Continuing the conversation: Discussion: Who has been cut at your school?

Our lengthy discussion on the blogpost, NOTICE OF THE CONTINUATION OF THE DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION CALLED MEETING has become very long and cumbersome to read. Let’s start a new angle and a new discussion on the topic of the cuts.

Who has been cut at your school? Last year? Guesses for next year? How will these budget cuts effect student performance at your school? Teachers, please share your perspectives. We want to hear from you and the librarians, interpreters, parapros, etc who are on the chopping block approved by the board on Wednesday.

To recap:

    The property taxes in DeKalb county were raised by one full millage point.
    All employees are subject to 2 more furlough days on top of the already scheduled furlough days.
    70 more people in the central office will lose their job
    Pre-k programs will be reduced to only what the state funds provide
    52 magnet teachers will lose their magnet job
    28 Montessori teachers will lose their magnet job
    Transportation to special programs: DECA, magnet, themes AMS and STT remains unchanged
    Transportation for field trips will be cut by $1.6 million
    Additional transportation (efficiency plan) will be cut $700,000
    200 general ed parapros will lose their jobs
    25 media specialists will lose their jobs
    29 (all remaining) media clerks will lose their jobs
    10 SROs will lose their jobs
    Overtime pay for extra activities will be reduced by $5 million
    Fernbank will have to cut $1.9 million from its programs budget
    10 Asst Principals lost through attrition will not be replaced
    10 counselors lost through attrition will not be replaced
    20 interpreters will lose their jobs
    The summer work schedule is reduced to 4 – 10 hour days
    Employees will have to subsidize health insurance by an additional $35.57/month
    Employees will have to subsidize dental insurance by an additional $16.02/month
    Regular Ed Class sizes will increase by 2
    Special Ed Class sizes will increase by 2

To access the relevant documents, read the original post.

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107 Responses to Continuing the conversation: Discussion: Who has been cut at your school?

  1. Gregory Walker says:

    I don’t know of anyone yet who’s been cut, but do know one of my son’s teachers announced on the last day of class that he was leaving to teach in the private sector…

  2. The End of the Road.... says:

    I would like to commend those of you who have been running this site (DS Watch 1 and 2), as I have been a frequent visitor to this page; it has actually kept me sane; however, as I type this comment, I am trying to figure a way OUT of the DCSD. I have spent numerous years here. My dedication has always been to the children, but right now, I am embarassed to call myself a teacher employed here. Several years ago, many of my colleagues left the system for greener pastures (Rockdale, Fulton, etc.), but I stayed, hoping and praying that things would get better for students, teachers, and the community. My colleagues were replaced by numerous Alternative Certification Teachers. My thought…How can you replace over 100 years of experience with zero years of experience? Oh, I know…you pay them less, and can say that you have a “body” in the classroom. I’ll bet that those parents north of 285 would have questioned this move, but the poor little children on the south end…no one cares about them….no one cares that teachers are stressed and that discipline is out of control….they all just want to look good on paper, and…keep the check rolling in..theirs of course. Movng on, I believe that those in the palace were only concerned with their titles, fancy suits, nice cars, and of course…huge pay checks….still can’t figure out why secretaries with no teaching experience were making more than me…sigh… They could care less about student achievement; this is factual, especially with the overbloating of personnel and salaries in the central office.

    Teaching in my school is like teaching in hell (please excuse my French), but they can get away with because many parents who live in the south don’t question the school climate. The others advocate for some sort of choice program or “special permission”, by claiming that the teachers and students are awful….teachers get a bad rep for working at a particular school….it isn”t fair….If one is lucky, he/she will get the opportunity to teach students north of 285, but if not, he/she will have to suffer with the others. When applying for a transfer, one may get lucky…that’s if your former principals, APs, and department chairs like you. If not, you’re screwed, and you know it.

    I often read comments on here “bashing” those who chose to get an online degree. Well, I am one who chose an online school. I could not go the traditional route, due to work and familial responsibilities. I worked very hard and had some of the most influential and knowledgeable professors. So, I assure you that MY degree wasn’t given to me. In fact, I know of several people who couldn’t cut the mustard and had to leave. All online degrees aren’t bad and all campuses aren’t the same. I have heard some of my colleagues who attended an institution with the same name but different campus, brag that his courses were easy, but I begged to differ about my campus.

