Shockingly, the DeKalb School District left over 300 state-funded teaching jobs on the plate

It’s true. DeKalb County Schools administrators left the opportunity — and the monies — to hire more than 300 additional state-funded teachers on the table.

Here’s the scoop:  The state funds teaching positions earned by school districts according to a complicated formula they concocted years ago called QBE (Quality Basic Education).  According to those calculations, DeKalb County School District was entitled to funding for 7,008 certified employees (mainly that means teachers). DeKalb accepted funding for only 6,699 (meaning they can and have only hired 6,699 certified employees).

The chart below shows the states report on the subject and includes every county. They also rate a county’s wealth (which determines their local share) and DeKalb rated as the 39th wealthiest district in the state.

CLICK HERE to read the full report, including Appendices A & B, on state funding of step increases. (NOTE:  Words shown in blue below are NOT links.)

Report-Letter-State-Funding-of-Step-Increases-8

CLICK HERE to read the full report, including Appendices A & B, on state funding of step increases.

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This new revelation only leaves us wondering yet again, why are we paying over $3 million to international teacher supply consultants to provide up to 45 teachers from the allotted teacher fund in the general budget? These items together reveal that not only can our HR department not interview/hire and place enough teachers to staff classrooms (and don’t even get us started on the inequity of class sizes around the system) – but they left state money for over 300 more teachers on the table. Essentially saying, “‘No, thanks’, we can’t get it done – we’ll just overburden the teachers we already have.”

In our humble opinion, the DeKalb HR department is a disaster. They are at the heart of what ails this school district and need to be replaced with corporately trained professionals. As we say in the South, “Sooner than later.”

Posted in Board of Education Meetings, DeKalb County, DeKalb County [GA] Board of Education, DeKalb County, Georgia, Education in the South, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., Georgia Education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

DeKalb Schools Changing Grading System

From the Fact Checker blog >> DeKalb Schools has changed their district wide Grading Protocol.  A few weeks ago, the principals were sent the new grading system with the new categories and weights. Some of the old categories were combined and … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The slow implosion occurring in DeKalb County, Georgia

Corruption is getting out of control in DeKalb. A year ago, a Grand jury allege[d] widespread DeKalb corruption. Not much was done about it and today, the corruption is so thick, it’s hard to see a way clear.

Our school system leadership has barely made a dent in recovery from the corruption trials of former superintendent Crawford Lewis and his construction COO, Pat (Pope) Reid and her former husband. We nearly went broke due to the millions spent on attorneys in this and the related civil case. Even today, we continue to spend as much or more on lawyers as we do on books!

elaine-boyerNow, Commissioner Elaine Boyer has resigned in a cloud of corruption. The AJC is reporting, “Federal prosecutors say Commissioner Boyer conspired to defraud taxpayers

Further — it appears she was in cahoots with an evangelist preacher!

rooks-boynton_1“Evangelist M. Rooks Boynton received about $83,000 from DeKalb County in payments authorized by Commissioner Elaine Boyer. Federal prosecutors said that most of the money was funneled back to Boyer and they’ve charged her with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Boynton has not been charged.” [BOBBY HAVEN / THE BRUNSWICK NEWS]

But, the AJC has now discovered, “Elaine Boyer, now facing federal prison for fraud, wasn’t the only DeKalb elected official who tapped taxpayer money for questionable expenses.” … It seems that “DeKalb Commissioner Sutton paid $34K to boyfriend”.

sharon-barnes-suttonIt was revealed that these two were ‘lovers’ when they had an altercation that involved the police. “DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton told a police officer in February that she and Walter Mosby had been involved in a seven-year relationship. He was also her campaign manager, and she paid him $34,000 for consulting and other services after she won election in 2008.” Read the police report HERE.

Mind you all, we are already down two commissioners: Boyer, who resigned Monday and Lee May, who stepped down as commissioner to serve as interim CEO in place of former CEO Burrell Ellis who was suspended and according to the AJC, “faces felony charges that accuse him of shaking down county vendors for campaign cash and punishing those who did not give. Ellis has denied wrongdoing. Ellis’ racketeering trial starts in September.”

