by coming out and telling his constituents that he will not let the voters decision on November 2nd, affect his decision regarding CCHS. Seems to me he has already promised to vote for the new building, since he has been instrumental in moving this along through the meetings.

Can we all be civil about our candidates, as well as stop with the sign stealing and misinformation campaigns?

Nancy seems to me to be straightforward and honest. Jim, you are to. Come out and ask your constituents to stop with the sign stealing and be honest about your vote for CCHS. It could go a long way!

Open and honest DCSS!

Anonymous said...

Here is Nancy Jester's response to a poster claiming that she was against the QSCB Bonds going to Chamblee High new building....


"It is incorrect to state that I was not in favor of the QSCB bonds. This funding vehicle will require the district to properly manage this asset by meeting reporting requirements in order to maintain their interest-free status. Given DCSS’s poor record in managing their state funding and missing out on millions of dollars because of shoddy paperwork and missed deadline, I am concerned about our ability to manage the QSCB bonds. This is one reason it is extremely important to elect new board members; ones who will exercise their oversight role and fiduciary responsibilities for the taxpayers of DeKalb County.

Let me be perfectly clear – QSCB bonds can be an excellent funding vehicle and I support their use. I am extremely concerned about DCSS’s ability to properly manage them. I urge every taxpayer, parent and voter to be vigilant on this matter. In particular, I urge everyone to hold the Board accountable for their stated commitment to use them to fund a new CCHS.

It is demonstrably clear that our board has failed in their obligation to be wise and protective stewards of our tax dollars. They have presided over a time when we have seen rampant theft, unethical and criminal behavior and a declination in student achievement. This is their record. I stand for election to untangle the mess they have created and return the focus and money to the students and teachers in our district. As I have done throughout the campaign, I will communicate to parents and taxpayers through a variety of platforms: web, email, social media and public meetings. I look forward to bringing a new level of transparency and accessibility to the parents and taxpayers of District 1.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss this or any DCSS matter. You may email me at nancyjester@gmail.com or call me at 678.360.1148.
Appreciatively,
--Nancy Jester
www.nancyjester.com

Anonymous said...

If Chamblee had already been renovated/rebuilt, and another project was the chosen one for this money, all you Chamblee parents would be having a fit.

There needs to be a thorough assessment of needs and then a decision. It bugs the daylights out of me, that between CCHS and Coralwood this money is going to be spent without what appears to be real forethought about what the pressing need are.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon said: "Georgia should return to the old days--superintendents were elected and board members appointed by a grand jury."

Interesting side note - my mother taught for three decades in Fulton County and she pointed to the system's downfall coinciding directly with the switch to elected boards and appointed Supers. Of course, that's one English teacher's opinion but it is one I have learned to trust.

How could DeKalb be returned to a system that removes some of the power politics? Does it have to be an outside organizations like GA DOE? How would we the citizens of DeKalb affect this type of change? I am convinced it is the root of many of the largest problems we face ...

Anonymous said...

Big cities with similar school system enrollment numbers to DeKalb have had their mayors take control of the school system. It provides for more immediate accountability, but it also provides for a great place for a mayor to make political hires.

Tough call on which way is better. It has sure worked in New York City, which was a hot mess until Mike Bloomberg brought in Joel Klein, who was a high powered U.S. Asst. Attorney General. Klein has had his share of missteps, but he has a fantastic partnership with Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation. If you're from NYC, you know the transformation of the school system
under Bloombery and Klein is simply amazing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Klein

At the 43 small high schools funded by the Gates Foundation graduation rates are 73% compared to 53% at the schools they replaced

Anonymous said...

9:53, the social security reduction cannot possibly be equal to the 5% of annual salary that teachers have lost by not having the TSA funded.

October 25, 2010 10:01 AM

Wrong, Wrong Wrong-in my case it would be almost all of my social security. Here is quote from the social security site.
"Your Social Security benefits will be reduced by two-thirds of your government pension. In other words, if you get a monthly civil service pension of $600, two-thirds of that, or $400, must be deducted from your Social Security benefits. For example, if you are eligible for a $500 spouse’s, widow’s or widower’s benefit from Social Security, you will receive $100 per month from Social Security ($500 – $400 = $100).

If you take your government pension annuity in a lump sum, Social Security still will calculate the reduction as if you chose to get monthly benefit payments from your government work."
Under this provision I would lose 5000 in the first 4 months and every 4 months after that.

You need to read up on the law you poor misinformed but opinionated poster.

Anonymous said...

Re Kim's suggestion about electing superintendent. There are studies on that.

This is what I found.

http://cba.ua.edu/assets/docs/efl/WP07-08-03.pdf

Our findings are that there are no differences in
student performance when the school superintendent or the school board is appointed
rather than elected. We do find that there is a slight positive difference in outcomes when the superintendent is elected as opposed to the school board being elected.

Anonymous said...

But then there is this from Mississippi

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:7J8GKIw07Z4J:www.msparentscampaign.org/docs/Just%2520the%2520Facts.doc+elected+school+superintendents+and+student+achievement&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a


• There are 65 school districts in Mississippi in which superintendents are elected. Throughout the US, with over 14,500 school districts, only about 147 districts elect their superintendents (1%). Mississippi elects the most.
• Election of superintendents narrows significantly the pool of candidates. Candidates for elected superintendent positions must live within the school district at the time of the election.
• Many small rural districts often have difficulty finding highly qualified candidates who are willing to run for the office of superintendent.
• In 2007, 20 school districts had uncontested races for superintendent – the community had no choice, just got the one person who lived within the district & was willing to wage a campaign.
• In 2007, one school district had NO ONE run for superintendent – the school board appointed the retiring superintendent until a special election could be held.
• Many of the districts with uncontested races had low-performing schools – two with uncontested races in 2007 had level 1 schools.
• One district with a level 1 school had uncontested superintendent races in 2003 and 2007.
• When a superintendent is elected, he or she is not accountable to the school board because they cannot fire him/her. Therefore, there is no direct accountability when schools fail. The school board blames the superintendent, the superintendent blames the school board and the citizens are confused – they don’t know who is at fault.
• When an elected superintendent proves ineffective, kids lose 4 years of quality education (until the next election). Kids do not recover from 4 years of poor education. When an ineffective superintendent is appointed, the board can act much more quickly to replace him or her.
• Elected superintendents often avoid advancing issues that would improve education in their districts out of fear that they will be defeated.
• Current law makes it impossible to hold ineffective elected superintendents accountable unless the district becomes a priority district, is taken over by the State Department of Education, and is assigned a conservator – the goal is to catch and improve districts before they drop to that level.
• In one superintendent’s race last summer, the incumbent threatened the district employees – including teachers – that he would fire them if they didn’t support him.

Anonymous said...

The memo we received concerning the options for the returning of money contained a statement that all full time employees would share in the funds. I am wondering if that would include full time employees that have only recently been hired (say in the last few weeks)? They did not have funds withheld from their TSA last year. Or is the TSA year referred to - the 2010-2011 school? We need more details!!!

Anonymous said...

Here is one "good" teacher who got out for my sanity. Thanks for the advice!

Anonymous said...

8:18--It's less than a thousand dollars each--the leftover amount after they give us the money for the cancelled furlough days. It has nothing to do with the lost TSA money, except that apparently we will be given the option to add it to that fund if we choose.

We all--including those hired yesterday--agreed to the salary that we are being paid, so should't we all share in this windfall?

I do think that the money should be divided among only schoolhouse personnel, but that's just my dime. It irks me to think that those that sit on high will get their share. At least it's an equal division, though, and not a percentage of salary!