GOLD and SHAYE v. DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOLS

In 2009 — nearly 5 years ago — the DeKalb County School System broke a pact it had made 30 years earlier (1979) with DCSS teachers and staff. DeKalb County Schools stopped payment on a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) retirement fund for district employees.  


In 1979, the TSA was “sold” to employees as a “replacement” for Social Security, encouraging faculty and staff members to vote to drop Social Security. In return, DeKalb County Schools would contribute an amount equal to what DCSS would have contributed to Social Security into separate accounts for each employee.  


After two years of stonewalling by DCSS, DeKalb teacher Elaine Gold and school psychologist Amy Shaye filed suit against DCSS in June 2011.  Gold and Shaye claim DeKalb County Schools’ action was in direct violation of the contract the district agreed to and has resulted in a loss of millions of dollars for district employees.  Their suit seeks class action status, which would allow other DeKalb Schools employees to join the suit against the district.


On January 14, the Court denied Gold and Shaye’s Motion for Class Certification. The practical result of this ruling, if allowed to stand, is that each teacher could be compelled to retain and arrange for legal counsel in order to enforce their legal rights. 


An appeal was filed immediately. Elaine Gold and Amy Shaye believe the court’s decision is legally unsound and is grossly unjust to our teachers.  DeKalb School Watch is in full agreement with them.  Elaine and Amy remain committed to obtaining a remedy for all teachers negatively impacted by DCSS’s sudden termination of this important retirement benefit.


How important is TSA?  For starters, teachers — even those who have worked their entire careers for DeKalb County Schools — will receive little-to-no Social Security (per the federal Windfall Elimination Provision or WEP) when they retire because they are retiring from an organization that does not pay into Social Security.  WEP applies even to those DCSS retirees who claim spousal Social Security benefits instead of their own.  WEP applies even to those DCSS retirees who previously put in many years working elsewhere and paying into Social Security before being employed by and ultimately retiring from DCSS.


Faculty and staff who reach age 60 and have worked for DCSS for 10 years are eligible to retire from the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRA) as a DCSS retiree.


DeKalb County Schools’ unconscionably greedy act has condemned many DCSS retirees to a retirement in poverty.

Does anyone know if the superintendent, the superintendent’s “cabinet” and other “senior” administrators at the Palace still receive TSA contributions to their accounts?

If you know something about this, please contact DSW via e-mail (dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com) or, for complete anonymity, at DSW’s post office box address:  DeKalb School Watch, P. O. Box 660221, Atlanta, GA 30341-0221  You needn’t give us your name, but you must send a copy of whatever proof you have that backs up your claim.  We will put it in the right hands without revealing your identity.

For more information on this court case go to this URL at the Barnes Law Group.

 

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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32 Responses to GOLD and SHAYE v. DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOLS

  1. Inthetrenches says:

    Thank you for posting this very concise summary. Many teachers aren’t clear on where all of this stands.
    If anyone reading this blog has any legal expertise and can answer this question for me I would be very grateful.
    it’s my understanding that if this were to become a class action lawsuit that the teachers would receive pennies on the dollar and that for the most part the only winners would be the law firm handling the case. Isn’t it more advantageous financially for teachers to lawyer up individually? Admittedly I am NOT a legal expert so just looking for some clues as to how to put best proceed.

  2. concerned citizen says:

    There has been a persistent rumor for many years that the supt and the upper Palace do receive TSA. I have no proof, but somebody does.

  3. DisenchantedinDK says:

    Is this not a general question tax payers can ask and expect an honest answer? Could the new CFO answer this?

  4. DCSD FOR DUMMIES says:

    I don’t know how much longer I’m going to stay here. I’m thinking about walking away from this house as well.

  5. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – very, very well said!! Thank you for taking this very courageous stand. @Inthetrenches – if this lawsuit is granted class action status, any potential damages would go up significantly. In addition, the DCSS could be ordered not only to make full restitution to the teachers, but the DCSS could also be ordered to pay the legal expenses of the plaintiffs in addition to being fined. From my perspective, the DCSS ought to move quickly to settle this lawsuit. I don’t think these teachers are trying to get rich here – I think that they want only what the DCSS promised and committed – that’s it! If the DCSS does lose this case, and I can only imagine the millions that would be at stake, I would think that SACS would immediately re-enter the picture. The DCSS would face dire financial constraints and it can’t increase taxes to pay the associated costs. Besides, I think there would be an riot among the public if it made any attempt to do so. If such an event did occur, I would also hope that the Governor would not only remove the entire school board and superintendent, I would also hope that he would order State supervision and management of the DCSS.

