Right now … the Georgia Department of Education needs to call a halt to the charter school process in DeKalb County.  It is broken.  Seriously.  Broken.

There is no better illustration of why this needs to happen than last Wednesday’s unanimous vote to approve the “McNair” College and Career Charter Academy or the “DeKalb” College and Career Charter Academy (depending on which part of the cut-and-paste petition you read) vs Thurmond’s recommendation that Druid Hills Charter Cluster (DHCC) be denied – again.

What has Thurmond’s panties in a wad is most likely that the Druid Hills Charter Cluster proposal revealed that DeKalb County Schools (DCS) was siphoning off $11 million that should rightfully have gone to the schools in the DHCC – more specifically to students, teachers and classrooms in DHCC.  The students in these schools earned those allotted funds, yet the actual funding the DeKalb administration allocated to the cluster came up short by $11 million.

Because the school district collects money from the state and then allocates it to individual schools according to their own unpublished formula, we suspect that many of these dollars are being spent at the top or allocated to small schools that do not qualify for enough funding to continue to operate as a self-funded individual school. Of course, these are simply guesses and the only true way to find out about spending is to conduct an independent, full forensic audit.

The Truth About Per-Pupil Funding

Here’s what needs to be understood about school funding by all those who scream that charter schools and charter clusters take money away from other schools or poor schools in DeKalb:

  1. Property tax is assessed based on the supposed market value of the property and any improvements (i.e., a house).
  2. North DeKalb properties seem to be worth quite a lot more than South DeKalb properties.
  3. Nevertheless, property tax does NOT stay in the community from which it is received. It all goes into one big bucket.  Approximately 70% of that bucket is used to fund schools, leaving 30% to fund all other county government including libraries, the courts, refuse collection, police and fire.
  4. A per-pupil dollar amount is determined by dividing the number of public school students in DeKalb County into the property tax (approximately 70¢ of every dollar collected) that goes to fund K-12 education.
  5. Regardless of how poor the community, every community could and should start with the same basic amount of money per student – even if every school in wealthier North DeKalb became a charter school.
  6. A separate big bucket of money comes in the form of federal Title I funds provided to high poverty schools. DCS has approximately 41 Title I schools.
  7. South DeKalb schools receive more money per pupil than North DeKalb Schools because very few North DeKalb schools are Title I.
  8. Confusingly, apparently Title I funds do not follow the student. In fact, students who leave a low-performing Title I school to enroll in a non-Title I magnet or charter school are leaving behind a lot of money and costing the receiving school more money to address the students’ needs and deficiencies.  Those needs and deficiencies are not rectified by osmosis, not rectified by sitting in a classroom next to higher performing students.

Charter schools and charter clusters do NOT take money away from public schools that serve poorer communities.  In fact, when a student leaves a Title I school to enroll in a charter school or charter cluster more money becomes available to educate the students who stay in the Title I school.

Ask …

  • … Thurmond and the school board members to explain why they cannot get the job done when they really get more money – not less – to educate students in Title I schools.
  • … Thurmond and the school board to explain why they begrudge DHCC a level playing field of per-pupil funding when Title I schools automatically get more funding above the per-pupil level.
  • … Thurmond and the school board where all the money goes.

Yes, we mean you, Jim McMahan and Marshall Orson, who made the vote unanimous in favor of the poorly planned and executed McNair/DeKalb College and Career Academy petition.  Yes, we mean you, Michael Erwin, who voted for McNair/DeKalb and against DHCC even though your own child attends a high-quality DCS charter school.  Yes, we mean you, John Coleman, a no-show for board meetings now.  Still collecting that paycheck, are you, compliments of your wife?

The Truth About The McNair/DeKalb Charter School Petition

We have read and studied both the DHCC charter petition and the McNair/DeKalb College and Career Academy petition:

  • DHCC petition is well-done and should become a model template for a charter cluster. It ticks all the boxes.  It should have been approved the first time.

McNair/DeKalb, who received a $50,000 planning grant in 2013 to put together a charter school petition apparently assembled both the charter school petition and the grant application for $3 million to become a college and career academy in fewer than 15 working days. When and where was the $50,000 grant spent?

Among the glaring errors with the McNair/DeKalb petition:

  • They can’t decide on a name. Is it the McNair College and Career Charter Academy or is it the DeKalb College and Career Charter Academy?
  • The current DCS superintendent sits on the board of this school and used his ex officio school board position to strongly recommend board approval of this school. This was a blatant and unacceptable conflict of interest!
  • The full board for McNair/DeKalb was not named, therefore many resumes and conflict of interest forms are missing, including Thurmond’s.
  • Their petition promotes dual enrollment with Georgia Perimeter College, NOT with Georgia Piedmont Technical College, McNair/DeKalb’s supposed “partner.”
  • It appears that they have an application form which requires an essay (totally a no-no) and suggests the applicant might not be accepted (another total no-no) and a registration form that requires test scores, but does not explain that those test score may not be used to determine admission.
  • McNair/DeKalb suggests they will have an extended year. This is not allowed by DCS in their charter school guidelines.
  • No noticeable involvement of stakeholders (parents, teachers) in creating this charter school.  Nada.  None.
  • No petitions signed by parents in feeder schools saying that they would send — or even consider sending — their child(ren) to McNair/DeKalb.
  • McNair/DeKalb is clearly duplicating the offerings at the Technology North campus (housed within Cross Keys High School) and the DeKalb High School of Technology South. However, oddly, the DHSTS is mentioned twice in the McNair proposal; once when they mention that the two schools under consideration are already owned by DCSS (without actually mentioning DHSTS) and in another place, they include the entire floor plan of DHSTS as part of the proposed school site.

