So, exactly how did Michael Thurmond ‘balance’ DeKalb Schools’ budget?

Check out the various ways Michael Thurmond has taken from children (the classroom and teachers) in order to ‘balance’ the budget and build the reserves >>

Yes, it’s true, Michael Thurmond has been able to wrangle the nearly bankrupt DeKalb schools budget and bring us back into the black, but it hasn’t been due to responsible spending or cuts to administrative staff. It is due to the cuts placed on the backs of teachers and other ordinary staff that spend their days directly in contact with our students, ensuring that learning is occurring.

We have compiled a fairly extensive list for you to think about when you hear that the ‘budget is balanced’ and we are on the road to recovery. You should thank a teacher, a media clerk, a cafeteria worker, a bus driver or a maintenance worker for the very deep sacrifices they have been forced to endure in order to return the books to the safe zone pleasing to SACS.

So, how did Thurmond do it?

  • By continuing not to fund the teachers annuities (tens of millions saved here)
  • Lowering the daily rate of many teachers – especially those with experience
  • Using substitute teachers sparingly in 2013 [and reducing the daily rate of the ones they did hire] and instead making teachers often cover each other when out sick, using their planning periods to juggle the sub spot
  • Not hiring qualified teachers to fill vacant positions and instead using international teacher placement companies that do not treat their teachers well and who pay their teachers less, with no benefits, no retirement and no sick pay – while siphoning off large finder fees and administrative fees from those teachers
  • Continuing to spend less on direct classroom expenditures than the 65% required by law. Page 4 in the Board document found at this link is DeKalb County Schools’ letter requesting a retroactive waiver allowing a reduction in the minimum required classroom spending from 65% of the total DCS budget to 61% of the total DCS budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Four percent of 1 billion (total DCS consolidated budget rounded off for convenience) is $40,000,000.
  • Using a waiver to increase class size – which saved a lot money, but was detrimental to learning. Class size is a tax on teachers – they have to do more work – with more papers to grade, more parents to inform and more students to manage as individual learners. Large classes effect teacher morale, classroom discipline and overall learning for all.  Read more here about the plans to reduce class size in FY2015, but know this: Michael Thurmond saved millions in the budget by simply continuing to maintain class sizes above state levels – requiring a waiver.
  • Healthcare costs for teachers and staff are going up – as the school district saves money by passing those costs directly back on the employees.
  • Severely cutting spending on books
  • Severely cutting spending on computers
  • Not being truthful as to the number of computers accessible for student use and the upcoming state testing (Brantley stated we have 30,000 computers, but if that includes teachers and staff, you can take off at least 5,000 – maybe 10,000 leaving only 20,000-25,000 for student use) Inventory is never published, we are just left to believe Brantley. In addition, this does not come close to what has been said to have been spent on computers on SPLOST reports over the years
  • Spending money on cars for area administrators – area superintendents
  • Hiring more area administrators + – area superintendents (did he order them new cars too?)
  • Hoarding Title 1 funds into the central office and mismanaging them so badly as to have to return $2.5 million the federal government had given DeKalb for poor children
  • Selling off property and posting the proceeds into the general fund
  • Spending $50,000 a month on MLA law firm for “Board training” – that obviously didn’t happen
  • Earmarking $2.5 million to sue the Druid Hills Charter Cluster yet still counting it as being in the general fund, rather than as allocated to legal fees
  • Counting a tax windfalls in the general fund such as the big increase in property tax collection to the budget due to the increase in home values and the fact that the Board refused to lower the millage rate to give homeowners the increase back that was imposed by the 2012 Board during the “Great Recession”.
  • Along with the fact that the millage was never rolled back even after the community college run by DCSS became part of the state college system and is funded by he state college system.
  • Heery Settlement – 2 weeks after the settlement, DeKalb Schools had the check in the bank. 2 weeks after that, it was appropriated. In spite of this windfall and others, very little of the mid year adjustment went to the classroom last year.

+++

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This entry was posted in Board of Education Meetings, Budget Cuts, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., Heery Mitchell Civil Case, Michael Thurmond, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to So, exactly how did Michael Thurmond ‘balance’ DeKalb Schools’ budget?

