Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Georgia "Out of it's Mind"

This state is messing up badly.

First, as Maureen Downey reported at her AJC "Get Schooled" blog, State funding pays for 147 days of school. Districts are on their own for the remaining 33.

Maureen tells us that state Superintendent, Kathy Cox's criticisms of state cuts to education are growing more forthright, including a statement this week that the Legislature only approved enough funding next year to cover 147 days of the mandated 180-day school year. Cox is leaving her post in a few weeks. (She announced last week that she is resigning to head a think tank in D.C. and is no longer seeing election to a third term running Georgia’s schools.) 

So nice of you to finally speak up, Ms. Cox.

Jim Galloway recently posted a "Political Insider" column called, A wave of teacher layoffs set to wash over Georgia politics. Jim reports:

A wave that Georgia Republicans have feared for the better part of a year is approaching the shoreline.

This month, thousands of public school teachers across the state were formally notified that their services were no longer required. They will be joined in the unemployment line by thousands of others — school clerks, cafeteria workers and bus drivers.

Roughly 3,500 of the state’s 118,000 public school teachers are at risk, according to one estimate — although the state Department of Education says an exact count won’t be available until this fall.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says his department has prepared for 8,000 school-related applications for jobless benefits this summer.

Even more teachers and school workers could lose their jobs next year, as federal stimulus funding is depleted.

Not good. Not good at all. In so many ways.

For a look at just how poorly our state has funded education in the past decade, read this report called, THE UNFULFILLED PROMISE TO GEORGIA’S CHILDREN, compiled by the Georgia School Funding Association. The report states:

The State must do more than provide enough financial support, but this is still a primary obligation which it has neglected. Even though the absolute amount of State funds for K-12 education has increased in recent years, the increases have not kept pace with the growth in enrollment and the effect of inflation, much less the needs of our students. In fact, the total amount of all funds allotted by the State to local school systems decreased on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis by 18% between Fiscal Year (“FY’) 2002 and FY 2009.

Support for education in Georgia seems to have hit rock-bottom - or has it?


To learn how QBE (Quality Basic Education), which is GA’s formula for funding education, is figured download this Powerpoint:

Funding Georgia’s Public Schools: An Overview


History Teacher said...

Republicans declared war on public education immediately after the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown to desegregate public schools. The republican goal was to destroy public education. First, by withdrawing to private schools. Second, by flight to suburban enclaves. Third, by cutting state funding. Fourth, by vouchers and other efforts to gut funding for public school systems. Fifth, by allowing greed, corruption and mismanagement of public schools to run rampant and unabated.

This war on public education has taken many years. But it is achieving its objective. It has destroyed public education in our nation.

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

Ok, I am a bit confused. Does this new information suggest that the georgia school systems need to make additional budget cuts to pay for the 33 days? Or is this something that the school systems were already aware of when the budgets were voted on and approved this month?

In essence, what does this information mean to the taxpayers of DeKalb County ?

Also...does anyone know how the state decision to relax restrictions on class sizes will affect DCSS????

No one at the CubMart Complex is talking ....... not about layoffs, nepotism, accountability, restructuring, class sizes, grant money, Title I untouchable employees, America's choice renewal........nothing.

Note: CubMart = reference to the Mountain Industrial location being previous home to Cub Foods grocery store and KMart.


Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

To History Teacher @ 9:39

Ok, just so we don't start laying the foundation for even more divsion in an already divided county.......

Republicans aren't waging war on public education, nor are democrats are trying to overspend us into bankruptcy, nor are independents trying to get the government completely out of the business of education........

Americans are trying to educate their children !!!

No, we don't need to lock arms and sway...because we don't all agree.
DCSS is mired in ineptness by people of opposing political parties, race, and moral principles.

Let's blame THEM individually and collectively for the current state of affairs in DeKalb Schools.


Dekalbparent said...

@Teaching - I have the same question - did DCSS know this when they determined the amount of budget shortfall?

