Saturday, January 16, 2010

So, what's the scoop with the budget?

The AJC is reporting that Governor Perdue plans further cuts to the state budget which will definitely effect our schools and teachers. To quote, "Gov. Sonny Perdue just released his budget proposals for the remainder of the current fiscal year and the 12 months starting July 1. The headline: pain.Public K-12 education faces an additional 3 percent cut in the current fiscal 2010 budget, while most all other state agencies must find 8 to 9 percent to cut before June 30. All state employees, including teachers, must take three furlough days before June 30."

As Greenie pointed out, the $56 million budget cut to DeKalb schools that we already know about is the amount the state is cutting from the annual allocation. Added to more than $100 million already cut in past 2-3 years. Local taxes will also be lost based on devaluation of property.the school tax portion of the property tax bill is separate from the "county operations" part of the bill for which Ellis wants to increase the mil rate.

School board does not anticipate increasing the mil rate on the school tax part of property bills (which is approximately 70% of your total property tax bill) so, DCSS WILL have another budget cut as well - related to whatever decrease occurs due to lower property values.

Add to this, Governor Perdue's plan to implement merit pay for teachers by 2014 and we seem to be relatively uncertain as to the future of our schools and our ability to attract and retain quality teachers.


Anonymous said...

Good-bye public schools.

Let's face the current political climate:

We don't want to pay taxes (money out of my pocket!)
We don't like or trust teachers (lazy, unintelligent, can't cut it in the real world, ripping off the tax payers, out to get my kid etc.)
We are sure private corporations can do everything better than the government. (disregard corporate screw ups like Enron, the current financial crisis etc.)
We are sure public schools, over all, are a failure (never mind the fact that over 85% of American adults went to public schools and seem to be doing alright and the fact that all the independent research clearly shows that charter and private ed. do no better at educating children than public ed., when you control for factors like family level of ed and family $)

So...the natural conclusion of the above belief system is, we don't really want public (government) schools. Just hand over all that money to the private sector.

If we DO want public schools, if we believe in public education as a real, vital part of America, as one of the founding concepts that has made our country great..then,
ladies and gentlemen,
We are going to have to fight for them.

Just one last thought...take a good look at the countries lacking strong, public education, accessible to all citizens. See a lot of third world countries, don't you? See a lot of countries with good education only available to the small percent of the population who are very wealthy?

Please join us in the fight to keep public schools public, in the hands of the public, accessible and accountable to the public and for the public!

(Please pardon the stream of consciousness rant..I feel very passionately about the public schools, and I am very worried about what is happening to them).

Anonymous said...

I am also in favor of public schools. They have the charge of educating everyone. Every person does deserve have the "right" to an education. We must all get involved. Every day at the state level, decisions are made concerning how money will be sent. We all must be aware. We must support candidates that support and are willing to fund education. Then we must hold our elected officals accountable for using the money to support our students, teachers and schools. The other night there was a program at my son's school.When I dropped him off at 7:30 in the morning, the principal, the custodians and most of the teachers were already at the school. When we went home at 9:00 pm at the end of the program, those same people were still there. Smiling, talking to parents, the custodians were cleaning the school.There are a lot of good hardworking people in public education in the schools.Please, please let us not give up on our schools. They need the support of parents. Yes, we do have to hold them accountable, but we must also support them. We have to watch all discussions related to the budget. It can never get into only a discussion about North or South,or magnet students or special students or the arts, all of our students and schools need our support. Funding must go to support every school. When one of our schools suffers, it impacts all of out students. If a system is felt not to have good schools, we will not attract families or business.These are critical times, and we must all be inolved.

Ella Smith said...

I hope I have my password fixed. We will see.

Annonymous 12:12 you are correct and I totally agree with you. Many politicians would like to do away with public education. Why? One reason is money. Business individuals see this as a way to get ahold of our tax dollars.

Now we can always improve our public education. I could not agree more. But currently the climate in schools is so critical that we are going to lose millions of our best teachers if the politicians are not careful. Most teachers do work hard. We do have a few bad apples and these bad apples need to go. However, public education gives every child an equal opportunity to an education.

