Friday, February 19, 2010

DeKalb to close four schools, cut administrators

Today's AJC has an update from Dr. Lewis on school closings. I couldn't read it without blowing a gasket so I have reprinted the article here, embellished with my personal commentary - apologizing in advance for my high level of cynicism.

DeKalb County’s superintendent said he will cut about 15 top administrators and close four schools to help with the district’s $88 million deficit. (Wonder what he considers "top".)

“We can no longer afford to operate schools which are at half capacity,” Superintendent Crawford Lewis told about 100 business leaders Friday at his State of the System address. Could we ever?

With 152 schools, DeKalb has the most school buildings in the state -- despite being the third-largest district and closing five schools in 2008, Lewis said. The DCSS website states, " 143 schools and centers". The State DOE says 140.

Next week, school officials will identify the four elementary schools that will close at the end of the school year in May. They plan to close another eight to 10 schools in May 2011. Why wait?

The schools will be selected out of the 29 schools with enrollments of less than 300 students. District officials are eyeing schools in south DeKalb now that Dunwoody has become the fastest-growing area of the county, Lewis said. There are only 14 schools with enrollments under 300 according to the data submitted by DCSS to the State of Georgia for the official October 2009 FTE count.

They are - DeKalb Alternative Night School (90), Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers (165), DeKalb Transition School (116), Dekalb Early College Academy (206), DeKalb School of the Arts (291), DeKalb Alternative School (25), Margaret Harris Comprehensive School (78), Gateway to College Academy (104), UHS of Laurel Heights (26), International Student Center (163), Gresham Park Elementary School (294), Knollwood Elementary School (289), Coralwood Education Center (218), DeKalb/Rockdale PsychoEducation Center (135). As you can see, many of these are special schools so of course, they have fewer students.

The Citizens Planning Task Force, a group of 20 residents appointed by school board members, will work with school officials to make a recommendation on which schools to close. The board will then vote on the final closings, school system spokesman Dale Davis said.

Last year, DeKalb’s enrollment grew by about 1,500 students to 101,000 children. What? Again, the official October, 2009 FTE count shows that DeKalb officially reported 99,406 students to the state.

The school closings will allow the district to save about $2.5 million. Teachers from those schools will move with their students and be allowed to keep their jobs, but some other staff may be affected, Davis said. Well thank goodness for that - the students will continue to have teachers!

The closings will mean the district will have to redraw the attendance boundaries and reroute buses before school starts in August.

The school closures are part of a systemwide trimming to meet a loss in state funding and property tax revenue. Or to finally have to deal with the bloat that has occurred in the last 5 years.

“We are working really, really hard not to raise anyone’s taxes,” Lewis said.

Last month, Lewis proposed a series of program cuts, staff furloughs and other reductions to meet what officials thought was a $56 million deficit. He now is scrambling to identify $32 million more to cut from next year’s budget after learning the county’s property values dove 6.7 percent.

“This year’s budget will go back to the figure we had in 2005. That kind of tells you exactly how bad things are,” Lewis said. Guess what? We're all living off 2005 income - or less. Well, unless you work in the school administration. Top administrators in DeKalb have seen their salaries increase an average of 7% year over year since 2004.

Lewis said he will unveil those additional proposed cuts next Friday.

“There will be layoffs in these cuts. I don’t anticipate cutting any teachers at the local level,” he said. “But there is no way for me to come back to the board with an $88 million deficit and no layoffs.” I don't follow this statement at all. Teachers at the local level? Are there teachers at other levels?

Most of those job losses will be at the central office, including narrowing his cabinet of 27 administrators down to about 12, Lewis said. TWENTY-SEVEN administrators? Most Fortune 500 CEOs don't have half that number. BTW- he doesn't have a "cabinet" - he is not the president.

Some of those administrators will be able to apply for principal and teaching positions, but others will be out of a job. At what pay scale will these new principals/teachers be paid?

“It’s important now that every salary counts,” he said. * So why are you still paying Pat Pope almost $200,000 to do nothing?

The district has about 14,000 full-time employees, including 8,000 teachers. No - check the website - DCSS has 13,285 full-time employees, only about 7,300 of whom are teachers. Perhaps they were including the entire sub list?

The proposed administrative cuts come less than a week after the AJC reported that the district posted a job to replace a deputy superintendent of teaching and learning for $163,900 while calling for teacher pay cuts. Yes, they do live in different worlds from the teachers and their students, don't they? After all, it IS all about the administration! We just love paying taxes to support these high salaried people!

