Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Much Should DeKalb Schools be Spending for Maintenance?

The expenditure data for DCSS Maintenance personnel shows that DeKalb is on the high side of spending for Maintenance personnel when compared to eight other metro Atlanta school systems. Clayton County Schools ($188) and Atlanta Public Schools ($162) consume the most per pupil dollars for maintenance with DeKalb coming in third ($137). The other six metro school systems spend under $100 per pupil on Maintenance.

Looking at each cost center in terms of per pupil dollars consumed is critical to DeKalb Schools. How low can Dr. Atkinson and the DeKalb Board of Education get those non-teaching expenditures is the question. There is a finite amount of per pupil funding. If student achievement is to improve, more per pupil allocation must go into direct instruction and equipment and supplies for the classroom.

Dr. Atkinson has experience with outsourcing in her last school district Lorain City Schools. She proposed and was successful in outsourcing non-core functions when there was a budget crunch. When she interviewed for the CEO position for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, she stated, “My passion is for urban schools districts. I enjoy putting in place programs that are designed around students’ needs. It is my belief that we can educate all children at high levels.…I subscribe to the practice of zero-based budgeting…..I have negotiated contracts to outsource operational services as well as managed internal support services.” Dr. Atkinson has the will and experience to do what is necessary in order to redirect taxpayer dollars into the classrooms, but the citizens of DeKalb must diligently and vigorously support her efforts.

Around 600 teaching positions (also known as the “core business”) were cut in 2009-10 and 2010-11 in order to ensure the continued employment of all DeKalb Schools personnel. Student achievement also fell to the lowest level in the history of the school system and the lowest in the metro area in our Title 1 schools during the last two years as literally hundreds of teaching positions were left unfilled when teachers left the system.

Much has been made of the Compensation audit that Dr. Atkinson is using to assess where DeKalb can save money and reinvest in the classroom. The audit is an excellent start. However, Dr. Atkinson and the Board members must look at the numbers of personnel that perform the functions as well their compensation. Dekalb employs 280 Maintenance personnel for our 95,481 students while Gwinnett employs 154 Maintenance personnel for 159,814 students and Cobb County employs 133 Maintenance personnel for 106,619 students. Gwinnett County has 131 schools while DeKalb has 133 schools. In addition, Gwinnett County has 64,333 more students than DeKalb. That is to say, 64,333 more students are using the equipment that must be maintained in Gwinnett than DeKalb, yet Gwinnett is maintaining that equipment with considerably less maintenance personnel. “Rightsizing” the number of personnel is just as important as “rightsizing” the compensation of those personnel. Protecting jobs should never take precedence over the “core business” of the classroom, which is to educate students. Students are the only reason we have a school system and the reason taxpayers pay school taxes. As Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck said when she had to make tough budget decisions, “It becomes more difficult to protect what happens in the classroom without looking at some services that are not directly related... Reducing days of instruction through furloughs and larger class sizes is not in the best interest of our core business of educating students.” Dr. Lembeck ought to know. Marietta City students have had remarkable achievement rates (before and after strict test monitoring) over the last 10 years under Dr. Lembeck even as the school system’s poverty rates have edged higher than DeKalb. That’s exactly why she was named Georgia’s 2012 Superintendent of the Year last week.

School year 2004-2005:
DeKalb Schools employed 280 Maintenance personnel to serve 97,282 students.

School year 2010-2011:
DeKalb employed 251 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 Maintenance is a Per Pupil dollar NOT spent for Instruction.

Comparison Summary (including benefits calculated at 20%):

DeKalb County Schools – 95,481 students – $12,761,613 for 251 Maintenance personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $137

*Atlanta Public Schools (APS) – 48,805 students - $7,891,496 for 169 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $162

*Clayton School System – 49,551 students - $9,322,532 for 360 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $188

Gwinnett County Schools – 159,814 students - $9,616,462 for 154 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $60

*Rockdale County Schools – 15,582 students - $1,381,985 for 26 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $89

Fulton County Schools – 89,920 students - $8,105,289 for 129 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $90

Cobb County Schools - 106,619 students - $6,754,106 for 133 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $63

*Marietta City Schools - 8,010 students - $359,738 for 8 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $45

Decatur City Schools – 2,894 students - $269,057 for 5 Maintenance Personnel
Maintenance Cost per pupil - $93


Anonymous said...

