Oh the budget, budget, budget

shell-game-kazumi-kochuMr. Thurmond keeps expressing his shock and surprise that the Central Office only represents 6% of the total operating budget! Shocked, he says! Only 6%! He references the ‘Budget Development Presentation’ made about the HR budget to the Committee of the Whole by our head of HR, Tekshia Ward-Smith.

Basically, here’s how she makes her case:

First, we’re told there are 12,417 employees (FT & PT) plus 1,311 substitutes for a total of 13,728 employees. So we go with 12,417 as our total number of employees. Agreed.

Then, she breaks down the 12,417 as:
General Fund 10,429
Special Revenue 982
Food Service 995
Total 12,417

But watch as she breaks the number down again by just General Fund:
Location / Count
School-Based / 8,587
System Support / 1,220
Central Office / 622
Total 10,429

So see where she got the 6%? She shows only 622 of 10,429 as ‘Central Office’ – a technicality for sure!

She doesn’t include employees paid with “Special Revenue” or those under the umbrella she now calls “System Support” (defined as bus drivers, etc.). However, all of these jobs are certainly costing money that could possibly be reduced or redefined in order to push more funds into the classrooms. The only exception is food service, which is its own separate entity and is self supporting. We are not sure what constitutes “Special Revenue” but think it’s Title 1 and RTTT – at any rate, it’s 982 jobs – which in our opinion, could actually be classified as Central Office. We are very curious about what exactly these 982 “Special Revenue” people do – it’s conveniently left out of Tekshia’s report.

So now that we’ve taken Special Revenue off the table — we still have ‘System Support’ staff — 1220 jobs that she defines as Bus Drivers, Bus Monitors, Crossing Guards, Psychologist, Social Workers, Nurses – all important in terms of school support, but not many of whom actually interact with or teach students.

So Ward-Smith’s breakout certainly looks like quite the shell game!!  We can play it too. Watch carefully…

Let’s say we did include these categories set aside by Ward-Smith in the total for Central Office – say the CO and System Support and Special Revenue are all considered “Central Office Administration and School Support”… or simply – ‘non-classroom-based employees’, which is generally what the public is referring to when they ask for cuts to the Central Office.

THAT total would be 982 (Special Revenue: Title 1, RTTT employees – who may or may not work in the schoolhouse; we can’t get an answer) + 1,220 (System Support: bus drivers, custodians, etc) + 622 (Central Office staff: those with a desk at the Central Office) = 2,824
Now of the total jobs (12,417 not including include subs), 2,824 in the groups above represent  22.75% of the total… So, calculating it this way, basically, 22.75% of all employees do not work in the school house or interact with students in a meaningful way.

Now, let’s play with the numbers even more and take food service completely off the table. Let’s pretend they are not employees at all – they are just an outside contractor that provides food. That takes 995 employees off the total. (12,417 – 995 = 11,422). We basically have 11,422 employees if we don’t count substitutes or food service.  Now – 2,824 (the total of those who don’t work in the school house helping teachers or directly impacting students) represents 24.7% of the total! That means that without counting cafeteria workers and subs (since counting subs would be like counting teachers twice), that 24.7% of our total employees do not directly help educate students in any way. Moreover, pay attention to the one fact the administration never publicizes: How many classroom teachers do we employ these days?

Hmmm…. Ain’t numbers fun?!!

Again, it’s semantics. Most folks simply agree that no matter how you like to twist the numbers or label departments, we have too many administrators and/or people who are not directly helping to teach students in any way. However, many of these support staff and special revenue folks could directly impact students — and they should! We can take many or most of the special revenue folks and put them in the schools working with small groups of children giving them direct instruction and tutoring support for teachers instead of the current method of evaluating teachers, inspecting bulletin boards and word walls and generally criticizing. No, they need to roll up their sleeves and jump in the soup and get to work helping to actually teach! Now that could lift up test scores!


