Thurmond insists things are better in DeKalb school district since he took over

Michael Thurmond met with the Chamblee Dunwoody Parents Council and according to the Dunwoody Reporter, had the following to say >>

Interim DeKalb School Superintendent Michael Thurmond told north DeKalb parents the troubled district is dealing with its problems.

“Today we are in a much stronger position than we have been in a very, very long time,” Thurmond said.

He said district finances have improved significantly since last year.

“I am happy to report today that we have eliminated the $14.7 million deficit we brought forward from 2012,” he told members of the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents Coalition during a morning meeting at Dunwoody High School on Sept. 11.

“We just closed out [Fiscal Year] 13 with a $9.5 million fund balance. When I arrived in the district, the district was operating with less than $100,000 [in fund balance].”

He summed up his findings on the division in DeKalb schools as >>

“We are all in this together…,” he said. “A school district divided against itself will not be successful. I need your help to build this opportunity. Build the bridge and we will all benefit from it as a community.”

He said differences in student achievement did not reflect racial differences, but economic ones. White students from rich families perform better than poor white students, he said, just as black students from rich families perform better than poor black students. “It’s not about race,” he said. “If you look at the differential…, the differential is almost the same.

“The great question is not how well my children or your children will do, but how well children from economically disadvantaged families will do,” he said. “And all economically-disadvantaged children are not low achievers.”

But if some schools are perceived as offering better educations than others, parents will find ways to enroll their children in those schools, he said.

“Our parents love their children,” Thurmond said. “Their capacities in terms of engagement and involvement [with the schools] may not be the same, but the love is the same.”

Interesting comments. Thurmond must have read through the old DSW blog. These are exactly the kinds of comments the original blogger Cerebration made. And the kinds of comments we continue to make here at DSW2. We also believe all children can succeed but that our school system skims far too many resources for administrators and then for expensive specialty programs for administrators and other well-connected DeKalb parents, leaving far too little to educate the remaining masses. We had hope when Dr. Atkinson promised ‘bottom up’ funding. We were excited to hear her promises of funding ‘equitable’ (which does not always mean ‘equal’) classrooms first and foremost. However, all of those promises went out the window when she jumped ship, leaving us with another 18 months of stalled or backward progress. This was on top of the serious backward slide under Ramona Tyson’s interim leadership.

It greatly concerns us that Interim Thurmond, with no experience in education, thinks he can make improvements using the same staff that brought us so far down in the first place. They are all placing blame on Atkinson, however, great harm came to the system under Tyson, and Lewis before her. Atkinson had the same spoken plans and goals as Thurmond, however, was incapable of delivering. Yes, six former Board members have been dismissed, but we believe our failures are due to an overpaid, inexperienced top-heavy administrative staff that watches out for their own well-being, first and foremost. There are no experienced, highly-qualified, professional, successful education leaders on our staff anywhere. And Thurmond wouldn’t know how to evaluate a qualified education leader. Time will tell, but we are not optimistic that Thurmond’s statements are true today or will show to be true for the future. He is only here for a short while, with his stated goal being to ‘save’ accreditation. Then he will leave, but our students will still not be better off.

Read more >>
Thurmond argues DeKalb district is getting better

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41 Responses to Thurmond insists things are better in DeKalb school district since he took over

  1. I agree with Elgart’s assessment below:

    “Time will tell whether there’s accuracy in their assessment of what they have,” Elgart said, “But, more importantly, how are they going to use that to help students?”

    Thurmond Cautious About Expected Surplus

  2. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Listen to Thurmond’s recent interview with Cynthia Mallord at V103 regarding DeKalb schools.
    http://v103.cbslocal.com/2013/08/01/dekalb-school-superintendent-michael-thurmond-talk-education-for-the-start-of-the-year-and-the-national-black-arts-fest-talks-history-and-reigniting-black-arts/

    It’s a bit enlightening as to how he gets away with just politicking his image. Most people – including this radio DJ – don’t have much historical knowledge of DeKalb and don’t ask pointed questions. They just give him the airwaves to ramble on with his message and his marketing of himself. Google him. He’s a marketing genius. He’s all over the news and community media.

