FY2020 – Tentative Budget – No Raise For Teachers

While DeKalb Schools is seeing record revenues, they are depleting the fund balance (reserves) and balancing the budget on the backs of teachers.

FUND BALANCE (Reserves)

We started FY2019 with reserves of $122 million. We are spending $18 million more than we are taking in this year and will end FY2019 with a $104 million in reserves.

Once again, next year we expect to deplete our reserves further. DeKalb Schools expects reserves at the end of FY2020 to drain down another $14 million to $89 million.

The story is, while revenue is up at all time highs, we are spending millions more than we are taking in. The school district has a significant structural deficit. But this spending is not benefiting teachers in the classroom, as they will not be getting the $3,000 raise that the Governor included in the increased QBE funding.

With future legal liabilities looming and the inevitable economic ebb, our proclivity for having structural deficits in the best of times, is disturbing. It puts us on a collision course for calamity.

Let’s do the numbers

.
FY2020 REVENUE
• 5% Tax Digest Growth + $26 million over FY2019
• State QBE Growth + $22 million over FY2019
• Estimated Total Revenue – $1.147 billion

FY2020 BUDGET
• Spending – $1.161 billion (+$59 Million more than FY2019)

My favorite FY2020 budget euphemisms driving increased spending are:
• Resource Equity Allocation Adjustments
• Horizon Schools
RAMP (method of equitably distributing their state and local instructional resources)

CERTIFIED SALARY ADJUSTMENTS

On Feb 13, 2019 the board approved the January 7th salary steps (E scales for teachers), as well as revised Z, G, N, and LT Salary Steps. The annual cost is $40 million. It was implemented in January, so it only cost the school district $20 million in the FY2019 budget.

The school district will need to appropriate another $20 million to pay for a full year of the salary adjustments. The school district is using the Governor’s $3,000 teacher salary increase to pay for the full year salary adjustments the board passed last January.

Classified staff salary adjustments are not finalized yet. Also, teachers will be stepping this year (only appropriating half of that). It is estimated those costs to be another $10 million. The Governor’s $3,000 including benefits is estimated to be a $22 million bump.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS
  MAG Salary and Compensation Study – Classified Employees
  January 7th Approved E Scale (and revised Z, G, N, LT) Salary Scales
  FY 2019 Teacher Salary Comparisons

FY2020 NEW SPENDING

• $12 million – Early Learning Center – 11 ‐PREK K TEACHERS, 11 PREK PARAS – New class of 3 year olds
• $2 million – Deferred maintenance
• $3 million – 44 NEW POSITIONS: Facilities Maintenance
• $1 million – 8 new HCM positions
• $1 million – Additional campus security
• $2 million – Broaden the 403(b) match program

TRS FUND – CONTRIBUTION ADJUSTMENTS
The school district has been in contact with the state and they are comfortable that the TRS Fund contributions are set for this year.

101 responses to “FY2020 – Tentative Budget – No Raise For Teachers

  1. Will someone please tell me who the lead teachers are. I have called the county to ask, and no one seems to know. What we do have and now is that there are LTSE, this is under exceptional education.. Are there other lead teachers? Why aren’t the Instructional Support Specialists paid as lead teachers, or on a different scale? Most ISS do the same and more than AP’s in many schools, and/ or they wear many different hats.. The MTSS role that many play, is a critical full time job by itself, then add everything else that they are required to do.

    Also, when you look past year 19, teachers pass thses years are still getting a slap in the face for staying in the county.

    Can someone pleasssssssse answer this question.. Thanks.

  2. Also, I forgot- what are theses 44 New systemwide school support positions?

  3. What is the justification for spending more than the income? Once again, DeKalb will use a state teacher pay raise as “flex” money instead of for its intended purpose.

  4. @Kimi
    more jobs for family and friends

  5. Stan Jester

    Friends is more of a problem than family. I think we are trying to do too much. If you watch the board meetings, the BOE members spend a lot of time complaining how we need more people to do this and that … for example the 8 new people in Human Capital Management. Furthermore, the administration is trying to address failing schools by dumping all kinds of money into wrap around services for communities with failing schools … for example $12 million in additional spending for 3 year old PreK.

  6. Not surprised

    How are they justifying not giving us the Governor’s raise?

  7. Stan Jester

    The school district is saying it is going to complete the teacher salary adjustments from January. Some teachers didn’t get a raise then and nobody is getting a raise now. I told the administration on Monday this isn’t good.

  8. Despina Lamas

    Stan, I have some questions. Forgive my ignorance. Can you elaborate on a few things for me?
    1. Can you explain what a “TRS Fund Contribution” is? And can you explain why the State BOE is comfortable with it?
    2. Can you elaborate on what “Resource Equity Allocation Adjustments”, “Horizon schools” and “RAMP” programs are?
    3. Where will the Early Learning Center Be located? Is this a separate school?
    4. The 44 positions of systemwide support for schools. What is this?
    5. What is Human Capital Management (HCM) and why do we need 8 more?

  9. Stan Jester

    Good Afternoon @Despina. Thanks for joining the conversation. Good questions.

    TRS Fund Contribution – TRS (Teacher Retirement System of Georgia) is a mandatory statewide governmental defined benefit plan established in 1943 to provide retirement security to those citizens of Georgia who choose to dedicate their lives to educating the children of Georgia. The state runs TRS and tells the school districts how much to pay into it each year.

    There has been a lot of talk in the news regarding Shoring up teacher pension system could cost Georgia big money. The CFO feels comfortable that any shoring up won’t happen this year and that we are currently appropriating the correct amount.