The other staff in his cabinet will see pay cuts, Lewis said. I'll believe it when I see in on the GA salary schedule for 2010.

However, the superintendent does not plan to give back the $15,000 raise and contract extension that the board approved in January. Lewis told business leaders that the raise comes after he lost $30,000 in salary and bonuses last year. Yes, yes, we're all always aware of the severe sacrifices you have made Dr. Lewis - you remind us every single chance you get.

“I don’t think $15,000 is going to have a profound impact on an $88 million deficit,” he added. Then give it back if you think it's such a pittance - didn't you just state above* that "every salary counts? Well, $15,000 represents someone's salary for sure.

On Friday, Lewis said some programs will be cut, but he is reconsidering his proposal to get rid of magnet schools and the Montessori program. He always "reconsiders" (aka; backs down) when anyone gives him a hard time. He has no moxie.

“We’re trying to do what’s right for the children, but we have to do it with the resources we have,” he said. Sure, we ALL believe that the children are your priority - right after your gas tank, of course.


Anonymous said...

Why is every other employee taking a pay cut and not Lewis? We've all taken pay cuts, and have had to do with less while being asked to do so much more. Cry me a river.

The board needs to get moxie and if administrators get a 7 % pay decrease, this should also go for Lewis. It's obvious that he does not know how to manage money. These cuts should have been taken long ago.

Cerebration said...

Here is a list of schools (according to the OCT 09 FTE count sent to the State) that have populations in the 300 range -

Bob Mathis Elementary School (333)
DeKalb PATH Academy Charter School (310)
International Community School (389)
Livsey Elementary School (357)
Medlock Elementary School (313)
Peachcrest Elementary School (333)
Sky Haven Elementary School (308)
Flat Shoals Elementary School (375)
Meadowview Elementary School (362)
Briar Vista Elementary School (389)
Kelley Lake Elementary School (397)

One Fed Up Insider said...

He (CLew) is a load of hot steaming crap on a cold morning... Steaming up things around him and smelling of ****.

What nobody considers is the extra $2500 a month (or $30,000 a year) that he does not have to answer for. Also, the $1250 a month (or $15,000 a year) that he gets added to his retirement.

I am no math major but those 2 numbers there add up to $45,000. NO ONE IS LOOKING AT THIS... WAKE UP people and smell the ****.

Now add the $15,000 that he only brings up to the public and add that onto the 45,000.... Let's do the math... that is $60,000 a year. I have been teaching long enough that I am in the downhill slide, and I am no where near 60,000 a year.

He really needs to look a cutting himself first.

Anonymous said...

Ashford Park should be on that list... we have 380. This makes me nervous.

Cerebration said...

The FTE chart says Ashford Park has 423.

Folks- you may want to double check this FTE chart against what you know and whatever data the task force is using.

Anonymous said...

Close the DeKalb Online Academy!!! The state has one and its better than our's!!

Anonymous said...

To the Ashford Park comment, there has to be somewhere to send the students. The committee is only looking at clusters of schools (for closure purposes). In otherwords, there has to be schools nearby (adjoining really) that have room to absorb students.

Anonymous said...

"Most of those job losses will be at the central office, including narrowing his cabinet of 27 administrators down to about 12, Lewis said."

Enrollment has shrunk in the last five years, and you have blankety blank 27 cabinet-level administrators????

Someone mentioned on the blog before, we need a consultant who does corporate re-structuring, 'cause C Lew has basically made himself an Enron/AIG-like CEO. Except he has more perks.

Anonymous said...

These are the schools that are on the short list for closing.
Phase 1 Candidate Schools
2.Atherton ES
3.Avondale ES
4.Bob Mathis ES
5.Clifton ES
6.Columbia ES
8.Flat Shoals ES
9.Gresham Park ES
11.Jolly ES
12.Kelley Lake ES
14.Meadowview ES
15.Midway ES
17.Rainbow ES
18.Sky Haven ES
20.Toney ES
21.Brockett ES
22.Midvale ES
23.Smoke Rise ES
25.Robert Shaw

Anonymous said...

What about the other 6,200+ support and admin personnel? 27 is drop in the bucket.

Ella Smith said...

