Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taxpayers Need to Demand Transparency

Why are DeKalb Schools Salary Schedules not published online and accessible to all taxpayers?

Much has been written and discussed about the opacity of DeKalb Schools with respect to salary schedules and employee job functions placement on those schedules.

DeKalb Schools Human Resource Department should be publishing the salary schedules for all job categories. DCSS is the most opaque school system in metro Atlanta regarding employee salaries. DCSS has had a webpage for many years where Human Resources purports to publish salary schedules. Please note that DeKalb taxpayers can ONLY select to see the DCSS Teacher Salary Schedule.

DeKalb County Schools:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/humanresources/salaryschedules.html

Now look at the other metro area school systems. Note the many salary schedules available to taxpayers online so they can compare their school system's administrative and support salaries with other metro school systems. While an Compensation Audit is necessary, taxpayers should have access to the information that the auditors have. In ALL of the other metro systems in Atlanta, detailed salary schedule information for admin and support personnel is published online for taxpayers. Click on some of the links below to compare the salary information that the other counties and cities in metro Atlanta provide taxpayers versus DeKalb Schools.

Fulton County Schools:
https://portal.fultonschools.org/departments/Human_Resources/Pages/Salary_Schedules_10_11.aspx

Forsyth County Schools:
http://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/129410616211729590/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=116857

Atlanta Public Schools:
http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/204220122111936667/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=55734&2042Nav=|&NodeID=484

Cobb County Schools:
http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/hr/compensation/schedules.aspx

Gwinnett County Schools:
http://www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/careers/careershr.nsf/010d64ffdfc63566852571dc0061d644/5d1dfad1cd332b0b852571e0006cb5c7?OpenDocument&0~Careers&6~QuickLinks

Decatur City Schools:
http://www.csdecatur.net/hr/salary-benefits

Clayton County Schools:
http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/administration/humanrsc/TeachSalSchd.asp

Rockdale County Schools:
http://portal.rockdale.k12.ga.us/about/fs/hr/employbenefits/Pages/default.aspx

Marietta City Schools:
https://hr.marietta-city.org/getfile.asp?type=5&id=0

Human Resources has an obligation to the taxpayers of DeKalb County to publish salary schedule information for all employees. After all, taxpayers are paying the salaries of every employee in DeKalb County. This needs to be NOW - not later. Human Resources has these salary schedules. It is a simple matter of uploading them to the DCSS website.

If Ms. Tyson wants transparency, this is the place to start since she has stated salaries and benefits make up 90+% of DCSS expenditures.

18 comments:

Atlanta Media Guy said...

It doesn't matter what Tyson says, she is part of the problem! She was the one that was ordered to hide the audit by Clew, when he was in charge. Turk reported to Tyson, Tyson reported to Clew. See? Tyson had to know what Clew was doing. Sorry folks, DCSS is a cesspool and until the taxpayers revolt, nothing will change.

It's still Spring folks and there is a huge cleaning due for the Palace. It's time for heads to start rolling folks! Why is CLew's inner circle still employed? These are the folks that created the mess that DCSS is in today.

DCSS if you are dumb or dumber you too can have a job at DCSS Central Office, as long as you tithe 10%, directly from your paycheck to New Birth's bank account. Isn't that a great service that DCSS provides?

Jane said...

I have begun to wonder if the reason the board is dragging their heels on the new superintendent is because they want to go ahead and hand out all of the contracts to administrators for next year. That way, the new super can't fire anyone for at least the full first school year. It's the only theory so far that makes sense. We've all pretty much agreed that Mrs. Tyson isn't going to get rid of a soul.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Good point Jane! I think the Super search will be under the cover of Summer, when the public's guard is down the most. Just look at the meeting last night, attendance was sparse. However, I watched on the Guilroy Channel 24.

I also believe Tom Bowen will now insist on a path like Cobb County took. BOE announces nothing publicly until they have their finalist. Tom will blame too much transparency for the problems in the Lilly Cox contract negotiations. Though most believe it was Tom himself who derailed those negotiations.

The new Super will be a done deal before the public wakes up. DCSS and the BOE love the Summer months. They can get a lot done without a lot of noise, eh er... feedback from the public.

Everyone have a safe Summer!

Open+Transparent said...

Atlanta Media Guy has me thinking. We need a media outlet other than the AJC/WSB TV/WSB Radio to ask Bowen on the record whether he discussed anything regarding to the Lillian Cox negotations to anyone other than fellow board members and the county attorney.

If Bowen states anything other than a full categorical denial, he is clearly involved with the whole Leakgate scandal.

When it comes to the salary info. being posyed online, remember a few things.

-Ramona Tyson was head of MIS for years. She can have anything she wants posted on the website in minutes. Key point: Anything she wants posted.

