In 2004, Dr. Brown hired Ernst & Young to conduct a salary study to determine if people had the proper job description and in addition, according to the actual work performed, were employees being paid proper, competitive wages. The funds for the study were approved in September, 2003, according to board meeting minutes: "Authorized the firm of Ernst and Young to conduct a single salary compensation study for the DeKalb County School System at a cost of $341,000."
Soon after, Brown was fired and Lewis was hired as his replacement. The study later revealed millions of dollars of overpayments to non-teaching personnel, however Lewis dismissed the findings and buried the study. The study has never been posted or discussed by the board since. All references to the study have been removed from the board's website. Worse, a follow-up study was never conducted, although these types of studies are recommended every 4-5 years. Since our board threw out the results of the 2004 study, DCSS has basically not conducted a salary study for well over a decade, if ever.
In December, 2005 responding to a news story which reported that the Ernst and Young study results showed $14,000,000 in yearly salary overpayments, Dr. Lewis stated to the BOE that the DCSS overpayment in non-teaching salaries was $1.8 million, but he was not going to adjust them. $1.8 million overpayment of non-teaching salaries over 5 years is a $9,000,000 cost to DCSS taxpayers for no additional value in personnel performance.
The Board of Education ignored any financial benefits to DCSS by restructuring the pay scale and accepted Dr Lewis's recommendation to simply rename these employees positions by giving them different titles.
The missing 2004 study was discussed on our blog in this post, entitled, How Much Have Non-Teaching Salary Overpayments Cost DeKalb Schools Taxpayers in the last 5 years? $9,000,000 or $70,000,000
In our opinion, DCSS should conduct a salary and compensation audit ASAP and be document each position (e.g. Dispatch Clerk, Bus Driver, Administrative Assistant I etc.) in the system, including a detailed a job description and the minimum requirements. In addition, each position should be placed on standardized pay scales. This should be placed on the DCSS website so that taxpayers can see what the jobs entails and how much each job pays.
At the September 15th, Emory Lavista Parent Council meeting, Shayna Steinfeld asked Ms. Tyson to unbury the 2004 salary audit done by Dr. Brown's administration. Tyson said she plans to look hard at CO salaries, and there will need to be a bridge between the '04 audit and a newer audit. She admitted the audit got buried, and said one should have been done every five years (meaning there should have been one in 2009).
If Ms. Tyson wants transparency for taxpayers, she needs to move on this immediately.
We taxpayers pay 61 Human Resources personnel approximately $4,500,000 in salary and benefits. They should have time to put this in a format taxpayers can view just like they've done for teachers.
Because we have nothing like this, for example, secretaries to "upper management" make twice the salaries of secretaries in other departments or the schools even as they perform the same functions. That's why the Ernst and Young audit advised standardizing job titles and functions. If you do the same job function, you should be placed on the same salary schedule under the correct number of years of experience.
Please let the board know that although we are pleased at the recent hiring of an internal auditor, the citizens expect an externally conducted salary audit - ASAP. All of the current posturing, charrettes, websites, 2020 visions, mean nothing while they continue to support the bloated salaries and job descriptions of so many at the top --- bleeding money from the very people our tax dollars are being generated to benefit -- our children.