Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Follow-up to Fill-In-The-Blank Challenge

On November 28, I received the following e-mail from B. Kennedy Kent of Columbus, Ohio, out of the blue:

“Read your blog "What Are They Up To Now?" Our district in Columbus, Ohio is also using blanket purchase orders but for $25,000 or over.

We were lucky enough to zero in on these multi-million dollar purchase orders referred to as Super P.O.'s from which they paid NCLB SES tutoring vendors. We found these individual vendors placed under the same purchase order were paid sums in excess of a half a million dollars without board approval according to the Assistant Treasurer in the video. We're hoping getting them on video and getting key documents will further wake the public up to the corruption in our district.

If you requested the record and/or the cancelled checks showing the payments to the vendors your Board's agenda had listed, I think you would also be shocked to find out how much these vendors were paid over the $50,000 without individual Board approval. In addition, from being part of a school system, it was always our understanding blanket purchase orders cannot be used for amounts $50,000 and over.

We asked for the purchase manual from our district officials as well as the written guidelines for the use of blanket purchase orders. They are claiming they have no records responsive to the requests, which means we can't let you know we are illegally disbursing these federal funds. They had already made the mistake of giving us the Treasurer's handbook.

Below is the link to our article in the Free Press. Hopefully it can give you some insight as to what your Board is up to because your blog let us know other school districts are also using blanket purchase orders for exorbitant amounts. It's nice to know you're not alone, so keep doing what you're doing.”

http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/18/2010/3994
As I read this unexpected e-mail from B. Kennedy Kent and then read the linked article in the Free Press (see above) – and watched the accompanying videos with amazement – I was struck by how remarkably similar it all was to the issues we have in the DeKalb County School System. I thought it might be eye-opening to remove identifying names and other information – and see if anyone filled in the blanks with names of likely suspects from DCSS. [Fill-in-the-Blank Challenge; Posted on DSW on December 2, 2010]
Mostly, I thought it might be encouraging to also know that we in DCSS are not alone. And to know that others are actively pursuing criminal proceedings against this kind of fraud.
One commenter asked if this kind of thing is happening or could happen in DCSS. The answer is, “Yes!” Most definitely. More information from B. Kennedy Kent in Ohio (see below) and from DCSS and Ga DOE confirmed the very real possibility that Title 1 funds for SES could be used fraudulently.
More From B. Kennedy Kent:
[Regarding the] Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, here is their link: http://www.ecotohio.org/home.php
“Note there is no mention of NCLB or NCLB SES tutoring on their website. There is also no staff or contact information except for a toll free number. Yet, on your state's list, ECOT lists specific contact information with a name of a person to contact.
“ECOT is actually an online school in Columbus [Ohio] that alleges to instruct students in person and online; but, in reality, it's just a revolving door and a money-maker holding out hope of a high school diploma to older students who so desperately want it.
“Another interesting fact on ECOT is although it is on your state's list as an approved SES provider, it is not on our state's [Ohio] list as an approved SES provider.
“There are other things to note regarding your state's list of providers.
“[1] You also have a provider called Community Threads and although its physical address is listed in Georgia, note that its phone number is a Columbus, Ohio phone number. Community Threads is listed as a provider on our state's list; however, the website listed on your state's provider information for Community Threads is different and disturbing. Here's the link: http://twittie.ning.com/
“[2] Your state [Georgia] also has a number of the same providers. Your providers also come from outside states including Ohio. Two of them have the same address in Baltimore, Maryland. (Educate Online & EOL Virtual Classroom are listed at 1001 Fleet Street and both charge $90.00 an hour).
“You might want to request a list of payments made annually to the SES providers who have served DeKalb County since the program's inception. You should find the dollar amounts enlightening.”
Follow-Up
Of the 335* names the DCSS Finance Department planned to submit to the DCSS BOE on October 4, 2010 along with a request for pre-approval for each one to bill DCSS more than $50,000 in this school year, 23 were for tutoring. Of those 23 companies, twenty-one are specifically for SES tutoring funded by Title 1; two seem to be for general tutoring. Of those 23, six are not on the list approved by GaDOE (including the two that seem to be for general tutoring) which means they cannot be paid from Title I funds. Apparently DCSS is no longer requesting BOE pre-approval for tutoring charges in excess of $50,000, per company, per year).
* Subsequently, this list was pared down to six utilities (more on that to come) and re-submitted on November 11, 2010.
The Georgia Department of Education has a list of 171 “approved” SES providers. A random check of some of these providers shows a number of them are not in compliance with the Georgia Secretary of State. Thirty-three of the 171 “approved” providers are from out-of-state. Thirty (18%) of the “approved” providers charge from $70 up to $90 per hour.
Without much-needed transparency by DCSS, it is difficult-to-impossible to find any information on the quality and/or success record of the “approved” and/or “non-approved SES providers. Nor have I found how many DCSS students are served by each provider on the DCSS list.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sandy

It sounds like that it is the state's job to approve the providers. It sounds like that in Ohio as well.