  1. Reblogged this on Midwaywoods Gentrification in Atlanta and commented:

    Please note we totally disagree with this post. They are blaming DeKalb Schools when the Republican lead state was cutting back education, so it’s unfair to blame Michael Thurmond when he was trying to do the best he could do with what he had.

  2. Frustrated Dekalb Parent says:

    MWG in Decatur, please refer to the facts. You say the state was cutting back on education but DSD saw it’s revenues increase. Here are the revenue totals by year from the district’s budget request form for FY 2014-2015:

    2012 actual – $750M
    2013 actual – $760M
    2014 budget – $761M
    2015 budget – $800M

    Regardless of how much or how little Thurmond had to work with, it is clear he made the decisions on where to spend it and that was not on the kids or those who directly support them (teachers, school support staff, bus drivers, etc.). The result is unacceptably low graduation rates and poor performance in key education ratings.

  3. Exactly true, Frustrated… We have compiled a three page Excel spreadsheet comparing the budgets year over year beginning in 2007. We will be posting our results soon.

    In reality, while all other departments suffered cuts, the administrative costs increased exponentially. Like we always say, don’t just believe us or the DCSS PR department or the AJC — research, verify and then think for yourself.

  4. Interesting video interview with Vincent Fort at the AJC blog regarding the state’s attempt to eliminate AP US History, due to a liberal bias >> “Curriculum should be left to people who know what they are doing. It should not be left to politicians who have a political axe to grind.”
    http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2015/03/12/senate-agrees-to-dump-ap-history-if-changes-arent-made-proving-why-georgia-never-learns/

  5. Frustrated Dekalb Parent says:

    Additionally, for DSD, there is no accountability or even questions on the variances between actual and budget in a given year. It’s as if, once a year is over, sweep it under the rug and focus on the next year. In the real world, employees are asked questions by their bosses when they spend more or less than they are supposed to and held accountable.

  6. DavidS says:

    Thanks, DSW for compiling the spreadsheet. Taking the Total Approved Consolidated Budget number for 2015 (or 2014 or 2013), we’re spending just north of $10k per student per year. That’s a quarter of a million dollars for a class of 25 students for a year. If our school system administration can’t provide a quality education for our kids for that kind of money, they need to get into another profession (which, in many cases, is not a bad idea at all).
    The problem is not a shortage of money, it’s in how it’s being allocated. A good start would be to obey the law and allocate at least 65% of it directly to the classroom.

  7. Quite correct, DavidS – and the 65% is a minimum. Why has this become rocket science?

  8. Teachers Matter says:

    Just got home a few minutes ago after a stressful week, TGIF! On a daily basis, my colleagues and I try to prop each other up while at the same time the county mows us down. It’s exhausting! Life is good at the palace-not so much in the schoolhouse.

  9. Frustrated says:

    Bookkeepers are getting a bonus of $500 to $1000 dollars in May and all are now required to become 12 month employees as of July 1st. Where is that money coming from?

  10. Word Wall says:

    Social Security contributions are on “waivers” –classroom size is on “waivers” — 65% direct spending is on “waivers” — scheduled step raises are on “waivers” — Seems that if the next Superintendent just follows the law, most of Dekalb’s problems will solve themselves. Motivated teachers, properly supported in reasonably sized classrooms — its not rocket science!

  11. dekalbteacher says:

    Besides the absence of computers for students, there is also the absence of access to existing computers. Where in the school building, exactly, do students go to do their work when they need computers? How long does it take them to sign-on?

    Thurmond announced 100% wireless in December of 2013. SACS recently praised our school district’s plan. I guess that’s all student need 100% of something they can’t access and a plan for something they can’t use.

    By the way, did anyone else complete the 2015-2018 technology plan survey that was sent at the end of January and the beginning of February? Anyone who works in the real (and functioning and accountable world) want to explain how often businesses and organizations are still gathering information for a plan they’re rolling out? How can we be surveyed in 2015 for a plan that begins in 2015?

    Again, anyone in the real world want to explain how often your business or organization uses waivers to avoid fulfilling its legal and ethical obligations?

    Do we teachers get to fill out waivers when we don’t want to grade, to take attendance, to attend meetings, to attend parent-teacher conferences, to create lessons, to proctor tests, to attend mandatory training sessions?

    Has the school district ever missed a deadline or obligation when its “leaders” needed something? I don’t remember any waivers requested when looking to buy regional supers cars or spend more money on legal fees. I also bet not one administrator has to go searching for a computer or access to the wireless the way we teachers and students do.

