If you go to a Tucker Parent Council meeting, there is a good chance you’ll run into Kirk Lunde. He is a parent and tireless advocate for children. In an open letter to Superintendent Thurmond and the Board of Education, published by the Tucker Patch, Mr. Lunde echoes the sentiments of the public, “Class room first!”.
By Kirk Lunde
Dear Superintendent Thurmond and Board of Education,
I am writing to share my recommendations for developing the DeKalb County School District’s budget for FY 2015.
I recommend building the budget around the classrooms. The Druid Hills Charter Clustershowed how to do this. The DHCC found that using this “classroom-based” method allowed for smaller class sizes. A “classroom-based” budget would allow for planning to ensure there are enough teachers, counselors, social workers, interpreters, trailers, and desks at each school on the first day of school.
In order to create a “classroom-based” budget the BOE needs to pass a Class Size Exemption Resolution before the budget is developed. It is impossible to build a budget without knowing how many teachers, counselors, social workers, interpreters, trailers, and desks are needed at each school. The State BOE is scheduled to vote on providing waivers to school districts at their Feb. 20, meeting. I recommend the DeKalb BOE pass a Class Size Exemption Resolution during their March 3, meeting.
I also recommend smaller class sizes for every category of instruction. If the BOE does not decrease class sizes from this year’s limits, it will be a dereliction of duty and tantamount to negligence.
Using the BOE approved class sizes, the Division of Curriculum and Instruction needs to determine the needs of each school before any money is allocated to the central administration. Student Support and Transportation are the next logical areas to propose budgets. Ideally, these areas would be fully funded regardless of cost. The DHCC proved this is not the process used for previous DeKalb County School District budgets.
Budget meetings are held each year to get public input. None of the public input is recorded or acted upon. For example, last June I questioned why the travel budget was $10,000 for a department with one full-time employee. I got no response or follow-up and the amount was still in the final version of the budget as posted on the DCSD website. I recommend that all public comments are recorded and posted in the meeting minutes for those meetings. Just reporting the names of the speakers does not reflect their concerns. (This is my recommendation for all BOE meetings, not just budget meetings.)
Also, there needs to be some sort of unifying document to aid in comparing the different versions of the budget. The detailed budget is 1850 pages, but the budget approved by the BOE is aone page document. How are those two things related? That is a basic question to which every taxpayer of DeKalb County should be able to find the answer. Other school districts post videos and documents explaining the budget process. Why can’t DCSD? I recommend providing a way for the public to track where every dollar is budgeted on all the different versions of the budget.
Another aspect of having a “classroom-based” budget is ensuring teachers are paid comparably to other teachers in the region. To that end, I recommend the district eliminate furlough days and resume contributions to the teachers’ retirement fund.
These are the things I believe need to be done to put in place a budget which will support the BOE’s commitment to focusing on teaching and learning. Fully fund the classrooms and schools and if any cuts need to be made, make them elsewhere.
Hopefully this, or a similar process, will be used and DeKalb County teachers and students will see tangible improvements during the next school year.
Thank you for your service.