For those who are curious, this is how the approved Proposed Consolidated Budget for 2013 breaks down:

2013 Proposed General Budget $759,706,033 (67% of total)
(Oddly, though, Tekshia’s presentation shows this number as $732,008,431)
2013 Proposed Special Revenue Budget $95,146,114 (8% of total)
2013 Proposed Budget for Debt Service: $52,439,750 (5% of total)
2013 Proposed Capital Outlay: $149,290,048 (13% of total)
2013 Proposed Food Service Budget: $54,013,769 (5% of total)
2013 Proposed Budget for Trust & Agency: $19,625,500 (2% of total)

Total Consolidated Budget for 2013: $1,130,221,214

Yes, that’s $1.1 Billion dollars. Our school leaders collect and spend over a Billion Dollars every year – to educate about 98,000 children. And they can’t seem to do it. Further, this doesn’t even include the cost of construction and renovations – SPLOST covers that – to the tune of about $125 million every year! That’s A LOT of pennies!

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39 Responses to Oh the budget, budget, budget

  1. TracyW says:

    I have a problem with you including the janitors and the bus drivers in your count yet excluding the food service workers. To me, all of those positions are essential. I don’t know of any overpaid underworked custodians, and they are currently advertising for more bus drivers. There are other maintenance workers as well, not assigned to specific schools, such as electricians and plumbers. I don’t know if outsourcing the non-routine maintenance would save a substantial sum of money or not, but it would put a lot of non-employees into contact with students which could present problems of another kind.

    Why is there no explanation of the Special Revenue jobs? Why don’t the numbers match on the budget presentations? Last week’s story about the grad student who spotted the formula error in a critical spreadsheet released by the US government only serves to illustrate the reason that people demand to see the spreadsheet itself and not just the columns of numbers.

    If you divide out 12,500 employees for 99,000 students, it’s about 8 students per employee on the whole. 1300 substitutes – over 10% of these positions – on the payroll for what kind of jobs? Substitute principals? Substitute janitors? Substitute counselors? The central office should be like any other business operation and get by when people are out. I can understand the need for long term subs in case of injury or illness, and of course classrooms must have a warm body at the front of the room every day, but let us hope that most of those 1300 are not deployed on a daily basis!!! If so, there is a burning need for HR to fire the abusers.

    8587 “school-based” employees. How many of these numbers are actual classroom teachers? Let’s assume here that every child sits in a classroom with a teacher at 10AM every day. 99,000 students at 20 to a classroom would be 4950 teachers needed at 10AM. Yes, in the upper grades, teachers get a planning period, but that seems to usually involve sitting in a classroom full of students who are supposed to be having a “study hall” or planning period of their own, not an empty classroom! If we cut back to 15 students per class (yeah, right!) then we would need 6600 teachers. Some classes, such as special ed, do have a lower number of students, but for the most part, classrooms seem to have 20 or more students. So this leaves about 2000 “school-based” employees out of the nearly 8600 to do what kinds of work every day? That is using 15 students/teacher. If you bump that to 20 students, that leaves 3650 non-classroom-teacher positions! One “other” employee for every 3-4 teachers? What is the real breakdown on these positions? How many students per counselor or per principal or assistant? How many per school secretary? Remember, this illustration only counted the 8587 “school-based” employees, and not the special revenue, system support, central office and food service employees. 12,417 permanent employees less school-based leaves 3830 additional positions across the system.

    Every one of these employees has a position code and a facility associated with their job. HR should be easily able to produce a list of salaries sorted by position. They can leave off the individual school identifier for privacy. A numbered (1-XXX) list of every position that comes under the heading of “school based” – a list of “principals” with salaries, a list of 1-XXX school secretaries/admins, a list of counselors, a list of actual classroom teachers, sorted by elem/middle/high/special so that we taxpayers can see where the money goes should be a simple thing to produce. No need to name names, just show us the positions at the grade levels and the money spent so we understand.

    Then show us a list of “the rest” by job category. Bus people, maintenance people, food service people, please! And “other” – how many employees are not included in the actual school or tangible school service categories?

    How many have ever done this math? Nancy Jester did! She is still waiting to see the answers to these questions, along with the rest of us! We deserve to see the data!