  12. Question: Why are bookkeepers getting this bonus?

  13. @DavidS >> Yes. And with the class size waivers, class sizes are hovering around 30-35 in most high school general classes (unless you are lucky enough to attend a magnet such as DSA, which boasts class sizes between 10-15).

  14. dsw2contributor says:

    DSW asked: “Why are bookkeepers getting this bonus?”

    Well, someone had to cook Thurmond’s books…..

    But seriously, school bookkeepers can be worth their weight in gold — tenfold!

    Many parents and teachers think that their school bookkeeper only tracks money, but bookkeepers can (and do!) much more. Think of all the standardized testing and other performance data DCSS collects: school bookkeepers can make that data usable for their Principals & Coaches!

    In most DCSS schools, will be four (or more) teachers teaching the same subject to different classes. For example, an elementary school might have four Kindergarten teachers, four 1st grade teachers, five 2nd grade teachers, etc.

    The standardized testing and other performance data collected by the school will identify all the children who are not comprehending concepts that the state curriculum requires be taught at their grade level. The school’s Bookkeeper can then crunch the performance data and find important patterns in it.

    For example: If all the children who do not comprehend a certain concept happen to be in the same classroom, then that is an area in which the classroom’s teacher needs improvement. In other words, if the state’s curriculum calls for 3rd graders to master fractions, but only three of your school’s four classrooms of 3rd graders do well on fractions…. while the fourth classroom all does poorly on fractions…. well that one teacher needs to improve his/her teaching of fractions!

    Basically, the Bookkeeper can crunch the data to find the problems, the Principal can note those problems in his/her performance assessments of his/her teachers, and the Coaches can be assigned to help those teachers needing improvement.

  15. teachermom says:

    I’ve never seen a school bookkeeper involved in crunching instructional data but I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I hate it when we resent our fellow schoolhouse employees for getting money. I think they are as deserving as teachers. This is a bone to try and get us closer to the 65%. There are far less bookkeepers than teachers (whose raises would cost a whole lot more) but this would put money in ” the school house.”

    The issue many of us have is that the compensation rubric that was set up for teachers was not honored. Step increases have seemed to be totally abandoned even though there was (apparently briefly) money for it. We aren’t given our TSA match back that was put in place in lieu of Social Security, etc. Instead we are handed bits and pieces that do not in any way follow a consistent compensation package or system because CO want the freedom to take what they want when they want it. Maybe the school bookkeepers can work on that for us:)

  16. This and That says:

    I thought the Data Coaches interpreted the Data from testing for the principal to use. Interesting! I will try to find out at our school. Also, our principal is tracking daily attendance (arrival time). The bookkeeper will deduct the time from our paychecks. What about all the days we frequently stay until 5 or 6 pm? That will not affect our checks. Has anyone else experienced that at their school?

  17. September says:

    @this and that. They can only deduct money from your paycheck when you are late if you are an hourly employee. If you are an hourly employee you get overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours. They can’t have it both ways. Talk to your professional organization .

  18. kirklunde says:

    If you go to https://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fin_pack_revenue.entry_form for DeKalb County and look at the state & local revenue report for FY’ 14, it shows $900,819,910.
    If you look at the expenditure report for FY’14, it shows $842,266,250.
    Dr. Bell stated at the last work session $37.3 million was added to the reserves.

    $900,819,910 – $842,266,250 = $58.6 million (approximately).
    $58.6 million – $37.3 million leaves $21.3 million unaccounted for.

    What happened to that money and isn’t it about time the FBI start investigating?

  19. frustrated says:

    I can’t imagine our bookkeeper tracking any testing data. However, the bookkeeper is watching when we sign in and deducting our paychecks often in the form of sick hours if available otherwise dollars.
    We are constantly required to cover classes during our planning periods. Subs are difficult to obtain. Once several years ago, I was compensated for covering but the rate was that of a substitute not my hourly rate. For the last few years our contracts have been written using hourly rates.
    Last week we were informed Tuesday of an impromptu mandatory staff meeting taking place on Wednesday. These staff meetings are supposed to start at 3:30pm but rarely begin before 3:45pm. We are repeatedly reminded that our work schedule is 7:40am to 3:40pm. Yet, staff meetings are mandatory. This meeting was supposed to be short. The meetings would be a lot shorter if they started on time. Imagine our surprise when we were told at the end of the meeting we had to go to one of the computer labs and complete a 25 minute survey. I would like to know who is paying the cost of these Valed surveys for principals ( Vanderbilt principal evaluation program) also who gets these results. We were told we had to have an 80% completion rate. We had to sign in on an attendance sheet and print the survey submitted screen to confirm our participation. You would not believe how long it took to turn on the computers, wait for the login, and print. Many of the computers would not print.

