Sunday, January 15, 2012

How Much Should DeKalb Schools be Spending for Security?

The expenditure data for DCSS Security personnel shows that DeKalb is considerably out of line when compared to metro Atlanta school systems. No other school system except Atlanta Public Schools comes close to the massive expenditure of DCSS regarding Security personnel. Demographically similar school systems with much higher student achievement spend a great deal less per pupil for Security than DCSS. In an economic climate that must make every dollar count, DCSS needs to evaluate its expenditure for Security personnel.

School year 2004-2005:
DeKalb Schools employed 164 Security personnel to serve 97,282 students.

School year 2010-2011:
DeKalb employed 204 Security personnel to serve 95,481 students.

The charts below compare DeKalb School System’s current number of and expenditure for Security personnel with other metro Atlanta school systems (* references demographically similar systems).

Every Per Pupil dollar spent for Security is a Per Pupil dollar NOT spent for Instruction.

Comparison Summary (including benefits calculated at 20%):

DeKalb County Schools – 95,481 students – $10,844,887 for 204 Security personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $114

*Atlanta Public Schools (APS) – 48,805 students - $5,126,593 for 282 Security Personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $105

*Clayton School System – 49,551 students - $1,020,186 for 180 Security Personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $21

Gwinnett County Schools – 159,814 students - $2,755,802 for 48 Security Personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $17

*Rockdale County Schools – 15,582 students - $101,582 for 5 Security Personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $7

Fulton County Schools – 89,920 students - $4,292,198 for 66 Security Personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $48

Cobb County Schools - 106,619 students - $2,313,225 for 44 Security Personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $22

*Marietta City Schools - No expenditure in school budget for Security personnel
Marietta City Schools contracts with the Marietta City Police Department for 191 days of SRO services

*DeKalb County Schools – 95,481 students – $10,844,887 for 204 Security personnel
Salary Range   Number of Security Personnel in Salary Range   % of Personnel in Salary Range
$100,000+ 5 2%
$90,000 to $100,000 5 4%
$80,000 to $90,000 11 5%
$70,000 to $80,000 22 11%
$60,000 to $70,000 25 12%
$50,000 to $60,000 20 10%
$40,000 to $50,000 80 39%
$30,000 to $40,000 22 11%
$20,000 to $30,000 4 2%
$10,000 to $20,000 3 1%
Less than $10,000 7 3%
Total Personnel 204

*Atlanta Public Schools – 48,805 students - $5,126,593 for 282 Security Personnel
Salary Range   Number of Security Personnel in Salary Range   % of Personnel in Salary Range
$100,000+ 2 1%
$90,000 to $100,000 1 <1%
$80,000 to $90,000 1 <1%
$70,000 to $80,000 2 1%
$60,000 to $70,000 1 <1%
$50,000 to $60,000 9 3%
$40,000 to $50,000 8 3%
$30,000 to $40,000 19 7%
$20,000 to $30,000 53 19%
$10,000 to $20,000 85 30%
Less than $10,000 101 36%
Total Number of Personnel 282

*Clayton School System – 49,551 students - $1,020,186 for 180 Security Personnel
Salary Range   Number of Security Personnel in Salary Range   % of Personnel in Salary Range
$100,000+ 0 0%
$90,000 to $100,000 0 0%
$80,000 to $90,000 0 0%
$70,000 to $80,000 0 0%
$60,000 to $70,000 0 0%
$50,000 to $60,000 0 0%
$40,000 to $50,000 0 0%
$30,000 to $40,000 1 <1%
$20,000 to $30,000 15 2%
$10,000 to $20,000 22 18%
Less than $10,000 142 80%
Total Number of Personnel 180

Gwinnett County Schools – 159,814 students - $2,755,802 for 48 Security Personnel
Salary Range   Number of Security Personnel in Salary Range   % of Personnel in Salary Range
$100,000+ 10 21%
$90,000 to $100,000 11 23%
$80,000 to $90,000 0 0%
$70,000 to $80,000 0 0%
$60,000 to $70,000 1 2%
$50,000 to $60,000 1 2%
$40,000 to $50,000 1 2%
$30,000 to $40,000 3 6%
$20,000 to $30,000 8 17%
$10,000 to $20,000 7 14%
Less than $10,000 6 13%
Total Personnel 48

*Rockdale County Schools – 15,582 students - $101,582 for 5 Security Personnel
Salary Range   Number of Security Personnel in Salary Range   % of Personnel in Salary Range
$100,000+ 0 0%
$90,000 to $100,000 0 0%
$80,000 to $90,000 0 0%
$70,000 to $80,000 0 0%
$60,000 to $70,000 0 0%
$50,000 to $60,000 0 0%
$40,000 to $50,000 0 0%
$30,000 to $40,000 0 0%
$20,000 to $30,000 3 60%
$10,000 to $20,000 1 20%
Less than $10,000 1 20%
Total Number of Personnel 5

Fulton County Schools – 89,920 students - $4,292,198 for 66 Security Personnel
Salary Range   Number of Security Personnel in Salary Range   % of Personnel in Salary Range
$100,000+ 1 <2%
$90,000 to $100,000 3 5%
$80,000 to $90,000 8 12%
$70,000 to $80,000 16 24%
$60,000 to $70,000 19 29%
$50,000 to $60,000 10 15%
$40,000 to $50,000 2 <3%
$30,000 to $40,000 3 5%
$20,000 to $30,000 1 <2%
$10,000 to $20,000 1 <2%
Less than $10,000 2 <3%
Total Number of Personnel 66