    Thurmond states that the DeKalb tax digest decreased by $9 Billion. And the state budget declined by millions. Those two sources of money have significantly decreased therefore forcing the system to increase class sizes to decrease teachers. He also says 70% of students qualify for Free & Reduced lunch. And larger class sizes effect them more. He says they did not ask for a waiver this year. We were carrying a $14 million deficit, which is illegal. We were looking at $20 million more in cuts. When asked where he ‘found’ millions of dollars, he stated that they found funding sources that had been untapped and they made significant cuts – especially to lawyers (cut by $6 million) by hiring cheaper lawyers. The greatest influence on a child’s education is the parent. (yada yada)… We are going to build capacity for parental engagement, adult guardianship and mentorship through our Title 1 program.

    Here are a few more >>
    Michael Thurmond Joins LJW On Power Talk
    A Talk with DeKalb County’s New Interim School Superintendent Michael Thurmond

    Read more about the surplus here>>
    DeKalb Schools’ CFO Resigns After Budget Surplus Revealed

  3. dsw2contributor says:

    I figured that Mr. Thurmond and his Communication Director were both reading DSW2 when my post about why he can never again win a statewide office received two thumbs down.

    Then Mr. Thurmond confirmed it when he addressed the recent Emory LaVista Parent Council meeting– he (or his speechwriter) are definitely reading DSW2! Mr. Thurmond’s speech was a list of talking points, each of which attempted to show just how hard *HE* was proactively addressing the problems discussed here on DSW2.

    Mr. Thurmond’s speech made me want him to succeed and hope that he will be successful. Frankly, if he were to actually pull off everything he says he is going to pull off, then he will have a bright future on the national stage as *THE* expert in turning around urban school districts. Mr. Thurmond already knows more about education than do Michelle Rhee and the other “national education expert” frauds the media loves to interview.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Thurmond punted far too many questions to the Palace Staff he had brought with him. His punting didn’t work well because the Emory LaVista audience was much better informed than the Palace staff.

    Mr. Thurmond also flat-out lied on a few points. Most notably, he claimed that the SACS progress visit gave DCS “Straight-A’s” while the actual report rated everything as “making progress”. Hence, SACS really gave DCS “Straight-C’s”…. and I don’t think you need to be a professional educator to understand that.

    I still think highly of Mr. Thurmond; he’s one of the most skilled politicians in Georgia. I view him as being right up there with Jimmy Carter and Andrew Young. However, within the Democratic Party, he has clearly been eclipsed by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed – just count up all of Mayor Reed’s appearances on “Meet the Press” and the other Sunday morning talk shows.

  4. This is an interesting report on the ‘surplus’. Although former CFO Perrone resigned over the issue, it appears that no one else was called out as having been responsible for never having requested these apparently entitled funds… showing that Thurmond is indeed very protective of the rest of his high-ranking staff.

    DeKalb Schools’ CFO Resigns After Budget Surplus Revealed

    District spokesman Jeff Dickerson says the money came from federal and state reimbursements that district officials didn’t know to ask for.

    “They were significant,” Dickerson says, “And they were the kinds of things that are routinely captured by other school systems and dollars that we should be capturing as well.”

    Thurmond’s proposal says the reimbursements include school meal programs and money from Title I grants, directed to schools with low-income populations. Dickerson says he’s not sure who is responsible for requesting the money.

    “I think that that responsibility would lie with any number of offices within the DeKalb County school district, not just the finance office, but Title I and other offices as well,” he says.

    The same day Thurmond issued his proposal, the district’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael Perrone, resigned. Dickerson says he’s not sure if Perrone gave a reason for leaving. Mike Bell, an auditor with the district, has been named interim CFO. Bell used to be a financial director with DeKalb County government.

  5. Midvale Dad says:

    We found out yesterday his speech writers are McKenna Long & Aldridge.

    While I agree there are many issues still not addressed, you have to agree the financial situation of the district is much better.

  6. concernedmom30329 says:

    Midvale Dad

    I hope you are right. However, what I really think is happening is that bills are being pushed around and there really isn’t so much money. We will find out in the Spring, perhaps or not if they are reverting back to the Lewis accounting era.

