By Kathy Cox
9:09 p.m. Monday, March 15, 2010
Georgia law requires the Legislature to approve a balanced budget, which I believe is very wise. In these difficult economic times, I do not envy the task they have before them.
But, just as we should not saddle the next generation with our debt, we also should not take away the opportunity for our kids to receive an education that prepares them for their 21st-century world.
We are fortunate to have some of the best teachers and school leaders in the nation (Georgia has had a National Principal of the Year for three years in a row). They have been laser-focused on their mission of improving student achievement, and I am proud to see so much progress being made.
But I maintain that drastic and severe cuts hurt teachers and students and negatively impact our progress. If there are further cuts to school system funding, then we can’t expect things to be business as usual.
While I fully recognize the severity of our revenue shortfall, I am not in favor of additional cuts to public k-12 education.
Recently, the House and Senate asked that we discuss budget options if revenues were less than the governor’s original FY 11 budget submission.
When looking at such a bleak scenario, we told members of the General Assembly it is unrealistic to think you can truly retain 180 days of quality instruction for students if all 10 days of pre- and post-planning for teachers are cut.
Expecting teachers to begin and end a school year on the same day students do is like a restaurant manager asking staff members to show up at the same time the first customer is to be served. That manager knows that if dinner service starts at 5 p.m. you better be willing to pay your chef to come in for preparation a few hours earlier. And when have you ever seen the staff leave the restaurant at the same time as the last customer? That restaurant would not be successful. Similarly, teachers need preparation time to be successful.
Do I want to cut the number of instructional days for students? Of course not.
But as a former classroom teacher, I know we must provide teachers time to prepare so they can give our students their very best. Our kids deserve it.
I appreciate the diligence of the legislators and the seriousness of their exploration of all the issues and all the options. I am hopeful that the Legislature will prioritize this budget to fund one of our primary constitutional obligations — educating Georgia’s k-12 students.
Providing for our students now is an investment in our state’s current and future success. If we want to continue making progress, then we must be willing to invest in Georgia’s greatest resource — our children.
Kathy Cox is Georgia’s superintendent of schools.
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You go, Kathy! I admire your fearlessness to speak your mind. I just wish someone would listen. It's far too easy and mindless to just make heavy cuts to teachers and the classrooms - lawmakers and school boards need to button up their sleeves and get out the scalpel to make cuts that will heal the "body" in the long term.
If our legislators and Governor want to do the right thing by students, they need to take class sizes back to the level they were when Governor Perdue was elected. Because class sizes were so low by state law, DeKalb and other systems could not cut teacher positions. Rather they were forced to cut admin and support.
Admin and support was on the way to being right sized as money flowed out of admin and support and into our students and the classroom.
Reduce class sizes and DeKalb will be forced to cut admin and support. Currently, our governor and legislators are "enabling" the DCSS admin and support "bloat" by making it easy to pack more and more students into classes, thereby reducing the number of teaching positions.
Reduce class sizes and overnight you will see how the fast the 8,800 admin and support are trimmed and how more resources go "into" the classrooms - not "out of" the classrooms.
Email Kathy Cox:
Email Governor Perdue:
Email your state legislators (here is the website to find out who they are):
Tell them about the 8,800 admin and support in DCSS versus the 7,000 teachers. Ask them to reduce class sizes so the admin and support area will have be reduced rather than negatively impacting our children and classrooms.
Explain that our superintendent Ms. Tyson is making almost all of the budget cuts in the local schoolhouse, eliminating teacher positions and people who work directly with students. Urge them to consider that we parents and our children are dealing with an out of control bureaucracy.
Assure them that although DCSS may be the most egregious offender in Georgia, the problem of too many admin and support personnel is symptomatic of most Georgia systems.
Wow, Anon 1:00. That was the most disturbingly racist thing I've seen/read in a really, really long time. Maybe ever.
I'm not sure that you have a place in the discourse here. We're not hatemongers.
A White Lady
The 6.25% pay cut really got my attention. I began to reflect on the greed mentioned throughout this blog, which refocused my thoughts back to Wall Street and how it's responsible for the predicament we're all in today. How does Wall Street get bailed out by taxpayers, but teachers who are already underpaid have to shoulder more cuts that will only undermine our children in the long run. To me, it looks as if there's a global plan to realign U.S. wages and costs for goods and services with the rest of the world. All done under the auspecies of "cuts." I can't help but look back at subprime mortgages and how it further hurt the economy -- depreciating home values that directly impact taxes needed to run our schools. As Marvin Gaye said, "SAVE THE CHILDREN."
