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. Still Waters says:

    It is no wonder that Dekalb has an adversarial relationship with many of its employees. The underhanded maneuver that the school board took regarding the board TSA and the resulting fallout will not go away. Nor will the consequences or hardships that teachers will face as a result from this egregious act. The decision to abruptly stop the TSA agreement, the failure to give due notice, and the act of covering up the failure to comply with their policy is abhorrent. This system has no credibility with many.
    The fact that the board will pay Dr. Green’s TRS and contributions to a TSA account adds insult to injury. It is obvious that the board has more care and concern about this new employee’s future than that of its teachers that have endured slight for years. The previous boards, as well as this board have shown us who they really are, let’s believe them.

  2. Zorach says:

    Just to elaborate on the discussion about the TSA. Yes, it is true that the TRS alone is adequate to satisfy the Federal requirement for an alternative to Social Security. However, DeKalb teachers have been told every year since the switch to the TSA (thirty plus years) that the TSA was the alternative to Social Security, not the TRS. At the time the switch was made, the Board knew that the TRS alone would have been adequate, but it was never a serious consideration to leave SS and have only the TRS. That Board knew that was not even an option to consider. The teachers voted for the switch knowing they would get the TSA and the TRS, as they never would have voted to just eliminate SS and not replace it with the TSA. In order to eliminate SS, a two-year notice to the Feds was required, and that same two-year notice was built into the terms of the TSA. That is what the teachers voted for. As we are all aware, the 2009 Board violated those terms. It seems from Stan Jester’s latest comments that he is either content to or resigned to letting the courts resolve this issue without any proactive action from the current Board. So the Board will continue to spend our money on three Sutherland Asbill attorneys (one of whom is flown in from Washington DC) to fight it out in court (yes, at every court proceeding, three attorneys appear, including the one flown in from DC), tooth and nail, instead of do the right thing and address a resolution that could be a win-win situation: boost in teacher morale and attracting better qualified teachers (instead of driving them away to other systems) equating to boost in overall quality of the education delivered. The current Board, as the past Boards, does not seem to put much value in teacher morale, or the detrimental effect on it that this ongoing litigation incurs.

  3. @Zorach (and any DCS teacher who is planning to retire at any point from any employer):

    (1) The DCS school board/system — all Georgia school boards/systems — are required by state law to contribute to the Teachers Retirement System for all eligible employees.
    (2) When DeKalb County Schools was part of Social Security the DCS school board/system was required by federal law to contribute to Social Security for all eligible employees, as are all Georgia school boards/systems that are part of Social Security.
    (3) When DCS teachers voted to leave Social Security in favor of the Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) they (and their retirement funds) were no longer protected by federal law.
    (4) As everyone who has been paying attention knows, DCS stopped contributing to the Tax-Sheltered Annuity with virtually no notice in 2009 instead of giving the 2-year notice that was agreed to when the teachers voted to leave Social Security. Then, when the school board realized, belatedly, that they had violated their own policy, they did what any corrupt organization would do. They simply eliminated that “inconvenient” policy after-the-fact.
    (5) Now, because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) any teacher who retires from DCS (or any other organization but still receives a pension from TRS) will take a substantial hit on whatever Social Security benefits are due to them — whether earned benefits or spousal benefits. This applies regardless of whether a teacher paid into Social Security before and/or after working for DCS. The outlook is particularly bleak for anyone whose entire working career has been spent with DeKalb County Schools. (For example, one of our contributors loses 30% of her Social Security benefits.)

    For a very clear explanation, go to this Q. & A. from AARP.

    We have written about this over and over and over. Next year, before you sign your contract with DCS, please consider what you will lose. You also will get NO Social Security credit for income earned during the years you have worked for DCS. Some teachers who have no earned Social Security benefits may be eligible for spousal benefits. Generally that is 50% of what their spouse gets — and it will still be reduced by WEP.

    For years we have heard rumors that senior administrators (or all administrators or all employees) in the Palace are still getting contributions to TSA. That is easy enough to hide under the guise of an executive session of the board to discuss a personnel issue and we all know the budget won’t show it. Now that we see that Green is receiving what is essentially a TSA contribution as part of his contract, those rumors are much more believable.

    BTW — Green’s contract also calls for DCS to pay BOTH the employer’s and the employee’s contributions to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). That certainly doesn’t happen for “ordinary” teachers. Who else at the Palace is getting that perk?

    Because of WEP you cannot get Social Security benefits information over the phone. We urge you to make an appointment with a Social Security office (we highly recommend the Norcross office; you may request Norcross when you call to make an appointment) and find out exactly where you stand financially with Social Security.

  4. Zorach says:

    Just for a little clarification, there are two separate SS offsets: WEP and GPO (Government Pension Offset). WEP applies to any benefits earned by the recipient due to their contributions, and GPO applies to benefits possibly due to a recipient based upon a spouse’s contributions (spousal and widow/widower’s benefit). Under WEP, the benefit otherwise due can be reduced by 50% of the benefit that would otherwise be paid, or $374.00, whichever is less. Under GPO, the benefit otherwise due will be reduced by 2/3 of the TRS benefits being received, and can therefore be totally wiped out, which may be a likely scenario.