    As I said on previous post, I don’t think that the school board can escape its commitments by simply changing its policy. Members of that school board are considered to be officers of the DCSS and what they say, write, and do matters and has broad ramifications. Quite frankly, I am with @DSW – I fully support the teachers and call for the DCSS school board to immediately settle this lawsuit.

    One final point, the court has only denied class action status – it said nothing about a ruling in this case nor should any conclusion be assumed. These two plaintiffs may well win this case and, if they do, what do you think other teachers will do? Losing this case would be just terrible, terrible publicity for the DCSS and I think that the DCSS is absolutely foolish to take the risk.

  6. TracyW says:

    Was this in addition to the state retirement system, or in lieu of it? My daughter is a teacher but not in DeKalb, so I know she pays in somewhere besides SS. When she worked at GA Tech she was paying into a state system there as well, and they gave her back her contributions when she left.

  7. Another comment says:

    All is not lost when a class action is not certified or you are excluded from a class action.

    For example back in the late 1980’s a female finally broke the glass ceiling at the the CDC. This wonderful highly qualified biologist Ms. Glenda Cowart was promoted to the 3 rd highest position. The position that was basically the equivalent of the Chief Operating officer. I was told that prior to Ms. Cowart, woman at CDC could only hope to be promoted to GS-9’s even if they were doing positions equal to what men were doing in GS- 13, 14, 15 positions. Most of these women had worked they way up from GS-5 positions. Ms. Cowart made sure that women were considered for higher graded Administrative Officer positions that males had prevously held at GS- 13/14, but the GS-9 women actually did while several retired in place males read the newspaper all day long. The office news paper readers were usurered out the door, so promotion opportunities for those doing the work could be created. Some program offices had male deputy directors who were GS-14/15 others had none, they were encouraged to hire ones with emphases on creating upper management positions for qualified women. We at one time had 3 male deputies and 2 female deputies. After eight years of women being treated progressively, unfortunately Ms. Cowart announced her retirement. It was a sad day for the women.

    The next person who got her position was one of the Good old boys, who came up through basically a non-science tract called Public Health advisor. The first thing he does is put all of his boys in PMO positions that are GS-15 over the Administrative officer positions that are primarily full of females who have been promoted to the level of the work they were doing. Next OPM comes in and does an audit and says you have a grading problem, basically too many people doing the same work at the same grade on paper to justify the grades. Instead of correctly sacrificing the PMO’s (males ) who OPM even got it right and their initial report correctly stated the PMO’s were the problem. But CDC’s Good old Boy JJ offered up the females, thinking they would not fight back. They, they hired a one man firm Adam conte to represent them. OPM initially wasn’t happy with just the Administrative Officers, so then they offered up the Deputy directors, because 2 of the 3 male deputies had just retired! and they would simple have two females occupy the current deputy positions so they would offer them up. I was one of those. I was told I could not join the class be cause I came in as a GS-14 not a GS-5/7 as the rest of the class and I was higher educated. Ok, I simply! hired the class attorney for $3k and had a seperate case they ended up giving me back my grade and my own office before the trail, so I won! because they already accommodated me before the hearing? The class members won too, but many of them had to move to completely different areas of an organization that at the time had about 4800 employees. My best friend was diagnosed with cancer at the same time and having to move to a new office with no hair going through chemo, I am sure led to her dying a month later.

    individually you each may not be able to hire the Roy Barnes firm. But you will probably be able to hire a one person firm like the Lady who won the text message suit. Adam Conte does mostly federal employment cases, but he does work out of Dekalb ( that is another thing they didn’t think of these same women were the ones who handled all the other employee suits, so they knew which attorney had the best record against the employers.

    My advice is don’t be discouraged, file individual complaints. Watch the statute of limitations clock. Be prepared if you win for retaliation. I won and was retaliated against. I won that too. By the way I was management and the union president who did not represent me, but employees testified for me, in both cases, because he felt I was a fair and good person.