  20. This and That says:

    September, exactly! This began with the hourly employees. This year they are involving everyone -including salaried teachers.

  21. Related county corruption news >>

    Ex-DeKalb Commissioner Boyer to be sentenced

    Former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer is scheduled to be sentenced this week for swindling more than $90,000 from taxpayers.

    Boyer faces about one or two years in federal prison when she appears before U.S.District Judge Orinda Evans on Friday.

    Boyer pleaded guilty in September to charges that she funnelled more than $78,000 to an evangelist posing as a legislative consultant, and then receiving about $58,000 of that amount in kickbacks. Boyer also admitted charging more than $15,000 worth of personal expenses on her government charge card.

    Boyer’s sentencing has been delayed twice already, in December and in February.

    Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Boyer agreed to provide “substantial assistance” in exchange for their recommendation of a lighter sentence.

    Boyer’s husband, John Boyer, pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme last month, and his sentencing is scheduled for May 6.

    The consultant Boyer paid, evangelist Rooks Boynton, hasn’t been charged.

  22. Wow – and now it seems that Boyer’s husband was involved all along. In fact, this ‘chiropractor’ was the mastermind! They did it because of ‘financial troubles’ in 2009 (Hey! It was the ‘Great Recession! We ALL had financial problems!!) Seems the middle man, their “evangelist posing as a legislative consultant” friend, Rooks Boynton will have to take his lumps from God when the time comes, as DeKalb has declined to charge him with a crime in this life. Hopefully he will remember one of God’s sticky commandments, “Thou Shalt Not Steal”.

    Ex-commissioner’s husband pleads guilty

  23. More news on straightening out the corruption in DeKalb >>

    DeKalb reforms await action from state lawmakers

    The government overhaul legislation arose from recommendations by the DeKalb Operations Task Force, a group of community leaders and elected officials — including Millar and Parent — that reviewed reforms. Similar measures were also pushed by a citizen group called Blueprint DeKalb.

    Senate Bill 121 would create an internal auditor position responsible for finding fraud and improving government efficiency. The DeKalb Commission has discussed the position for years without filling it.
    Senate Bill 118 would establish a full-time ethics officer and require that Board of Ethics members be appointed by community groups instead of county commissioners and the county CEO.
    Senate Bill 120 would require sealed bids for all purchases exceeding $50,000 and commission approval for all purchases exceeding $100,000.
    House Bill 215 would raise DeKalb’s sales tax rate to 8 percent to pay for infrastructure improvements, and it would also use some sales tax money to provide homeowners with property tax relief.
    

    The property assessment freeze would cost DeKalb’s government less than $7 million a year, while the additional sales tax would raise about $108 million annually — $80 million for the county and $28 million for city governments. Roughly $21 million from existing sales taxes would go toward reducing homeowners’ property tax bills.

    Additionally, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis’ retrial is scheduled to begin June 1.

    No word yet on retrials for Dr. Lewis and the Pope(s).

  24. And more news on the annexation of Druid Hills into the City of Atlanta >>

    Druid Hills annexation into Atlanta debated

    …Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May said Friday that efforts to annex the Druid Hills neighborhood into Atlanta should be delayed.

    But Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, said residents deserve an opportunity to vote on whether they want to merge with Atlanta or remain in unincorporated DeKalb.

    House Bill 586 is pending in the state House of Representatives after it was introduced earlier this week.