    I am curious what signs you see of a financial improvement, other than the restored furlough day.

  7. We’re very concerned that there are smoke and mirrors hiding budget problems. Stan Jester has a post that digs a little into some possible problems. Read it here >>
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2013/09/787/

    There are issues like over-estimating QBE funds by over-estimating enrollment. Also, one major cut was to the legal fees, which is a wild card, really. You can always declare a legal fee cut – but then when you do things that drag you into court – you have to pay. Also – we are still awaiting outcomes on the Heery lawsuit and the teachers lawsuit. If it is ruled that we have to go back and pay these retirement contributions, it could topple the house of cards. Our budget is precarious at best. It concerns us greatly that Thurmond is so matter of fact and confident about his claim of having ‘fixed’ it already.

  8. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    Magical Money
    The financial deficit that swamped the DeKalb County School District is gone, erased, eliminated. Really? Doesn’t this magical money sound familiar … oh, ye with short memories?

    DeKalb school district has erased its deficit
    By: Ty Tagami

  9. From Stan’s report: Here is an enrollment listing from years past. Thurmond is chirping that we have 100,000 students. That’s a 5,000 student increase from FY 2011. We don’t think DeKalb has seen that kind of growth.

    Student FTE Count (DOE only reports through FY 2011)
    Year – FTE Count (Does not include the roughly 2,000 Pre-K students)
    2006 – 99,544
    2007 – 98,713
    2008 – 97,580
    2009 – 96,907
    2010 – 96,678
    2011 – 95,481

  10. thedeal2 says:

    I am skeptical about the budget surplus because Mr. Thurmond refuses to come clean about exactly how he has saved the district so much money. At ELPC he kept throwing savings numbers around, and the pieces did not add up to the total he purports to have saved, including legal costs and administrative and central office cuts. I think it is a mix of a few cuts, some shifty fiscal dealings (to bolster support and confidence) and politician speak.

    I do not trust that Thurmond is going to put the classroom first.

    I do not trust that Thurmond is ever going to replace or simply get rid of any of the six-figure administrators who were on staff when this district really went south (Tyson at the top of the list).

    I do not like that he answered the question about the administrators’ cars by telling us that we voted for it. That harkened back to his first speech at Druid Hills Middle (?) where he said it was our fault that the board was in the shape it was in because we had voted them in.

    Still waiting to be impressed. Right now he’s still George Jefferson who loves to hear himself talk.

  11. howdy1942 says:

    I was amused by Mr. Thurmond’s comments and am reminded of the old adage that “he who toots his own horn blows from the small end”. I would hope that things are getting better for the DCSS. Year-over-year tax revenues in the State of Georgia have been up sharply for several months now, unemployment is down, and the State is no longer talking about budget cuts but rather considering priorities to increase allocations. If this is true and if what Mr. Thurmond says is true, then it seems that we could do more for our teachers than to simply restore one furlough day. If we can afford to go to Detroit and Chicago to recruit teachers, then wouldn’t it have been far less expensive and more productive to have recruited at Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Agnes Scott, Emory, or even the University of Georgia, Middle Georgia, Georgia Southern, Spelman, or others in Georgia? Better yet, why are we having to replace so many teachers? Why couldn’t we afford to at least begin to restore some of that money we took away from our teachers two years ago when the DCSS stopped paying into that Teachers Retirement Fund?

    I’m sure that some pressure is being exerted by the State of Georgia on SACS to cut Dekalb and the State of Georgia some slack. Maybe Mr. Thurmond is making some difference, but I certainly would be more impressed if he didn’t talk so much, especially about himself. For the sake of our kids, I do hope that things are more promising than they were when he came on board but, like @DSW, I don’t have much confidence that those who led us into such a deep hole are able to lead us out back of the hole.

  12. concerned citizen says:

    But, at least, I’m not hearing his original “sharecropper” story every single meeting. Maybe he realized that story was a little bit stagnant and there are so many DeKalb taxpayers that his hog wash was phony. BTW, how are the wild hogs in Lithonia? I sure hope they’re not adversely affecting Beastley’s house rental rates. That would be a disaster. Beastley, get out now ‘for the hogs get rilled up and present their true numbers.