  2. The thing about the food service is that it is totally self-supported from a whole different source of taxpayer funds — just like SPLOST. That’s why they can be taken from the table as a group for this comparison…and in fact, since they are a separate entity, we would think they should almost be treated as such and not included in the overall HR numbers.

    That said, yes we love the bus drivers! And in fact, they generally do have interaction with students. But when it comes to cuts we always prefer cutting outside the classroom. However, the majority of our board chose to eliminate parapros (who directly help and support teachers and students) while protecting magnet and other transportation costs. We disagree with that decision and certainly the teacher morale and student achievement have suffered for it.

  3. We also continue to have an issue with the fact that Ms. Ward-Smith never released a list of RIFd employees. When asked for it at a board meeting by Nancy Jester, she claimed to not track that! Shocking! But she said she would, ‘going forward’. We haven’t seen a list. At the ELPC meeting, Mr. Thurmond promised to produce a list of Central Office employees with the budget presentation next week. However, this group of 982 under the “Special Revenue” umbrella is a mystery -it’s the only category Smith declines to even attempt to define. In the old days, (when people say DeKalb was an exemplary system), we’re told that Title 1 teachers were in every school and focused on small group reading and math pull out instruction. This is critical in the early grades and also very important as students attempt to work their way through high school to graduation. The students need direct support. We think we have the ability to provide it, if we would just redefine some jobs.

  4. The last salary report we have from the state is FY2012 – but we divided it out by jobs. In the teacher category we found the following:

    Total cost for teacher salaries: $382,871,266.58

    17,017 total employees on roster minus 1200 subs = 15,817 employees of which
    8500 are labeled as some kind of teacher — and of those:

    196 are vocational teachers
    1095 are some kind of special ed teacher
    773 are special ed parapros/asst teachers
    42 are psych-ed parapros
    7 are adaptive PE teachers
    86 are special ed pre-school paras
    306 are regular ed parapros
    104 are lottery-funded pre-school paras
    104 are lottery-funded pre-k teachers
    39 are ‘other instructional’ (?)
    607 are ‘instructional specialists’ (art, music, pe?)
    75 are gifted instruction
    216 are ESOL (English language learners)
    104 are early intervention/EIP
    24 are psych-ed teachers
    5 – GNETS
    9 literacy coaches
    41 MS exploratory teachers
    45 Military science teachers
    8 RVI

    LEAVING 4,614 regular ed classroom teachers

    Since then, we had another ‘budget cut’ that included another increase in class size, which certainly reduced the number of teachers again. We won’t really know until the new report (FY13) is posted at the state’s website.

    Download the Excel spreadsheet at the link below (or look under our FILES tab/Salary Schedules page)

  5. midvaledad says:

    Here is the current list of job classifications. http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/human-resources/salary-ranges/

    The one I think are the Title I employees is Specialist, Student Support (Title I). The top salary in that range is suppose to be $79,929. However, that wonderful english teacher from Lakeside H.S. found DCSD is paying many of them more than than.

    I hope she keeps getting up in front of the BOE and telling them what is really happening. They aren’t getting the truth from the senior administration.

  6. teachermom says:

    What I would like to see is a report with the salaries of central office staff, including secretaries. With names. Also, I would like to see sfa and all data coaches involved directly with students. Teachers do not need coaching but that’s another story. We know that salaries are still inflated. Unnecessary staff is still there. This should be addressed directly and transparently by the new administration. The good taxpayers and folks
    Of Dekalb are tired of playing this numbers game. Only in corrupt organizations do stakeholders need to do their own accounting to keep track of where the money has disappeared to. Swift action on this by Thurmond would raise him up more than any political tricks he thinks he has learned as the career politician that he is.

  7. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Stakeholders shouldn’t have to figure this thing out. It should be simple, black and white, red and black, if they were being honest. DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING TEKESHIA WARD SMITH says. She is coached in anything she puts out.

  8. @ teachermom
    The information you seek is found at open.georgia.gov. You can easily download the entire payroll into an Excel spreadsheet. Then you can sort by job titles … by employee names … by salary. Thurmond could have and should have already done this — if he cared.

