DeKalb Schools administration went back to the drawing board and has come out with a new 2020-2021 school Calendar. The first semester ends before Christmas Break, the second semester ends in May and there are 9 furlough days (calendar reduction days).
The Board of Education will meet Monday July 20 to discuss and vote on this calendar.
DeKalb Schools is a jobs program. In a discussion about FY2021 Budget Considerations, the Board was told that the “foundation of that budget is to keep employees working…and not contribute to the unemployment rate.” Over 80% of the budget is salaries. Either the school district has to cut people and programs, or everybody has to take a haircut on their salaries. The school district is choosing furlough days for all employees.
LOSS – $27.5 million – DeKalb Schools Board of Education approved a settlement in the GOLD Case (Tax Shelter Annuity – TSA Case) for $117.5 million over a 5 year period. First payment of $27.5 million is payable at the conclusion of the court approval process and expiration of the appeals deadline.
GAIN – $31 million – Local revenues are up. DeKalb Schools administration is recommending to the Board no change in the millage rate for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The school district is expected to collect $31 million more in local revenue this year than it did last year.
GAIN – $33 million – CARES Act – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bulk of this money will be used to buy Chromebooks, cover infrastructure and sanitation needs and buy back 1 furlough day for all employees.
LOSS – $54 million – State revenues are down. The state is cutting the education budget by 10%. This will be a reduction of $54 million in state revenues.
LOSS – $10 million – With local revenues going up, DeKalb Schools will pay $10 million more for their Local Five Mill Share. The State Legislature built in the requirement that each school system taxes their district five mills, or five dollars for every 1000 dollars of property value. That money goes to Categorical Grants including the Equalization Grant. The idea is to provide money across Georgia for poor districts. Ironically, Gwinnett is considered the poorest district in the state and receives more Equalization Grant money than any other district.
$3,500,000 – Cost of 1 Calendar Day Restored for school-based personnel
$500,000 – Cost of 1 Calendar Day Restored for central office personnel
The typical 180 instruction days has been reduced to 174 days. The typical 190 work days has been reduced to 181 days. First day of school is Monday, Aug 17, 2020. Last day of school for students is May 20, 2021.
Thank for all you do for the students, parents, and employees. One question what are” calendar reduction days? There are no Fall Break Days
Calendar reduction days are a euphemism for furlough days.
Are we working on the 2nd Monday in October?
The calendar says that every week day in October is an instructional day.
Aren’t there some high schools in DCSD that have block schedules? How will 70 instructional days be enough for content that usually required 90? Will those schools divide their semesters differently?
Whoa! 9 furlough days? There weren’t suppose to be any.
This wont pass.
I paid a goodly non-refundable amount for Oct break. I’m a teacher and will not be taking off 3 days – as subs won’t be available and if it’s virtual I need wi-fi and the vacation place doesn’t have it.
9 furlough days- is the board still able to reduce this by 2-3 days with CARES funds?
Thank you for the transparency and advocacy.
Dear Stan and BOE:
I’m all about being helpful and doing my part. I LOVE my job.
But..9 furlough days? Our loss of pay will probably pay back the financial lawsuit for Dekalb.
For most teachers this is almost a month of net pay. A month.
Most, including me, are seeking additional part time opportunities to make up for the loss. Teachers make so little, and now we will make less. Did the step increase also take a hit?
I can see 3-4 furlough, but 9???
A veteran teacher who loves her job, but is discouraged..
Dekalb distinguishes itself again as the only metro county to furlough staff during this mess. While it sits on reserves and keeps the fat we’ve needed to cut for years. Shame on everyone who votes for this! This is the last straw for me as a teacher. I, like most, diligently work well beyond my 40 hours each week. No more – I will hold strictly to my required contract hours. Reclaim my weekends and use it to plan my escape from this insanity. Taking a step will also hasten more teacher exits as this affects retirement. Why would anyone want to stay knowing you are being taken advantage of?
Why put furlough days in May at the very end of the school year? They would be better used at the beginning of the year to give the District time to acquire the Chrome Books that every student will need in order to have class this year.
I want detailed plans for how a student without a Chrome Book or internet access can start the school year.