    Back to corrupt DeKalb… are my questions…1. Isn’t it strange that contracts came out so late? 2. Do they actually believe that the best and brightest will continue to stay with them? 3. Why are they still cutting those who work with children everyday? 4. Do they actually think that they will see an achievement increase next year?

    I want OUT of this corrupt system. I don’t want my children educated here, nor do I want to pay taxes here. Can you say SHORT SALE? I’ll take the loss.

  3. Thank you for sharing that very personal and emotional comment. You broke my heart and I really do wish you the best. We all wish the best for all of our teachers. We must find a way to place teachers at the top of the ladder of importance and fill in all around them with support with the remaining resources – it’s the only way back to greatness.

  4. @ The End of the Road

    Here are the answers to your questions … because you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting to hear from Atkinson or the BOE:

    1. Isn’t it strange that contracts came out so late? No.

    2. Do they actually believe that the best and brightest will continue to stay with them? They don’t care.

    3. Why are they still cutting those who work with children everyday? More money for friends-and-family at the Palace.

    4. Do they actually think that they will see an achievement increase next year? They don’t care.

  5. booksrkool says:

    Don’t forget that Dr. A won’t be around long enough to see “any” outcome on all of her “so called changes” because…see the answers to #2 and #4.

  6. concernedmom30329 says:

    The accountability piece of this puzzle is complicated by the fact that the test is changing. As someone who has been involved for a long time, you generally can’t compare the results of one test with the results of another, unless they are built the same way.
    That leaves graduation rate — and that worries me, because I think all systems, not just DeKalb,will continue to push through children who aren’t ready to graduate.
    Atkinson will likely argue that the measures in her contract, other than the ones related to grad rate, aren’t valid.

  7. concernedmom30329 says:

    As a reminder, the central office was most likely not open on Friday as the 4 day rule is in effect so no decisions have been made yet.

  8. formerdekalbparent says:

    i just heard that 88 positions at the service center will be cut, I am sure they will be lowest paid people who acually do work rather than the ones with the bloated salaries…ther are bus routes being cut, bus drivers being cut….again a lot of lower paid postions to ge to the amount needed. They will know by Thursday what postions/people will be leaving……

  9. concernedmom30329 says:

    I think some of the higher paid people are gone. The question is are the positions and if the positions are not, what salary are they coming with.

  10. DJ says:

    Why these issues are not on the 5 o’clock news? Or the front page of the AJC. Whey are they not asking the tough questions to Dr. A.?
    I feel like we are in the twilight zone!!!!!

  11. Teacher/Parent says:

    The “powers that be” got the number they needed. The are not interested in how these changes will be implemented or their effects on children or achievement. They have insured we will start school in the fall with upheaval and anxiety. Luckily for them, they can simply bury their heads in the sand for another year until we do a repeat of this whole scenario next summer.

  12. If “the end of the road” were truly an educator in our school system, he/she would know that 285 is hardly any type of a dividing line when it comes to have’s and have not’s in terms of schools. And, he/she wouldn’t be referring to teaching in the South DeKalb area as “hell” and then refer to the students later as “those poor little children.” Something is not adding up here… oh yes, the final takeaway he/she wants us to all get out of this – sell for a loss, give up the fight, give up your prime real estate investments for greener pastures …

    If you are finding these statements a bit “odd,” please watch our video that gives further insight into the education / real estate connection. And, remember, our county CEO is a real estate attorney! Does it feel like you are being driven out of DeKalb? That’s because you are! Don’t let them fool you into giving up a good investment. This is Atlanta, a major metropolitan hub of the U.S. Things WILL turn around as that is what happens with all economies and all investments eventually. Ride it out. Vote responsibly. Don’t believe the hype!

    Watch this video: about the well-known, “elite” Lakeside High School area and you might see a different side of the issue – the real estate side – they don’t see black or white … they see GREEN and lots of it.