Cobb County Schools - 106,619 students - $2,313,225 for 44 Security Personnel
Salary Range   Number of Security Personnel in Salary Range   % of Personnel in Salary Range
$100,000+ 1 2%
$90,000 to $100,000 0 0%
$80,000 to $90,000 1 2%
$70,000 to $80,000 3 7%
$60,000 to $70,000 7 16%
$50,000 to $60,000 14 32%
$40,000 to $50,000 14 32%
$30,000 to $40,000 1 2%
$20,000 to $30,000 0 0%
$10,000 to $20,000 2 5%
Less than $10,000 1 2%
Total Number of Personnel 44

*Marietta City Schools - No expenditure listed for Security personnel
Contract with Marietta Police Department for 191 days of SRO service

*Demographically comparable school systems

Open Georgia (Salary and Travel Reimbursements):

Georgia DOE (Report Cards for Districts):


Anonymous said...

Within the last two years, there was a recommendation for this line item of the budget to be cut and vocal parents protested.

A few years ago, probably the same time, the now retired superintendent of Fulton Schools recommended reducing the number of security personnel in N. Fulton schools and those parents protested. Within 18 hours of her recommendation, she had changed it.

For anything to change in terms of this line item, the discussion has to be focused on where the changes would be and how they would be executed. Perhaps less security at the palace, but the same levels at the school.

This line item could also be reduced if we had fewer schools, something that takes time and money and political will to make happen.

Cerebration said...

Exactly correct. Make sure you check the stats regarding salary ranges and the number of security employees. You will see that DeKalb has fewer people employed in this department than APS for example, yet spends far more. Check the ranges - we have many more people at the top.

Cerebration said...

In fact, it's interesting to compare Atlanta to DeKalb.

DeKalb County Schools –
95,481 students –
for 204 Security personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $114

*Atlanta Public Schools (APS) –
48,805 students -
for 282 Security Personnel
Security Cost per pupil - $105

These numbers suggest that APS simply has more SROs actually in the school houses. Certainly, they have far fewer actual buildings along with only half as many students, yet almost as many officers. But APS spends half as much as DCSS - and APS has 78 more security staff employees.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried to break up a fight in school? My husband, who is a teacher, has had to do it several times. It is not an easy task. You have to try and break up the fight without hurting the students involved. The state has rules about the way that you have to restrain a student. THIS IS A STATE RULE. All staff members have to be aware of the rule and staff members are required to go to training to learn the correct way to restrain a student. Then they have to fill out a long report to be turned in to the school system.
Girl fights can be some of the worst. My husband is in great condition, but he has gotten hurt. He did not take time off or try to sue the school. The students involved were put out of school.
My sister lives in North Fulton. There are police in the high schools there. She is an active parent and she knows the police at her son's school. They have two of them.
When you are not in the schools each day, it is very easy to say remove the police. I hope that some of the teachers that were so vocal about other issues will speak on safety and security.
Some DeKalb Schools have mostly females. I am a female. I swim, lift weights and stay in shape. But, if someone enters the school with a weapon or intent to do harm, what am I suppose to do?
Last year a very angry parent came to my child's school. She wanted to see a teacher. The principal informed her that she could not see the teacher in the middle of instructional time and had to leave. She also informed her that she could not see any staff member and be abusive
The "lady" refused and cursed the principal. The policeman at the school heard the noise and came and informed the parent that "she" had to leave immediately. This was a big women.
How was that principal suppose to make the person leave? How long would it have taken for police to respond. In the meantime, how many people could have gotten injured.
Check with the people in the school before you decide to remove police. There are other ways to cut the budget. I love sports, but I never hear the suggestion to cut some of the extra coaches at some schools. If we can add sports programs, then we can add police. Wasn't there a suggestion to add Lacrosse?
I want my husband and children safe. My husband once had to help break up a fight with a 350 pound student. I am not making this up, the boy weighed 350 pounds. This "child" had been put out of three different schools.
I also want the SEHC to stop returning disruptive students to school over and over again. The schools put them out one door and the individuals SE, return them right back. Again, these are people not in the school.
I have a great suggestion. The staff at the department that handles student discipline infractions should have to spend at least two weeks each year in a school. Not an elementary school, but a middle or high school that has a large student population. During that time, they need to deal with student behavior and supervision. If this was the case, I bet we would see a change in support of the school and discipline.

Anonymous said...

You do realize there is a salary audit under way within DCSS?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:21
"This line item could also be reduced if we had fewer schools, something that takes time and money and political will to make happen."

Security personnel are stationed in the middle and high schools, not the elementary schools. DeKalb has only 72 middle and high schools while they employ 204 Security personnel.

The point is that DeKalb is excessively out of line with respect to spending on Security. What will it take to bring the per pupil cost of Security in line with other systems? Other systems are not less secure than DeKalb, and this can't be blamed on our number of low income students (something that is always convenient to do). A number of demographically similar systems are much more efficient and effective than DeKalb.

