Shockingly, the DeKalb School District left over 300 state-funded teaching jobs on the plate

It’s true. DeKalb County Schools administrators left the opportunity — and the monies — to hire more than 300 additional state-funded teachers on the table.

Here’s the scoop:  The state funds teaching positions earned by school districts according to a complicated formula they concocted years ago called QBE (Quality Basic Education).  According to those calculations, DeKalb County School District was entitled to funding for 7,008 certified employees (mainly that means teachers). DeKalb accepted funding for only 6,699 (meaning they can and have only hired 6,699 certified employees).

The chart below shows the states report on the subject and includes every county. They also rate a county’s wealth (which determines their local share) and DeKalb rated as the 39th wealthiest district in the state.

CLICK HERE to read the full report, including Appendices A & B, on state funding of step increases. (NOTE:  Words shown in blue below are NOT links.)

Report-Letter-State-Funding-of-Step-Increases-8

 

+++

This new revelation only leaves us wondering yet again, why are we paying over $3 million to international teacher supply consultants to provide up to 45 teachers from the allotted teacher fund in the general budget? These items together reveal that not only can our HR department not interview/hire and place enough teachers to staff classrooms (and don’t even get us started on the inequity of class sizes around the system) – but they left state money for over 300 more teachers on the table. Essentially saying, “‘No, thanks’, we can’t get it done – we’ll just overburden the teachers we already have.”

In our humble opinion, the DeKalb HR department is a disaster. They are at the heart of what ails this school district and need to be replaced with corporately trained professionals. As we say in the South, “Sooner than later.”

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24 Responses to Shockingly, the DeKalb School District left over 300 state-funded teaching jobs on the plate

  1. B2Basics says:

    Agree. Thank you for the information. I do wish that all Dekalb parents were aware and felt they could make a difference without fear. Such a disgrace to our community.

  2. H.A. Hurley says:

    DekalbCS does exactly as they want because ‘They Can’ and they know it.
    APS used to do the same thing for over 30 – 40 years until the wheels fell off and everyone with a magnifying glass looked at every detail, taxpayers kicked butt and there were no places to hide…at least not now.
    DCS is a slow death by a zillion paper cuts, no leadership, just schmoozing and sharecropper stories, while our children are in overcrowded classes, no text books…oh, yes, finally technology for teachers, but no interest to figure out how thousands of poor kids can access the online texts

    Killer Combination: administration that is incompetent, dumb and DO NOT CARE, along with 1000s of parents who are allowing it to hobble along. The County has no leadership, crooks in charge and are charging on county credit cards, crooks galore and claiming they did not know. What? Just because they are so ignorant, they assume residents are too.
    I can get so worked up over this.

    Many teachers are still doing a nice job, but one can tell how empty the school parking lots are even when there are still kids waiting to be picked up. Schools with 20+ portables without walkways or rain cover. None of that seems to matter because many of our kids are Children in Poverty. They only matter if a school is a Title1 designated school and $K roll in and they can spend it on…who knows what, iPads for administrators, etc.
    I honestly cannot blame residents for seceding from DC, start their own cities, even want to join APS. Can you believe it? Join APS? But, the schools and students should remain and be educated by DCS? Huge reason to run to APS, are the schools. The same Zip Code, 30306, has huge discrepancies in their schools, but taxes are sky high.

    I am so done, but I can’t quit because too much is at stake.
    Thanks for listening, and thanks for keeping us informed.
    You are the BEST!

  3. concerned citizen says:

    Hello, Hurley, and I’d like to know the three trolls who rated your comments down! Do you think they’re Palace staff???? Each time more informatiion comes forward about the corrupt administration of DeKalb I think it couldn’t get any worse, but it does! Yes, HR is a cesspool of incompetence and non-caring about students and teachers. We need teachers in these classrooms. There are so many horror stories, and the school year’s barely begun.Overcrowded classrooms are normal for DeKalb, sadly. Every area supt should be checking each school to see exactly how many children are being crammed into classrooms and trailers. So how about it, area supts! Show some initiative and get out in the schools in person to check with your eyeballs every class. I’ve never seen this done! Isn’t it time? Do you think it’s good enough to ask the principal how many students are in each class??? Duh….

