Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dr. Walker's statement on Dr. Lewis' raise

Dr. Walker made a clear statement on his website why he voted against the raise, and in it, he enumerates the cuts the rest of the employees took.

Why I Voted "No"

As you may have heard my colleagues on the DeKalb County Board of Education have voted to increase the pay of our School Superintendent. I was the only board member to vote against this unwise and untimely proposal. I want to share with you my reasoning on this matter, and my vote.

I want you to know its nothing personal against the Superintendent himself. Nobody is perfect, but he has done a pretty good job under some adverse circumstances. That is commendable, and I would have extended his previous contract, if it had only been that. In other words, without the pay increase.

However, I disagree with a pay increase at any level at this time. It concerns me greatly that the Superintendent would even ask this Board for a raise, in light of anticipated revenue losses in the coming years due to a very adverse economic climate. It is strange to me that the Superintendent recommended (and the Board approved) a number of significant salary and benefit reductions to our employees.

Now under the same fiscal climate, the Superintendent recommended a significant increase in salary & benefits for himself. But when it came to DeKalb School employees the Superintendent previously recommended (and the Board approved):
  1. no salary increases
  2. no STEP increases
  3. no COLA adjustment
  4. no Board contribution to TSA, and
  5. a one day furlough without pay.

This was all approved done in the spirit of cost cutting and sacrifice.

The DeKalb School System employs 13,842 people, according to our website. Of those, 13,841 are not only getting no increases, but they are being asked to take home less pay. Only one employee in the DeKalb County School System gets a pay bump, and that is the guy at the top of the food chain.

Clearly this is not just unfair for our employees, but it is immoral as well. I could not in good conscience approve this increase. I am aware this decision will make me less popular with my fellow board members and the Superintendant, but I frankly do not care. I will not compromise my values for convenience, politics or complacency.

I remain yours in service,



Cerebration said...

Thanks to Gene for his honesty and his bravery in sharing his opinion publicly at his website. (Gene, you should have a blog!)

At any rate - I'll repost my comment from a previous discussion - this is something we all need to be aware of - the GA economy is not getting better any time soon.

As far as money goes -- It's a darn good thing for Dr Lewis that he got his when he did. Pretty soon - there won't be much to go around.

Check out this article on the tax collections -
Legislature facing revenue meltdown

With tax collections in a year-long nosedive, the General Assembly returns to Atlanta on Monday for a session of fiscal retrenchment not seen since the Great Depression.

A Republican-led General Assembly bent on both remaking state government and avoiding increases in taxes or fees will be working with a budget that is $4 billion smaller than two years ago.

That means teachers will almost certainly see more furlough days and schools could cut days of instruction; small state agencies could be shut down or merged with other agencies; hundreds, if not thousands of state and school employees could lose their jobs.

Cerebration said...

Womack stated publicly that Walker hit all of his goals, spot on. However, we have a reliable source telling us that Lewis' evaluation was conducted by a 'Dr. Patrick' who found that of the 32 goals Lewis was assigned, he met 'almost' 46% of them. And the one he had the highest score on was the budget.

Anonymous said...

"*Her salary can increase only when teachers get a raise. Her contract was extended in November, but she did not get a raise."

This is a fantastic thing that the Fulton BOE has done. No raise for teachers, no raise for the superintendent.

Fulton Superintendent Cindy Loe
• Salary: $225,208
• Contract: Expires June 2012
• Perks: $9,600 annual car allowance, $12,000 annual expense account and 401(k) contributions*
*Her salary can increase only when teachers get a raise. Her contract was extended in November, but she did not get a raise.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Gene. My guess is Lewis got his raise from the rest of the BoE voting in favor because they've all had their backs scratched by him. Lewis has done them some sort of favor along the way and he's striking while the iron's hot. Meanwhile, we the tax payers continue to bend over and get it.

Anonymous said...

"And the one he had the highest score on was the budget."

How was his grade on the budget measured? If it was for adding made-up administrator positions, unncessarily promoting directors to executive directors even when they fail (that's you Tony Hunter and your eSIS debacle), overpaying almost all DCSS administrators, and making sure that relatives of fellow administrators and BOE members got Central Office jobs, etc. Is that how he he passed the grade for on budget??