The list above is just a glimpse of the problems with the McNair/DeKalb petition. There is so much that is wrong with this charter petition on so many levels – it can’t even be called a rough first draft.

Perhaps the most egregious error is this:

  • McNair/DeKalb will begin their first year serving 8th grade students (no explanation of what this does financially to the middle schools from which these students come).

But, wait – there’s more!

  • The College and Career Academy Grant guidelines are clear: to be eligible for the grant, McNair/DeKalb must serve, at a minimum, 11th and 12th  It will be 4 years before McNair/DeKalb reaches that point.  Therefore, McNair/DeKalb is ineligible for the $3 million grant.  Meanwhile, when asked what would happen if McNair/DeKalb did not get the grant, Thurmond said that he would request that the school system fund McNair/DeKalb (which could be a continuing conflict of interest, since he sits on the McNair/DeKalb Charter Board.  Who didn’t do their homework – and why?

In a nutshell: Thurmond, in another major conflict of interest, has committed to fund a school that breaks DeKalb County Schools’ own charter school guidelines many times and that was pushed through a last-minute called board vote so it could apply for a $3 million grant for which it is not eligible. 




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100 Responses to BROKEN.

  1. Frustrated says:

    Don’t let Bricston fool you! She is a snake in the grass and will bite you. Just ask any of her other schools. Not supportive at all, micromanager, poor communicator. I am glad she stepped up for Cross Keys, just know she has an ulterior motive.

  2. concernedmom30329 says:


    I know people at multiple schools who have had positive experiences with Bricston.

  3. Openminded says:

    I see the frustration in these comments, and I agree with much of it, but everyone at the Central Office is not part of the problem. I read earlier that DCSS was about to lose one of it’s best. Of all the regional assistant superintendents (and I’ve met most of them), Dr. Angela Pringle is probably the most competent of the group. While many of the executives at the CO could leave and nobody would likely notice, Dr. Pringle’s leaving would be a significant loss for the county. It would be in the county’s best interest for Thurmond to find a way to keep Dr. Pringle and put here in a position where her professionalism and competence will make a difference.

  4. Not so casual observer says:

    The new county-mandated sign-in and sign-out procedures for teachers are onerous. The county has always treated (correctly) teachers as exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means there is no need to pay overtime. The county’s teacher handbook confirms this status.

    Now, the county is threatening to dock teachers’ pay for failing to sign in or out, or for leaving school during the day. This is not permitted under the FLSA for exempt salaried employees. With all of the money spent on lawyers by DeKalb County, you would assume they would run things like this past their labor and employment counsel, but apparently they think they know the law best. Since FLSA plaintiffs’ lawyers can recoup their fees from the County, and since such a lawsuit would be a slam dunk win, this will be more money out of our schools and our pockets if they continue on this path.

  5. kirklunde says:


    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Dr. Pringle. Her history at DeKalb County is remarkable for lacking competence, leadership, and customer service.

  6. DSW2Contributor says:

    “Not so casual observer” said “The new county-mandated sign-in and sign-out procedures for teachers are onerous.”

    That’s an issue that is worthy of a blog topic all by itself.

    When the new procedure was rolled-out, its implementors stated that the procedure is needed because DCS “has lost millions of dollars” by paying people who were not present at their workplace. (I cannot say whether or not DCS has lost that much money, but I can confirm that the DCS employees implementing the policy are telling other DCS employees that the system “has lost millions of dollars”.)

    The implementors also claim that the sign-in procedures must be followed because when some DCS employees were taking sick and/or vacation days, those days were never charged against their accrued leave. I do not believe that explanation; I doubt that even DCS could get lose millions of dollars from simply failing to deduct vacation and sick leave hours. The losses have to involve paid employees who never ever showed to work (and/or the “millions of dollars” in losses is an exaggeration.)

    Furthermore, many DCS schools have always followed the sign in-and-out policy; every employee at those schools have been signing in and out each day all along. That is actually what DCS written policies require. So these “new county-mandated sign-in and sign-out procedures” are not actually new, nor are they onerous.

    I am also pretty sure that “Not so casual observer” is incorrect when he/she says that the FLSA prohibits the practice of signing in and out each day.

    Basically, the story here seems to be three-fold: (1) DCS is rolling out a “new” policy that is actually a written policy that has been in place for a long time, (2) the policy requires that employees sign in and out each day and (3) DCS employees say this “change” is needed because millions of dollars were lost paying employees who were not actually present at their workplace.

  7. We were made aware of this earlier today. DeKalb County Schools never tires of finding new ways to screw teachers.

    Many DCS schools — perhaps most — did ask employees, including teachers, to sign in and out each day. That is permitted under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as far as we can tell, even for exempt employees. We are not sure that “Not So Casual Observer” objects to signing in and signing out. And, “Not so Casual Observer” never used the word “prohibit.”

    What “No So Casual Observer” objects to and says is wrong according to FLSA is DCS’ threat to dock teachers’ pay if they forget to sign in or sign out — or if they leave school during the day.

    While we do believe that it would be easy for DCS to lose millions of dollars for failing to deduct vacation and sick leave hours because incompetence rules in the bloated Palace and in the administration of some DCS schools, sick leave and vacation are not handled on the Sign In / Sign Out sheet.

