Monday, May 9, 2011

It's a start!

From the AJC

DeKalb County Schools will contract with a college or university to conduct an employee compensation study this fall, Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson announced Monday. From 2003-05, the district hired Ernst & Young to conduct a compensation study that was inconclusive. Tyson said the district at the time opted to halt the study before it was complete, and that numbers recently released from the study were only estimates and misleading.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-schools-to-take-940593.html

30 comments:

Cerebration said...

Two things:

IF the study was halted, how much did taxpayers end up paying E&Y? Were they paid in full according to the original contract?

Second - the audit as I recall, revealed that people were overpaid in that they were not actually performing the duties described in the job description for which they were being paid.

Cerebration said...

At least it's a start. This board will never convince voters to vote for another SPLOST - especially as Gene Walker is pushing - it looks like they will raise taxes -- and so will the county commissioners... The school board needs to find some pathway to credibility and a transparent audit is a start.

The DeKalb School Board is “on track for pursuing SPLOST IV” and “definitely shooting for November,” board Chairman Tom Bowen said Friday.

“The board will be working on the SPLOST priorities list over the next 45 days,” he said.


4 school systems readying for SPLOST voters

Atlanta Media Guy said...

DCSS does not deserve another dime!

Tyson said the district at the time opted to halt the study before it was complete, and that numbers recently released from the study were only estimates and misleading.

This is her opinion if I recall Tyson's version of the E&Y audit was incomplete and very misleading. Just read the AJC piece from back then. The only part released by the Clew Regime only scratched the surface. Tyson was trying to calm all the FOIA threats for the original E&Y audit and all the documents that were with it.

I feel the E&Y audit has some very nasty info in it. If it didn't why would they hide it?

Hey Ms. Tyson can we be sure that the new audit will be open and transparent and TOTALLY released for all the world to see, not just a piecemeal cliff note version.

Susan Curtis said...

I'd like to see the incomplete audit, if only to satisfy my own desire to have DCSS be transparent. A huge problem for the palace and for the Board is lack of community trust in what they say - releasing the "incomplete" audit would be a step in repairing the trust.

I'm glad another audit is being done; hopefully the Board and Administration will use the results of the audit to do some serious adjusting at the County level. But adjustment needs to be done sooner than this audit will be completed. If teachers have to have 27 students in k-2 and 32 in 3-5, (goodness only knows what numbers will be like in middle and high) then the county office should be bare bones before this happens. Teachers at one school have been told that those numbers are going to happen next year, so I think the County office (especially Title 1) should be reduced accordingly.

Cerebration said...

Does anyone know what's going on with our fairly new internal auditor? I've heard claims of a few people being caught mishandling school booster money but that's about it.

Also - was the whistleblower hotline ever actually installed? How does anyone use it? Has that info been shared with system employees?

Anon said...

A bookkeeper was just indited so I think the auditor is doing something.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/grand-jury-school-employee-940461.html

Cerebration said...

That's good news, but what about the thief or thieves who stole all the laptops? What about the missing brand new AC units stolen for the copper last summer? We have our own internal police force for which we pay $19 million a year (which I've heard Gene Walker has a relative in that department, along with his daughter-in-law who works in the board office as a $60k plus secretary)... What of these police? I'm not seeing a whole lot of police action going on. Maybe we should just take the $19 million to the DeKalb County force and let them monitor the school system. You can sign up online for the crime reports - announcements of every single public arrest in DeKalb County --- but there is NO WAY to find out who has been arrested by school system police and for what crimes.

Cerebration said...

That's good news, but what about the thief or thieves who stole all the laptops? What about the missing brand new AC units stolen for the copper last summer? We have our own internal police force for which we pay $19 million a year (which I've heard Gene Walker has a relative in that department, along with his daughter-in-law who works in the board office as a $60k plus secretary)... What of these police? I'm not seeing a whole lot of police action going on. Maybe we should just take the $19 million to the DeKalb County force and let them monitor the school system. You can sign up online for the crime reports - announcements of every single public arrest in DeKalb County --- but there is NO WAY to find out who has been arrested by school system police and for what crimes.

sharon said...

What's past is prologue. We can not change anything with an incomplete audit done almost 6 years ago. What we can fix is now and the future. We can do a new audit (and one should every 6 or 7 years or so) and publish the findings online once the results are complete. The tenor of this blog is that once that is done none of you will believe it unless it shows that every single person in administration is overpaid.

Oddly enough the lady from the State Department of Education who spoke at the board meeting had good things to say about the school system’s role in Race to the Top.