  4. teachermom says:

    In our school we have non teaching coaches wasting our dollars. They have started off with a bang micromanaging the teachers. Telling the teachers how to teach and assess and then roaming around watching everyone. Teachers are paranoid and burned out before the year even gets going. Meanwhile our class sizes are ever bigger and the coaches cannot lower themselves to actually teach some small groups or help the teachers in any way. Ugh. I am totally not surprised that the county couldn’t get themselves together to use the resources at hand to hire more teaching staff. They do not see a lack of qualified teaching staff as an issue.

  5. howdy1942 says:

    Did everyone read that article in today’s (Sunday) AJC about Dekalb County? We have corruption, fraud, waste, and no internal controls to even let the taxpayers know what is going on. This is just such an embarrassment and insult to our good people. I supported Interim CEO Lee May, but he needs, really needs, to stop saying that he needs “to get beyond all of this”. That will happen when this whole mess is cleaned up, criminal and fraudulent activity exposed, and justice served. Until then, we will continue have have this mess bubbling up. I fully intend to let our Dekalb County Commission know of my anger and frustration.

    I have no doubt that the same situation exists in the Dekalb County School System. I have lost all trust and respect for the DCSS. We are all very familiar with the sordid affairs of the school board, former superintendent Crawford Lewis, and the fact that the school board authorized at least $100,000 for his legal defense when his crime had nothing to do with procedures of the Dekalb County School System – he personally chose to accept those favors from Pat Pope and personally knew of the misdeeds associated with those contracts. He should have been promptly terminated and left to his own affairs. But there were at least two members of the Dekalb County School Board who were familiar with what was going on and expressly stopped Lewis from firing Ms. Pope. Who were they? Aren’t they also implicated in the same crimes for which Ms. Pope is now serving prison time? Also, what happened that legal firm that was to provide “governance training”? Are we still paying them? What have they done this past year, how many times have they met for training? Do we still have a “white: law firm and a “black” law firm doing the same work? How much are we paying them?

    I am now convinced that this whole matter is beyond the capabilities of Dekalb County. It simply does not have the resources nor does any official body in Dekalb County have enough trust by the public to investigate, prosecute, and fix this mess. The State’s Attorney General has ethical issues of his own as does the Governor. Accordingly, I am asking the U.S Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Ms. Sally Quillian Yates to head up a thorough investigation into this mess. The allegations of SACS ought to be investigated and exposed. The allegations of corruption at the Water Shed need to be investigated and exposed. The School Board needs to account for its expenditures and conduct as does the administration. All of us need to know why we had to hire those teachers through and outside agency and what relationships may have existed between that company and the school system. We need to know who those school board members were that leaked that confidential information. I am beyond sick and tired of hearing about these slush funds, expenses accounts, and improper use of P-cards by people who think that they are accountable to no one. Enough is enough.

    In the short term, this will not be good for Dekalb County, but in the long term we will restore the school system and the county government to excellence that our people deserve and expect.

  6. To Teachermom: Oh, how I agree with you! Those who can, teach. Those who can’t (or won’t), coach. Many of those who are burned out aspire to coaching because it is a cakewalk compared to doing the real job. In my view, every administrator (principal, AP, and coach) in an elementary school should have to be a homeroom teacher every fourth year as a reality check.

  7. Bucky Rogers says:

    I don’t object to instructional coaches as a job category: on the contrary, when done correctly, instructional coaches truly can affect the quality of the education that children receive. However, from everything I’ve seen and heard in DeKalb, instructional coaches aren’t consistently in the classrooms as they should be. They should be teaching alongside regular teachers as often as they are observing them. I’m sure it’s possible that some of the instructional coaches we have are lazy or dim, and are unsure of what their job actually demands, but my guess is that many of them are also required to take on a slew of administrative tasks that should fall to assistant principals, parapros, and substitute teachers. Our schoolhouses are chronically understaffed, and there are simply not enough adults in each building to take on the Herculean tasks assigned to each school every day. (Disclaimer: My school has no instructional coaches; this is mere speculation on my part.)