Cynthia Tucker's column today has distressing news. The federal administration's attempt to avert some teacher layoffs is apparently not too important to our congress:

Schools need more money to stop teacher layoffs. Why won’t Congress help?

7:23 am May 26, 2010, by ctucker

WASHINGTON — Apparently, teachers aren’t worth saving.

That’s the cold political calculation that has taken hold in the halls of Congress, where a last-ditch effort to funnel extra education money to the states isn’t getting much traction. Members of Congress are focused on saving their own jobs, and they fear giving teachers a lifeline could prove costly in the mid-term elections.

The White House and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been lobbying for an additional $23 billion in aid to states, which would be used to prevent the layoffs of as many as 300,000 teachers nationwide — including thousands in Georgia. Duncan has called the layoffs, which would hit schools harder than at any time since the Great Depression, an “education catastrophe.”

For the rest -

Anonymous said...

History teacher @9:39am

You are obviously a product of public education. You've, been brainwashed into believing that there has been some long-term conspiracy.

Look at your talking points:
1 - withdraw to private schools. OK, I give up. How the he** does it affect public education to have some students going to a different school?
2 - Flight to suburban enclaves. In case you didn't notice, this is the same as your first point, just restated in a different way. Their kids go to different schools. So again, how does this affect education at the previous schools they attended?
3 - Cutting state funding. In case you haven't noticed, state funding ONLY went down as the economy has suffered. And state funding is not the sole means of support of the school systems. Additionally, there are private schools that run more effectively with less per-pupil money than your DEMOCRATIC run DeKalb School System.
4 - Vouchers - vouchers take less money per pupil away from the public school system than the public school system actually spends on the child. So the school system actually saves money. The voucher only takes the state portion of funds. The local taxes don't follow the child.
5 - By ALLOWING greed, corruption, and mismanagement of public schools to run rampant and unabated. OK, this is where you show just how *&^%$# up your thought process really is. You're blaming Republicans for letting Democrats in DeKalb be corrupt.

Like I said earlier, you must be a product of public education and to think that you are a HISTORY teacher. God help the students in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

State Board of Education Allows Local Class Size Flexibility

May 24, 2010 -- The State Board of Education (SBOE) today granted an exemption of all statutory and regulatory class size maximums for the 2010-2011 school year. Due to the continued economic downturn that has caused declines in state and local revenue, the SBOE recognized the need to give school districts more flexibility.

Anonymous said...

State Board allows local systems to set class sizes . . .

Hey teacher, how many desks can you cram in that classroom?

Teaching at a DCSS High School said... classroom has had as many as 51 students (temporarily) crammed in a room. It wasn't fun. and I hope it never comes to that again. Never !

Teacher in DCSS said...

I agree with History Teacher,who's not pointing at a conspiracy, but at the net effects of Republican efforts to increase property values at all costs while letting social programs (what they call "entitlements") go down the tubes. You don't have to believe in conspiracies nor be a nutcase, to be able to predict mass effects. Everyone in the South didn't hate black people during the days of slavery, yet the institution of slavery was evil and had to be attacked as such. There wasn't a conspiracy to oppress black people, but there was a culture of oppression that had to be forcibly removed.

Similarly, by not protecting us against the effects of low property taxes year after year (promoted in Republican demands for "no taxes, no taxes", the party's SOLE mantra), government now can't raise enough money to support needed services. But society can't function without revenue, and a realistic social contract must include the obligations of both the citizenry, to create wealth, and the state, to create a stable environment in which wealth can be created. The latter includes education, minimal housing, and health care.

Is it a coincidence that Republican states like Georgia (e.g., California) are in the worst situation with respect to education, nationwide? As long as the only concern is "no new taxes", we can look forward to "no improvement in publicly funded enterprises" for many years to come and a continued decline in educational quality.