As a parent I dislike this new revised calendar and am shocked at the 9 furlough days. Shame on Dekalb. That’s a lot of lost pay for the teachers and staff. No October Break ? Finishing May 20? I don’t see how this revision serves the needs of students or values the teachers. I hope this can be rectified at this late stage. I see exodus and losing valued teachers.
Are support staff and other workers such as; paras,nurses, bus drivers etc. going to continue to be paid?
I am so confused why are being furloughed? Is it because of the TRS lawsuit and this is a way for us to pay our own money back to ourselves.. I don’t see where any other districts are furloughed!!!
I just need to know … do we have any input or is this already a done deal
Cobb county has the best revised calendar that I’ve seen. I definitely think DeKalb should look at other metro districts to see a more balanced calendar.
The calendar is whatever the board says it is. Many board members just do whatever the superintendent asks them to do … I do not.
The noteworthy changes in revenue this year:
$27.5 million payment this year for Gold case
$31 million more in local revenue
$54 million less in state revenue
$10 million increase in equalization money DCSD sends to state
This is disappointing. I really love my job, but I can’t stay with DeKalb when other counties aren’t cutting their teachers pay. This is almost a 4% pay cut for me. I can work in the county I live in and make more without them cutting teacher pay as a first resort.
Is there still a possibility the board uses CARES money to “buy back” 2-3 furlough days, reducing furlough days to 6 or 7?
The administration wants to spend most of the CARES act money buying Chromebooks for elementary schools.
@Need Answers – email the board members- that’s the only thing we can do… until the next election cycle.
Furloughing is already a problem. But, on top of that we have 9 furlough days that are BACK TO BACK, which means they’ll show up in the same check.
I’m incorrigible, so I’ll ask. Can you give us the allotments for the following;
$ for classroom teachers-
$ for other instruction/support
$ for in-school administrators
$ for school counselors/psychologists
$ for central office administrators
$ for in-school administrative support
$ for central office administrative support
Or at least just the money for classroom teachers?
No step this year and furlough days for us educators. Please Stan help us out like you did for our raises in 2019. Your one voice got it done!
These are the only budget docs we https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/SB_Meetings/ViewMeeting.aspx?S=4054&MID=86847
Will the teacher preplanning days be virtual or face to face? I’m thinking it should be virtual, but allow schedules for teachers that may need to enter the building.
The only semi-good thing in this is that last time the district did furloughs, the pain was spread out over all 24 checks, so we shouldn’t see huge hits in one check. That being said, furloughs are an unacceptable way to cover the TSA lawsuit funds that must be expended. It is unacceptable to have what was previously holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) turned into furlough days. Also, does anyone realize just how restless students get when they don’t get a day off for 10 weeks? Seriously. This proposal needs to go to the trash can and we need to start over.
Will the furlough days come out of the months that there are a calendar reduction, or will they just assume 9 less pay days and adjust our entire monthly system accordingly? I think that is what they did when we furloughed back in 08-09.
@witsend- I completely agree that my paid holidays are now unpaid holidays. HOWEVER, I think it was the only way to keep the calendar balanced between the semesters and us not have to have finals afte winter break in the middle school and high schools. For teachers on the block schedule, having some semblence of balance between the semesters is crucial. All that said- I’m not happy about it either.
This calendar is ridiculous. No fall break, and 1 day in February? You are going to burn these kids out. Plus the teachers-insane! 9 days? The board can’t find a better way??
Wow! How will teachers have time to prepare for Virtual Learning in 5 days, which typically breaks down as follows:
Day 1 – Back to back meetings
Day 2 – Usually more meetings and some time in the classroom. This year there is a run-off election. My school is a polling site.
Day 3 – Open House
Day 4 – Professional Development Day
Day 5 – Meetings and some time in the classroom
Since this is the “Summer of Covid,” we have no idea of how pre-planning will be conducted. We have lots to learn and do in a short amount of time. How will we get it all done by August 17? The number of furlough days is disappointing. While I thoroughly understand the financial constraints, I feel that the employees often have to make up for the shortfall. This is very disappointing.
They expect us to work for free like they always do. Remember, if you’re not willing to work for free or spend hours of your personal time working, you’re selfish and don’t really care about the kids (insert sarcasm here).