Why didn't Kathy Cox protest Perdue's "austerity cuts" in times of plenty? As far as I'm concerned, her wailing and gnashing of teeth is too little too late.
@ Anon 8:05 She's devout Republican.
When you head education and choose a party over the children these things will happen. Only when her inner moral compass turned to disaster did she speak up.
IMO the whole system of public education has to be scrapped, and re-done so our children can have a fighting chance in the now global economy.
Isn't she running for governor?
it may be time for vouchers-paid directly to schools for the benfit of the kids. They could go public or private or charter but they'd force parents to get involved and force the dollars to the kids.
Republicans are against what they call "wealth redistribution". Well, they got it anyway, but it went from the funds for education to funding wealthy banks and other businesses.
I'm all for sensible cuts - county office cuts..cuts in salaries of bloated administrators making 100K+ per year. But you get what you pay for. Our taxes are low. Don't let anyone fool you.
My sister owns a house in the South Jersey suburbs with a similar home value to mine. My brother in law and I compared property tax rates, and what we get. We pay a lot less, he gets a lot more - better schools, free recycling, curb sweepers, snow removal, more police services, better public transportation.
Now, what can I brag about? Better weather, garbage pickup twice a week, pretty landscaping, lower cost of living.
OK - school tax breakdown, as a full percentage, because they don't get assessed at 40% of the value of the property like we do:
He pays 1.24% of the value of his home in school taxes. I pay a whopping 0.73%. He pays almost 70% more in school taxes, dollar per dollar on home price, than I do.
Now, I'm not saying we should pay that much more, but my understanding of the maximum possible school tax under state law - approximately a 10% increase in the millage rate - would amount to around $145 extra a year - or around $12 per month for a home worth $200K.
Can I afford to pay and extra dozen dollars per month so that my child can have a good education? Heck yes.
OK, there are some who can't. Teachers...or the unemployed. But over 80% of us don't fall in that category. We can afford to say that if you are living in your house, and you are on unemployment, or you are a teacher with a household income less than say $50K, you can get an exemption. In tough times like these, those of who are doing well are supposed to shoulder the burden. Because as we pay to educate their kids, and we retire...their children will be helping to pay for us. It's the Christian way...it's the American way. You make America stronger by helping your fellow American.
Keep in mind that only a small fraction of any tax rate increase in the mil rate will stay in DeKalb -- a percenatage of all the taxes we pay gets redistributed to other counties in "Equlization". I just wrote my Rep (e-mail) to suggest (argue) that Equalization should be restricted such that a county can only receive if they tax at the max mil rate and/or it should be abated while the "payor" counties are looking to cut $100 million out of our budgets (e.g Fulton and DeKalb should not be sending money to Gwinnett right now). We can argue about the taxes (and my inlaws on Long Island pay about $20,000 a year in property taxes for county club like services and great schools for a much smaller home compared to our taxes at a small fraction of this) but their local jurisdiction can keep and spend what they collect (and I don't think have the level of misspending -- being polite --that we have).
@Anon 1:23 a.m.
Thanks so much for your valuable input and ideas.
@Anon 8:49 a.m.
You are correct about the ahem...misspending. It is rampant. However, should teachers have to shoulder the burden simply because they are employed by the miscreants? Teachers did not get the party at Atlantic station, nor were they paid hundreds of thousands to pick out new furniture. It isn't their fault, and we should all help fix the problem.
Kathy Cox's actions define her (not her words). Kathy Cox may be many things to many people, but one thing she is NOT is a supporter of public education in Georgia. During her tenure our public schools have suffered unprecedented cuts in state funding. When she arrived in office Georgia public schools had the lowest scores on standardized tests (Iowa, ACT and SAT to name a few) in the nation. Today, after all her years of 'fearlessly speaking her mind', Georgia public schools have not imporved one iota. Kathy Cox's actions define her (not her words). And there is no excusing Kathy Cox or what happened on her watch.
Anon 1:23 and 8:49
Do you really think that giving the people running DCSS more money is going to solve the problems? I have taught in PA and NJ and I teach in DeKalb now. The gross waste of money here cannot be compared to up North. Teacher salaries are higher, and benefits are better. Teachers are better educated. Yes the education is better, because the districts don't rely on programs like America's Choice and they give their teachers quality staff development. Pennsylvania also provides top notch staff development for its teachers.