  13. former dekalb parent says:

    I think at least in some part, we have to travel outside of GA to hire teachers because DeKalb’s reputation is so bad, no one wants to come here. Can you blame them? Look at how well we treat our current employees and teachers.

  14. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    How much time and money did we spend on the Chicago and Detroit initiatives and how many teachers did we get out of it? None came out of the Chicago initiative. Perhaps that money could have found its way into the pockets of new teachers living in Georgia.

  15. The black history is very sad in Georgia and people like Thurmond, Walker, Cunningham, etc. carry around a very deep and understandable hurt. But — today things truly are different. There are SO many successful black Americans. Gee- starting with the President – who is actually half black and half white from a midwestern mom/grandparents and a Kenyan dad – raised in Hawaii and educated in the New England states – with a career in Chicago – so he represents the history of so many of us.

    In fact — case in point in Dunwoody – the newest contestants on the Amazing Race are an African-American couple — two ER docs who live in Dunwoody and are raising their 4 children together while running their own medical business. There are so many more. Honestly, black Americans are doing great in so many areas. But just like EVERY OTHER ‘race’ there are always people who are down-trodden and need a hand up. It’s the job of those who can to offer their hand when possible — to ANYONE who needs it!

    http://neighbornewspapers.com/view/full_story/23685785/article-ADVENTURE–Dunwoody-couple-to-be-featured-on–The-Amazing-Race

  16. concerned citizen says:

    What was the amount spent on Chicago and Detroit recruiting? When did this occur? How many HR and others went? Where did they stay? How much was airfare? How much for partying? Who was interviewed? With what results? Is it not required that some accounting for this totally absurd junket be given? The board seemed to know. I want the answers to my questions. I know five fully-certified teachers who never got past an interview in DeKalb? But HR takes off to recruit? Again and again, taxpayers mean nothing to this deeply corrupt F&F group of goons.

  17. They don’t have time to hire locally — whose hair-brained idea was it to travel somewhere?

    We know a guy who applied for an accounting position, was more than qualified, did back flips to provide all the requested info – and then was completely ignored. We have heard many, many, many stories like this about DeKalb’s HR. We have concluded that the hiring process is a big bottleneck and is the cause of our inability to keep staff positions filled. We really need a professional, corporately-trained HR leader to shake this department up.

  18. Really sick says:

    Things are BETTER?! My check sure isn’t and the insurance is astronomical. Better WHERE?!?

  19. concernedmome30329 says:

    Relative to our football discussion from earlier this month, if you are reading this now (Friday night at 9 PM or so) go turn on GA public tv and watch a bit of the Stephenson/SW DeKalb game. The stands are empty. (Of course, the bands are probably lining up to march, but where are the fans, the students, the parents, the alums?)
    I hope that someone has filed a FOI request about money and athletics.

  20. howdy1942 says:

    In contrast to my comments about the Dekalb County School System administration, I wanted to cite two good things that happened in DCSS.

    First, I met two Tucker High School football players at Chick-fil-A today. They were very neat, well groomed, and were very polite. Maybe it’s because I’m an old guy, but in responding to a couple of questions I had, there were a lot of “yes sir” and “no sir”. I was impressed.

    Second, I have been noticing the happenings at Brockett Elementary School. That Principal is a hard worker – her car is regularly there late into the evening and she’s pretty regular on the weekends. I’ve also been impressed with the ways in which she is reaching out to the community with here “Donuts for Dad” and “Munchies for Mom” and her lunch for grandparents activities. I also noticed that last night, the parking lot was packet and overflowing for a PTA meeting.

    Just wanted to share that there are some good things going on at our schools.

  21. teachermom says:

    Howdy, I am happy to hear about the well groomed polite football player. However, the concern is does he actually live in Tucker? I don’t think anyone would want to blame the kids for the sports magnet that some schools have become. However, this is wrong on many levels. It is against board policy for school choice for one thing. It is not transparent for another. Football and sports should be extracurricular, with academics the primary focus of any special programs.

  22. concernedmome30329 says:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/federal-grant-for-school-police/nZ887/

    I wasn’t aware that DCSS needed additional school resource officers. Though I guess they could be placed at elementary schools. What is problematic is that the grant is for three years — then what? Do we really believe that DCSS will eliminate these positions after that?