I am so upset that Margret Lewis is on this list. Part of these students just moved. Now I am all for these students being in a regular school and the regular students in a high school going into the classes so as the students have access to regular students. However, I am opposed to moving these students again.

I am opposed to moving Coralwood. Coralwood is within a 1/2 mile of my home and the things that are happening in this school are beautiful. If is a special needs school also and the numbers are not true to the service of the students.

However, you cannot discriminate and not put them on the list becaus these schools are special needs schools. This would be giving these students special treatment. These schools need to be on the list. However, I hope the school system uses good judgement.

Anonymous said...

He'll close schools where the people are less organized and have a smaller voice. I guess some would call that a victory for the HH folks.

Anonymous said...

I really recommend everyone going to the website and looking at the materials the committee is using.

The vast majority of schools that really can be closed are in communities that don't have much recent history advocating for themselves. That said, many of these buildings are the "soul" of a community and I think we can expect that some communities will advocate for the schools, even if the parents don't. (This was certainly the case when Forest Hills was closed.) In many of these communities, the parents often don't even have transportation to attend a meeting or meetings.

Anonymous said...

CL is not competent to make such decisions the system is in crisis and a real CEO needs to be hired who can make decisions based on real needs not cronyism and nepotism. If the board does not get rid of CL at once they need to be recalled as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

I saw the list of 23 that were possibilities on the DCSS site. Why was Robert Shaw added to the list here?

Anonymous said...

Can I scream now? Reconsidering actions on magnets ????
Please, did anyone ever, ever think that Crawford Lewis would go against the magnet parents? They are the most vocal group of parents because they have the big, fat excess programs to lose. How loud would you hollar if your child was going from 1-18 teacher/child ratio to 1- who knows how many? 1-30?

Be real. Crawford Lewis and DCSS Administration did not have the guts to face up to the magnet parent when they vehemently proclaimed their entitlement to millions of dollars of transportation. This of course , being county tax dollars, spent on 7000 children out of 100,000 to attend a non local school by choice.

I can't believe that they will do something drastic to Wadsworth..... Again an ES magnet on the southside - hummmmmm. Doing that would certainly bring up the inevitable race card that landed them in "magnetville" in the first place.

And, yet they will consider the elimination of standardized testing for all first graders? And they will take monies away from resources that could potentially benefit ALL Dekalb County students? I just can't justify it.

I plan to e-mail Crawford Lewis and my board representative on my desires for an equitable distribution of shrinking resources. I encourage all parents to do the same, let's not allow them to just hear from the group who has the most to lose... Decisions impact all of the children ultimately !

Anonymous said...

Please include in your email to the BOE that we have 7,000 teachers and 6,500 support and admin personnel. If we cut our teachers even further, we will soon have a situation where less than half of our employees actually teach our children.

To view the teacher to support (43% of our employees!) and admin (4% of our employees) ratio, See Fast Facts page of the Dekalb County Schools website address below. Scroll down to Employees:

I can't believe they put this on the Internet. Are they actually proud of the fact that so few employees actually teach our children?

Anonymous said...

In the State of the System Address this morning, Crawford Lewis talked about new "web-based talent assessment systems" to assess teachers. What exactly does this mean? Don McChesney told parents at a high school PTSA meeting this month that parents should leave the hiring of principals up to the "educational professionals" (instead of the school council, I guess). Does the "web-based talent assessment" qualify as an "educational professional"? Hmm.

When asked about his recent pay increase, Lewis said this: "I knew someone would ask this question...I choose to focus on the things that matter. This does not matter."

Well. Nice, Crawford.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, when I was applying in several counties, I noticed that Cobb and Fulton had an odd Gallup (I think it was Gallup) survey about teaching attitudes....this may be the web-based talent assessment they are using. Easy way to find out - go to https:/// and apply for a job ;-)

Any intelligent person could defeat this test, especially if you've been to a few staff development courses. You know what they are looking for. "Do you prefer student centered or teacher centered instruction" may be one of the matter how you teach, you know they prefer "student-centered instruction" regardless of your efficiency with teacher-centered direct instruction. I've seen some very efficient teachers at the head of the class, and I've seen some fabulous student centered lessons. But your web based assessment isn't looking for that.

Anonymous said...

The counties still use this assessment, my student teacher was telling me about the computer based assessment that she had to take and how stupid it was. Like she said anyone with any brains would know what they are looking for and would fill it in accordingly.