Is your beef with DCSS or the GA DOE?

Cerebration said...

It's sad and disheartening that the federal government tries to implement programs designed to offer hope and support for our struggling young people and then every single time, there are greedy people who find a way to milk the system. It's so bad and so hard to stay on top of the fraud and corruption that seems rampant in our school systems nationwide.

In fact, Michelle Rhee has just formed an advocacy group designed to tamp down the out of control corruption and return the focus to students.

Read about her newly formed group in the NY Times -

A Former Schools Chief Shapes Her Comeback

Cerebration said...

She announced she would lead a new advocacy group, StudentsFirst, setting a highly ambitious target of raising $1 billion to promote “transformative reform,” primarily by backing laws and political candidates, from local school boards to Congress. . . .

“The ultimate goal is to shift the power dynamic of education in this country, which I think for far too long has been dominated by special interests, whether the teachers’ unions or textbook manufacturers,” Ms. Rhee, 40, said in an interview.

Anon said...

Cere

One of the people to make the most money off of NCLB was George Bush's brother.

NCLB has always been about enriching businesses since its inception. Please don't think that the Feds don't know this.

Even the charter school movement is becoming far more flush with businesses and much less populated by grass roots folks.

There is no easy answer, government spending is generally an easy target for fraud and waste regardless of what level. Look at the amount of fraud in programs like Medicare and military spending.

Cerebration said...

Also, I don't speak for Sandy, but I interpreted this problem as both state and local. Shame on the state for allowing questionable suppliers on the approved list - and shame on DCSS for attempting to give those vendors carte blanche in billing.

Although - when the board was discussing a recent tech contract that was approved to bill beyond $50k, the question was asked whether the bills beyond that would still have to be approved by the board and the answer was yes. I wonder if this is true for tutoring...

Cerebration said...

True, 8:57 PM., that's all true. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

A friend sent 2 requests to Congressman Hank Johnson in recent months asking him to request an audit of DCSS Title 1 money since they are federal funds...he got the automated "Thank you for contacting us. We will respond shortly." He never received any response. And apparently the congressman's office didn't pursue it or it would have hit the news.
Sad..

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:03.

I think Congressman Hank Johnson's office and intellect capsized some time ago.

You didn't hear about it?

It's all over youtube!

I'm sorry he didn't respond but what do you expect from him?

Respect, attention to details?

I'm glad I'm not in his district!

Anonymous said...

I wish my mom was on the Board: DCSS Board of Ed member Sarah Copelin-Wood’s daughter, Thomakia Copelin,
a DCSS employee, in a little trouble (and it’s a felony). A normal DCSS employee be suspended without pay. But the daughter of a long standing BOE member? Nope.

Offense Date
28-JAN-10

Charge Level / Code and Description
FINANCIAL TRANS CARD FRAUD/Felony

Filing Date
08-FEB-2010

COPELIN, THOMAKIA ROSHAY
DOB: 08-MAY-74
SPN: X0405631
BOOKING DATE: 28-JAN-10 01:23 PM
RELEASE DATE: 29-JAN-10 03:37 PM

Christopher King said...

I have been tracking events in Ohio since I was a Civil Rights lawyer there after leaving the AG's Office in 1995. They used to try to jail my client Jerry Doyle for exposing the financial misdeeds at the time, and nothing has changed.

I'll be posting on this again tomorrow (9) December but for now check this link, be sure to watch the videos at the bottom of my public records request on wepapers, there is vintage footage from the school board in rampant malfeasance.

Keep on keeping on, we have to bring activity like this to a grinding halt, and only networking and massive Due Diligence will get us there.

KingCast.net -- Reel News for Real People.

Anonymous said...

And of course a central administrator decided a few years back that all teachers would be paid a flat rate for after school tutoring rather then their pro rated hourly rate. So, save money on teachers to pay more to our friends in private tutoring business. If you are an administrator in DCSS, you should resign. No central administrators would be better then the ones we have now.

PolitiMom said...

So we have this information. What can we do with it to affect change? If we keep a record of all these things you are all finding across the various aspects of DCSS, would a comprehensive report and a meeting with the new superintendent help matters? Surely they will get some kind of briefing book from Ray & Associates or the DBOE. These are things that need to be included under a tab called "identified trouble areas." I so appreciate learning about the underbelly of our system, but I want to work on a way to put your investigations to good use.

Cerebration said...

Excellent Idea PolitiMom. Those who would like to help with such a project, please send an email to us at

reparteeforfun@gmail.com

Dunwoody Mom said...