Putting all this money into security versus teachers reminds me of building prisons rather than schools.

Cerebration said...

@Anon 9:38 AM - This is the emotional argument used by the board to maintain the status quo. Again, what we are saying here is that DeKalb is very top-heavy in the security dept. We are not advocating for making our school houses less safe - we are advocating for cutting bloat. Everywhere.

Cerebration said...

Also, we are unsure if the security staff are 10 or 12 month employees. Seems they should not be needed in the summer.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:38

No one is suggesting removing Security from the Middle and High Schools (they do not staff the elementary). But there are only 74 middle and high schools. Why are there 204 Security personnel? Should DeKalb be like other schools systems and hire them for the school year only? Should we form a partnership with the DeKalb County police so that we can contract from them like Marietta City Schools?

Discipline is a huge issue in the schools. Depending on Security to handle this is a good way to deflect the discipline problems plaguing our middle and high school.

Why aren't the discipline problems being addressed at the Central Office? Dr. Lewis and Ms. Tyson increased class sizes - a recipe for more classroom management problems.

Why are more remedial education teachers working with students who cannot read or compute - another source of discipline problems?

Why is DeKalb spending the most of ANY metro school system on 79 Parent Center employees and yet these discipline problems are not abating?

Why can teachers not fail students when they do no work or don't study for tests and fail them - another source of discipline problems as idle hands in the classroom creates classroom management problems?

What do those 22 Prevention/Intervention Coaches do all day? They make an average of $79,000 including benefits, but most are not certified in social work or teaching including the head of the Prevention/Intervention who makes $164,000 in salary and benefits. What are they doing quantitatively to help with student discipline?

What about the 40+ social workers and 310 counselors? How are they impacting student discipline?

Parents and teachers all over DeKalb County have grave concerns about discipline problems.

It seems that there is no comprehensive plan to address these problems, and the teachers and students who do not cause problems are bearing the brunt of this.

BTW - many of those Security personnel do not work in schools. They work in the many buildings around DCSS from Fernbank Science Center to the Central to the Bryant Center, to Sam Moss, etc.

Anonymous said...

Gene Walker has a son who is a SRO. Walker won't let any cuts be made to the School Police Dept., despite the rampant overstaffing.

We clearly need well trained, fit SRO's at high schools and middle schools, but they need to have a law enforcement background, continued training, and fitness testing.

Why does the DCSS School Police Dept. have two chiefs (yes, two chiefs), four admin. assistants, and NINE DETECTIVES, who do not detect?? Computers stolen constantly, air conditioning units stolen, rampant truancy, especially at the DeKalb Alternative High School. MARTA Police catch DCSS truants, not DCSS' own police department.

So many of the SRO's are very much out of shape, with limited training. They should be ashamed of the physical condition they are in. And they get paid more than most teachers.

What does this department do on summer break, spring break, etc.?
Why can't the nine detectives solve the constant property crime?

DCSS has so many shuttered schools and other properties that are never checked by the school police department. They must not ever have to work on a weekend, because you will never ever see a School police Dept. staff member checking any of the 150+ DCSS properties on a night or weekend.

SRO's should be retired police officers employed for the school year, at a competitive salary with no benefits.

DCSS purposedly does not disclose all the crimes committed, especially property crimes. We need the state legislature to draft legislation for school systems to report all crimes committed on school property, as colleges and universities are made to by federal law.

When was the last time the two police chiefs presented at a BOE meeting????? They should be made to present a few times a year. The DCSS School Police Department is poorly run, overly bloated, provides no return on investment, but it is a sacred cow to the BOE, so they will continue to spend millions upon millions on it with no oversight, no accountability.

Anonymous said...

SRO's are so important in middle schools and high schools. However...

Anon 10:57 AM is right about this, we spend so much on the benefits and pensions of the huge school police dept. Your taxes and mine pay for this over decades.

Contract it out with the county, or hire retired police officers and military MP's. We can't afford to pay for the benefits and pensions of so many non-teachers.

The non-school house department, MIS, Sam Moss, School Police, etc., have to become leaner and more efficient. They can't continue to be a place for the family and friends cabal as they are now.

And I agree about making the hief or two present more regularly to the BOE. I would like to hear reports throughout the school year on the amount of crime, the type of crime, how detectives solve the crime, incidents at high schools, etc.

You would think after all the attention about the Arabia Mountain High School TurnUp Thursday, the Central Office would more than ever before look at the school police dept.

Anonymous said...

Under the Crawford Lewis/Ramona Tyson/Bob Moseley administration, school police was one of the DCSS departments with a number of take home vehicles for staff.

This needs to end if it hasn't already.

Other than the vehicle stipend the supt. receives, there is ABSOLUTELY no need for DCSS take home vehicles, with the exception of the weekend Sam Moss emergency on-call maintenance staff member.

No one else needs to be able to take home a DCSS vehicle, no administrator, no one else.

The waste has to stop and stop now. Please, please, please tell me Ron Ramsey doesn't have a take home car or vehicle stipend.

Anonymous said...

Here's some background below. There have been a number of conversations on this topic on this website, but it just doesn't seem to register with the Central Office, BOE or the public. Seems like the BOE, parents and voters equate a strong school police department with more spending, not with accountability and efficiency.
I don't agree with that philosophy.