Good teachers cannot be found through computer programs or good grades on tests and in classes. These things help, but until a teacher is in front of the kids and is able to work his/her magic will you know what you are really getting. We need to hire the best teachers that come to us and quickly get rid of those that can't teach.

Mary Kay Woodworth said...

I was at the meeting, and it was clearly a sales pitch to the business community that DCSS was doing a great job, increasing graduation rate, AYP successes, businesses need to get involved with schools, etc.

Questions were submitted on index cards, with Lewis' pay increase being the first question. It blew me away that he doesn't get that it is the principle, not the money, that is the problem.

Also, he called out the media as being the problem and that DCSS has to do a better PR job so that they are proactive, not reactive.

One amusing part of the meeting was that Lewis made a point of introducing his legal counsel who was at the meeting. He also mentioned that DCSS had hired King & Spalding to represent them in a lawsuit (I think against Heery, but can't recall if that's the one), that DCSS hoped to garner $8 - $10 million from that in 2010. So that's how you help the budget!!!

I was surprised that there were very few parents at the meeting. I received the invitation through the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, but thought that there might be other representation from parents yesterday.

Lewis did state more than once that the population was shifting north, insinuating that school closings would be in south part of county.

themommy said...

I think the Chamber folks received the invite first as the Chamber was hosting it. My understanding is that the spots went very fast. Were there lots of empty seats/no shows?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what DeKalb is paying for the "web-based talent assessment systems" to assess teachers? Why is it they always have money for a new system, but never money for the classroom and kids.

Mary Kay Woodworth said...

Yes, there were many empty seats (probably 30-40). You would not believe the security to get (although part of it might have been the location at Oglethorpe Power, I don't know). Upon driving into the parking, lot, Sara Neeley had a list, you had to have your ticket and be on the list. Then, a uniformed officer gave you two guest parking passes (I was in car driven by my sister-in-law). Then, another officer directed you to the parking lost. Once in the lobby of building, more uniformed officers, sign in sheet, turn in passes. It was surreal. When the meeting was over, another officer directed you quickly out of the building.

I do want to say that the Chamber put on a very good meeting, and if you are not on their email list, consider subscribing.

Anonymous said...

Good teachers cannot be found through computer programs or good grades on tests and in classes.

Well, where can they be found then, if not in the classes?

Anonymous said...

When I student taught there was girl who earned straight A's in all of her undergraduate and graduate classes except student teaching. She did well on the Praxis(the teaching exams that we had to take), too. She failed student teaching, because she was afraid of the children and could not control a class.

Good teacher test scores, straight a's in college, a good "score" on the computer assessment that schools are using to assess how good a teacher will be, are not the primary indicators that a teacher is going to be good. Anyone can make themselves look good on paper.

Up North, teacher candidates have to teach a lesson in front of teachers in that district as well as administrators. People are given roles, so that classroom management as well as teaching style is observed. Is this fool proof? No, but it beats the way that we are doing it with a computer assessment. Will hiring people in this way take more time, yes, but the chances of you hiring a quality teacher go up with an approach like this.

themommy said...

Mary Kay

I think some of that was because of it being a power company and also because it was full.

It is too bad they had no shows.

Cerebration said...

I know that the assessment program is Gallup - I remember Jamie Wilson asking the board to fund it (can't remember the cost - but it wasn't cheap).

Also, thanks for the report Mary Kay. I feel as if I was there! I purposely didn't attend, as I avoid Dr. Lewis' "community meetings" which I find are ALWAYS PR events for himself. Always. In fact, I did attend a recent meeting hosted by representatives of the federal government that was promoted as being for community leaders, organizers and parents. It was to educate us on the Race to the Top funding and goals.

But sadly, first we had to hear from Brad Bryant (State Board Rep) as to why DeKalb has no schools that will qualify for funding - and then viola! Dr. Lewis burst through the front door to give his presentation - no questions - he was in a hurry. We were all floored to even see him there at all. In fact, he was originally apparently supposed to speak at the end of the meeting - but that his "busy schedule" would only allow him to come flat out in the middle of the meeting! It was ridiculous - literally - like he came in - did his dog and pony show (or as I called it - left his dog pile) and left (putting the meeting a half hour behind schedule).

He talked about how he is all about the "kids" - anti-testing (eluding to the fact that the testing causes people to make "decisions" they wouldn't normally make - as in his friends, the cheaters). Dismissing their behavior saying, "This is happening all over the country."

