New Superintendent Contract

Reprinted from Stan Jester’s post on the Fact Checker blog >>

On Thursday May 28, the DeKalb County Board of Education approved an employment contract with Dr. R. Stephen Green as Superintendent of DeKalb County Schools, effective July 1, 2015.

Employment Contract With Dr. R. Stephen Green

Employment Contract Overview

Salary – $300K/year
Length – 3 years (Pursuant to § 20-2-101)
Expenses – $2,600/month
Car allowance – $750/month
Supplemental retirement plan in addition to TRS
Retention bonus – $15K/year

Termination of Employment

Termination for the Superintendent’s Convenience – The Superintendent may at his option terminate the contract. Superintendent shall pay the Board $150K.

Termination for Cause By Board – The School District may terminate the Superintendent for cause by a positive vote of at least five of the seven of the members of the whole Board pursuant to O.C.G.A 20-2-940.

Termination for the Board’s Convenience – The Board, upon a supermajority vote of at least five of its seven members, may terminate the contract for its convenience. The Board shall pay to the Superintendent severance pay in the amount of $150K.

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47 Responses to New Superintendent Contract

  1. Nikole says:

    The board is trolling us teachers with that supplemental retirement benefit.

  2. Stan Jester says:

    Nikole, Please elaborate. Thanks, Stan.

  3. dekalbteacher says:

    What in the world?

    Stan, please help this teacher understand.

    A first-year teacher with a master’s degree earned $45,795 this year; that’s only $3,595 more than Dr. Green’s monthly expenses and car allowance. I assume that Dr. Green also gets a cell phone and laptop and any other materials or equipment that we teachers spend our own money on (and yes we use our own cell phones to make school business phone calls, especially when we don’t have our own classrooms).

    I understand that superintendents are paid big money, but there is also a degree of big money. Dekalb does’t mind shorting its teachers. Our salaries-for most years of the salary schedule-are significantly lower than other metro school districts’. Our administrators, however, are well-compensated.

    Nothing about this hiring process, Dr. Green’s somewhat secretive selection (pr people can spin this all they want), and this exorbitant package says that things are changing in Dekalb.In fact, it feels like Crawford Lewis’s expensive chairs all over again.

    Our ” surplus” and Green’s generous pay has to come from somewhere-Dekalb taxpayers and us teachers. We taught more students for less pay, we compensated for the lack of subs, we compensated for the absence of any genuine instructional support, we manufacture our own textbooks because our instructional resources are so lacking, and we create the curricula materials that our many instructional coordinators, supervisors, and directors, etc… should.

    Why are we starting with top dollar? Why doesn’t the contract include the very merit pay approach the district has wanted to use?

    How much more can we expect? Atkinson paid for audits that funded her well-connected friends and established free Phds for select administrators. Thurmond brought in a new communications person making top dollar and was allowed to spend even more for legal consultations. What is the board doing to ensure that we’re not paying for Lewis’s, Atkinson’s, Thurmond’s, and now Green’s pet projects as well as friends and family benefits plan that, up to this point, have appeared to offer no benefits but many harms in the classroom (from what I can tell, previous boards have never expected any performance tracking)?

  4. @dekalbteacher — A first-year teacher with a master’s degree also pays federal and state taxes on his/her salary of $45,795. Green — like Thurmond, Adkinson, Tyson, Lewis, Brown — is not required to submit receipts to obtain the monthly expense funds and car allowance. Essentially, that is tax-free income for Green with no receipts to prove it was spent appropriately. Will Green also be getting a full-time employee as a driver? Will Green be getting a new car paid for by DeKalb County in addition to his car allowance? What about other perks like moving expenses and an interest-free loan to purchase a house? Where do his grandchildren go to school now? Will they be going to DeKalb County Schools in August — jumping the line, so to speak, because they don’t live in the district for the school(s) they prefer? Lots of questions to answer — especially when only selected portions of a contract are divulged.

  5. sawyerbrown68 says:

    Stan,

    Nikole, I think, is referencing the Dekalb Suplemental Retirement the Board has rescinded for teachers but NOT the highly paid staff.

    Where is the Dekalb Suplemental Retirement for the teachers?

  6. Stan Jester says:

    Why do you say
    ” Lots of questions to answer — especially when only selected portions of a contract are divulged.”