    Resource Equity Allocation Adjustments “Equitable” distribution is how the board and school district justify throwing all kinds of money into failing schools and communities. Horizon Schools and RAMP are just examples of the numerous wrap around services and programs.

    Early Learning Centers – The district’s Early Learning Academy opened. It is the former Terry Mill Elementary School, at 797 Fayetteville Road SE in Atlanta, which the school district expects to house some 200 3-year-old students. The school is expected to house about 450 students, ages 3 and 4, when it’s fully built out.

    44 Positions – School Support – I’ve updated the post to say “facilities maintenance”.

    HCM – Human Capital Management – HCM is en vogue for Human Resources. As you may have noticed, the HR department has done a less than stellar job on a number of fronts including recruiting and vetting. The administration is alleging that many of the department’s woes can be blamed on being understaffed.

  10. Stan,
    I don’t understand how the governors $3000 teacher pay raise which was approved yesterday is being used as part of our salary raise that was approved in January. Can you explain that to me please? It seems like my salary should be $3000 more with this pay raise from the governor.

  11. Stan Jester

    Governor’s $3,000 Pay Raise For Teachers – As the AJC reported, Kemp signs record budget with $3,000 raises for Georgia teachers.

    How is the school district using that money to pay for the teacher raises from 5 months ago? OK … let’s say you make $100 dollars a year and I give you a $10 raise, but it goes into affect half way through the year. You will only make $105 dollars that year since your new salary started half way through the year.

    The same with the new salary schedule. The new salary schedule went into affect Jan 1 and the board only appropriated enough to cover the second half of the year. Now, we have to appropriate more money to fund the entire year. The school district is using the $3,000 to fund the entire year.

    I don’t like it. I think the teachers should be get a $3,000 raise across the board starting in the Fall.

  12. Cobb is getting between 8-12% teacher raises…just saying

  13. Stealing from teachers

    Stan,
    I would like the county to attempt to explain why the top of scale teachers, those who have spent their careers in teaching,the same ones who did not get a step raise or salary adjustment in January will not get the pay raise. This is supposed to support our teachers not the school system mismanagement and more central office staff. There are too many cooks in that kitchen now! Why are we teaching 3 year olds in public school also?

  14. Stan Jester

    Salary Comparison – Going by what the Salary Comparison says, both T4 and T5 salary schedules are really good for the first 15 years. T5 pays the most for the most experienced teachers. The salaries are front loaded for T4 … valid criticism for experienced T4 teachers.

    Too many cooks in the kitchen – I agree. Unfortunately, the board and public keep asking the school district for more and better services.

    What is the role of schools? – I’m frustrated with this because the school system seems to be the dumping ground for everything that ails society. We can’t even educate K-12 properly and here we are dumping money into 3 and 4 year old education (child care).

    Many school districts across the state attribute poor academic performance to the effects of poverty and family dynamics. Numerous school districts have departments dedicated to “Wrap Around Services” that try to mitigate these effects by providing additional services to students and their family.

    Wrap Around Services at DeKalb Schools
    DeKalb Schools has created a Student Support and Intervention Division to provide “Wrap Around Services” and address the diverse needs of students and families in and out of school.

  15. Michelle Fincher

    @ Educator – Cobb’s raises are even more substantial, as they include all non-temporary staff, as well as substitutes. They are also larger than DeKalb but manage to operate on the same budget as DeKalb with about 2000 fewer full-time employees (disclaimer that my numbers for DeKalb full-time could be wrong because I can only find the info on a Wikipedia page, whereas Cobb has all of their student/staff/school data detailed on their easy to navigate website).

  16. @Michelle Fincher. Cobb is a well managed school system.

  17. Stan,
    News flash – 3 and 4 year olds can be educated. Done well, it is great preparation for “big school.”

    BUT,
    DCSD needs to stick to its core business of K-12 or PK-12 education!!!!! Why should anyone trust DCSD with their 3 or 4 year olds, when there is so much data to show that DCSD doesn’t do a great job with K-12 students?

    Also, how come the 3 year old Early Learning Center doesn’t target children whose primary home language isn’t English? Seems like that group of children would benefit most from this program.

    The Early Learning Center is located in the McNair cluster, close to the District boundary. McNair HS has 100% Free/Reduced Lunch and only 3% English Learners.

    Why not locate it in the Clarkston cluster? Clarkston HS has 100% Free/Reduced Lunch and 50% English Learners.

    I still think the Early Learning Center is a poor use of K-12 tax dollars. But if we’re going to persist with this, why not help children whose needs are greater?

  18. Stan Jester

    3 and 4 year olds can be educated? Thanks for that news flash captain obvious. However … Most studies show Head Start type PreK programs benefit children’s learning and development during their time in school, but those advantages all but vanish by the end of 3rd grade.

  19. Stan,
    Is there any study that shows that the “Wrap Around Services” are working? If so, that information should be shared. Which ones are working? Which are not? Maybe we don’t need all of the programs. Are we just pouring money into programs with no proof of their benefit.
    In terms of HR, how has adding additional people to HR benefited the school system? When Dr Gregory left, the school system had to go and get retired people to run the system. This is no disrespect to them. The pity is that with the 7 Regional HR Offices and all of the Directors and Coordinators in HR, there was no one to step in and take charge.
    Mr Jester there is no one auditing the funds that are going to the school. Is the BOE notified if funds go missing at a school? If there was a way that people could report this, I think that you would be very amazed at the funds that are missing in schools. How are we ever going to get a handle on spending if an independent person does not come in and do an audit of the schools and other departments. This information needs to be made public. There truly is a double or triple standard in DeKalb. Some people are held accountable others are not.
    A few years ago we hired individuals to run the communications department. Then these people were removed from their jobs, but they are still getting paid their salaries. I understand that they have contracts. Why couldn’t they be left in place until the end of the contract? Instead of doing that, Dr. Green, without BOE approval, hires highly paid consultants.
    Mr. Jester, what is going to happen to us? I have posted a link to an article that was in the AJC today. It compares the salary of educators to other professions. At a time when we are trying to hire teachers, not passing on the 3,000 dollars is not going to be a good recruiting tool.
    I truly appreciate everything that you and Nancy do in your respective jobs. You both are very courageous.

