Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back to the topic of the Ernst & Young 2004 audit

Before you read this post, you may wish to read the transcription of Ms. Tyson's presentation about the audit at the last board meeting.

May 9, Part 2: Ramona Tyson's report on the 2004 Ernst & Young audit and plans for a new audit


Some of us at DeKalb School Watch have been culling through the four boxes of documents and have found that indeed, Ernst & Young found many people who were being overpaid. However, those people were not teachers. In fact, we have yet to find data that shows any investigation into teacher salaries by Ernst & Young. Yes, a few media specialists did show up on the list as being overpaid, however, the bulk of overpaid employees were principals, assistant principals, administrative secretaries (school-based secretaries were consistently underpaid), coordinators, security staff and pretty much everyone at Fernbank Science Center.

Below is a listing of some of the overpaid positions and how much these people were overpaid by name - information available at Georgia Open Records. The plan at the time was not to reduce anyone's salary, but to instead stop the increases and allow the market to catch up. That was never done. Instead, the study was halted, Johnny Brown was fired and all twelve of the people who originally worked on this project are no longer employed by the school system. Although many have left DeKalb, most of the people still employed by the school system on this list, make much more money today than 6 years ago.


According to the 2004 Ernst & Young salary audit, the following people were being paid over the maximum for their pay grade (amount over range max in parenthesis) This is a partial list. We are not finished with the boxes. There is much more to come.