-Human Resources head Jamie Wilson is another ex-principal with no prior human resources experience. It is telling that he is the only area HR Dept. chief not to post salary info. for public viewing.

-Almost all of the Central Office upper level staff at the time of the audit, Tyson, Moseley, Ramsey, Thompson, etc., are still on, and are among those being grossly overpaid while teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria workers struggle to get by.

-The Board of Education members once again fail with their lack of any checks & balances. Paul Womack, Jay Cunningham and Tom Bowen often mention their business backgrounds. Businesses don't overpay all of their managers and administrators for years with no regard for the bottom line (actually, Wall Street does). The salary audit has been an issue for years, but the BOE has chosen to ignore it, and allowed tens of millions to be spent not in the classroom or on teacher salaries, but on pencil pushers, many of whom who were hired not because of their qualifications, but becasue of who they know, their sorority, their church, their family members, etc.

Can't wait soon enough for the downsizing of the BOE!

teacher said...

This is the response that I received from McChesney:

The search process for a superintendent is highly confidential. It would
be a violation to discuss specifics. Please know that the process is
continuing.

Thank you,

Don McChesney

I am disappointed, as the public has a right to know that 1. something is happening., 2. If they are starting from scratch, or going down the list., 3. The time frame for a new leader., 4. Are they considering an insider?

It just feels as if the board has dropped the ball here in so many ways. We don't need cell phone towers, but we do need a strong leader who will have the courage and heart to make the changes needed to improve the quality of education that our children receive.

themommy said...

What meeting was last night?

Not a regular board meeting -- the work session was the 2nd of May and the business meeting was the 9th.

I think you were watching a repeat.

I don't think it is about the timing, I think our board is deeply divided and can't come to consensus on anything.

dadfirst said...

Two comments:

#1 - what possible importance is it for the public to know what the salary ranges are for the each of the positions?

In my opinion, this is just more of "let us post anything and everything negative" we can about the school system that we can. As "themommy" has attempted to prod us to discussion several times, without much successs it seems, our #1 priority should be the Superintendent search.

#2 - Any individual applying for a job with the school system, via the PATS portal, can view the salary ranges.

There is no conspiracy going on here. Please let keep the conversation on the important items and not on peripheral matters that do not matter to our students.

Open+Transparent said...

Hey dadfirst,

Since when is overpaying managers and administrators millions over years not of importance? Since when is a BOE that prioritizes the Central Office and hiring their family and friends, instead of focusing on students and teachers, not incredibly important?

atl said...

@ dadfirst

If there was no reason to publish the salaries and the salary scales, then why would EVERY one of the metro systems except DCSS publish them?

This information is not on PATS. Only jobs that come available have the salary range which is huge in variance and the requirements for the position.

It is important for taxpayers to see how our tax dollars are used for expenditures that account for over 90% of the school system budget.

Evidently, EVERY other metro system has decided this as well.

I can go online with the federal and state of Georgia government websites and see the pay scales for all job functions. This is not an unusual request. It is one of the most basic components of transparency in government.

I hope you are also aware that PATS job requirements for the same job function vary. This should not be the case. If a job requires a certain certification, license, etc. then requirements should not be omitted so someone that the administration wants to get the job obtains it.

Cerebration said...

FWIW - There is a board policy on the subject:

Descriptor Code:GCA-R

C. Levels of Compensation

Prior to annual budget preparation, a salary survey shall be conducted and the Superintendent shall advise the Board of the anticipated beginning teachers' salaries of other leading systems in Georgia. DeKalb shall strive to maintain the highest beginning teachers' salary level in comparison to all public school systems in Georgia. The system shall also strive to maintain all teachers’ salary levels at or above the 90th percentile of other Georgia public school systems. In addition, DeKalb shall make an effort to compensate all non‑teaching positions between the 70th and 90th percentile of positions included in relevant market surveys.

Fringe benefit levels should also be maintained at or about the 90th percentile in relation to other public school systems.

Cerebration said...

and then there's this code --

(b) (1) No person shall be eligible to be appointed or employed as superintendent of schools of any county or independent school system unless such person is of good moral character, has never been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, and possesses acceptable business or management experience as specified by the Professional Standards Commission or the minimum valid certificate or a letter of eligibility for said certificate required by the Professional Standards Commission.

Cerebration said...

And, actually, I think they have to do some kind of salary audit every 5 years - according to their own rules -


Administrative Regulation
Descriptor Code:GBA-R
Professional Personnel Compensation Guides and Contracts

SALARIES AND COMPENSATION PROGRAM

A. Job Descriptions
1. A job description shall be developed for each position in the system.

2. A job description shall be developed for each new position prior to staffing of the position.

3. The job description for each position vacated shall be reviewed and updated by the immediate supervisor before the position is restaffed.