Not sure where to post this, but Fran Millar has op-ed piece that says the SAT/ACT scores should be come part of the criteria for the HOPE scholarship.

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/to-save-hope-scholarship-770698.html

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Fran Millar, vice chair of the House Education Committee do an op-ed piece on why under his watch K-12 funding has been decimated, with further cuts coming. If you want to see more HOPE recipients be successful in college, then fund an adequate K-12 education so that they can be prepared when the do enter college in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"A friend sent 2 requests to Congressman Hank Johnson in recent months asking him to request an audit of DCSS Title 1 money since they are federal funds"

Sorry but the fed audits Title I funds each year in each school system as does the state.

Anonymous said...

If you are an administrator in DCSS, you should resign. No central administrators would be better then the ones we have now.

and no post would be better than yours. The solution is often simple to those who get to commment and not to act.

Anonymous said...

perhaps we could also through the baby out with the bath water and eliminate all our problems by elimating public schools.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone verify this rumor: Ralph "Buy-my-book" Simpson who was demoted from Area Superintent to Assistant principal will soon be promoted to Principal at Cedar Grove HS?

Christopher King said...

Boo Yah!

http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/2010/12/kingcast-sees-dekalb-county-ga-and.html

09 December 2010

KingCast sees DeKalb County, GA and Columbus, Ohio Citizens fight back on NCLB malfeasance and fraud, millions of taxpayer money in "blanket purchase orders" wasted in Felony Price Fixing.

Watch the second video from Justiceforkids first. In it, a Columbus Public Schools financial officer admits that NCLB SES providers are indeed Price Fixing exorbitant rates, often more than $100 an hour, for services.

My former client Jerry Doyle and I have lawfully assembled with many others to raise consciousness and awareness regarding fraudulent activities (like Sherry Bird long diverting $200K to her hubby's company) at the Columbus Public Schools, and other shady practices at Columbus City Hall, as noted in the top video.

But now the people at Justiceforkids.net and at Dekalb County School Watch journal are highlighting some serious issues when it comes to millions of taxpayer monies being spent for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Supplemental Education Service (SES) providers. The Dekalb entry takes a "fill-in-the-blank" approach to show that their situation is the same as the Columbus situation. It's heinous and the Federales need to roll in there and start putting people in handcuffs. If they don't we will all recognize that they are part of the problem and not the solution.

Speaking of problems, the Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles (does he even have a college degree for Pete's sake his bio did not say so) doesn't want to hear any, so he wrote Justiceforkids and told them they can't issue any more complaints, ever. Wow. Did somebody say "Substantive and Procedural Due Process lawsuit?"

Well not in Ohio, because just as in New Hampshire, if you buck the system as a lawyer you will pay in one way or another. So we're gonna' go underground on 'em with Citizen Media. There's more than one way to skin a cat.... [snip]

Anonymous said...

Sandy- Send this link to Brian_
Downey@ finance-senate.gov
When doing so leave the description as "Dekalb County, GA
Title 1 Fraud".
You might also state that what's enclosed is additional information pertaining to an e-mail sent to Mr. Downey on 9/24/10.
Other individuals that know or suspect information about possible Title 1 fraud in DCSS, please e-mail to the listed address.
Mr. Downey works as a staffmember for Sen. Grassley on the Senate finance committee. Additional information from many persons concerned about possible Title 1 Fraud con only make the feds more interested into looking into the situation.
Also...... anyone who makes the e-mail: make mention that you've done so here on the website.
Naturally, do so anonymously. This will help gauge how much interest is being generated on rattling some cages up at the federal level.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ December 9, 2010 9:26 AM:

Pamela Benford was named as the principal of Cedar Grove High School a while ago. Previously the AP for Instruction at Columbia High School, she has been on the job at CGHS since last week.

Anonymous said...

Did you all know you can file complaints about Title 1 issues with the state DoE? I didn't until I googled.

Here is the document explaining the process.

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/Georgia%20Department%20of%20Education%20SEA%20Complaint%20Procedures.pdf?p=4BE1EECF99CD364EA5554055463F1FBBF5D074D5FB1F2CAEB3B63B3ECB220CDD26C2114F3C57D8D2A94DF3E8B084D770&Type=D

You can not file a complaint anonymously though.

Anonymous said...

This is a scam. The Columbus district officials need to be fired asap and then they along with these vendors need to go straight to jail. What is their Board doing?

District officials keep saying we're broke, but obviously we're not broke, we just have greedy corrupt people in charge of our schools.

What parent would knowingly pay up to $90 an hour?
DCSS and the GA DOE need to explain why these providers are able to charge these outrageous prices.