    There is a link in this post to the full contract. I’ll be in and out this weekend, but I will check back here via mobile periodically. I’ll respond to the more complex questions when I get back to my laptop.

  7. Gail says:

    His base pay is more than Alvin Wilbanks in Gwinnett. Wow…

  8. Hey, Stan — we are going to take a wild guess here. Nikole is talking about paying the superintendent supplemental retirement benefits while withholding payments to the Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) promised to teachers if they would vote to leave Social Security. We know it and you know it, too, Stan. It is disingenuous to pretend you don’t know and to ask Nikole to “elaborate.”

    Not only does DCS owe teachers the TSA payments that were/are withheld, they also owe teachers the lost interest for the same period of time. Further, they also owe TSA payments and lost interest to teachers who left DCS during this time period of non-payment to the Tax Sheltered Annuity.

    Because of the Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (a 1984 Orwellian title if we’ve ever heard one!), any teacher who retires from DeKalb County Schools (regardless of where else they have worked and how many Social Security credits they have earned) and receives a pension from the Teachers Retirement System will lose about 30% of their Social Security benefit. Spousal benefits will also be reduced by about 30%. Many teachers and clerical employees who retire from DCS will retire into poverty. But, you know that because we have written about it over and over and over. Still don’t believe us? Make an appointment with a Social Security office (we recommend the one in Norcross) and get the facts, Stan.

    BTW, for a long time there has been a pervasive rumor that senior administrators and others, mostly in the Palace, also receive “supplemental retirement benefits” in addition to a pension from the Teachers Retirement System. That would have to be approved by the board in each annual budget, but not shown to outsiders.

  9. Still Waters says:

    “Et tu”, Mr. Jester?
    I agree that you are fully aware of what @Nikole is referring to. Are you not the same one who even suggested at a board meeting that the contributions be restored to the Board TSA? Please don’t tell me that you have been sipping from the same glass of arrogance, deception and denial as your fellow board members.
    Those teachers that are widows or widowers check with Social Security regarding the effect on your benefits. It is most likely that your survival benefits will be reduced to zero! http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf

  10. Teachers Matter says:

    Monthly expenses $2600, car allowance $750-WHY?

  11. Stan Jester says:

    Superintendents make too much money, agreed. I would love to find a qualified superintendent that would accept $175K. To give Dr. Green’s contract perspective:

    Cheryl Atkinson – $275K/year
    (Dekalb Schools Superintendent from 2011 – 2013)

    Michael Thurmond’s Contract – $275K/year
    (Dekalb Schools Superintendent from 2013 – 2015)

    Maria Carstarphen’s Contract – $375K/year
    (Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent 2014 – Present)

    Alvin Wilbanks (Gwinnett) – $277K/year
    Robert Avossa (Fulton) – $275K/year

  12. a concerned teacher says:

    Why does he need a monthly expense account that is greater than my monthly salary? Something is very wrong there.

  13. Still Waters says:

    Interesting… Dekalb has announced the following meeting for employees to meet with Social Security representatives;

    Date: June 17, 2015
    Time: 10:00 am until 12:30 pm
    Location: 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083
    Room: AIC Auditorium

  14. Stan Jester says:

    As you may or may not know, I have been an advocate for pushing money into the classroom. Over the last 5 months I have made numerous motions to reinstate teacher TSA and raise teacher salaries to no avail.

    TSA
    Public school employees covered under the PSERS retirement system are school bus drivers, school lunchroom personnel, school maintenance personnel, and school custodial personnel, etc. In the Proposed FY16 Budget employees covered under PSERS get an 8% TSA contribution. Teachers get nothing.

    65% Rule
    Classrooms First for Georgia – Requires, at a minimum, 65% of a system’s total operating funds to be spent in the classroom. Based upon the Proposed FY2016 Operating Budget, the projected percent expended in the classroom would come to 63.64% this coming year.

    This is disheartening, folks. Once again DeKalb Schools is balancing the budget on the backs of teachers. DSW has a link at the top right to “Email the Board of Education”. Please avail yourself of that link and let the board know what you think.