I am disheartened to see that the administration has decided to pursue this “furlough/Keep ISS positions” route at the expense of the educators. I listened to the board meeting last week and found it crazy that the majority of the BOE chose in favor of keeping the ISS positions at the expense of teachers losing a step increase. Add that to the fact that teachers are also being furloughed, and it seems like a double slap in the face. If there’s no way around it, it should be furloughs or no step, but definitely not both. There seems to be no compassion for the teachers and staff who work directly with the students at all. As Zero Morale stated, going back to work with this cloud over your head would make anyone want to be less productive, and I wouldn’t even blame them. No one wants to work just as hard or harder for LESS money. It’s ridiculous that we would treat teachers this way and still expect greatness from them.
Also, I don’t see the big deal with ISS employees returning to the classroom. They are prior teachers, and as support personnel for teachers, they would serve as a great asset for demonstrating appropriate teaching methods for new or struggling teachers. Makes no sense to hire new teachers when you already have a group of highly qualified and experienced candidates at your fingertips. Teachers are moved between grade levels all the time by administrators and have no say so on the move. I don’t see how this move for ISS would be any different. Their title should not be preserved at the expense of all other school staff.
Stan, I was looking at the recommended budget, and I am confused as to why we have to spend any money on Pre-K Chromebooks. The money we get from the State of Georgia is K-12 funding. Pre-K is funded through the Georgia Lottery (which I understand did not suffer any losses during the pandemic). Why can’t the state provide money to the Pre-K program for the purchase of technology for Pre-K students? Chromebooks are not laptops and can’t be preloaded with software. They are pre-loaded with Apps that have to access the internet in order to work. Tablets might be a better solution for the Pre-K students, but again that money should come from the State of Georgia’s Lottery money, not the DCSD budget or the CARES act funding.
I’m not an ISS but they’re definitely a valuable resource in the building if they handle RTI, EIPs, and SST. They’ll be especially important during digital learning to make sure students get the services they need. It’s cheaper for DeKalb to keep them on than to pay out lawsuits because students don’t get their services. DeKalb is using the ISS staff as scapegoats. Let’s not pretend like DeKalb isn’t trying to punish teachers for suing the county for money that was rightfully theirs. My guess is DeKalb doesn’t want to keep the ISS positions, either, and they’re garnering support for cutting those positions by blaming them for teachers not getting our steps and not buying back those furlough days. Nobody who works in the buildings with kids should be singled out as being unnecessary and overpaid. I can think of several positions outside of the schools that need to be on the chopping block, though.
As a parent, I’m disappointed that Plan A is punish teachers with furlough days.
If there are budget shortfalls, the district should look in their own castle first.
Why do we have people like Braaten and Johnson on payroll in glorified paper pushing positions? These individuals proved they couldn’t do the jobs they were hired for in Region 1.
I would rather see the county administration “do more with less” before punishing the teachers on the front lines.
At the end of the day, running a school is not so different than running a business. In a business, when you have to make tough cuts, you don’t cut your customer facing employees off at the knees. You trim the support, which for the school is the district office employees.
I do not agree with the 9 furlough days. At all. We are asking teachers to do more for less. This is stupid and makes no sense. I do not really blame the school district, I blame the state government. The 10% cut in budget was not necessary but they are harming our children because they refused to claw back the reduction in state income tax (from 6% to 5.75%) and refused to initiate any other taxes to try and make up for the difference (vice tax, gasoline, many other options). Meanwhile Kemp also 1. Will not take regulatory action to reduce the spread of COVID so people can return to work/earning/paying taxes and 2. Is wasting our states money in suing the mayor of Atlanta.
Hello @Another DeKalb Teacher – DeKalb Schools is charged with K-12 education. Frankly, we don’t do that very well. So I’m not sure why we provide services that aren’t part of our core business … like Pre-K. I don’t believe the state has given the school district money for Chromebooks. If the school district is going to be 100% virtual, then students without digital devices and access will receive no education.
Touche “Free Labor”! You nailed it! Let’s not pretend like DeKalb isn’t trying to punish teachers for suing the county for money that was rightfully theirs! And “Another DeKalb Teacher” is right about the Chromebooks and PreK. I know the PreK teacher at my school used the Classdojo app (we did it school-wide) to work with her students so all of the parents had it already. Classdojo has something called “Portfolios” that the students access to see work and submit work and respond (digital, pictures, create videos, etc.) She even did a lesson on gardening (video they did with the Garden Club). But Chromebooks should come through the state (or if individual school wants it use the school money).