As you heard the woman on the video in the NCLB scam article say, these vendors just got together and decided to charge these crazy prices. Sounds like price fixing from the horse's mouth to me.

Anonymous said...

So we laid off para pros, media center assistants, IT assistants and increased class sizes in the school house. Then DCSS approves $90+ per hour tutoring fees with out DIRECT approval by the BOE? Hey! This is OUR money you're spending. NOT YOURS!

Now more than ever we need the DCSS check register online, so all can see how OUR tax money, local and federal, is spent. Mr. Turk needs to expose every questionable transaction, if not this guy needs to be shown the door. Our new BOE members need to begin asking the tough questions of the staff. Plus, it's time the media begins to expose this fraud to the public.

Once again everyone look at our right hand, where we're tackling consolidation, redistricting, SACS, Super search and the regular day to day operations of a 1.4 billion dollar boondoggle, while our left hand is handing out millions to family and friends. What a great country we live in!

A little sunshine on DCSS will be a great disinfectant to help clean out the bacteria at the Palace!

This is really sad!

Cerebration said...

For clarification, the video highlighting the $90/hour tutors was about the Columbus Ohio schools. However, we are aware that several of those Ohio vendors happen to have made the list of approved vendors in the state of Georgia. At this point, we can't be sure if the state property vetted the vendors and we also can't endorse blanket purchasing power to any such vendor. We simply think that as much of a pain as it is, the board's responsibility is to review and approve or deny purchases. Aside from managing the superintendent (their only employee), their main purpose is fiduciary. We expect them to hunt down and eliminate waste and fraud.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cere! I realized that after I went back and watched the video.

The vendors and Turk need to answer the question, how much has been spent and let's see the invoices.

Is Audria Berry involved in this too? These funds are being spent for her army right?

I think it's time we stop paying tutors and vendors for these services until we have direct questions answered by the staff. This is OUR local and federal tax money that DCSS is spending. $90 bucks an hour to tutor in Columbus, Ohio? I want in on some of that!

Anonymous said...

NCLB requires that systems offer these services. A small handful of systems have gone to the Feds and gotten permission to offer these services, but even then I am not sure they can be the sole provider. The Feds are skeptical about systems being providers because the kids are failing already.

Of course, there is fraud in this program. NCLB was designed to make people rich.

Anonymous said...

For clarification, I reviewed the GA DOE's list of providers and their tutoring cost to the districts per hour.

Out of the 112 providers listed, only 8 list their actual cost per hour below $50. No private citizen would pay $50 to $90 dollars for their child to be tutored so why are the taxpayers paying these exorbitant amounts? It's obvious the district paid a number of these vendors.

There needs to be a federal investigation into these prices, and how they came to be so high. Our district officials are supposed to be getting the best prices for the value.

It shouldn't be just Sandy sending this link to our elected officials. All of us should be sending this link to our elected officials.

If our elected officials ignore it, then you know they're part of the problem rather than the solution.

Why not begin by sending this link to the Board Members!

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:14

"Out of the 112 providers listed, only 8 list their actual cost per hour below $50. No private citizen would pay $50 to $90 dollars for their child to be tutored so why are the taxpayers paying these exorbitant amounts? It's obvious the district paid a number of these vendors.
"

Send these numbers to Governor Deal. He's looking to decrease money to schools. Maybe he's interested in where it's going.

Anonymous said...

Most families in my neighborhood pay $60 an hour for math and physics tutors. That is the going rate in the metro area for quality tutors- often grad students at GA Tech or Emory.

I pay $60/hour for a math tutor for my child.

Anonymous said...

The No Child Left Behind Tutoring is for tutoring disadvantaged, low-income students that are attending failing schools.

However, the majority of families would never agree to pay $50 to $90 an hour for tutoring, let alone tutoring in mostly basic reading and math. Only a few of the providers listed extend their services to include science and social studies.

Therefore, I, for one, find it hard to believe the majority of the families in anonymous' neighborhood are paying $60 an hour.

Perhaps anonymous is one of the providers listed on the GA DOE's website.

Anonymous said...

"Out of the 112 providers listed, only 8 list their actual cost per hour below $50. No private citizen would pay $50 to $90 dollars for their child to be tutored so why are the taxpayers paying these exorbitant amounts? It's obvious the district paid a number of these vendors."

My mother is a certified reading specialist who made upwards of $50 an hour years ago when she tutored. Her friends who are still doing it make more than that now.

I used a reading specialist to help my then 3rd grader 8 plus years ago. She was fabulous and worth every penny, but I think we were paying $60 a hour back then.

I paid $50 an hour for Spanish tutoring a few years ago and the same for math tutoring as recently as 18 months ago. And you had to sign up early to get in with either of those tutors, both of whom worked Sunday through Thursday from the moment area high schools let out until 10 or 11 PM. Sometimes they would even see kids on Saturday.

