DeKalb urged to cut 182 jobs; school board votes Friday

According to today’s AJC, the board was scheduled to vote on the proposed reorganization of personnel proposed by Dr. Atkinson.

DeKalb urged to cut 182 jobs; school board votes Friday

“DeKalb County should cut 129 assistant principal jobs and scores of other positions in order to save taxpayer dollars, says a consultant’s report.

The report by Virginia-based Management Advisory Group says the school system has too many employees when compared with peers, and the system could save more than $15 million in payroll and benefits by cutting the assistant principals, plus 40 school secretaries and 11 media specialists. The consultants also recommended looking for savings in other positions, including art, music and physical education teachers, mail couriers, graduation coaches and custodians.

Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson has called a meeting for Friday to vote on cutting 182 employees, for a savings of $12.7 million.

System spokesman Walter Woods said he didn’t know which positions Atkinson wanted to cut, but said she would not be doing what the consultant recommended.

“We would never fire 130 [assistant principals],” Woods said. “It would never happen. We would never even consider it.”

Management Advisory Group is being paid up to $175,420 to determine the need for all 15,000 school system positions. In January, the consultant issued a report that said DeKalb had at least 300 too many employees on the central office payroll.

Atkinson then got the board to approve shifting hundreds of positions from that central payroll out to the payrolls of more than 100 school principals. The shifted personnel included instructional coaches, psychologists and physical therapists who already were working in the schools, but not reporting to principals. It meant about $109 million in personnel spending went from administrators out to the principals.

The idea was to allow principals to decide whether they were needed. Woods said in February, when the board approved that shift, it would save $5.6 million this year, but this week he couldn’t say how many of the positions were actually eliminated.

“We did not get rid of 300 people, or anything close to it,” he said, referring to the consultant’s January recommendation.

School board member Paul Womack, who is chair of the board’s budget committee, said Atkinson is not bound to follow the consultant’s advice, but said she’ll have to cut somewhere.

The superintendent is still crafting next year’s budget, amid reports of a steep drop in revenue. Officials haven’t released a deficit figure yet.

“I don’t know how deep the hole is,” Womack said, “but I’ve got a suspicion it’s $77 million.”

Tom Bowen, the board vice chairman, said Thursday if the board approves Atkinson’s plan, incumbents in cut positions can reapply for new jobs.

“It’s obviously uncomfortable for people to have to compete for a position, but it’s the fairest way,” he said.”

===

Later, this was approved at the 2:30 board meeting as listed on the county website.
Pursuant to Board of Education Policy GBKA (Personnel Lay-Off), it is requested that the Board of Education approve a Reduction in Force Plan for 182 employees as result of program eliminations, loss of funding, a change in state or local personnel and/or financial practices, which necessitates a change in or elimination of programs or services provided by the District, and other reasons, for a total anticipated District-wide costs savings of $12,740,000.”

To read the discussion already underway on the subject, click on this blogpost:
Executive Summary Recommended Classification of Positions and Aligned Salary Structure 2012-2013

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197 Responses to DeKalb urged to cut 182 jobs; school board votes Friday

  1. sosad says:

    This news is very disturbing for various reasons. The morale has been dropped to the lowest possible point. I do feel sorry for all of those affected by these cuts as nobody saw this coming as DCSD just went through this same situation a few years ago. How many possible cuts can take place?
    The first thing that Dr. Atkinson should have did was to investigate all of the top heavy positions. These include everyone from administrators and directors and everyone above. Dr. Atkinson needed to find out how certain people got into these positions as well as check their experience. There are too many people in positions that they do not need to be in. The leadership in DeKalb is horrible but yet everyone has a educational leadership degree. Some of the “high up” administrators were placed in position due to family and friends. Some never even interviewed for their positions. In all fairness, some of these jobs deserve to be eliminated if there are not effective. Also, a person should be moved or cut if they are not qualified for the position. My question is, how exactly was these decisions determined?
    One thing we have to keep in mind is that everyone thinks that central office is bloated. Central office consists of many departments and not all of central office departments are bloated. Take for example the finance department. Has anyone ever needed to reach someone in fin ace and can not get a returned call or answer? It is because they are under staffed. There are only one or two people who are required to handle all the paperwork for the entire district. It goes the same with HR. The human resources dept. only has 3 ladies that work certification for every employee in the district. There is only one person that handles staffing for all (almost 80) elementary schools. There is only two people that help with salaries. That is why it is so difficult to get help and support from anyone because there are some departments that are understaffed believe it or not. On the opposite side of the coin, there are departments that are bloated with top heavy admin. and directors, etc that are making way more money than they deserve. These are the salaries that should be lowered. The money that is being saved by doing these cuts isn’t even worth the money that was spend doing the MAG study and the money and time that is going to be used to make these cuts.
    DCSD needs to get to the real issues here which all comes down to children and their education. SO much money gets wasted in DeKalb County Schools it is a true shame. If there is a shortfall in the budget for next year and we keep cutting jobs, how do they think that children are going to receive a world class education when leaders continue to make the wrong decisions. It all comes down to the proper leadership.
    If you are going to make cuts, start at the top salaries first. Those making over $100,000 can afford to take a pay cut. Stop taking away from those on the lower end. Stop taking away from our teachers and paras and bus drivers and custodians. We need help! We need to stand up for whats right because right now, DCSD is missing a true voice for the children and a true voice of the employees. I don’t know how some departments are going to make it if they continue to cut jobs. Especially Finance and HR. They need more employees in those departments for a district this size. Teachers need to stand together. There is power in numbers. I never thought people would have to fight for equality in the field of education. People just want to be treated fairly and equal. Even though they mentioned that these cuts are only in the schoolhouse, they will cut from all over as they find out how bad of a deficit the district is really in. It is to the point where the state needs to be involved like the recent AL situation.

  2. anonymous says:

    Gwinnett is having a lot of cutbacks also but the teachers have known about it for a couple of months.

  3. Dekalb Taxpayer says:

    Where is Fernbank Science Center with 29 teachers costing $7,000,000 in this mix? Why are we keeping this outdated and ineffective center when our science achievement scores are:
    2011 CRCT:
    4th grade SCIENCE: 25.5% Exceeded, 41.8% met and 32.7% did not meet expectations
    5th grade SCIENCE: 19.1% Exceeded, 42.6% met and 37.6% did not meet expectations
    6th grade SCIENCE: 9.0% Exceeded, 45.9% met and 45.0% did not meet expectations
    7th grade SCIENCE: 18.9% Exceeded, 40.9% met and 40.3% did not meet expectations
    8th grade SCIENCE: 7.5% Exceeded, 39.7% met and 52.8% did not meet expectations

    Over HALF of our 8th graders do not know even the most BASIC science concepts, yet we continue to spend $7,000,000 a year in salaries, maintenance and transportation on a science center that buses students to teachers for a once or twice a year science “experience”.

    Do we want to cut teaching positions to save these Fernbank Science Center positions like these five Fernbank Science Center Designers?
    Designer $77,381
    Designer $63,360
    Designer $84,073
    Designer $65,827
    Designer $69,178
    Total: $359,819
    And this is without benefits. With benefits we spend $431,782 on these five designers to do what – ” design the few exhibits in the science center”.

    Fernbank Science Center has its own cabinetmaker and six groundskeepers – and the list goes on:
    http://fsc.fernbank.edu/faculty.htm

    Honestly, what are Dr. Atkinson and the Board of Education members thinking?

  4. Anom says:

    Fernbank Science has always been off limits for any kind of cuts!

  5. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Outsource MIS! Problem solved. This department is the most bloated and many are in the infamous friends and family program. As long as Tyson is around MIS has been a Dept. that never gets cut. So many computers but so many broken ones. There should not be one Teacher, Para Pro, Media Specialist on this list, they took the brunt of he hits the last time. Nothing is sad about getting a budget righted and not balanced on the back of teachers.

  6. justwatch says:

    A third of the CTSS are being cut while no cuts are being made at the Bryant Center. That is what I heard anyway.
    We are bloated in assistant principals, but certainly not teachers.