The government has just announced annother furlough of all state employees which means all teachers. So the Dekalb County School System teachers lost their contributions to retirement and now they will be forloughed 4 days in the spring instead of 1 day. I can tell you how painful this was in the fall. The end of year work days will be taken away. However the teachers will still be expected to do their end of school work. This means the government expects them to work for free. In the fall I did not work the forlough days. No teacher in the state should work on forlough days. They should leave their classes the way they are. The government and legislature has no respect for what teachers do. Teacher is not like any other profession. This is not like taking off from an office job.

Teachers only have a few days a year without students to do those needed things like final grades, close up and clean up the room, box up books, get accounability folders put together and turned in to administration, etc. Now teachers can take teaching time away from the students and do some of these things. It is a sad day.

This will destroy the moral in the teacher's moral in the Dekalb County School System after the raise the School Board gave the School Superintendent. However, he will also get forloughed those days which will hurt his paycheck also.

Ella Smith

Ella Smith said...

There is another bill which is coming up which really concerned me a great deal as a woman. The legislature has a bill they are looking at with the intent to stop making the county schools turn in paperwork that shows Title nine compliance between girl and boys sports programs.

This will open up all kinds of corruptions in our school systems that will hurt our female athletes. This is wrong and county school systems on paper should show that they provide equal opportunities for girls and boys in sports and other activities.

Please write you legislature members in opposition against this.

Anonymous said...

I see that this change is proposed, not final. The article says:

"Gov. Sonny Perdue just released his budget proposals for the remainder of the current fiscal year and the 12 months starting July 1. The headline: pain.

Public K-12 education faces an additional 3 percent cut in the current fiscal 2010 budget, while most all other state agencies must find 8 to 9 percent to cut before June 30. All state employees, including teachers, must take three furlough days before June 30."

Can any of the more experienced folks around here give me an idea how likely it is to pass the 3 additional furlough days before June 30?

Anonymous said...

Very likely. Our contracts were written, so that they could give us as many furlough days as necessary to keep a balanced budget.

Anonymous said...

I am all for teachers being held accountable and for bad teachers to go. (I don't mean reassigned, I mean GO!) However, if I as a teacher must prove my worth, then the parents of the children I teach must also prove their worth. When a teacher says he/she does everything but take the kids home and raise them, that is not an exaggeration. Teachers only have their kids for 8 months, whereas the parents have them for years before they come to us. Who should have the larger burden of accountability? We teach, folks, not perform miracles. Kids with no structure or support at home are less likely to do well despite our best/exhaustive efforts. On the flip side, kids who are coddled and spoiled at home and raised to think they should just get what they want won't do well either because they have no work ethic. Each day brings new challenges and my colleagues and I rise to meet those challenges and succeed. But, if we are the only ones to do so nobody wins. It's truly a joint effort with everyone working at a high level and everyone held equally accountable.

Anonymous said...

How much would we save cutting Gloria Talley's army of curriculum coaches, er, whatever she calls them? How much would it save by cutting Tony Hunter's underachieving and bloated Info. Systems Dept. (which does nothing for teachers)?

Message to Crawford Lewis: As superintendent and before then as part of the upper management inner circle, you built a huge bureaucracy, doubling the amount of administrators from previous administrations. You are not allowed to cut CLASSROOM-RELATED SPENDING. You need to cut the bloat and waste you originated.

Board of Education, we parents and taxpayers demand that you require Superintendent Lewis to cut the massive non-classroom bureaucracy. We keep school nurses, librarians and no more cuts to teachers. We cut all the ridiculous non-classroom spending, like Yvonne Butler and the assinine Corporate Wellness program, and Executive Directors like Butler and Hunter go back to Directors, and their pay is decreased.

Board of Education, if you don't step up, none of you will be re-elected. It is what it is.

Cerebration said...

I have written about Gloria's army before - follow this link - Meanwhile, back at the Board of Education meeting...

Here's a quote -

It really bothers me to hear Dr. Lewis fret over the fact that a full time classroom teacher is a $65,000 expense (including benefits) and then turn around and promote people into high paying administrative jobs. It bothers me that this board plans to request a waiver of the law that requires 65% of the budget to be spent in the classroom and one that would put more students in each of those classrooms. It bothers me that in the area of curriculum, we have our Asst Superintendent of curriculum, Gloria Talley, with her salary of $162,648.00 - 5 directors of curriculum instruction at a cost of $438,500.00, 72 "Instructional Supervisors" at a cost of almost $6.4 million - plus 473 "Instructional Specialists" totaling $23.9 million, yet we have children who do not have art, music and PE teachers - they're entitled to one of each - they shouldn't have to choose. I am bothered by the fact that our superintendent and board seem to cry "poor" when it comes to funding the classroom, but can always find the money to bloat the administration. Our children deserve better.

