DeKalb Schools FY 2019 Preliminary Budget

Last week Superintendent Green presented the administration’s first swing at a FY 2019 GENERAL FUND BUDGET. Revenues are expected to go up by $50 million to $1.063 billion. The administration is asking to increase expenses by $60 million to $1.080 billion.
The biggest increase is going to TRS funding; an additional $24 million over last year. This also includes a 1.1% raise across the board for all employees. A Compensation and Classification (Comp & Class) study will be coming out shortly and the raises may be adjusted accordingly.
Generally speaking, the administration under estimates revenues and over estimates expenses. It’s a lot more padded than I would like, but this gives us an idea of where we are. I recommend school councils take a glance at their school funding numbers and meet with their principal over the funding implications.

Fiscal Year 2019 (2018—2019 School Year)

ASHFORD PARK ELEM 3,173,074 3,787,503 4,043,095 3,474,916
AUSTIN ELEM 3,709,058 3,983,958 4,160,439 4,081,869
JOHN R. LEWIS ELEM 12,529 3,025,222 3,182,398 3,170,662
CHESNUT ELEM 2,687,760 3,282,059 3,857,745 3,641,878
DRESDEN ELEM 5,967,151 5,778,435 5,871,630 6,857,391
DUNWOODY ELEM 5,720,209 6,155,090 6,498,285 6,577,006
HIGHTOWER ELEM 4,813,980 5,312,800 5,484,148 5,374,267
HUNTLEY HILLS ELEM 3,908,585 4,371,134 4,568,715 4,588,271
KINGSLEY ELEM 3,375,088 3,830,725 4,167,557 4,068,704
KITTREDGE MAGNET 3,249,806 3,569,298 3,735,375 3,808,874
MONTCLAIR ELEM 6,354,962 5,718,684 6,342,850 6,434,730
MONTGOMERY ELEM 3,695,409 4,088,974 4,583,063 4,030,901
OAKCLIFF ELEM 3,967,875 4,380,528 4,688,427 4,862,006
CARY REYNOLDS ELEM 6,850,715 6,420,203 6,614,215 6,018,361
VANDERLYN ELEM 3,805,264 4,192,733 4,454,035 4,144,037
WOODWARD ELEM 5,406,053 5,690,899 5,943,852 6,302,189
CHAMBLEE MIDDLE 5,157,902 5,649,435 6,132,050 6,922,735
CHAMBLEE HIGH 7,871,802 9,076,106 9,698,092 10,849,369
CROSS KEYS HIGH 8,232,427 8,537,255 9,878,657 10,153,103
DUNWOODY HIGH 9,502,565 10,770,577 11,769,148 10,733,215
PEACHTREE MIDDLE 8,703,011 9,681,900 10,152,773 12,113,544

.pdf link icon FY2019 Preliminary Budget Document
.pdf link icon FY2019 Division Budget Summary Report
.pdf link icon School Enrollment & Capacity Report – October 2017
.pdf link icon FY2018 Consolidated Budget Detail
.pdf link icon FY2018 Budget Enhancements

27 responses to “DeKalb Schools FY 2019 Preliminary Budget

  1. Stan,
    Thanks for the info! Could you find out what FTE count is used for FY19 budget preparation?
    Is it the March 2018 FTE count?
    Or does it factor in DCSD Planning department info?
    I wonder why the Dunwoody HS budget decreases by over $1 Million. If Dunwoody HS is having to add 4 trailers for next year, one would think their budget would increase too.
    I wonder why the PCMS budget increases by almost $2 Million.
    In March 2018, PCMS had 1590 students while Dunwoody HS had 1968 students. On a rough $/student basis Dunwoody HS is doing great! Maybe it’s the block schedule, maybe it’s the bigger class size, maybe it’s an error.
    Also, Sequoyah MS isn’t in the table.

  2. Dear Jester
    FY18 Mid‐Year Annualized (2 New Regions, multiple division impact, etc.) 3,053,442
    Why are we spending over 3 million dollars to create two new Regions? At one time DeKalb had more students, but only 2 Region Offices. Dr Johnson and Dr Hallford were the two region superintendents.
    Does anyone remember that?
    We currently have five Region and a Deputy Superintendent. a Chief of Staff, a Chief of Human Capital these are the ones that I can remember off of the top of my head.
    I wonder if there is a way to compute how all of these administrators impact student achievement?
    Why do we spend over 15 million dollars in legal affairs? That seems like an awful lot to me.
    I hope that after the compensation study that bus drivers will get more than a 1.1 percent raise.

