Board Meeting Analysis
HR Report Analysis
The Human Resources report at the the 09/09/2013 board meeting revealed some interesting nuggets of information which beg some very important questions.
Orson – “During the Summer you were trying to recruit out of the Chicago school system. Were you able to hire any teachers from there?”
Dr. Ward Smith – “We were not successful with the Chicago Initiative. We hired some from Detroit Michigan.”
What is the “Chicago Initiative” and why do we want to bring anything or anyone from the Chicago Public School System down here? According to the New York Times in 2012 in 2012, the Chicago Public School System (CPSS) was the most segregated school system in the United States. The April 21, 2006 issue of the Chicago Tribune revealed the Chicago Public School System as one of the worst public school systems in America. Only 3 in 100 black or Latino male graduates of CPSS earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25. In fact, only 35% of CPSS graduates who went to college earned their bachelor’s degree within six years, well below the national average of 64%. Where is the Raleigh, North Carolina Initiative or Colorado Springs, Colorado Initiative?
This HR Report is inclusive of all activity since May of 2013. This reflects a high turnover in contracted and non-contracted employees. The board expressed their concern in the August board meeting and the administration is making retention a high priority.
- 793 New contracted employees
- 328 New non-contracted employees
- 225 Resignations
- 46 Terminations
Enrollment and QBE State Funding
Interim Superintendent – “As of September 4th, we have officially enrolled 99,703 students which is a record enrollment for DeKalb County.”
Aside from the fact that DeKalb Schools had 100,000+ enrolled students from 2005 – 2009, I’m very concerned about the QBE state funding implications. We have roughly the same number of students as last year, yet the FY 2014 budget forecasts a huge increase in QBE state funding. What are the assumptions behind the row titled “QBE growth”? That number is almost $7 million and non-existent in previous budgets.
System.xls – FY 2014 Budget
|TOTAL QUALITY BASIC EDUCATION FORMULA EARNINGS (STATE AND LOCAL FUNDS)|
|QBE-SPECIAL ED. INTINERANT||0||0||24,064||24,064|
|QBE-SPECIAL-ED SUPPLE. SPEECH||0||0||265,566||265,566|
|QBE – GROWTH||0||0||0||6,896,522|
|QBE/STATE HEALTH REIMB CHARTER||0||308,124||0|
Student FTE Count (DOE only reports through FY 2011)
Year – FTE Count (Does not include the roughly 2,000 Pre-K students)
2006 – 99,544
2007 – 98,713
2008 – 97,580
2009 – 96,907
2010 – 96,678
2011 – 95,481
Given DeKalb County’s relative academic ranking in Georgia and Georgia’s relative standing in the US our (DeKalb and Georgia) approach to license reciprocity with other states has always baffled me. Seriously, is someone sporting a Wisconsin teaching cert really going to bring down the caliber of your teaching corps? I know of one individual who arrived in Georgia with a life-time license valid in Iowa, an MS in admin, 10 yrs experience as teacher and principal but was told by DeKalb she’d need to get a Master’s in Subject to get and keep a license. All this for a job she only got because two others had quit within the first two weeks with the last one not even coming back for his personal items.
At that time (and probably now) DeKalb didn’t want to hire well trained experienced talent for a number of reasons but salary would certainly be on that list. It is much cheaper to hire right out of school. That may explain the Chicago/Detroit affinity–they may not be that talented and we may be able to pay them with “good weather.”
In any event it’s a good thing we’re getting our backfill from Detroit. If they’d come from Chicago they’d be forever mispronouncing “DeKalb”.
Human Resources is a debacle from top to bottom and DeKalb Schools isn’t alone. The APS administration was pushing bad employees on the principal at North Atlanta High School. Dr. Howard Taylor’s statement echoes the sentiments of many principals at DeKalb Schools saying,
The number one factor for increasing student learning over which we have control is teaching. Therefore, principals who are being held accountable for results must have direct involvement in who is working with our children. Principals must also receive minimal supports in order to accomplish the jobs they have been hired to and are accountable for accomplishing. Textbooks, laptops for teachers, buses that run on time, teacher compensation for work rendered, quality substitute teachers, scheduling that can be completed efficiently and effectively—these factors, and others, all have a profound effect on a principal’s performance to ensure all students receive a quality education. Yet, principals are often empowered to do little more than receive complaints and pass them along.
I simply could not continue business as usual. I could not keep hearing “Welcome to APS” and “That’s not the way we do it in APS.” I am a “can do” person and could not continue to work in a “You can’t” system. So, on Wednesday September 11, I stopped banging my head against the wall and asked Mr. Davis to accept my resignation.