    Wage Gap between teachers and other professions
    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/new-report-record-wage-gap-between-teachers-and-other-college-grads/ChlI46pbWP62dlrQ0crChJ/

  20. Kirk Lunde

    Stan,

    Why not replace 8 incompetent HCM employees with 8 competent employees at the same cost?

    Does anyone know how much the administration is proposing to spend on facilities maintenance? It looks like an increase of $5 million, but is that going to be enough to begin to get caught up on the deficits? Please ask what the total budget for facilities maintenance will be. If it is less than $85 million, please remind Dr. Green of the 2015 Comprehensive Facilities Report.

    Terry Mill was scheduled to be demolished before Dr. Green decided to build an early learning center. I don’t have a problem with that. However, it shows that all schools can be renovated and the administration can find money to do whatever it wants. Don’t ever believe them when they say there isn’t enough money to do something.

  21. Stan,
    If the school district is using the governors $3000 teacher pay raise to fund our January BOE approved pay raises next school year what would’ve happened if the governor didn’t give the $3000 pay raise to teachers? How would our new salaries be funded because it sounds like there weren’t enough funds to provide the new salaries to began with?

  22. Stan,
    May be you answered this and I missed it or don’t understand it. But a school system that has a budget of over a billion dollars could not figure out that they did not have the money to fund the previous raises that they had promised? This does not seem real.
    How will we ever be in a good financial place? We can’t give the money to the teachers, but we can hire a communications firm. Take that money and hire an auditor and someone who can manage the money in the right way.
    How can the other board members just sit there and act like this is normal?

  23. Despina Lamas

    Stan,
    When was the last audit done on Dekalb County School District? Where can I find a copy of the last audit report?

  24. Stan Jester

    State Audit – Every year the state does a financial audit. Here is the latest publicly released report:
    DeKalb County Board of Education 6441 2017 Audit Report

    Note that this is for FY2017. DeKalb Schools is at least a year behind everyone else. There are a number of other reports the board received and I’m trying to ascertain which ones are privileged and/or confidential. Basically, the state is not happy with the lack of responsive competent personnel at the school district.

  25. Prodigal DeKalb

    What does Trump and Dekalb School board have in common?

    No oversight

  26. escapee from dekalb

    Why am I NOT surprised with the “voodoo” economics that Dr. Green seems to be using. HCM needs to be cleaned out top down. They have not had a real HCM professional with experience in YEARS– and it shows. Atlanta has many top 100 companies- I am sure one of them has a good HCM group— we don’t hire those people because then the tom foolery would be discovered. I predicted this shoring up of the numbers with the new annual budget and now we have the PLUS of the bonus form the states money. I find the $2M for deferred maintenance to be a laughable number unless that is per Region, that is probably a more correct number. Have you seen many of our facilities all over the county? Deplorable for some is being kind. When will this bunch of con men and women be gone– and please for the love of all that is holy– get rid of Ramona Tyson— why we still have this relic hand picked by a man that was in jail for his running of the district- is beyond me every single day.

  27. Can you post the actual proposed budget? It’s impossible to find on eboard.

  28. Stan Jester

    This is the budget information we have thus far.
    FY 2020 GENERAL FUND SUPERINTENDENT’S TENTATIVE BUDGET ‐ 05/06/2019

    Here is a video of the budget discussion
    http://streamdownload1.earthchannel.com/PODCAST/DeKalbSchoolsGA/2019-05/PDHD/45484abb67abcec144a33652eef8544d9808a39a.mp4

    Budget Detail – I’ll push to get the budget detail ASAP

  29. Bloated palace

    Stan
    Last year you posted links to budget as well as each individual school’s budget breakdown. Are those available yet?

  30. concerned citizen

    The other board members can just sit there and act like all this is normal because it is.Oh woe is me, to see what I see, see what I have seen. We need everyone summarily fired except Stan Jester.

  31. Just a Few Questions

    Stan –
    What is the May date for the teacher ss lawsuit vs DCSD?

    What is the date for the student first amendment lawsuit vs DCSD?

    What is the latest on the no-bid contract system, or procurement investigation?

    What is the latest on the AG with our rolling board meetings?

  32. This link provides the video of the May 7 oral arguments before the State Supreme Court in the DeKalb County School District vs. Gold (TSA) case: https://scgtv.new.swagit.com/videos/27218
    Fast forward to the 1:34 mark.

  33. Stan Jester

    The school district is revising procurement policies and the board is putting together an audit committee. I’m not aware of the state doing anything else about the rolling board meetings.

  34. Dekalb County Schools Stink

    This is why Dekalb County Schools suck and will continue to suck. If I was a teacher, I’d stop working there and go to a system that appreciates me. Why would good teachers ever want to stay in Dekalb the way they are abused. This is complete and utter crap.

  35. Regarding the FY17 DCSD Audit that Stan posted above, it’s beyond terrible that the problems in the 2016-17 school year are still uncorrected.

    The Audit report is dated June 30, 2017.