    Even more likely, dollars have been lost and continue to be lost to employees who don’t show up for work, but receive and cash their paychecks. One prime example is the well-connected Jamal Edwards, son of former school board chair Frances Edwards. (Jamal’s sister, Philandrea Guillory, and brother-in-law, David Guillory, also feed at the trough of DeKalb County Schools.) Jamal Edwards did not report for work at Nancy Creek School for six (6) months – and says he was unaware that he was assigned there. The question remains, where DID he report? And what was he doing? Alice Thompson, current Deputy Superintendent, was principal of Nancy Creek at the time. Ramona Tyson was in charge of IT and when she was told about this situation, she ‘said’ she was ‘shocked’! Was Jamal fired or otherwise punished? Did Jamal pay back, with interest, the monies he was paid (stole) while not showing up for work? Not to our knowledge. In fact, according to the salary reports, Jamal has received a significant raise in his salary.

    Add to this, Philandrea Guillory (well-connected, powerful south DeKalb former board member Francis Edward’s daughter) is still highly compensated (but we are unsure of her current title) and her husband David Guillory was reinstated as head of transportation (NOTE: Thurmond did NOT seek out a professional from FedX or UPS to run that department, he dug up a well-connected insider and reinstated his power and salary.) This means three members of this one family are pulling in a total of about $300,000 a year from the DeKalb Schools payroll.

  8. We agree with Kirk. A quick perusal of DeKalb School Watch 2 and the original DeKalb School Watch (search for “Pringle”) and a lot of documented misdeeds by Pringle come up. Tied in with New Birth Missionary Baptist church (Eddie Long), Angela Pringle is also a well-connected friends-and-family member. Pringle has been shifted around from job to job in DCS so many times, it is a wonder she can remember where to report for work. She is what we have come to expect from DeKalb County Schools. We hope she goes away and stays away. Although we feel sorry for the school system stupid enough to hire her. (We are not putting in the name of the school system, yet, because we don’t want them to be notified of this post and rethink their decision. All’s fair …)

  9. There’s a logical way to handle this — outsource payroll!! Companies like First Data and PayChex handle hundreds of thousands of employee payroll every single day. They can track vacation and sick days and have easy ways for bosses to report absences. PLUS – they know the laws – which change all the time – and will make those contributions as required to Social Security or its replacement.

    This is a no-brainer. Our HR and Finance departments cannot handle these details. Outsource it to someone who can.

  10. concerned citizen says:

    Pringle’s background outside DeKalb shows us a very strange pattern of behavior. Many people in DeKalb are aware of her “background, ” and now she is going back! Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  11. George says:

    As an employee, I do not take issue with the new sign-in procedures. There are those in the school house who are habitually late and leave early. The old procedure of pen & paper made it easy to lie.

  12. howdy1942 says:

    I can think of many reasons in today’s security-conscious world for signing in/out. Given the tragedies that have happened at so many places, it can be very important to know whether specific people are in the building or not. That can be done for all personnel while treating each person professionally. To take this one step further, this should be done automatically. We need to take steps today to protect our teachers and one important part of that is know if they are in the building and, if so, where in the building they are.

    With a few exceptions, I take a broad view of the Dekalb County School System. Our daughters attended schools in the DCSS throughout their 12 years and graduated from Tucker High School. During those years, those schools were very well run and discipline was strict. There were probably issues in the school system at that time, but nothing like what they are today. Today, we have serious issues with governance, in leadership, and in performance. I began frequently attending meetings of the school board about six years ago and silently thought if things were as bad as they appeared to me. I listened to representatives of the administration speak and heard poor grammar and saw numerous misspelled words and grammatical errors in their presentations. I had numerous questions that I expected at least one member of the school board to ask – none did! I couldn’t help but think back to my working career in industry – that type of thing was simply not tolerated. I cannot imagine ever making a presentation to the board of directors, the officers or, worse yet, to my own boss being so unprepared. I remember one specific meeting of the school board chaired by Ms. Zepora Roberts when she was Vice-Chair and was amazed at how that meeting was conducted. I couldn’t help but wonder that if what I was seeing was representative of the DCSS, that what must be happening to our students. And I even remember seeing members of the school board literally sleeping during a meeting, members talking to each other while members of the public were presenting, and even walking out when someone said something they didn’t like.

    We have some priorities that must be addressed. First, steps must be taken to restore the confidence of the people who live in Dekalb County and that must be done by first listening. My observation is that little is being done – residents are treated in an arrogant manner. Second, steps must be taken to address the total breakdown between the administration and the teachers. That must begin by settling that lawsuit involving two teachers and we simply must, absolutely must, find the money to compensate our teachers on a level commensurate with their peers in neighboring schools. Until we have a full audit of our school system that shows clearly how our dollars are being spent, I will continue to believe that we have the funds to pay our teachers and restore the contributions to their TRA. Just today, I read about a program in Gwinnett Schools where students in about 12 schools will be “immersed” in classes taught in part in a foreign language to teach those students that language. Do we have anything like that in Dekalb? Third, we must totally eliminate race as any remote consideration in making employment decisions. Rather, we must seek the best qualified person for a job – period. The rest of the world has long moved past this factor, but serious suspicions remain in Dekalb County. Fourth, we must find a way to attract and keep teachers. There is simply no way in which any organization can function effectively with such high turnover rates in personnel. Permanent faculty must be in the classroom on Day 1 and principal positions must be staffed at least two months before Day 1. Our kids are that important. Fifth, a personnel evaluation system must be put in place, performance evaluated in a measurable manner, and outstanding performers recognized and poor performers either developed or terminated. Sixth, discipline must become the order of the day in classrooms – no student or parent or anyone should be allowed to interfere with the learning process of others – period.