  7. Jane Deakins says:

    I am a teacher. The thought of losing our CTSS is scary because we depend so much on our computers and programs working correctly and our CTSS makes sure everything works. I would also hate to lose any of our APs because they support us and make our jobs manageable. I am not sure where the bloat is but at our school it is not the AP or CTSS.

  8. dekalbmom says:

    With the APs, especially where there are multiple ones, I think the issue is whether a $100,000 plus Assistant Principal is essential for that job. I know schools have a lot of paperwork and reporting, but the issue is whether the work being done by an AP can be done by one (or even two) competent clerks/secretaries. The huge problem in DCSS is that too many average people have been promoted to high paying jobs when a high paid “management” level employee is not needed. DeKalb needs to do what industry and even other governmental entities have done. Replace 10 “managers” with 2 managers and 3 clerks.

    That being said, I am very dissapointed that Atkinson is not taking this opportunity to slash (and I mean really slash) the central office bloat. Maybe she is and Woods has garbled the message, I would like Atkinson and Woods to clearly state what the plans are for all the instructional coaches. And I want to see the Fernbank instructors in the regular classrooms 180 days a year. I don’t want them fired- they should be in the schools teaching ALL the students and mentoring the other science teachers in our struggling schools. Put them on 10 or 11 month plans where they teach summer programs to DeKalb science teachers.

  9. Jane Deakins says:

    Our APs are in the school not the central office. They interact with the students, teachers, and parents all day long in addition to doing paperwork. They are extremely busy all day long and I do not think that school-based APS make over $100,000. If our APs were not there it would be more work for the teachers to do.

  10. Jane Deakins says:

    Exactly what did the board approve yesterday. Cuts started on Wednesday. CTSS, Research and Development, and I think some instructional coaches were told their positions were eliminated and they would need to reapply for fewer positions. Contracts are supposed to arrive on Tuesday. Does anyone know what is happening

  11. Dekalb Tax Payer says:

    Due to the Fernbank Community. This is a nice addition to their community and they were/are big supporters of Dr. Walker. The Fernbank parents and supporters pay for a certified teacher strictly to give Fernbank Elementary students lab and hands-on science – designated a Science Lab Teacher. These parents understand the value of daily hands on and lab based science instruction. It would be beneficial for every elementary school to have such a teacher. For the $7,000,000 spent on Fernbank Science Center’s salaries and upkeep and transportation, that could be a reality for EVERY elementary school with millions left over for the middle and high schools (cost to provide EVERY DeKalb elementary school with a dedicated science specialists – around $5,000,000 including benefits). Why is this center not being touched when science scores are so low and our budget is so devastated?

  12. HSTeacher says:

    So our contracts come down early next week but we may find out on the 11th that they are worthless and we haven’t really been hired for another year? I don’t know what they think will happen to their graduation and test scores under RTTT at this rate. Fewer teachers, more students per class(avg last semester 30-32), higher work requirements in terms of student production and teacher production, more paperwork, no raises, no supplies, no planning time (last year we were officially limited to one planning period per week), no respect…but somehow they want children to have the best teachers and the best education possible. I am considering leaving the profession even though I have mountains of student debt still to pay from the degree. Love of teaching students sometimes can’t balance 10-11 hour days, pay which barely pays the bills and constant pressure to squeeze blood from a turnip in terms of scores.

  13. dekalbteacher2 says:

    Isn’t it obvious that the instructional coaches positions must be eliminated? Return those teachers to the classroom. It would be a spending reduction and a morale booster for classroom teachers. Imagine actually having planning time during your planning time.

  14. Anonymous says:

    There have been staff informed at the county level that their jobs are being eliminated. No one has been issued a contract. Even after teachers get a contract, it appears that on May 11, they could be informed that they do not have a job. In the AJC it listed that custodians, media clerks, PE, Art,Music Teacher could be eliminated. Someone this reminds me of a few years ago,para educators were cut. Regardless of the promises made, the cuts seem to make their way into the school. There are ineffective people in every career. There are great AP’s that handle situations so that instruction will not be impacted. On yesterday counselors were informed that they will go from a nine hour day to an eight hour day. Graduation Coaches have not been informed of anything.
    I think that large cuts have been proposed in HR. There are no teaching areas posted for next school year. How are principals suppose to staff the jobs that they have open. The open communication that had been promised has not happened.
    Graduation, testing, promotion, end of the year ordering and must important teaching and taking care of our students, With rumors and not knowing and comments like’ teachers will be cut.” It is making it very difficult for the schools to not be impacted. People are human. When we are not given the true facts, it is easy for incorrect information to be spread. Educator are intelligent individuals, Not giving them the true facts makes it hard on everyone.