  3. Why is Montgomery Elementary School budget proposal $4,030,901 with 734 pupils K-5 only $222,027 more than Kittridge Magnet School that has only 480 students in 3 grades? Since Kittridge is already a high achievers school don’t you think it would be fair to spend the money on schools that don’t have that many students with the caliber and need extra help. Montgomery Elementary is over capacity and has 6 trailers, there are two 4th grade classrooms with 27 children in them where as the neighborhood school is being used and is under capacity.
    Please explain……

  4. Joy, My understanding is that the 2 current regions with the most failing schools are very high maintenance. Those schools are flooded with social workers, paras, special programs, wrap around services, etc … Those are the two regions being split up. I’m told it is difficult to manage all these people and programs with the current regional model.
    Anonymous, Good question. Hopefully the school councils will go through that with their principals. I haven’t been given the detailed budget which has the drill down into each school. I’m guessing it has something to do with the QBE state funding calculations. Gifted students get about 1.5 times the state funding as non gifted students.

  5. Dekalb County Schools Stink

    How are the per school numbers calculated?
    Why such big cuts for: Dunwoody High, Montgomery Elementary, Ashford Park Elem, Vanderlyn Elem? What do these schools have in common? Hmmm…..

  6. DSW2Contributor

    To understand the thinking behind the new regional superintendents and their support positions, go back and read Stan’s blog from 2014 about the $3 million Wallace Foundation grant:
    and the AJC article:
    The Wallace Foundation’s $3 million came with a list of improvements DCSD was to make; *one* of those improvements was to increase the number of Regional Superintendents. If DCSD had done what Wallace wanted, DCSD would have ended up operating much more like Gwinett schools are run. (I think 2014 was the year when Thrumond had Gwinett Superintendent Wilbanks do the keynote address for the annual DCSD Leadership Retreat.)
    Once Thurmond left, DCSD abandoned the Wallace Foundation grant. The only parts of the grant that the Palace thought were good ideas were the parts that made the Palace bigger, hence the increase in the number of high-paid Palace administrators.

  7. Dekalb County Schools Stink – Are you implying that there is some socio-economic or racial component to how schools are funded? Stan, isn’t it based upon expected head count? That, does, however, still make it confusing because I thought all the schools Dekalb County Schools Stink mentions are all supposed to be growing. Any insights?

  8. RunAmok,
    My understand is this is How The District Funds The School House. When we get the detailed budget, we’ll see how those school line items break down. Hopefully the school councils are asking for that now. I know DHS council is looking into their numbers.

  9. PleaseHelpTeachers

    Mr. Jester,
    One of your most consistent stances as a school board member has been to advocate for school house employees, especially teachers. With that in mind, please consider the following:
    The U.S. inflation rate is currently over 2% and it is projected to rise over the next 12 months. The inflation rate in metro Atlanta is well over 3% and projected to rise, most likely at a faster rate than the rest of the country due to housing costs in the metro area.
    If the current budget is passed as is, a 1.1% raise means that the real wages of all Dekalb County Schools employees will be falling next year. As you know, when a person’s real wage falls, their standard of living declines because the purchasing power of their income declines. I believe that you (and most of your constituents) are committed to making sure teachers are at least able to maintain their current quality of life during the next school year. Are you committed to fighting for a raise for Dekalb Schools employees that at least matches the local and/or national inflation rate?
    Thanks in advance for your continued advocacy for the teachers and schoolhouse employees in Dekalb.

  10. Stan Jester

    PleaseHelpTeachers – Inflation > 2% – Noted and agreed. I have struggled for years to push money into the classroom. I’m getting some support from the rest of the board, but the administration is really pushing back.
    “Classrooms First for Georgia” – Requires, at a minimum, 65% of a system’s total operating funds to be spent in the classroom. The statute was enacted in FY2008 and DeKalb Schools has never been in compliance. The school district has a permanent waiver for this requirement, but the spirit is still there with the parents and tax payers.
    We used to be creeping up on 65%, but we have lost ground over the last year or so. That means, as our budget has increased by $50M – $100m every year, little of it has gone to the classroom.

  11. Mr. Jester,
    How will having 2 additional regional offices benefit the students? I know that the needs of every school or region may not be the same. But is making another level of administration the best way of helping the students. It seems like we have so many consultants that can tell you how the work should be done, but it is the staff in the schools that actually does the work.
    Did anyone check with the schools and the community for their ideas about what may be the best way to help the students in those regions.
    One poster on the site mentioned that the International Center may be closing. Is this true?
    Thank you and Nancy for all of your hard work.

