Board scheduled to discuss further budget cuts Monday


The Called Meeting held by the DeKalb Board of Education on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 recessed at 2:24pm, and will re-convene on Monday, July 16, 2012 at 1:00pm in the J. David Williamson Board Room in the Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center at the DeKalb County School System’s Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain.


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131 Responses to Board scheduled to discuss further budget cuts Monday

  1. fedupindcss says:

    Has anyone heard about any other teachers or paras getting pink slips? My friends who work for DCSS say their principals are totally in the dark about what will happen. Several of them don’t know if they will even have access to their school library!

  2. The Deal says:

    If our board members come prepared to this meeting, we will know there have been some secret meetings. I suspect that is the reason for the delay.

  3. justwatch says:

    Of course, there have been emails etc, but remember Central Office is closed on Fridays and Thursday, when the meeting was suppose to be, there was a job fair scheduled at the same time.
    Have no doubt though, some board members are likely to sell their vote for promises to be received later — watch especially Dr. Walker.

  4. Weary worker says:

    For those concerned about the rif of school librarians. For this to happen DeKalb must get a waiver from the Georgia DOE. Please write, phone or contact the office of Superintendent John Barge to urge that the waiver not be given. There are other cuts that the system can make that will not affect the students.
    Dr. John Barge
    Georgia Department of Education
    205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE
    Atlanta, GA 30334

  5. That cut makes no sense. The state QBE formula for 2012 (posted here) allocates 168.51 media center positions. If we cut to fewer than that, the state will just cut the funding and there will be no savings. Net zero. How many media center points/positions do we currently have? Anyone know? Maybe we’re just cutting those funded with local dollars?

    UPDATE: I looked on the 2011 Salary Report and we had 156 people with the job title “LIBRARIAN/MEDIA SPECIALIST”.

    There were also 56 people with the job title “LIBRARY/MEDIA SECRETARY/CLERK”.

    I’m not certain how many are still on the payroll after the last round of cuts though. There could be fewer.

  6. Augustus says:

    Few people really know how much the teacher-librarians impact students and staff.

  7. All, It was my understanding from a very reliable source that the Head of HR had something equal to a nervous breakdown on Wednesday evening- With no seasoned HR specialists available, there was a scramble in the Palace to get someone into place to continue this process. I am assuming then, that this has happened, thus the announcement of the meeting for Monday.

  8. Augustus says:

    It is my understanding that 25 teacher-librarians were cut and all the remaining clerks. I know two rec’d their RIF letter today.

  9. Dura lex sed lex says:

    “”Let Monday, 10:00 AM, be the day and time that all Dekalb citizens march to the County Office to ask questions…..questions about our school-house personnel ( teachers, paras, janitors, bus drivers, special ed paras–every one) who take care of our children or our neighbor’s children for 180 days, to ask questions about how millions of dollars vanished, to ask why all of this was not addressed, debated, and resolved in April or May.

    Not doing that is to abdicate our rights as citizens to protect our children and our property values! A dysfunctional school system will half our already catastrophic property values!””

    You actually meant 1PM.

    This is a good idea otherwise our children will suffer and our housing values will suffer huge losses.

    If there are teachers at the meeting, this will be an opportunity to clarify the contracts for 2012-2013.

  10. sosad says:

    This is true. What people don’t know is that the chief of HR has no HR background. She is being used by Dr. Atkinson to place the people and friends she wants in the district. Most of these new employees have no idea what they are doing and have to be trained by the very few employees that are left. Qualified people who were already in these positions were cut so that Dr. A can place her new people in. It is sad that the chief of HR sold out for money and fear to Dr. A. Dr. A continues to threaten the chief so of course she passed out and her health is falling. It is sad that people can’t see the truth of whats really going on here. This is Dr. Lewis all over again. The board knows nothing and was even told not to visit HR. HR is the heart of the school district. If Dr. A controls HR, all kinds of mess can happen as it has already started. The school district is in dismay because the chief of HR promoted all of the wrong people who have no clue on how to run HR. That is why the school system is in the mess thats its in. That is why you can’t get return phone calls, answers to questions, correct termination letters, answers from principals, updated info. on anything because all that is left in most of HR and central office are newbies who are wondering what in the world they got themselves into and the ones that are left who were not cut who only kept there job because of who they know. None of the reorganization was done out of who was best qualified for the job. We are in more of a mess that any of you know. The family and friends circle is very much still alive and i can’t say family for Dr. A, but she has hired many friends and old co workers. The sad thing, Dr. A never stepped foot in any of the central office departments to see who was qualified and who was best for these jobs. Instead, she relied and trusted those who were already corrupt and need to go a long time ago to make the choices of who should stay and go. But they will all learn, that God is watching and in one way or another, HE will take care of them all. Pray for this system. Everyday. For the teachers and employees who deal with children directly, i pray for you everyday. I am so sorry you are in this mess when all you want to do is help children succeed. Keep your options open as DeKalb School System, the BOE, and the new SUper has shown what they think about you. One person made the right comment, don’t trust that little smile on Dr. A. She knows exactly what she is doing and the public and BOE does not know. There should of been another deep audit for HR and finance. A lot would come out. When I say deep audit, that includes interviews with employees and surveys as well as going through salaries, promotions, qualifications, etc.