You get what you pay for. We need proven leadership, and that will come at a price. Parents, consider reducing your focus on current DCSS employees' salaries, and concentrating instead on developing criteria for new leaders in education in this state. Prevent any current DCSS employee from becoming Superintendent, and use your power as parents to make SACS aware of the impact of recent bad decisions on your kids' education.

Perhaps Georgia could be the first state in the country to have its entire school system denied accreditation. Isn't that what it would mean to redesign public education here? Nothing short of this, it seems to me, has a chance of working. Ms. Tyson has called our current situation a "crisis", and she is right.

Cerebration said...

While I agree with much of what has been said, I still harken back to the fact that DCSS - even with these enormous cuts - still ended up with a $1.1 Billion consolidated budget. With only about $750 million or so of that for general operations... So with declining enrollment numbers - say 97,000 next year - that equates to $11,340 consolidated or $7732 general operations - per student.

That seems fairly doable...not optimal, but it just seems that we could "get along" with this budget without having to decimate our core staff.

Q: Is Title 1 money included in these budget numbers?

Q: Does anyone know what the budget amount over the operating costs is used for? It's an awful lot of "undiscussed" money...

Anonymous said...

@ 9:59 says "Let's blame THEM individually and collectively for the current state of affairs in DeKalb Schools."

I'll start. I blame the chairman of the House education subcommittee Fran Millar from Dunwoody for allowing our tax money to fund most other priorities over education, not just this year, but every year he has held that position. A hundred million dollars in austerity cuts to DeKalb. And you call yourself a supporter?

Makes me even sicker to know school board rep Redovian recently wrote a letter supporting Millar in his senate race saying Millar is a friend of DeKalb schools. This is a friend I sure don't need!

Square Peg said...

Regarding the question about whether Title 1 money is included in the budget numbers: according to the budget book, it is included in the $1.1 billion but not included in the $750 million of general operations.

Page 7 of the budget book shows the 6 funds in the DCSS budget and explains what each means: General Operations, Special Revenue, Capital Outlay, Debt Service, Enterprise Fund, and Trust & Agency. "The Special Revenue fund consists primarily of budgeted state and federal grant expenditures, including Title I funds. Special Revenue expenditures are planned to be $97.8 million. The Special Revenue funds contain the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds."

What I don't understand is why it is so painful to operate on a per-pupil expenditure ($7533 in the proposed budget, before the changes from the board meeting) that is higher than the 2004-2005 per pupil expenditure of $7173 (see graph on the last page of the budget book). Can anybody explain that? Do any board members or administrators have an explanation for the public that is backed up with solid numbers?

Budget book I'm referring to:

Cerebration said...

That's exactly the same thing I'm wondering, Square Peg. I wonder if we aren't all running around like chickens with their heads cut off in a panic over making budget cuts that simply don't need to happen. We have the same amount of money that we had before Dr Lewis took the helm. Teachers have not seen much of a pay increase since then - so why can we not afford to keep them all - and the paras - bus driver, tech people and lunch people? Let's find the budgets that HAVE increased without cause - and cut those!

I'm wondering if we aren't making cuts to the core of our education system in order to save much of the unnecessary fringe.

Q: Was the "fitness center" cut - along with the former principal who was moved over there and heads up "Health and Fitness"? There's an entire department that can be slashed.

Q: Has our board made any decisions to consolidate small schools and programs - sharing admin resources like principals, counselors and APs? (I mean, DSA, DECA, Alternative Schools, Destiny Academy...)

Not that these moves would save millions - but they would save quite a few jobs in and near the classroom. Tech people and paras don't cost much, but provide a valuable support to teachers and students.

Ella Smith said...

I still feel the Dekalb County School System is too top heavy and cuts need to be made in this area. However, I also feel money is spent on programs that are not proven to be affective and this needs to stop.

However, I feel the big program is the lack of funds coming from the state. The state apparently does not currently have the funds to give us. I feel another means other than property tax needs to be looked at in Georgia to ensure that education is not affected like this again. However, I am troubled that our Ga. representatives in Congress do not want to support Georgia's education in a crisis. This is shameful.