Living and teaching in DeKalb, raising taxes is not the answer right now. Not until the misuse of funds that the district already has is dealt with. Not until the corruption of hiring friends and family who are unqualified or do shoddy work (I am thinking new construction projects, new AC/Heating units, roofs) are stopped from working in the county. Not until the district is right sized and buildings are full and at capacity.
Throwing money at this problem is not the answer, until corruption is cleaned up in DCSS.
I heard from an extremely reliable, well-placed source that Crawford Lewis will be allowed to resign over Spring Break.
He won't be fired for cause. He won't be charged with any wrongdoing. Any attempt to build a case against him and his cronies will be dropped.
Basically Lewis retires with his full pension and benefits intact. He just walks away from the damage he has done and the thievery.
Spring Break has been selected as the time because the thinking is that parents will be out of town or otherwise occupied with spring break activities, which will lessen the outcry when people find out that Lewis has been given a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card and exonerated.
I can see that happening. Wouldn't surprise me at all. BOE must go next. New super needs to be from another state. Needs a business background!
The DA is elected by the voters of DeKalb. We need to keep her focused on doing a complete and fair investigation.
Henson told 100 teachers in a legislative hearing room this morning that the state is not getting a reasonable return on the bonuses it pays them for advanced degrees.
Henson said the state paid out $880 million last year to teachers for advanced degrees. Increasingly, those degrees are coming from out-of-state and online programs that are not rigorous or relevant and are not in content areas.
“We are getting a small return on our investment, but we are not getting an $880 million return,” he said. “”Too many of those degrees are out-of-field and don’t contribute to improved student performance."
His agency is proposing changes that will place limits on degrees:
1. Out-of-state and online degree programs must conform with the same rules that in-state institutions do. “They will have to play by the same rules,” he said.
2. If funding is available, his agency will pre-approve degree programs so teachers don’t invest $48,000 only to find out too late that the program doesn’t qualify and won’t give them a raise.
3. So-called “related degrees,” such as teaching and learning and curriculum, must have 12 hours of content credits so that the students of a third-grade teacher getting such a degree see some benefit now, says Henson.
4. When teachers get degrees in a new field, they will only get a raise after that new field is added to their certificate.
When a teacher asked about getting a curriculum degree with the idea of eventually moving to the central office, Henson said, “If you’re a third-grade teacher now, I’m more concerned with your third-grade class now and how that degree will help the class.”
I am sure that this is true. So sad, but true. He does not deserve his pension as he has shown no respect or care for the children of DeKalb.
Hope we get his P card and car, too.
Hiring someone outside of Georgia, with the power to let go anyone who is not qualified to do their job or is paid too much to do the job that they have hopefully will happen. I fear that the board will not do this and that we'll continue our tangled web of nonsense and disfunction.
Kathy Cox spent her entire first year in office travelling the state delivering her mantra: "We will lead the nation in improving student achievement". I heard the speech at least 15 times, and thought it wasn't a bad position to take considering when you're at the bottom of the pile, you can only go up.
In these speeches she asked the voters to hold her accountable to this charge. Well... has Georgia lead all other states in improving student achievement? Looks to me we're still on the bottom.
I'm trying very hard to get up every morning, go to school, and give my absolute best to your children. I love being a teacer, but to be honest, it's getting so hard. I see no real effort by DCSS to cut outside of the classroom and no caring by them about the major effects of that omission. The piling on has got to stop; they are truly out of control. Is there anyone out there who can fix this mess caused by Lewis and his cronies? If not, Dekalb County is going to lose many stellar teachers (not just physically, but emotionally, also). It's just too hard a job to do without support.
RE: March 22, 2010 9:40 PM
>>IMO the whole system of public
>>education has to be scrapped,
>>and re-done so our children can
>>have a fighting chance in the
>>now global economy.
I agree. Our children will be unable to compete in the global economy given the current state of education in this country. You think OUTSOURCING is in check? Think again. We are compromising both our nation and our children their future. It's as if we are being set up for failure.
What message does it send to our children -- and I am talking Pre-K through college -- when a person can be a liar and a thief as brazen as Lewis and his cronies, yet completely escape any punishment? This simply cannot be allowed to stand!