  11. YES! Monday, July 16, 2012 at 1:00pm – I would recommend that everyone attend this meeting and demand accountability and communication.

  12. rlwinche says:

    I am a teacher-librarian and I was laid off today.

  13. I’m very sorry that that happened to Tekshia, however it was to be expected. She was in so far over her head it was ridiculous. This is a key position that should have been filled long ago with someone from the corporate world with years of experience in HR. I am personally very tired and insulted at the way the school system seems to think that very few people on the planet make acceptable principals, however, former principals are capable of running pretty much anything. Ridiculous! Educators, by and large, are not business people.

    UPDATE: Let me add that a corporate head of HR would probably have a similar melt-down if he or she tried to teach a class or run a school.

    All our best to Ms. Ward-Smith. We wish her well.

  14. Dura lex sed lex says:


    Have you contacted your teacher association representative? What are you option since you did sign a contract?

  15. rlwinche says:

    I haven’t contacted anyone, just processing it. Will begin job search next week.

  16. dekalbite2 says:

    Maybe the BOE could take some of that $1,569,192 spent in travel and reinvest it in teachers who can teach math, science, social studies and language arts to our children. A lot of travel went on this summer. Odd that we can’t make payroll, but we can still pay for airplane tickets and hotel rooms.

  17. Mildred says:

    I will send up a prayer for you and your family tonight.

  18. rlwinche says:


  19. Dura lex sed lex says:


    This not LEGAL advice–this is COMMON SENSE advice. I ain’t no educational or contract lawyer.

    If you signed a contract in the spring, do not resign it UNTIL you secure a job elsewhere: go see an educational lawyer before in the meantime.

    You should get paid for the school year because your contract was probably enforceable the minute you signed signed it. You honored the contract stipulations including the one that required that you had to resign before 1 June if you did not plan to fulfill your obligation as teacher or librarian starting August.

    Conversely, the Dekalb County School District has to honor that by notifying you prior to that date that you were free to go find employment somewhere else.

    Sadly, non-teachers do not have contract thus do not have the same protection.

    “Remedies for Breach of Contract
    The usual remedy for breach of contract between a school district and a teacher is monetary damages. If a school district has breached a contract, the teacher will usually receive the amount the teacher would have received under the contract, less the amount the teacher receives (or could receive) by attaining alternative employment. Other damages, such as the cost to the teacher in finding other employment, may also be available. Non-monetary remedies, such as a court requiring a school district to rehire a teacher or to comply with contract terms, are available in some circumstances, though courts are usually hesitant to order such remedies. If a teacher breaches a contract, damages may be the cost to the school district for finding a replacement. Many contracts contain provisions prescribing the amount of damages a teacher must pay if he or she terminates employment before the end of the contract.”

  20. North Dekalb Teacher says:

    The problem is none of us received a returned contract. I have absolutely no proof that I signed a contract other than the testimony of the school secretary…….next time I’m taking a picture with my phone.

  21. Nina says:

    I copied and faxed my erroneous contract and those two letters to my father, an attorney in a nearby state. . . I am sure some others did too!

  22. dekalbite2 says:

    “Educators, by and large, are not business people.”

    I agree, and might add that business people, by and large, are not educators.