Anonymous said...

Gene Walker, please hold the Superintendenet accountable for a lean and mean DCSS administration. Seeing he's been with the system for over three decades, and made many of the decisions that led to the massive administrative bloat, he clearly will not be capable of downsizing to a mean and lean administration.

fedupindcss said...

What happened at the BOE meeting last night? My new cable doesn't get Channel 24.

Cerebration said...

This is from another thread -- I asked the same question -

Dunwoody Mom said...
cere, it was a short meeting - over in 45 minutes. The only real "highlight" so to speak was the discussion over block scheduling. Tucker is asking to go to the traditional 7 period schedule and Dunwoody has requested a modified blocke schedule. Womack just came right out and said the system should go back to the traditional 7 period schedule (which I don't agree with). Jay Cunningham brought the discipline issue as far as having longer classes. Walker, well, I'm not quite sure I understood where he was coming from - I'll need to watch the rerun. According to McChesney, apparently part of the information given to principals this go-round was the performance of their schools pre-block vs block. All in all I get the feeling there would not be a consensus on the board if if were left up to the board to decide which scheduling option schools should adopt.

January 12, 2010 6:41 AM

Cerebration said...

On that 46% of goals we stated earlier - we now have someone saying it was 70% and Redovian is quoted in Crossroads as saying it was 100%... hmmm.

We'll research this some more and bring back clarification.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Walker you should be commended for your stand. It is unimaginable that Dr. Lewis with good conscience would request this and the borad would approve. Citizens of Dekalb COunty can show their disapprovement and remember re-election time.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of hearing this back and forth from the board about how many of his benchmarks Lewis hit. The fact remains that if I got all satisfactory observations for the past decade (which I have), it wouldn't give me the opportunity to up my pay when we've been informed that the state and county are in a fiscal downfall. I'm ashamed that people even have to point out to our public servants that their decision was so wrong. I'm literally in a financial downfall of my own from the fact that my pay hasn't changed in four years except to go down this year thanks to the furlough and increase in health insurance. Shame on everyone involved in passing this. I hope, if nothing else, this will make certain that the DCSS employees unite and not allow another year to go by with us being screwed over again.

here_for_the_kids said...

Kudos, 8:09 Anon!

My students' AP scores went up, our IB diploma count went up gigantically (which as an IB teacher I'd get some "bells rung" in terms of school goals), and I've never received anything but an exemplary evaluation. ANd I took a pay freeze and a furlough day this year without grumbling.... knowing that with a tough economy things were tight. It's a sad sad system we're in that everyone sucks it up except the guy in charge.

If Clayton was actually courting Lewis, it'd be ironic if he left because word on the street among my colleagues is always just how close DeKalb is to going down in flames like Clayton.

Good on paper, well-dressed, benchmark-plugging DeKalb educators. We don't have a stellar reputation as a system and frankly I'm incredibly relieved we've gotten such bad press lately as a county because now something (oh, please, please, SOMEthing) might happen to change things for the better!

here_for_the_kids said...

oops, I meant to say 8:07 Anon.

greenie said...

Dunwoody Mom/Cere
Re: Block schedules, Walker said don't throw out the baby w/ the bath water.
"Block scheduling should remain an option for those who do it best."

"the schools making AYP are not on block scheduling. Kinds are not learning and passing. The core classes are not taught each day w/ block schedules" (referring to whole semesters w/out math, science, language arts, etc)

"let's take a pointed position to move away from block scheduling with a definitive time line. We've talked about it enough.

"It's time to change a losing game."

Greenie (Me) - modified is an effective alternative - at least one block period per week lets the GOOD teachers really teach.

Anonymous said...

Data does not lie. The block schedule is not producing results and Dekalb County cannot afford to continue to stay on block schedule. Fulton County went off two or three years ago because they no longer could afford it.

Ella Smith

Anonymous said...

"Data does not lie." At risk student graduation rates improved on the block. Discipline referals went down by half. One size doesn't fit all. By the way S chool of the Arts (HS) is a block schedule and they have stellar AYP and everything else.

Anonymous said...

DSA is NOT on the 4X4 block. It has a hybrid schedule where students take courses for the entire year.