Maybe if they quit placing outplaced principals and administrators at the Service Center, the budget would go down. We also need to conider the age of the buildings and equipment being used by the schools.

Cerebration said...

During the last round of budget cuts, the board opted to cut 100 parapros from the classroom - raise class size and not replace teachers lost through 'attrition' unless deemed necessary (like hard to find core content teachers in high schools). They also made deep cuts to media clerks (library clerks) and schoolhouse-based IT techs (who support teachers and students in the classroom - ensuring the equipment is running properly).

No matter how they sugar-coat it - they made deep cuts to the classroom - and protected areas like the Fernbank Center, magnet school transportation hubs and security.

Test scores plummeted under Ms. Tyson's watch. Watch now as these cuts made by Tyson and the board cause a further slide in performance, and then watch as the board tries to blame it on Atkinson's cuts to administration.

Read on to remind yourself how we got to where we are today --

What the Budget Cuts Mean

Are the proposed DCSS budget cuts going to harm the classroom while leaving expensive, special programs intact?

The Amazing May 10 Board Meeting

The last post has the link to the final marked-up budget sheet... click the photo to see it in large view.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Cere, Thanks for updating the folks on the budget. The "cutting" meeting was unreal! I can remember Jay Cunningham complaining, lots of discussions in the hallways and offices just out of the Palace Ballroom. I remember the person sitting next to me say, there's always drama when it comes to our BOE.

The numbers speak volumes and when we grade Atkinson, her tenure that we grade, should not start until the new contracts kick in this Summer, at the earliest! Dr. Atkinson is having to do what most interim Supers do, clear the decks for the new person to come in and hit the ground running, especially with something so vital as our children's education. The focus at DCSS has been on the friends and family plan and not the classroom, Dr. Atkinson has to have some time to reverse that awful trend.

Not sure what others think, but it's time we bid ourselves adieu to Tyson and the rest of the CLew leadership circle. I fear DCSS will spin the wheels for too long, while two opposing forces go at it in the Palace.

LaLaMeeka Chadwalli said...

I wonder if any of the board members or their relatives act as suppliers for the maintenance department? I would not be surprised one bit if they did. Does Cunningham Ford do the maintenance on the vehicles used?

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget that a former principal is the Executive Director of Plant Services. This department needs a major overhaul.

David Montané said...

Interesting that education is hyped up to be about preparing children for jobs when they become adults, but due to our taboos about "child labor", we would never consider teaching the schoolchildren to clean up the school, file paperwork in the office, answer the phones, fix things that break, mow the lawn, plant and trim flowers and trees, etc. And god forbid we should actually PAY them to do anything. What a lost opportunity to prepare the children for their future! What a shock when they face the real world and all they know is how to sit still and act attentive and give the expected answers to questions when asked, or put on a show throwing balls and their bodies around.

David Montané said...

Cerebration, thank you for all the work you are doing to expose the waste, fraud and abuse of DCSS. You are proving that much can be done now, even before we get them to post the monthly check register online.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this analysis somewhat disingenuous in that you are not factoring in the number of buildings along with their age? Why are you looking at cost per pupil regarding maintenance? The maintenance costs could easily be reduced if more schools were closed or consolidated, especially the older ones. This would also result in fewer staff.

Isn't a higher maintenance expenditure a cost citizens have indirectly said they are willing to have in exchange for keeping old, small buildings? You can't have it both ways.

Cerebration said...

The reasons for the high costs are not what we sought to report. That is for leadership to figure out and address. The cost can be reduced. If leaders and communities choose not to reduce this cost, then you're correct, they will have to live with the fact that more money will go to maintenance and less to their children's classroom. But that's a discussion - not a report.

Cerebration said...

Beyond that - I do believe the issue is addressed in the report -

Gwinnett County has 131 schools while DeKalb has 133 schools. In addition, Gwinnett County has 64,333 more students than DeKalb. That is to say, 64,333 more students are using the equipment that must be maintained in Gwinnett than DeKalb, yet Gwinnett is maintaining that equipment with considerably less maintenance personnel.

We were calculating per pupil costs - as this is how our schools are funded - we feel it's an appropriate way to express costs.

Cerebration said...

Re: Isn't a higher maintenance expenditure a cost citizens have indirectly said they are willing to have in exchange for keeping old, small buildings?