Ward-Smith’s report is a mockery of justice. She truly does not have a grasp of the magnitude of her remarks, on top of that. Most of what she is saying is an outright lie; in fact, nothing she said seems relevant or well-informed. Is it possible that she knows as little about the personnel in the system as her remarks show? Notice how Thurmond jumps in to her rescue (unsuccessfully). “Compliment” indeed – I really want to know how’s behind this “Chicago” or “Detroit” Initiative? What in the world is their thought process? It doesn’t make sense to pick these cities out and go there? Hello!!!!!! Talk to us, Dr. Ward-Smith with some sense.
I am really shocked at her remarks about the staffing of the schools. The schools are awash in incompetent staff, poor children. She’s got to know what she’s saying does not make sense. She doesn’t know about the substitues? Is she pretending that certified subs cannot now work more than 16 days a month? Does Thurmond? Does he care? NO.
Germane comment by Howdy1941 on DekalbSchooWatch:
Thanks to Stan Jester for another well researched report. I just wish that members of the School Board and the administration were as well informed of the facts, figures, and history of the Dekalb County School System as you are.
Of all the recent posts on this blog, this one ought to show all of us how poorly the Dekalb School System is being run. @dsw2 made an excellent point and posed a very key question: Why aren’t we recruiting in Georgia? Does Dr. Ward-Smith seriously think that there are no qualified candidates in Georgia, or South Carolina, or Tennessee, or Florida? Who pays the moving expenses or related costs for people to relocate from Detroit or Chicago to Dekalb County? Why Detroit? Why Chicago? Why not Raleigh or Columbia or Nashville or Birmingham or Greenville? Those are questions that should ring from every single member of the school board!! Why were that questions not asked of Dr. Ward-Smith? By the way, why do we need a PhD to run Human Resources? I’ve worked in industry and in academia for a long time for organizations much larger than the Dekalb County School System and our respective Directors of Human Resources did not have anything close to a PhD. That seems to me to be one high salary that we don’t need to be paying. It makes me wonder about the need for all those other PhDs making those exorbitant salaries at the DCSS.
That statement by Mr. Thurmond regarding the “record enrollment” of 99,750 or so students in Dekalb County, including pre-school kids, is very indicative that he knows very little about what is going on in the DCSS. If he doesn’t know, then he should simply keep his mouth shut (which, I suppose is hard for Mr. Thurmond to do). I’ve lived in this County for a long, long time and well remember enrollment reports showing well over 100,000 students enrolled. Where was Mr. Thurmond?
This report shows three important things. First, it shows very clearly why we need a new School Board that will ask searching questions of administrators and expect direct answers. Second, it confirms once again my suspicions that this administration is incompetent, inept, and doesn’t have a clue as to what is going on in the DCSS. Third, we see in the video clip posted by Stan Jester the reasons why so many in Dekalb County want to separate from the DCSS, especially the administration. It is very clear that Mr. Thurmond, rather than making the changes that need to be made in the administration, now finds himself endorsing and defending this incompetence.
Again, I say we need a new School Board and that new School Board should have as its very first priority the hiring of a competent, well-qualified, well-informed, superintendent who will lead, who will make the changes that are needed so urgently, and one who will expect results. We need to stop the “nice” and “congenial” school board meetings and get to the heart of the issues that are on the minds of so many in Dekalb County.
Comment from bettyandveronica1 on DekalbSchoolWatch
I have to laugh…teachers from completely unionized states. Can you imagine one of those folks coming here expecting the bene’s, the pay and the organized labor? I guess the pay your own bene’s, the crap pay and David Schutten couldn’t entice those aka’s from Chicago. Hey Detroit, you probably don’t know the meaning of “right to work” but, you will be very quickly educated that a teacher’s contract in the south, DOES NOT BENEFIT THE EMPLOYEE!!!!!
I can’t imagine why any teacher would want to leave those two areas and come to DeKalb. (other than the obvious reasons). The south is a polar opposite to these areas as far as employer/employee relationships. And for good reason. See where it got them? And who the hell speaks like her…Chicago initiative.
It galls me that there just may be other teachers in this state even that might want to relocate to the area and we had to go searching in Chicago or Detroit. She is an idiot, plain and simple. To think that someone probably said “hey, I bet we could get some teachers from up north…” and these folks are too stupid to realize it was meant as a joke.
Can we please get a real Superintendent now or do we have to keep putting up with the faux one?
on another note:
“As of 8/20/13, the DCSD had 100,549 students which is the largest enrollment in our history.” per principals report, now it seems that number has changed to…99,703? Already that is a dip of 850. But looking at FTE for 2011 it was 95.5K. So they are saying we have gained 2K students in two years??? uh uh. Not in the last two years, based on this school system’s performance. They must be counting a few that should be going to DeKalb but don’t. Next June’s budget meetings are going to suck. I can’t wait to see the october fte report sometime in November/December.
I so wish Perone would speak up.