    The Corrective Action Plan from Dr. Green for the findings is undated but has the names of the new BOE members who started in January 2019, a gap of 18 months.

    What’s more, the Corrective Action Plans won’t be complete until later in 2019.

    So ‘stuff’ that has been going on since the 2016-17 school year has continued for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

    Absolutely no sense of urgency about fixing deficiencies that they’ve known about for a long time.

  36. Experience Teacher

    WOW, this is a mess. so what they are saying, the experienced teachers are just SOL. That is sad. Dekalb is truly pushing teachers and I mean good teachers out the door. I am DONE!!!!!!!

  37. Stan,
    The superintendent makes PR deals without board approval. Still no soap in the school restrooms. Teachers are promised raises in Jan 2019… some get them, some don’t. Now we won’t see the governor approved raises next year, which honestly doesn’t surprise me. How is the board allowing this to continue? Thank you for your integrity and voice. Where are the others?
    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-school-chief-hires-firm-without-formal-board/IcOutuu6msu19nzx4NFddJ/

  38. With Cobb County providing staff with an 8-12% raise for next year while DeKalb is depriving its staff of the state’s $3000 pay increase, DeKalb teachers again will be woefully underpaid compared to neighboring counties. Why would great teachers want to stay? Many could just as easily commute to Cobb as they could to DeKalb. With DeKalb’s unfair and unethical decision to withhold teacher’s additional $3000 payraise, perhaps it’s time for teachers to provide DeKalb county with a wake up call and simply not show up to work?! I wonder how they would respond to a teacher strike??
    #feeling discouraged and undervalued

  39. The Other Big Systems

    Fulton – The compensation recommendations currently include a $3,000 salary increase, as approved by the General Assembly and currently awaiting signature by Gov. Brian Kemp, and a mid-year step for teachers (all paid from the teacher salary schedules), principals, assistant principals, counselors, media specialists, school social workers, school psychologists and pre-k teachers.
    https://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/fulton-district-to-use-m-to-help-fund-staff-raises/article_c836f5be-5d54-11e9-96eb-f741b2a529cf.html

    Gwinnett – The current number is slated to be a $3,000 increase per employee. That’s the number Gwinnett schools officials are working with right now, although Heffron said that could change depending on what the General Assembly eventually settles on. If legislators stick with the $3,000 salary increase, that would amount — in Gwinnett — to a $41.4 million increase in state funding for the teacher salary schedule. Under that proposed schedule, the starting yearly pay for a new teacher who holds a bachelor’s degree will be $46,646. A teacher with at least 28 years of experience and a doctorate would make $99,500.
    https://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/local/gcps-b-proposed-budget-includes-employee-raises/article_e67e040f-3bc7-521c-8754-a14e7d09eb97.html

    APS – The Atlanta Public Schools budget, which the board tentatively approved this week, gives teachers an average raise of just $2,000 next school year. Several other metro Atlanta districts — including Gwinnett, Fulton and Clayton — plan to pay teachers the full amount.
    https://www.ajc.com/news/local/aps-teacher-raises-could-more-city-pays-what-agreed/sx015giz2JrcSdmgMo6BcO/

  40. Experience Teacher

    QUESTION: Stan, so what you are saying is that because some of Dekalb received the raise, those that didn’t (30+ years of experience)have to be punished? If this is so, this is unfair and a mess. I see why people are leaving. Dekalb is opening a can of worms that is going to lead to something more.

  41. Experience Teacher

    @JD – I’m feeling the same way

  42. So, not sure why any of us are suprised. This is why Dekalb will never be Premier again.
    On another note: I work at a school where the county says we can’t use our after school money to fund stipends for teacher training, and when asked what other schools do, we are told that they use Title 1 funds. We are not Title 1, so we are told that we have to find the money ourselves. I understand and agree with why those funds exist, but I don’t understand why performing schools get handcuffed?

  43. Stan Jester

    @ExperiencedTeacher, I’m saying the administration is currently using the $3,000 to help pay for the January salary schedule adjustments. T4 teachers with 30+ years experience are getting the short end again.

    The budget is not set in stone. You can call your board member and ask them about putting the $3,000 raise for teachers into the budget. I had a 2 hour town hall last night and nobody asked me about it.

  44. Cobb County public Schools..8-12% raises. There are choices

  45. Stan Jester

    This is the salary schedule comparison as of Jan 2019. This obviously doesn’t take into account any new salary adjustments school districts are making for the upcoming school year …

    T4 = Bachelors

    T5 = Masters

  46. I would venture to say that no one asked about the raise at the town hall meeting because only people that read this blog have a clue that the $3000 governor raise is not in the tentative budget. I think most teachers assume that if the governor signs the bill, they will get the raise. People need to spread the word and it needs to be in the news…
    Today’s news of Superintendent Green being under investigation by Georgia Professional Standards Commission is not helping to attract or keep teachers and other professionals.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/professional-standards-commission-investigating-dekalb-superintendent/ejnWdY9wSyTkdrQXsc7S3K/

  47. Stan, did you mention the situation with the $3,000 at your townhall? If I had attended and brought that subject up, how can I be certain that I would retain my job? You can say that I would, but I have no faith that there would be no repercussion from the county. As teachers, we feel that our hands are tied, and the county knows it.

    Most teachers I know are afraid to talk about the ongoing turmoil in public, or social media would already be lit up all over the county. Every discussion comes down to the fact that we are afraid we will lose our jobs if we speak up. How can we ask for help? We are voiceless – especially if even you, Stan, are waiting for the teachers to bring it up in a public forum.