That's debatable - and should have read "some" citizens... You obviously haven't read Kim's posts on that subject...

Cerebration said...

And finally - to their credit - I do believe that the school closures and consolidations in the works by the board are there with the goal in mind of reducing costs - including maintenance. I think there are plans to build several larger scale (900) elementary schools with the goal of closing a couple of smaller ones.

Cynical in Chamblee said...

Hopefully the soon to be released compensation study will show that DeKalb doesn't need "Executive Directors and Directors" over paint and plumbing. The titles are as pretentious as the pay. Don't get me wrong, people should be fairly compensated--but at fair market value. We do not need Ph.D's on certified PH.D contracts working in the warehouse.

Anonymous said...

Bad logic. dekalb's schools are much older on average than Gwinnett. outscourcing is a wonderful idea! maybe soe for profit corporation like Enron can skim an outrageous profit off the top or maybe we could find someone who only uses illegal aliens at slave labor prices.

Anonymous said...

Cost per pupil is the best way to look at these cost centers. Cost per pupil takes into account both number of personnel as well as compensation of personnel.

Anonymous said...

But Gwinnett has 60,000+ more students "wearing and tearing" just as many building.

Note that Decatur and Marietta are "old" building systems as well. Look at their per pupil costs. Much lower than Dekalb.

Anonymous said...

I worked in Facilites Management for over 20 years, first for a major Atlanta Bank and then the Federal Government. First, any Facilities Management Organization must be headed by degreed or Registere Engineers or Architects in 800 series positions. The Public School districts should follow the federal government requirement for qualification in the 800 series. Then the requirement that the technical seclection panels in these procurements are only made up of people who qualify for these job series. (I hope it comes out at Trial that Pat Pope was fudging big time on her Credentials, She would not qualify for this series under the federal standards.

Second you can not measure Facility up keep on a per person or student dollar amount. You can only measure it by a square footage amount. Then you need to adjust it by the age and condition of the facilites.

For owned Public Buildings from day 1, 2% of Replacement Value should be budgeted every year just to do normal Repair and Improvement projects that keep the buildings in operational condition. Only problem is this is rarely done, especially in the early years. So then you get 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, years down the road and your are always digging out of a hole. Your in house maintenance and custodial staff are the guys and women who have ownership and institutional knowledge that keep the place going.

When you outsource the maintence, it may seem cheaper in the begining, but it never is. First of all the contractor has to make a Profit!!!. What will that be 10% 15% 20%. If they bid it with none to get the contract, they will change order you to death. They won't do anything other than is in their contract. They will try to use illegal workers. If it is bid with a minority set aside, you will pay for that too. Either with a double mark-up between the Minority contractor getting a check and doing nothing, while the majority contractor does the work. Or you will get a minority contractor who does substandard work with the exception of a handfull. In Dekalb County, we can count on them picking one of the connected that can't, not one of the ones who can. Bill Campbell got his money at his Friday nite Poker games, not just the Vegas trips.

Eventually the Contractor raises their prices so high. Look at what just happened in Sandy Springs, They found out that having just one Contract with CH2H3 was costing them millions more. They are starting to insource some jobs now.

The old buildings have a variety of HVAC systems, Central boilers, that need certified boiler operators on site for. The new buildings have all sorts of New Controls from Johnson Controls. You really do not want a $12 an hour guy when your children are at stake. You want someone who can fix things and you don't have to send everyone home. No water equals no toilets, you have to call the busses and the bus drivers in and send all the kids either to an alternate site and you have an expensive day or days. You want to have someone that really knows the Control systems on site and can fix them instead of waiting for the JC guy. Otherwise how are you going to teach 1000 or 1,500 kids with the system announcing Evacuate the Building all day long. You can't just ignore that message.

Do the contract Custodians come in after the play, after the PTA meeting. No they only clean at night. Are they there during the day and cleaning up the puke when the kid gets sick. Does the teachers want that no job. Do the teachers want the job of moving the chairs around in the cafe, for this and that that the custodians do for the assemblies.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:41 seems to have it right that it should be cost per square foot. Maybe even cubic foot. But that has to me measured against some standard value that has to be met.

Outsourcing can work. Dunwoody does it by bidding out all contracts for only 2 or 3 years. But it has no minority set aside.