If you think any police department in Georgia can solve the stolen laptop crime you have a great deal of faith in something at least (certainly more than you have any aspect of the school system). If you research property crimes solved in Georgia, you would be dismayed. Certainly the chance for recovery of stolen property is slim. I have a neighbor who had video of his thieves and a year later no one has caught them.

dundevil said...

This shows that there are or were some kind of E & Y documents. How come that Ms Spruill was not advised of this. What a bunch of *****

Kim Gokce said...

Sharon is right. I'll go farther ... DeKalb County Govt had GSU conduct a similar audit and recommendation effort. Then, with great fanfare the County let a bunch of people go only to bring most of them on again later and, in some cases, at a higher cost.

We are making this too complicated - we need dramatically fewer schools with dramatically fewer central office and operations staff. If we can't get the first item, the rest is whistling Dixie.

Fewer schools folks, many, many fewer schools ... the rest is vanity.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

hey Sharon! I'm just questioning the 19 million dollar expenditure for an organization that already exists in the county. Not the fact that DCSS police can't solve the crime spree of laptops. Seems to me a lot of money for police when we can pay DeKalb Police for services. Way too much duplication going on around county services.

Anon said...

We spend to much on a lot of things.

In my long history as a DCSS parent, every time this system tries to make any cuts to the school police, parents rise up and protest. For those of us who perceive that our schools and communities are safe, and where the worst issue is property crime, I think that it is hard to understand.

But DeKalb has some of the highest crime zip codes in Metro Atlanta and within those zip codes, and others, the schools reflect the challenges of the community. These are the parents that show up to scream about cuts to SROs, etc.

I happen to think that stronger principals could solve some of these issues, but that seems to be something that is really lacking in DeKalb.

Cerebration said...

Whatever happened to the DeKalb Schools officer who chased down a student off campus and shot and killed him?

teacher said...

It's like the program that supposedly finds stolen lap tops. We hear about it once, and never hear about it again.

Dekalbparent said...

Maybe we need to get a TV station to look at DCSS:

http://www.wsbtv.com/2investigates/27841093/detail.html

Cerebration said...

Here's the link to the story -
DeKalb schools officer shoots student near Redan High School

A DeKalb County school resource officer shot a 16-year-old student near Redan High's campus Friday afternoon, a school system spokesman confirmed.

The 16-year-old attends DeKalb Alternative School, spokesman Jeff Dickerson told the AJC. It is believed he was tussling with students from Redan.

At around 3:30 p.m., the resource officer responded to Field Green Drive in the Hidden Hills subdivision, where the scuffle had intensified. According to the officer, he heard a gunshot and then witnessed the 16-year-old holding a weapon. The officer responded, shooting the teen four times, Dickerson said.

Cerebration said...

Perhaps our school police need a bit more real life training?

“[The school resource officer] was hovering over the kid and keeping everybody back with his revolver” said Brown, adding that he was disturbed by the sight of an officer pointing his gun at the dozen or so students standing nearby.

teacher said...

This shows that we don't need our police force and that we could use the real police officers in the county. You don't point a gun at a person unless you intend to shoot them. That is the first thing one is taught in gun safety.

Cerebration said...

Actually, according to the article, I'm wrong - thank goodness - the student didn't die after being shot 4 times by the DCSS officer.

Sagamore 7 said...

In Nashville, Tn., Williamson County, all county schools from MS to HS have a county sheriff's office in the school.
They are not only responsible for the students and staff at their school but the surrounding neighborhood also.

This seems like a very good use of county resources.

We could help out the Dekalb County Public Safety Department and get RID of DCSS police force.

Does anyone know of other creative solutions that other counties across our nation are doing to put safety resource officers in the schools?

S7

Cerebration said...

Here's insight as to how they handle police needs in Clayton County Schools -

10 students arrested after food fight

The incident began when an assistant principal at Lovejoy High School called police to report a student for gambling around 11:15, Officer Phong Nguyen with Clayton County police told the AJC. The student, whose name was not released because he was a juvenile, had a knife and was arrested on gambling and weapon charges, Nguyen said. The student was transported to the youth detention center, police said. . . .

Some Clayton County officers also serve as school resource officers, meaning officers were already in the area at the time of the initial call, Nguyen said.

Cerebration said...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Gene Walker's son or son-in-law a DCSS resource officer or security officer?

His daughter-in-law is a $60,000 school board secretary, which I find a bit of a conflict.

Cerebration said...