And what about Ron Ramsey? The entire DeKalb delegation must know that he is a full-time employee of DCSS, double-dipping for 40 days a year and lying by omission on his Georgia General Assembly bio. Yet, not one of them -- not even one -- has had the moral courage to call him out on his theft from DeKalb taxpayers and students and to demand his resignation from both jobs.
That tells me 2 things:
(1) They each are doing something similar or have something in their background to hide.
(2) The entire DeKalb delegation must be replaced as they come up for re-election.
It is time for all of us to STOP tolerating dishonesty and moral cowardice.
@ Anonymous 5:00 PM
Check out Kathy Cox's clever selection of words, "We will lead the nation in improving student achievement." It will be very hard to prove or disprove. For one thing, Georgia students do not take nationally-normed tests. The only thing that comes close is NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress).
It will take some fierce number-crunching of NAEP to see if Georgia students actually lead in "improving" student achievement. Note this is not the same thing as leading in student achievement -- just in "improving".
And where has Kathy Cox been while headline-grabbing news about DCSS and Crawford Lewis and his worthless minions has been everywhere you turn? No help from her. Not even passing interest.
We cannot forget that she abandoned the taxpayers and voters who helped put her into office. Kathy Cox has got to go!
First of all the cuts are hitting hard in the schoolhouse. The moral of teachers in the state is the pits.
The mobbing of teachers over 40 with large salaries is also going on to lower the cost of the budget I hear in different locations in the state. This appears to be away to dicriminate against older individuals who have moved too far up the pay scale due to years of experience. I have been shocked by what I have observed and heard about in my educational classes the last few months. Teachers in Fulton are scared for the first time. Many teachers have been teaching for years and are fearful they might not have jobs next year.
Cuts need to be made but to have 40 students in our classroom next year is not ok. We have already been told this will happen at my school. They have a waiver. This is going to be everywhere in the state.
That's terrible, Ella. This is really a bad situation. If your child is one who needs focused attention to learn, I would urge you to consider homeschooling if possible, rather than participating in large classrooms.
On another - very important note. Anon, 8:49 AM - you make a great point. Really - what would be the point of raising our taxes, when so much of the new revenue would simply go to other counties for "equalization"... I will be going to some rural counties later this month and I plan to take some photos of the gorgeous schools out there - schools in other ("poor") counties - subsidized by our county's tax dollars!!!
He won't be charged with any wrongdoing. Any attempt to build a case against him and his cronies will be dropped.
I don't know - maybe some of you lawyers can weigh in - but I don't think it's up to the board to file charges. These are crimes against the state (or U.S.) - to be filed by the "people" if there's a case.
We wonder why the students don't understand that it's wrong to tell the truth and to be honest no matter what the circumstances.
I am beating my head against the wall with my students right now from the untruths or mistruths that they tell and do not see anything wrong with these mis-tellings.
I see our children being set up for a life time of government guardianship. I have read the national standards being proposed and I do not feel that they offer the rigor our children will need to compete with people from around the world when they are my age. The standards strip the love of learning out of education as teachers have to focus on teaching to the standards instead of reaching beyond the standards.
When my AP or Principal give me a due date for work to be done, that is when the work is expected to be turned in, not 3 days later, an hour later, or having to ask for several times before it's actually done. This is what employers want in the people that they hire, yet teachers are required to nag children to get their work in and aren't able to give a child a zero unless our principal okays it.
It feels like we're striving for mediocrity. I don't want my child to be mediocre or think that being so is okay. I want him to strive to do his/her best each and every time, as I do each day that I am blessed to get out of bed and take on the day.
I am not bitter about loosing money. I am bitter that I am unable to be the teacher that I once was and hold high expectations for myself and my students. When I signed my resignation form, I put the direction the county was going as the reason. I cannot work in a county where lying, stealing, and cheating are okay. I cannot work where students are not held accountable for their actions, but I am. I cannot work in a district where I would not want my child to attend.
I live in DeKalb and until overhauls in DCSS take place and right sizing the county takes place, than I do not support a tax hike of any kind. I cannot afford to waste the money that my family makes and I do not like giving my tax money to DCSS, so that they can waste it on needless programs and projects that do not affect the quality of education that the children receive.