  48. Stan Jester

    @Voiceless, My advice to DeKalb Schools employees is “be professional”. I can’t get involved in HR issues, but I think it’s OK to publicly ask about the status of the Governor’s $3,000 raise for teachers. I would recommend that employees use a surrogate to publicly complain. The Board of Education has spent time on pressuring the administration to address the culture of retaliation.

  49. The fear is real….at some point the teachers as a group must find their courage and speak LOUDLY for what they want….or nothing changes. There is power in numbers

  50. Done with Dekalb

    Top heavy district with incompetent, low skilled family and friends in supervisory roles. HCM, Title One and IT are filled with them. Nothing gets done in these departments yet we depend on them at the schools for help. Frustrated with this school system.

  51. In the AJC article about Dr. Green being investigated by the Professional Standards Commission, it states that DCSD has lost its
    – Chief Legal Officer
    – Chief Information Officer
    – Chief HCM Officer
    – Chief Operations Officer
    – Chief Communications Officer

    in the last 10 months. Wow.

    Now Dr. Green has said that he is replacing the Chief Communications Officer with an outside vendor.

    But when I just looked at PATS, the only Job Listing was for the Chief Information Officer.

    What’s the plan to get a new Chief Operations Officer? Chief Legal Officer? Chief HCM Officer?

    Seems like most of DCSD’s troubles are in these 3 areas, so I would think that filling these vacancies would be a top priority. I hope the Board is asking these questions.

  52. I hope the Leticia’s of the world are looking for employment in other counties. What a continued mess Dekalb find themselves in. Disgraceful. Cobb…8-12% raises and they know how to manage their school system.

  53. escapee from dekalb

    looks like trouble ahead—

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/professional-standards-commission-investigating-dekalb-superintendent/ejnWdY9wSyTkdrQXsc7S3K/

    Can he be gone before he spends the $30,000 per school on something else we do not need.. How much $$ will that be for Dekalb? Anyone? Bueller?

  54. Bittersweet Suggestion

    Stan, you dropped the ball. You had a two hour townhall meeting and never brought the subject of the 3,000 up.

    You are suggesting that we “call your board member”? Stan, you ARE my board member. How will calling board members do anything, when my own board member who knows about it did not even bring it up when he had two hours to let the public know?

    We have to get the word out, without sacrificing our own jobs. You could have done that, Stan.

  55. Stan Jester

    Hello @BittersweetSuggestions.
    I wrote a blog post this week titled “FY2020 – Tentative Budget – No Raise For Teachers”. My blog generally has 1,000 – 5,000 daily readers. There were only 50ish people at my town hall and I only answered questions. I would have liked to have talked about teacher salaries.

  56. Flood the AJC…Maureen Downey’s email. Keep DCSD woes of teacher pay in the news. Public pressure does work. Going to the AJC is not something the Board will suggest you do because it is bad press and airs their dirty laundry. The Truth is the truth…put it out there.

  57. Stan Jester

    Talk to your board reps. Call them, comment on their facebook posts or find out where they are making public appearances. We know where they are at least one day a month. There is plenty of time between board meetings to engage the board and staff one on one.

    BOE Meeting Schedule

  58. Professional Planning Indeed

    DCSD employees – I guess all that’s left is to follow Stan’s suggestion of using a surrogate to complain.

    I would suggest we all ask our friends and relatives to begin posting FACTS about DCSD on social media, and have them call Maureen Downey of the AJC. When posting, stick with facts and couple posts with links to articles that reiterate our complaints. STAY PROFESSIONAL, and leave emotions behind.

    Without success in this avenue, a strike might be the next option.

  59. Stan Jester

    It’s good advice to be careful about complaining about your employer on public forums like Facebook or public meetings. I think you can be a little more open in private settings. For example, after the town hall, I spoke to a number of employees that expressed frustration with the salary schedule.

  60. FYI – Cobb County Schools K-12 Certified Employees Job Fair is June 6 from 1 – 3 pm. The location is Pebblebrook High School, 991 Old Alabama Road, Mableton, GA 30126

    As I hear of others I will post them.

  61. Threats if you speakup! @Lynn King keep the information coming. As a stakeholder in Dekalb County this is disgraceful.

  62. Keep Speaking up! Go to AJC! Keep it to the facts because the facts speak for themselves!

  63. John Hensley

    There is a new term I learned while pursuing my Master’s in education a few years back. It’s called, “Edu-Profiteering.” This term describe the act and/or process of accumulating excessive amount of money through dubious means.

    It is happening across many school systems in America.

    Many, if not most, of the administrators in education are in it for the money. Majority of the edu-profiteering folks, spew the idea that, “we are ALL in this for the kids.” Reality is, they are in it for the easy and most often an audited education money. Especially in the K-12 education ecosystem.

    The problem is that, most teachers actually buys into this nonsensical ideal. We are ALL in for the kids.

  64. Experience Teacher

    @ Stan – I am referring to T5. So you are saying the district is using the $3000 to help pay for the January salary scale , I don’t think that’s fair in that those 30+ aren’t benefit from it. Again from all of this I received a $.48 raise with 31 years of experience and now that there is an opportunity to get something $3000 the district is saying it is using it for balancing the January salary scale. That is a bunch of bull. You all are setting yourself for failure and you all think you have a teacher shortage now just wait for the upcoming school year.

    This is a mess. If I wasn’t sssoooo close to retirement I would have left ssoooo fast. I would NOT recommend anybody to teach in this district at this point!!!!!!!!!!!!

  65. Stan Jester

    @ExperiencedTeacher, I’m very upset the administration presented this budget to the board. It’s unacceptable.