Cerebration said...

And - what about Pat Pope? Has the board voted to extend her contract costing taxpayers over $200,000 per year plus benefits? Enough to pay about 4 teachers (at the shocking package value of $65,000 - according to Dr Lewis!)

Moral of the story - get yourself in deep enough doo doo to become the center of a lawsuit - and DeKalb will keep you on the payroll no matter what!

Cerebration said...

BTW - if you add the approx $30 million in Title 1 funds to the general operating budget - it raises the per student total to over $8000. But - not all students benefit from Title 1 - so Title 1 students have a per student cost of well over $8000. Wouldn't it be great if that Title 1 money really did go to directly supporting Title 1 students - rather than fancy programs and trips to Hollywood?

Anonymous said...

Millar might not be perfect, but in the Republican primary, he is the better choice. His opponent is no friend of public education.

That said, in the general election, there will be a better choice than either Millar or Sibold ... Keith Kaylor is running as a democrat. I hope that the many Republican public school parents in Dunwoody can look past the letter next to the name and make a good vote for GA public education in November.

Cerebration said...

Wait a minute - wasn't it Fran Millar who managed to get millions for DCSS from the state? Wasn't it Fran who helped Tyson and the board figure out that they were not getting their proper FTE funding? I think that without Fran Millar - our creek would be much muddier than it is even now.

Thanks for digging up so much money for DCSS Fran!

Square Peg said...

I wholeheartedly agree that the state has treated education very badly, but even considering the state cuts, DCSS appears to have more money to work with per pupil than in 2004-2005.

The money received from the state through the QBE formula is included in the General Operations fund, according to pages 7 and 12 of this year's budget. So if the General Operations fund is about the same in 2004-2005 compared to 2010-2011, state cuts can't explain the need for classroom cuts.

The DCSS website doesn't have files for 2004-2005, but in 2005-2006, the general operations fund was $777.38 million. It had to have been less in 2004-2005 because the per-pupil expenditure was less. Now, even with the loss of state money, we still have $735.31 million budgeted for General Operations - probably about the same as in 2005. So we theoretically should be able to fund the classroom about as well as we did then.

(2005-2006 numbers from

Anonymous said...

I have reservations about getting into this argument, anon 10:33, but like it or not, private schools have a direct impact on public schools.

The powerful people in American government do not send their children to public schools; they don't have to. Look no farther than Obama and Clinton: both of them put their children at Sidwell Friends rather than enroll them in a DC area public school.

I can't blame them; Carter put his daughter Amy in public school during his presidency and it was a disaster.

What this means is, from the top down, powerful people with money in this country don't tend to put their children in public schools if they have ANY other choice. So when it comes to fighting for public schools, campaigning for better leaders in education, and funding the schools we need, the MOST influential and the MOST powerful people who make the decisions about what our children get simply don't have a dog in that fight. If their children were in public school, you'd better bet that we'd all be in better shape.

Let YOUR kid sit in filth, eat substandard produce in the cafeteria, and follow a pre-scripted curriculum. They don't care. THEIR kid is lounging in an atrium, eating an organic carrot salad for lunch, and prepping for Harvard.

Anonymous said...

Can you blame them for sending there kids to private schools. It could be considered child abuse to send your kids to gov't schools. I back that up by saying that bullying, filth, and lack of supplies,unhealthy food and over crowded classrooms, if this takes place at your home DFACS would be called in.So i suggest you do what you have to do to get your kids as far away from gov't schools as you can.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:56

Government schools are YOUR schools!
If you don't like them, it is your fault. It is your neighbors fault.
If you don't like the government, remember: you elected them, and that includes the school board.

You (we, of course) vote for the school board. They have the final say. Teachers, principals and even county office fat cats have to answer to the board that "we the people" choose. These are small, local elections. Here is a chance to get what you want done. To really take back control.