    It would be nice to see more business people with education backgrounds or more educators with business backgrounds in the school system. One’s perspective is vastly altered when you have experience in both worlds.

  23. justwatch says:

    And actually, I don’t think this is true of GA teacher contracts. A few years ago, Gwinnett laid off a significant number of teachers after the school year started, because actual enrollment was lower than projected. Teachers contracts, as I understand it in GA, protect the systems and not the teachers. It is a shame.

  24. rlwinche says:

    I don’t have a returned contract, so my next option is to apply for unemployment and search for a new job.

  25. dekalbite2 says:

    Yes. My son had some friends who were Gwinnett teachers who were laid off that year (I think it was 2008 – 2009 school year or maybe 2009 -2010 school year) who ended up working for other counties because they were let go shortly after school started even though they had contracts.

    I think the bad thing here is that DeKalb is holding the contracts. If a teacher who has returned his contract begins looking for a job and finds one and then DeKalb decides to keep that teacher (e.g. Calculus or Physics teacher or other hard to find teacher), then the school system can simply sign the contract and that teacher is obligated to teach for DeKalb (teaching contracts in Georgia are one way streets with the school system able to enforce them by pulling a teacher’s certification, but teachers are not able to enforce the contract).

    DeKalb should let teachers know one way or the other so they can get on with looking for a teaching job if they are not going to be continue to be employed. It seems patently unfair and one sided to keep teachers on the hook while they make up their minds. Particularly since many of these teachers have given years of service to our children. After school starts, the chance of getting a teaching job is much slimmer since any vacancies are being filled now.

  26. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    I’m not an attorney…but it smells like a class-action lawsuit against DCSS, or a variety of them, could be in the works. I’d be speaking to a labor attorney right quick.

  27. Take a picture with your phone? Great idea!!!

  28. Miss Management says:

    Oh, let’s see… let’s see.

    The new head of HR (who has all the info on the ‘RIFs’) apparently is ‘unwell’ eerily similar to the former head of HR.

    The head of communications (who is in charge of letting the public know what’s going on) is ‘on vacation’, AKA ‘also RIFd’.

    The new head of finance has only had a few months to wrap his head around the horrible mess of books left behind by the former CFO and can’t “really” tell us anything about where we “really” are financially.

    Teachers/librarians/paras and hundreds of other staff are waiting on pins and needles to find out if they have a job to attend to come August, and if not, will they find out too late to secure employment elsewhere?

    We will have schools consolidating, classrooms enlarging, libraries without full time librarians and/or clerks and no parapros to help out teachers – not even in some special ed classes.

    But lo! We still have a full staff of security and a transportation ‘hub’ system as well as half of a science center. Maybe the bus drivers can take turns driving the kids to Fernbank every day while the SROs maintain order.

    Can you say, “Major Loss in the Classroom”?

    Who would have dreamed this could get worse than the Lewis/Pope fiasco?

  29. dekalbite2 says:

    Not all of this can be blamed on Atkinson. The prior administration and BOE messed up big time with the budget, and now the snowball is rolling downhill over the teachers and students. The former CFO should never have been allowed to keep his job after the Lewis/Pope fiasco.

    There are still so many areas to cut before impacting the classroom, but this has not been done. What will it take to get this system “rightsized”? The BOE had the opportunity to pick and choose what they wanted to cut – line item by line item, so this is their choice after all. They could have kept class sizes the same and kept our teachers, but Dr. Walker and some of the others were so eager to increase class sizes and cut in the classroom as if that area was the least important in the school system.

  30. Perhaps this is too simplistic of a suggestion- Can we not demand a delay in the start of school ? Say August 27th?

    With all the uncertainty, chaos, inability to provide master schedules, the balance of jobs weighing in the air- at minimum the delay will allow time for our educators and our children to be somewhat prepared. Anything short of this just allows one to be sucked into the quicksand even faster.Surely we can not begin school in any way shape or form in this current state. What can we do collectively to demand this as a minimum requirement for the safety for all???

  31. Dura lex sed lex says:

    What was the Dekalb County School Board doing while Rome burned? Reading Fifty Shades of Grey?

    Seriously, this Board makes me sick every time they claim they can only hire or fire the super.

    They have other equally and continuously important duties!