  15. Just curious what a superintendent would spend a “monthly expense account” on? Food, entertainment, travel? It seems that these are “life expenses” that any other employee spends their own salary on…not to mention the thousands most teachers spend every year for basic supplies that have been depleted by budget cuts. Imagine giving each teacher $1000 a year to spend how they want (what a luxury that would be!). Seems that dekalb is “sitting pretty” now with the huge Mr. Thurmond surplus that they might consider taking care of their teachers again. Tired of all the talk…”teachers deserve so much more” blah blah blah. The money is there. Make it happen…. please. There must be something in the punch once you get your foot in that door at the palace. it seems that politics and education are too closely knit now and may be impossible getting back to the business us serving the kids instead of the padding the pockets of the grown ups in charge. Can anyone scratch my back….?

  16. howdy1942 says:

    This whole thread is a microcosm of the pent-up anger that pervades this County. I am not aware of any other County in the Metro Atlanta area other than Dekalb that actually cut teachers’ salaries/benefits. I don’t recall seeing any article in the AJC or hearing any report on other media. Both our State and National economies have recovered from the Great Recession, but no effort has been made other than lip service by one school board member to restore the TRA cuts.

    Teachers gave up their Social Security based on the commitment by the school board in 1979 to make contributions to their TRA. Had that not happened, Dekalb County would have been required by law to make employer contributions to Social Security. I can understand the financial difficulties that the DCSS was facing in 2011, but I cannot understand why the school board has not initiated any action whatsoever to restore those contributions and to begin repaying those that are owed our teachers. Commitments are commitments. Right is right and, whatever this school board may say, these teachers are owed these contributions and this school board needs to get moving on this issue. It is not going away! The longer it festers, the madder people get.

    I’ve haven’t heard any further updates on the lawsuit filed by those two teachers that is moving through the courts to force the DCSS to restore those contributions. Quite frankly, I am pulling for them and it really troubles me that my tax dollars are being spent by the DCSS to pay lawyers to fight these two teachers. Rest assured that if I had a say, we would have restored those cuts long before now and would not be wasting taxpayer dollars to defend a breach of commitment by the DCSS. I’m not sure what the DCSS will do if it loses this court case. You cannot raise taxes and there is very little likelihood that the State will provide you with any “wiggle room”. Given the waste of our SPLOST IV funds, I have no present intentions of even thinking about any consideration of a SPLOST V let alone any vote to increase our taxes to pay for bad decisions by the DCSS.

    Stan, a lot of people are looking to you to get things moving in the right direction. I realize that you are but one member on what I perceive is a very weak school board that seems to have great difficulty in getting anything right, but we need you to speak up – no one else seems to have the courage to do so. Dr. Green may turn out to be an excellent choice, but the school board could sure do a lot to make his path smoother if it would start doing something to restore the trust of the community, doing something for our teachers, and getting the focus away from administration and into the classroom.

  17. Just saying says:

    Someone should ask why schools have not received their Title I funds, and how the district is paying for materials, supplies and tutorials that are budgeted with these funds.

  18. dekalbteacher says:

    Stan,

    I do appreciate your responses. More than we get from most.

    I’d still like to know the rationale. If it is “this is what other school districts are paying,” then why aren’t we applying that same rationale to paying teachers? Organizing classes? Spending Title 1 monies?

    I know you’ve been pushing for more money in the classroom. Perhaps you could push for more transparency. Are there really employees-higher paid than I-benefiting from special retirement cushions? If so, we teachers and taxpayers deserve to know and deserve to know why.

    If Dr. Green is legitimate, then he will recognize the first thing he has to do is restore credibility in all areas of the school district-spending, instruction, HR, legal. No PR person. No gimmicks. I understand you are just one, but you can raise questions that must be answered so we have no more rambling distractions, no more avoidance, and no more spurious claims.

    This charter school district is a good place to start. In a previous post you suggested that the state has us in a holding pattern. That’s just not true. Thurmond presented a weak proposal of “innovation” and the need to help our struggling ESL population (as if that’s the only group of students struggling in DeKalb) with no explanations of how the district would do these things. That proposal was on the school district’s website in September and October. The district held two meetings in September and October and then nothing.

    Please ask what happened to this feedback, and why giving the public feedback has anything to do with the state’s approval.

    For the record, this is the type of waiting we teachers experience all the time. Will the school district or school leaders announce the testing schedule? When? Will we get this salary or that salary? Will the photocopier be working or won’t it? Will we have access to the gradebook, district email system, and word-processor or won’t we? Somehow we have alternatives. Why don’t the school district leaders?

    Please also ask what Plan A (status quo) and Plan B (charter) looks like since these different designations will affect our class sizes and budgets.