  15. Ned says:

    And it is because of such deals as Walker and the Fernbank community made that you have parents in other parts of the county, as in this story: http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-to-cut-133-1427742.html, concerned that their region’s classrooms will take an unfair share of the cuts, but putting the blame on the “north” rather than where it belongs.

  16. Ned says:

    I think you can see why Dr. A was not more aggressive if you read between the lines here: http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-to-cut-133-1427742.html
    Dr. Walker tried to mdefer the vote until he could essentially look at the cuts one by one. He and SCW abstained from the vote. They lost this vote but the message to Dr. A is clear: watch where–or who–you cut

  17. Teachingmom says:

    And to hear all of these vague threats of losing your teaching job in the middle of administering the CRCT is just plain dumb timing. I mean really. I think they planned on cutting our jobs before they “discovered” yet another multi-million dollar hole in the budget. Which may explain our not getting contracts until months after we usually do- I think it was February last year, or around then. Why haven’t we heard specifics of the administrative office cuts? Also, APs do make more than $100,000. We have one who does.

  18. Marney Mayo says:

    I respect that this is very painful. But did any of you read last Sunday’s AJC article about how property values in the Metro area have dropped farther and faster in the last year than anywhere else in the country? They are now back to where they were in 1996. And Dekalb is leading the pack to the rear. For years and years we crepted up in education spending without tax increases based upon coasting on an “increasing tax digest”.

    I don’t care who is at the helm–in some manner or another our present district leadership must deal with the twin demons of past sloppiness AND a present 15 years worth of slide in value of the tax digest. Either of these taken alone will be traumatic, both will be exceedingly painful because a realistic look at our budget means that no one can expect all the cut to fall on only those we love to hate.

    Marney Mayo

  19. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t agree more. We are going to be expected to do a lot more for A LOT less. This is a sad day for all educators, their students and the community.

  20. Screwed says:

    so us teachers under or at 3 years are sounding like we are gonners. I teach a core academic area and this shady activity scares me. Whats the point in paying consultants to do a job and then not follow their advice or somewhat near it. More waste. Our APs do a lot of moving around at our school so I dont think we have too many. Dump these graduation coaches. I thought it was a counselors job to help students graduate.

    The sad thing is that if I dont even get a contract, I wont be angry, I think in fact I would be blase about it. I guess we will find out Monday when we get contracts and if they remain valid after May 11th.

    Just another day in DeKalb for a teacher.

  21. HSTeacher says:

    The theory used to be that teachers were paid less than their education and experience called for because they were given job security and benefits. Now benefits are cut and job security is out the window. No wonder the average experience level in US classrooms has sunk to 1 year from 14 a decade ago. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44505094/ns/today-education_nation/t/classroom-crisis-many-teachers-have-little-or-no-experience/#.T5w8Tr8qdFM
    According to Finland, held up to us as the gold standard, it takes 7-9 years to become a master teacher. We drive 50% of ours out by the end of year 3. Is teaching becoming a 1-3 year service job that people perform as a kind of almost probono community service? How effective will teachers be at educating our students if they are constantly worried about losing their positions? Well, we are about to find out, with our economy in the toilet. This is exactly the time that we need to radically change the curriculum, tests and standards (again), yep. That will solve everything!

  22. water not kool-aid says:

    Some APs and former principal’s were never terminated just move to the service center or transportation department. Some ES have 2 assistant principals while others have only one. HS assistant principals in a school vary from 4-7 in one school. With the 356 job titles in DCSD, some people have the title AP, but may be doing something else.
    We are really left in the dark, but I believe every school will have at a minimum a principal, one AP, one counselor, as in the good ole days.
    Also the principal will receive money for an instructional coach but do not have to hire an instructional coach. The principal alone (parent council will rubber stamp as usual) is the final authority on how to spend all of the new monies being pushed down into the school house.