Oh, what else, what else? Well, interestingly, that Grand Jury also recommended investigating the following people:

  • former public safety director William “Wiz” Miller
  • former Ellis chief of staff Jibari Simama, who is now president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College of DeKalb
  • former Ellis campaign manager Kevin Ross,
  • workers and contractors in DeKalb’s Watershed Department

And guess what? Coming full circle, our ‘newest’ latest superintendent (the 4th in 6 years), Michael Thurmond, has placed himself on the board of a recently, hurriedly approved new DeKalb charter school — along with Jibari Simama.  But that’s not all — Simama (formerly known as Fred Lewis) was appointed as president of the college by a board that included former school board chair, Gene Walker — and coincidentally, superintendent Michael Thurmond serves on the school’s foundation’s advisory board.

Read more >> Interesting news from the DeKalb political network!

Interesting indeed!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

School Employees Who Don’t Teach

From the Fact Checker >>

The National Center For Education Statistics released Back To School Statistics. From 1970 to 2010, in the United States student enrollment increased by a modest 7.8%, while the number of public-school teachers increased by 60%. During the same time, non-teaching staff positions increased by 138%, and total staffing grew by 84%. Teachers across the country now comprise just half of all public-education employees. Their salaries and benefits absorb one-quarter of current education expenditures.

As Nancy Jester has said over the last few years, Spending at DeKalb Schools since 1996 reflect the same trends. Student enrollment has increased 16% over the last 20 years. At the same time, spending on General Administration increased by as much as 150% and spending on Staff Services increased by almost 400% leading up to the recession while spending on teachers only increased by 50%.

You can see the graph and data for your school district here: Dekalb, Fulton, APS, Cobb, Gwinnett, and many more.

Posted in Budget Cuts, Charter School, School Closings / Redistricting, School Funding, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Breaking News! State commission denies Brookhaven charter school proposal

This is hot off the press at the AJC:

By Ty Tagami

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A novel petition to establish a charter school serving a new city in DeKalb County was denied by the State Charter School Commission of Georgia Wednesday.

Read more here>> State commission denies Brookhaven charter school proposal

Posted in Charter School, Charter School Amendment, DeKalb County, DeKalb County [GA] Board of Education, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A. | Tagged | 7 Comments

House Committee Gives Instructions to DeKalb Cityhood Proponents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Betsy Lynch, betsy.lynch@house.ga.gov

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 (404) 656-0311

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ATLANTA—Today State Representatives Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) and Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) met with Briarcliff, Lakeside and Tucker cityhood proponents to discuss directions issued by House Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) for DeKalb County cityhood boundary line proposals. The House Governmental Affairs Committee oversees legislation in the Georgia House of Representatives involving the creation of new cities.

“Tom Taylor and I worked with Rep. Carter, Chair of the House Governmental Affairs Committee, to develop a process for DeKalb County cityhood proponents to follow as we approach next session,” said Rep. Jacobs. “Our goal for this process is to encourage all stakeholders to engage in conversations now about cityhood boundary lines and to ensure any remaining disputes are resolved prior to 2015.”

The directions for drawing cityhood proposals are as follows:

Each of the three DeKalb County cityhood proponent groups (City of Briarcliff Initiative, Lakeside Yes, and Tucker 2015) will have until September 5 to identify one authorized signatory for a compromise boundary map.

• DeKalb County cityhood proponents have until November 15 to come to a mutual agreement on city boundary lines and submit the agreed upon map bearing three signatures from the authorized signatories to the House Governmental Affairs Committee.

• If an agreement cannot be reached by that date, House Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Amy Carter will appoint a panel of five state House members to carry out the task of drawing city boundaries for the proposed cities. The panel’s sole charge will be to produce a boundary map no later than December 31 by majority vote of the panel.

• Either the agreed upon map by cityhood proponents or the map drawn by the legislative panel will be the only acceptable version that the House Governmental Affairs Committee will consider.