  8. No, it is not a “general question that taxpayers can ask.” DeKalb School Watch has filed several Open Records Requests (ORRs) that were created specifically to give us these answers. Those ORRs — and many others — were ignored by DCSS. And, yes, we have gone to Sam Olens, Georgia’s taxpayer-elected Attorney General, who is charged with enforcing the law. That includes Open Records Requests. Sam Olens refuses to get involved even though it is clearly his responsibility. Remember that if Sam Olens tries to run for office again. Olens covets the title, but disdains the work it requires.

  9. Yes. We have heard that, too. All it would take is a look at a W-2 Form. The salaries of public employees are public record. Therefore, the data contained on a W-2 Form should be public record, as well.

  10. former dcss teacher says:

    I haven’t heard the rumor that the upper admin still get TSA. BUT…I have heard that custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers get some extra contribution- not sure if it’s a TSA or something else. These employees get paid very little, so I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t get the extra compensation, but it should be a completely transparent system of who is getting what.

  11. dekalbmom says:

    “DeKalb County Schools’ unconscionably greedy act has condemned many DCSS retirees to a retirement in poverty.”

    Please don’t overstate. The vast majority of people in the US work 30 or 40 or 50 years and have absolutely no pension or retirement at all. Even without the TSA, the retirement benefit is pretty generous compared to zilch in private industry. Plus all employees can utilize the 403b plan as a way to save money tax free for retirement.

    As some have commented in the past on this subject- the teachers, especially the new hires, should insist that DeKalb start contributing to Social Security. The employees would have to contribute 6.2 % of their wages to Social Security just like I have done for 40 consecutive years.

    And before I get slammed with angry comments, please know that I am sympathetic as many in my family are school teachers or retired teachers. But many local governments and school districts have learned that in poor economic times (especially when the tax base shrinks) that it is not economically feasible to fund such programs and returned to SS. It was wrong for DeKalb to change the agreement unilaterally but there is a quick remedy for the newer hires: pay into Social Security. Personally, I would never want my retirement future dependent on the financial prowess of DeKalb County Schools. I would not want to end up like Detroit.

  12. Formerdekalbteacher says:

    “Many local governments and school districts have learned that in poor economic times (especially when the tax base shrinks) that it is not economically feasible to fund such programs and returned to SS.”

    This doesn’t compute. The TSA actually cost the district less than Social Security. That was part of the reason it seemed like such a good deal all around. The school system paid less ( 5% of each teacher’s salary), into each teacher’s account than they would pay to the government for their share of Social Secutiry.

  13. dekalbmom says:

    No, you are looking at it wrong. Look at if from the point of an actuary-the fund cannot be self sustaining. Paying in only 5% does not generate a large enough base that in turn can generate sufficient investment earnings to pay out retirement benefits at the level required. Many public pension funds are similarly underfunded- some through miscalculations and some because their funds were raided or diverted for other purposes. Theoretically it was a great deal for teachers because they did not have to pay into the TSA. But in retrospect I suspect that the “annuity” side is underfunded. Remember you have baby boomers starting to retire in record numbers and retirees collecting benefits for much longer time periods as we are all living longer. Yes, DeKalb is guilty of financial mismanagement because they blew through the reserves and as a “fix” stopped paying into the TSA. If I was a new employee, I’d want a more secure retirement mechanism.

  14. Just so that we’re talking apples and apples. The TRS (Teachers Retirement System) is the state teachers retirement system. It’s a state-funded pension plan. Teachers still have this. All teachers and many other state school employees will benefit from this pension. It’s why teachers in the past were able to deal with a lower salary than many in the corporate world (which can be debated when you compare time working for comparative salaries, but I digress) – teachers knew that at least they would have a pension on top of Social Security. That’s a big plus. Nobody in business these days gets a pension anymore. We all have to save our own ‘pension’ in the form of a 401k or IRA. If we’re lucky, our employers will match our contributions in a small way (25% up to 3 or 4% of your salary usually). We all hope that we will also get a Social Security check in retirement – which we pay 7% of our pay towards and our employers pay a matching 7% (self-employed people pay the full 14% themselves).