Didn't Ms Tyson try to outsource the school maintenance two years ago? I seem to remember an outcry of a bad past experience with this and that every school maintenance worker was a surrogate father to the children, etc. etc.

There is waste fraud an abuse in the DCSS if you consider that the main mission is to educate children. But for the real mission of creating a job bloat and handsomely rewarding some employees, that is done pretty efficiently

Anonymous said...

As an estimate, there are about 1.5 other employees for each teacher in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that many custodians aren't doing their jobs. Go into some schools and it's disgusting. I also think that if children were made to clean up their messes, that they would take pride in their schools, which leads to less wear and tear. Right now, we have new buildings in disrepair because they aren't being taken care of and weren't built to high standards, although we spent a great deal of money. Schools that are 10 years old, should not have leaking roofs, and have other issues do to poor construction quality.

Bottom line is that we have too many extra employees and not enough teachers. Too many are getting paid way more than the norm and aren't doing quality work for a pay check of any size.

Not sure how this can be stopped, as it would require many who are running the system to go. Something that I will believe when I see it happen.

Anonymous said...

Another problem is the maintenance guys that come to repair the systems don't know what they are doing, and are often making more than the teacher, which would be fine if they knew how to fix the AC systems, boilers, and such. When I worked in DCSS, the maintenance guy couldn't tell the difference between the plumbing pipe and the pipe for the AC unit. He had been with the system for a very long time and came to our school shot the breeze with the head janitor and did little else. I do believe that I could have done a better job with a manual and some tools and the help of my students. I wouldn't mind paying people who knew what they were doing when it came to maintaining, our heating and AC units.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:41 pm

DeKalb teachers teach quite often in rooms that are lacking heat and air thank you. They teach in rooms where the air ducts spit out dust and grime even as children with asthma need a clean environment. Teachers have backed up toilets that force their students to go to another hall to use the toilet, no soap which breeds disease, and dirty floors that teachers sweep themselves. DeKalb teachers have broken computers, Activboards that never get fixed, and doors that don't lock. This happens much more frequently in low income schools with uninvolved parents. Many principals are "climbing the corporate ladder", just want to keep their job, or have just given up on any help from the Central Office so complaints from teachers are discouraged. The scenario you describe if we cut or outsource is already happening in DeKalb. You must not have spent much time in DeKalb schools.

Gwinnett serves 60,000+ (67%) more students than DeKalb, and they have the same number of schools so their square footage is larger than DeKalb's. Marietta and in particular Decatur City Schools have the same age of schools as DeKalb except perhaps Decatur has older buildings. They have much lower per pupil expenditure on Security and maintenance.

You conclusion that outsourcing will leave taxpayers at the mercy of shoddy minority or illegal workers is insulting to the taxpayers of DeKalb many of which are African American and/or Hispanic.

Every cost center (Security, Maintenance, Plant Services, Fernbank Science Center, magnet schools, custodial workers, food services, Instructional Coaches, etc.) has many reasons why they should not be touched. However, by NOT touching the employees outside the regular education classroom, we have degraded the regular education classroom. It's always easier to keep the same cost centers, let more classroom teachers positions remain unfilled and increase class sizes.

Taxpayers can pay no more. Students are buckling under the increase of in class sizes, scarce supplies and equipment and lack of individual help for struggling students. This is showing up in decreased student achievement. DeKalb MUST get their cost centers in line with other school systems.

Anonymous said...

I have known teachers who installed their own overhead computer projectors and parents who did this as well because DCSS technical personnel did not or could not make this happen for students. Teachers and students get shoddy service even as they bear the brunt of budget cuts. Teachers are tired of poor customer service they get from the support personnel. The current poor service from support personnel negatively impacts student achievement while teachers are the only people that are going to have their salaries depend on moving students forward. In addition, teachers are tired of the burden of cutting expenses focused on the classroom.

There seems to be little to no standards for support personnel in DeKalb. The good support personnel are driven by their own personal standards, not from objective standards established and enforced by the Upper Management or DeKalb Schools. Support personnel administrators are busy establishing ways their department looks good "on paper" rather than seeking to ensure the reality of clean, safe schools that have an environment conducive to learning.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:41 p.m. Your post gave me quite a chuckle. I work in a federal bldg and we have AC in the winter, heat in the summer,mold, constant breakdowns and lights going out in the middle of the work day. Everytime we call the maintenance office, we are always told "we are waiting for the guy from Johnson Controls."