  8. Teachers who asked to be released from their contracts before the end of the school year, and before June 1, had $750 taken out of their last paycheck in August. That paycheck represents virtually half of their monthly net. They were paid the first half on August 15. For some teachers, they received a minuscule paycheck on August 29. Since Dekalb is one of the very few systems that pay twice per month, teachers who have jobs in other districts will have to live on that paltry sum until they’re paid under their new contracts at the end of September. Dekalb could have eased the pain somewhat by taking half of the “liquidated damages” penaly from the August 15 check and half from the August 29th check. But no, they had to punch teachers in the face during their first month employed in a different district.

    For those who think Dekalb was justified in taking this money, you should realize that teachers have been routinely released from their contracts without penalty (at least if they asked for release before June 1, when the Professional Standards Commission would require a good reason for asking for release) before this year.

    And the most galling realization is that no one knows how Dekalb will use this money. I suspect it’s just free money for some of the privileged central office staff to use any way they want.

  9. H.A. Hurley says:

    The GALL!
    Inefficiency & incompetence reigns in DCS, but they chased the fleeing teachers’ last dime?
    Disgusting, but befitting the culture of DCS Administration & BoE!
    They are the laughing stock of Atlanta & Georgia, but by golly, they will hold the teachers to 100% accountability. Bullies!
    DCS is going, going…and soon gone! Outsourced with TFA & foreign teachers. Neither will stay, just passing through and have no real investment in our children or the community.

    URGENT: follow the $750 sucked out of fleeing teachers’ paychecks.
    How many teachers fall in this $750 gun-to-the-head assault category?

    All Teachers who are left in DCS after years of dedication and hope that things will get better: RUN…RUN…RUN
    Do the Math, CCSS MATH, the longer you stay, the lower your salary becomes and remains, over time, including low pension TRS income. Remember, the highest two years determine your TRS. Since DCS froze teachers’ salaries for years, furloughed the H*** out of everyone, you basically paid $750 every year and possibly several times per year.
    As I stated, DISGUSTING!
    Since good personnel practices are not part of the Palace’s repertoire or intent, THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS! Other metro systems, most of them, are more civilized and better places to work.

  10. teachermom says:

    Bucky–Teachers should not need coaching, period. We are professionals. If a teacher is struggling that is a personnel issue and should be addressed by the principal. They are doing a ton of observations under Teacher Keys now. That’s enough. We do not need full time employees in our schools to hold teachers “accountable.” We are all part of our grade level teams and no one is acting without peer and administrative oversight. In any case the coaches job is to find problem teachers to fix so guess what they find? Problems. Did I mention that at least one of ours earns twice my salary as a masters level teacher? And doesn’t teach a kid all day but pours over our “data” and watches us. It’s really crazy and just kills morale… I would love to see some central office coaches, better yet some HR coaches could maybe fix what ails us.

  11. howdy1942 says:

    Just saw another article at the AJC website about the mess in Dekalb County. I just cannot get over the unmitigated gall of our elected officials and top administrators to seize large amounts of taxpayer dollars and then to feel like they have free reign to do what they want. Just seems like one of the first things that these people do is go get their P-cards and go shopping. And then they turn around and say things like “I didn’t break any laws”, “I didn’t do anything wrong”, “I work 5 times harder” and other such nonsense. It is just common sense to understand that when you spend taxpayer dollars that your expenditure should benefit the County or school system and that expenditure should be based on a need of the County. The County should not be paying anyone on how to be a Commissioner or how to be a school board member or any other such crap.

    The really troubling thing is that it was not the County that found out about this criminal activity, it was some guy working alone at the AJC who fought through the County’s bureaucracy to get the information that led him to his findings. In fact, the County fought him every step of the way and actually billed him for at least $1800 for providing him with the information he requested. The County stonewalled his every request and delayed in every way that it could. How many of us could afford to pay $1800 to find out how our County is being run? Thankfully, this AJC reporter persisted.

    I have no doubt that we will see a repeat of all of this mess at the Dekalb County School Board and its administration. Who is checking to see how Mr. Thurmond is using his expenditure? Do members of the school board have such as “slush” fund? How about the top administrators? What connections exist between our esteemed administration and that “hiring agency” that is run out of that little house in Chamblee? How much per “teacher” so recruited are the taxpayers actually paying? Are there any accounting controls? Do we still have that “white” law firm and that “black” law firm doing the same work of one law firm?