    The extra retirement fund that the school board dreamt up in 1979 is the TSA – Tax Sheltered Annuity – and was baited to teachers as a way to have their own retirement account – as if you could put your Social Security contributions in your very own account over the years. (Of course, that is not how Social Security works at all!) The big bonus for the school system – it cost them less than Social Security. Same for teachers – no Social Security contribution taken from their pay – their contributions from their paychecks instead went directly into their own TSA account – an annuity. They actually would end up with a fund of their own that they could use in retirement – everyone’s account would have a different amount depending on your contributions – sort of like the 401k. There are municipalities and places around the country that have gone this route – but then again, as with any pension fund – you can also lose your investment’s value. Not so with a state TRS pension – it’s an entitlement that you ‘earn’ in lieu of more pay in your paycheck.

  15. DCSS custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers are under a completely different retirement system — not the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia. We believe DCSS custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers are still covered by Social Security, but have been unable to confirm that yet. If any DCSS custodian, cafeteria worker and/or bus driver would share a copy of his/her W-2 Form (keeping in mind that all public salaries are public record) so we can confirm if there is a contribution to Social Security for DCSS custodians, cafeteria workers and/or bus drivers that would be very much appreciated. Please redact (black-out) your Social Security number before sending us a copy of your W-2. Send it to DeKalb School Watch, P. O. Box 660221, Atlanta, GA 30341-0221

  16. Dekalbite2 says:

    @dekalbmom
    “Please don’t overstate. The vast majority of people in the US work 30 or 40 or 50 years and have absolutely no pension or retirement at all. Even without the TSA, the retirement benefit is pretty generous compared to zilch in private industry. Plus all employees can utilize the 403b plan as a way to save money tax free for retirement.”

    But workers do not have Social Security which the TSA was to replace. Teachers are a highly educated group. Many work for less pay than they would make in the private sector. I know I made much more in the private sector in sales for a large corporation than I made as a teacher in DeKalb. I was putting money into IRAs and other vehicles and was also paying into Social Security (my employer was as well) so I was creating more than one leg to stand on in retirement. How can teachers insist the county pays into Social Security? The school system would never agree to that because contributing to Social Security would cost even more than the 403B contributions. Thurmond and his administration will never give teachers a voice in this. They will just let teachers leave and hire whomever they can (mainly young, inexperienced teachers who need a few years experience to move along to a better or put in subs for students). There is no upside in keeping experienced teachers for Thurmond although there is an upside for students. He has not being held to increasing student achievement for students, while the people that hired him (the old BOE) are expecting him to keep the status quo in place.

    I truth, it doesn’t matter what you or I think is fair when it comes to teacher compensation. What matters is market compensation. The market drives the compensation in teacher pay the same as it is driven in private industry. We must compete with other school systems for highly qualified, effective teachers. Either we compensate teachers at the same rate as other metro systems do or we lose teachers – the market speaks and workers listen. Don’t you think something is wrong when 1,000 teachers left DeKalb this year?

  17. Dekalbite2 says:

    “I haven’t heard the rumor that the upper admin still get TSA. BUT…I have heard that custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers get some extra contribution- not sure if it’s a TSA or something else”

    Yes they do. They just cut the TSA for teachers and employees not certified to instruct students. This is not just lower paid employees. All those highly paid technology and security and maintenance employees are getting the TSA. Again, it’s only personnel certified to instruct students.

  18. @DeKalbite2 — would you please contact us via DSW e-mail (dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com) and let us know how we may contact you directly?

  19. September says:

    There are many teachers in Georgia who are paying into Social Security. Teachers are also paying into the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia. Teachers pay a percentage of their salary and school systems pay a percentage of the teacher’s salary to the Teacher’s Retirement System.

    If you look at your paycheck, you will see that Social Security taxes have been deducted. Employers are also required to pay Social Security taxes. That is in addition to the taxes the employee pays. It is the law. Employers and employees who don’t pay their Social Security taxes will find themselves in serious trouble. If you are self-employed, you still have to pay Social Security taxes.

    When DeKalb opted out of Social Security it made a deal with teachers, a contract, that it would pay into a Board sponsored retirement account in lieu of paying Social Security taxes. Teachers were offered a payroll deduction option to pay the amount they would have paid in Social Security taxes into a private retirement account. The combined accounts were expected to provide a benefit that would be equivalent to what they would have received from Social Security.

    A few years later, the Federal government realized that there were lots of people (not just in DeKalb) who had these private accounts and were also eligible to collect Social Security, because they had paid into the system for the required number of quarters. That is when the “windfall” provision was enacted. The provision kept an individual retiring from an organization that had opted out of the Social Security System from collecting a full Social Security pension and the “private” replacement pension. Today, a teacher who retires from DeKalb who is eligible to collect either her own or her husband’s Social Security benefit will have that benefit reduced because of the “windfall” provision.