Williams, James H., Assoc Super: PCS programming, $142,332 (+$10,997)
Johnson, Melvin, Sr Advisor to the Superintendent, $142,332 (+$10,997)
Cost, Rick A., Treasury Coordinator, $102,144 (+$10,176)
Burris, Carl A., Director Transportation, $99,660 (+$10,275)
Hall, Michael B., Director of Transportation, $99,660 (+$10,275)
Lottie, Joanne H., Director, Inter Study Ctr, $102,144, (+$12,759)
Jackson-Chapman, Diane, Director Prev/Int, $102,144, (+$12,759)
Fletcher, Regina R., Exec Asst to Sr. Advisor to the Super, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Thompson, Alice A. , Exec Asst Student Assignment, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Smith, Ethel E. , Principal Truancy School, $100,260, (+$10,875)
Hornsby, Clifford C. , Principal Ashford Park ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Cunningham, Caroll J. , Principal Stone Mill ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Wyatt, Rita C. , Principal Shadow Rock ES, , $99,660, (+$10,275)
Loeb, Deborah T. , Principal Montgomery ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Rucker, Betty R. , Prinicpal Pine Ridge Es, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Gouge, Michael J. , Principal Henderson Mill ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Rhonda C. Miller, Principal Livsey ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Orr, Leola H. , Principal Toney ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Standifer, Joel M. , Principal Hightower ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Thompson, Carolyn M. , Principal Bob Mathis ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Grabowski, Jane H. , Principal Fernbank ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Heckman, Elizabeth W., Principal Brockett ES, , $99,660, (+$10,275)
McMichael, Brenda L. , Principal Montclair ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Speer, Anniece M. , Principal Eldridge Miller ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Cox, Beverly L. , Principal Snapfinger ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Moore, Tracy A., Principal Clifton ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Sherwood, Zandra M. , Principal Meadowview ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Shackelford, Renee N. , Principal Canby Lane ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Petrides, Donna L., Principal Briarlake ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Montgomery, Clarence , Principal Woodward ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Rounsaville, Bettie M. , Principal Medlock ES, $99,660, (+$10,275)
Steele, Marilyn L. , Principal Hawthorne ES, , $99,660, (+$10,275)
Bogan, Eileen H. , Principal Hambrick ES, $97,224, (+$7,839)
Shakir, Zaheerah , Principal Cedar Grove ES, $97,224, (+$7,839)
Fallon, Toni M. , Principal Rockbridge ES, $97,224, (+$7,839)
Govingnon, Sheila B. , Principal Rock Chapel ES, $97,224, (+$7,839)
Lee, Barbara M. , Principal Murphy Candler ES, , $97,224, (+$7,839)
Wright, Sheldon D. , Principal Sky Haven ES, $97,224, (+$7,839)
Swinton, Valerie D. , Principal Columbia ES, $97,224, (+$7,839)
Reed, Joseph P. , Principal Sagamore Hills ES, $94,848, (+$5,463)
Barnes, Barbara H. , Principal Leslie J. Steele ES, $94,848, (+$5,463)
Mabry, Monique J. , Principal Narvie J. Harris ES, $94,848, (+$5,463)
Letcher, Juanita B. , Principal Panola Way ES, $94,848, (+$5,463)
Mapp, Denise D. , Principal Midway ES, $94,848, (+$5,463)
Leissa, Angela C. , Principal Huntley Hills ES, $94,848, (+$5,463)
Reynolds, Keith L. , Principal Flat Shoals ES, $94,848, (+$5,463)
Doute-Cooper, Joanne M. , Principal EL Bouie ES, $92,544, (+$3,159)
Humble,Gail A. , Principal Kittredge Magnet ES, $92,544, (+$3,159)
Walker, Roberta R., Principal Rowland ES, $92,544, (+$3,159)
Kitchens, Ronnie A. , Principal Wadsworth ES, $92,544, (+$3,159)
Cook-Sims, Gwendolyn T. , Principal Glen Haven ES, $92,544, (+$3,159)
Borodovsky, Sofya , Teacher/Speech/Language, $71,448, (+$2,411)
Elmore, John W., Admin/Student Relations, $90,276, (+$7,513)
Fretwell, Quentin , Admin/Student Relations, $88,080, (+$5,317)
Walker, William H. , Asst Principal Cross Keys HS, $102,144, (+$29,137)
Crawford, Raymon E. , Asst Principal SW DeKalb HS, $86,664, (+$13,657)
Bailey, Phoebe L., Asst Principal MLK HS, $86,664, (+$13,657)
Johnson-Frederick, Joyce , Asst Principal DHS Tech North, $86,664, (+$13,657)
Freeman, Genevieve P. , Asst Principal Stephenson HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Terry, Vivian H. , Asst Principal Towers HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Clark, Empress R. , Asst Principal DeKalb Alt Night, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Eidson, Curtis A. , Asst Principal Peachtree MS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Roberson, Margaret L. , Asst Principal Redan HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Lewis, Francena W. , Asst Principal Stephenson HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Moss, Jeannette C. , Asst Principal Columbia HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Thomas, Shirley Ann B. , Asst Principal Tucker HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Mons, Stanley A. , Asst Principal Salem MS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Edwards, Brenda D. , Asst Principal MLK HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Musselman, Paula A. , Asst Principal Stone Mt HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Taylor, Sharon P. , Asst Principal Redan HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Wiggens, Rose D. , Asst Principal Clarkston HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Bobo, Linda A. , Asst Principal Open Campus HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Brantley, Kathryn L. , Asst Principal Open Campus HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Beal, Christopher L. , Asst Principal Tucker HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Adams, Josephine G. , Asst Principal Towers HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Bell, Robert L. , Asst Principal DHST-S/Night Pgm, $78,396, (+$5,389)