  66. Stan,

    I am very confused. How did we get in this situation? It is so unfair to not pass on the money that was promised to educators. There is going to be no trust in the school system. There are so many issues that make it very difficult to have a good feeling about our district. DeKalb not returning the TSA money. The way that the Henderson Mill teacher was treated after being an educator for 39 years. The problems with not checking references before hiring people. Consultants being hired without approval of the BOE.
    What is happening to us?

  67. Stan Jester

    Joy. Good questions. Let me reply with a thoughtful answer tomorrow.

  68. @experienced teacher…Say it Loud!! This is what every teacher should say! I can not recommend anyone to work for this county school system until they manage their affairs competently. Competence includes paying teachers the top dollars they deserve! 3,000 was slated for teachers raises…let’s see it. If not let’s make other choices. We have a lot of power here.

  69. escapee from Dekalb

    @Joy- Bless your heart– -you STILL have trust in this Dekalb School System? Please look at the last 15 or so years and explain to me how you can still trust anything this system says– again– not the employees and day to day workers- but the people at the top in charge of mismanaging this sytem in so many ways.

  70. @escapee

    I don’t have any trust in our system any more. The AJC reports that one way that Cobb was able to give employees such a large raise is that they kept administrative cost down. Of course that is not a concern in DeKalb. There is also an article about APS doing an audit of their P-Card. If the Card is audited in DeKalb, then what?
    DeKalb does not seem concerned about correcting any problems that we may have.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local/cobb-school-board-approves-historic-raises-2020-budget/Gb9sx7jWp4wtD9Jpu9kEMO/

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/audit-finds-closer-watch-needed-aps-purchasing-cards/VfZoTJVaeY2GEMmo5q242O/

  71. Stan Jester

    @Joy
    How did we get in this situation? – Human Resources and Finance are a big hot mess. The rollout of the salary schedule changes was messed up (as you know) and we can’t budget our way out of a paper bag.

    TSA – That should wrap up by the end of the calendar year.

    Henderson Mill teacher (Coach O’D) – I can’t get involved in HR, but that wasn’t handled in an acceptable way from what I can tell.

    What is happening to us – We have found our way into an unacceptable situation.

  72. Just One of Many Older Teachers In This Situation

    Many of the younger teachers at our school were not even aware that our 2% match is far less than other counties. I tell everyone of them, lest they find themselves in the same position in which I now find myself. They are in absolute disbelief when seeing the other systems’ websites, showing a 6-7% match (about the rate for SS).

    I have taught in another state, in a private school, and currently have fourteen years with DCSD. I financially cannot remain 30 years with DeKalb. I will stay six more for twenty, but then I will have to LEAVE while I am still young enough to work ten years somewhere else. My fourteen years with DeKalb includes the eight-nine year period of the no SS withholding/403b failure, and I will never be able to recover that lost investment. Sadly, because of that Crawford Lewis fiasco and the introduction/acceptance of the insulting 2%, I have roughly $14,000 in my 403b – for 14 years. Many of the older teachers are in this same “fix”. What a joke DCSD is.

    Salary and retirement are the two drawing cards an education system has. DeKalb has neither.

    Younger teachers, RUN!

  73. Stan Jester

    @Just One of Many Older Teachers In This Situation
    Please show me the other systems’ websites showing a 6-7% match. That seems really high. I looked at APS, Fulton and Gwinnett and I didn’t see that match.

  74. Dear Stan,

    Thank you for fighting for the schools. I love Nancy for fighting for our county. When she was a BOE member, my school was in her region . She was excellent. Nancy was one of the people who understood budgets and money. I know she cannot be our auditor, but I know that there are people capable of finding our money problems and how to correct them. I also believe that the school system leadership does not want this to happen. Because I am very sad to say that there really are different rules for different people. If we cannot get an honest audit, how will we ever correct our financial problems? This does impact the staff and students.
    Does the BOE Members get to see the financial audits of schools in their region? If they did, I think that people would be amazed at the money that is lost or not used correctly.

  75. Stan,

    Are you saying that the other systems do not have a better match?

  76. Stan Jester

    @JustOne,
    Somebody made the comment “other systems’ websites showing a 6-7% match”. I said I thought that was high and that I went to several other school district websites to try and verify that, but I couldn’t. Please show me the pages from other school systems’ websites that show a 6-7% match.

  77. Stan Jester

    @Joy, I don’t believe the schools are audited. A few years ago, the board had an independent auditor that worked for them. The board requested an audit of all the school funds, expenditures, etc … The results of that audit were alarming. The auditor’s results were so damning … the school district got rid of the auditor. It reminds me of the olympic drug tests. A long time ago, they came up with a new test for steroids. They went back and tested blood samples from previous olympic winners. The results were so disturbing, they had to stop the testing and pretend it never happened.

  78. Stan,
    So DCSD didn’t increase veteran teacher salaries because they said that these teachers were already being paid a competitive salary.

    The legislature/governor made no such restriction, and allocated $3000/teacher regardless of whether a teacher is new or a veteran.

    DeKalb is planning to use the $3000/teacher funds from the State to fund salary increases for non-veteran teachers only, right?

    So it seems like DeKalb veteran teachers got shafted twice. They didn’t get a raise and they won’t get the $3000 from the State.

    If this is bad reasoning please advise. If it’s correct, I think this is a pretty clear message to new teachers that it isn’t a good idea to become a veteran teacher in DeKalb.

  79. Stan Jester

    @Anonymous,
    The salary adjustments at the beginning of the year were in response to the MAG study. It was an attempt to make employee salaries competitive. Since then, the Governor increased funding for all the school districts for the upcoming school year. The Governor asked the school districts to use that money to give all the teachers a raise. DeKalb Schools, however, is using it to balance the budget … and to some extent pay for part of the salary adjustments from the beginning of the year.