    I am looking so forward to cityhood. And I am looking forward to one day having our own school system. It just seems like there is a nice little cozy relationship between our commissioners, our school board members, administrators, and contractors. Dekalb County spends what it wants to, pays whoever it wants to, has no internal controls, doesn’t think it is accountable to anyone, and then turns around and says that it needs to increase our taxes. This mess will not get cleaned up until you and I choose to clean it up. Don’t elect these people whose character is so questionable. Do you really like having so much of your money wasted in this manner?

  12. Sadly, the AJC has undone much of the good reporting with the following truly STUPID follow up article >>

    BILL TORPY AT LARGE

    DeKalb watchdog bites taxpayers

    The white girl outdid them all.

    In recent years it has become accepted fact that DeKalb County is a mess. And within that narrative is a subplot saying much of the mess is due to corruption among some black politicians and government officials.

    Now, it turns out that Commissioner Elaine Boyer, the board’s sole Republican, a white woman from North DeKalb and a good-government watchdog, was stealing money faster than a busy smash-and-grab crew.

    +++

    Now, would you see that first sentence structured for any other person on the Commission? Really, “white girl”?! No doubt, Elaine Boyer stole from the taxpayers and she should face the consequences. But the misogyny and racism in this article isn’t even subtle. Have we ever seen Burrell Ellis (or any other official) referred to as “black boy” or “white boy”?

    It’s quite clear that it’s ok to minimize white women, particularly Republican white women. How is this acceptable?

  13. Bucky Rogers says:

    Teachermom, you are right: we should all be professionals. However, in our profession, someone with absolutely no experience is expected to walk in the first day and do just as well as someone who’s been teaching for 20 years. Teachers with fewer than five years experience need far more coaching and support than we give them. Also, teachers who began teaching back when the greatest technological advance was dustless chalk often need support with using things like Promethean boards, etc. I’m sorry that the instructional coaches in DeKalb seem to do anything but actually support the teachers. God knows I would love the help of an “expert” from time to time!

  14. More from the AJC article >>

    Race “does drive a lot of politics in DeKalb,” former AJC editorial writer and now communications smoother Jeff Dickerson told me. “There’s a perception that African-Americans don’t know how to run things.”

    Dickerson, who has helped Ellis’ defense team, said evidence may show that the suspended CEO was a heavy-handed campaigner. He is accused of shaking down contractors for campaign donations.

    “None of that was pilfering from the public trough,” Dickerson said. “Elaine Boyer stole taxpayer money. She did it in a very methodical and intentional way.”

    Former DeKalb District Attorney J. Tom Morgan said the Boyer case “is another example of how absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    “It’s not about race, it’s about opportunity,” said Morgan. “I think Elaine is the start of the Humpty Dumpty wall. I don’t think she’s alone.”

    +++

    FWIW, we agree with J. Tom Morgan. This is not about race – it’s about corruption. Greed and corruption have no color. Except green.

  15. And Michael Thurmond had a respectable response >>

    Public corruption is an equal-opportunity vice,” [Thurmond] said. “We reinforce our beliefs, no matter what the facts are, to see what we believe, to reinforce our pre-existing perceptions.

    “The fact that Elaine Boyer may be pleading guilty may be filtered out by beliefs, biases and prejudices,” [Thurmond] said. Then he added, “As an African-American who has spent 30 years in politics, Elaine Boyer is not representative of all white Republican female elected officials.”

  16. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – you are very kind! But I equate Mr. Thurmond’s comments to his sharecropper stories and to his promises made to residents of Dunwoody. If he is sincere, let’s see that audit of administration expenses and activity. Did the County place a competitive bid for a search firm to fill vacant teacher positions? Is there is relationship of that vendor to anyone in the administration or the school board?

    I’m sorry, but I just suspect that any investigation of the DCSS were find behavior very similar, if not identical, to that of the Dekalb County Government.

  17. Thurmond DOES have a slush fund and it does not require receipts. It totals to more than some DCS employees earn in a year. We have always said that it should be counted as income, since no receipts are required, and the school superintendent should pay income tax on it. Slush Fund + No Receipts Required = INCOME. IRS — are you listening?