Then he went on to defend spending all that money on the Hollywood trip - all the time gesturing to the guys from the federal government, calling them by first name as if they were old friends. Then he slipped out the very same side door he slipped in earlier.

Ugh - there is no escaping this one man PR machine.

Sorry for the run on sentences... at least you don't have to hear my rant in person - it's worse.

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it, and I'm at fault myself, but it's our fault, because we in DeKalb elect idiots. I thought Burrell Ellis would turn around the county gov't, but his ego and power style is vintage Vernon Jones. Check out both videos here, especially the second one (his communications officer, and she's hghly paid, embarassed herself beyond repair):

Here's another:

This one brings up an important related point: Are our Board of Education members taking furlough days??!! Is every single DCSS administrator, not just Crawford lewis, but the Ron Ramsey's, the Gloria Talley's, the Frankie Calloway's, all taking furlough days?

Hey BOE, if you're going to push furlough days so hard along with bus driver pay cuts, you better darn well take furlough days for yourself, and every administrator, even our Executive Director of Corporate Wellness, better take furlough days.

I GUARANTEE if you ask Zepora Robers or Sarah Copelin-Wood if they have taken furlough days, they will freak out on you. They ran for BOE for the stipend and mileage as much as they did to alledgedly to represent our children (they do a much better job of enabling the DCSS bureaucratic machine than they ever have advocated for our students).

Anonymous said...

They ran for BOE for the stipend and mileage as much as they did to alledgedly to represent our children

Personal attack again....

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of competent people running against the current BOE members?

Please list their names and emails or phone numbers here. I think we could get quite a few volunteers and financial support even in these lean times for fiscally prudent people who care about the state of our classrooms.

Cerebration said...

We're working on finding that out...We're hoping it's true that Ernest Brown is going to try again. If anyone else is thinking about it and wants to seek the support of the bloggers, send us an email

As far as the Gloria Talley opening goes - I predict Lewis will fill it with either Sonja Alexander or Stacey Stepney. They are both well-loved insiders who have risen quickly through the ranks. I give an edge to Dr. Alexander - she is a PhD and a Leadership DeKalb grad. Maybe Talley just saw the writing on the wall.

Anonymous said...

Nice - love the extra comments! They make me want to laugh..then cry, because they are so true. has a really good summary of the all the things Dr. Lewis talked about at the meeting. They are also posting that there are some open budget meetings next week - not yet announced on the DCSS website. Can anyone confirm?

Anonymous said...

Sonja Alexander and Stacy Stepney have both "paid their dues" in the school house. Why do you call them "in-siders"?

Cerebration said...

Oh - I didn't mean it that way - just that the job is posted and I don't think Lewis will hire from the "outside"... I like both of these ladies!

Anonymous said...

I have worked with both Stacy Stepney and Sonya. Alexander. Both were very competent principals. I believe either one of them would be so much better than Ms.Talley.

Does anyone even know if Ms. Talley ever taught in a classroom?

Paula Caldarella said...

I do not know much about Ms. Stepney as my child started at Dunwoody after she left. However, I know Sonja Alexander well as she was the principal at Chesnut when my children were students. I believe Dr. Alexander would be a good choice to replace Gloria Talley.

Anonymous said...

The problem is Dr. Lewis is just filling in as usual.
These are tough times and call for leadership decisions that might result in not filling positions just like they have always been filled.
No matter who goes into the job, they will only act at Lewis' direction, the same as Ms Talley.
Dr. Lewis should have left these high performers in the school house where they could make a significant difference for the kids.
There is an old saying that goes, "if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got."
Welcome to "Bloated DeKalb".

Anonymous said...

My question is, the early reports about the budget were that they were going to eliminate the block schedule and those schools that have it now. Does anyone know if this is still the plan? My child is slated to begin at Dunwoody HS next fall -- and over there they act as though they are keeping the block. But I have also heard that cutting the block for next year is still on the table. How can this be correct? How can they plan schedules, etc if they haven't made a decision yet?

Cerebration said...

According to the board minutes from the block survey, Dunwoody has requested a change to the A/B Modified - which is still technically a type of block schedule, but allows flexibility to take year-round courses that are shorter while still offering the longer classes that only last one semester. I'm not sure what Dunwoody's plan is, but if done well, students may find they really like a modified block.