    We have many, many young teachers who will not qualify for Social Security, if they spend their entire teaching career in DeKalb. They still have the option of paying their “tax” dollars into a private account. They could choose to save even more money. Why should DeKalb be exempt from paying Social Security taxes that most other employers are required pay, without providing an equivalent benefit to its employees?

  20. concerned citizen says:

    Would one of the Palace group please black-out their name and ss number and send your W-2 to DSW? Since the supt and his upper-level bozos can’t be honest and admit they’re getting TSA, there are those of us will indeed find out if we don’t get the truth out of you. So, Thurmond, let you go first and show some guts.

  21. dekalbmom says:

    DSW: you are correct the TRS is a separate program and is not the issue. It is run by the State of GA and does not seem to have the issues that other states like Pennsylvania are facing. I did not mean to confuse or alarm anyone. I have wondered if teachers who retired in the last few years (and after the School Bd ceased payments to the Board TSA plan are still receiving supplemental retirement benefits from the Board TSA program, just perhaps at a smaller scale than they would have if the Board continued to make contributions.
    The Optional TSA is where employees can save tax free and chose investments just like a 403(b) plan (government workers) or a 401K plan (private industry).

    DSW, I am pretty sure the 2014 Social Security tax rate is 6.2 % and Medicare is 1.45% for employees. (self employed individuals get hit with the entire amount as you noted).

    It would really stink if the senior executives and administrative staff are still getting the benefit of Board TSA contributions.

  22. You are exactly correct. I may have added them all in my head to get the 14% (I am self-employed…. it hurts to pay these. They actually add up to 15.3% of every dollar I make.)

    http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc751.html

    The current tax rate for social security is 6.2% for the employer and 6.2% for the employee, or 12.4% total. The current rate for Medicare is 1.45% for the employer and 1.45% for the employee, or 2.9% total.

  23. Still Waters says:

    Teachers working in DeKalb School System have every reason to be upset about the termination of contributions to the board TSA. The fact that we work for a government agency that does not pay into Social Security we are affected by two social security policies; WEP and GPO. There are currently groups working to get these policies changed. (A long shot) The elimination of the board TSA leaves us in a much more venerable financial position when retiring or becoming widowed. Some teacher do not find about these policies until they plan on retiring and are denied widows benefits and/ or having their own benefits cut in half.

    There are a couple of districts in the metro area that still pay into social security and most others have programs similar to our now unfunded TSA. (APS pays into neither, but their significantly higher salaries result in a higher pension)

    Insult to injury, not only are we being underpaid now, but our retirement futures are bleak as well due to the underhanded callous actions of the board. Those teachers who opted out of social security did so in good faith. They believed that there was an alternative to Social Security, so much for good faith in DeKalb Schools.

    http://calrta.org/get-informed/our-issues/fight-against-social-security-penalties/
    http://www.ssfairness.com/
    http://www.nea.org/home/16491.htm

  24. Dekalbite2 says:

    The Optional TSA is not like the Government workers Federal Retirement plan or private industry’s 401K plan. Government workers in the Federal Retirement a plan can contribute a substantially large portion of their income to a tax deferred plan, a much larger percentage available than anything available for private workers and in addition they are not bound by IRA rules in income limits (for example a high level executive for a doctor who works for the CDC who makes $130,000 for example can tax defer a substantial a part of their income – I believe it is as large ad 15% of their income) while a private industry worker who makes $130,000 a year cannot purchase a $5,000 IRA. These federal government workers also contribute to Social Security and the government contributes their share to Social Security for them. Unlike private industry however, the government has not matching contribution like a 401K. The burden for contributions excluding Social Security is entirely on the federal workers. No one “matches” their contribution.

    Civil service Retirement was phased out many years ago. This plan was much like the teachers TRS plan where you were paid a percentage of your highest three years. Very few workers are left who are under the Civil Service Retirement plan. Soon they will be retired and only the Federal Retirement Plan will be left. In the Federal Retirement Plan your retirement income is part defined benefits (Social Security) part defined contributions (the amount your can tax defer). They did not have Social Security contributions so they generally cannot collect any Security from spouses who contributed all to Social Security if their spouse dies. In other words, they lose all Social Security spousal benefits on the death of their spouse – courtesy of the Windfall Provision.