  9. Concerned Citizen says:

    Teachermom: GREAT Salaries, names sfa and dta coaches, And teachers do not need coaches – all these non-classroom and central office must go. Ramona, Howe, Mach, and Smith,,,,, Beasley and Ramsey must go. We must see these things happen. Money is for the teaching of children.

  10. Concerned Citizen says:

    Title I teachers are not in every school ; they have been downgraded to “tutors” makng $25 an hour after having a applied for full PT positions HR advertised for PT Retiree positions from August to November. When the teachers got to HR to sign their contracts, the figure had been changed to $25 an hour. When a teacher tries to discuss this bait and switch with HR, she/he gets an icy reply of “it’s all about consistency.” So Title I “highly qualified” teachers are called “tutors” and paid crap for the tremendous responsibiity they are taking. It’s very disturbing with the need of Title I students. Further, HR has come back secretly and removed some of the $25 people and put them in other Title I positions with PT Retiree pay doing exactly the same job. When confronted with names and places, HR denies. There is no one who can be relied on in HR and Smith’s work is flawed and often punitive. Also you know Thurmond has not read any salary information, if he even could. As I’ve said before, we are lost in DeKalb.

  11. Concerned Citizen says:

    Embarrassed: Do you know who is coaching her? That could help a lot.

  12. Teachingmom says:

    Thanks, yes, I do realize that the info is there in some form and have used openga.gov. And have seen excellent reporting on this blog using that data. But I am not writing the budgets and I want proof that those who are writing it or approving it are looking at this elephant in the room. If CO can go out to every school and check ID’s of who is in the building like they did ours, then they should do the same for CO. I want a head count, with salaries reported publicly and in detail. Dekalb needs to supply this info to dispute the allegations as part of transparency. I guess what I really want is for Thurmond to address this issue head on and participate in an action plan that results in the reduction and right sizing of these salaries, eliminating unnecessary non-teaching staff, and getting rid of those drawing huge salaries (Tyson, et al). If this is in the works then he needs to let the public know it. This needs to be done as part of any budget process.

  13. concerned citizen says:

    Midvale Dad and DSW: No where can I find any Title I teachers listed. And Teachingmom, I want a head count, too and most of all Thurmond must address this issue and make changes. Where are the Title I teachers??????(Hidden because they’re not being paid as teachers)

  14. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    Where are Title I and Federal revenues listed in the budget? Is that lumped in with the state revenues?

  15. bettyandveronica1 says:

    If your job does not put you face to face with a child on a regular basis, then your job is not essential. Period. Yes folks have to pay the bills, etc. But the school house should be funded FIRST. Then any $$ left over is what they have to use to hire support staff for the office. That is what Thurmond ain’t getting. He’s too busy talking.

  16. Former Board member, Don McChesney (who lost the election to Marshall Orson – who as freshly elected, the Governor allowed to keep his seat on the Board) has a new blog post highlighting some very interesting perspectives on SACS and the Governor’s removal of 6 members of the Board:

  17. Someone correct me if you think this is wrong, but I was told by a watchdog group in another market, not in Ga., that the public is only allowed to review public records that specifically deal with the portions of the school system that their local taxes go toward supporting. The warning was in regard to cell towers because they told me that often the cell tower money that you hear about will just disappear as if it never existed to begin with and there will be nothing you can do to track it because it is money coming in from a private, corporate source, not taxpayer funds. I would think that Title I money that comes from federal taxes would be considered tax payer dollars that we all pay so we should be able to review it, but maybe not.

    Also, are there really such things as “Title I teachers” in the system? What does that mean, exactly? I didn’t think we separated out our students based on Title I status and put them all in Title I classes, so how can there be Title I teachers? If you are talking about Title I teachers as being all of the teachers at a Title I eligible school, that’s not really accurate because not 100% of the students are Title I.