  13. teachermom says:

    I am wondering how the para’s will be let go. II think they will lump all para’s (including media clerks and special ed para’s) by their hire date, sort the list and cut using their “e” numbers… But that is ONLY speculation. For that matter I bet all school house cuts will go like that. Who knows how the palace cuts will be done. I think someone somewhere is gonna sue…

  14. Why are we re-hashing the past instead of talking about the upcoming election? We need to know about the canidates for the school board, the DeKalb CEO and the D.A. positions. Does anyone know if there will be a debate, or a place to read about the platforms of the candiates? Typcial DCSD is to put up a big distraction in order to keep our minds off what we can do to affect the future.

    We have major concerns about this school board election taking place in July instead of November when it is supposed to be “non-partisan.” And, the issue with the maps left a lot of people in the dark about what zone they even vote in, much less what zone they would qualify to run in.

    What can we do to push it to November? Is anyone really comfortable with a board member finding out in July that they were not re-elected, but still having full access to whatever they want until the end of November when their term is up?

  15. formerdekalbparent says:

    just an update…80 positions eliminated, 59 bus aids; 18 bus routes eliminated, 100 buses from fleet. the 80 cuts will come from transportation, warehouse and plant services….they know who will be going, just getting it all lined up…..

  16. I agree. We asked a reporter, George Howell with WSB-TV, who covered our battle with DCSS over the Brockett Elementary School cell tower proposal, about why they do not cover the corruption in DeKalb schools the same way they go after Atlanta Public Schools and the answer was something along this line: “DeKalb is just too complicated to cover in the amount of time it takes to do a news segment. As a series, it would be too difficult to expect viewers to follow it from beginning to end and if they started watching in the middle, they would likely not undestand how we got to that point. The subject matter just isn’t something that can be covered effectively in a visual format.”

    As for the AJC, that’s hard to understand, but we do think the latest reporter Ty Tagami who has been assigned to the DeKalb “beat” is doing a good job so far. He just hasn’t been covering our county for long. We are hoping he will get more involved in some of the subjects we discuss here where others (Maureen with Get Schooled, for example) do not touch with much substance.

  17. Gone? Or reassigned?

  18. IRONIC… if we could only use SPLOST funds for other purposes, we could have kept the transportation folks that we will need in order to drive all the new busses we will be purchasing.

    Check it out: #18. School Buses: Acquisition of buses, upgrade bus radio communications to comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, global positioning system (GPS) reporting equipment, and construction of three bus parking locations to serve various schools. $10.1 million

  19. concernedmom30329 says:

    We have plenty of drivers and SPLOST funds need to be used for our overwhelming capital needs. If the buses are more efficient, then there will be savings in the operational category.

  20. concernedmom30329 says:

    They serve through December 30th and that is the way it works everywhere. The state legislature changed the laws last year for the entire state. All non-partisan elections are now held in the summer. The republicans believe that more republicans vote in the summer than do democrats — thus the change/

  21. Tucker girl says:

    Tucker Civic Association is hosting a Candidate Forum on July 12. All candidates for local races in the Tucker area (except those running unopposed) are invited, including the candiates for school board.

  22. We agree! We, too, thought it was very odd to refer to I-285 as any kind of a dividing line.

    Speaking of the “haves” and “have-nots” in DeKalb County — upon reflection, we think that a $880 difference between average per-pupil funding is significant. Including Title 1 funding, also paid for with our tax dollars, the average per-pupil funding difference jumps to $1,732. Both times, Towers High School receives the most per-pupil funding.

    This reminded one of our editors of a chart prepared about 10 years ago that documented 2 important things when comparing the magnet program at Chamblee High School (which had a waiting list) with the underenrolled magnet program at Southwest DeKalb High School:

    1. The TOTAL budget for the Southwest DeKalb High Achievers Magnet Program, with significantly fewer students, exceeded the combined budgets for the High Achievers Magnet Programs at Chamblee High School and Chamblee Middle School.

    2. The minimum enrollment at Chamblee High School for AP classes was 15 students. There seemed to be no minimum for AP class enrollment at Southwest DeKalb High School where numbers fell as low as 7 students in an AP class.

  23. PublicSchoolDad says:

    They don’t consider these central office positions, do they?

  24. Fred in DeKalb says:

    Yes, these are considered Central Office positions since these are not school based employees. That is what many did not seem to understand. That is also what it was important to re-code some the Central office employees to the schools they actually served so an accurate picture of the staffing level at the Central office could be assessed.