However, like most families who can pay this amount, I seek out and find the very best. I check references and ask for results. I suspect that the SES providers have very little of that done.

Anonymous said...

"Send these numbers to Governor Deal. He's looking to decrease money to schools. Maybe he's interested in where it's going"

These are not state or local monies. They are Title 1 monies which NCLB requires to be spent on offering these services.

It is always good to advocate. But to be an effective advocate, you have to have your facts straight and frankly know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

I've been calling around for a math tutor for my daughter, and $60 an hour for one-on-one tutoring is not unusual. Small group tutoring (usually 3 students per group) can be had for $35-45 per session, but if you want individual tutoring for higher level subjects (h.s. science and math)expect to pay in the neighborhood of $60.

Anonymous said...

I have had two different Math tutors for my child, one a retired teacher $35 per hour, the current one who holds an advanced degree in Math--$40 per hour. I did use a tutor for 2 sessions that was one of the "larger companies"...$75 an hour for a tutor who was not prepared...a waste of money.

Math continues to be a problem for even our most advanced students. I understand that across the board, Math teachers state that they don't "have time to teach". What I see is that the Math teachers have the easiest time yet. They don't grade homework, the look at maybe 10 problems every week for each child and have quizzes and tests. In talking with parents students in the most advanced levels are spending an average of 2 hours per week with tutors. Something is wrong here...where is the teaching?

I understand that a Math benchmark has been required before winter break, any chance of our seeing the results, by teacher by school and by county? It would be very enlightening!

Anyone have any idea as to what and when Barge plans to do something about this mess that is being called Math?

Anonymous said...

I looked at the video of the SES Director again. Although she clearly contradicts herself, she does state the most these providers should be making is $30.00 an hour.

And I don't know if anyone watches the series "Downsizing". On it the mother lives and is a teacher in what looks to be a wealthy area and wants to make extra money over the summer.

Although her co-workers suggested she might get $30 an hour, she ended up getting only $10.00 an hour. So for someone to have been making $50.00 an hour many years ago is hard to believe and it's hard to believe any parent would pay $60.00 an hour to a college student. If so, my daughter is missing out on a great part-time job.

I think those people who are writing that they have earned or are paying these amounts just don't want Dekalb county officials looking into this cash cow.

Anonymous said...

"Although her co-workers suggested she might get $30 an hour, she ended up getting only $10.00 an hour. So for someone to have been making $50.00 an hour many years ago is hard to believe and it's hard to believe any parent would pay $60.00 an hour to a college student. If so, my daughter is missing out on a great part-time job."

My friend who has a Masters in Education is out of work and started tutoring. She makes between $10 to $15 an hour and her boss who owns the center makes $30 (my friend gets half). If she tutors on her own one on one (sometimes she works with adults to teach reading she makes $35 an hour). My friend used to own a Kumon Learning Center in Dunwoody and charged parents around $30 an hour, however they committed a set number of tutorial sessions a week. She works with students through 10th grade students (not calculus, but through Algebra) in reading and math. She currently teaches in a tutoring center in the Northlake area. They have many central DeKalb students.

Also, she teaches part time at one of Georgia's technical colleges. She's hoping to leave the tutoring field soon and get a full time job with the university center (needs benefits). She enjoys the tutoring, but she doesn't make anywhere near the amount of money quoted in these posts. She's a great teacher.

Anonymous said...

I think DeKalb should look into this, but the list is developed and approved at the state. The program and its requirements are set at the federal level.

I pay top dollars for top tutors.

I would never use a company as I don't find it necessary to pay a middle man. If you are paying a company X, then the tutor is only getting W.

Anonymous said...

Didn’t anyone notice the facts Sandy pointed out?

Electronic Classroom for Tomorrow is listed on our state’s provider list but isn’t even listed on the provider list in the state they say they’re located. And when you go to their website, the words No Child Left Behind Tutoring or SES are nowhere in sight and they only offer a toll free number.

I also took the time to look at the website Community Threads gives on the state’s list of provider. Isn’t anyone else bothered about what supposed to be a reputable provider having this website called Twittie.ning that also doesn’t say anything about NCLB tutoring? And where is the contact information?

How about the fact that two providers are listed at the same address and the fact that a number of these providers are from out of state or the fact a number of these businesses aren’t even registered in the State of Georgia.

Why would parents from the lowest income families choose providers from out-of-state? I would never pay these costs per hour for my child to be tutored through a computer.

Sorry, but this is B.S.

Anonymous said...

I also think Dekalb County should look into this. How much do teachers make an hour?

Anonymous said...