  23. justwatch says:

    Does DSA with 300 students need the same number of ass’t principals as a high school with 1800 students? Does an elementary school with 300 students need the same number as one with 1200.

    This is a ludicrous argument. DCSS has such a huge variation in size of schools, that there is no way things can be the same. I will say that the changes last year put too many APs in some high schools.

  24. momfromhe11 says:

    If the graduation coaches are cut, then doesn’t that mean more for the counselors to do? And they are cutting their hours? And perhaps cutting the number of counselors?

    Counselors in high school do a different job than counselors in middle school which is different from counselors in elementary schools. It would be prudent to consider what the counselors’ job requires at each level as well as the size of the student body when making such cuts. Who decides?

    And as to cutting CTSS and media clerk positions, they did that last year. Might be prudent to see what effect this had. I know eliminating one clerk and one librarian from our high school really made a difference in what is available to the teachers and students. Cutting the CTSS positions will really help with the goal of bringing more technology to DCSD schools… Not.

    Bass-ackwards, again.

  25. momfromhe11 says:

    And don’t get me started on Eugene Walker and Walter Woods. Jeez.

  26. wiserthanmyself says:

    In much of the above, I don’t hear parents sticking up for teachers as the experts in education that they are, and demanding–yes, demanding– that teachers have more say in the basic parameters of education, like discipline, class size and curriculum. On this blog, in contrast, teachers, like the science teachers at Fernbank Science Center or those at DSA, are often a target, as if getting rid of quality educators will somehow help DCSS students.

    And the misinformation about FSC continues: do people not realize that FSC teachers are out every day, in all DCSS schools, all year long? The “single-visit” programs, so derided here, are a tiny part of what those instructors do, but you wouldn’t know it from the constant reiteration of the $7,000,000 figure (never referenced, and completely baseless). Have those bloggers missed out on Science Olympiad, Independent Studies, STT, SEMAA, Robotics, Plant Sales, Forest Walks, Bird Walks, and Science Night Out, to name only a few of the programs these talented educators offer?

    About Assistant Principals–schools need AP’s in the same way that any organization needs more than one supervisor: schools are very hierarchical and if the principal has to make all decisions (about burst pipes, student discipline, parent associations, curriculum implementation, and just day-to-day management). the school will fall into chaos.

    I’d like to hear more questions on this blog from parents to teachers about how teachers think they can work with parents in better ways despite a bureaucracy that doesn’t seem dedicated to educating children. This would be so much better for our morale than bland statements about whose jobs should be eliminated. Working in a school and seeing what it takes to keep everything running would be a humbling experience for many who prefer to form their opinions in the absence of data.

  27. Ned says:

    True enough, but isn’t the decreasing revenue all the more reason to be deciding based on educational need rather than, um, other factors?

  28. justwatch says:

    The forest is gone after this school year. Most of what you listed benefit just a small percentage of students. Independent studies? Most DCSS students are lucky to have a basic background in science — most are not prepared for independent studies.

    We need the FSC instructors in our middle and high schools working with students and a teachers on a day to day basis to help improve science education. At this point, every thing else is just fluff.

  29. Anonymous says:

    agreed…but step by step the central office IS being cut. it is a bit more complicated because she first had to clarify what job titles and salary ranges SHOULD be, then how many of each…then everyone either gets a pink slip directly or if qualified. I don’t want a paid “bull pen” as the city of Atlanta is doing it.

  30. Dekalb Taxpayer says:

    We have around 190 non teaching “Coaches”.

    In the state Salary and Travel audit, this non teaching group is listed as:
    Graduation Specialists
    Instructional Specialists
    Literacy Coaches
    20 of the Parents Coordinators hold the title of Prevention/Intervention Coach

    This group consumes around $15,000,000 in salary and benefits or $79,000 for each “Coach”. And this does not even include the Staff Development group. They are a whole other group even though “Coaches” are supposed to be doing staff development as a majority of their job function.

    Can we really afford $15,000,000 in Coaching salaries?