    My view is that when a system is so broken, has so lost the respect of the people it serves, has the worst performance results in the area, has such a high teacher turnover rate, has such a high legal bill, engages in court battles with its teachers, has such a poor record in managing human resources, and engenders so much negative publicity, then it is time to make changes in leadership. There just comes a time when it is essential to say enough is enough and choose the harder right instead of keeping the easier wrong.

  13. If you are an Angela Pringle insider, a member of New Birth, or someone she cares about, she will go that extra mile. Just like she did when she gave Eddie Long’s daughter questionable transfer credit so that she could graduate from Arabia HS >>

    Essentially, Pringle, who was serving as Area Super and principal of Arabia at the same time, allowed pastor of New Birth, Eddie Long’s daughter to use credit from their church school to apply for graduation from Arabia. When informed by another parent, Ramona Tyson (then superintendent) acted shocked and promised an investigation. But – we all now know how much Ramona’s promises are worth – she also promised a full forensic audit and even promised a timeline for it to be conducted. She also promised that she would balance out per pupil spending and course offerings across the system, as she was ‘shocked’ to find out that educational opportunities and spending were inequitable across DeKalb. She was also ‘shocked’ as head of IT to learn that Jamal Edwards had not reported to his job as IT for Nancy Creek ES. So Pringle was never reprimanded (or perhaps not even investigated) for cheating for Eddie Long’s daughter, per pupil spending was never balanced and in fact is still very inequitable across DeKalb, a forensic audit was never conducted – or even begun and former board member Francis Edward’s son Jamal Edwards was promoted and now earns far more than he did in his assignment at Nancy Creek. (In fact, Francis Edward’s son in law, David Guillory who was demoted by Atkinson, was reinstated as head of transportation and his wife, Edward’s daughter is also still a very highly compensated DCSS employee.) But of course, Ramona is still a very highly compensated administrator in DCSS doing who knows what.

  14. DSW2Contributor says:

    Well, it’s Friday, August 8, and time for the “Back to School Pep Rally and live remote with V-103 CBS Radio and radio personality Big Tigger! DeKalb County School District wants to inspire, motivate, and empower students and families to get excited about education and the new school year. This event will include the following: Resources & Information for Parents, Live Entertainment, Interview with Superintendent Thurmond and administrators.” It’s at the Palace this afternoon, from 2:00pm-6:00pm

    Meanwhile, as Mikey is out peppin’ wit Big Tigger, three hundred and seventeen (317) jobs Dekalb County Schools positions remain unfilled.

    Posted on today are openings for Twelve (12) Academic & Academic Data coaches, Three (3) Principals, Six (6) Assistant Principals, Five (5) Head Custodians, Fourteen (14) Custodians, Thirty-Eight (38) Paraprofessionals, and

    Here’s the full list of vacant jobs:

    Accountant III, Capital Outlay 1
    Analyst – HR Data 1
    Assistant I, Food Service 14
    Assistant I, Food Service-MS 3
    Assistant I, Food Service PT 2
    Assistant Principal (ES) 2
    Assistant Principal (MS) 1
    Assistant Principal (HS) 3
    Assistant, Food Service Sub 1
    Assistant, School Office 1
    Assoc – Accounting I- Title II 1
    Basketball – Varsity boys/Head 1
    Basketball – Varsity girls/Head 1
    Basketball, Varsity girls/Head 2
    Bookkeeper, 12 Month 1
    Bus Driver 1
    Bus Driver, Sub 1
    Bus Monitor – Special Ed 1
    Campus Supervisor Central 2
    Campus Supervisor Substitute 1
    Clerical Substitute 1
    Clerk III – Safety and Training 1
    Clerk II, Records 1
    Clerk, Transportation PT 2
    Coach / Head Football 1
    Coach, Academic 4
    Coach, Academic Data 8
    Coach, Lay 1
    Coordinator – Apprenticeship 1
    Coordinator II – English/LA 1
    Coordinator III, Spec Ed (050) 1
    Coordinator, School Nutrition 1
    Coord., Sch.Allotments/Budgets 1
    Counselor I 4
    Custodian II 12 Month (Elem) 5
    Custodian II 12 Month (High) 2
    Custodian II Part-Time (ES) 4
    Custodian II Part-Time (HS) 2
    Custodian II Part-Time (MS) 1
    Custodian, Head 4
    Custodian, Head MS 1
    Custodian, Substitute 1
    Director, Exec. Facility Mgmt. 1
    Driver/Operator Delivery Truck 1
    Executive Asst. Curriculum & I 1
    Executive Legal Officer 1
    Facilitator – EL Success 2
    Facilitator – Parent Center 4
    Football – Varsity (Head) 1
    Helper, Delivery/Warehousing 1
    HVAC Mechanic/Technician 1
    Instructor, P/T FLEX Learning 1
    Landscaper 1
    Liaison – Parent Title I P.A PT 1
    Liaison – Parent (PT) 2
    Liaison, Field Driver Support 1
    Manager, Assistant School Nutr 3
    Media Specialist (HS) 1
    Mentor, Parent Special Ed 1
    Nurse, School (Project 050) 1
    Nurse, School (RN & LPN) 7
    Officer, School Resource 1
    Paraprofessional-Elem Instruct 1
    Paraprofessional-Instructional 2
    Paraprofessional-Interrelated 1
    Paraprofessional-MOID/MID 4
    Paraprofessional-PRE-K Sp Ed 4
    Paraprofessional-PreK 9
    Paraprofessional-Sub 1
    Paraprofessional-S/PID 1
    Para, GNETS 1
    Para, Special Ed 9
    Para, Speech/Language 734 1
    Para, Title I 1
    Para, Title I Elem 3
    Principal, High School 2
    Principal, Middle School 1
    Psychologist, School (050) 1
    Psychologist, School (local) 1
    ROTC, Air Force Enlisted HS 1
    ROTC, Navy Officer HS 1
    School Crossing Guard 1
    Secretary 10-Month HS 1
    Secretary /Data Clerk TitleI 1
    Secretary, Federal Programs 2
    Social Worker I 10 Mth 2
    Specialist II, Student Support 2
    Specialist, Instructional FSC 1
    Teacher – Music Therapy PT 1
    Teacher, Adapted PE PT 1
    Teacher, Art 4
    Teacher, Art Middle School 1
    Teacher, Art High School 3
    Teacher, Art PT 1
    Teacher, Behavior Disord GNETS 3
    Teacher, Culinary Arts HS 3
    Teacher, EIP Mathematics 4-5 1
    Teacher, Engineer & Tech. MS 1
    Teacher, English – HS 7
    Teacher, English Middle School 4
    Teacher, ESOL 6
    Teacher, ESOL Middle School 1
    Teacher, ESOL High School 2
    Teacher, Family & Consumer HS 1
    Teacher, French Middle Sch. 1
    Teacher, Grade 1 2
    Teacher, Grade 2 2
    Teacher, Grade 3 3
    Teacher, Grade 4 2
    Teacher, Grade 4 Math 1
    Teacher, Grade 5 2
    Teacher, Grade 7 – English 1
    Teacher, Health and Phys. HS 2
    Teacher, Health and P.E. MS 1
    Teacher, Hearing Impaired 1
    Teacher, Intel. Disabilities 1
    Teacher, Interrelated 10
    Teacher, Kindergarten 1
    Teacher, Lead-Spec Ed 2
    Teacher, Lottery Fund PreK/Cer 8
    Teacher, Magnet Gr 2 1
    Teacher, Math Ch.Destiny Acad. 1
    Teacher, Math (MS) 3
    Teacher, Mathematics – HS 7
    Teacher, MID 3
    Teacher, MID/MOID 4
    Teacher, Music-Band Middle 1
    Teacher, Music-Choral – P/T 1
    Teacher, Music-Choral HS 1
    Teacher, Music-Choral Middle 1
    Teacher, Music – Orchestra 1
    Teacher, Occ Ed- Barber 1
    Teacher, Occ Ed-Health Occ. 1
    Teacher, Occupational Therapy 1
    Teacher, Part Time ESOL 1
    Teacher, Preschool Special Ed. 1
    Teacher, P/T – Spanish (HS) 1
    Teacher, Sci Ch.Destiny Acad. 1
    Teacher, Science – HS 5
    Teacher, Science (MS) 2
    Teacher, Social Studies – HS 1
    Teacher, Spanish 1
    Teacher, Spanish Middle Sch. 3
    Teacher, Spanish High School 2
    Teacher, Speech Lang Path 734 1
    Teacher, Substitute 1
    Teacher, Substitute – Sub/Reti 1
    Teacher, S/PID 4
    Teacher, Title I Elem School 5
    Teacher, Title I L/A – MS 1
    Technician I, Information Tech 1
    Tutor, Title I-P/T Priv Schl 1

  15. dsw2contributor says:

    Here’s the list of vacancies sorted by location:


  16. curious says:

    By Mike Morris and John Spink
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Dozens of families spent Thursday night and early Friday lined up outside the DeKalb County School District headquarters in Stone Mountain, hoping to get immigrant children tested and enrolled for the new school year, which begins Monday.
    The families, whose children mostly speak languages other than English, have been queuing up in an orderly fashion all summer at the district’s International Welcome Center. But the pace picked up last week and got out of control Friday. Officials opened the doors in the morning to find families that had camped out overnight. People had been arriving by cab and carpool in the dark.
    “A rumor got out that if they didn’t get registered today, they wouldn’t get into school,” DeKalb Schools spokesman Quinn Hudson said.
    » HAVE YOUR SAY: Read DeKalb County’s international student registration process and comment on it
    The rumor was false: DeKalb registers students year round, though children who fail to get in by Friday will miss the start of school Monday.
    Phillipe Alexis said he, his wife Rozenie, and their two teenage children had been in line since Thursday.
    “We have two kids coming from Haiti and we want them to go to school,” he said. ”Kids have to go to school.”
    Hudson said the process can take time and that the district can only handle about 60 kids a day. At least 150 were in line Friday morning, and most were being sent home.
    “We have to check where they came from, we have to check immunization records, health records, family records,” he said. “It’s very time-consuming just to check the records, and once we do that, then we have to test the child. We have to find out what level that they’re at, what would be the best school for them to go to.”
    Officials measure English and academic proficiency to determine appropriate placement. It can take several hours to test each child. Processing the paperwork takes additional time.
    The center gives numbers to the first arrivals and anyone without one is asked to leave.
    “We’ve explained this many, many times to people who contact us,” Hudson said. “It does no good to get here early in the morning or to spend the night. In fact, it actually is a problem for the children because if the child’s been sleeping on asphalt all night, they’re not going to test very well.”
    DeKalb historically has accommodated a large number of immigrant students because Clarkston, in the middle of the county, is a national refugee relocation site. Several non-governmental organizations help newcomers settle in. There are also plenty of immigrants who come on their own. The district has students from more than 160 countries, who speak more than 140 languages, though Spanish is the predominant tongue.
    Hudson said the district has no way of immediately knowing whether the crush of aspiring students had anything to do with the rush of unaccompanied minors on the nation’s southern border. But he said the children appeared to be with parents.
    “There is no indication at all that this has anything to do with the border thing,” Hudson said.
    — Staff writer Ty Tagami contributed to this report.