Interestingly, Tucker requested a change to a "modified 7 period day" - I don't know what that is - anyone else? Apparently, Arabia is on a "modified 7 period day" as well. Chamblee, Lakeside and MLK are straight 7 period day and the rest are standard 4x4 blocks, except with Stephenson, and Druid Hills having "modified 4x4 blocks". Elizabeth Andrews is listed as a "modified block" - which I don't know if that is different from a modified 4x4 block or not.

Anonymous said...

Cere: I would like to know more about what Brad Byant (state DOE) said at the meeting you attended. Why do no schools in DCSS qualify for the Race To the Top funding, if GA gets it?

Kim Gokce said...

Way up there some one brought up Ashford Park ES as a closing candidate. This school was on the block last time with about 320 enrolled. Subsequently, a couple of neighborhoods north of Buford Hwy were added from Montclair ES (south of Buford). Ashford Park now has 2 trailers with just under 400 butts in seats. It is a small school but a vibrant one.

There is a small army of strollers in Brookhaven neighborhoods that is going to completely OVERWHELM this school in coming years. In fact, it is my belief that by expanding Ashford Park attendance area and by closing Nancy Creek the system has once again set itself up for gross overcrowding problems in Region 1 elementaries just as it has in recent years in Dunwoody and elsewhere.

The schools adjacent to Ashford Park are at or over capacity. I don't think Ashford Park is going anywhere - rather their play field is going to be paved with trailers in coming years. Montgomery doesn't have room but I suppose they could fill up their new parking lot with trailers, too. Woodward has a little room and will have more as aging apartments are torn down by the school in coming years - but folks from those Brookhaven neighborhoods don't want to come here. Montclair is still bursting even after the "relief" provided 3 years ago via redistricting.

So I'm afraid the only solution is to continue to drive young middle class families into private schools or out of the County all together. Plan is working in my district so far ...

Regarding the Oglethorpe Power speech, I was one of the "lucky" 100 hundred who RSVP'd that first day. Like the blog host, I, too was at the U.S. Dept of Ed meeting at Agnes Scott the day prior. Dr. Lewis' unexpected appearance was so disruptive and discouraging at that meeting, I was a bit in shock. The next day, I had to choose between listening to the talking points at Oglethorpe or helping a stand-out student at CKHS get interviewed by The Brookhaven Reporter - the student won.

After hearing the summary above of the talk, I feel validated that blowing-off the State of the System address was a solid decision on my part. I wonder how many of the other 40 empty seats were folks that attended the Agnes Scott event ...

Kim Gokce said...

"Why do no schools in DCSS qualify for the Race To the Top funding, if GA gets it?"

He didn't say no schools qualify in DeKalb, he said no schools in DeKalb would LIKELY qualify under Tier I standards. The Dept of Ed has outlined 6 Tiers for this money and they are in order of priority for funding. Bryant's point was that there are so many poor and underperforming school throughout Georgia that the Tier I schools alone would gobble up all the $$$ coming to Georgia. So, even if DeKalb had Tier II schools, there would likely be no funding left.

You can sift through all the details at:

Kim Gokce said...

... to elaborate, I have in my notes from that meeting that GA will receive $140m for this purpose and that it specifies $1-2m per school identified per year for up to 3 years. My guess is that means about 23 schools can fully participate/benefit during the program. So, I think Bryant is saying that no school in DeKalb is in the bottom worst 23 performers statewide (my words).

Kim Gokce said...

... lastly, there was a very useful slide set used by the presenters that summarized the Tiers and other pertinent data. I have requested this slide set and will make sure anyone who wants it can grab it from my site. I'll post to this thread or to a feature blog entry.

Cerebration said...

Obviously, Kim (level-headed as always) took better notes than I, or at least he heard better. I couldn't hear well, due to the steam pouring out my ears.

Cerebration said...

Wanted to add the data about the salary increases for some of Lewis' top administrators - these were posted in another thread by an anonymous blogger who has done the research -

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
SATTARI,DARYUSH $49,451 $147,539.80
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

Anonymous said...

Re: 2004/2009 salaries

Of 2009 Frank Sinatra tells us “It was a very good year!" for the proud, the few, the administrators of Building A & B. For anyone else—not so much!

To command these 25% raise in salaries, Led Zeppelin suggests that these people must have moved up not just 1 or 2 steps but up the entire "Stairway to Heaven".