- FY2020 Salaries & Budget
- Notice of Property Tax Increase
- FY2020 – Tentative Budget
- HR and Financial Disarray – Report From State Audit
- $3,000 Raise – Q&A With The CFO
- Yea or Nay – Graduation Ceremonies at GWCC
- $3,000 – Teacher Raises Around Metro Atlanta
- Superintendent Green – Resignation Letter
- Chamblee – Jester Community Town Hall
- Options To Address E-SPLOST Budget Issues
- FY2020 – Tentative Budget – No Raise For Teachers
- Austin Elementary in the Crier
- Jester Community Town Hall
- Naming – New Elementary School in Doraville
- First Amendment At DeKalb Schools
- E-SPLOST Budget Overruns and Projects on Hold
- Old Austin Elementary School – Need Input
- Gym Floor Space By High School
- 1,000 More Seats Are Coming to Dunwoody High School
- Employee Compensation Update – March 30, 2019
- Expected 2019 Graduation Rate
- State Attorney General Not A Fan of Mini Sessions
- New Visitor and Volunteer Policy
- Call For Independent Auditor and Ethics Officer
- Employee Compensation Update – Feb 27, 2019
- Procurement Assessment Indicates Fraud at DeKalb Schools
- Enrollment Forecasting – How Does That Work
- Smaller Schools Are Better Schools
- DeKalb Schools Board Public Retreat
- Need Input – New Salary Schedules
- News Flash – Compensation Letter
- News & Updates – 2/5/2019
- Building Additions Vs Redistricting & Consolidating
- Architect’s Preliminary Report Chamblee Charter HS Building Additions
- Questions – New Teacher Salary Schedule
- Chamblee Cluster 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts
- Announcement – Compensation & Classification Salary Adjustments
- Update On Phase 2 Salary Steps for All Staff
- Chamblee Redistricting Superintendent Recommendation
- Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts
- 2019 Salary Schedules And Comparison
- New Step Structures for DeKalb Teachers
- 2018 CCRPI
- Chamblee Redistricting Options – Meeting 3
- College Admissions 101
- Graduation Schedule – DeKalb Schools Class of 2019
- DeKalb Schools 2018 CCRPI Scores
- Visitor and Volunteer Policy – Part II
- Chamblee Redistricting Options – Meeting 2
- Make Chamblee Charter HS Better Not Bigger
- Free Speech … For Some At DeKalb Schools … Part II
- DeKalb Schools Visitor and Volunteer Policy
- DeKalb Schools 2018-2019 Calendar
- Make Lakeside HS Better Not Bigger
- DeKalb Schools 2018 Graduation Rates
- Redistricting For Schools in Chamblee & Brookhaven
- News & Updates – 8/30/2018
- Delay in New Austin ES Opening
- School Readiness Report 2018-2019
- GOP Governor Runoff – Kemp has the Mo
- DeKalb Teachers Get a 2.5% Raise And Start Stepping
- July 2018 – New And Open Principal Report
- Chamblee German Teacher Controversy
- June 2018 – New And Open Principal Report
- Dr. Donnie Davis – New Peachtree Charter MS Principal
- TSA & Annexation – Legal Update
- School Councils Are Now Principal Advisory Councils
- City of Brookhaven Not a Fan of Briarcliff HS Site
- Support for DCSD Bus Drivers
- DeKalb Schools FY 2019 Preliminary Budget
- DeKalb Bus Driver Sick Out
- Location of New Cross Keys Brookhaven High School
- Where to Build the New Cross Keys Brookhaven High School
- Policy Input – Magnet Students Participate in Sports
- Dunwoody HS Trailer Park
- Metal Detectors at YOUR School
- Building Additions – Project Plan and Schedule
- Student Protests Wed – The Plan – County by County
- School Safety – What's the Plan?
- News & Updates – 2/23/2018
- DeKalb Schools New Hires
- Mega High School Construction Update
- Virtual Learning Make Up Days
- Adequate Space Requirements For Mega High Schools
- Student Chromebooks – Update
- Survey – Making Up Days Lost to Inclement Weather
- Lakeside HS Council Not A Fan of the Building Additions
- DeKalb Schools Make Up Days
- DeKalb Schools 2018 – 2020 Calendar
- Which DeKalb Schools Are Beating The Odds
- Protesting Cheerleaders at DHS – The Whole Story
- 2018-2020 Calendar Options
- Emergency Weather – What's The Plan?
- Atlanta & Atlanta Public Schools Annexing DeKalb
- Kids Doc on Wheels Medical Van
- DeKalb Schools 2017 Turnaround, Priority & Focus Schools
- Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremonies Schedule
- 2018-2020 Calendar Update
- DeKalb Turnaround Eligible Schools Trends 2015-2017
- DeKalb Schools – Free Speech….For Some?