  17. @George and @howdy1942

    We must not have made ourselves clear. The teacher who told us about the sign-in / sign-out is not objecting to sign-in / sign-out. Of course that is a reasonable thing to ask of teachers — especially tese days when it is critical to know who is in the school building. The teacher who contacted us is concerned with the fact that DeKalb County Schools is issuing a punishment edict along with the request: they will dock the pay of any teacher who forgets to sign-in or sign-out. How harsh is that? Already the lowest paid teachers in the metro area, maybe even in the state, and unable to draw Social Security, our teachers are once again being threatened by DCS’ inept, ridiculous joke of an HR department and superintendent with loss of salary.

  18. So what has changed with the sign-in / sign-out procedure, George? Do enlighten us. It is our understanding that it is still a pen-and-paper, honor-system process.

  19. George says:

    Several of the schools are using a software program that allows a sign in/out procedure where the employee swipes a “disc” to record the times. Sort of like an old-fashioned punch card system. I have not heard anything about anyone being docked for failure to do this or the county passing this edict.

  20. anothercomment says:

    Teachers could always clock out and leave the building for lunch, if they think they are being disrespected. But come on all professionals have had to sign in and out. Engineers, Architects, accountants, lawyers. Many have to keep billing logs keeping precise 15 minute accounting for time, keeping logs of every phone call, so you make sure the right project gets billed for it.

    As a non-exempt employee and engineer, I worked for a firm that regularly had us working 80 hrs plus a week. I had 40 billable hours to two different projects. As one of my projects to a name brand computer company was finishing, the VP who my project reported to, asked me what was I going to do next. I told him that I had been working for over 6 months on a major Electrical Equipment mfg. Headquarters building. He was shocked. He said they have billed you out at 40hrs. I said right, I work over 80hrs a week. I said I live less than 1 mile from your project, I start my day here every day at about 7:00. go to the office, other project and back. I never made it back home until 10:00. Plus the weekend.

    It is completely normal for non-exempt employees to sign in and out. Even do task and project detailed billing sheets. Ask any lawyer even the ones who make $500K to $1M they do this all the time for them selves. Everyphone converstation even for 1 minute is billed at 15minutes.

  21. Teacher’s have to scan in their DeKalb Employee ID badge at a designated spot in the school. At THS, it’s at the front desk of the school. There is still a sign in book, but I imagine they will match what’s in the book with what the ID scanner program shows. We were told not to give our badge to others to sign in and out with, as that constitutes falsification of information. Here’s to a great school year! Oh, and the Campus Security Office over in East Campus has been swamped all week with teachers getting their old/missing badges.

  22. Geesh. In this day and age, your ID badge could simply be scanned electronically as you enter and exit the building. What is all the fuss? Anyone who works in the corporate world is very used to this. Heck, my niece’s condo complex knows when she enters and exits the parking deck due to the scanning of her key fob. They even know if it was her, or her roommate that entered the gates and exactly when. Electronically scanning employees should be no big deal whatsoever. And perhaps it would help with the tardiness issue. Why don’t they just do things like this – instead of making a big deal out of it and making every ordinary thing some kind of power play with punitive consequences…

  23. @anothercomment – the thing is, they want to dock teachers pay if they are tardy. That is insulting to teachers, as most teachers take plenty of work home and continue to work after the dinner hour. In fairness, if they are docked for being late to school, should they then be paid for work done at home? Chronic tardiness is definitely an issue when it occurs and should be dealt with at evaluation time.

  24. deecab2bad says:

    I worked for a Fortune 50 company for over a decade and never had to sign in or out. Of course, not showing up for work meant getting fired. And Gwinnett does not require its teachers to sign in or out unless they are coming in late or leaving early. I would also be insulted at having to sign in.

  25. Lord Help Us says:

    Jabari Simama is absolutely not to be trusted. Any involvement he has with this bodes for failure and a return to Friends & Family. Heck, don’t be surprised if Vernon Jones doesn’t end up in the mix somehow. Thurmond has a clear conflict of interest here. Of course the BOE rubber stamps it, without any hard, tough review and questions. AND HOW IN THE HECK IS RON RAMSEY STILL ON PAYROLL??

  26. September says:

    I think the problem is the threat to dock a teacher’s pay. Yes, everyone signs in. Every place I have worked had some way to document that you were at work. It is my understanding that employees who have their pay docked for being late or leaving early are hourly employees. Hourly employees get paid overtime when their work hours go over 40 hours during the work week. If the school system is planning to dock teacher pay for being late, they are hourly employees. That means they will also have to pay them for required work after hours. e.g. A faculty meeting that runs late or required PTA attendance. I have heard the instructions about being sure to sign in so you get paid, but not the threat to dock pay when a teacher is late. I just took the instruction as a reminder to follow procedure. School bookkeepers have their payroll records audited. Everyone’s situation is different. Teachers with concerns that are not being addressed at the schools should probably contact their professional organization for assistance.