Wimberley, Lisa B. , Asst Principal Columbia HS, $80,280, (+$7,273)
Woods, James R., Asst Principal Avondale HS, $78,396, (+$5,389)
Chambers, Rebecca S., Asst Principal Chamblee HS, $78,396, (+$5,389)
Gholston, Rick A. Asst Principal Druid Hills HS, $78,396, (+$5,389)
Staples, James K, Asst Principal Redan HS, $78,396, (+$5,389)
Champion, Alice F, Asst Principal Stephenson HS, $78,396, (+$5,389)
Young, Linda W, Asst Principal MLK HS, $78,396, (+$5,389)
Jennings, Angela A, Asst Principal Miller Grove HS, $77,196, (+$4,189)
Harter, Cowen, Asst Principal Dunwoody HS, $77,196, (+$4,189)
Prince, John R, Asst Principal SW DeKalb, $76,476, (+$3,469)
Richmond, Asberry, Asst Principal Lithonia HS, $76,476, (+$3,469)
Thomas, Emily B, Asst Principal Cross Keys HS, $76,476, (+$3,469)
Williams, Carolyn D, Asst Principal Stone Mt HS, $76,476, (+$3,469)
Goodwin, Gregory P, Asst Principal Redan HS, $76,476, (+$3,469)
Jester, Larry D, Asst Principal DeKalb Transition, $83,832, (+$10,825)
Wright, Kelli H, Coordinator Academic Achievement, $89,868, (+$7,105)
Hardiman, Gloria J, Coordinator Area 1 (High), $102,144, (+$19,381)
Brown, Louise B, Coordinator Area II, $43,752, (+$2,370)
Goodspeed, Johnnie B. Coordinator Area IV (High), $87,504, (+$4,741)
Jones, Brenda H, Coordinator Area V(Elem), $87,504, (+$4,741)
Norris-Bouie, Wendolyn, Reading Specialist Coordinator, $99,660, (+$16,897)
Vail, Loretta K, Reading Specialist Coordinator, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Brown, Austin E, Coordinator AS/400, $92,544, (+$9,781)
Sebree, Ronald N, Coordinator Athletics, $85,932, (+$3,169)
Hill, Cynthia L, Coordinator Community Support, $94,632, (+$11,869)
Mitchell, Jacqueline V, Curriculum Designer, $106,248, (+$23,485)
Aehle, Judith A, Coordinator Spec Ed, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Jones, Sharon J, Coordinator Spec Ed, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Muench, Patricia M, Coord Gifted/AP, $90,996, (+$8,233)
Schreiner, Lodus G, Coordinator, GLRS, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Callaway, Clarence, Coordinator Health/PE, $100,260, (+$17,497)
Reed, Patti C, Coordinator HR, $99,660, (+$16,897)
Francoeur, David R, Coordinator HR, $97,104, (+$14,341)
Buddy, Juanita W, Coordinator Instructional, $94,632, (+$11,869)
Meeks, Michael W, Coordinator Instructional, $94,632, (+$11,869)
Kugel, Patricia A, Coordinator Instructional, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Anderson, Deltra V, Coordinator Instructional, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Pickens, Kathleen K, Coordinator Instructional SpE, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Buice, Nancy A, , Coordinator Instructional SpE, $87,504, (+$4,741)
Lyon, Stephen M, Specialist Building Reno, $51,756, (+$4,590)
Collins, Nathanial, Specialist Building Reno, $50,760, (+$3,594)
Schoenfeld, Fred R, Specialist Building Reno, $49,764, (+$2,598)
Riley, Valerie L, Facilitator Tech Svcs, $$55,524, (+$8,358)
Golden, Brenda W., Specialist Salary Control, $90,996, (+$43,830)
Ellison, David L, Technician Mechanical, $54,936, (+$7,770)
McNary, Duke E, Technician Mechanical, $53,880, (+$6,714)
Dodson, Samuel W, Technician Network Sys, $51,756, (+$4,590)
Fluellen, James E, Technician Office Machine, $51,756, (+$4,590)
Bradford, Kevin P, Technician Office Machine, $50,760, (+$3,594)
Rogers, Howard S., Technician Office Machine, $49,764, (+$2,598)
Tran, Luc T, Technician Office Machine, $49,764, (+$2,598)
Hutcheson, Charles A, Technican Radio Comm, $49,764, (+$2,598)
Holwell, Stanley W, Technician Radio Comm, $49,764, (+$2,598)
Webb, Harry L, Specialist Tech Support, $39,192, (+$6,075)
Dunn, Katherine H, Specialist Student Relations, $52,824, (+$9,946)
Dunbar, Sheila C, Bus Driver, $25,859, (+$3,945)
Thoeny, Bernard J, Photographer, $59,436, (+$23,674)
Zayas, Frank A, Photographer, $51,276, (+$15,514)
Moncrief, Donna H, Coordinator Records, $49,764, (+$14,002)
Galecki, Marijean E, Coordinator Records, $44,582, (+$8,821)
Mack, Celestine, Coordinator Records, $42,866, (+$7,105)
Shumate, Phyllis, Secretary II, $39,564, (+$6,755)
Speigner, Sandra S, Secretary, $39,564, (+$6,755)
Young, Kathy D, Campus Security Lithonia MS, $42,440, (+$17,100)
Cooper, Kevin P, Campus Security Fernbank Science, $41,605, (+$16,265)
Fleming, Keith, Campus Security Fernbank Sci, $39,192, (+$13,852)
Cousar, Derwin, Campus Security Fernbank Sci, $36,925, (+$11,585)
Carter, Gus, Campus Security Fernbank Sci, $36,925, (+$11,585)
Young, Robert D, Campus Security Fernbank Sci, $34,791, (+$9,450)
Battle, Ronald C, Campus Security, Dept, $43,272, (+$10,463)
Wright, Noel O, Vehicle Repair Scheduler, $42,864, (+$10,055)
Broadnax, Zenora, Library Clerk Fernbank Sci, $31,801, (+$10,075)
Vardeman, Cile C, Library Clerk Support, $31,164, (+$9,439)
Scoggins, William J, Clerk Shipping Receiving, $39,564, (+$11,436)
Mitchell, Gregory A, Clerk Shipping Receiving, $39,564, (+$11,436)
Mason, Roy D, Clerk Shipping Receiving, $39,564, (+$11,436)
Huckaby, Alvin O, Clerk Shipping Receiving, $39,564, (+$11,436)
Clark, Harry C, Clerk Shipping Receiving, $39,564, (+$11,436)
Anderson, Jerome, Clerk Shipping Receiving, $39,564, (+$11,436)
Juran, Raul, Clerk Shipping Receiving, $38,041, (+$9,912)
Bender, Stephanie H, Paraprofessional, Murphy Cand, $31,027, (+$8,649)