  31. Dekalb Taxpayer says:

    Students learn from teachers in the classroom. Given a choice of raising class sizes which are at historical levels or cutting ancillary support personnel, retaining the teachers who teach your child math, science, social studies and language arts MUST be paramount.

    DCSS has 320+ counselors for which we pay close to $26,000,000 a year in salary and benefits or around $79,000 a year per counselor (as contrasted to teachers who average $65,000 a year in salary and benefits) for a 190 day job. The major difference is that counselors unlike teachers are not responsible for student achievement.

    Counselors used to perform the job functions that graduation coaches now perform and counselors were paid for an 8 hour day.

  32. Dekalb Taxpayer says:

    “And the misinformation about FSC continues: do people not realize that FSC teachers are out every day, in all DCSS schools, all year long? The “single-visit” programs, so derided here, are a tiny part of what those instructors do, but you wouldn’t know it from the constant reiteration of the $7,000,000 figure (never referenced, and completely baseless).”

    This is not misinformation about what 29 Fernbank Science teachers and 30+ Fernbank Science Center administrators cost DCSS. Please, please – verify these figures for yourself:
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/dcss-spending/the-cost-of-fernbank-science-center/

    Now look at the science scores for DCSS students:
    2011 CRCT:
    4th grade SCIENCE: 25.5% Exceeded, 41.8% met and 32.7% did not meet expectations
    5th grade SCIENCE: 19.1% Exceeded, 42.6% met and 37.6% did not meet expectations
    6th grade SCIENCE: 9.0% Exceeded, 45.9% met and 45.0% did not meet expectations
    7th grade SCIENCE: 18.9% Exceeded, 40.9% met and 40.3% did not meet expectations
    8th grade SCIENCE: 7.5% Exceeded, 39.7% met and 52.8% did not meet expectations

    Consider that because of Fernbank Science Center draining science education dollars, DCSS only has $55,000 a year to spend for the 95,000+ regular education science center classes for equipment and supplies – 55 cents per student per year.

    Mastery of science content can ONLY happen with DAILY science instruction with competent science teachers in reasonable classes with adequate access to up to date equipment and supplies.

    MOST of our science teachers in the schools have 30+ students per class (dangerous and discouraging for hands-on, laboratory based experiential learning) and pay for equipment and supplies out of their own pockets.

    We cannot continue to pay $7,000,000 for Fernbank Science Center.

    If the Fenbank Science teachers are out in the schools everyday teaching students, please explain why we need to pay for the 30+ admin and support personnel who NEVER leave the science center?

    Look at the “Designers” salaries alone:
    Do we want to cut teaching positions to save these Fernbank Science Center positions like these five Fernbank Science Center Designers?
    Designer $77,381
    Designer $63,360
    Designer $84,073
    Designer $65,827
    Designer $69,178
    Total: $359,819
    And this is without benefits. With benefits we spend $431,782 on these five designers to do what – ” design the few exhibits in the science center”. These figures come from the state Salary and Travel audit.

    Fernbank Science Center has its own cabinetmaker and six groundskeepers – and the list goes on:
    http://fsc.fernbank.edu/faculty.htm

    This is indefensible.

  33. wiserthanmyself says:

    By the time you add up all of the students who participate in those programs, you have quite a large number–one big FSC service not mentioned is the 5th grade puberty classes…60 students per day, 5 days most weeks, say conservatively 160 days each year–that’s 9,600 kids for just one class.
    But I agree, even with all these programs together, FSC doesn’t reach “all” the students in the county. One important reason is that many schools don’t sign up for classes or training. That’s why the idea that FSC instructors would go “out in the classrooms” to become science teachers in a system where science education is given no priority, isn’t realistic. They would be swallowed up by the system’s incompetence and have little to no impact on science learning.
    Science learning can’t improve until competent people are put in charge of it. With 60% of 9th graders unable to calculate a percentage, and most high school lab classes exceeding s30 students, we’ve got a long way to go.

  34. justwatch says:

    Remember that the graduation coach positions were created by Perdue and then funded as he consistently cut the rest of funding to education. Funding for this program was cut a couple of years ago and DCSS just kept the program with no state funding.