    One other little observation about the events of 2009: When the TSA was suspended, there was a great deal of confusion because nobody on behalf of DCSS ever explained to the teachers that the TRS alone satisfied the federal requirement for a SS substitute. Everyone was confused as to how the DCSS could eliminate the TSA which was always represented as the alternative to SS. This lack of communication and the resulting confusion exhibits the little regard the Board and Administration had towards their teachers.

    Concerning the criticism about all of the generous perks and compensation for Dr. Green: I hate to be defending the actions of the Board in this regard, but to me it is understandable. I would imagine that the toxic reputation of the DCSS is well-known among the pool of available superintendent candidates. Why would anybody in their right mind want to walk into such a mess without some kind of extraordinary incentives? It seems obvious that is the reason why it has been so difficult to find more than one semi-qualified candidate to choose from.

  5. Thanks for the clarity, Zorach. Again, we are very concerned about a new superintendent who is willing to accept a large contribution to a retirement account outside of the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) knowing full well that the teachers he will be charged with leading have had their Tax-Sheltered Annuity eliminated. What of a person like this? You are right about one thing, we have such a bad reputation and inherent dysfunction on the board and within the administration that we essentially have to grovel to attract anyone at all to the job [the fact is, the top-tier administration’s main goal is to protect their own jobs, after all, who in their right mind would hire Ramona Tyson and pay her anything near her current salary?!!]

    We are VERY concerned to read the following comments made by our new superintendent >>

    KCPS superintendent defends lavish high-end dining
    Posted: Jul 21, 2014 3:15 PM EDT

    Every month, the Kansas City School Board pays the bill for Superintendent Stephen Green’s district credit card.

    Through a public records request, KCTV5 News dug through the transactions to find the card swiped at high-end restaurants for meals with administrators, school board members, consultants and community leaders, along with other questionable transactions.

    In just three meals at the Bristol restaurant in the Power and Light District, Green’s card was used to pay the tab for himself and his cabinet staff to dine on lobster, swordfish and filet mignon. The bills totaled $624.65.

    Green defends the transactions.

    … On top of Green’s $250,000 annual salary, there is an expense account for what are called in his contract “reasonable expenses that support business, goals and objectives of the district.”*

    Several other districts in the area also give their top administrator an expense account.

    KCTV5 investigative reporter Eric Chaloux asked Green if it was a reasonable expense to eat at expensive, fancy restaurants with staff, school board and consultants.

    “Absolutely,” Green said. “I don’t think … I don’t use the term fancy. Bristol, Classic Cup, First Watch, Brio are restaurants that are viable here in this community. We are actually helping those businesses stay viable, so it’s actually recycling taxpayer dollars.”

    Green said he is within the limits set by the district when it comes to his spending when trying to re-build relationships in the community to help the district get back on track.

    Some of the meals Green says that were found on the credit card were for administrators leaving the district.

    “I have not broken the law. I have not broken any policy, violated any administrative policies, consistent with the spending in the past. So it is not wildly out-of-range for that,” Green said.

    *DSW NOTE: Green’s new salary at DeKalb is $300,000 and a $15,000/year retention bonus, along with a $2,600/month expense account (for which he does not have to provide receipts) AND a $750/month car allowance!!!

  6. Not so casual observer says:

    So, if our worst fears come to fruition, Dr. Green will be using our tax dollars to take Ramona Tyson, Ron Ramsey, Morcease Beasely and others out for expensive meals of lobster, swordfish and filet mignon! Laughing all the way to the bank!

  7. Thank you, Zorach. You are absolutely correct. We had not brought up the GPO because we did not want to cause additional confusion. Quite frankly, even though we have written about this many times, no one really seems to get it.

    We were unaware that the federal government considered the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) to satisfy the requirement for a Social Security substitute. We had asked Stan Jester if there were any federal protections for teachers regarding the loss of the Tax-Sheltered Annuity. Stan never responded to our question so we guess he didn’t know who to ask or he knew the answer all along. As Oprah Winfrey said, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

    We are stuck with Green, now, for at least two years and an “all in” cost of about a million dollars, give or take. You say that it seems obvious why it has been so difficult to find more than one semi-qualified candidate, but you are referring to the well-deserved toxic reputation of DeKalb County Schools. That’s probably part of the reason, but the real reason is the pool of “acceptable” candidates. The American Association of School Administrators has statistics on the size of the pool of “acceptable” (read: African-American) potential candidates for school superintendent:
    •There are 14,383 school districts in the USA, according to the 2003-2004 Common Core of Data (NCES)
    •Only 2% of these districts have 25,000 students or more
    •The number of minority superintendents in the USA is around six percent (6%). However, “minority” includes Hispanic and Asian who are not considered acceptable to the DCS School Board. Only African-American males are acceptable.
    That’s a very, very shallow pool from which to choose.

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