Almost all school-based secretaries (hundreds) were below the recommended step by $5,000-$7,000
Over 50 non-school-based secretaries were over the maximum salary by $4,460
Approx 30 non-school-based more secretaries were over the maximum by over $3,000
Over 30 maintenance assistants were below the recommended step from $1,542-$5,010
Over 100 campus security officers were over the maximum by $2,006-$17,100 (Avg: over $8,000)
9 language interpreters were underpaid from $3,207-$5,667
12 interpreters for the deaf were over the maximum by $3,783-$16,563
Over 75 Tech Support Specialists were over the maximum by $1,671-$5,283
10 bookkeepers were underpaid from $1,151-$5,012
Over 100 bus drivers were paid below the minimum from $814-$2,319
Almost all food service managers (over 100) were over the maximum from $5,606-$18,661
Over 50 custodians were below the minimum from $758-$6,759
Several registrars were below the minimum
Over 30 maintenance assistants were below the minimum from $788-$5,013
5 Accounts Payable Clerks were over the maximum from $1,422-$6,890
Approx half of parapros were paid $4,000 more than the other half


It's a very good thing that Ms. Tyson has ordered a brand new salary study. These should be done every 5 years.  The one discussed above was done in 2005, the first in approximately 15 years. It was not used. It is definitely time to get one done.  The new superintendent will need this data.


Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer this doesn't make me very happy. I know of at least 3 people who are on this list who are now retired. Maybe there are more, That might actually be good news provided new hires were paid appropriately.

Anon said...

Very often, in DCSS, when a person retired from a central office job, the next person hired STARTS at the salary of the person leaving.

So, someone retires at 100K, rather than knocking the salary down for the new hire, the new person starts at 100K.

It is a huge problem.

Anonymous said...

does anyone else find it rich (no pun intended) that the most grossly overpaid person on the list is the 'specialist, salary control'?