  19. Same old same old says:

    @ just saying:
    The reason why Title I schools have not received their funds this past school year is that until they pay back funds owed to the state they will not receive new funds. The funds owed are for improper expenditures found in the 2014 audit. If the district continues to fight the findings and fails to pay, the state will continue to withhold the funds. Meanwhile, the finance department has had to borrow from the general funds for every Title I transaction and salary this year. The budget closes on September 30th, so it has to be resolved by then or DeKalb will be out millions.

  20. Stan Jester says:

    DeKalb Teacher,
    I can’t speak for the other board members why they vote down my motions to raise teacher salaries and reinstate TSA for teachers. Aside from the superintendent, I don’t believe any other employees are getting a secondary board funded retirement plan. I support the superintendent search process and the board’s decision. It is now up to Dr. Green to prove himself.

    Charter System Updatehttp://factchecker.stanjester.com/2015/05/4306/

    DeKalb Schools Region 2 Superintendent Trenton Arnold was tasked with putting the petition together to approach the state Board of Education. Trenton Arnold responds to some questions I had regarding this state law.

  21. Zorach says:

    Update on TSA Litigation

    After several early victories for the plaintiffs at the trial and appeals court levels, they suffered a major setback when a different trial judge, Marc Anthony Scott, was assigned to the case and last fall ruled against the plaintiffs’ efforts to obtain class certification, siding with the school district’s numerous arguments. The plaintiffs appealed his ruling, and on March 30, 2015, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that many of the numerous grounds cited for denying class certification were invalid, but nevertheless upheld the denial of class certification on three points where “the plaintiffs failed to meet the exacting standards for class certification.” (Judge McFadden’s concurring opinion, joined by Judge Phipps). However, there is a silver lining in the concurring opinion whereby the court emphasized “that on remand [sending it back to the trial court] the plaintiffs will have an opportunity to revisit those issues in light of our opinion.” In other words, the Court of Appeals recognized that the plaintiffs could possibly remedy the three highly technical deficiencies and directed the trial court to provide the plaintiffs such an opportunity. As Judge McFadden stated at the opening of his opinion, “I concur fully but reluctantly. If every there was a question that ought to be resolved once and for all, it is whether this school district shortchanged these teachers unlawfully.”

    Needless to say, the lawyers for the plaintiffs are addressing the issues to remedy the identified deficiencies. At some point, there will be more proceedings in front of Judge Scott related to these matters, and eventually a further ruling from him. It will likely be several more months before these issues again come to a head.

  22. The big shame in this litigation is that the Board and the District stubbornly remain adversaries to teachers and staff that lost the TSA. It is costly to the District and immoral to push this litigation to the bitter end.

  23. September says:

    @Stan Jester. Thank you for joining in this conversation. I know you can’t solve the problems of the school system by yourself but I am happy that you are trying to help.

  24. Stan — we could be wrong but didn’t the DeKalb County Schools custodians, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers and bus drivers just get an 8% contribution to their Tax Sheltered Annuity?

  25. TeacherK says:

    DSW,

    The maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and bus drivers who are in the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) were never included in the elimination of the TSA. It would be beyond criminal for the Board to reduce the TSA for these employees since their PSERS benefits AND the Boards required contribution to it are minimal. PSERS benefits are currently capped by law at $15 per month per year of service. So an employee who works 30 years in one of those positions can legally only receive $450 per month in retirement benefits. I’m not sure how much DCSD has to pay in for the employer portion, but I know at one time the employees were paying in less than $10 per month. Since DCSD pays 13% to TRS for the employees in that system, the 8% TSA for this group of employees is still less than fairness would dictate.

  26. @TeacherK — we did not mean to suggest or even imply that the maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, custodians and bus drivers who are in the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) should not receive contributions to the Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA). Never! Our comment was more of a tongue-in-check response to Stan Jester who said, “Aside from the superintendent, I don’t believe any other employees are getting a secondary board funded retirement plan.” He made that comment a day after he noted that, “employees covered under PSERS get an 8% TSA contribution.”

    We have heard a number of rumors that senior administrators in the palace are still getting TSA (Tax Sheltered Annuity) contributions (supplemental retirement benefit) while teachers continue to get nothing.