    In fact, I would like to hear a teacher on this blog who might be able to share some insight on this subject because my child was at a Title I school, which I did not realize because my neighborhood is not a Title I neighborhood. Did we have “Title I” teachers or regular teachers who also were trained at instructing Title I kids?

  18. Also, FYI, don’t forget about “Resources” – which I think means security – this was the largest group of employees at our school on the introduction day and I remember thinking “what the heck is resources?” We used to have a Dean and a police officer at our school a long time ago and that was it. Now they have at least one resource person per teacher. Come to think of it, though, I never saw much of them after that first day. hmmmm…

  19. And, how can we STILL have 99,000 with all the trouble and issues?? The number of children just stays the same?

  20. The 2010-2011 published enrollment number recorded at the state DOE website is: 95,481. That’s the most recent info available online.

  21. midvaledad says:

    There is a discrepancy between state DOE numbers and DCSD numbers because the state doesn’t count Pre-K students. The Oct. 2, 2012 enrollment according to the DCSD was 99,091.

  22. midvaledad says:

    The April 16, budget presentation is now on the PDS-TV24 live stream. It should be in the on-demand list tomorrow.

  23. I have another document – the one you download from the Open Records website – the one DCSS reports school by school – it shows 98,910 for 2012. And it included PreK. (181 fewer than your number.)

    We keep a collection of FTE data on the Enrollment Page under the Facts & Sources tab:

  24. thedeal2 says:

    Thurmond’s defense of the central office employees by saying they’re only 6% tells me all I need to know about him. Someone has either gotten to him, or he was gotten before he ever came. Anyone who is blatantly defending the central office while doing nothing to help the classroom in three months is a snake and isn’t in this for the kids.

  25. teachermom says:

    I am saddened by his defending the status quo and not giving us the detailed report to back up the claims about CO. But, also sadly, not surprised. Drinking the kool aid.
    Title 1 students get resources to support them in the school. That might be books, tutors, or any number of things. I believe those students are free and reduced kids. I know a librarian in another county who has to keep the non-Title 1 students from checking out the books provided through Title 1. Correct me anyone, if you know differently, but I believe the Title 1 teachers provide instructional support through tutoring or other student support. I work in a Title 1 school and could not tell you if we have a Title 1 teacher on staff. Ours are all classroom based except the EIP, ELL and of course the data coach and overpaid SFA wonk.

  26. Refugee from DCSS says:

    From Crossroads News:
    DeKalb School District still listed on Walker lawsuit, despite board vote to remove itself

    Read more: CrossRoadsNews – DeKalb School District still listed on Walker lawsuit despite board vote to remove itself

  27. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    The reign of the Walker 5 continues
    Don’t forget that the Walker 5 plus the colluding Orson and his side kick put Melvin Johnson into the chair and Thurmond into DCSD driver’s seat. The appointed board members are rubber stamps. South DeKalb is still running the show.

    I was watching the SACS/Board meeting video and caught this. Can somebody ask Thurmond tonight if he plans on getting rid of Josie Alexander as “expected” by SACS?

    Elgart said “There is no other urban school system in just the metro area that has two law firms on retainer. This is an area where we are going to expect significant change and improvement.”

  28. @DIO: Conversely, they may suddenly decide to actually hold Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan to their status as having ‘resigned’… whatever became of that? Are they just waiting for their contract to expire?? We’ll have Josie only contrary to what you’re thinking. Well, Josie and Ron Ramsey…

  29. concernedmom30329 says:

    There has been zero publicity about budget hearings. I am not confident that one is really happening tonight. Anyone have information?

  30. No new information on the public budget hearing tonight. We can’t imagine that Thurmond could be at both a budget meeting and the Tucker meeting. Could the budget meeting go on with just Mr Perrone? Mr Thurmond has mentioned the porposed budget was to be released this week at several prior meetings and encouraged people to attend the hearings. We just have no info and no email notifications have been sent out about official meetings. If anyone has the scoop, please share it with us here.

    That said, we need to follow up on the Nov 2012 revelation that admin cuts were not made. Thurmond is insisting that 600 jobs were cut from the admin and that he will release a list of names with the budget this week.