Golden, Brenda W., Specialist Salary Control, $90,996, (+$43,830)

that's too ironic to be true...

teacher said...

I hope that when the new survey is done, that the people doing the survey look at the salary without the furlough days, as that is what the salary would be if we did not have financial problems.

We keep salaries rising in DCSS, regardless of knowledge or ability. A new non-teacher starts out at the old person's salary and keeps on moving. There is not a salary curve.

The new audit should be worse than this, if it is done correctly.

Anonymous said...

But, yet according to the salary listed on, Brenda Golden shows a salary of $49,848.

Cerebration said...

That's true, DadFirst, She was about the only person to see a reduction in salary. Most who are still with the system are paid much more now.

Anonymous said... of the reasons that this study was discarded was that E&Y failed to take into considerations the salary ranges as defined by the Georgia Board of Education. The State BOE defines the salary ranges, not the individual school systems.

A better use of time would be to see how the DeKalb School salaries equate to the GA Board of Education guidelines.

Cerebration said...

I don't think the state mandates administrative salaries - just teachers. Please check with the state and let us know for certain. Most of these over-payments went to administrators. We have seen no evidence of teachers being overpaid. However, a few media specialists were overpaid, and they are technically teachers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment made at 9:25. I seriously doubt anyone will find a 'smoking gun' with respect to this survey. Even the salaries listed could be out of context unless you have more insight on that individuals education and time of service. There is also a local supplement for living in a wealthy school district (teachers in DeKalb get paid more than those in south Georgia). There are far too many variables for someone to make a definitive statement about whether someone is overpaid.

That said, the salary scales have been in place for many years and recently have gotten the scrutiny they have long deserved. Salaries were set based on time of service rather than the skills required for that position. That is probably why we had many long serving secretaries making more that most teachers. I think most of us want to make sure that those at the lower end of the salary scale get a fair wage while those at the upper end are not paid more for the service they provide.

Joseph Hunt said...

I also think that DCSS either makes up job titles or labels them as miscellaneous services.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, the county had to give supplements to several teachers because they haven't been giving steps now for three years. This put a lot of teachers making less than the state salary scale (in other words, these teachers were technically paying DCSS to come to work).

Anonymous said...

This is why DCSS is pushing so hard for SPLOST. Too much $ going out in bloated salaries and fabricated job titles instead of actually saving funds for capital improvements. It is going to take a coordinated effort from ALL taxpayers to stop the bleeding from the wound that is DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Just curious if E&Y provided commentary as to why they considered these salaries as overpaid?

Information out of context is not very helpful.

Cerebration said...

In government, you work at a pay grade. They are numbered. All pay grades have salary ranges. These people were being paid the amounts indicated above and beyond the maximum pay of their associated pay grade.

Anonymous said...

What were the salary ranges at the time of this study? That should be provided as part of the analysis you are providing.

Again, information out of context is not useful and can be damaging.

Cerebration said...

Obviously, the salary ranges ended at whatever number is the amount less that what was deemed over-payment. (Subtract the over-payment from the salary and you have the top pay for that range.) We haven't yet found documentation on the starting point of the ranges. We're still looking at the documents. More to come.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you folks for taking the time to dig through all of this! Be sure to report your findings to the media--let's put some real pressure on DCSS until they are too darned embarassed not to take action!

Cerebration said...

Actually, to her credit, Ramona Tyson has taken action. It's the action we had been hoping for -- conduct a brand new salary study! She has initiated this and the RFPs will go out at the end of the month according to her announcement at the board meeting.

Next - we would like to see an in-depth external audit. I hope the new superintendent will take that on as well as pick up the ball on the salary study.

Anonymous said...