  25. Fred in DeKalb says:

    concernedmom30329 is correct! When buses reach end of life, they must be replaced. As additional federal requirements come down for buses, school districts must implement them as many are unfunded mandates. It was right to set aside some of the SPLOST funds for transportation otherwise it would need to come from the general budget.

  26. fallenstar says:

    Has anyone looked at PATS lately? I can’t even remember the last time I saw the job postings gop longer than one page, and now there are 2 pages jam-packed with open positions of — get this — Directors, Coordinators, Managers,and Secrataries! Almost every job that is posted is a “county office” type position! After cutting so many teachers/paras/other schoolhouse employees they will turn around and hire all these high paid positions? There are also several openings for “instructional fascilitator” for SFA. And I was just floored when I saw a posting for a Manger of Staff Recruitment! What?!?! With all the jobs being cut haw can they be recruiting people? I would like to think it is because they are recruiting actually qualified people rather than handing the jobs over to FF, but at this point I can’t believe anything so sane, so the posting — indeed ALL of them — just make me want to cry.

  27. ChamMom says:

    Does anyone one how City of Decatur was able to have it’s own school district? Can something similar be done IF Broohaven incorporates? Can Dunwoody/Chamblee/Brookaven/Doraville combine to create a “Quad Cities” district in a fashion similar to City of Decatur?

  28. Give the woman a chance! says:

    Honestly, I think we need to learn a lesson from the bus monitor situation in New York. The students need to video what is really happening in schools and post it.

    Show what happens when you have 30+ kids in a classroom.

    Show the students that are so unruly that they stop everyone from learning but come back everyday because the administration won’t do anything about it.

    I don’t know how anyone can justify having a TV station while adding two students to every classroom, keeping SRO at 12 months while adding 2 students to every classroom, keeping more than just a skeleton crew at the AIC while adding 2 students to every classroom and keeping magnet transportation while adding 2 students to every classroom. She should have staffed every school and then seen what was left over for everything else.

    As a teacher I was much more horrified by the additional students than by the furlough days. I may personally be affected by the pay cut but everyone is affected by large amounts of uneducated people.

    The reason for the DCSD is to educate children. It cannot fulfill its purpose with this many students in the classroom.

    Also I think I might have to change my moniker because we gave it a chance and she screwed it up royally.

  29. Marney Mayo says:

    The city of Decatur had a school district of its own before the present Georgia constitution was adopted in the 1800″s. So it was grandfathered. No dice for any of the new cities. No dice even for Avondale Estates or Pine Lake which existed as cities since the early 1900’s, because they didn’t have their own school district during the civil war era…

  30. Good idea! Are students allowed to have cell phones in the classroom? If so, perhaps some surreptitious videoing would be a helpful. We will publish properly documented video clips.

    If you are expecting change, though, it is important to keep in mind these critical points:

    1. The people who voted to allow classroom size to get out of hand are the people that many of you voted into office — repeatedly.

    2. These are the same people who voted to hire Atkinson even though this blog documented — before she was hired — that she had lied in answering some DCSS questions in her employment application materials. (If you work for a private company, you would be fired for doing that.) Atkinson’s application was also filled with careless errors. Subsequent to being hired, Atkinson has repeatedly lied in response to direct questions from board members and has repeatedly demonstrated inattention to detail.

    3. These are the same people who voted to hire Atkinson even though this blog documented that she had three (3!) bankruptcies on her record.

    4. These are the same people who voted to hire Atkinson even though her connection to Eddie Long was also documented on this blog.

    5. The people who voted to allow classroom size to get out of hand did so to protect the overpaid jobs of their under talented friends-and-family.

    6. These are the same people who have no ethics as proven by their “leaks” during the superintendent search process when they “leaked” confidential information about one candidate, lied about another candidate and illegally provided information about deliberations to Zepora Roberts who then boldly stood up at a board meeting and told everything she had been told illegally. There was not even the slightest concern evidenced by the board at this highly illegal action.

    Where were we? Oh. Yes. Are you expecting change? Now?

  31. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Don’t forget the AJC has a vested interest now they moved their sales and news operation to the old Macy’s office building behind perimeter Mall, in DeKalb County, just a year or two ago.

