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