  25. dsw2contributor says:

    Today, the Georgia DOE released its “2014 School Climate Star Ratings”. Their press release is here:
    http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=301

    “Each school in Georgia received a 1-5 star ratings, with five stars representing an excellent school climate, and one star representing a school climate most in need of improvement. ”

    Below is a cut-and-paste of the scores for our DCSS Schools…. on each line is a school name, followed by its 2014 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) and then its 2014 Star Rating (1 to 5):

    Narvie Harris Elementary School 71.6 4
    Wynbrooke Elementary School 85.3 4
    Martin Luther King, Jr. High School 61 3
    Miller Grove High School 60.4 3
    Flat Rock Elementary School 59 2
    Princeton Elementary School 54.3 3
    Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence 38.2 5
    DeKalb Preparatory Academy Charter 54.4 5
    Cedar Grove High School 62.8 2
    Vanderlyn Elementary School 93.6 3
    Austin Elementary School 95.5 4
    Redan High School 60.5 3
    Eldridge L. Miller Elementary School 51.6 2
    Panola Way Elementary School 52.4 3
    Peachtree Middle School 80.2 5
    Pine Ridge Elementary School 56.2 3
    Browns Mill Elementary School 52.6 2
    Chapel Hill Middle School 65.1 3
    Marbut Elementary School 79.1 4
    Cedar Grove Middle School 55.3 3
    Freedom Middle School 52.4 2
    Lithonia High School 59.1 2
    Lithonia Middle School 60.8 3
    Redan Middle School 63.7 2
    Dunwoody Elementary School 85.6 4
    Museum School Avondale Estates 92.4 5
    Rockbridge Elementary School 77.4 2
    Cedar Grove Elementary School 59.4 4
    Stone Mountain High School 51.2 3
    Kittredge Magnet School 91.8 5
    Sequoyah Middle School 56.8 3
    Salem Middle School 58.2 2
    Shadow Rock Elementary School 63.5 3
    Edward L. Bouie, Sr. Elementary School 69.9 4
    Columbia Middle School 62.7 2
    Oakview Elementary 52 2
    Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers 96 5
    Leadership Preparatory Academy 69.4 4
    The GLOBE Academy Charter School 76.4 5
    Fairington Elementary School 56.3 4
    Stephenson Middle School 76.2 3
    Robert Shaw Theme School 84.6 4
    Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School 54.3 1
    Chamblee Middle School 81.4 4
    Dekalb Early College Academy 97.3 5
    Ronald E McNair Discover Learning Academy Elementary School 43.6 2
    DeKalb School of the Arts 95.3 5
    Bob Mathis Elementary School 54.9 3
    Stephenson High School 64.5 3
    DeKalb Alternative School 33.9 5
    East DeKalb Special Education Center NA 5
    Stone Mountain Middle School 62.3 3
    The Champion Middle Theme School 79.5 4
    Margaret Harris Comprehensive School 59.7 5
    Stone Mill Elementary School 57.9 4
    Miller Grove Middle School 60 3
    Tucker Middle School 66.9 3
    Gateway to College Academy 52.7 5
    Arabia Mountain High School – Academy of Engineering, Medicine and Environm 83.1 5
    Woodridge Elementary School 66.3 3
    DeKalb PATH Academy Charter School 88.1 4
    UHS of Laurel Heights NA NA
    Henderson Middle School 73.3 4
    International Community School 63.5 5
    Elizabeth Andrews High School 41.8 5
    Druid Hills Middle School 76.5 3
    DeKalb Academy of Technology and the Environment Charter School 70.7 5
    DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts 75.3 3
    Brockett Elementary School 72.7 4
    Chapel Hill Elementary School 59.4 1
    Columbia Elementary School 50.7 5
    Dresden Elementary School 58.8 4
    Evansdale Elementary School 66.8 4
    McNair Middle School 46.4 1
    Idlewood Elementary School 61.8 4
    Livsey Elementary School 84.4 3
    Tucker High School 62.1 4
    Woodward Elementary School 54.6 4
    International Student Center 31.6 4
    Allgood Elementary School 56.2 2
    Columbia High School 57 1
    Druid Hills High School 64.5 3
    Fernbank Elementary School 95.6 5
    Henderson Mill Elementary School 76.7 5
    Indian Creek Elementary School 70.2 3
    Knollwood Elementary School 55.5 2
    McLendon Elementary School 63.1 3
    Midvale Elementary School 71.4 3
    Cary Reynolds Elementary School 56.1 4
    Stone Mountain Elementary School 62.1 3
    Ashford Park Elementary School 79.9 4
    Briarlake Elementary School 78.9 5
    Canby Lane Elementary School 48.6 2
    Chesnut Elementary School 80.1 3
    Dunaire Elementary School 51 1
    Flat Shoals Elementary School 50.8 4
    Hambrick Elementary School 64.9 3
    Jolly Elementary School 56.7 5
    Lakeside High School 72.4 4
    Meadowview Elementary School 53.8 4
    Midway Elementary School 48.8 3
    Oak Grove Elementary School 86.4 3
    Pleasantdale Elementary School 79.7 1
    Rock Chapel Elementary School 69.7 3
    Smoke Rise Elementary School 58.2 3
    Toney Elementary School 48.7 4
    McNair High School 44.9 1
    Briar Vista Elementary School 81.8 5
    Murphy Candler Elementary School 53.4 3
    Clarkston High School 54.6 3
    Cross Keys High School 67.4 3
    Hightower Elementary School 63.5 4
    Kelley Lake Elementary School 56.8 2
    Laurel Ridge Elementary School 84.2 4
    Montclair Elementary School 44.7 3
    Oakcliff Elementary School 67.1 4
    Rainbow Elementary School 66.3 3
    Rowland Elementary School 54.1 2
    Snapfinger Elementary School 57.3 4
    Stoneview Elementary School 47 2
    Towers High School 57 3
    Coralwood Education Center 88.8 5
    Avondale Elementary School 65.4 2
    Chamblee Charter High School 79.8 3
    Clifton Elementary School 47.8 2
    Dunwoody High School 73.6 5
    Hawthorne Elementary School 75.6 3
    Huntley Hills Elementary School 77.3 5
    Kingsley Elementary School 63.9 4
    Montgomery Elementary School 87 5
    Redan Elementary School 49.7 1
    Sagamore Hills Elementary School 79.4 4
    Southwest DeKalb High School 63.4 4