All that "Cash" that is burning up like a "Ring of Fire" in building A & B instead of the cash making it down to the classrooms...

Come on Board of Education, do these compensations of fancy look like just, fair, and equitable compensations?

We understand how good workers can be promoted up a hierarchical ladder-we don't understand how good workers can be catapulted into the rarefied air!

Board of Education, set a salary schedule commensurate to the responsibilities of these PUBLIC SERVANTS and appropriate to these heralded days of financial famine.

With just one stone, your collective stones as it were, restore morale, limit out of control expenses, and bring back the HUMILITY required to teach and nurture children.


Cerebration said...

Good points, as always, Vox.

I will remind everyone that these salary increases came with job title promotions - many of them newly defined roles such as "Executive Director" instead of "Director" - set up by Lewis and endorsed to give someone a big raise. Others simply rose through the ranks and increased their pay along the way.

However, if you compare the DCSS salary structure with jobs at the state requiring similar skills and talent, the school system pay is much, much better.

Anonymous said...

Upcoming meetings on budget decisions - If you want to have a presence, it is a good way to do so.

There will be a Budget, Finance and Facilities meeting
on Wednesday, February 24 at 10:30am, and a Board of Education budget work session at 10:30am on Friday, February 26, 2010 at the District Office.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:27 PM

"Further, the fact that Crawford would pressure teachers and coaches to give his children something they had not earned when he was in a supervisory position over Chamblee Charter High School."

NO WAY. His kids were not even at Chamblee Magnet School.

Oh, yes they were. His daughter, Denise, graduated from Chamblee Charter High School with my daughter in the Class of 2000. His son, Matthew, graduated from CCHS about 4 or 5 years later.

Why would you say something untrue as if you had the facts? Someone else who doesn't know better might believe you. Kind of dishonest, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

This NO WAY. I just don't think that...

1. He would challenge fair grades or put pressure on teachers to change his kids grades.

2. Believe that Chamblee High was better than Southwest Dekalb High because he would not have his kids shun their home school.

What you are indicating is that an hypocrit is running our schools. That is not fair to levy the above accusations through his children.

Cerebration said...

I have always heard that Lewis' children went to Chamblee - through the magnet program.

However, it's not fair to post rumors about grade inflation or changes. We have no proof of any such thing. In fact, I've always heard that his children are very smart.

Anonymous said...

I agree. There is no proof of grade inflation, and they are probably great kids who are very smart. And yes, his daughter is listed on as having gone to Chamblee.

If Dr. Lewis's children went to Chamblee Magnet then he would naturally be a strong supporter of the magnet programs.

Many Central Office top level administrators send/have sent their kids to magnet schools. They want for their kids what every parent in DeKalb wants - competent teachers in a reasonably sized classroom. This is why cutting magnet programs is probably not on the table. I can see their point of view.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lewis' son did not go to Chamblee through the magnet program, rather as a student in the resident program. This is why he is so aware of the differences within Chamblee.

I do, however, think this discussion has gotten a bit out of hand.

Cerebration said...

This is from the AJC Get Schooled Blog =

Charter school lottery a win for families, but how about for systems?
6:13 pm February 19, 2010, by Maureen Downey

At the same time that I was covering a lottery for 140 spots in a new charter school in DeKalb Friday, the system’s superintendent was announcing plans to shut down four schools with enrollments under 300 students to cope with the $88 million deficit. I thought that this would puzzle DeKalb taxpayers who would read that the system was closing four elementary schools because they were too small, while elsewhere in the county plans were marching forward for a school of only 140 kids. I asked the state’s overseer of charter schools about it and the DOE’s Andrew Broy sent me this reply --

Go to the blog to read the rest - interesting!

Anonymous said...

FWIW -- Former board member Littlejohn's children went to Chamblee.

Cerebration said...

Johnny Brown's child went to Lakeside. But I think they lived in the district.

Anonymous said...

BOE members want to send their children to schools with low pupil teacher ratios and low teacher turnover. It's makes sense that they would send them to magnet schools.

Anonymous said...

Littlejohn lived in an apartment in the Chamblee attendance area.

Anonymous said...

BOE members or DCSS Admin would prefer magnets for the same reason as anyone else. Lower teacher/student ratio, Higher performance expectations and plenty of extras - music, foreign language, tutoring ,etc.
I would think that their children would have to meet the same guidelines, or participate in the lottery ? Correct?