We get the government we choose. Don't like it. Choose differently next time.

Anonymous said...

Superintendent Indicted:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Channel 2 Action News has learned a DeKalb County grand jury has indicted 4 people, including former school Superintendant Crawford Lewis, on racketeering and other charges in connection with the district attorney's investigation into school construction contracts.
In addition to Lewis, the indicted named Pat Reid (formerly Pope), her ex-husband Tony Pope and Reid’s former secretary Cointa Moody. Reid was formerly DeKalb School's chief operating officer and oversaw the system’s massive school construction program.
Tony Pope, Reid's ex-husband, is an architect who has done work for the system.
The district attorney's office has called a 4:30 p.m. news conference.
A team of Channel 2 reporters is working this story right now and will provide more information as the story develops.
Stay tuned to Channel 2 Action News at 5 and refresh this story on for more breaking developments.

Anonymous said...

I agree with History Teacher. Republicans have declared war on public education. The Governor is systematically executing his plan for education. That is, minimal education services for the children of Georgia. If education was important, the Republicans would have found a way to fund it.

Anonymous said...

Cere 1:59 -- True Fran Millar recently took the credit for the State allowing DCSS to go back to the till to get the monies they were due. Good politicking for him.

Unfortunately he was still the one in charge of the house ed committee for the past several years. How effective do you think he has been at funding education? Ask the teachers, laid off teachers, paras, bus drivers, or heck just ask the parents who's kids will be packed into classrooms with 35-40+ others next year -- all the while while other projects got fully funded at their expense.

Cerebration said...

Actually, SP, we had MORE students back then, when the general op budget was almost the same -

2001-02 97,887
2002-03 98,538
2003-04 99,656
2004-05 100,050
2005-06 102,330
2006-07 101,853
2007-08 100,526
2008-09 99,893
2009-10 99,406 (or less...)

Anonymous said...

Teachers have themselves to thank for this mess. Remind me again why they campaigned so hard to get rid of barnes? Did they really think sonny would do right by them?

Cerebration said...

True that, Anon. Also, Ron Ramsey - head of Internal Affairs for DCSS - also serves as a state senator - and on education committees. But he hasn't done much for students either. He brings no legislation forth - except "Declarations" complimenting people he admires... But then again, David Schotten of ODE was impressed enough to give Ramsey a big old award! So - see, in Georgia - it doesn't take much at all to be "all about education!"

Teaching at a DCSS High School said...

To all those who seem to have some weird notion that Republican administrations and their LOW PROPERTY TAXES have paved the way to a budget short fall for the state of Georgia...Let me share some FACTS; void of emotion or opinion. You can draw your own conclusions.

"The state of Georgia is required by its constitution to maintain a balanced budget, meaning that the government cannot spend more money than is available through revenues and funds saved from previous years. When revenue levels change, so does the budget, as do the programs and services provided by the state government for its citizens. Thus, the success or failure of the state's revenue-raising efforts directly affects the amount and quality of services offered to the people of Georgia.

...The following revenue sources and corresponding percentages account for the state budget....

The individual income tax is Georgia's top revenue source, generating between 40 and 45 percent of the state's total revenue.

The corporate income tax accounts for 3 to 5 percent of the state's total revenue.

The insurance premium tax, placed on insurance companies, generates about 2 percent of Georgia's annual revenues.

The general sales tax, usually generates about 30 percent of the state's revenues.


Georgia also maintains an indigent-care trust fund, which has averaged about 1 percent of state revenues.

The motor-fuel tax was the largest excise tax, contributing about 4 to 5 percent of state revenues.

The excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products together make up between 1 and 2 percent of state revenues.

The estate or inheritance tax is less than 1 percent of state revenues.

All regulatory fees combined amount to 3 to 4 percent of state revenues.

The lottery is the state's third-largest revenue source, averaging 5 percent of total state funds each year.

