The essentially miniscule 1% pay “increase” grandly announced by Thurmond is an insult. As Miss Daisy disgustedly declared in Driving Miss Daisy … “I think I may spit up.”
Run the numbers. A 1% increase for a $60,000 salary is $600. $50 per month. Before taxes. Meanwhile, teachers have gone without base salary cost-of-living increases for six years. Inflation was more than 9% during that time, while teachers were hit with hikes in health insurance premiums of about 10% from 2010 to 2012 and about 7.5% in 2013. See more here.
Even with furlough days restored, this is a “raise” in name only.
Add that Thurmond says this will be an “across-the-board” increase – including the likes of Ramona Tyson and the rest of the overpaid, under-talented Palace minions – and this “raise” becomes a slap in the face.
DeKalb County Schools has always had enough money to pay our teachers well and to make sure schools were in good repair and classrooms had necessary supplies and equipment.
Read the sentence above once more and let it sink it.
DeKalb County Schools superintendents Lewis, Tyson, Atkinson and Thurmond, as well as the inept board members – current and previous – have preferred to spend most of the money on overpaid friends-and-family and the well-connected and questionable construction projects, as well as huge, unnecessary legal bills and 3 or 4 law firms on retainer.
DeKalb County Schools is not about educating students. Declining test scores for the past 10 years confirm that. DeKalb County Schools is a jobs program for friends-and-family and for the well-connected. Those pesky teachers and students are a mere impotent annoyance – like gnats.
We have heard from teachers saying they signed their contracts because they have only a few more years until retirement. Yet, in counties surrounding DeKalb, school systems are hiring – paying more and including “perks” like Social Security, decent raises and COLAs, smaller classes, competent administrators, qualified superintendents. Moving from one Georgia public school system to another, teachers are still a part of the Teachers Retirement System.
Here are the facts:
(1) your Teachers Retirement System (TRS) pension is based on your two (2) highest years of salary while part of the TRS (working for any Georgia public school system) and
(2) by retiring from DeKalb County Schools or any public school system that does not pay into Social Security, you will take a big hit (an approximate 33% reduction) in whatever Social Security you may be eligible to receive, whether it is based on your earnings or your spouses’s earnings. (Check it out: Windfall Elimination Provision)
(3) you have already lost six years of tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) payments, even though it was created to make up what you will lose in Social Security. Will you ever recover those non-funded years when the board reneged on its promise and all of the lost compound interest? Probably not.
Your retirement income — especially for those teachers nearing retirement — is very much in jeopardy. For teachers nearing retirement, you are out of time to recover unless you make the decision to teach elsewhere.
The pittance that Thurmond has thrown to you is like throwing a bone to a dog. Not much to eat but it will grab your attention.
Thurmond’s real reason for doing this is likely a combination of the following:
(1) ensure election/re-election of board members who are willing to do his bidding
(2) stop charter schools (which do not have to be part of a charter system) because he knows that truly autonomous charter schools (now required by the state) can and will pay better, offer better working conditions, may choose to join Social Security and/or reinstate TSA, and fund teachers and classrooms first because their mission is educating students.
(3) muffle criticism while keeping the gravy train rolling for friends-and-family and the well-connected for as long as possible
(4) appear to be a great guy who “gets it” and “works miracles” … as if
*Oliver, in the orphanage, asking for more gruel while the workhouse governors feast; from Oliver! The Musical