    They need to establish policy, monitor finance, and personnel. They can’t meddle but they certainly don’t have to rubber-stamp every cockamamie idea or program. For God’s sake, if they don’t approve the expense, the idea cannot go forward. If they did not sanction hiring incompetent and inexperienced heads of finance (Turk), technology (Tyson), HR (Wilson) etc…we would not on the brink!

  32. What a wonderful idea Denise! Way to think outside of the box — I wonder if it’s possible?

  33. You’re right. Think about it. The power players on the board put Ramona Tyson in place right after Lewis’ departure (hand picked by Dr Lewis no less). Maybe her real task was to ensure that the skeletons never got out of the closets? Or ensure that the Friends & Family remained secure? Now that there is no longer a way to keep the dike from breaking, could it be that they have set up Atkinson to take the fall – with Tyson as her right hand woman collecting a second full superintendent’s salary? Why is it that no one blames Tyson? Lewis? Obviously, these budgetary problems are not only due to lower tax collections, they are due to years of fiscal mismanagement and inappropriate spending and behavior. We haven’t focused on educating all of the children of DeKalb in a very long time. All we’ve done is create little pockets of acceptable schools and given the squeaky wheels a ticket to ride.

  34. I say we INSIST in a delay….It just seems like a logical thing to do. I don’t feel comfortable with ANYTHING I am reading right now- As I have been reading I am really feeling stress over all of this. Now my son is 16 year old, but this is his junior year, and everything is critical right now.- I can’t even begin to wonder what parents of our elementary school students, or parents with students who have special needs or language barriers are feeling. There are so many raw emotions- so much stress- so much uncertainty- if we are feeling it- what are we about to subject our children to? Someone out here has got to know if this is legally possible?

  35. Dura lex sed lex says:

    You don’t need a returned contract.

    You signed. That is all that is needed. It was the case for all Dekalb teachers this year.

    The returned contract with the super’s mechanical signature is mere record’s keeping.

    Don’t be tricked into resigning or getting a lower paying job. See an attorney or your professional association.

  36. DCSSParent says:

    I’m not knocking Ms. McGill’s idea of a delay, but what happens to the salaries of the people who might actually remain employed when the school year starts? Are you suggesting extending the year at the end by a week to make up for the delay? That would be the only fair way to do it. Teachers and staff cannot lose more days. Six is atrocious enough.

  37. love4publicmontessori says:

    As a parent at the Montessori program in Midway Elementary, the only one in South Dekalb, some of our parents were told yesterday by our new principal that our program was eliminated,even though it was never scheduled to be cut. Many parents still have no knowledge of what’s happened and won’t find out till they come to register their kids. We were given the option to attend the other 2 public montessori programs, however there is no space available for any of our kindergarteners at Briar Vista or Huntley Hills, and limited space for our 1st-3rd graders, no mention of space for our 4th-5th graders. With school starting in a month, we have been given no other options to register our students for montessori. I contacted all the board members today, only 3 responded and said they had no knowledge that this decision had been made. Now how does that happen?????????? Now, what do we do???

  38. So frustrsted says:

    I also have an upcoming Jr. I am also teacher. This whole mess is such a horrible situation.

  39. Matt W. says:

    It may seem backwards and unfair, but for clarification and in simple terms, contractsust have an “offer” and an “acceptance.”

    Most DCSS employees and readers of this blog are under the assumption that DCSS makes the “offer” (especially since they print the contracts and specify all the terms), and that employees then decide whether or not to “accept” the contract and indicate so
    With their signature. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The teachers and all other contracted employees are making the “offer” and it is the county that chooses whether or not to “accept” the contract. As NO ONE has received their contracts back, we have no way of knowing if the county has accepted them.

    There are other avenues by which to approach this issue such as the use of “industry norm and custom” in trying to prove that a job offer was “relied upon” to the detriment of the individual. But . . . this does not necessarily escape the fact that no employee was “offered” a contract by the county; rather it was the employee that offered the county a contract.

    On the other hand, a unilateral change in terms of a contract where one party has already fulfilled all the terms and the other party decides they no longer wish to fulfill their obligations – that is actionable. (i.e., DCSS finding they can save money by not paying for medical or dental under the previously accepted contracts for the 2011-2011 school year.)

  40. Matt W. says:

    Apologies for typos, but I’m in a rush and an iPhone is not my keyboard of choice. 🙂

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