  12. Stan,
    Do you know when the 2000+ page detailed FY19 budget will be posted?
    Have you seen it?
    Also, do you know the reason for a 5% cut in discretionary funding? These are funds used totally at the school house, and in the FY18 detailed budget shows that Per-Pupil funds for Supplies and Equipment Other Than School Buses and Equipment is included.
    Don’t these Per-Pupil funds come from the State? Why would DCSD want to cut them by 5%?
    Is there a 5% cut in executive salaries, or any other area?

  13. All board members should know that there are hundreds of flat screen monitors purchased and placed in our schools near the front entrance. The monitors do not work or has not been used since install. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

  14. Stan,
    can you tell us why the Comp and Class Study was taken off the Called Meeting Action Item Agenda for tomorrow’s meeting?
    At 9:34 this morning I got an agenda from Margaret Francois saying it was on the Action Item list.
    At 10:34 this morning I got an agenda from Margaret Francois with this item removed from the Action Item list.
    Has the Comp and Class Study been discussed in a public meeting yet? That’s the important issue for me. I think the public deserves to hear discussion before it’s voted on.
    Thank you for your help.

  15. Stan,
    The Communications Department continues to be a failure in a TrustEd initiative. The link does not work to learn more information about today’s Board of Education Millage Rate Hearing & Called Meeting. How is it that Eileen Stewart is not held accountable in her performance and pay of $170,000+. Her position is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

  16. Anonymous,
    Comp and Class Study was taken off the Called Meeting Action Item Agenda tonight because Dr. R. Stephen Green is pushing an agenda to advance the pay of certain people. The DeKalb County taxpayers are demanding an Open Records of the Comp and Class Study. We will fight back. Dr. Green knows that he (or anyone else) can not justify giving someone a $25,000 or more raise who creates a hostile work environment, lacks basic skills and professional development, and cannot perform any responsibility of the individuals he or she supervises.
    The Comp and Class Study was completed by employees and edited by those who supervise them. The employees were not given an opportunity to review the supervisor’s edits. When the supervisor undermines the employees’ certifications, work experience and education because he or she lacks any of those credentials, the Comp and Class Study is just a formality. How can a school district have an Office of Accountability and yet not hold people accountable?

  17. Comparison and Classification Study
    The data has been collected and the consultants have provided relatively light reports. I’m working with the board to get the data we are all looking for. Haven’t exactly run this by the chair yet, so don’t say anything until tomorrow. I’m going to see him tonight and run this by him. If all goes as planned, I should have something in a week or two.
    At any time the board can approve compensation increases. Passing the budget isn’t our last shot at improving compensation for school house employees.
    Discretionary Funding – I’m not sure what is driving those numbers. I’ll ask.

  18. Stan Jester

    Comp and Class Study – we’ll be discussing this shortly at the board meeting.

    The 2019 fiscal year begins Sunday and runs through June 30, 2019. DeKalb now has the second-largest budget among metro Atlanta school districts, trailing only Gwinnett County Schools, but spends among the lowest per student.
    Mr Jester,
    Why does DeKalb spend among the lowest per student amount? If our budget is second only to Gwinnett, which is a much larger school system, how are we using our money?

  20. Well, for one, its because they have 3 people in the principal’s job at Chamblee when you only need 1.

  21. Stan Jester

    “DeKalb now has the second-largest budget among metro Atlanta school districts, trailing only Gwinnett County Schools, but spends among the lowest per student.” … I don’t know what they mean by lowest per student spending.
    5% cut in discretionary funding – CFO Bell said this was a balancing action used to cut the budget.

  22. barbara lord

    Can you explain why Principal salaries are projected to increase but there is no note for assistant principals who carry much of the weight at the school?

  23. We have to pay our bills somehow

    Is it true that teachers will not see an experience step increase again this year?

  24. Stan Jester

    Teachers have received a 2% – 3% raise every year for the last few years. They will receive a 2.5% raise this year and start stepping. I still need to locate the new salary schedule. Perhaps I can publish a FY 2019 budget article and tack on the new salary schedule when I locate it.

  25. @Stan. I see what the teachers are saying. For the last 10 years DCSD has not given their teachers a step increase. For example, using the Gwinnett County salary schedule, a 20 year employee will make about 60K this year. A twenty year employee with DCSD (using the Gwinnett Scale because I can find it) would be on step year 10 which is only 52K. They right there is an 8K difference.

  26. Where is/ what is the budget portion for Lakeside High School ?