  26. The “School Climate Star Ratings” strikes me as being bogus since you a school can have a “5-Star Rating” while also having a failing (60 or less) CCRPI.

    Here are the DCSS schools that have “5-Star Ratings” and failing CCRPIs:

    DeKalb Alternative School 33.9 5
    Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence 38.2 5
    Elizabeth Andrews High School 41.8 5
    Columbia Elementary School 50.7 5
    Gateway to College Academy 52.7 5
    DeKalb Preparatory Academy Charter 54.4 5
    Jolly Elementary School 56.7 5
    Margaret Harris Comprehensive School 59.7 5

  27. On the other hand, in case the “School Climate Star Rating” is a legitimate performance measure, here are the DCCS schools with a “1-Star” rating and CCRPI under 60:

    McNair High School 44.9 1
    McNair Middle School 46.4 1
    Redan Elementary School 49.7 1
    Dunaire Elementary School 51 1
    Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School 54.3 1
    Columbia High School 57 1
    Chapel Hill Elementary School 59.4 1

    And the DCSS schools with “2-Star” ratings and CCRPIs under 60:

    Ronald E McNair Discover Learning Academy Elementary School 43.6 2
    Stoneview Elementary School 47 2
    Clifton Elementary School 47.8 2
    Canby Lane Elementary School 48.6 2
    Eldridge L. Miller Elementary School 51.6 2
    Oakview Elementary 52 2
    Freedom Middle School 52.4 2
    Browns Mill Elementary School 52.6 2
    Rowland Elementary School 54.1 2
    Knollwood Elementary School 55.5 2
    Allgood Elementary School 56.2 2
    Kelley Lake Elementary School 56.8 2
    Salem Middle School 58.2 2
    Flat Rock Elementary School 59 2
    Lithonia High School 59.1 2

  28. And the DCSS schools with a “5-Star” rating and CCRPI above 90:

    Kittredge Magnet School 91.8 5
    Museum School Avondale Estates 92.4 5
    DeKalb School of the Arts 95.3 5
    Fernbank Elementary School 95.6 5
    Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers 96 5
    Dekalb Early College Academy 97.3 5

    And the DCSS school with a “4-Star” rating and CCRPI above 90:

    Austin Elementary School 95.5 4

  29. Above, kirklunde pointed out that $58.6 million – $37.3 million leaves $21.3 million unaccounted for.

    That’s the new “THURMOND TORE” mathematics. 🙂

  30. Thank you for reporting on these ratings, dsw2contributor. We will compile them into separate blog post, as this is critical information. Really appreciate your ‘contribution’!