I am the original poster regarding the $60/hr tutor. NO, I am not a DCSS plant but a real life mom with a high school student in an advanced math course.

BTW, did any juniors at other high schools take a "sample" test of the new GHSGT for math this week? I heard the test was hard.

This is probably worth its own topic, but the state has written a new math graduation test that will be given to juniors this spring. It is supposed to test the new curriculum and will cover algebra, geometry, trig and statistics. Unless they set the "cut" level very low, I think this is going to be problematic for the entire state and counties such as DeKalb where the traditional math scores were always very low.

Go to this link to see the topics on the new test. Then you will see why parents pay $60/hr for high quality math tutors.

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/GHSGT%20Math%20Content%20Descriptions%20Jan%2026%202010.pdf?p=6CC6799F8C1371F6AF24597C1D11D18252C81A60E25E7530771405FBD7A24941&Type=D

Anonymous said...

First year with a bachelors degree they make around $26.00 an hour assuming they work only only from 8 to 4 with no work at night and on weekends.

180 days of teaching and 10 teacher workdays = 190 days x 8 hours = 1,520 hours. $39,000/1520 = $25 an hour. No planning, grading, meetings, phone calls, training after 4:00 pm. After 6 years of teaching they get 78 cents more per hour.

Masters degree 1st year makes around $27.00 an hour if they do no overtime at all (no planning, meetings or grading papers after 4:00 pm). After 6 years they get 85 cents more an hour.

Of course, you need to consider benefits (about 25% over slalaries).

If you look at the overtime that a first year teacher puts in (closer to 20 hours of overtime a week), the hourly salary around $17.00 and hour for a bachelors and around $19.00 an hour for a masters.

The overtime gradually decreases to maybe 10 hours a week after 5 or 6 years.

You can see why we might have a difficult time getting science and math majors to go into teaching - just the fields we need to compete globally.

I saw the salaries for beginning masters level teachers is down to $42,000 versus $44,000 last year. DCSS is having a terrible time competing with the "good" school systems in metro Atlanta. We need to straighten thing out to attract good teachers by the time this recession is over or we'll be in much worse shape.

DCSS teachers are not overpaid. Looking at the salary levels, they are among the lowest paid professionals in the school system. Even kitchen and HVAC mechanics are paid more than bachelors level teachers and about the same as a masters level teacher. Last spring, PATS advertised an entry level kitchen and HVAC mechanics starting at $43,011 with 5 years experience last spring (with time and a half for overtime they will make considerably more than the masters level teacher).
I copied this from the PATS job advertisement:
Position: Mechanic, Kitchen Equipment
Educational requirement: High school diploma or GED
Experience: A valid Freon certificate and 5 years experience (preferred)
Salary: $43,111 to $58,665

A masters level physics teacher with 5 years experience makes $43,774.

DeKalb pretends it's just as easy to get a masters level physics major with 5 years of experience as a kitchen mechanic.

Here is the teacher salary schedule. No schedules are published for the 8,500 admin and support personnel (unless you catch one on PATS).

Anonymous said...

Correction:
"180 days of teaching and 10 teacher workdays = 190 days x 8 hours = 1,520 hours. $39,000/1520 = $25 an hour. No planning, grading, meetings, phone calls, training after 4:00 pm. After 6 years of teaching they get 78 cents more per hour.
"

I meant 180 days of teaching and 10 teacher workdays = 190 days x 8 hours = 1,520 hours. $40,000/1520 = $26 an hour. (no overtime pay of course)

Anonymous said...

Don't teachers just work 7.5 hours per day?

Anonymous said...

These providers are mostly tutoring students from low income families in basic reading and math.

A teacher with a master's degree gets $27 an hour with a $.78 raise after six years.

Can someone please give me a reasonable explanation as to why these providers are getting $50 to $90 dollars an hour and why taxpayers shouldn't be concerned?

Anonymous said...

In the article Sandy posted their state showed only 4 providers were effective in what someone told me was largest school district in Ohio.

Does anyone know if the providers serving DeKalb have been effective because a number of schools are still labeled failing schools?

Anonymous said...

I work in the middle school and my contract time is for 8 hours a day.

8:10 - 4:10.

Anonymous said...

"A teacher with a master's degree gets $27 an hour with a $.78 raise after six years. "


This is not correct. They masters level teacher gets an 85 cent an hour raise after 5 years.

The real shame is that with a few hours of overtime, kitchen and HVAC mechanics positions (which only require a high school diploma or GED)

Pay more than a masters level physics or math teacher. What is HR thinking? No about what's best for students. I noticed that these jobs for mechanics on PATS were quickly filled (within the month), while the math and science jobs stay up for months.

We REALLY need to rightsize non-teaching salaries and benefits.

Anonymous said...