Why did we have to lose our breaks? We already don’t get as many as other districts and then you take away two of them. Many already had plans for these breaks.
Additionally, why are there so many furlough days? And right before the breaks? That’s going to be really hard on families to reduce their salaries just before major holidays and completely unfair.
Other districts didn’t pass out furlough days AND kept all breaks. Considering this is a pandemic and not a typical situation, I think the first calendar with the change of the start date should be the one we use. This isn’t a typical situation so the logic you use has to be different.
I would have liked to see something for Election Day.
It’s our ticket out of this mess.
@trim the fat. YES thank you! Sherry Johnson yearly future retirement is going to be larger than I will ever make as an educator! What are they doing making over 150k in district? Positions that have no value should be eliminated, rather then avoiding doing the right thing.
With the millions the county is saving from electric bills, gas for busses, full lunches for students, pay for extracurricular activities , etc., I thought that we wouldn’t see a pay cut. Especially when the CARES ACT is in place that will probably cover chrome books for the younger students.
@Still Waiting. The schools are still open. We are using busses and bus drivers to deliver food. Coaches are still getting their stipend. The school district is saving money going 100% virtual, but not as much as you might think.
Can you answer any of these questions
The last superintendent, who was effectively dismissed early for problems, established two new regional cabinets with two new regional superintendents that we’ve never evaluated for effectiveness and our new superintendent is recommending we keep these? The salaries and benefits for regional superintendents alone is almost four million dollars. Are we really giving regional superintendents an additional $15,234 this year? Did these regional superintendents help create the budget that would retain their positions?
Our new superintendent is recommending we keep instructional support specialists to assist with digital learning and support for students and teachers. Has anyone explained what they will be doing? As AJ has pointed out in numerous blog posts, she doesn’t know what’s happening this year. Is this another “pay first” and “figure out later” personnel expenditure? As AJ has also pointed out, the only people evaluating the ISS positions are the people that hire them or their superiors, so how is there any objective determination of their past performance or need, especially since there were no tests this year and many of the state tests or metrics used the year before were new and not able to be compared to previous performance.
Will the COVID monies the district gets be line-items or will there be much leeway in how these are spent? I ask because we see how much freedom the district is given to determine how to fund “instruction” and appoint “teachers” or spend Title 1 funds.
UNBELIEVABLE! Here I have been singing the praises of DeKalb County for “getting it right” (virtual learning, re-assess each month) and knowing that there were two calendar options, each of which had some “buy back” of furlough days. I trusted that the board, and superintendent, would carefully look at those two budget options and would find a way to buy back more furlough days and/or give teachers the 1/2 step. INSTEAD we get 9 furlough days, and no step! As if furlough days were not enough of a punch, the board has opted to furlough us on 4 days of holiday (2 at Thanksgiving and 2 on winter break) There are 54 days of instruction in the first semester with NO BREAK (Sept. 8 – November 20) WOW!
By the way, IF the board thinks that we will transition back to the physical classroom anytime this year, there are NO DAYS built in to support that transition.
Is there a reason why the board is refusing to buy back 2 or 3 of those furlough days? How are furlough days calculated in our salaries? Do they take our daily pay rate, multiply it by the furlough days, and then spread the deduction evenly throughout 12 paychecks? If so, wouldn’t it make more sense for teachers to “start” at the same time as the original calendar (July 29th) and make July 29th-August 10th furlough days instead of sprinkling them throughout the year and taking away breaks for which DeKalb families have already made plans? If the deductions are not spread evenly throughout 12 paychecks, why on earth would DeKalb choose to furlough teachers before two major holidays? There are plenty of other days from which to choose.
They need to give us access to the school building to do VL from there each day.
My home internet is poor and I have 3 other people in my home that use it for school and work.
I had all kinds of problems in the Spring with internet in and out of video sessions.
Are they giving us supplies if we work from home?
Frustrated,aggravated and full of angst at the moment.
What is the plan if the internet at my house doesn’t work for 9 school days and I can’t work online.
What is the plan if the students can’t get online?
Furlough quality VL is what they may get.