As a taxpayer, I want outsourcing. As a society we can no longer afford the expensive benefits, especially the defined benefit pensions, for public employees.

Anonymous said...

Here's the deal: We wouldn't ever think of evaluating the Sam Moss budget IF this support department provided excellent service, facilities and grounds.

But this department and its leadership (a former principal with no facilities and maintenance experience) provides less than mediocre service. Most facilities are in poor shape. The grounds at most schools are an embarrassment.

HVAC systems, roofs, boilers, etc. do not last as long as intended because of poor preventative maintenance.

Too many schools have leaky roofs. Too many schools have mold and mildew. Too many schools have disgusting restrooms.

The only athletic fields in good shape are the ones maintained by coaches and parent volunteers.

I've been to hundreds of schools in my life, and DeKalb's are the dirtiest and most embarrassing by far, despite a very large Sam Moss dept. staff with overly generous salaries.

Anonymous said...

The post by January 17, 2012 4:41 PM is right on the mark about this:

"any Facilities Management Organization must be headed by degreed or Registere Engineers or Architects in 800 series positions"

But the post is off about contracting out service. I work in facilities and contract out HVAC. We are lucky in metro Atlanta to have a number of companies in competition, so they strive to provide strong service.

I also contract out some custodial. Deep cleaning should be done after hours, but for schools, I agree that ONE custodian should be present during the school day, mainly for the cafeteria and restroom emergencies.

It is near impossible to provide deep cleaning during the school day.

I've visited many DCSS schools, and the custodians all seem like nice people, but their motivation and performance is lacking at best.

As a facilities professional, it is unheard of having a principal with no prior experience in charge of a facility stock worth hundreds of millions of dollars. it takes years and years of experience to be properly qualified to manage and maintain a few buildings, let alone 150+.

DCSS needs to get the proper professionals on board, instead of placing unqualified buruaecrats in positions they are doomed to fail.

Anonymous said...

I am the 4:41 comment. I do not think that Dekalb can successfully contract out or outsource anything out. To many hands in the trough. They will do the Minority set asides and give the contracts to the Supt. and boards friends.

As someone else stated Gwinnett at least gets a better building product because they don't do the minority set asides.

Just look at how much money Dekalb has cost the Tax Payers with Heery. This is all ridiculous. Heery has one of the better reputations. Dekalb will never win this case. They will blow Pat Pope to pieces. She does not have a Purdue Engineering degree as CLEW stated in his deposition. They didn't give them at the campus she claimed to go to when she claimed to go there.

The problems with the roofs are the only roofs that really work are modified bitchimin ( tar). All of these other type of roofs sold during the last 20 years are jokes that don't last.

Sorry teachers, good trades people HVAC, Controls, Plumbers, Electrican's and Boiler Operators should make over $50,000 a year. Good ones can make $70,000 to $90,000 a year. Do you ever try to get your AC fixed during a heat wave in the summer, a summer like the past one good HVAC guys probably made $90K. They need to be paid market rate for specialized equipment. Also time and 1/2 for overtime they can all free lance and make alot more. I explained that numerous times.

I would suggest a buyout to get rid of the deadweight.Then bring in new professional managers that can go through and hire qualified staff. Perhaps team with the districts Vo-tech programs to show career opportunities.

Cerebration said...

Sort of makes the case for vocational-technical programs...

Anonymous said...

"Sorry teachers, good trades people HVAC, Controls, Plumbers, Electrican's and Boiler Operators should make over $50,000 a year."

But DeKalb already pays this for shoddy work in many instances. Here is a job posting directly from PATS last year (and this does not include retirement and insurance benefits. That would put their salary in the range you are stating):
"Below is the job description on PATS for HVAC personnel (DCSS currently has 5 openings):
“The Mechanical Maintenance Department is seeking a qualified HVAC Mechanic. The minimum requirements include a High School Diploma or GED equivalent. A minimum of three (3) years experience in HVAC installation and control systems is required. Two (2) years experience in industrial or commercial HVAC is preferred.
Position: Mechanic, Air Conditioner/Heat
Salary: $43,111.20 to $58,665.60”

DeKalb Schools has a finite amount of money. How it is spent is important to students. DeKalb cannot keep incurring expenditures that are out of line with other school systems. Other school systems have to pay competitive rates as well so when we are out of line with their per pupil expenditures for support personnel, that denotes a problem to be solved. When more of our per pupil dollars go to a comparative cost center than other school systems, then there must be corrective measures.