    It isn’t like the GC position has existed forever and now it is being taken away.

    I will tell you why I am sad about it though — the GC at my kids high school is better than any of the individual counselors.

  35. justwatch says:

    My child’s puberty class was canceled by FSC three times and never happened when he was in 5th grade.

    I had the opportunity to sit in on one of the in-school field trips for third graders last year. It wasn’t very impressive.

    I think we are paying scientists to do some teaching but also their own research.

    No one holds FSC accountable and that is a problem in an era of heightened accountability and limited resources.

  36. Dekalb Tax Payer says:

    As long as we continue to pour $7,000,000 into Fernabck Science Center, science education in our regular education classroomS which teach science content DAILY to ALL students will continue to have class sizes too large to do the experiential activities so vital to learning. In addition, science teachers in the schools that are totally responsible for science content mastery will continue to get 55 cents per child per year to fund equipment and supplies. Fernbank Science Center is no longer a sustainable model in DeKalb. If it was not politically connected, there would not even be a question about this center. Over half of the personnel in the center are not even teachers. How can we justify the millions spent on them? DeKalb low income schools are the ones suffering the most from lack of high quality DAILY science instruction. Teachers in the low income schools in DeKalb routinely have science teachers who are funding science education literally out of their own pockets.

  37. concernedteacher says:

    @Wiserthanmyself,

    You’re right and I hope all parents and taxpayers start asking the following questions:
    1. Exactly how many central office personnel are being let go and how many are simply having their payroll responsibilities shifted to the school building?
    2. What data-outside of an audit comparing equally bloated bureacratic businesses of education-supports the practice of employing so many people and directing so many resources outside the school buildings?
    3. Why is DCDS paying $13 a pop, for every freshmen and sophomore to take the PSAT? DCDS already has the Iowa and CRCT “data “to prove that many of these students don’t need the experience of taking the PSAT; they need basic reading instruction.
    4. What is the rationale in DCDS spending more than a half million on AP Exams (see the county’s website to see the number of students who took the exam last year at a cost of $80+ per exam), when only 20% of all exams taken (not even students taking the exam), earned a 3 or higher.? Of course college board touts the benefits of all students taking AP exams. Why wouldn’t this hugh profit making “non-profit” do so? DCDS doesn’t track college attendance (it’s self-reporting only) or performance, so there’s no real way of knowing. I bet if you were to use the “data” DCDS collects, you’d find that many of these students are reading below level, and would benefit from basic reading instruction or smaller classes.
    5. How is DCDS utilizing current technology? In the time that I’ve been teaching in DCDS, we’ve moved from paper records of attendance to on-line recording, we’ve implemented a system-wide email system for all employees and students, we’ve provided on-line access to all test scores and transcripts (IDMS), yet we still perform in a paper-era, requiring the same-if not more-responsibilities. Why is DCDS still sending paper copies of announcements home? Why is there still an Assistant Principal and secretary in the attendance office? Why in the world would teachers be expected to create “Data Notebooks”-relics of the 1970s-when all information is available for all to see? If each teacher is signing on to a computer and recording attendance, why do we even need paper sheets on which we teachers sign in and out and a bookkeeper examines?
    6. Colleges allow on-line registration. Why can’t DCDS do the same thing? Ask any high school counselor what eats of up most of his or her time. Sure, students will need advising, but isn’t it an impractial use of time and resources to conduct high school course registration the way we do?

  38. anonymous says:

    We need to cut the ITBS. It is used as an indicator for the gifted program. Gwinett has the gifed progam and does not give the ITBS.

  39. anonymous says:

    I was told by an administrator at our school that all assistant superintendents and directors have lost their jobs.

  40. dishatlanta says:

    “Science Olympiad, Independent Studies, STT, SEMAA, Robotics, Plant Sales, Forest Walks, Bird Walks, and Science Night Out”

    I have seen none of those programs offered at my child’s elementary school. We do have a Robotics club but it is after school and costs money and is offered by the PTA. We have a great environmental club but it is not supported by FSC. No info on plant sales or bird walks or Science Night Out. Heck my daughter’s school forgot to even participate in the science fair program and is now throwing together one in the final weeks of school.

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