To me -- I come back to -- how many of the "overpaid beyond pay grade and unqualified" people belong to New Birth and its 140 or so "member churches" and was there a provision for an automatic tithe by payroll deductions and for how much. Then the next question is, how much has their salaries increased since then? ergo, how much has New Birth benefited, directly, from this situation? I do not have a problem, with a tithe, or with the employment, if it is at appropriate levels and pay for a qualified hire. I do have a real problem, if the employee is overpaid at taxpayer expense and is not the best qualified for the job or if the job is not necessary at all and is being funded at the expense of the children in the classroom (I note that this is "black on black" crime as much as South DeKalb like to scream out the race card). I personally believe that New Birth has grown from its tiny school house in 1987 to its mega empire today through this type of an arrangement with DCSS "higher ups" and with County government "higher ups." This, of course, is just my opinion.

Cerebration said...

All employees participated in a group session explaining the salary study and it's intent. A poll was taken at all of these sessions asking employees if they had ever seen their job description. Amazingly, about 70-80% had not! They were asked to fill out details forms describing their duties and then their job descriptions were set to more closely match. An appeals process was put in place.

As you can see today, HR now uses the job descriptions created back then in the PATS online employment software.

Cerebration said...

The salary structure consists of two schedules: certified/degree and system-wide. Teachers were place on the degree schedule. That schedule had (still has?) 23 steps for each degree level. The system-wide schedule consisted of salary grades with 16 steps in each grade. (Minimums and maximums were established around a midpoint.)

The minimum was set to establish pay for someone the beginning the duties of a position (entry rate). Midpoint is someone fully qualified. Maximum is the most someone in that position could be paid (step 16 or step 23). They did allow for annual board approved pay increases without a step increment.

They compared marketplace salaries - nearby, regionally and nationally when the salary ranges were set.

There is nothing nefarious here, except to show that the system was very unorganized and haphazard in their pay structure, allowing for abuse for friends and family - often also allowing some without such protections to wind up underpaid. No organization should function so unstructured. It's already much better - a new study with solidly defined pay structures which must be adhered to will easily fix the inconsistencies.

Cerebration said...

The point is - there is much hope for this school system. It all hinges on the quality, the experience, the background and the wisdom of a new superintendent. If our board has the courage and the foresight to hire a strong, capable leader, certainly that leader can guide our school system back into a place of integrity -- a place where people line up to teach. A place where ALL students have access to a quality education suitable to their needs and desires for a happy, productive life.

Anonymous said...

I was told by a Board member that after this study was done and Dr. Brown was kicked out, that Dr. Lewis came in and revised many of the job titles. I am sure that no employee lost any money because of that. Therefore,the amount of over payment probably is even worse.

One of the entries that I noted was:

Walker, William H. , Asst Principal Cross Keys HS, $102,144, (+$29,137)

Is he any relation to the current board member Dr. Walker?

Anonymous said...

Cere, this is incredible data. Do you think it would be a good idea to set up a separate audit website? There is so much data to view and review!

Anonymous said...

Cere, may I ask if more folk can join the the team in digging through four boxes? I feel that it would be great a idea to set up a separate audit website? I would like to ask, what is the goal of the community searching for the truth in this audit? Is there another team formed, that will pick the findings and make a plan of action for what we should do with this project? This is great that we have parents that are smart enough to do a audit as well.

Anonymous said...

Cere, What is the course of action that could take place in regards to the overpayments? can the tax payers demand a repayment from the folk that were overpaid?

It would be nice if we could form a group of parents,tax payers of DCSS that there children are grown,could take on the task of creating a plan of action and join forces with DCSS in fixing this problem.

I strongly feel that the children deserve for the parents to step up and help with this crazy issue. I also feel that we should demand that DCSS allow the parents and the tax payers of DCSS to be very involved in this issue at hand.

Would love to hear how the other bloggers feel on this idea?

Cerebration said...

FWIW - the four boxes are available in the board's offices for review. These were publicly accessed documents via an Open Records Request (several actually) made by Sandy. Ask your board member to schedule a time to go over there and look them over. In the meantime, we'll keep adding what we find and hopefully someone else can pick up the ball from there.

Good idea on another website. It could also serve to monitor the new audit and report on it as it moves forward. Any techies out there willing to set this up?