    For a history on the lack of admin cuts read this>>
    DeKalb school audit shows office cuts not made
    A long-awaited forensic audit has been delivered to the DeKalb County school system, and it may help explain why officials there have had to cut so deeply in the classroom.

    Some of the central office staff eliminations the school board ordered in 2010 were not carried out, the audit says. For that and other reasons, the system wound up paying $20 million more than budgeted for central office salaries in fiscal year 2010 and $29 million more the next year, according to the audit, which was obtained by Channel 2 Action News.

    … The audit, which was produced by the firm KPMG and leaked to Channel 2 Action News, says the board ordered the elimination of 150 central office positions in May 2010 for an expected savings of $11.5 million. Records from the school system’s finance and human resources departments differ about how many of those jobs were actually cut. Of 109 people listed by human resources as laid off, 56 remained on the payroll in different jobs, either because they were rehired or reassigned, the audit says.

    Nancy Jester also pointed out that admin costs have actually risen >>
    Salary Analysis FY2008 – FY2013

    And of course, even before the audit, Paul Womack was calling for an investigation into the budget >>
    Neighbor Newspapers – DeKalb school board member calls for criminal investigation

    Interestingly, Dr. Atkinson, Nancy Jester and Paul Womack are all gone from DeKalb schools.

  31. John Dewey III says:

    Last time there was pressure to remove main office personnel the people who got the boot were the lowest paid support staff — yet each $100,000+ salary at the “Palace” could pay two or three teachers. The shell game of moving names from the Central payroll to “schools” was another obvious ploy… But professional board members and SACS might see through this nonsense this time!

  32. Aha!! We found the info on the budget meetings — and there is NOT one tonight!

    From: Lillian M. Govus
    Sent: ‎4/‎23/‎2013 10:13 AM
    Subject: DeKalb Schools to Hold Budget Hearings




    DeKalb Schools to Hold Budget Hearings
    The district will host three hearings on the $728 million budget

    April 16, 2013 – The DeKalb County School District will hold three public
    hearings on the district’s estimated $728 million budget for the 2014
    fiscal year. The hearings will be held at 6 p.m. on April 29 and May 8 at
    the J. David Williamson Board Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative &
    Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain. The
    third date will be announced at a later time.

    The hearings will be broadcast live on PDS-TV24 and streamed on the DCSD
    website, [ http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us ]www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

    The public is encouraged to share feedback by emailing:


    Lillian M. Govus, APR
    Digital Program Manager
    DeKalb County School District
    P: 678-676-1293
    M: 404-431-0041

  33. info says:

    Little changes in Dekalb.

    This is the info. provided in the website’s “Budget Information” under the “Leadership” column for the superintendent.

    Fiscal Year 2012 (2012-2013 School Year)
    The fiscal 2013 tentative budget for the DeKalb County School District has been presented to the Board of Education and is now available for the public.

    The Board of Education will hold Public Hearings on the Budget on Tuesday, May 22, and Wednesday, May 30, at the DeKalb County School District Administrative and Instructional Complex at 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, Ga., 30083.

    First, isn’t FY 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year?
    Also, doesn’t the media advisory contradict the superintendent’s information?

    Doesn’t encourage me that this budget will be sorted out.

  34. @info: That’s from last year! FY 2013 is school year 2012-13. There’s another place on the website – the eMeetings that shows the budget meetings as tonight and the 25th. However, there is also a meeting with Tucker parents tonight and one with south DeKalb parents the 25th… So we went digging and found the press release sent out by Lillian Govus. So it looks like Lillian is the only person ‘in the know’ for the public to get info from:

    The DeKalb County School District will hold three public hearings on the district’s estimated $728 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year. The hearings will be held at 6 p.m. on April 29 and May 8 at the J. David Williamson Board Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain. The third date will be announced at a later time.

    The hearings will be broadcast live on PDS-TV24 and streamed on the DCSD website, [ http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us ]www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

    The public is encouraged to share feedback by emailing:

    FWIW – the budget we will be discussing is called the FY 2014 budget (for the upcoming 2013-14 school year).