Today’s silly question- if the schools are being taught virtually, why are the kids getting together for sports? Are full games going to get played? Are people going to be in the stands with the concept of “come watch at your own risk”? There a a tweet this morning from FC Superintendent that the football coach from John’s Creek has COVID-19.
Great idea to make the furlough days the original start date, and spread the deductions over the school year!
As was done in the past, the county will calculate how many days we should be paid and divide that amount over the 12 month period beginning Sept 15 (remember the August paychecks are from the 2019-2020 school year). So the furlough money will be spread evenly over the entire school year. What I worry about is if the county receives any more Federal money through another CARES act, how can that money be used to buy back furlough days? If we are furloughed the first two days of Thanksgiving break and you want to buy back the days, do we now go to school on those two days? Just go back to the calendar from last week and select one day a month to turn from a school day into a furlough day. It’s bad enough we have to be furloughed, so at least spread them out so we can have some breaks. I know when we did virtual learning in the spring, I was spending at least 10 or 11 hours a day on the computer. It would be nice to know that at least one day a month I wouldn’t have to spend 11 hours on my computer.
The breaks you have taken away were not only vacations, but days when many people would schedule doctor’s appointments. How are teachers supposed to schedule these appointments now? You can’t have a sub for virtual learning for several reasons: 1.) the sub won’t have access to the platforms the teacher uses (whether it is VERGE or TEAMS) and 2.) Substitutes don’t teach classes–they simply hand out the worksheets and watch the class.
What happens if a teacher gets COVID? How are they supposed to do their job? We couldn’t get long term subs to teach when teachers had to be out due to illness before the pandemic. Most subs are not certified teachers and can’t create assignments, videos, and lectures for the students. And if you think another teacher will just pick up the slack, think again. Not if their pay is cut by 5%.
While on the subject of substitutes, will substitute teachers continue to be paid like they were in the Spring? I believe every month they received money based on how many days they had previously worked, not any work they did for the school while we were doing Virtual learning.
This is absurd. A 5% pay cut for teachers who are already incurring more costs due to creating home office space and upgrading cell and internet at home. We never get cost of living increases anyway but inflation occurs essentially turning our net losses into more like 10%.
Ideas.Can Dekalb exempt school system employees from a portion of their school property taxes to compensate?
The county office personnel costs a half million a day and is top heavy by the most recent audit. Let’s fix that. It’s not supposed to be a place for overpaid -our to pasture- people quasi disciplinary placement making over 100k. If they were furloughed 2.5 days each month, we would save Dekalb 15 million dollars, and trim the top heavy, not student contact employees.
Additionally the I SS positions are not being utilized the way you think they are at the board meetings. I’ve seen far little actual student face-to-face contact for them they’re mostly administrative shifting burdens to the actual staff so let’s let them impact little lives in a classroom. Before you keep their positions you should see if they are being used as the board thinks and expects.
Finally I wanted to say thank you for your solitary support of making sure teachers tried to get a half step increase I do appreciate that. However it’s not going to matter when there’s a 5% pay cut nine or 10 furlough days out of 190 day service is what it turns out to be. I was pleasantly surprised by how the board came together in marathon through that long board meeting and really seem to have the best interest of the students at heart that was great work on your part.
These are unprecedented times and out-of-the-box thinking needs to be applied in order to come up with a good solution. I know that DeKalb is looking at the furlough days because they’re keeping the bus drivers and cafeteria staff or other counties are not., but there are better ways.
Please work to put the October break back in the calendar. I’d be willing to give up Labor Day in exchange for getting the October break back — no one really needs a day off after only three weeks of school. And as a parent, I agree with the teachers that DCSD should not have furlough days and should give teachers their step instead of prioritizing ISS positions. Pushing resources to the classrooms should be the mission of any school district – let’s do what’s needed to keep our quality teachers and cut the excess at the administration level.
Wow! The new superintendent must be ecstatic ! She is coming from NYC, which has one of the most powerful teachers’ unions in the country. She comes to DeKalb and has free reins. These deplorable actions would never have even been entertained in NYC, let alone approved.Teachers buckle up, the ride is about to get real bumpy.
@Stan, is there anything we can do as employees so that the other board members hear our voice about furloughs. Please help.