4. Each new employee shall receive a job description and the immediate supervisor shall review the duties listed in the job description with the new employee.

5. The position incumbent and the incumbent's immediate supervisor shall formally review each job description every five years.

B. Review of Compensation Plan
1. The total compensation plan will be reviewed every five years. The compensation review will be done by staff and may be assisted by external consultants. The techniques must include salary and benefit surveys and may include other techniques for job evaluation.

2. Individual jobs shall also undergo a reclassification study when duties have increased significantly due to staff reduction, implementation of new programs, or other influential variables.

C. Levels of Compensation
Prior to annual budget preparation, a salary survey shall be conducted and the Superintendent shall advise the Board of the anticipated beginning teachers' salaries of other leading systems in Georgia. DeKalb shall strive to maintain the highest beginning teachers' salary level in comparison to all public school systems in Georgia. The system shall also strive to maintain all teachers’ salary levels at or above the 90th percentile of other Georgia public school systems. In addition, DeKalb shall make an effort to compensate all non‑teaching positions between the 70th and 90th percentile of positions included in relevant market surveys.

Fringe benefit levels should also be maintained at or about the 90th percentile in relation to other public school systems.

D. Supplements to Salary
An effort shall be made to expand the number of supplements available to teachers who perform extra duties.

SHS said...

Hey, ATL Media Guy!

Please send me an email with your contact information.

Thanks,
Sandy Spruill
shspruill_at_gmail_dot_com
(Sorry! Just trying to avoid spambots!)

atl said...

@ cerebration

"In addition, DeKalb shall make an effort to compensate all non‑teaching positions between the 70th and 90th percentile of positions included in relevant market surveys.
"

We can easily check this for teachers, but Ms. Tyson, Mr. Wilson (HR head) and the BOE have made it impossible to check this for the non-teaching positions.

I am very concerned that I can go to the State Salary and Travel audit and see that the personnel who man the Parent Centers in DCSS (e.g. Zepora Robert's daughter) make double to triple what the personnel who man the Parent Centers in some other school systems make (Posters - please check this our for yourself). Wouldn't we like to see the salary schedules and scale for the personnel who man the parent centers? After all, DCSS is spending millions on this program of non-teachers ($4,500,000 million in salary and benefits to be precise for 73 Parent Center employees. For this, we have absolutely no data as to the number of parents they see. We only know that the students in a substantial percentage of the schools they serve do not make adequate yearly progress.

The same goes for MIS. We spend more per employee for MIS employees ($21,000,000 for 300+ employees and our children get extremely poor service). And Security personnel. Why do our expenditures per employee far, far exceed the other systems?

Consider that non-teaching personnel consume far more in our 1.2 billion dollar budget than teachers. Teachers consume around $400,000,000+ in salaries and benefits while non-teaching personnel consume around $720,000,000 in salaries and benefits. If you want to see how these calculations were arrived at, please ask and I will post every one of them.

I'm paying close to $5,000 a year for my property taxes and the BOE and county want to raise them. The lion's share goes to the school system, and of that the lion's share goes to non-teaching personnel.

So yes - I'm very interested in where my tax money goes. I will NOT vote for SPLOST unless the BOE and Ms. Tyson get the financial house that is DCSS in order. I support public education and am glad to pay for the instruction of children, however, I resent paying most of my taxes for personnel who NEVER instruct a student, and all to frequently make more than teachers. Teachers are the ONLY personnel accountable for student achievement in DCSS. If this was not so, the the Director for School Improvement and all the coordinators would be seeking other positions.

Let's see what the pay scale for all positions are like so we can compare them to our personnel. Why can't we be transparent like ALL of the other metro systems? It's our money after all.

atl said...

@ cerebration 9:17

DCSS Human Resources has not provided to DCSS taxpayers any of the data you describe. Mr. Wilson who heads up Human Resources should be terminated and a new head of Human Resources needs to be hired. Why is he still in this position?

61 Human Resources employees cost us around $4,500,000 including benefits. Can't a few of these employees provide the information taxpayers deserve?

Take a look at the positions of te people employed by HR and then look at their job descriptions:
javascript:void(window.open("http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/humanresources/files/0A8773B332894A9CAE8FFDC43FE03732.pdf")%20);

dundevil said...

Found on the DCSS HR Directory

Salary Schedules
Nichole Burkett (678) 676-0328

Why not call her and ask

atl said...

@dundevil

Ask what? Why DCSS is the only metro school system that doesn't publish in depth salary schedules?

Wouldn't it be better to ask Ms. Tyson and/or Jamie Wilson, head of HR?

Jamie Wilson doesn't publish his number. You must go through his Executive Administrative Assistant Betty Guthrie 678-676-0168. His email is: JAMIE_L_WILSON@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

Passionate... said...

DCSS is wounded. Transparency is the major surgery we need to begin our healing process!