(I realize that the numbers do not fully add up to 100 percent but there are miscellaneous resources and, of course, round-off error to account that discrepancy).

Note: The ALL CAPS entry was only intended to highlight info relative to the topic of discussion....again, no emotion attached to it.)

Source: New Georgia Encyclopedia and information from the Office of Planing and Budget


Anonymous said...

To a lot of folks:
- You've basically said a bunch of hooey (that's nice talk for you said a bunch of BS), so let's address it step by step.

It's not Republicans who refer to certain programs as entitlements, it's the law. If a program is designed to provide benefits to individuals who meet certain criteria, then it is an entitlement program. Entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits because of rights or by agreement through law. If you are eligible to receive benefits within a program, you are entitled. That is where the name "entitlement programs" comes from. Pretty simple right. Notice it is not "discretionary." Discretionary programs would be the other government programs such as military spending. Discretionary spending refers to the portion of the budget which goes through the annual appropriations process each year.

Now to address your slavery analogy. In journalism, this type of analogy is called a "transfer" which is a type of propaganda device. You cite to the evils of slavery then try to transfer, or carry over, the general feelings of negativity about slavery to your next topic - Republicans and property taxes. Nice try. It works with uneducated individuals. As for your campaign to misinform readers of where revenue comes from, please see the anonymous poster of 6:53pm. He/she did an excellent job of shoving your argument back in your ill-informed orifice (you can choose which one).

Anon 11:40am, you then go on to say
. . . "a realistic social contract must include the obligations of both the citizenry, to create wealth, and the state, to create a stable environment in which wealth can be created. The latter includes education, minimal housing, and health care." Actually, we have a realistic "social contract" with the government already - it's called the Constitution. Have you heard of that? Probably not judging by your statements. I realize that for right now, Democrats are in control. It won't last. And when the economy of the Democrats comes crashing down, don't bother blaming people who haven't been in office for years. Our current economy and lack of fiscal restraint is Democrat in nature - own it. The government has a responsibility to NOT turn the U.S. into Greece or any of the other PIIGS nations. Contrary to popular Democrat beliefs, you cannot continuously spend money you don't have. (See PIIGS). And no, the Republican's only matra is not "no taxes, no taxes" as you misstated. The Republicans don't have A mantra. But I do believe the Democrats have one "You make, we'll take it."

God, do you ever stop with your misinformation campaign. Republican states are NOT in the worst situation in regard to education. California is a Democrat controlled state (don't bother stating that Arnold is Republican, we know. And it's in name only) and has been paying teachers with IOUs, has a collapsing economy with crippling debt and a woefully underfunded state-sponsored retirement system.

And finally to address you comment that the entire state should be denied accreditation. The entire state is not being mismanaged. For the most part, the counties facing mismanagement issues are METRO counties. Anyone want to guess which counties in the state of GA are controlled by Democrats?

Now for all the angry Democrats out there - it's your mess - own it.

Anonymous said...

The above was addressed to Anon at 11:40am.

Anonymous said...

If (theoretically) DCSS was given
2 or 3 times the amount of money that it now gets from the state, it would still complain that it wasn't enough.

The thirst of administration and teachers for money is insatiable. No one ever gets paid enough. The difficulty of taxpayers in paying taxes is of no consequence to them. Taxpayers are told that "It is for the children". That is supposed to make up for their own standard of living decreasing as they watch CLew drive away in his nice new car on a fat pension financed in large part by the taxes they paid.

Anonymous said...

I think this is devolving into a D vs R red/blue Mexican standoff. We're looking at the past, not at the solution. As a former teacher, I don't care about letters and colors, I care about kids.

Priorities. Is education a priority? When it comes to funding, no. When it comes to accountability, yes. People say "the schools need to be better" but aren't willing to put money to solve the problem. They'll even argue that throwing money at it won't help anything. That's mostly not true. If the money is mismanaged, then yes, it won't matter how much you throw at it. But if the money is used for lower class sizes, incentives to move people from private sector to teaching (esp. math and science), and for better equipment, supplemental books, technology, training, Saturday and after-school programs - that's all money well-spent.