    In the case of Superintendent Green, he will receive a $24,000 per year “supplemental retirement benefit” plus DeKalb County Schools will pay their share and his share of the Teachers Retirement System contribution. So, if Green’s “base” salary is $300,000, and DCS’s contribution to TRS is 13% (assumed) of Green’s base salary plus another 13% (assumed) which would be Green’s share, then the TRS total is $78,000. Add that to Green’s “supplemental retirement benefit” and the grand total is $102,000 paid by DCS to Green’s retirement per year. As Miss Daisy said in Driving Miss Daisy, “I think I am going to spit up.”

    Brown, Lewis, Tyson, Atkinson, Thurmond, Green and their ilk want to be paid like high-performing captains of industry when really they are incompetent captains of a sinking ship that they helped to sink.

  27. realityscout says:

    I might be misinformed but I think the salary for TRS is capped at $255,000, and that the employer contribution is 13.15% of annual income and employee contribution is 6.00%

    Still, he’s gotten a darned fine deal, otherwise known as overcompensation.
    Wish I had some of that love and attention from my long time employer.

  28. Thanks for the information! We have been unable to determine a salary cap for TRS, but perhaps someone else can provide that for us. You are correct that the employee contribution is 6%. However, beginning July 1, 2015 (FY 2016), the employer’s contribution is increased to 14.27%.

  29. realityscout says:

    It’s $265,000 for 2015/16 if what they’re saying here means it’s capped for further contributions.
    I am far from any sort of financial lingo wiz.
    http://www.trsga.com/active-member/retirement-service-and-disability/determining-your-retirement-benefit/salary-limitation

  30. Teachers Matter says:

    Mr. Jester, I thank you for participating in this discussion. Would you please take a message to your next board meeting? We, who are in the classroom every day with taxpayers’ children, are sick of the nonsense.

  31. Stan Jester says:

    Let’s make sure everybody is on the same page regarding retirement mechanisms.

    Social Security
    DeKalb Schools elected to opt out of Social Security in 1978.

    Teacher Retirement System (TRS)
    TRS was established in 1943 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly to provide retirement security for all teaching, administrative, clerical, paraprofessional, and school nursing, as well as other professional personnel.

    Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS)
    PSERS was established under Georgia Laws 1969 to provide a supplemental retirement plan for bus drivers, school lunchroom personnel, school maintenance personnel, and school custodial personnel.

    Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA)
    The Board TSA and the Optional TSA provide investment vehicles to employees governed by Section 403 (b) of the IRS Tax Code. Section 403 (b) provides the opportunity for tax deferred investments for DeKalb School employees.

    Board TSA Contributions
    The Board of Education used to provide contributions into an account for each eligible employee (thus the name Board TSA). The employee is allowed to select the investments in which he or she desires to place the funds.

    Optional TSA
    The Optional TSA program allows employees to open an account with an investment company and have pretax payroll deductions, called contributions, taken from their paycheck. Thus, an Optional TSA account is employee funded. The employee is able to invest the contributions in mutual funds or annuities offered through these companies.

    Board TSA Contributions Suspended
    August 1, 2009, Board TSA contributions were suspended for all employees and have not been restored to date.

    Proposed FY2016 Budget
    The administration proposes an 8% board TSA contribution for bus drivers, school lunchroom personnel, school maintenance personnel, and school custodial personnel.

  32. concerned citizen says:

    Stan, we are counting on you to make this board do the right things. But, we realize how deep the level of corruption is with Melvin as the Chairman. Make them say why they are refusing to raise teachers’ pay and get the teachers paid their proper retirement funds. Make them put their reasons in writing so everybody can see how low down and dirty they are. Also, Stan and DSW, I do not for one minute think this new supt. has anything to offer DeKalb. The process of selecting him was very shaky and feels a lot like Thurmond’s “selection.”

  33. thedeal2 says:

    To me it looks like a superintendent has the ability to ask for his salary to include paying him + paying for anything he might ever need to eat, wear, drive, or want to buy. What is his salary for?

  34. Teachermom says:

    Stan, just to clarify your definitions: Board TSA contribution was given in lieu of Social Security, as part of the decision to opt out. There lies the problem.

  35. Stan Jester says:

    As far as the federal government is concerned, the only qualification for withdrawal from Social Security is participation in TRS. To build on what TeacherMom said, it was communicated to DeKalb Schools employees that TSA was an alternative to Social Security.