Teachers please contact the board members and superintendent regarding the cut in pay. Many on the board have little to no idea that many ISS are not doing the job (No fault of the ISS) that they are supposed to do. The board claimed to hear from principals how essential the ISS is to student achievement. What means were used to determine the effectiveness of this position? What percentage of teachers and parents thinks the ISS is making a difference in student achievement? I think the purpose of the ISS can have a major impact on the total school program. However, based on my personal experience, two ISS in one school that review lesson plans and schedule RTI meetings is not worth it. Do I think this is the case with ISS in all schools? No! However, its time for the ISS and all these other district office positions be evaluated to determine if we are getting our return on investment. We should start by asking classroom teachers for their input.
I don’t think the issue is whether ISS teachers can or are willing to go back in to the classroom. Since they are all qualified educators, I don’t believe they would have a problem doing so. However, the issue becomes ensuring that each of those individuals are able to be placed in a vacant position based on their certification. This is usually not an issue with elementary teachers since they are not certified in a certain content area. However, it becomes more complex with teachers in middle and high school who have content-specific certification. So what happens to the ISS teachers that can’t be placed? Are they now unemployed and have to seek employment elsewhere in late-July? I don’t think this would have been an issue if the powers that be had not decided to wait until June AND during a pandemic to let ISS teachers know that this position would be cut. It would have at least put them in a position to begin actively looking for employment elsewhere before the start of the new contract year. It’s just sad that Dekalb has decided to pit teachers against each other (ISS vs 1/2 Step) to pay off lawsuits due to bad decision making. There are other districts that have these same positions and are experiencing the same financial hardships as Dekalb, but have somehow found ways to forego furloughs and cuts in positions. But Dekalb can’t figure it out? Go figure! If this is how a district treats its employees, it’s definitely time for me to plan my exit for next year. I’m not an ISS, but know people who are and their main concern is what happens IF there are no available positions for their specific area of certification. And as a side note, I would think that not many ISS’s are special ed certified which is a large number of the current vacancy needs.
Sara, you can reach out to the board and tell them what you want.
@Sara Kim – Email the board, and Superintendent:
Mr. Marshall Orson: email@example.com
Mrs. Vicki Turner: Vickie_Turner@dekalbschoolsga.org
Mr. Stan Jester: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Michael Erwin: email@example.com
Ms. Allyson Gevertz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Diijon DaCosta: email@example.com
Dr. Joyce Morley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Cheryl Watson-Harris: email@example.com (Superintendent’s Office)
The calendar – The week of teacher pre-planning days will combine with the first two weeks of school with teachers still trying to figure out how to do virtual learning (and the inevitable schedule screw ups) so that nothing is done until Labor Day. And honestly given the county, if the kids get going by Labor Day it should be considered a win. What a waste.
To whoever said the kids are going to be burned out without breaks. You gotta be kidding me. I would love for my kid to have enough work to burn out. In the spring, it was burnout from trying to find stuff for him to do.
If you think the calendar will really matter, chances are kids won’t be going back to school until 2021. Why? It’ll take DeKalb several months to get comfortable, then the flu season will hit. So if you have a trip in October, just go. Have them log in from wherever.
One more on the calendar – some schools force the kids to take finals before the breaks, no excuses allowed. Given we’re getting this schedule a month before school starts, this needs to be waived.
I like the comment re football. But it’s the state assoc that has sway with DeKalb. Notice that bands aren’t allowed back. Well not in DeKalb. Gwinnett is having practice, some schools in Cobb. But of course not DeKalb.
Finally, teachers are you really shocked by the furlough days? Really? Have you been asleep for the last 20 years? Have you not seen ill-prepared idiots in the central office rewarded time after time with long-term jobs? Rebecca Braaten anyone? Of course DeKalb is not going to change, of course they aren’t going to fire their friends and relatives. If I were losing a month of pay, I would be organizing to picket the central office every day until school starts. But keep complaining here if it makes you feel better.
Long run – parents who can afford to supplement will do just that (message boards are full of people looking for teachers for their kids) and their kids will get ahead. Parents who can’t will get screwed. Given the “community” that’s been running DeKalb schools for years, how can they sleep at night??
What happened to the two weeks of preplanning so teachers can be prepared. How are teachers expected to be ready in only one week. Also, the communication from the District has been terrible. All of my information is from you. They have to do better informing staff of current state. It is not even clear when secretaries have to report to work.