    I’m not a familiar with 401Ks so I’m not sure of limitations as far as percent of income you can defer, and does a 401K always require a contribution form a company or do some companies leave all of the tax deferred contributions up to the employees? I’m familiar with ESOP (employee Stock Ownership Plans) which I participated in when I worked with a large company many years ago. That worked out very well for me. BTW – for the decade I worked for them, I reached the point where I was at the top of the Social Security rate and so any extra income above that I made was not taxed for Social Security. I also contributed to Social Security in the 1970s with DeKalb so I had 15 years of Social Security contributions. I took a large penalty on my Social Security benefits that would have accrued to me when I retired because I retired from a system that did not pay into Social Security. Again, courtesy of the Windfall Provision.

    The salient points are:
    1. When DeKalb revoked their payment into Social Security, they promised to take those payments and place them into a Tax deferred account for teachers. We all voted on this premise (I remember because I voted, and this was the year I left DeKalb for private industry).
    2. The Windfall Provision can have a devastating effect on any teacher who comes from a system or private industry and paid into Social Security for 10 to 20 years. It also affects their spouse and children if they die. Their spouse and children will receive less benefits. The reverse is true if the teacher loses their spouse who has paid into Social Security for all those many years.
    3. DeKalb compensation is not commensurate with metro area schools when one considers the loss of the Board TSA and the Windfall Provision penalties teachers will pay simply because DeKqlb does not pay IntoSocial Security. This puts us at a disadvantage when we must compete with marketplace compensation for highly qualified teachers.

  25. Good explanation dekalbite. And it endorses my theory that we will never be able to attract long-term teachers. We will only attract new teachers who need experience. After a few years, they will move on to a system that will pay them better and protect their retirement.

  26. Dekalbite2 says:

    so Sorry. Correction. The Federal Retirement Plan (FERD) does contribute 1% of your income as part of your retirement plan. They also participate in Social Security which is a defined contribution and defined benefit. TSP portion is the defined contribution portion of your retirement, but is not a defined benefit. The main defined benefit is Social Security.

  27. Dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW
    Yes. That does seem to be part of the overall plan. Get new inexperienced teachers who need jobs (teacher churn). Hire them cheap. When they get some experience, they can move on to better paying systems. All this while we pay the second highest school millage tax rate in Georgia. From a business standpoint, this is exceptionally inefficient. I know many people say education should not be run as a business model, but in truth our nation must have a higher level of achievement for all students of very income level, race, cultural origin, and gender in order to remain competitive.

    The current educational model must change, and change does not mean giving teachers all of the accountability but none of the authority. Nor does this model have room for the politics of “career ladders” for non teaching employees and the jobs programs that so many school systems have become (this extends beyond DeKalb even though DeKalb has proved to be the most egregious).

    Our school systems cannot take the place of parents nor can we change parents. That is not the business of the school system. What we can do is provide EVERY student with:
    1. A safe and clean learning environment
    2. A highly qualified and well compensated teacher with a reasonable class size
    3. Abundant access to cutting edge science and technology equipment

    These three components MUST come first. Whatever money is left over can be used for services outside the classroom. Without these three components, students will not have an equal opportunity to an education and those in lower income areas will suffer the most

    Not one “upper level” DeKalb administrator understands this basic premise because they have little to no experience in the classroom, particularly in lower income classrooms.

  28. Take a look at this PENDING LEGISLATION:


    SR 782 – creates a Joint Study Committee charged with studying and evaluating whether the State of Georgia should continue to offer the existing retirement plan to new employees entering the teaching profession or whether the State should offer a new retirement plan that would be more cost effective to maintain in the long-term while still providing adequate retirement security to its members.

    The Joint Study Committee will be composed of 17 members: 3 members of the House of Representatives; 3 members of the Senate; 8 members to be appointed by the Governor as follows: 2 citizens at large and 6 TRS members who represent each of the following: the Georgia Department of Education, the Board of Regents, the Technical College System, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the Georgia Association of Educators, and the Georgia Retired Educators Association; the State Chief Financial Officer; the State Auditor; and the State Treasurer.