  23. The general public, who are not “stakeholders” (this word has turned deadly on the tongues of DCSS administrators-now I only imagine people standing around holding pieces of meat) in DCSS and who don’t read this blog or any of the few AJC press articles focusing scrutiny on DCSS, may believe Thurmond’s empty, PR induced BS about the District’s being better.

    But to the decent, hardworking administrators and the poor teachers (who, in the eyes the Palace occupants, only deserve admonition and threats; more mindless paper work and testing protocols; larger classes and less resources; less compensation or reward; and, God forbid, no complements or commendations) nothing has gotten better. In fact things seem to get worse by the day.

  24. HA Hurley says:

    Remember the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’? The famous line at Katz’s Deli in NYC: I’m having what she’s having? Well, Mr. Thurmond: I’m having what you’re having if you think DCS is better!!?
    He is the ultimate SCHMOOZER. It may have worked in his previous jobs, but for anyone with a little bit of education and sense, it will not fly.
    Trust, but verify?
    Trust, but brand your cattle?
    Where’s the Beef?

  25. Thurmond has no idea what goes on in a classroom. He lacks a teacher’s perspective, he has no idea of the value of teachers to his organization, and he probably never thinks about them until he’s asked a pointed question about the deplorable state of the classroom in Dekalb. Then, the only thoughts in his head are either…”duh”…or what some of his hench-people feed him in small bits when it’s absolutely necessary that he be made to misunderstand the question “What are the qualities of an effective leader of a public education district?”

    And I really respected and liked the guy when he was labor commissioner.

  26. dekalbite2 says:

    With 200 employees in Security ($10,000,000+ – more than ANY other Security department in EVERY metro school system), in a system with around 120 schools of which the 84 elementary schools DO NOT even have Security personnel, why would we need more employees in this department?

    Does Thurmond even look at the numbers?

  27. midvaledad says:

    The signs I see that things are better include Thurmond bringing in outside consultants who identified income the district was missing. The finance and Title I departments are so incompetent they were not maximizing available revenue. Another sign is if everything goes as planned, the financial reserves will increase.

    I hate to say this, but the reality is any business which doesn’t have its financial house in order is no better than a house of cards. The district has to have money in the bank and it has none. That is the reason the bond rating was recently lowered.

    Someone above pointed out the ways in which the FY14 budget is smoke-and-mirrors. They are right. There are probably several million dollars in bills from FY13 that will have to be paid in FY14. Also, if the lawsuits go badly for the district (as the teacher retirement suit most surely will) the superintendent’s words will be shown to be only more hot air. I am betting they will delay any action on it as long as possible.

    I do not agree with Stan’s QBE conspiracy. The same people who “found” the extra revenue will be able to cook the QBE classifications to get the district most of the money they predicted. It does look suspicious, but put in the context of outsiders doing the work the staff is supposed to do, it is plausible.

    The FY14 budget is a house of cards in an earthquake. Mr. Thurmond is betting it won’t collapse. I think it is pretty (signs of improvement). The safe bet is it is going down.

  28. dekalbite2 says:

    Things will only be better when we see increased student achievement, particularly in low income schools. Students in DeKalb that are from low income areas do not perform at the same rate as their peers in demographically similar metro school systems. Our students are not less intelligent, our parents are not less involved and our teachers are not less hardworking than those groups in demographically similar areas yet we have lower student achievement rates. By process of elimination, the only possible difference is in the leadership of DeKalb that sets all of the policies, procedures and programs for the school system as well as makes ALL of the funding and budget decisions.

    The only job Mr. Thurmond MUST get right is improving student achievement. This is the main responsibility of the school system and Mr. Thurmond’s main responsibility as the instructional leader of DCSS. If Mr. Thurmond cannot raise student achievement to the levels of demographically similar metro school systems, he needs to be replaced with an instructional leader who can move students forward. The academic achievement of ALL DEKALB students is the only thing he MUST get right, otherwise he is failure in his job. For the sake of taxpayers, students and their parents he must understand this, verbalize this, and assume quantitative responsibility for student achievement.