As other posters pointed taxes up North are much higher, but you get what you pay for. The quality of education is much greater as well and student expectations are high. The quality of education our children receive could be far better than what it is, if the friends and family plan of hiring were not in place and people with honest qualifications were in charge making solid decisions.
If students do not do work they should get a 0 unless they get additional time.
There are tooooooo many fail safes in place to keep these kids from having a grade that reflects their performance
Kids @ my school get to retake exams..
They get to turn in HW for full credit even if it is late. Yeah they can go to Saturday School and do it and get full credit.
Too many fail safes. The school system is too scared of its parents (Should be for other reasons mentioned on this board),
but when it comes to your kids performance please feel free to crush this entitlement ego that students in secondary schools are slowly developing.
I am sorry this No Zero Policy is ridiculous. Wish I got an "its ok" for not turning in paperwork on time. No...I get a well why didnt you do this? ITs your responsibility and JOB!
Society is too gimme gimme gimme right now. Earn your keep and try to advance yourself not cheating your way up to the top.
@ Ella Smith 7:36 pm
Well, when the superintendent and the BOE is happy with 8,800 admin and support keeping their positions and 7000 teachers losing their positions, this is what you will have.
As bad as it is in other counties - multiply that in DeKalb.
Maureen Downey keeps saying that with 155 employees to 1000 students, DeKalb is so over the top no other county can touch them - and we know from the DCSS website that we are short on teachers so that can't be the "fat".
The entire Republican administration - governor and legislature - needs to be voted out of office. Teachers/parents/taxpayers - think about that.
DeKalb needs to institute an entire new BOE - Parents/taxpayers - think about that.
When things get bad enough, democracy sometimes works.
The elected officials of the state of Georgia - Kathy Cox, Sonny Perdue, and the legislators haven't done their homework or they would know that all of our school systems are admin and support heavy (DeKalb just happens to be the worst offender).
They should do like Gov. Barnes did - reduce the class size maximum so that the non-teaching admin- support monster is starved at the head.
Instead, Governor Perdue and the legislature are busy doing the exact opposite by increasing class sizes to those of a Third World country. And that's exactly what our kids will get - a Third World country education.
"If you don't feed the teachers, they will eat the kids..."
Won't class sizes that big be scary for our kids? How can any parent put their kids in classes that large and feel comfortable with their education?
Then get busy and write your legislator:
And write Governor Perdue:
They actually do stroke tally emails, letters and phone calls about different subjects.
Tell them you want reduced class sizes. Tell them admin and support is taking away your children's education.
Tell them DeKalb Schools has 8,800 admin and support and 7,000 teachers and because Governor Perdue and the legislature are increasing the class size maximum, DeKalb Schools is going to decrease the number of teachers and hit the students hard.
With 155 employees per 1,000 students, why does Ms. Tyson need to increase the class size maximum? That's what Maureen Downey is asking, and that's what parents should be asking the BOE and Ms. Tyson. Keep emailing them and keep emailing Ms. Tyson.
Tell Ms. Tyson and the BOE that SPLOST 4 does not have your support if they keep the excessive admin and support to teacher ratio. Obviously, with the construction mess and the "fat" in MIS very little of our hard earned SPLOST 3 dollars ever got to our kids. What makes SPLOST 4 any different?
14 schools remain on DeKalb's possible closure list
By Megan Matteucci, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tuesday, March 23
Updated DeKalb proposed closure list
[Estimated savings if closed and available seats for students]
Atherton: $788,830 savings, 207 seats open
Avondale: $570,650 savings, 244 seats open
Briar Vista: $515,700 savings, 100 seats open
Clifton: $597,830 savings, 170 seats open
Flat Shoals: $671,260 savings, 224 seats open
Gresham Park: $589,670 savings, 178 seats open
Kelley Lake: $471,150 savings, 68 seats open
Knollwood: $594,090 savings, 311 seats open
Laurel Ridge: $469,550 savings, 79 seats open
Meadowview: $536,250 savings, 121 seats open
Medlock: $520,680 savings, 108 seats open
Peachcrest: $565,580 savings, 328 seats open
Rowland: $586,020 savings, 110 seats open
Sky Haven: $680,970 savings, 300 seats open
Fourteen DeKalb County schools remain on a list for possible closure aimed at making a dent in a $115 million budget deficit.
While paring the targeted schools by seven on Tuesday night, task force members charged with identifying the final list for shutdown said money wouldn't be the only criteria.