    The Committee shall study the design of TRS as it pertains to members whose effective date of membership is on or after July 1, 2017. Any report of recommendations shall be made on or before January 1, 2015, at which time the Committee will be abolished.

    Supported by the TRS Board of Trustees.

  29. concerned citizen says:

    Who are the members of the TRS Board of Trustees, and also who are the members of the Joint Study Committee? I smell a rat again. I am almost always correct as to its location. The stench is still moderately mild, but seems to be growing minute-by-minute. I’ll probably nose it out, but somebody may know and could tell what they nose, right? It seems NAMES are a big problem for DeKalb and the State; names are never used. I’m still waiting for the NAMES of the San Diego fiasco and the dollar amount they spent and who in DeKalb approved this crap. No body wants to admit involvement, but a lot of people went and spent. Title I doesn’t require bogus crap traveling to be done, but that’s exactly what happened. And of course who can forget the recruiting trips by HR????? You know, the supt and Palace do indeed think we are stupid, and we do seem to be stupid to allow their nonsense to go on for years, unabated. We lack courage in DeKalb, to deal with unthinking and unethical Palace participants in greed. Nasty business!

  30. dekalbmom says:

    Dekalbite2: I need to correct some of your statements about federal employee retirement benefits. I am a federal employee. Any federal employee hired after 1983 is part of FERS retirement system (not the previous program- Civil Service Retirement System). FERS employees pay the same social security and medicare contributions as private industry employees. All federal employees can take part in the Thrift Savings Plan which is a form of 403(b) plan. The total amount of pre tax dollars that a federal employee may contribute to their personal 403(b) savings account is limited by the IRS to 10% of pay or a max of $17,500 for tax year 2014. This is the same IRS limit that employees in private industry can contribute to a 401K account or can be contributed to a 457(b) plan. This should also be the same limit that a DeKalb teacher can contribute to their Optional TSA account. Most individuals with earned income may also have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) but the ability to deduct contributions up to $5500 year may differ based on individual tax situations.

    You are correct that older federal employees who are in the CSRS program do not contribute to Social Security and are subject to the same windfall provisions as DeKalb teachers. They can also contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan but do not receive any matching funds from the federal government because of the generous CSRS pensions they can draw. FERS employees have much smaller pensions but the government contributes some matching funds to their Thrift Savings accounts (but it phases out at 5%). The big difference between the federal Thrift Savings plan and a 401K is that federal employees have very limited choices regarding how they can invest their retirement savings. Most 401K plans have a wider range of choices.

    The federal government is phasing out the CSRS program, most likely because it was not financially or politically sustainable. But they realized this in the early 1980s….

  31. Dekalbite2 says:

    @dekalbmom
    My spouse made the choice in 1983 to stay with the CSRS when we compared it to FERS. Which is the better plan has a lot to do with your investments we have been told since the CSRS is a straight defined benefit plan. Also a contributing factor would be the income bracket you are in for tax deduction purposes (for example – can you afford to contribute the maximum amount and how does that impact your taxes. Also, if you have a spouse that contributes to Social Security and dies, the Windfall Provision can be an impact for those in CSRS. Staying with CSRS also impacted people who had some Social Security contributions before they started working for the government). We concluded CSRS was better for us. The TSP was opened to the CSRS members but on a much smaller basis but no matching funds. There are less investment choices, but there is (IMO) a good deal of difference in the risk from the limited number that the TSP offers (at least this is true on the CSRS side). Merely discontinuing the CSRS does not mean all of the burden is placed back on the employee though since the tax avoidance is much greater with FERS and Social Security contributions and benefits are financial obligations on the part of the federal government. I’m sure all of this was taken into account before they phased out CSRS. Thanks for the clarifications.

  32. concerned citizen says:

    Dekalbite2 – you repeat it and repeat it and it’s so easy to understand that even the love doctor and Thurmond should be able to comprehend what it takes to run an efficient school system. Do any of the bozos at the palace ever read what we write? How could anyone not understand the basic three: if you’ve told them once, I know you have told them 100 times so there can be no excuses,,,,well…I just didn’t understand….dr., er, uh, mr..hum,,,er, uh,,I thought I was doing great with Arthur the Blank and SACS saying “great” things about DeKalb. ???????AB can’t even run a franchise football team, and we know how stupid Elgart is….if he’s fooled about DeKalb’s progress. He’s a stuffy, little man, ugh.

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