The pay cut should definitely be distributed throughout the year and it was when we were furloughed before. The idea of taking the 10 days at the beginning sounds like a good plan BUT you have to remember it is not just teachers being furloughed. It’s all of us employees including 12 month registrars, bookkeepers, custodians, and technology. There is no way we could shut down the whole district for ten consecutive days as we are ramping up to the school year. Not to say they can’t look at other options!
I didn’t think about the 12 month employees. I wonder if it’s possible to have two different furlough calendars- one for teachers and one for 12 month employees? I don’t see why 12 month employees can’t have their furlough days next summer while teachers have them now. If the days are distributed throughout the year, it wouldn’t make much of a difference when the days are taken. If teachers have theirs at the beginning of the year, we can save breaks and instructional days for students.
@ Free Labor
Oops! 9, not 10 days! Not trying to add an extra one for sure!
Please express that you’d like a normal day’s worth of instruction and work for your children to the board. When we first started digital learning, teachers tried to maintain a “normal” school day and parents complained that we were giving too much work and demanding too much from their students. The district made the decision to severely cut down on the amount of work and instructional time teachers were allowed to provide, which I think is a huge reason digital learning was so inadequate. Teachers want to teach, but our desire to provide a quality experience can only happen if we have the support from parents.
My apologies. I meant to say that if the deductions are distributed throughout the year, it shouldn’t make a difference when staff takes the furlough days.
Thev loss of our step plus 9 furlough means more than a month of pay. I’m blown away. Teachers are not valued.
I spoke to a principal this week. He had not heard anything about furlough days. Are furlough days definitely a part of both budgets proposals?
I have not seen any other system in the metro area talk about furlough days.
I was reading an article about the New Rule in Georgia for unemployment and it states, “ Employers are responsible for filling unemployment for their employees who are furloughed.” This benefit was given under the Cares Act. Will DeKalb be filling unemployment benefits for their employees or does this not apply to us?
“Question”, that is why DCSD calls the furlough days “calendar reduction days”. They did that before for what we know all knew were Furloughed Days. So they learned that from last time!
Looks like a very unthoughtful plan that punishes teachers and students. I will look for opportunities to move my child – a senior. Thanks for nothing. Less school? In essence fining teachers with furlough days? Whoever thought of this should be fired. Go to Kemp or Trump and tell them to pony up
The cash to make the school year viable. The last 3-months of the last school year we’re already a disaster. What the heck is the school board thinking??
Why are we paying for ISS when they do absolutely nothing. That will save $14 million. Put them back in the classroom.
This is so unfair. No other districts are taking salary from teachers. I as a teacher worked harder during digital learning than in my classroom. I also see that Dekalb has many openings for teachers on PATS. They will never fill these positions if a teacher knows they will be losing money. They need to reconsider this move.
Where should the money come from?
@Concerned and Confused
Why so much hostility? I don’t understand why people with degrees do not understand that just saying put the ISS back in the classroom is easier said than done. What if there is NO classroom for them to be “put back” in? You do understand that teachers have to be placed in positions based on their area(s) of certification, right? Will the county dismiss those who they are unable to place? That is the question that has yet to be answered. And having the HR person say “Oh, yeah we have a plan for them either way the board decides to vote”, but fails to present the plan during the board meeting is definitely not reassuring to these individuals given the current climate. But carry on with your concerns and confusion.
On that budget under HR, what does almost 2 million dollars in “Total Rewards” cover?!?
A couple of questions regarding the budget. Since there is only a summary provided, is there a place where each category is itemized so you can see, specifically, how the funds are being allocated? Is there a line by line list of expenditures, which totals to the projected budgeted amount? Is there a place where projected expenses for departments are compared, side-by-side, with last years expenses?
How were the amounts for this year’s budgets determined?
$3,500,000.00 is allocated for Curriculum and Instruction. Where, specifically, will that money be spent. How much was allocated in 19-20?
$13,422,498.00 is allocated for Facilities and Operations. This includes PPE, equipment, etc. How much of this will be allocated for PPE? How much for equipment, etc.? How much was allocated for Facilities and Operations in 19-20?
$643,000.00 is being allocated for Student Support and Intervention. What is going to be purchased? How much was budgeted in 19-20?