A hybrid schedule, AB rolling block or a modified 7 period schedule would be ideal. Just any schedule where the courses are taught for the entire year would be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we're going to see a system-wide repeal of the block schedule if for no other reason than we can't afford it. On the block schedule, teachers teach something like 83% of the day, whereas on 7-period schedule, teachers teach 71% of the day. 7-period day schools require more staff to make sure that every student is supervised by a certified teacher 100% of the time. DCSS cannot afford to hire that many more faculty members and will not be able to hire more within the foreseeable future. I'm glad the board is beginning to see the truth behind block scheduling, but like every other innovation that public schools would like to make, it's gonna have to wait.

Anonymous said...

Last night Channel 2 reported that the teachers were all informed that DCSS has a $56 million dollar budget deficit.

Does anyone know which budget year they are talking about? Is it this year or 2010-2011?

Anonymous said...

Yes it is true.

Employees are looking at a 2% raise. We were told across the board, but I do not think that it will affect Lewis. Furlough days were not specifically mentioned, but I am sure that they will also be part of the plan.

Schools will lose points. So it looks like higher class numbers, too or fewer specials classes (Spanish, music, art, probably won't touch gym).

People who get a new job position will not receive a raise.

I wish that the board would have considered redistricting, as I think that would have helped the problem.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that teachers will only have one planning period on the 7 period day next year (or at least this is being seriously considered by DCSS). This is one of the reasons that Dunwoody High teachers so strongly resisted a 7 period day.

With this in mind, the 7 period day is significantly cheaper.

Anonymous said...

The 7-period day was never on the board for Dunwoody HS.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight-- the legislature is preparing to pass a bill that will remove the cap for class size ENTIRELY (which DCSS is counting on), and then they're going to tell teachers that they have to teach SIX classes that are packed to the walls? For less money? And we're still supposed to make AYP? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:09

It could have been if the teachers were interested. A lot of their concerns (at least what I was hearing) were based on the confusion surrounding planning periods on the 7 period day.

Anonymous said...

Still curious---is the $56 million budget shortfall for 2009-2010 (the rest of this year)?

or was Lewis predicting the budget deficit for next year? 2010-2011?

Anonymous said...

It seemed that it was for the 2010-2011 school year, but without anything in writing one is never sure, especially with more furlough days this set for this school year.

Knowing that teachers are faced with furlough days. My question is: Is Dr. Lewis facing this as well?

Anonymous said...

I think the shortfall is a predicted one (revenue vs expenses) for the 2010-2011 school year (which begins in July I believe). However, the Governor's announcement today impacts this year budget, so DeKalb either has to cover the cost of those three days (which is what DCSS did with the first round of furloughs with the retirement fund change) or take those days. The GA DOE will be giving DCSS that much less for this year.

Administrators took furlough days last summer, I believe and will take more next summer -- already built into this year's budget I think.

Cerebration said...

Dr. Walker made an interesting point at one of the meetings. He said that we should make the positive point that at least DCSS is contributing to the economy by keeping construction going and therefore saving construction jobs.

True!! So - get going and get spending that $100 million of SPLOST money sitting idle in the bank - please! We have a lot of schools with a lot of needs - and we have the money to get those needs met - AND help save some jobs!

Cerebration said...

To add -- my frustration lies in the fact that there are so many people hurting and so many schools in need and DCSS has the money and the power to get some projects going - but our leaders are instead focusing on themselves, their own glitzy office space, their own stupid 'issues', affairs, crimes and most of all -- and their own pocketbooks. While everyone else around them suffers.

This has all gone beyond ridiculous.

Stop the limbo!

Anonymous said...

I am confident that the reason why Crawford Lewis selfishly insisted upon a raise -- the only employee in the entire school system to receive a raise, as well as a contribution to the retirement system -- is because he is planning to retire when his current contract expires. The Teachers Retirement System, of which Lewis is a member, bases retirement benefits on the highest salary for two consecutive years.

Cerebration said...

I agree! I didn't realize it was just the last 2 years though. Let's see - last year his salary is published at the state as being this -

$ 287,991.63 (salary)
$ 9,452.75 (expense)

So - another good year like that and he's set for life!