Break-ins plague Chamblee Charter high school

DCSS School Police On the Job??

October 21, 2011 5:59 PM:
Hey Anon October 20, 2011 3:04 PM,

-So what do school police officers do on all the days when school isn't in session (summer, breaks, holidays, etc.)?

-How many computers have been stolen from DCSS facilities over the past two years?

-How many HVAC units have been stolen from DCSS facilities?

-You can list all the square miles DCSS owns, but SRO's NEVER EVER walk around the entire grounds of DCSS Facilities. The homeless encampment at Cross Keys is example No. 1. There are area's throughout the grounds of my neighborhood school that have never ever been walked by a SRO.

-How does the School Police Dept. patrol all the non-school properties, like Heritage, where the back grounds have teenagers openly drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

-What are the training and fitness requirements? Are SRO's actual police officers who went through an academy? Is there one SRO who can run a mile under 10 minutes?

-Why does the MARTA Police Dept. catch truants DAILY from the DeKalb Alternative School, and those same MARTA officers state they get no help from DCSS School Police Dept. staff?

Hire retired police to be SRO's. Pay them a great hourly rate, but do not pay them benefits and pnsions as most are only needed for the 180 school days of the year.

Post online every crime and theft committed at a DCSS facility.

Have the School Police Dept. head speak at two to three BOE meetings per year with a report.

Post the fitness requirements of SRO's, the detectives and School Police Dept. Staff (please tell me there are fitness requirements!!).

Explain what in the heck the 8 detectives actually do, and why DCSS has double the size school police dept. of Gwinnett's, which is a much larger school system.

Explain why this department is untouchable budget and staff-wise?
Shine some sunlight on this department!

Gene Walker's son is a SRO. That department needs a full forensic and personnell audit, and new leadership, but it ain't going to happen with Gene Walker around.

Anonymous said...

Every single SRO and school police detective should be required to go through the DeKalb County Police Department's Training Academy, which is widely praised, or at least used to be, among the many police officers I know.

School police and their training is an easy place for the county and school system to work together, and everyone agrees that the county and school system have to have a strong partnership for everyone involved, students, staff, parents, taxpayers, etc.

I'm also concerned about truancy. Much petty crime is committed by truants. We should not have to rely on MARTA Police to enforce truancy. The School Police and County Police should also work hand in hand in this area.

Cerebration said...

FWIW, I do think they are professionally trained, "real" police officers.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:24

"Explain what in the heck the 8 detectives actually do, and why DCSS has double the size school police dept. of Gwinnett's, which is a much larger school system.

Looking at the figures, DeKalb has 4 times as many Security employees and spends 5 times as much on security. Gwinnett has 159,000+ students while DeKalb has 95,000+ students.

And before anyone says we have more schools than Gwinnett, Gwinnett has 131 schools while DeKalb has 133 schools.

And before anyone says we have more low income students, demographically similar systems such as Clayton, Rockdale and Marietta City have much less expenditure on Security.

"Family and friends" is exactly the kind of thinking that has gotten this school system to more and more expenditures for less and less student achievement.

Anonymous said...

Who's doing the investigation? Roan Ramsey and Robert Tucker? The Central Office? The School Police Dept. and its nine detectives?

We on the blog have known for a long time that county school band director Don Roberts has been double-sipping with other jobs possibly during the school work day. Only after the tragic FAMU death is Roberts now under investigation. We've heard he was untouchable under the Lewis/Tyson/Moseley administration.

Officials still have not disclosed the nature of the alleged "inappropriate" incidents. But new school board Chairman Eugene Walker gave a hint at a Jan. 9 school board meeting. There, Sailor publicly criticized the administration's secrecy and the suspension. Walker responded, saying he'd spoken with Atkinson about her probe "and we totally agree that the system will have zero tolerance for any kind of hazing or bullying."

The investigation began after two alleged hazing incidents involving marching band students at Florida A&M University who had attended DeKalb schools.

Robert Champion, who died Nov. 19, was a Southwest DeKalb graduate. So is FAMU clarinetist Bria Hunter, who suffered a broken leg. Two of the three bandmates who were charged with punching her also attended Southwest DeKalb. (The third defendant graduated from Druid Hills High, also a DeKalb school.)

DeKalb officials recently revealed the name of one target of their investigation. The DeKalb grand jury summoned Atkinson and a top assistant, Ramona Tyson. In their report of the interview, the jurors said they were told that Don Roberts, the system's music director, was under investigation.

Roberts, reached by telephone Thursday, said officials had not told him anything. "I can't really comment," he said, "because I don't have a lot of details."

The bands from Cedar Grove, Clarkston, Martin Luther King Jr., McNair and Stone Mountain high schools got special dispensation to march in Monday's parade. It starts at 12:30 p.m. in downtown Stone Mountain.

Anonymous said...

State Sen./OSI head Ron Ramsey should be made to do a quarterly update to the BOE. The public never hears any updates from the Office of Internal Affairs.

And I've still never heard if Ramsey is paid for 9 months of the year, does he take an unpaid leave of absence during the legislative session, or the worst alternative of him being paid for 12 months of work while only working 9? He receives benefits and a healthy per diem as a state senator. His DCSS benefits and pension should be adjusted accordingly.