As for this new resolution, I've seen some folks say this is "a good thing" because local districts will make decisions best for their districts. Clueless - districts are going to use that as a way to save money and hurt front-line teachers. However, I've seen people on both sides of the aisle (AJC article on governor's race) say that the state board's action is a terrible thing. I'm hoping one of them ends up winning.

Anonymous said...

So glad my child just graduated and is leaving Georgia (and the South) to go to college. Worth every penny.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 1:42 pm

You are absolutely right. Here are the calculations from the Georgia DOE site.

2003- 04 DCSS had about the same number of students (200 more 2003-04). We will be spending around $17,000,000 less in personnel cost for teachers in 2010-2011 than we did in 2002-04.

Please tell me our budget in 2003-04 was 5% less in 2003-04 than it is now since the budget Ms. Tyson proposes will mean the amount we spend for teachers will have gone down 5%.

Expenditure on salary for 6,695 teachers $316,932,866
($47,716 per teacher x 6,695)

Expenditure on salary for 6,611 teachers: $360,868.046
$54,586 per teacher x 6,611 teachers (loss of 275 teachers from 6,886 in 2008-09)
We lost 275 teachers in 2009-10
“This action will save $18.1 million and will reduce the staffing needs by 275 teachers.”

2010 -11:
Expenditure on salary for teachers: $316,932,109
$50,219 (5% pay decrease and 3% furlough pay decrease) x 6311 teachers (loss of 300 teachers from 2010-2011)

Maybe I’m wrong and we are only losing 100 teachers. Someone who has done the calculations, let me know.

My question is:
If we are spending more for the budget and less for teachers, where is the money going? No wonder we have such enormous class sizes, and they will be getting so much larger. There is something very wrong with the expenditure figures for classroom instruction in DCSS.

Has the BOE looked at these numbers? Has Ms. Tyson looked at these numbers? Or does anyone even care that our expenditures are going so far away from the classroom? Where are these dollars being spent if not in the classroom?

Anonymous said...

To Anon May 26 @ 9:52 PM

You said: So glad my child just graduated and is leaving Georgia (and the South) to go to college. Worth every penny.


Anonymous said...


Look, every year, the Air conditioners in our classrooms break down and we go for weeks without air conditioning. Now I know that this may not seem like a big deal to a lot of folks, but let me tell you that when you cram 32+ people into the average size classroom (<700 S.F.) it gets HOT. It gets REAL HOT. It's so bad that it wears you out. The air doesn't move, the humidity is horrible, the students can't focus and to be honest, neither can the teacher.

So why am I saying this now when school is out? Because I want the county to address this problem this summer before the school year starts.

Did you know you could get "through-the-wall" AC units installed for less than 500 bucks per classroom? (And they actually work.) I would say window-mount units, but . . . our windows don't open.

Anyway, I wanted to mention it because it seems like every year it's the same thing. "Teachers tell us if your A/C" isn't working. Why? Why should we have to tell you? Shouldn't that be a priority before the school year even begins? (Yeah, I know, the A/C in the front office ALWAYS works and the A/C in the county offices ALWAYS works.)

OK, so thanks for letting me vent. I get so irritated about this.

Cerebration said...

This is the crux of the issue with DCSS -- too much money is spent on special, glorious projects like Arabia and Tucker HS and then there's still nothing left to fix an ordinary air conditioner at an older building. Now that Pat Pope's messing around has really slowed down construction progress, as well as wasted a whole lot of money, we are behind schedule on starting many promised projects. Hopefully the new construction managers will be able to keep the ball rolling and get these jobs done.

Please, write your board rep - and let him or her know about your suffering. Because this really is suffering.