$43,000 is probably about right for a good mechanic who can fix HVAC and kitchen appliances. If he worked for himself he would probably make more but would be subject to the ups and downs of the economy. The question should be is $43,000 the right amount for someone who is talented and trained in math and science to teach our children.

Anonymous said...

It seems we are steering our students in the wrong direction. We should be steering them into vocational work rather than physics, math, etc. No wonder we can't get teachers in high demand subjects.

Anonymous said...

It seems most of our jobs pay more than teachers. Does this strike anyone else as odd?

Anonymous said...

"The median expected salary for a typical HVAC Mechanic I in the United States is $40,563."

From Salary.com:
http://www1.salary.com/HVAC-Mechanic-I-salary.html

It seems DCSS pays the HVAC Mechanic position on the high side - perhaps around 6% to 7%.

It would be interesting to see the independent Ernst and Young 2004 Compensation audit that the DCSS administration hid from public view. This is exactly the kind of information that needs to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

Here's another comparison:
"HVAC Job Title
Median Hourly Rate
Service Technician $19.07
Installer $16.39
Mechanic $19.60
Installation Technician $16.50"

From Degree Directory.org:
http://degreedirectory.org/articles/What_are_the_Average_Salaries_of_the_HVAC_Professions.html

Anonymous said...

The transparent Ms. Tyson, will never bring that Ernst and Young audit into the sunlight. Bob Moseley and Alice Thompson know that the audit will create a furor amongst the true stakeholders. The New Birth employees also know that it would cost them a good percentage of their collection plate if the stakeholders ever lowered the salaries to comparable numbers with other school systems.

Why are they hiding the audit? Anyone else have any ideas? This corrupt leadership of DCSS must go! Has anyone discussed this with Ray and Associates? I know I have on the online survey. Folks we MUST take our system back.

Sunshine is the only disinfectant we need to clean out the bacteria at the Palace.

Anonymous said...

For the Mom that's paying $60 an hour, I'd like to know how often her child gets tutored.

Although I can't tell from the GA DOE's website how often the tutoring occurs, when I looked at other district's websites, these providers are claiming they are tutoring students one to two hours two to three times a week.

At $60 or as some of them are charging, $90 an hour, that could amount to well over a $1,000 a month.

If the providers charged DCSS for these types of hours at these types of prices, this needs to be investigated to ensure our children are not just money makers for greedy people.

Anonymous said...

I guess we could just wait and hope we catch a thief like the author of this article.

http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2010/11/12/reporter-finds-herself-the-victim-in-a-case-of-alleged-fraud/

Anonymous said...

"The transparent Ms. Tyson, will never bring that Ernst and Young audit into the sunlight. "

BOE members should ask for this 2004 audit in which the Ernst and Young auditor summarized to the BOE during an April 1, 2004 meeting that DCSS was over paying 2,500 non-teaching employees around $14,800,000 annually while paying teachers slightly under some other metro school systems. BOE members should ask for the audit taxpayers paid $318,000+ dollars for and then post it on the DCSS BOE website.

The DCSS BOE website doesn't even show a Listing of the April 1, 2004 meeting, and there are no meeting notes. We know this meeting was held because the AJC reported on this BOE meeting:
http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=AT&p_theme=at&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&s_hidethis=no&p_field_label-0=Author&p_field_label-1=title&p_bool_label-1=AND&p_text_label-1=Study:%20DeKalb%20schools%20overpay%20workers&s_dispstring=headl


Look at this quote from the May 3, 2004 BOE meeting:
"It is requested that minutes of the called work session held on April 1... be approved. "

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/ViewMeetingOrder.aspx?S=4054&MID=4854
..and click on Approval of Minutes on the left hand menu bar.

The minutes for the meeting exist since they were approved, but they were never posted.

This audit should show how unbalanced compensation was in DCSS before Lewis became superintendent in late 2004. Based on the 2004 state Salary and Travel audit versus the most recent 2009 state Salary and Travel audit, non-teaching salaries actually went up from 2004 to 2009.

Anonymous said...

I pay $60/hr for a great math tutor. But the tutor is provided through a service and comes to our home. The tutor does not get $60/hr- probably far less because the service takes a cut.

You cannot make any judgments based only on a bid. You don't know whether this is individual tutoring or a fee to tutor a group of students.

I have heard that the biggest problem with the Title I tutoring program is that the students don't show up. So how are you going to fix this?

Anonymous said...

Do the maintenance staff such as the HVAC repairmen work 12 months? If so, this should be factored in to your analysis.

Anonymous said...

Donna Edler and Nancy Jester: Please bring transparency to the public regarding tutoring contracts. out of state, two tutoring companies at the same address, tens of thousands, heck even hundreds of thousands being spent by Audria Berry, who someone survived the Crawford Lewis scandal. This needs sunlight!