Also have never heard from the Central Office why Robert Tucker is allowed to receive a full pension plus a full-time current salary for being Ramsey's righthand man, and running the Office of Internal Affairs while Ramsey is at the Gold Dome (and running his number of family businesses).

Anonymous said...

Cerebration said...
FWIW, I do think they are professionally trained, "real" police officers.


Cere, if they are, they sure don't have annual fitness testing, and they don't seem to receive much training. Some of the SRO's I've dealt with are nice as can be, but are not near qualified to be law enforcement officers.

And teachers should be furious how well SRO's are paid by comparision.

Anonymous said...

Walker will not let this sacred cow be disturbed. Yet another reason that current board members should not be allowed to have immediate family members in administrative positions above x salary or ranking.

Anonymous said...

Who amongst us is surprised that DCSS is once again way out of line it how it pays its support staff compared to other counties? We have seen this disparity pointed out regarding; instructional coaches, parent resource center workers, counselors etc., and now security workers. This disparity is evident in most every job classification other than in teaching.

I am reminded of this story. You have two dogs one you feed well and take care of, the other you neglect. Which one will be most loyal to you? Of course it will be the one that you feed. The DCSS is “feeding” all of its support staff very well at the neglect of its teachers.

The following salaries are what certified teachers make in these counties. The salaries are for teachers with 15 years experience and with degrees starting with a bachelors and ending with a doctorate.

DeKalb: 51, 936 - 67,938

Atlanta: 60, 676 - 80,760

Gwinnett 50,272 – 71,835

Clayton 49,050 – 67, 736

The numbers speak for themselves. Notice how this is the one area that is not way out of line with other counties, except for the city of Atlanta which is significantly higher. Yet, the DCSS web site boast of offering one of the highest salaries in the metro area. (Where?)

The DCSS also has a long way to go in claiming the achievement of transparency. In almost every other school district the salaries for all job classifications are accessible; from clerical to administrators. Yet the DCSS only displays teachers' salaries. We are aware that there is an alleged job audit being conducted. Let's see if the DCSS decides to “feed” and not continue to neglect its teachers.

Anonymous said...

GeneWalker"s son IS NOT an SRO and does not work for DCSS. Truth Be SAID!!!

Cynical in Chamblee said...

Anonymous said...
You do realize there is a salary audit under way within DCSS?

January 15, 2012 9:39 AM

Hopefully this compensation study will show that changes need to be made in the DCSS security department. At best, all of the SROs should have the same 10 month (180-190 day) school calendar as the teachers/students. Their pay should be adjusted for the relevancy of the school house situation. It is not like they are out after midnight riding in a patrol car, looking for murders and drug dealers. Also, with the various school activities In the summertime, common sense would locate SROs in the high schools on an hourly basis--with one officer having jurisdiction over the feeder middle schools and elementary schools. This group, as important as they are, need to be thinned out, and better managed so dollars can be saved.

Anonymous said...

There are two types of "security" seen in middle and high schools: SROs (school resource officers) who are trained police, carry guns and have police power and campus security (who wear the yellow campus security shirts and don't carry a gun). Several SROs make up the K9 unit- they leave campus weekly for routine training as well as the regularly scheduled "lockdowns" done 2-3 times each year at each school where the dogs walk the halls seeking "contraband" so several middle/high schools don't have any SROs on campus for blocks of time. If you ask, you are told there aren't any SROs extra even to cover a FMLA and that the ones at the BOE meetings are being paid overtime to cover them. Definitely an area that needs an audit of schedules, coverage, overtime and salary alignment! As for the K9 units, unfortunately the students are all in classes behind closed doors and dogs aren't
allowed in classes so they sniff lockers - students know not to leave their "contraband" in lockers so they carry it with
them knowing the dogs will never get near them. The K9 unit is a definite area we could eliminate - perfect place to
work collaboratively with the county police dept.
would be VERY interesting to see what the requirements (fitness and training) are for the campus security. Our school has a campus security person who has a handicapped parking sticker and in medical lingo would be described as morbidly obese

Anonymous said...

At least 34% of this staff makes more than I do, and I have been teaching for more than 10 years and have two degrees (not from on-line universities). In fact, I would love to compare the salaries of teachers to all others in the county.

We do need security. But we need a meaningful, effective approach to discipline more. I wonder if another reason the other counties-especially ones like Gwinnett and Rockdale-don't employ as many security personnel is because there is a swift, consistent response to transgressions.

Most of our students are not any more dangerous. They're just so used to doing whatever they want.

Anonymous said...

This has been brought up before, but nowhere--not on the official state senate website nor or his own ridiculous self-promoting website--does Ronald Ramsey identify himself as a full-time employee of Dekalb County Schools. The closest he comes is by identifying himself as an "Attorney/Director," but he doesn't list an employer nor of what he is a director.

The fact that he once stood at the well and called for a boycott of Dunwoody (a community served by several Dekalb County schools) is disgusting enough for me. And that Fran Millar, not Ronald Ramsey, brought it to the public attention that DCSS had not submitted timely paper work for state money. Also disgusting. All of this has the stench (i.e. the appearance) of unethical and incompetent behavior, if it's not rotten itself...thus the stench.