According to the 2010 Salary Report downloaded at the state's website, DCSS has 211 security officers ranging in pay from a few thousand (part time or newly hired late in the year) to $92,599. Total salaries -- ver $9.5 million. The average salary therefore is around $45,000. Let's go to the DeKalb Officer's Speak blog and ask what an average DeKalb county officer's pay is -

I'll ask them and report back. In the meantime, check out their blog -

http://dekalbofficersspeak.blogspot.com/

Cerebration said...

Here's an interesting event involving the DeKalb county police - plan to attend tonight if you want to know about gangs - we have several in our school system.

Northlake Community Alliance will host its Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm at the Briarlake Baptist Church, Backlot Building.

After a brief business meeting to re-elect board members, Mr. Michael S. Carlson, Deputy Chief Asst. District Attorney, DeKalb Co. will make a presentation on Street Gang activity in the Northlake/DeKalb community. This is a tremendously important topic for citizens and businesses. There will also be comments from the DeKalb County Police Department on this subject and there will be time for Q&A.

Cerebration said...

Here's a comment on my question to the DeKalb officers at DeKalb Officer's Speak:

Dekalb County Schools have their own police department, these are school police officers not security officers.

Gwinnett County, the states largest school system, has only 39 police officers and about 1 unarmed guard at each school. They pay their school officers a min of 72,000 a year with take home car. Of course you must have 10 years prior experiance, a degree if not a masters, and significant investigative or juvi experience.

The fact that Dekalb schools, with far less students than Gwinnett has needs 211 police officers versus Gwinnetts 39 officers tells you something about the children in Dekalb and their parents.

A Blue State of Mind said...

The first school where I worked had two city policemen whose beat was the high school. There was a city police car parked prominently in the parking log every day. Admittedly, these guys looked like Otis and Barney, and the Barney-looking guy got his foot broken trying to break up a girls' fight, but it was efficient and the city police dept was ready with back-up if it were ever needed.

Sounds like a good system. A Dekalb police officer would certainly inspire a little more respect than some of the clown DCSS officers. And it would be so much cheaper, not a dumping ground for overpaid family members who are unqualified to do anything but sit at a desk all day.

A Blue State of Mind said...

..we also had a great principal. The best principal I have ever worked for.

Open+Transparent said...

Over 200 employees in the school police department.

Two chiefs (WTH?). Four secretaries. Nine detectives who embarasingly can't solve any school property crime.

The department has no annual fitness test, so the overwhelming majority of SRO's are grossly out of shape.

Almost none work nights or weekends, so no one is randonly checking campuses, when much of the property crime happens then.

Cross Keys High School had a homeless camp at the back of the property. DCSS School Police didn't even know about it, because they never checked the gorunds. Only after the heroic Kim Gokce made it public was it addressed.

Tens of thousands of dollars of computers stolen from Henderson Middle, and DCSS hid it from the public, and the clueless Tony Hunter just says they're gone and that's it.

Hundreds of thousands in air conditioning units stolen, and no one from the Central Office or BOE cares. Since when would chair Bowen and the rest start caring about how our tax money is spent?

Go to the DCSS-owned old Heritage school, and teens are openly drinking alcohol and smoking weed. Go to many of the locked and fenced fields, and adults are sneaking in and playing soccer even when it interferes with re-seeding/re-sodding.

Students from the alternative school sneak out of school daily. There is absolutely no control at that school. You know who is the only entity that brings them back to school? It's not DCSS police or DeKlab County police; it's MARTA police who actually do a good job of trying to enforce truancy during school days.

What do all the SRO's do for all those holiday's, breaks, and the summer?

Here's the simple solution: Hire retired police officers, at a good hourly salary, no benefits. Why in the blank are we paying over 200 employees full annual salaries when the school year is 180 days?

What return on investment do we get for two chiefs and nine detectives?

Why does Gwinnettt, a much larger school system, have a fraction of the school police force as we do?

This department is more in need of an audit of every single DCSS Dept. other than Audria Berry's Army/the Office of School Improvement.

But Gene Walker would fight tooth and nail against it since his son works in the department, and who knows how many other BOE members and Central Office staff have scored school police dept. jobs for their family and friends.

teacher said...

We need to fight just as hard about raising taxes, as board members fight against right sizing the district employees and covering up the multitude of friends and family members in employment with extremely high salaries. With our police force size, I question the AC units that have been taken, and the multiple sets of laptops stolen from schools.

Hopefully things will change in DCSS, but I don't see it happening in the near future.