  18. howdy1942 says:

    I don’t make any distinction regarding race. We have a lot of good people of all races who live in Dekalb County and we have a lot of good people of all races who work for Dekalb County and who also try to do their jobs. In fact, I know specific examples of police officers, firemen, waste management, and transportation people who are doing some very good work. And that is probably true at the Dekalb County School System.

    It seems to be just a hand full of people at the very top of all races who don’t seem to know how to do their jobs or who don’t care and just seem so arrogant as to believe that they are above the people. Mr. Watson, come on, you saw that invoice about that website for your political site – didn’t you stop to think to at least ask (if you were uncertain) whether it would be used for your personal campaign? Didn’t you check out that web site to see if it was proper? Had you done that, wouldn’t you have noticed that it was soliciting campaign donations? Didn’t you know that using taxpayer funds to pay for anything related to your campaign was a violation of law? If you spend taxpayer money, isn’t it your responsibility to know whether it is being used for legitimate County purposes? Why do you think that it OK if, now that you have been caught, to simply pay the money you took back to Dekalb County? Why didn’t you do this before your were caught?

    Ms. Barnes-Sutton, didn’t you know that having the taxpayers pay your fine for a speeding ticket was not a legitimate use of taxpayer funds? Why can’t you cite the benefit to the County of your paying your boyfriend that $34,000? If you were going to pay that kind of money for such “advice”, then don’t County procedures require that you put a $34,000 expense out for bid? Don’t you think that you should have perhaps gone to the library, talked with some former Commissioners, or even talked with present Commissioners? And where are those printers and scanners? How is it a legitimate need of Dekalb County for you to have an autographed picture of President Obama? How does that benefit a resident of Dekalb County trying to make ends meet on a Social Security check?

    If we have Commissioners who cannot seem to make good decisions regarding the most basic of issues, how on earth can we remotely expect them to make good decisions for the people of Dekalb County.

    @DSW – you are correct regarding Mr. Thurmond. If he has legitimate expenses, then why can’t he submit those expenses along with receipts for approval to the Chairman of the School Board? And why can’t members of the school board post their expenses to an online checkbook for scrutiny by the taxpayers? Are there any internal controls to insure that things that ought to be bid are actually being put out to bid? If there is nothing to fear from an audit, at least of administration spending and expenses, then why can’t we have an audit performed? If we can afford to pay a “search firm” (headed up by someone in that little white house in Chamblee) to place teachers in positions that should have been filled properly by HR, then we can certainly afford to pay for an audit. Besides, you just increased my taxes by 9.33% this year and those of others up to 13%. And by the way, how many of those “governance training sessions” have we had? Who was in attendance? How much have we paid that law firm? My observation is that we can’t seem to even get some school board members to attend meetings of the school board.

  19. DecaturMax says:

    I am hearing the first grumblings about kids at Lakeside HS with as many as 3 classes with no teacher hired yet. That is right 4 weeks in and no teacher. Other complaints include lots of shared rooms(more than 1 class in the same room) & substitutes with no knowledge of the subjects. Word is they were completely unprepared for the # of kids enrolled. Looks like we could use the missing 300 teachers.

  20. It would be great to get some “state of the schools” reports from teachers, parents, even students on this blog.

  21. We agree with you. We can guarantee anonymity to any teacher, parent or student who sends us an update about their school. We do ask that you name the school on which you are sending information. We will print administrators’ names, but our policy is not to print teachers’ names. DeKalb School Watch is in NO way connected at all to DeKalb County Schools.

  22. Bucky Rogers says:

    I want to know what the school populations are like in other North Dekalb schools. Jim McMahan posted in the Sagamore Hills neighborhood listserv that Lakeside’s population is up to 2100 in a building designed for 1600. Are Tucker, Chamblee, and Dunwoody facing similar overcrowding? What will DeKalb do about the overcrowding?

  23. Interesting that while Lakeside continues to be severely over-crowded, schools like McNair, which we spent millions and millions of SPLOST dollars to build, are severely under-utilized (perhaps many of their students choose to attend Lakeside instead?) At any rate, the following comment in the Champion article linked above by Thurmond regarding McNair is telling — on so many levels:

    “We’ve got one of the finest structures in DeKalb County; we’re in it right now,” said DeKalb County School District superintendent Michael Thurmond. “But about half of it goes unused.”

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