If I offend any of you Ramsey defenders who read this blog, well I'm glad I offended you. But you'd be less offended at my comments than I am that Ramsey is still "secretly" on the DCSS payroll and that he enforces ethical obligations in his position.

Who wants to be the first to alert the State Bar of this lack of disclosure?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous @ 11:28am ~ "Every single SRO and school police detective should be required to go through the DeKalb County Police Department's Training Academy, which is widely praised, or at least used to be, among the many police officers I know."

DeKalb County PD is taking a man or woman off of the street and getting them certified as peace officers. That is a very expensive venture. DCSS only hires POST (Police Officer Standards and Training) certified individuals. That means that we wait until another agency puts them through the POST certification process (and pays for it), and then we hire them. If you expect DCSS to start up its own police academy, watch the budget explode.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:34
"If you expect DCSS to start up its own police academy, watch the budget explode."

Did you read the data on this post? DeKalb is so out of line with expenditures on Security that it borders on criminal. The budget has already exploded. What is going on in this department?

Anonymous said...

The grand jury investigating the bloat in DeKalb needs to be looking at this data. It's on the state Open Georgia website - easy to verify.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Walker has more than one son.

A son for Eugene Walker is the Chairman of the DeKalb County Housing Authority.

Anonymous said...

Walker listed a son as an SRO officer in DCSS in the AJC when he was running for the BOE in November, 2010. This son is still listed on the 2011 Georgia Salary and Travel audit. He listed at least 4 other relatives working for DCSS - none as teachers.

LaLaMeeka Chadwalli said...

If anything, the high schools need more armed security, more drug sniffing dogs, more theft prevention. Many of the high schools are havens for petty thieves. Ask any high school student about the rampant theft problems. Teachers are not safe without armed security on campus. Granted, it would be nice if the campus cops were actually in shape.

Anonymous said...

Rockdale schools utilize the Rockdale Sheriff's department for campus security. I have often wondered why DCSS doesn't pursue this option since it may save them money.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to find out where each SRO or campus security is "official assigned" and where they actually work.

Anonymous said...

So much security wouldn't be needed if discipline was actually in place from day one in DCSS, however, the children learn at a very young age that they can get away with a great deal within the walls of the school, on school buses, etc. It's as if the adults are afraid of the children.

Anonymous said...

The vast number of overpaid security personnel is an absurd insult to the multitude of teachers who face these kids daily for far less pay. Most schools, especially middle schools, are fine with the unarmed campus supervisors and don't need the armed guards. Cut the numbers dramatically, rotate the remaining officers through several schools, cut the salaries, and put teachers into classrooms instead of cops.

Anonymous said...

Count Down to Audit Report Day

Only 14 more days until Dr A's audit reorganization report is due to be released. Each passing day heightens my sense of anticipation of the dawning of the New Day of DCSS. Hallelujah!!

Dr Walker will be leading the DSW choir in singing the triumphal conclusion of Beethoven's Ninth symphony backed by the Redan HS band that the lady raves about at every BOE meeting

Anonymous said...

@8:58 AM You are correct about
Dr Walker's son now being head of the DK County Housing Authority. He replaced the group of the County CEO and BOC's friends that walked off with $2.5 million in Federal money. County taxpayers have to pay it back at $100,000 per year for the next
25 years. That one slipped by our DA

The son had a company that was doing business with the Housing Authority. I do not know the status of that.

There was a Judge Joyce Walker who mismanaged the County Recorder County and let about $20 million in
fines go uncollected. The County removed her from the Court about
2 years ago then gave her a job at $140 K per year. I could never find out if she was related to the good Dr. and/or if the County is still paying her. Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

DCSS should be publishing the Titles and Salary Schedules for every job in the school systems just like every other metro school system.

How have they gotten away with not publishing the Salary Schedules for employees? If they do not publish the salary schedules, taxpayers should be writing Dr. Atkinson, the BOE, the state legislators and the governor.

Of course the Open Records act should ensure that any and all information that comes from this audit group is made available to taxpayers. The study should be an attachment on the DeKalb Board of Education website. The taxpayers paid for the study. It belongs to everyone. The information should. It be "buried" or disposed of like the last audit.

Anonymous said...

while we're at it, who's idea was it to have DCSS take over the hiring and training of school crossing guards? Ours spend all day sleeping in the teachers lounge and get miffed if you make noise and wake them up. Of course, this only happen on days that they actually show up for work. Plus, who is in charge of all these guards?

Anonymous said...

That is very strange as the crossing guards are only paid for the time in the morning and in the afternoon. Why do they spend the day at the school?

DeKalb County ran out of money and was going to cancel the crossing guard program. The system took it over.

Anonymous said...

The county is broke. The school system has the money. Over 60% of your property tax bill goes to the school system. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

I remember the prehistoric 1940s in my integrated school in Southern New Jersey (Camden) when I was (then in 6th grade) given a white belt and the awesome responsibility of being a school crossing guard. A great honor.
I guess that I was being exploited since there was no pay. Oh the inhumanity of it all! How did I survive? Maybe that is why I feel so exploited

Anonymous said...