Logistics also figure in on possible closures, said Thad Mayfield, chairman of the Citizens Planning Task Force.
“We will make a decision on sound judgment,” Mayfield said. “We won’t send children from one end of the county to the other.”
On Tuesday night, the task force removed seven schools from the closure list: Ashford Park, Briarlake, Bob Mathis, Kittredge Magnet, Midvale, Rock Chapel and Wadsworth Magnet.
The magnet schools were preserved because of the uniqueness of their programs. The other schools were removed from consideration because there are no nearby schools with room to house the students.
Enrollment, capacity and room at area schools are driving the decisions for possible closure. Task force members now are reviewing data with the goal of recommending elementary schools to close at the end of the year.
The task force will finalize its list by April 13.
Even with established criteria, task force members continued to bicker and lobby for their own choices.
"We need to be fair with all these schools and not go cherry-picking off this list," task force member Bruce McMillian said.
While academics will be considered, it’s not one of the main factors driving the task force’s decision. To some parents, that doesn’t make sense.
“I understand the fiscal responsibility, but n any company we look at the products doing the best,” said Kamau Welcher, PTA president at Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers. “We’re absolutely pumping some of the best products in the business when it comes to DeKalb County schools.”
Wadsworth was later spared.
“Academics will not be used to close a school,” Mayfield said. “But we wouldn’t want to close a good performing school just to save money.”
The school board, which will make the final decision next month, expects to save about $2.35 million by closing four schools.
Of the schools on a list for possible closure, Atherton Elementary would save the district $766,830 – $85,000 more than any other school on the list.
The savings are from utilities, along with some staff, including the principal, assistant principal, media specialist, library clerk, counselor, nurse, secretaries and custodians. The teachers will follow the students.
After complaints from residents that all schools on the proposed closure list were in south DeKalb, the 20-member task force whittled the list from 83 to 21 schools last week . Each has an enrollment of fewer than 450 students. State funding favors schools with at least 450 students, school officials said.
I agree that just throwing money at the issue won't help. But money *can* help.
1. Hire auditors to make sure money is spent wisely. Everywhere.
2. Increase opportunities for teachers to make extra money through tutoring after hours/Saturdays. That's proven to work, if you get the the three people on board (teacher, parent, student) and the fourth to pay for it.
3. Lower class sizes, especially in science. You cannot teach science safely with more than a 24 to 1 ratio (per NSTA).
4. Add supplemental readers - magazines and books. Right now, kids have to pay for a lot of these outside reading books. Other places, the school buys them and supplies them.
5. Technology - a fancy piece of hardware alone won't cut it, but a fancy piece of hardware coupled with good training and a fearless teacher can mean everything.
6. Field trips. Experiences you can't get in the class room.
6. More opportunities for kids to fulfill what they want to do, and hiring unique teachers - like nurses, building contractors, hair stylists, dance coaches... to fulfill these unique needs.
7. And buy special equipment to support real-world experiences to go along with those teachers - real science equipment, real tools, a real dance studio.
We gear all our kids to go to college, for a vanishing manufacturing base, and yet our number one export requires artists, writers, musicians, and integrates quite well with engineering, and technical arts - its entertainment. Music, movies, TV - anybody see a single lesson plan out there in any discipline that gives a kid a fighting chance in these fields?
Do you, or anyone else, have detailed information on how "Equalization" works? How much money goes out from DeKalb to other counties, what the justification for that is, and what some of the other counties (e.g., Gwinnett) on the receiving end get? I'd very much like to know more about how this works. Thank you
@ Anonymous 3:13 am
All of this sounds great, but unless the BOE tackles the largest expenditure - admin and support - any additional money will be spent propping up the largest jobs program in the Georgia school system. Taxpayers are very skeptical right now that any money will get to the kids. The Stimulus Money and Title 1 federal funds that are supposed to be used for low income students ended up with the much maligned scripted teaching programs America's Choice ($8,000,000), springboard ($1,4000,000), Instructional Coaches ($8,000,000), the Hollywood trip ($400,000), and the list goes on.
Even a great sounding idea like security personnel morphs into DeKalb spending $12,500,000 a year for 217 personnel - a figure so out of line it's laughable - Gwinnett which has 150,000 students compared to DCSS 100,0000 students spends $2,500,000 on security.