Cerebration said...

We have no plan of action - in fact, I can't even say if those were over-payments or board-approved salary increases. The point is, as with most things in DeKalb, the system was unorganized and not well-monitored resulting in a hodge-podge of salaries for the same or similar jobs, depending on who hired you and who promoted you (I doubt if the employees had a clue as to the salary structure, as many never even were given a copy of their formal job description).

Government agencies like boards of education are supposed to be much more mature and structured. This is the only way to ensure equity and tamp down abuse.

Open+Transparent said...

This is truly, truly outrageous. The smoking gun has been found.

It's outrageous that the BOE allowed such overpayment in the first place. No oversight, no checks and balances.

It's more outrageous that its mainly Central Office administrators and managers who are overpaid, not teachers. Teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, in-school staff, etc. always get the short end from the Central Office. It's no wonder that so many teachers want to be administrators, when they see less competent people make double and triple their salary and doing much less work, even taking graduate classes online during the school day.

It's outrageous that almost all the upper level administrators at the time knew about the inflated salaries, that's you Ramona Tyson, Ron Ramsey, Bob Moseley, Alice Thompson, etc., who enabled it, and all are still in place. They knowingly allowed tens of millions to be spent not on students and teachers, but glorified pencil pushers. I heard first-hand the story on how Crawford Lewis and some other orchestrated Johnny Brown's ouster. This is the No. 1 reason why. brown wanted to end the gravy train. Lewis was telling friends two months before Brown's ouster that he was going to be the next Supt.

The most outrageous aspect is that our BOE has allowed the inflated salaries for five, six, seven years after the fact. It wasn't a short-term deal.

Taxpayers and parents have overpaid by the tens of millions. Part of that money should have been spent on students and teachers. Part of it should have been given back to the taxpayers via a lower millage rate.

Tom Bowen was on the BOE at the time. Sarah Copelin-Wood was on the BOE at the time. But hey, when you have family and friends working for the system, why be responsible stewards of the public's tax dollars?

All of the BOE members since then did nothing to audit salaries and administrative bloat. BOE members complained about lower property tax revenue, some like Gene Walker were and are still pushing for a property tax increae, ignoring that millions are wasted annually in overpayment. And administrative bloat, like the bloated MIS and school police departments, and the unnecessary and unneeded Office of School Improvement.

Thanks, Cere and crew for investigating this. Tell me how to sign up!!

Anonymous said...

Prior to another witch hunt beginning- could we have a post about the extraordinary job our students did on writing test, high school grad test and other accomplishments.

Anonymous said...


The horns of many are tooted while the kids that fail and fall through the cracks are forgotten. Enough of the good, as there isn't enough good.

Too many principals and teachers whose children do not live at the school where their children attends are attending the best schools. Just because one works at Tucker High School does not mean that your child should attend Livesy. The rules are followed for some and not for others. We have too many people attending schools for which they do not belong and this needs to stop, unless it's a legit AYP issue.

I am sorry 12:33, but too many aren't following the rules, don't follow the rules, or the rules don't apply to them. We have coaches that are paid more than teachers, which don't have teaching certificates, haven't taught, and are telling teachers how to run their classrooms. We have principals who hide poor teachers and disruptive students in their schools, instead of asking for help and making the school environments the best that they can be. I could go on.

Yes, there are some good things happening, but we can no longer ignore what is not happening and what is happening and demand that our children receive a better education. Our home values have taken a dive and this will continue as long as our schools have the reputation that they do. Just this weekend, I heard several people say to stay out of DeKalb because of the schools to people moving here, and I can't blame them and have to agree.

sharon said...

show me-can't see any smoking gun here

the first thing that pops out is that 5 of the 7 highest salaries are for people long gone. The principal salary classifications characterized as being $10,000 too high are incorrect. The salary study is an elephant and by looking at one set of figures we are only looking at one of the elephant's ears. The salary study was needed-too many variances in pay for the same duties, experience, and education. The salary study came in flawed, was for whatever reason (go you conspiracy theoritists) changed and ended, probably incomplete. You'd have to study the entire four boxes to come to any fair conclusion and even then there might be several interpretations of the results. Those four boxes are from almost seven years ago. We need another better one. Better to beat a dead horse than tackle a live lion.