“This process Rep. Jacobs and Rep. Taylor developed gives cityhood proponents in DeKalb County the best chance for successful passage of legislation that will allow new city proposals to go before the voters for consideration,” said House Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Amy Carter. “There is a need to bring order to this process and the directions outlined to the stakeholders today will accomplish just that.”

For more information about the House Governmental Affairs Committee, please CLICK HERE.

Posted in DeKalb County, DeKalb County [GA] Board of Education, DeKalb County, Georgia, Education in the South, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., Georgia, Georgia Independent Schools, Good News! | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Charter Schools and Clusters Offer Promise and Hope for Teachers, Taxpayers and Students

We have heard a few concerns from teachers and parents about the updated requirements from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) for conversion charter schools. These new requirements apply equally to conversion charter schools renewing their charters and to new conversion charter schools and charter clusters.  Start-up charter schools have always enjoyed the autonomy that GaDOE is now requiring of conversion charters and charter clusters.

In Georgia, now ALL charter schools shall be autonomous.

Primary indicators of autonomy (per GaDOE), which must be shown in charter petitions or renewal applications for charter schools, are:

People
Charter schools:
• Must make personnel decisions
• Must recruit governing board members without school district or EMO/CMO*assistance

Time
Charter schools:
• Must make decisions about what happens in the school
• May contract for services traditionally provided by the school district

Money
Charter schools:
• Must set school budget spending priorities
• Must have an independent audit firm and attorney

Concerns over these requirements for autonomy range from worries about parents micromanaging the school and/or individual teachers … to … non-educators having positions of authority (i.e., governing board) … to … mismanagement of the budget … to … questionable hiring practices … to … well, whatever dastardly act could be imagined.

Actually, the abuse of power described in the paragraph above is exactly what is happening in traditional DeKalb County Schools right now:  micromanagement, threatening teachers, non-educators having positions of authority, budget mismanagement, questionable hiring practices, lack of transparency, etc.

Unlike DeKalb Schools Mega-District, a much smaller charter school is run collaboratively by teachers and parents and community members — all of whom have a stake in the school’s success. The governing board is a policy-setting body representing all stakeholders of the charter school. Everyone has a voice. All – teachers, parents, students, community – are actually heard. Day-to-day academics and operations of a charter school may be overseen by a principal who is hired by the governing board, with input from stakeholders, and who reports to the governing board. In other charter school models, the principal’s job may be split into two components:  Chief Academic Officer (CAO) and Chief Operations Officer (COO).  Staff for both positions will still be hired by the governing board, with input from stakeholders.  The governing board, with input from stakeholders, will determine the reporting relationships of the CAO and COO.

Change is always hard. But, conversion charter schools & clusters are being given a wonderful and invaluable opportunity to get out from under the jackboot heel of those who have run DeKalb County Schools into the ground. By managing people, time and money, individual charter schools and charter clusters may, as their budget allows:
• reinstate Social Security participation
• eliminate furlough days
• give teachers raises
• encourage classroom innovation leading to student mastery of skills
• ensure that classrooms and the school have necessary supplies and equipment
• set and enforce student behavior standards and expectations
• encourage stakeholder collaboration – teachers : parents : students : community
• hire the best, most qualified teachers, not just those who cannot find a job elsewhere, are friends-and-family, or who are part of the Palace cabal
• hire the best, most qualified administrators, not just those who are friends-and-family or who are part of the Palace cabal
• ensure transparency in all financial and administrative matters

In short, charter schools and charter clusters offer local control.

Even with all of this flexibility, charter schools are still public schools. Charter schools must adhere to all applicable federal and state laws. And, charter schools must educate their students.

Charter schools must meet the provisions of their charter or lose their charter. Charter schools that do not perform can and will be shut down.

None of the above applies to the cabal that controls DeKalb County Schools.

So, let us ask you this question:  Could well-planned, locally managed charter schools do worse than DCSD is doing right now?

Posted in Charter School, Charter School Amendment, DeKalb County, Georgia, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 15 Comments