  35. info says:

    Am I the only one that thinks the super should have one of the 6% working at the central office update the webpage?

    The superintendent wasted no time in changing Dekalb’s mantra “Failure is not an option” (sadly true if you consider the system’s approach to grades, but that’s another matter) and the mission.

  36. concerned citizen says:

    What about “Victory In Every Classroom”? Now, that’s meaningful.

  37. insider1.0 says:

    There are two types of Title I schools. Most are school-wide, which means the human and material resources funded through Title I monies can be used to support all students, regardless of economic status or achievement level. Targeted Assistance schools can only use funds to support specific students who meet the criteria.

    Title I teacher refers to the funding source used to pay the teacher’s salary, not the teacher’s actual position. Only core content areas are allowable for federal funding (no PE, art, music, world languages, career tech, etc.) You will not see them identified on the state report because the funding source is not listed as part of the report. Same thing for central office staff paid for with federal funds (Title I, Title II, Title III, and RT3). And there are LOTS of those!!!

  38. Thanks Insider. I think a lot of teacher coaches are funded with Title 1 money too. EdWeek has a good article about teacher coaches — they can be very effective and helpful if properly trained and supported and qualified to do the job.


    Here’s a snippet:

    …the background and skill set of the coach is important–elementary schools are different than secondary! And the knowledge set needed by a coach is different. That is a significant leap for you and while it’s not insurmountable, I imagine it would take a few years to feel grounded in the social, emotional, and cognitive stages of the elementary child as well as in the correlating practices for teachers.

    I’ve had the experience of working as a coach in one school, and working across many schools, although the greatest number of schools that I worked across was 6. Personally, I prefer working across a set of schools–but no more than six at a time! Being a site-based coach allowed me to really get to know the school and community well. I was deeply involved with professional development and the leadership team and worked closely with the administrators. I was able to impact systemic change and help shift the staff culture. However, I also found it personally challenging in that it was a very difficult and draining context. When I’ve worked across schools, I appreciate being able to “get away” from one site and get a break from whatever complicated dynamics were going on there. I appreciated the little bit of distance that I could create between myself and each site. I was less involved in every aspect, and that helped me manage the emotional strain. My relationships with each teacher were not as deep, but they were deep enough. As a site-based coach I felt that I was “on” all the time. I constantly had to be in coaching mode and I was always looked to as a model for how to manage change, be a professional, engage in school improvement. It was hard!

  39. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    And now, for more on the legal fees brought to us by King & Spalding:

    DeKalb school system sued over spending on lawyers

    An executive with a company engaged in a long-running legal battle with the DeKalb County School District is filing another lawsuit against the district.

    Donald M. Green, an executive with Heery International, Inc., teamed up with a DeKalb parent in a lawsuit that says the school district has illegally spent itself into the ground in its quest to win a cash judgement. The new suit seeks to dislodge DeKalb’s lawyers in that older case.

    Heery sued DeKalb in 2007, alleging the district failed to pay half a million dollars in fees for the company’s work managing school construction. The district counter sued alleging fraudulent billing, and is seeking a whopping $100 million.

    DeKalb paid around $6.5 million in attorney fees before its lawyers, Atlanta-based King & Spalding, agreed to bill on a contingency basis beginning in 2008. The agreement allows the lawyers to log their hours, which they can bill from any of DeKalb’s winnings.

    In the new suit filed in DeKalb Superior Court, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers argues that the contingency arrangement is unconstitutional because it vests in King & Spalding “an ownership interest in property and money” of the school district.

    The suit, filed Friday, also takes aim at another part of the contract, which says King & Spalding can force DeKalb to pay for those unbilled hours if the district settles the case against the law firm’s recommendation. That creates an “illegal debt,” the suit filed by Bowers claims. It notes that “there has never been an allocation in any year to cover the attorneys’ fees at issue in that year.”

    Read it here>> http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local/dekalb-school-system-sued-for-spending-too-much-on/nXgFb/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcstubtomyajcpremium

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