On another note - Ironically, even with Georgia performing so poorly overall in our public k-12, our colleges are actually some of the best in the country. UGA is in demand worldwide - same with Tech and many others. I wouldn't worry one bit about Georgia colleges.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Cere,
Really appreciate your work.
Don't buy into the hype that our public schools, overall, perform poorly. (OK, yes..before I get jumped: There are some bad public schools, just look in zip codes with high poverty levels and you will find some. There are also some bad public school teachers. Just like anything else)

But the schools "suck thing" is propaganda.

"Schools suck" is a long running smear campaign begun by those who profit form the perception that public schools suck and we need vouchers and privatization to solve the invented problem. The endless, expensive testing provides the (meaningless) "data" to keep the lie going.

Overall, American public schools are doing, and have been doing, very well.

Some resources:
*A Test Everyone Will Fail; by G. Bracey: published in the washington Post
*Nine Myths About Public Schools; G Bracey
*An Interview with Susan Ohanian: About Bashing Our Schools
*The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, And The Attack On America's Public Schools

A very tired teacher

Anonymous said...

1 - Withdraw to private schools. OK, I give up. How the he** does it affect public education to have some students going to a different school?

Answer-It drains public education of the parents who care about their child’s education. It also cuts the base of people who are willing to support public schools through taxes. It takes the middle class and upper class students out causing a distillation of lower test scores and achievement. It costs the school district per pupil money that would allow more courses and subjects to be taught.

2 - Flight to suburban enclaves. In case you didn't notice, this is the same as your first point, just restated in a different way. Their kids go to different schools. So again, how does this affect education at the previous schools they attended?

Answer-Not the same at all. One and two are both detrimental and have similar effects. Skims off tax payers to other counties causing reduction in infrastructure and concentrates families and students at risk. Causes lower property values, blight and strained conditions.

3 - Cutting state funding. In case you haven't noticed, state funding ONLY went down as the economy has suffered. And state funding is not the sole means of support of the school systems.

Answer-wrong again. Under the Republican Equalization plan metro districts lost tax revenue over the past 8 years as urban schools were penalized as the state “equalized funding to rural districts and Gwinnett County. DeKalb lost over 100,000 million prior to the budget cuts. In addition the state increased funding for mandates such as the graduation coaches so that we had to hire so more non teaching positions.

Additionally, there are private schools that run more effectively with less per-pupil money than your DEMOCRATIC run DeKalb School System. Private schools have the advantage of parental support and a homogenous middle and upper class clientele that translates into students come to school ready and eager to learn and the school can kick any problem student out. A recent Stanford national study on charter schools found that charter schools performed on average no better than public schools.

4 - Vouchers - vouchers take less money per pupil away from the public school system than the public school system actually spends on the child. So the school system actually saves money. The voucher only takes the state portion of funds. The local taxes don't follow the child.

Interesting logic-So if I don’t give you 6 dollars and you don’t have to spend 2 you are actually saving money-but your $2 buys much less than the $10 would. Fewer students for any reason under the point system means that each school can fund fewer teachers. So we cut arts and music and maybe don’t have AP courses. Maybe if we just closed the schools we could save even more.

5 - By ALLOWING greed, corruption, and mismanagement of public schools to run rampant and unabated. OK, this is where you show just how *&^%$# up your thought process really is. You're blaming Republicans for letting Democrats in DeKalb be corrupt.

Nice talk. My thought process is that no one on the school board ran in a partisan election. I suspect that many of them and the employees of DCSS are Democrats because DeKalb County overall is solidly Democratic. However, if I had wanted to destroy public schools I would start something like No Child Left Behind, promote vouchers, make states pay millions to develop and give worthless tests when there are good nationally normed tests that would show a students yearly progress; issue unfunded government mandates at the state and local level, furlough teachers, increase class size, and take charter school approvals away from local authority. On the other hand local government and control isn’t necessarily better than federal control depending on how honest and efficient the governing authority is.

If History teaches anything the demise of public education will lead to increase lawlessness, unrest, a sinking economy, and perhaps revolution.