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 9:35 -

Welllllll, if I were the person receiving applications to a magnet program and I saw my boss' kid in there, and I wanted to be sure I had a job for the forseeable future, what would I do?

If I were the person putting the names into the barrel for one of the high achievers' programs and I saw my boss' kid's application in there, would I be sure I knew where that folded piece of paper was, and be sure I did not turn the barrel at all until the first names were drawn?

This "mistake" actually occurred at the summer 2001 lottery.

Anonymous said...

I actually believe that - the whole issue of magnets and the lack of action from C Lew and the Board due to negative attention from magnet parents is rather reflective of the state of the union for DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 9:25 "Littlejohn lived in an apartment in the Chamblee attendance area."

Just to keep things accurate according to her campaign contribution reports she lived in Lithonia in 2004, 2005, 2006, had a p.o. box in Redan 2007, and then Chamblee in 2008.

Not that any of this really matters, other than keeping comments as accurate as possible.

Anonymous said...

The Citizens Planning Task Force, a group of 20 residents appointed by school board members, will work with school officials to make a recommendation on which schools to close. The board will then vote on the final closings, school system spokesman Dale Davis said.

Yeah and I heard that new teachers at Dunwoody high school were told they were not returning so central office staff could work there and keep salaries. 2 of these committee members were from dunwoody cluster, picked by Redovian and Lewis (Okeefe and Deutch). Interesting. How many committees to make decisions that benefit Dunwoody are these same selected parents appointed to? I can't wait to see exactly where these people get re-assigned.

Paula Caldarella said...

Careful, anonymous 5:57 - you're treading very close to slander.

Anonymous said...

If Dr. Alexander gets a promotion, then again she has a Dunwoody connection, and it seems Dunwoody parent power players make too many decisions that have nothing to do wtih them. Just wait and see, the dunoody connections in everything never end.

Anonymous said...

Just ask some of the former or current Chamblee teachers and see if they admit to knowing for a fact, that Dr. Lewis tried to bully a teacher over grade changes for his son. They actually were shoulder to shoulder in a shoving match. One of them who did make sure his son got good grades was quickly promoted to principal eventually. She knows who she is.

Open+Transparent said...

What slander? DM, you are constgantly lecturing. That's not close to slaner. The 5th Amendment exists for a reason. Let the people speak.

Paula Caldarella said...

Just wait and see, the dunoody connections in everything never end.

Such as? Please back up your nonsense with facts or shut up.

Paula Caldarella said...

The 5th Amendment exists for a reason.

LOL - what does the 5th Amendment have to do with slander?

Open + Transparent said...

"or shut up"

You've lost your mind Dunwoody Mom. I just had a BOE member tell me he used to read the blog but couldn't stand the anger. Thanks for keeping the anger going.

Paula Caldarella said...

You bet I'm angry - an "anonymous" person is casting aspersions on people I know who care very deeply about education in DeKalb County and whose first thoughts are always the education of our students.

Cerebration said...

Interesting that the BOE members don't like hearing the anger here at the blog - no surprise there! They need to wrestle control of the school system and work to earn back the respect of the community before much anger will start to dissipate. So sorry they don't like to read about it. The truth is hard to hear.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 5:57 PM. As a member of the planning commission, I just have to say a big fat WTH are you talking about?

The planning commission has nothing to do with staffing at all. We have had two meetings and are focussing on school closings. Both those people you mentioned have impressed me as big picture people.

Six members of the committee are from Decatur, 4 from Lithonia, 4 from Atlanta, and 4 from St. Mountain. (At least one of the Atlanta is Chamblee.) So, I would say that Dunwoody is in the minority, no.

I suspect that first year teachers across the county have been told that. I know that they have been in other school systems.

By the way, I can't imagine that anyone in Dunwoody had anything to do with Dr. Alexander's promotion. I suspect that they were sad to see her leave as a principal. For the record, she lives in S. DeKalb, she isn't "from" Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

So, Lewis and his cronies can't hide behind their big desks and protected budgets..inflated by Vernon Jones putting people in positions for reasons other than experience and results. But, they can't hide any more. Thank the Lord. I hope this spreads and more of Vernon Jones' policies and expenditures are stripped and a lot of these executive positions throughout county government are eliminated. It will not be fun for all involved, but it is necessary. Proof once again that if you want to change government and cronyism, then take away their allowance.