Until DCSS addressed these issues, we can't balance the budget even with 40 kids in a class, no technology, no supplemental readers, or any other educationally sound advice.
The Georgia School Council Institute has put together a nice 9 page write up on school funding. Take a look at page 4 of the .pdf file in this link. Page 3 may also be of interest to help avoid confusion of "Local 5-mills / Local Fair Share" vs. "Equalization".
Here's the link:
Interestingly DeKalb is one of the districts currently levying a millage rate in excess of the State's constitutional cap.
This irks some since many Counties receiving benefit from the Equalization part of the funding formula have MUCH lower millage rates.
Al, I can post the text of the equalization grant statute, OCGA Sec. 20-2-165, but it's long. Not sure where you could find the amounts re-allocated under the statutory scheme, and to which counties the re-allocations go. Probably an Open Records request to the State Board of Education would get you what you want. Let me know if you want me to post the full text of the statute.
Anon 10:29, thanks! That link was great, and your explanation helped me a lot.
Here's the same information in a more popularly-oriented predigested form:
Where the funds for equalization come from:
Where they go, from a rural state senator's webpage. The section on equalization starts about halfway down.
(Change the 42 in the URL to a 43 to read the following installment.)
Also, the amounts reallocated can be found at http://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/qbe_reports.public_menu
after clicking Set FY, choose QBE003, System allotment sheets
"“Academics will not be used to close a school,” Mayfield said. “But we wouldn’t want to close a good performing school just to save money.”"
Hmmm - I'm going to have to chew on that statement.
As far as equalization goes - this is so important - I will move these links and comments to a new post all its own...
Great research, people.
I hope very much that the school system is working with the county and Board of Health on items such as this below. I'm guessing the school system is not, despite the large number of administrators, and even a Exec. Director of Corporate Wellness, but it needs to be an active partner with the county and Board of Health. The Board of Health has been successful with securing federal grants.
Community Road Map to Health
Hosted by: The Live Healthy DeKalb Coalition and The DeKalb County Board of Health
Thursday, March 25, 2010
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
DeKalb County Board of Health • Bohan Auditorium
445 Winn Way • Decatur, Ga 30030
Calling all Elected officials, commissioners, residents, students, businesses, faith groups & health care professionals. Share Your Voice. Be Heard. Express Yourself!
What is important to our community?
How is the quality of life perceived in our community?
What assets do we have that can be used to improve community health?
To RSVP, email Avian Wynn, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-294-3803.
NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION CALLED MEETING:
The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a called meeting at 9:00am on Friday, March 26, 2010, at the DeKalb County School System's Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center, Building A, Superintendent's Conference Room, 3770 North Decatur Road, Decatur.
Meeting information can be accessed online by going to:
www.dekalb.k12.ga.us, click on Board of Education, eBoard Home Page and Meeting (link on the top left).
Could they be discussing Lewis' retirement? It looks like they;'ll be in executive committee.
NOTICE OF DBOE COMMITTEE MEETING - BUDGET, FINANCE & FACILITIES
The DeKalb Board of Education Committee on Budget, Finance & Facilities will hold a meeting on Friday, March 26, 2010 at 10:00am in the J. David Williamson Board Room at the DeKalb County School System's Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center, Building A, 3770 North Decatur Road in Decatur, Georgia. The purpose of the meeting is to review Board policies and system-wide operations as it relates to finance & facilities.
I copied & pasted this great suggestionfrom the AJC blog -- Plan to do this at the meeting tomorrow! And please - keep a GLOBAL perspective - don't just focus on your own school and what you want... we're all in this together.
March 24th, 2010
If you think you can make a good argument for central office bloat in 2 minutes, then come to the next Budget Committee meeting and say it. It is a smaller venue and a smaller crowd, and it is easier to be heard than at a full board meeting. It is also a place where you can have face-to-face discussions before and after with your board representatives. Show up, make a good data-driven argument, and see what happens. The school closing is only part of the huge deficit that the BOE has to fix, and it only fixes approx. $2 million. That leaves over $110 million more to discuss. Every area will be affected. If you think there is considerable bloat in a particular area, get that information on paper and hand it to them yourselves at the next budget committee meeting. The BOE has proven that they will listen to logical, data-driven arguments – Montessori is a case in point. Montessori proved by showing up at every meeting with the same data that they could run a cost-neutral program, and they were spared. Sparing isn’t the point – it was the $$ savings that was the point.
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