Cerebration said...

Thankfully, Ramona Tyson has initiated a new study and that was our hope. The results of the Ernst & Young study showed a lot of inconsistency, few job descriptions, little understanding by employees of what their job description actually was, high pay for admin staff, high pay for the Fernbank Science Center and general bad HR practices. Ernst & Young did execute the contract as far as we can tell. They were paid their full contract amount. They did a lot of work to create job descriptions with associated pay scales that included steps. They also proposed a merit-based bonus pay system which we can't tell if it was implemented.

You are correct that we need to move forward - however I disagree that we need to ignore the only salary study conducted in the last 25 years. Much information was revealed by this study and sweeping it under the rug would be a big waste. We need to use the lessons learned from the E&Y study and move forward from there with a new one.

Cerebration said...

@ Anon 12:33 AM - If you would like a post about something in particular, feel free to write it up and send it to us -

This is a community blog effort. We are not paid employees. This blog has no advertisers. We simply rely on each other for information as sore little of it comes to us from the school system. Gee - why not criticize them for not promoting the good news? They fired the only person who used to do that -- Julie Rhame. She published the newsletter called Kaleidoscope that was chock full of good news from our schools. Haven't seen an issue of that for a very long time! And they have a budget for PR - we don't.

Cerebration said...

Here's another initiative promised, started and then dropped -- posting the meeting minutes online. After much criticism, the board secretary started posting meeting minutes easily accessed online at the DCSS home page instead of buried in the board's meetings website.

Guess what - the last minutes posted there are from FEBRUARY 25th!

Ramona Tyson has been made aware of this and has promised to fix it, however, why should she have to babysit these employees to this level of detail? How hard is it for this employee to do the simplest task without the boss having to ride herd?

Gayle said...

@ anonymous 9:25

This is simply not true.

" of the reasons that this study was discarded was that E&Y failed to take into considerations the salary ranges as defined by the Georgia Board of Education. The State BOE defines the salary ranges, not the individual school systems.

The ONLY salaries mandated for minimum compensation are the Teacher pay scale - see Teacher State Salary Schedule:

All of the other salaries are left up to the local BOEs. Why would you make such a statement?

Cerebration said...

The Teacher salary schedules which have the Local Supplement included are published for EVERY county including DCSS so its very easy to compare. Ernst and Young asked teachers to list their duties to ensure they were the same as other metro area systems' teachers duties and then used the published salary schedules to make the comparison.

DCSS DID NOT and still DOES NOT publish salary schedules for any employees but teachers while ALL of the metro systems listed above DO publish many to most of the salary schedules for the admin and support groups as well as the teachers.

Ernst and Young determined that some principals and assistant principals were overpaid. DCSS should publish the principals and assistant principals' pay schedule like the other systems. I can look at the principals' and AP's salaries for ALL of the other metro systems and compare them because they are published, but not DCSS. No doubt Ernst and Young got the salary schedule information for the non-teaching positions from DCSS Human Resources (of course they have it) and compared it to other metro school systems.

Right now we know what a principal with a Specialist degree and 10 years of credible experience is paid in ALL of the other metro systems by going to their websites, but not in DCSS since they don't publish this information.

This is NOT transparency. Wasn't then. Still isn't.

Pineapple said...

I am a parapro and it hurts that Mrs. Bender, niece of former superintendant Haliford,made that type of $$$ in 2004. Wow I would love to see what it is now. According to DCSS, paras top salary is 24,000. I want my increase like Bender.

Anonymous said...

Second comment... the way this conversation is going, are you thinking class action lawsuit? The property tax payers of DeKalb vs. the New Birth Churh? Is that even possible?