Well, this is interesting. Lorain City Schools, the system Dr. Atkinson just left to come the DeKalb, is outsourcing its school officer program.
"Items such as outsourcing the safety officer program and closing one building were approved with conditions."

Could our BOE even be objective about considering this as a busgetary measure when the chair of the BOE has a son employed as an SRO?

Maybe that's why Walkeris suddenly talking about accountability and scores with respect to Dr. Atkinson. He NEVER once talked about accountability for Lewis or Tyson with respect to student achievement.

Anonymous said...

Forsyth County Schoolsnewish 36,000 students has one of the most efficient and economical school systems in Georgia. Forsyth Schools has their Security Resource Officers under the Forsyth Sheriff's Department:

"The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer Unit is under the Command of the Special Operations Division.  The SRO Unit consists of 7 Deputies and one Sergeant (Supervisor).  The SRO Unit has a very valuable partnership with the Forsyth County School System.  The SRO Unit Deputies help protect the 34,000+ students and staff within 31 school campuses.  The SRO deputies provide direct service to the schools which include campus safety inspections, classroom presentations, criminal investigations, student and parent conferences, along with a variety of other activities including the traditional law enforcement duties."

Cerebration said...

@4:42 PM - I too was a crossing guard in 6th grade! I'm not going to tell you the year though...

Anonymous said...

Speaking hypothetically here...but I'm not sure that Rockdale and Forsyth have as many incorporated cities within their county boundaries as does DeKalb. Under the idea of utilizing DeKalb officers for the schools...would DeKalb officers be dispatched to the schools in Dunwoody, Chamblee, Avondale Estates, Stone Mountain? I know Dunwoody and Chamblee employ their own police how would that work?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:30
Why would that make any difference? Decatur City Schools contracts their transportation from the DeKalb County School System. Those logistics already have a precedent.

Anonymous said...

At Anon 3:03 PM

The County will never go broke as long as it can raise taxes on the District 1 and 2 homes that are still assessed at or close to their peak 2007 values. The 4.5 mil County tax rate increase was felt mainly by Dist 1 and 2 taxpayers. Dist 3, 4 and 5 values have decreased 30 -50%. Therefore, even with the 4.5 mil tax increase, they are still paying about the same amount of County tax dollars as in 2007.

District 2 Commissioner Rader is all in favor of putting (sticking)it to his constituents. He proposed the 4.5 mil increase. Super Commissioner Gannon, who has both Districts 1 and 2 as her territory, went along with Rader. Neither one ever really tries to reduce the County budget. They talk a lot , but it is just smoke. Both are trying to block Brookhaven from incorporating and becoming more efficient, like Dunwoody. Dunwoody got hit with only 2.6 of the 4.5 mil increase.

DCSS can raise taxes only by 1.2 mils more to reach the statutory limit (either 28 or 29 mils). It already has the first or second highest school tax rate in the Metro area. I think that the State legislature has to act to increase the limit. Any DSCC tax increase real dollar effect also would be felt mainly by District 1 and 2 school tax payers.(not Mr Womack lol) Dr Walker is all in favor of raising school taxes.

Anonymous said...

We need SROs in the schoolhouse. Security cannot touch the children and are ineffective in tense situations. They are often heard calling for the SRO for assistance. Teachers and students feel safer knowing a police officer is there with real arrest powers. We have heard about so many dangerous and deadly situations in schools. Sadly we need the cops there. We also need them in summer school where 3 or more schools are in one building creating a sometimes tense situation. Being a female educator, the students are bigger and meaner and are often not properly medicated with severe anger and behavior issues. I feel safer with the SRO there. Public schools with an open door policy can unfortunately be an opportunity for an unsafe situation.

Anonymous said...

Contracted or not, keep our SROs. The only question I have is why does my school have a bomb sniffing dog? We need a DRUG sniffing dog!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No one wants to get rid of the SROs but why does DCSS spend $10,000,000 for 204 of these personnel when we have less than 50 middle and high schools? I say contact the out and give teachers a sayin evaluating their effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

"The County will never go broke as long as it can raise taxes on the District 1 and 2 homes that are still assessed at or close to their peak 2007 values"

I've appealed my tax assessment as has everyone else on my street who has not seen a decrease in assessment. It's getting harder and harder to keep the assessments up when property values are falling. Foreclosures are affecting property values in all districts and state laws are forcing assessments down. People are starting to do their homework now that property taxes are getting so high.

Anonymous said...

Response to earlier post

What makes teachers qualified to evaluate SROs? Wouldn't it all be subjective?
Why can't teachers then help to evaluate cafe staff or custodians?

Please, teachers have enough to do already out of their realm of expertise.
Just curious.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:33

Teachers should have a part in the evaluation of every position that supports the classroom. Teachers are unique in that they are the only employees that are members of the classroom. The evaluations for these employees do not have to be long and involved. A simple survey will do. If all employees who serve the classroom from HVAC to Security to Technology Specialists to Coaches, etc. knew part of their evaluation was how much value they brought to the classroom then they would be encouraged to give good customer service. The classroom members - the teacher and her students are the ONLY reason that all support employees have their jobs.