  32. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Let’s not forget the democrats sneaking in SpLOST votes and referendum during the summer, so the only role voting would be those huge church blocks and what not. Too numerous of times, over the past 10 years, I have gone to vote in July for one tax increase,SpLOST vote or something. So it has always worked both ways… I think it hurts both parties, but the folks in charge see it differently. Believe me, the current BOE folks running for BOE again, want to make sure you are thoroughly confused. See you in the voting booths!

  33. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Let’s put it this way for our moronic leaders at DCSS. WE WANT TO SEE CUTS OF AT LEAST 300 PEOPLE WHO CURRENTLY WORK IN THE BUILDING, AFFECTIONATELY CALLED THE PALACE on Mtn. Industrial. We also call it the boondoggle that was built using SPLOST funds, that could not be found on any SPLOST Project list. It’s also got those nice $5k chairs Clew chose.

    I’m really tired of the funny shenanigans when it comes who gets hurt in this mess. How many from the Clew Crew been shown the door. Tyson, Moseley, Beasley, Mitchell-Mayfield, Thompson, Guillory’s, Edwards, and the rest!!!!!!!!!!

  34. DiligenceinData says:

    When do any of the examples in your post coupled with the fiscal mismanagement of local, state, and federal dollars constitute activity worthy of a state and/or federal investigation?

  35. Pete Moss says:

    It is always interesting to read the comments posted on the variety of topics at this site. As a classified employee i.e. paraprofessional in a special needs program I am anxiously awaiting word as to whether I will have a job. With all of the mis-direction that has gone on at the top of the district the fact that general education para’s have been singled out causes me some concern. Although our students all have IEP’s I couldn’t tell you how we, the classified staff, are identified. I do know that in light of recent budget battles there are very few “general education” paraporfessionals in the district. Most of us work in special education settings but I bet you we are not identified as special education para’s. Many of us have undergraduate and graduate degrees and contribute as much, if not more, than our certified colleagues. Those with certification have, for the most part, gone through alternative certification mechanisms and lack the dedication and maturity that many others have. In some schools if it wasn’t for the classified staff our children would truly be left behind.
    In all of our buildings that classiified staff, from cafeteria workers to custodians, bring so much to our schools and communities. Many of us are homeowners and long time residents of the county who can remember the days that DeKalb was looked at as one of the most desirable school systems in the state. While proof exists that C. Lewis and his crew were crooks, in every sense of the word, the people that should be scrutinized the most are the school board members who let this crap go on for so long and did not properly carry out their oversight duties due to petty bickering and nepotism. Our county, like our contry, can not define itself strictly along racial or ethnic lines but it is happening. Just as disheartening is the fact that we are noow reduing our squabbles to a survival of the fitness doctrine that will only widen the social, racial, and economic gap that currently exists. In or case a divided house will fall!

  36. educator90 says:

    We take away from the kids and give to the adults. Makes total sense when you’re talking about a school. Education is not the priority for any one running this dog and pony show.

  37. guest says:

    Do you have a link to the documentation proving a connection to Eddie Long?

  38. PublicSchoolDad says:

    The current Georgia constitution states, “…No independent school system shall hereafter be established”. It takes 65% vote to pass an amendment that would delete these eight words out of the GA state constitution. Based on the make-up of the GA Senate and House and recent support for the charter school amendment, odds are good that this type of amendment could get enough support to pass. I suspect that there are many people within Brookhaven and Dunwoody that would be willing to get behind this issue.

  39. Fred in DeKalb says:

    According to the Code of Student Conduct, students are not permitted to use electronic communication devices during instructional time. Several devices are mentioned. Posting material recorded during instructional time could result in criminal charges.

    See Item #2 on page 13 of the following link,

    Click to access code-of-student-conduct-%5Ben%5D.pdf

  40. teachermom says:

    The door swings both ways on the lack of experienced staff in the classroom. I have a friend who is a teacher in a special ed class who has had multiple certified but inexperienced teachers hired as para’s into her classroom by a principal who was helping them to “get their foot in the door.” I would take experienced paras over certified staff in my classroom any day. Also, let’s not paint alternatively certified staff with such a broad brush. I know of a scientist who is an excellent middle school science teacher who came in provisionally, also I know a teacher who had 10 years teaching experience in the private sector before she was alternatively certified.

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