    T4 and T5 salary schedules are really good for the first 15 years. They are some of the highest paying in the metro area. Furthermore, T5 pays the most for the most experienced teachers.

    Granted that may change when everybody updates their salary schedules this coming school year.

  80. It will be interesting to see if the other systems provide the full $3,000 across the board. They have not released their salary schedules, but I have a feeling that Stan now knows where to find this information and is going to put it together.

    It would be helpful if we identified other benefits that matter to come up with a more comprehensive comparison. Similar with step policy. Gwinnett does something extra on retirement for instance, although the state retirement is available to Dekalb teachers. If you were to work under the current salary schedule, you would make the most in APS, but I believe Dekalb would be #2.

  81. Stan

    Some people did not get the MAG study raise. As has been reported, some people only got very small amounts. The raise from Gov. Kemp was to go to all teachers. Because the people who worked on the MAG raise did it incorrectly, all teacher are being penalized by not getting the 3,000 from Gov. Kemp. This does not seem right.
    Can the BOE request an audit of each school and be given the results?
    If the school system is going into the reserve and unable to pass on the raise, these seem like excellent reasons for an audit.

    How can the DCSD just decide not to audit the accounts controlled by the schools? I did a Google search and found these two stories. How do we know that similar things are not happening now?

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/unauthorized-buys-mean-docked-pay-for-some-dekalb-school-employees/5vfj9rTtxkGtwqk6es3FzL/

    http://thechampionnewspaper.com/news/local/lithonia-high-school-bookkeeper-arrested-for-theft/

  82. I am in the process of recollecting all the information that I had. It might be nice to create a spreadsheet comparing benefits as we do with salary.

    This is the information I received from Gwinnett. I also have the handbook which was emailed to me.
    These are the same as DeKalb:
    *Gwinnett does not pay into Social Security.
    *Gwinnett does pay into TRS for the Georgia lifetime pension.

    This is different from DeKalb:
    *Gwinnett offers a 403b, but does not offer any matching contributions.
    *Gwinnett pays 1.9-2% into their own pension fund for employees vested (10 years). This is comparable to what DeKalb matches with their 403b. However, Gwinnett employees do not pay anything into this fund. This becomes a Gwinnett County lifetime pension, and is completely funded by the county. This is a much better retirement vehicle than DeKalb’s 2% match into a 403b. They consider their county pension the same as a 6-7% match into SS.

    Summary: Gwinnett teachers have two lifetime pensions, one from the state of Georgia, and one from Gwinnett County. They also have a 403b they can contribute to.

  83. escapeefromDekalb

    @joy, @just one, @ William and @ Anonymous

    Let’s also NOT forget that all of our CLASSIFIED employees got very little if anything at all– they are all somewhat patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop and once again– they get the shaft– no 403B, no raises, they had furlough days after school house employees did not, and they are run by a band of idiots taking the school system for a financial ride that these employees may never recover from.

    Can we please get rid of these jokers—

  84. Anonymous77

    Why doesn’t Dekalb just pay into Social Security? Wouldn’t it be better for all involved? I worked in another GA school system that pays into SS for eight years. Before that I worked 14 years in FL. and they pay into SS. I was shocked when I was hired in Dekalb and realized they don’t withhold Social Security and pay in. I guess it never occurred to me that there was an opt out per district. How is it a benefit not to pay into SS? They wouldn’t need to keep up with a separate retirement program if they just paid into SS. I am also alarmed that I have to work in the system for five years before they pay a 2% match. I am thinking that I should have stayed where I was in North GA. I have a TSA and fund it based on what I think SS would be but now I have to worry about having enough to live on when I retire by staying in this system.

  85. Speaking of DCSD finances….https://www.wsbtv.com/video?videoId=950919677&videoVersion=1.0

    HELP!! Who can help us?? Is any of the BOE going to hold the superintendent accountable or do we get to hear more positive spin from all of them except Stan? How can we get stakeholders to pay attention and demand change? Mini sessions that the atty general has said violate the spirit of the law, loosey goosey finances, hiring PR firms, no permanent cabinet members (COO, CIO, CLO, HCM, chief of staff, governance, etc) except the one in charge of finances and we see how that’s going, out of control SPLOST projects…..and they want more money for GO bonds and SPLOST VI??? Does anyone wonder why they are fighting these annexations so hard…it threatens the almighty dollar they divert from students and teachers.

    What can we do?

  86. Keep in mind, though, that Dr. Bell is the only one who has mentioned that the proposed FY20 DCSD budget is based on lower reserves than DCSD policy requires.

    He said that at the last 2 BOE Work Sessions. No one from the Board followed up or asked him why this was necessary and why it was a good idea.

    Dr. Bell is the only one who has mentioned that the District currently has several big financial risks. I assume that one of them is the TSA case that was before the Georgia Supreme Court recently. Maybe there are others? Cutting reserves below the level required by policy isn’t the smart thing to do especially if financial penalties may be forthcoming.

    Perhaps Dr. Bell is merely doing what he is told. I think Dr. Green should have talked with Richard Belcher about the audit report, rather than having Dr. Bell take the heat.

    Weak financial policies happen because neither the Superintendent nor the Board insist on having strong financial policies.

    Stan has repeatedly questioned financial decisions but no other Board member chimes in. To their credit, the Board did do the Procurement Assessment and finally released results. Yet it doesn’t look like the recommendations to improve Procurement, which include more staff and more software, made it into the FY20 budget.