Anonymous said...

The sunlight starts at the state level. I am curious if local boards of ed even have the discretion to recommend or not recommend companies once approved by the state.

Does anyone know?

Cerebration said...

You are correct about the salary increases in recent years for central office staff. We have the following posted on the page titled "Facts and Sources" listed under PAGES on the side panel of the home page.

Central office staffing's bloated salaries (Some of these people are now retired, indicted or otherwise replaced.)

Here is a comparison between 2004 salaries and 2009 salaries:

NAME - 2004 salary - 2009 salary

LEWIS,CRAWFORD - $112,074 - $287,991.63
REID,PATRICIA A - $100,010- $197,592.50
CALLAWAY,FRANKIE B - $106,698- $165,035.69
MOSELEY,ROBERT G - $106,698- $165,035.69
TALLEY,GLORIA S - no data available - $165,035.69
TURK,MARCUS T - $75,558 - $165,035.69
TYSON,RAMONA H - $99,960- $165,035.69
WILSON,JAMIE L - $85,502 - $165,035.69
MITCHELL,FELICIA M - $96,354- $125,284.87
FREEMAN,TIMOTHY W - $106,598 - $124,049.27
GILLIARD,WANDA S - $102,594 - $124,049.27
THOMPSON,ALICE A - $99,960- $124,049.27
NORRIS-BOUIE,WENDOLYN - $100,060 - $122,345.84
DUNSON,HORACE C - $90,606- $122,195.84
SEGOVIS,TERRY M - $93,888 - $122,195.84
SIMPSON,RALPH L - $95,826- $122,195.84
WHITE,DEBRA A - $90,426 - $122,195.84
RHODES,CHERYL L - $88,804 - $121,202.40
FREEMAN,SUSAN L - $85,578 - $120,844.00

===

Salary increases from 2003-2009

Name--2003--2009

Lewis, Crawford--111,665--287,991
Lewis, Harold--51,276--109,385
Tyson, Ramona--99,960--165,035
Mitchell, Felicia--94,732--125,284
Yvonne Sanders-Butler--85,428--112,956
Berry, Audria--83,008--116,314
Turk, Marcus--74,188--165,035
Moseley, Robert--104,255--165,039
Thompson, Alice--99,810--124,049
Moody, Cointa--32,773--92,192
Guillory, David--70,574--114,639
Guillory, Philandrea--64,392--114,627
Wilson, Jamie L, Jr.--85,902--165,035
Freeman, Timothy --104,973--124,049

Cerebration said...

Fascinating article, Anon. The fraud surrounding NCLB tutoring services may be more widespread than we had imagined. We've only discussed it here for a few days and found fraud in Columbus, Ohio and Baltimore, Maryland. This is with no investigative effort whatsoever!

Reporter finds herself the witness in alleged tutoring scam

Today, the private contractor entrusted by the school system to provide the tutors for some of Baltimore’s most vulnerable students has been indicted and charged with one count of theft and one count of attempted theft for allegedly bilking the city school system of more than $100,000 for special education tutoring that never took place.

The company above billed the school system for tutoring that never occurred, even going so far as to forge the signature of the tutee's mother.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how much Dekalb County is paying these providers.

Did their prices decrease when the bottom fell out or because our taxpayer dollars were guaranteed, there was no need for them to worry?

I'd also like to know the name of the tutoring company anon is using and how many hours a week her child is tutored.

To me, $60 an hour is a lot of money. I, for one, couldn't afford it, and I'm not poor or frugal.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried to find these tutoring businesses in the yellow or white pages?

To me, it's awfully suspicious when a business can't be found in the phone book, so I'd like to know the name of the business to whom anon is paying $60 an hour or the names of the businesses or persons anyone else is paying $50 and above to tutor their child.

I'd honestly like to ask them if that is the going rate or do they provide something other tutors or tutoring businesses cannot provide.

I honestly tried to use DeKalb's yellow and white pages and these tutoring businesses didn't appear to be listed.

Anonymous said...

Yvonne Sanders Butler is no longer with the county. She is boasting about how she is still getting paid and of course, still suing the county because DCSS did her wrong. Can any one out there really believe this? Surely, she and her sister are mad at Simpson and the other book seller. But, at one time, these criminals supported each other. Dr. Roberts would brag on Dr. Simpson who did all her dirty work and retalitation with teachers or others whom she did not like. Be careful who you wrong. It does come back to haunt you. Good bye to all the criminals of 2010, clew, pope, and booksellers. leave our county and stop suing because you stole money from our children.

Christopher King said...

Well folks take a look at an 11 Jan 2011 update in Columbus, Ohio:

http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/2011/01/kingcast-presents-google-search-of.html