    Mr. Thurmond MUST present an academic plan that has quantifiably measurable academic objectives for students and benchmarks for reaching those objectives. If he cannot meet those objectives, he must let the BOE choose someone who can meet those objectives. Students only have one opportunity to learn the academic skills and content that will allow them to get jobs and be self sufficient.

    Please let Mr. Thurmond know he is only successful if he can move our students forward At the same rate as demographically similar metro school systems. Please let him know we expect quantifiably measurable academic objectives with benchmark dates to meeting those objectives. Please let him know NOTHING is as important as student achievement and that he should not continue as superintendent if he cannot provide students an equal opportunity for academic advance as compared to other demographically similar school systems.

  29. I’m not so sure about putting more police in schools. What if we spent those millions on more teachers instead? What if we spent what it takes to reduce class sizes to 12 or fewer in elementary school? What kind of results could we get for children if teachers were the focus?

    U.S. Attorney’s Office Looking to Hire Law Enforcement and School Safety Officers in Georgia

  30. More movement on cities forming in south DeKalb — three new possibilities – and they’re not small!

    http://www.ocgnews.com/index.php/home/2314-city-of-prosperity-city-of-dekalb-on-table-for-discussion

    The City of Prosperity, the City of DeKalb, and the City of Stonecrest are the only cityhood proposals to date that have included South DeKalb residents. The other four cityhood proposals state lawmakers have filed on behalf of interested residents include those living in Central and North DeKalb.

    No one knows if there would be three new cities or none carved from South DeKalb. However, Jason Lary, who is leading the Stonecrest City Alliance, said that his group is the only one in the county’s South so far that has raised the money to complete the required feasibility study for a new city.

    State lawmakers will determine next year if a referendum will be put forward so that citizens can vote on cityhood.

    Last night, Sen. Ramsey held a Senate hearing at the Stonecrest Library on the proposed City of Stonecrest, which would include about 77,000 residents in a 61-square-mile radius. Ramsey and other lawmakers heard from several residents who expressed their desire and determination to form new cities, citing economic development, jobs, and a building a brand new image as key reasons for wanting to incorporate. DeKalb’s image has suffered in recent months as it grappled with a myriad of problems, including public corruption allegations. The county was forced to put in place an interim school board,interim schools superintendent and interim CEO.

  31. howdy1942 says:

    @Teachermom – I didn’t ask where the two students I met at Chick-fil-A lived, but they were neat, polite, and well-groomed. And they were not on their iPhones or whatever. More often than not, students whose appearance and deportment were as good as I observed, are also really good students in the classroom. When I was teaching, I thoroughly enjoyed having kids like these in my classroom. I wish them well and hope that their example influence others about them.

    Athletics can be a wholesome and influential team-building experience that will be so useful in later years. West Point and other service academies look for this kind of team-building experience in selecting candidates for admission – they are most likely to become successful leaders. If a student can be an athlete while also being a good student, that speaks volumes about time-management skills, commitment, and motivation. In the 40 years that I have lived here, Tucker has always had a tradition of sports excellence and, for many years (perhaps even today) has also had an excellent reputation in the classroom. That’s why I was so concerned about the students not having assigned textbooks that they could take home from the outset of this school year. That is not the fault of the students nor is it the fault of the teachers – that is an administration problem.

    As a comment to @midvaledad, I’m not surprised that Thurmond is bringing in outside consultants to get the financial issues and, hopefully, the human resource issues corrected,. If that’s true, then he must have serious doubts about the competence of his administration. Outside consultants cost a lot of taxpayer money and we cannot afford to do that while also retaining administrators in whom we have no confidence. That needs to get fixed. Either the consults need to go or the administrators involved need to go.

  32. If you all recall, Mark Elgart stated at his open meeting with the school board that SACS offered several kinds of expert help for hire. The board all agreed at the time that they would (wisely) engage these kinds of counsels. We have never heard any more on the subject, however.

