We’re more broke than our board chair even knows

According to a new report by Ty Tagami at the AJC, DeKalb is among several school systems in Georgia showing a budget deficit.

Well, actually, DeKalb’s deficit is greater than three times the rest combined!

And worse, apparently, our board chair thought we had a surplus!

District officials did not return calls for comment, but DeKalb school board Chairman Eugene Walker questioned the state’s findings.

“I don’t understand what you mean that we had a deficit,” Walker said, adding he thought there was a surplus. “So the $57 million I thought we had didn’t exist?”

The deficit was calculated from numbers the DeKalb system provided to the state, Austensen said. “In theory, it could be wrong, but if it’s wrong, they’re out of compliance with their reporting.”

Austensen said a history of inaccurate financial reporting appeared to be part of DeKalb’s problem.

“I actually think the local board didn’t have good information in front of them about their spending,” he said.

DeKalb school Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, in the job about a year, is trying to change that, he said, but prior administrations painted a rosier picture than merited.

“By now, everybody should have figured it out,” Austensen said. “It’s not like a tiny little system that has a bookkeeper who doesn’t know anything about accounting.”

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12 Responses to We’re more broke than our board chair even knows

  1. “Prior Administrations” painted a rosier picture, eh? So, is there a reason Ramona Tyson does not have to answer to anything?

    In other fiscal news this week:
    Law firm drops DeKalb School Board as client

    Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, which has represented DeKalb since 2009, will continue to do so until the system finds new representation. DeKalb, meanwhile, will study how other school systems structure their legal operations before proceeding with a replacement.

    Sutherland and school board Chairman Eugene Walker issued a statement Wednesday that said the firm understood “the current fiscal challenges facing the school system” and approached the board to suggest “we work together to find another solution for its legal needs.”

    Walker said in an interview that Sutherland attorneys announced their firm’s decision at a Nov. 7 meeting with him, Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson and board vice chair Tom Bowen. Walker said no one at the meeting asked Sutherland to elaborate.

  2. CM says:

    “…until the system finds new representation.” ??? Problem solved… we already have another law firm (one that understands the children), remember???

  3. Just Saying says:

    Principals, Assistant Principals, Social Workers, Nurses, Teachers, Para Educators, Custodians many people are leaving the county on November 30th. Back in the day school based people would try and wait to the end of the school year to leave or retire. Morale is so low that people are leaving as fast as they can. The end of November was always a popular time, but this year there seems to be a lot more movement. The people in the schools have no connection or contact with the people at AIC. They just get e-mails that tell them more and more what they must do. There still is no information about the staff members to contact for various needs. If you plan to retire you are told to just contact AIC about insurance. You feel like your years of service mean nothing. If school based people did not feel a connection to their students and each other, there would be a lot more people leaving. Just wait to the end of the school year.

  4. dcssfrustratedparent says:

    I read the article in the Metro section today and was stunned. When another group provides information based on data DCSS provided – our esteemed board chairman says “I don’t believe it” – folks we are really watching the sham unravel here. Eugene Walker is clearly operating in a whole different reality.

  5. midvaledad says:

    Please! Please! Can the state DOE take over Dekalb County now?

  6. Longing for Integrity says:

    I’m new to this group, so could someone tell me what other law firms represent DCSD? I still can’t believe the absurdness of Ronald Ramsey being employed by DCSS and serving as state rep. I don’t think anything will get better as long as he and his minions are in power.

  7. It’s just so hard to believe that Gene Walker actually has any post-secondary degree, much less a Ph.D. from Duke University. But, then, Josie Alexander graduated from Duke University Law School. Just soooo hard to believe.

  8. jande says:

    One of the reasons many people are leaving the school system at the end of November
    has to do with their pensions. I do not have all the specifics, but evidently they will not
    receive an additional 3% TRS adjustment if they work after 11/30.

  9. Concernedmom30329 says:

    The TRS thing is a state policy not a DeKalb policy. Just want to clarify that for people.

  10. FYI123 says:

    Go on to the TRSGA website and read “TRS Repeals DIscretionary Tax Offset” and it explains why teachers and other employees will lose 3% of their retirement after January 1, 2012. This is not COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). They have to retire by November 30th to comply with being grandfathered in without this adjustment. They will lose 3% of the first $37,500 of their retirement income.

  11. This is the DCSD reality…. we are being run by incompetent individuals or criminals. Has Tyson resigned yet… Is Tyson still being allowed in the Palace… What about Turk… These are his numbers and his direct report was Tyson. Enough of this! Where is Ramsey, he should be investigating or resigning. This is unraveling before them and Ty is doing some great work. Keep digging Ty you are scratching the surface and the Palace guard is getting nervous.

  12. ella.smith@att.net says:

    It is shocking that the board chair is not apparently aware of the school board’s financial situation.

Comments are closed.