    May 14, 1979 the board passed The Resolution:

    NOW THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That in the event of withdrawal from Social Security, funds currently budgeted for Social Security shall be used for the support of the alternative plan, and the funding of the alternative to Social Security shall be adjusted annually in proportion to the employer’s Social Security amount; and
    BEIT FURTHER RESOLVED, That before the budget is adopted each year, a determination shall be made as to the amount that would have been required for continued participation in Social Security during the current year and the projection shall be made as to the amount that would have been required to continue participation in Social Security during the forthcoming budget year, and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the amount required for the forthcoming year to continue funding Social Security shall be the amount budgeted to fund the alternative to Social Security, and that to the Board of Educationwill give a two-year notice to the employees before reducing or terminating these funding provisions.

    May 21, 1979 more than 70% of DeKalb County Schools’ employees approved the alternative, private plan providing Social Security-type benefits.

    The Issue

    July 27, 2009 facing difficulty balancing its budget, CFO Marcus Turk suggested a temporary suspension of funding for the TSA and the Board agreed.

    August 1, 2009 funding for the TSA Plan was suspended and has not been restored.

    May 10, 2010 the Board realized its error in violating its own policy in suspending TSA contributions. The Board voted to “waive” its TSA policy requiring a two- year notice when contributions were suspended or terminated.

  36. Stan Jester says:

    May 21, 1979 more than 70% of DeKalb County Schools’ employees approved the alternative, private plan providing 401K-type benefits with contributions equivalent to funding social security.

  37. sawyerbrown68 says:

    A first year teacher that voted away social security in 1979 would have accumulated 30 years of board TSA in 2009 when the Board stopped its contribution.

    I gather that nearly of these voters have retired by now. It’s been 36 years! They are collected a nice second pension!

    I am sure the current teachers would prefer donating the employer contribution to social security before giving it to Tyson and company.

    Let’s revote

  38. Stan, does the federal government provide any protection for employees who have approved an alternate retirement plan to Social Security where the employer revokes or renegs (definition: go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract) on what they had agreed to do? DeKalb County Schools broke several agreements concerning the Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA), the first being how much notice they would give before ending contributions. The only real reason why DCS said they had to discontinue contributions to the TSA was because they would not pare back the DCS Friends-and-Family Jobs Program to get rid of the deadwood and other incompetents.

  39. Stan Jester says:

    The protection, as far as the feds are concerned, is that DeKalb Schools will never pull out of TRS. Protection regarding your issues will be decided by the courts.

    From: DeKalb County Schools
    Subject: Are you interested in learning more about Social Security and what to expect when you retire?

        If you were employed with a school district that contributed to social security
        If you were employed in the private sector and have enough units
        If you were employed in state government
        You want to know the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI
    

    This information session is for you!
    The Social Security Administration will be here to answer your questions!

    Date: June 17, 2015
    Time: 10:00 am until 12:30 pm
    Location: 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083
    Room: AIC Auditorium

  40. And when DeKalb County School System does pull out — especially with no end in sight and with 5 or 6 years, so far, of accumulated principal and interest? What then?

    Will the Social Security session on June 17 from 10 AM until 12:30 PM be televised live and taped for on-demand streaming? Some teachers and clerical employees work during the summer; others take vacation.

    +++

    The rub lies in the fact that the board chose to virtually ignore their own policy. The promise made in 1979 stated that if it was ever to be revoked, a two year notice would be given. No such notice was given and in fact, the board voted to waive their own policy and make the cut immediately. At the very least, employees at the time the cut was made are due two years worth of contributions plus interest.

    Add this to the many other sneaky, behind-the-scenes, broken and empty promises over the years and you find that even this board still has serious trust issues with the people. The stated superintendent search schedule promised presenting (up to) three finalists. We were tricked by that wording in parenthesis as the board only presented one final choice. Atlanta, to their credit, did not make such an open, broken promise. Sadly, it still does not appear that the board cares about what people think, exemplified by the litany of excuses and inferences that we the people just don’t ‘understand’. If the Board were a corporate board, we, the customers could just shop elsewhere and the corporation would have to respond or suffer damage to their bottom line. We cannot do this as we are forced to pay taxes to run these schools, with no alternative. All of the excuses in the world will never mend the broken trust. Only true, sincere honesty, transparency, daily open communication and access will do that.

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