    So if it’s not in the budget then it’s just more talk, no action. That’s another financial risk.

  87. As a tax payer…this is a disgraceful job! I do not understand why the incompetence and fraud continues for decades…yes decades! AJC keep your eye on them. They do care about media press.

  88. Kirk Lunde

    Bell is also the one who promised to clean up financial reporting in 2013 and has done nothing to bring it in line with the state’s requirements.

    Bell is the person who runs DCSD on a cash basis and tells the BOE it is a “modified accrual” accounting. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/modified-accrual-accounting.asp

    Bell is the one who allows $20 million or more of unpaid invoices to be “expensed to previous year” by instructing people to not record invoices when they are received, but to wait until after July 1. This is NOT a modified accrual system.

    Bell is also the one who signs off on the inaccurate information sent (late) to the GaDOE each year.

    Bell is the person who produced a spreadsheet that shows there are only $28 million dollars which are unaccounted for instead of the $305 million the GaDOE website shows. Great! Now, where is that $28 million?

    Weak financial reporting occurs because that is how Bell wants it to occur and the BOE lets it slide. If he wanted to change the system, he has had six years. He doesn’t want to change it. It is hard to audit chaos.

    Bell is part of the problem. He deserves all the heat people can turn up. When a new accounting system is put in place, Bell will be out the door. He won’t want to be around when the real numbers show what he has been doing.

  89. Stan Jester

    The board is having private (illegal) meetings with the Superintendent and senior administration this week to go over the budget. It will be one of the few chances I get to stress the importance of the teachers getting the $3,000 raise across the board that was given to them by the Governor.

  90. @ Kirk, agree 100%. Bell been talking about how the DCSD system doesn’t match other systems or the DOE system for years but “never gets around to” converting it….and the BOE turns a blind eye. Where is Marshall Orson in this? Allyson Gevertz? Orson used to be a bulldog parent, now DCSD admin cheerleader. We need to demand a new CFO – but what honest person would ever come to DeKalb to straighten this out? And Dr. Green is solely responsible for his staff’s performance (and poor performance if info is turned in late) – will the BOE hold him accountable this time?? Word is that it is common knowledge among vendors around town that it is hard to get paid by DCSD???

  91. More mini-sessions….?? The budget committee used to do these publicly for all BOE and stakeholders. That is how it should be. Why are BOE members so reluctant to do this publicly? Each BOE member mini-session will have different conversations because different BOE members will raise different questions/concerns – so BOE collectively doesn’t hear the same info. Crazy.

  92. I saw the WSB report. Thank you so much for posting it @ AB. My first comment was the same as yours HELP!!!!!
    All DeKalb County residents should be concerned. Money not being managed properly impacts all students, teachers and staff. If our finances had been in order, would the teachers be able to get the 3,000 dollars? Would our buildings be in better condition? Would we have better services that would help all students? Would more money go directly to the classroom? Would we get better support for our special education students? Would our classified staff be paid better? Would our property tax be lower?
    We cannot keep voting in the same people who are allowing these things to continue. We have lost our way. Schools sometimes go years without being audited. Our first duty is to our students and providing the best possible education for them. How can we do that without managing our money?

  93. Stan, you posted this at the top of this post:
    My favorite FY2020 budget euphemisms driving increased spending are:
    • Resource Equity Allocation Adjustments
    • Horizon Schools
    • RAMP (method of equitably distributing their state and local instructional resources)

    Can you clarify? Is there some formula for “Resource Equity Allocation Adjustments,” or do we just throw a lot of money at certain schools and hope that it helps?

    Is this why some schools get 2-3 times more funding as other schools?

    This has got to stop! This might be tolerated if DCSD was flush, but we are dipping into reserves, are not complying with BOE Policy about the amount of financial reserves that should be maintained, and who knows what will happen once the TSA case is finished.

  94. Frustrated Dekalb

    Stan, can you help with the below.

    — ensuring the $3,000 is passed along to teachers
    — ensuring that classified staff gets paid for their experience .. at least some of it

  95. Vet Teacher 2

    Stan,
    PLEASE stress the importance of giving teachers the $3,000 raise at the private (illegal) meetings that the board continues to hold following warnings. The Governor has given the money to DeKalb to pay the raises. DeKalb should distribute as asked by the Governor.
    Thank you!

  96. Educator24

    What would the district do if they didn’t receive the 3,000 from the governor? Also, I’m still trying to figure out WHAT raise teachers received in January because the $24 I received after 20 years of service is a SLAP in the face. DeKalb needs to stop this crap! We deserve that money!

  97. What is going on with DCSD finances?

    Last year, FY19, DCSD used $13 MILLION from reserves.

    This year, FY20, DCSD is proposing to use $14 MILLION from reserves.

    That’s taking $27 MILLION from reserves in just two years!!! At this rate we will use up ALL of the reserves in only about 6 years.

    What has it gotten us?

    Students have chrome books. We have 7 regional bureaucracies rather than 5. There are school nurses. We educate 3 year olds in a full day program in a program and facility that get no state funding.

    I’d like to say that the $3000 raise for teachers and other certified personnel will be given but apparently that’s not the case. Doing that will require taking even MORE from reserves.

    And roofs still leak, classrooms are still too hot or cold. There are no plans that I have seen for ‘additional resources’ in Finance in response to the FY17 Audit or for additional personnel and software recommended per the Procurement Assessment.

    What is going on with DCSD finances?

  98. Jesus was a carpenter

    Any word from the Gwinnett School retirees about Dekalb Schools classified employee Compensation study recommdations for salary increases?They were told this would be revealed in June.

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