  31. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Fulton schools are paying new hires a bonus based on a number of factors. 700-800 new teachers are being recruited. Are we making this type of investment in our students or new teachers?

  32. Working til retirement... says:

    Forgive my bluntness, but why should we pay new hires a bonus when those of us who have stayed the course continue to be treated like crap? I, for one, would be very upset if new hires were given a bonus that current teachers didn’t receive as well.

  33. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Working, You are right. Would an experienced teacher appreciate that? Uh NO. But…

    According to the front page of the Fulton School System’s website, under the tab Go Fulton, the article also states that Avossa is recommending the board approve Step and Salary increases for all employees, teaching and non teaching this June. That would be welcomed by veteran teachers. Also, they are moving some highest performing teachers around to target poorly performing schools with additional money and responsibility to be included.

    Sounds to me like someone is finally utilizing their resources correctly and appropriately. What ever it is…can we get some too??

  34. @bettyandveronica >> This is why our next choice for superintendent is so critical. Had we hired Dr. Duron instead of Dr. Atkinson when we had the chance, we predict that we would have been even more balanced and forward-thinking than the current Fulton policy. But as usual, racism played into the decision, information was leaked, candidates dropped out due to an egregious breach of trust, and lo and behold! an African-American was hired as was the one and only goal of the board chair at that time, Dr. Walker.

    We MUST hire the most qualified, experienced candidate who has a proven track record of attracting the best and brightest, and leading them to improvements in outcomes — regardless of the candidate’s race.

    However, with John Evans chosen by our current board chair to serve on the community committee, we don’t really hold out much hope, unfortunately. You see, when you demand the hiring of an African-American, you are limiting the candidate pool to 12% or so of the total. (This is just assuming the candidate pool tracks the U.S. population, which shows African-Americans are about 12% of the total population. Much to many people’s surprise, Hispanics make up more – over 14% – and whites are about 65% of the total U.S. population. Eliminate whites and Hispanics, and you severely strip down the candidate pool.)

  35. Updates on the soft sentencing of Elaine Boyer – who fleeced taxpayers for over $90,000.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/boyer-sentenced-to-federal-prison-for-defrauding-d/nkbd5/

    “After apologizing to DeKalb County taxpayers for fleecing them through fraud schemes, ex-commissioner Elaine Boyer hit them up for more money.

    Boyer has applied for her county retirement payments, and DeKalb’s pension board will grant her full benefits.

    From 11Alive >>

    “While the judge didn’t give Boyer the sentence she was hoping for, she will be allowed to postpone it until after May. It allows Boyer to attend her daughter’s graduation.”

  36. Library Lover says:

    I don’t understand the “media clerk” comment & what it has to do with Thurmond. Media clerks were eliminated under Cheryl Atkinson. True, Thurmond has not reinstated the position (yet), but he has had conversations about the possibility of getting them back once the budget is more stable. Or do you mean “media specialist?” Media clerks are secretarial positions who assist in the library media centers. Media specialists (or “teacher-librarians”) are specially trained, certified staff members who run the library media centers. Again, Atkinson made draconian cuts to the school library media centers, eliminating the media clerk position & cutting back to one or fewer media specialists per school (fewer, because some schools had to share their library media specialist with another school. The media specialist worked Mon, Wed, and every other Friday in one school, and Tues, Thurs, and every other Friday at another school). Thurmond has eliminated the split-schools, so that all schools have one full-time media specialist. True, the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) marked DCSD down for only having one media specialist in each high school instead of two, and no media clerk, but at least Thurmond was able to re-hire enough media specialists to have one in every elementary school. Cheryl Atkinson cut media clerks & media specialists from the budget. Thurmond has brought some of the media specialists back. I call that an improvement.

  37. Yes, we should have included media specialists.

  38. Pingback: Yes, your taxes are in fact increasing, as values increase and the Board refuses to lower the millage rate accordingly. Can you say, “Windfall”? | dekalb school watch two

  39. bigfish says:

    Let get back to Mr.Thurman, why was he brought in to find money? that is the CFO’s job right. I been around for a while and seems to me that DCS is for the taken for who ever our board put in place. It has been 7 years and making the same money, and have not received a dime into the TSA I was signed up for. I am really disappointed in the way DCS is still headed .

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