  27. thedeal2 says:

    Well, from what I understand, the teachers’ contracts are written with their salary in hourly form. Does this mean they are exempt or non-exempt? I know plenty of teacher who would love to be able to count all of their non-school work time! DCSD trying to have it both (or all) ways, as usual.

    DSW2, your comment about power play with punitive consequences sums up the entire experience of working for DCSD.

  28. @dekalbwatch and September who is managing a teachers classroom, or handling their assigned bus, hall duty if they are late?. While many professionals in the corporate world have the opportunity now to work flex time any 8 hrs between 6:00 to 6:00 am. Some positions within that do not allow that. We had secretaries that as work load shifted , became administrative assistants and then executive assistants. Which when they made 50k a year. Mine was a former school teacher. They became exempt employees when they went up the pay schedule and out of the secretarial classification. However, upper management dictated that every office had to have phone coverage during core hours of 8:00 to 4:30. M-F. One wanted to work 7:00-3:30 . If the one who was willing to work the core hours was off, the other one had to shift and work those hours. I had already been yelled at by upper mgmt before for answering the phone, I made 3x them as management. Men don’t bother to pick up the phone but women do.

    Other non exempt employees were required to attend mandatory staff of project meetings. Yes if you were late you had to use leave in 15 minutes increments. You could also earn comp time approved in advance in 15 minute increments. I have my entire career taken work home.

    I believe that virtually 90’s of the world that wants to call themselves professional employees and non-exempt will have to do work at home, or be tied to a cell phone or laptop. Unfortunately, teachers find themselves bitter at the lack of pay. Teachers need to vote Democrat, and stop voting against their self interests. I grew up in a union state, had much happier, better paid union, and overall my small school district had very good teachers, much better than my kid have here. I am a union yes person. I will gladly pay more taxes for better pay for the actual employees who do the work. For better schools, for police, firefighters, for roads and infrastructure, and I want public funding of elections. Corporations are not people.

  29. September says:

    My contract was written with a daily rate. A few weeks ago I used that daily rate to estimate my annual salary.

  30. anothercomment says:

    @September the first few years of my Engineering Career I averaged less than Minimum wage, based on an hourly rate. I was the Project Engineer, the Carpenter foreman used to read out the paychecks of first the Carpenters then the laborers ( who many were illiterate) and say he made more than you this week. I would sit their and smile, never saying a word. I knew in the end, my education and professionalism would get me further. It did, I retired early making mid the equiv. of $155K today. I rose rapidly in management.

    If you do not like the pay and benefits in your chosen career you have several options. More to a Union state where you can still teach and earn close to six figures. Go to a different county and pick up a modest increase. Become the best of the best and go to one of the premium privates ( Lovette paid my neighbor with 15 years experience $55K and 1/2 tuition of her children in 2006, no discipline problems, plenty of parent volunteers). If you still like teaching modify your career slightly go into corporate training, or private tutoring $50 hr. for Math and Science in Buckhead and Northern Suburbs). .Or think your calling and beef up your education and find something else you want to do. However, be prepared the grass is not always greener. For example, very few people even have the opportunity to take more than 3 weeks off unpaid a year.

  31. howdy1942 says:

    If teachers are having their pay docked for unscheduled absences or for being tardy, then that issue should be easily resolved simply by the teachers and administrators sitting down and talking with and listening to each other. That lack of communications has long been one of my primary concerns.

    Employees anywhere are sometimes late or must leave early for perfectly acceptable reasons. Without knowing the specifics, it just seems that this issue is easily resolved – teachers should be trusted and when unscheduled absences occur, one should be simply asked for an explanation. If such absences reach a level significantly above those of peer employees, then supervisors/principals should make this a part of performance evaluation. I imagine that many of us have occasionally overslept, had a flat tire or mechanical issue, had a child experience a sudden serious illness, or experienced some other situation, but these things don’t happen that often and supervisors should have the authority to take the appropriate action. If we can’t trust our supervisors or principals to do that, then those supervisors or principals should not be in their jobs.

    It also seems to me that if a teacher is not in his/her classroom as scheduled, then this should be readily determined. I used to routinely do a check of my immediate subordinates every morning shortly after the beginning of the day and, if not where he/she should be, would begin making some calls. That person could be experiencing a serious illness, had an accident, or need some form of assistance. Each person understood and accepted my reasons for making such checks. On one occasion during my career when one subordinate failed to show up for work, I immediately launched an investigation subsequently learned about 4 hours later that he had run off to Las Vegas, gotten married, celebrated a little late on Sunday, and missed his flight back to Atlanta. He assured me that the next time he got married, he would plan ahead and make sure that everyone knew about his plans. It never happened again. He got to take that day off, but his pay was not docked.

  32. DecaturMax says:

    Another comment, you fail to recognize that a teacher recognized as a top teacher with a masters degree, the highest reviews and several add- ons(extra certifications that do not raise your pay) makes about 53k after 12 years on the job. Yes lots of high paying jobs require years of work at a lower pay and long hours to make the big bucks, but that is not the case with teaching. There is no big payoff for your long hours and years or service. Doing an amazing job and having top credential, still gets you 53k after 12 years and the equivalent of 4 years of full time graduate school. I really do not think your engineering career path is a good comparison for all career paths and especially education.