For optimal student achievement the heating and air needs to work well, the floors and bathrooms need to be clean, the Security Officer needs to be visible and available for disruptive students, lunches need to be nutritious, the technology needs to work how and when it is needed, etc. Teachers know if these things are happening for their children or not. Too often principals do not want to make waves. When the technology doesn't work (often) and teachers go to the principal, nothing is done The room may be dirty and the bathrooms unusable and stinking, but the principal does not want to press the Central office. The air may not come on in August and the heat may not come on in the winter - so the children are trying to learn as they sweat or freeze.

Who is harmed by this poor customer service - the students of course. The only person who shares their environment is the teacher. This is the only person who cares the most. Absolutely, the teacher should be evaluating the personnel who are supposed to be providing excellent customer service to the students and all too often do not.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:57 PM on the 16th

"No one wants to get rid of the SROs but why does DCSS spend $10,000,000 for 204 of these personnel when we have less than 50 middle and high schools? "

The powers that be run both DCSS and DK County with 20% MORE people than neighboring counties. This is designed to put more people on the payroll with good pensions and with you know who paying for them. Ability of employees and efficient operation are not considered.

Cerebration said...

ok - so who wants to attend this meeting and write up a report?

January 17, 2012


The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a Retreat with the Superintendent and Senior Staff at the AdvancEd SACS Headquarters in Alpharetta, 12:00noon - 3:00pm, Wednesday,
January 18, 2012.

The purpose of the Retreat is for
Superintendent updates and Board issues\discussions.

Anonymous said...

So wish that I had a babysitter for tomorrow afternoon, as I would love to go to that meeting, although I am not sure if I could keep a closed mouth. I sure hope that someone is able to attend and report back.

Cerebration said...

If someone can go and will commit to a report, send me an email at

We will post your report for you if you wish to remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to have 18,000 a yer rent a cops protecting my students.

Anonymous said...

"I have always wanted to have 18,000 a yer rent a cops protecting my students"

Without knowing the context of these personnel costs, that statement is not logical. My understanding is that many of these personnel are part time and are regular police officers.

Having a report of the number of incidents, severity of incidents, etc. is also important. DCSS has had many thefts, particularly in the computer area. Very highly paid detectives are in charge of investigating these these equipment thefts (they certainly would not be in charge of any physical offense of a student - that would be the DeKalb Police Department's venue). Yet the DeKalb Security officers have made no progress.

As a parent, I would like to see an efficient, cost effective Security force - but then I want to see every department efficient and cost effective so the money can be spent in the classrooms. Currently, DCSS has some the of highest taxes in the state and the lowest student achievement as well.

All cost centers need to be looked at - including magnet programs and stand alone centers like the Fernbank Science Center.

Anonymous said...

I don’t understand why ANYone in the DeKalb School System’s security department should be making over $100k.
As a point of reference, the Police department in the City of John’s Creek has an annual budget of $9.4 million. Don’t know how many officers, but this is for a complete department – personnel, cars, motorcycles, guns, radios, dogs – providing REAL police protection 24/7, 365, for a population of 76k residents. They have detectives that actually solve crimes and, oh, they seem to get by with only one chief.

Anonymous said...

"The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a Retreat with the Superintendent and Senior Staff at the AdvancEd SACS Headquarters in Alpharetta, "

Interesting article on Maureen Downey's blog - Get Schooled. James Wilson, former Cobb superintendent and a subcontractor of SACS is caught on tape threatening Kathleen Mathers regarding the Dougherty cheating scandal:

Cerebration said...

The board meeting at SACS is a public meeting. You are entitled to observe. It is not a closed session. I would encourage anyone who can to please attend. Then file a report on this blog. Send it to

Here's the SACS info (you may want to go just to see the opulence they spend (mostly) tax dollars on.

Mark Elgart, SACS President

AdvancED (SACS/Casi)
9115 Westside Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Telephone: (888) 413-3669

Anonymous said...

Just before his suspension and subsequent arrest, CL was asked, directly, at a Auxillary Forum why the system had two police chiefs and so many officers/staff making $50K or more annually. It was also pointed out to him that the two chiefs were being paid $107K a year. He stated that the information was wrong and implied what is printed in the newspapers is not always correct. He was heartily seconded by his ever present lap dog (R.M.)who repeated his master''s claim.

We have had extremely expensive and valuable equipment annd materials stolen from our school and many other. Yet SELDOM is anyone arrested and rarely do you read about the thefts in the media. What is going on?

As a DCSS employee I am pissed that these officers are paid at a rate that is absurdly out of line. We have cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and papraprofessionals working long hard hours, in direct and supportive contact with students, living at wages below federal poverty levels. Yet we pay these people, police officers and Campus Supervisors, for what is essentially a seasonal position.

Yes, we have many problems that mirror conditions we see in our society everywhere. Yes, we have incidents of fighting, drugs, and other "crap" but the persons typically to first respond, be aware of, or be a victim are the classroom professionals armed only with a pen and a book.

Instead of outsourcing building maintenace, although it appears there also needs to be a reduction in force, we should contract the County law enforcement agancies. They are better prepared to evaluate local security concerns and investigate crimal activity.

Anonymous said...

We have employees at the sam moss center with no high school education that make more money than teachers. The computer person out there has back yard training and she is making over fifty. She spends most of her time playing games on the computer. That entire center is a joke.