    UPDATE: Live Blog for Tonight’s 6PM Board Meeting & SACS Update from Elgart

    It was a fascinating meeting. Read the entire post – including the comments like the one below:

    dekalbschoolwatch says:
    April 3, 2013 at 7:52 PM (Edit)

    Coleman: Ways we can productively engage with SACS?
    A: Our availability is open. Will engage with Thurmond. Liaison to Gov. Our staff will engage with Thurmonds staff. Share evidence. Where you need external assistance we will provide short lists of credible support to hire. Encourage board to continue to engage me. Commend thoughtful questions and listening. Continue to build on this. This district’s future is highly dependent upon the leadership around this table. I will support you. We can bring experience and perspective.

    Ever happen? Anyone know?

  33. Midvale Dad says:

    The experts Thurmond brought in were friends of his whose work was done at his house over the weekend before the budget was presented.

    HR? That department doesn’t need consultants as much as it needs a good razing. How many of the employees of the HR department have a college degree in HR? I am guessing very few if any. The best way to improve HR would be to outsource it.

  34. Interesting. I’m sure Elgart will be impressed.

    BTW – completely agree about HR. We have said for about 3 years that we really need a corporately trained HR chair and highly qualified staff. It’s so insulting that these educator/administrators think that they can do anyone’s job – however, no one can do theirs. For example, a former principal can lead building maintenance but a construction manager could never be a principal. Crazy egos!

  35. Word Wall says:

    We’re SO much better off now. Except for little details like classroom sizes, step raises, furloughs, the whole pesky zero-annuity-in-place-of federal Social Security thing and a massively bloated top-heavy administration….. so we are doing great now, except for Everything that actually matters ….

  36. sick of da cab says:

    I am sooo happy to have left DeKalb Schools and the mess that they have become. A good topic would be why in less than two months did over 1,000 over teachers chose to leave too. I would love to hear about their experience and reasons for leaving.

  37. Former Dekalb teacher says:

    I was being patient with the furloughs, lack of step increases, and loss of the annuity. From where I live in Dekalb, I would have to drive an extra hour each day to work in another school system, so I chose to stay. The poor leadership–both within the school and at the county level–sometimes got to me, but I enjoyed my kids and colleagues.

    Last August, I hit the wall. When I found that I had over 160 students, I went to the principal in tears, telling him that I simply could not deal with that many ninth-graders at once. I told him that despite my being far from retirement age, I would have to make 2012-13 my last year of teaching. His response–“I guess that’s a decision you have to make, isn’t it?”

    I got used to the overcrowded classes but never did get over being told that I didn’t matter. I did not for one minute consider signing a new contract with Dekalb. And I don’t for one second regret leaving.

  38. sick of da cab says:

    I left because I simply could no longer take another loss of pay/benefits. I was exhausted from staying late on countless nights to complete some meaningless busywork from the county office. DeKalb’s answer to everything was to simply “the teachers”. If they fell short on money “get it from the teachers”. If the administration had a huge report “it’s okay just get the teachers to do it”. If the students test scores sucked, “blame the teachers’. The kids and my colleagues were for the most part great but I found the nonchalant, cavalier attitude of the county and the school administration deplorable. The nepotism, the cliqueishness and the level of incompetence was ridiculous. Even the secretary of the school needed an attitude adjustment.

    DeKalb has serious problems at every level and the corruption extends from the schools, to the police to the county government. They need to take a serious look in the mirror and figure out why did so many people tell the district to ‘kick rocks” this summer. I am convinced that because of the attitudes and egos in the county office that the status quo will remain. They will simply bully new younger teachers and many will also leave disillusioned from their first experience of what the “teaching profession” has become. Too much greed, too much of a sense of entitlement and too many trying to be righteous. If it’s true that a few people can destroy an organization here is a clear case. I do not regret my decision to leave education’s version of the Titanic, my only regret is that I didn’t kick dust when I left.

  39. Thank you to all of the teachers sharing their insight and experiences here. We are all very sorry for what you’ve had to endure. Thank you for trying to hang on – and thanks to the many who still do hang on.

  40. The Lakeside City Alliance’s next informational meeting regarding potential cityhood is

    Wednesday, October 16
    at Briarcliff United Methodist Church,
    4105 Briarcliff Rd, NE 30345,
    7-8:30 pm in the Sanctuary

    Please tell your friends and neighbors about this important meeting to discuss potential cityhood in our North DeKalb community!

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