    My wife is a teacher and has always signed in and out throughout her career. No big deal. it is the norm.

    It would be insulting for someone that gets there early 98% of the time and leaves an hour or 2 after required 80% of the time to get docked pay for getting to work 15 mins late or leaving for 1 hour for an emergency. It would not be ok to encourage teachers to work 8-10 extra hours per week over the minimum at school(not including work done at home) & then penalize a teachers pay for getting stuck in traffic once a month.

    I do not think Dekalb is capable or interested in docking 15 mins or an hour of pay….. probably a moot point.

  33. @decaturmax reread what I wrote. If your wife wants to make more you need to move to a Union State like NY, NJ, Mass., Conn, ect. Teachers make $80-90k. They also stay for 30-40 years in the small one high school districts. Otherwise, I suggest she become a private tutor they fetch $50 hr. In Math and Science or $65 an Hr in SAT prep in Buckhead and the Northern suburbs. ( 28 sessions *$50 *40 weeks would net $56k. Then doing speciality camps with a few kids and a helper or two during break weeks and some summer weeks could easily bring in another $10k. Look no working even 40 hr weeks. You could earn more running classes on a reoccurring basis to homeschool groups. Many of these groups look for a tutor/ teacher for 2-3 days a week for 1-2 hrs reoccurring with several families splitting the cost. With the ACA you can buy a better healthcare plan for not much more than what Deal is charging teachers. As a self- employed person she can contribute and collect Social Security. She can also set up her own retirement plan and contribute far more than regular IRA’s as a self- employed person.

    I also suggest corporate training. Their are other fields. All of my administrative assistants either had Masters degrees in English or were former teachers. One used the red pen on the engineers, writing.

  34. DecaturMax says:

    Another comment, I live in the reality here and now and not in another state or occupation. The point of this blog is to promote better schools. The answer can’t always be to move or abandon the teaching field. Let’s put some of your corporate know how to work to fixing and not just complaining. We are completely aware that more money could be made in less time tutoring. Moving on is not always the answer.

    You completely abandoned the point at hand after patting yourself on the back …and patting yourself on the back. That point being that doing a great job and having a have high level of education does not get you paid more in teaching as it does in almost all other fields. You want great teachers and better education, but then you say if teachers don’t like the conditions and pay quit or move. That is what is already happening in Dekalb and it is not good for the children of Dekalb county. As a beginning, I believe you can not improve education without starting with teacher teacher retention and lower class size. If moving on is your solution, why are you on this blog? How would you retain the best teachers?

  35. Stan Jester says:

    We need to “Love” our teachers more, and nothing says “Love” like “Pay to the Order of”. DeKalb Schools eliminated all the furlough days, so every teacher should see an increase in their Gross Annual Income. I am concerned about the FY15 vs FY14 teacher salary schedule. Also, increased class sizes are a defacto tax on teachers. Raises and lower class sizes would be a good start to attracting and retaining the best teachers.

  36. kirklunde says:

    Stan is right, but I would add nothing says “Love” like a big chocolate chip cookie.

  37. What would you suggest to retain the best teachers?

  38. formerdekalbteacher says:

    Better PAY!
    Lower class size
    Pay for part of the benefits (Health insurance)
    Professional work environment ie not bullied by county or unqualified administrators.

  39. Um… What in the heck is up with this?

    Here is the caption to a photo showing the start of the Atlanta Public Schools trial – just now beginning in Atlanta >>

    TEACHER FIRED–Damany Lewis listens as Josie Alexander, a lawyer representing Atlanta Public Schools, delivers her opening statement to a tribunal that will decide whether or not to terminate Lewis’ contract Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2012 at APS headquarters. Lewis, who taught math at Parks Middle School, is accused of cheating and confessed to state investigators that he used a razor blade to cut into a CRCT test booklet package to remove the booklets and make copies for other teachers.

    SOOOOOO – Josie Alexander – the lawyer Gene Walker and crew fought so hard to give a $1 million a year contract to for legal services for DeKalb is representing Atlanta Schools in this Case? How about that…

    At long last, APS cheating trial begins

  40. dsw2contributor says:

    Over at the AJC, Ty has posted an update about how the ongoing delay ing registering International students:

    DO NOT FALL FOR THE “IMMIGRANT” SPIN!!!! DCS is delaying the registration of Foreign Exchange Students and the children of people legally here (i.e. children of Emory Professors and Grad Students).

    I posted the following comment under Ty’s article:

    The Dekalb County Schools have a teacher shortage. Back in May, at the end of the last school year, hundreds of DCS teachers declined to sign a contract to work in DCS for another year. Over the summer several hundred more teachers resigned. (You can confirm that many teachers left Dekalb County by going to the school system’s website and reading the HR reports attached to the agendas for the monthly school board meetings.)

    DCS has not been able to replace all the teachers that have left. I expect the AJC and other media outlets to start reporting about the teacher shortage and its repercussions in another two or three weeks.

    I personally suspect the delay in registering “immigrant” children is an intentional tactic to minimize the teacher shortage. Not registering these students helps DCS hide its teacher shortage for a few weeks.

    Ty’s article indicates that DCS has registered 700 fewer “immigrant” students than normal. At the 60 students a day rate that DCS is registering them, it will will take DCS nearly three full weeks to register all those 700 missing students. While those 700 students are not enrolled, DCS can get by with 28 fewer teachers (if each teacher were to have 25 students in his/her class.)

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