Cere has compared DeKalb to school systems that are larger, smaller, similar in demographics and as old as DeKalb. We still come in as higher than we should be for support personnel per pupil dollars.

Why should taxpayers incur a buyout to get rid of the "dead weight" as you term it? These support personnel are Classified Personnel. They have NO contracts. Because they are Classified and have no contract, they are paid OVERTIME - time and a half for any hour over a 40 hour work week - subtracting 30 minutes for break time every day. IMO - you can't have it all - be a non contract employee making 1.5 times your salary for any hour over your 40 hour workweek and then want the benefits of the Contract employees.

Anonymous said...

@2:18 and @8:35
I don't know about commercial HVAC services, but worthless HVAC personnel are pretty pervasive in the private residential sector in the Atlanta area. There's lots of competition, but very few have competent personnel.

Outsourcing doesn't necessarily mean better service.

Cerebration said...

"worthless HVAC personnel" are rare in the midwest and northeast. Most HVAC technicians are highly reliable, smart and well-trained. Why? Because of Vocational - Technical schools and state leadership that values the middle class.

Anonymous said...

The root of the problem is and has been for years mismangement of money and people. Often, there is NO BUDGET for maintenance, or repairs. So the workers who are headed by unqualified people must scotch tape the problem until more funds are available. When will that be...after years of this treatment who would not give up?

David Montané said...

As a retail business manager, I recently worked for over a year at an approximately 108,000 square foot commercial building in Midtown Atlanta owned by a prominent Atlanta real estate investment company whose name is well-recognized in the area. They own numerous high-rises and shopping centers and parking garages.

I was responsible for calling the property manager whenever facility repairs were needed. Although we tried three commercial HVAC contractors before finding one that worked out all the problems, the property manager made sure we did not pay the contractor more than they merited for the repairs they successfully accomplished.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:43 P.M. Thanks for the posting. The adverstisement is basically for a Journeman HVAC Mechanic that has experience with the latest controls. Which if I did the interviews with my Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer and Supt. of Maintenance Panel, we would be looking for a Journeyman that had had training classes with Johnson Controls, and any other controls systems we had. We would need someone that knew Boilers, Chillers as well as smaller 5-10 ton roof top units. The $43,000 starting salary is too. Low. The Salaries I gave are plus benefits. I was telling you what Facilities Trades people who will properly run your facilies go for.

I was on the Federal Wage Survey Panel for Over 10 years that went out every 2 years to business over 500 -1000 employees that surveyed what they were paying different Blue collar, eg. WG jobs in different classifications. My job in this bi-annual survey was to review the confidential information that came back from the two man labor/management crews that went out to every company in the Atlanta Metro area that met this Critera. For Example, Delta, Coke, UPS, (GM & Ford use to be on it, but their are hundreds of companies that are survied). Let me assure you that the companies that pay these critical position to keep their physical plants operating correctly are at the very high end of the scale. They know that they will spend much less money on operating expenses in the long wrong and manufacture their core product with greater success in the end. How do you educate children in third world conditions. How do you teach in third world conditions.

Celebration, yes the schools should have Votech classes the districts should have Jr. and Seniors going to Votech classes in the Afternoon. Up North 2 high Schools share a Votech High School. At the end you have a kid that is either trained for a votech job or ready for a two year technical college. 3 of my nephews have gone this route in New York State.

I stongly believe that all of our teachers should be union as well as all of the other Employees. We do not pay near enough taxes in this area to fund what education costs. Look at what Catholic School tution costs, that is what it really costs for tution for non-SPED students.

Cerebration said...

I share this link often. It's to the fabulous Vo-Tech high school in my hometown in Ohio. They pull from five area counties (lots of rural farm counties). Student enrollment in these 5 counties combined is only about 30,000. So by my calculations, DCSS should be offering 3 schools like this one. (BTW, this is the school students attend all day every day. They officially are listed as students at their 'home' school and can play sports at their home school as well as officially 'walk' and graduate from their home school.)

Penta Career Center

Cerebration said...

