by Kirk Lunde
I spoke to the BOE last night during the Public Input Meeting and probably did a lousy job. I had notes ready and couldn’t use them because I was so upset by what one board member said during the work session. At the last minute I decided to speak about that instead.
Please accept my apologies if you felt I was out of line. Also, you probably don’t want to read any further if you get upset by calling out and challenging DeKalb School District employees, BOE members, and the superintendent when I believe they are “shoveling the manure” or just plain wrong.
The international teachers contracts is part of what I had prepared to speak about.
In the recently ended school year these international teachers are reported to have earned a salary of $47,000 and in the upcoming school year they are reported to earn a salary of $55,000. On top of the salary the school district pays a “fee” to the placement companies of $11,500.
Surprisingly, several BOE members had questions about the contracts.
Dr. Smith was asked about using Teach For America teachers and she tripped all over herself trying to answer. First she said the $4,000 fee was too high. (compared to $11,500?) However, Teach For America has waived the fee for DeKalb County. Then she said if the district had to pay the benefits for the TFA teacher, the overall cost would be more than the international teachers. Then she said TFA couldn’t staff special education, but most of the international teachers are NOT teaching special education.
I would like to come back to the second point she made and prove she was either lying or is not aware of the salary schedule for teachers. According to the DeKalb teacher salary schedule a new teacher (such as a TFA teacher) earns $40,742 annually.
The first linked document shows the district paid 31% of salaries for benefits. Let’s assume that is 33% this year.
$40,742 X 1.33 = $54,187.
The international teachers cost the district $66,500 per year versus teachers from Teach For America which would cost around $55,000 (rounding up).
Dr. Smith would like us to believe she is saving the district money. Not surprisingly, the BOE believed her and moved the item to the consent agenda.
What upset me yesterday was one board member’s rant about how the BOE needs to “stay out of the way”, “stay in their lane,” and “trust these people to do their jobs without micromanaging them.”
What I said last night, I honestly don’t remember. I wanted to tell the board they can’t trust the senior administration to be truthful or competent because at least one of those things is missing.
*This blog post represents only my opinion and does not speak for any other person or group.
>> Read more about DSW’s findings on the international teacher contracts in the comments of this post >> Today’s board meetings: June 2, 2014