To date, I have been unable to find out definitely what these "instructional specialists" do. Some say they are teachers - if so - that's good and fine. But many say that they are "teacher supervisors" or "instructional coaches" - to which I say - get yourself in a classroom please. You are needed there.

One time I calculated the ratio of teachers to students (1:18) to the number of instructional specialists to teachers (1:13). That's ridiculous, if true.

(No, I don't add these up - I happen to be pretty good at using Excel spreadsheets, which I have downloaded from the state.)

Download your own Excel spreadsheet of DCSS salaries at Open Georgia

Anonymous said...

Please e-mail the Frankie Calloway story to every DCSS parent you know:

Dr. Frankie left DCSS with a huge pension. I'll have to check to see if she's done any "consulting" for DCSS. She was one of Crawford's clsoest allies. What does it say that she had no problem with passing students who didn't work or even show up to class?

Anonymous said...


Please post the link to the WSB story on the Front Page. It is horrifying.

Since the public can't fire/hire the superintendent, perhaps we need to recall the board, whom I believe was aware of Callaway's questionable behavior.

Cerebration said...

I can't post the video - they didn't provide the embed code. I can try to just put up a picture with a link...

Anonymous said...

Looking At Open Georgia:

I have a few questions:

Any one know what a staff development specialist does?

How about an instructional specialist?

Are these the coaches that I've heard about and never seen?

They are making big bucks.

What jobs fall under Misc. Activities? Here is another job category making lots of money, and I am not sure what they do.

Looking closely at the spread sheet, I am even more disgusted by the bloat. We have secretaries making more money than teachers.

Very sad when the job at hand is to educate kids, and they are definitely not on the radar of the superintendent or the Board of Education. This bloat is amazing and so unnecessary. You wouldn't be able to run your home or business like this without going out of business.

We definitely need to band together to help elect people who are really for the children and for learning. I am not seeing it our leadership now and it gets sadder by the day.

Cerebration said...

So glad you are doing your own research, Anon! Don't take us at our word everyone - please - do as Anon did and download the files yourselves.

Also - click Mr. Potato Head over on the right column of our home page to read Kim and Ella's initial report from nearly a year ago.

Ella Smith said...

I have asked personnel about Instruction Coaches. Many of these jobs are paid for with Title I money which has to be spent on particular schools with particular students. However, I think it would benifit to have smaller classes and not move administrative bloat. However, the money may have to be be spent this way. Again, we do not have all the facts.

Anonymous said...

I have been teaching for a long time, but I still remember vividly my first two years. I did not survive because of instructional coaches, but because of my experienced teammates. They were always there to guide me through the beginning teacher minefields and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Not much has changed over the years except that now I am the one with experience and gladly, year after year, mentor beginning teachers. The instructional coaches are not at the schoolhouse regularly, nor do they do more than give handouts and scripted advice when they do come. Don't get me wrong, those I have encountered are lovely people, but they don't seem to know exactly what their role is. My point is that teachers rely more on their teammates and colleagues than instructional coaches, which begs the question. Why are they here? The money could and should be spent on keeping class sizes down and improving the conditions all around for students and teachers. DCSS is way too top heavy and that weight is not working.

Anonymous said...

Enough of pulling the wool over the public…… Every district has got to raise the mileage rate to compensate for the catastrophic drop of property value. A modest raise over the current mileage rates-- some set in 2002 before NCLB started to eat up the school budgets across the land—will do.

All we have to do is slow down the purchase of Promethean Boards, get out High School That Works and America’s Choice contracts, return to 6-periods days, and hire real principals who can monitor their teachers without looking at the walls of data…. Stop buying PSAT and AP tests---buy them for students want them---and stop all CRCT and EOCT ad nauseum.

At over $100 000 in salary, the Central Office managers should be able to run the support and leadership functions for the district’s schools without the paid help of consultants and fads. If they can’t, return them to their level of maximum competence.

Anonymous said...

i heard this esis program is causing employees to work alot of overtime, how much is that costiinig the county.