From the Penta website:

Nationally, it is estimated that there will be a 31.7% increase in demand for HVACR technicians and 18.7% increase for Plumbers and Pipefitters through the year 2010.

The average salaries for Heating & Cooling System Technicians include: National ......$2,910/month

Anonymous said...

"How do you educate children in third world conditions. How do you teach in third world conditions. "

And many of our schools in DeKalb stay in disrepair, air and heat not working, toilets broken, computers not fixed.

The number of maintenance and technical personnel in DeKalb should ensure swarming facilities for the schoolhouse employees. This is not happening and that is a source of much concern.

DeKalb Support services are out of line with other comparable school systems and the service is also lacking.

No matter how you look at it, comparing DeKalb with similar systems shows our support services costs are not in line with other school systems. We may have older buildings, but Gwinnett has virtually the same number and their square footage dwarfs our square footage as they provide services for 60,000 more students. Decatur and Marietta have aging buildings and facilities like DeKalb.

It seems odd that Lewis and Tyson felt students could do without 600 teachers, but they kept the support numbers virtually the same. This was a very lazy way to balance the budget, and students paid the price.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Shold have read:

The number of maintenance and technical personnel in DeKalb should ensure sparkling facilities and seamless technology for the classroom.. This is not happening and that is a source of much concern.

Anonymous said...

The AJC is reporting that a study requested by Dr Atkinson finds that DCSS has 3000 more administrative and central office employees than it needs. Based on this study, cuts have to be in order.

Anonymous said...

It is 300 extra employees, not 3000. Still, cuts should follow.

Anonymous said...

If each of the 300 extra employees costs the County $50,000 in salary and benefits per year, that would total $15,000,000, every year.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:49
"If each of the 300 extra employees costs the County $50,000 in salary and benefits per year, that would total $15,000,000, every year."

$15,000,000 in overpayments to non teaching personnel was coincidentally what the 2004 audit stated - the one Lewis buried and Tyson couldn't find.



Anonymous said...

This was on Maureen's Get Schooled blog post on Marching bands tonight. Unsettling if true. Anyone know anything?
"Dr. Atkinson needs to explain why APS Chief Financial Officer, Chuck Burbridge is working for Dekalb County Schools several days a week. Is this the reason she transferred Dekalb Schools CFO, Marcus Turk. I smell a rat. I hope that she is not planning to hire a CFO from a school system (APS) that was determined to be involved in the biggest cheating scandal in America’s history. By the way, Chuck Burbridge was one of Beverly Hall’s cabinet members. If I was Dekalb Schools, I wouldn’t touch Burbridge with a 10 foot pole."

Anonymous said...

If Burbridge was given his walking papers from APS, his appearance at DCSS makes sense.. The usual deal is that DK County and DCSS pick up Atlanta rejects so that they will have jobs and pensions. A few years ago an Atlanta finance lady got canned because of incompetence. She ended up at DKC with a raise. Part of the network.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County News 8:53 p.m. Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Report: DeKalb schools have too many administrators


"But don't expect immediate cuts. Job titles, and their lack of descriptiveness, are a problem, Atkinson said. The district employs directors, coordinators, secretaries and others in the central office whose titles don't reflect their responsibilities."

"Atkinson said she's not sure how closely she'll follow the consultant's proposal.

"This is their recommendation," she said. "We'll take it now and massage it."

And the chief masseur will be ....

Drum roll!!!! Why the BOE of course.

Anonymous said...

The board members other than Walker and Bowen need to be bombarded with correspondence to make sure the central office gets right-sized.

I remember the first thing Bowen told Tyson to say when they were presenting redistricting in the board meeting is that noone would lose their job. Walker has already been complaining about employee changes.

Anonymous said...

Will Bowen and Walker begin to complain about Dr. A? They have quite a few relatives employed in non-teaching positions - Walker has at a least 5.

Already Walker has been making noise about student achievement and Dr. A. He never cared about student achievement with Lewis and Tyson. Taxpayers need to watch Dr. A's back.

Anonymous said...

The use of the words "massage” by Dr. Atkinson was rather vague and ambiguous. The definition that seems to match her statement regarding a massage was; b. to manipulate, organize, or rearrange (data, figures, or the like) to produce a specific result, especially a favorable one: The auditors discovered that the company had massaged the books. WHAT????