If this is information I can find on my own, just point me in the right direction.
“to keep employees working…and not contribute to the unemployment rate.” Over 80% of the budget is salaries. Either the school district has to cut people and programs”
someone please tell me how many new teachers, not replacement of resignations and/or retirement, were hired for the next school year. If Dekalb is having a money problem, you don’t go out and hire additional people to add to the budget. Dekalb should have had a hiring freeze this probably would have eliminated furlough days. I know of schools that hired 5 to 8 new staff. Dekalb did contribute to the unemployment rate by hiring teachers. Cut those people and I guarantee you there will be money in the budget.
I personally feel that Dekalb is simply making the teachers repay themselves for the TRS Lawsuit. I don’t think it has anything to do with anything else. Think about it NO OTHER SCHOOLS ARE BEING FURLOUGHED!!! Every 2 years we are in the same predicament and every year Dekalb is on the news for treating us like we should be glad to get whatever crumbs they give !!! It’s not fair but do they care???? We shall see on Monday!!!
@TWatkins-That is the same question that I have about virtual or in-person pre-planning. I do not feel comfortable going into the building for a week when one of the CDC guidelines for re-entry is for schools to have proper air filtration systems in place, which we do not. @Stan – Thank you for holding your own on the board and for advocating for teachers. Everyone, let’s voice our concerns about the furlough days prior to the next board meeting. You can contact the members of the board via email:
Mr. Marshall Orson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Vicki Turner: email@example.com
Mr. Stan Jester: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Michael Erwin: email@example.com
Ms. Allyson Gevertz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Diijon DaCosta: email@example.com
Dr. Joyce Morley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Cheryl Watson-Harris: email@example.com
I’m not understanding why the board is considering furloughs. I thought the point of these day’s were to significantly help save money. If students aren’t physically in school because of virtual learning, why is the board entertaining the idea for furloughs? Virtual learning is already hard enough as is and many of us worked ourselves to death in the spring. This feels like a slap in the face for all our hard work and dedication to teaching our students and being extremely flexible .
I see now it’s just time to get out of Dekalb. These furlough days and no step increase put my salary back in line with other districts. Time to start planning my exit strategy!
Someone please clarify/update… is the budget for no step confirmed as of now? I thought Option 1 w/ Step OR Option 2 w/o Step would be voted on Monday as well with the new calendar? Please confirm.
If so, please, please, email the board members and superintendent for the vote of Option 1 w/ Step. The furlough days are beyond enough!
The CFO’s presentation doesn’t state a preference for either Budget Option 1 or Budget Option 2.
Note that Budget Option 1 has 10 teacher furlough days and Budget Option 2 has 9 teacher furlough days.
Curiously, the proposed calendar shows 9 teacher furlough days.
So it looks to me like Budget Option 2 is the favored version. Sadly, Budget Option 2 has No Step for teachers.
The BOE can choose either Budget Option. They can also decide to just approve a Spending Resolution for August and take more time to decide.
What if the board and superintendent all took a small(5%) pay reduction? That in itself would probably be enough to fix a lot of these negative budget problems.
Also, if the county lost a lawsuit, why are the teachers paying for it?
Let’s think about what the central office minds (CFO, COO, etc.) proposed and has not budged on despite other districts choosing to fulfill their budgets much differently..
Every district found to not be giving furlough days have commonalities… They are drawing $35-65 million from their reserve funds, some with bigger reserves and some with smaller. That equates to 20-50% of their reserve funds they are prepared to spend To GET THROUGH THIS! DeKalb is sitting on $120 million (to save for another rainy day???).
In the meantime, DeKalb’s CFO (Mailliard) said at both the June and July meeting she doesn’t want our fund to go below $100 million…why?!? I know she said we should have double this money in our fund, but guess what, we don’t. Clayton is the best example of throwing 1/3 to 1/2 of their funds on the Current fire. She keeps only offering options to spend $10-20 million which would be 8-17% of our reserve. It seems the other districts are much more committed to their “rainy days” Which is what this is by the way. Our low percent is stingy compared to all the other districts and what they are committing. And yes, I understand Gwinnett has more money than we do. Almost double our size but not double the reserve.
This is what is most Incredible to me…truth is, DeKalb will be doing the furloughs 100% because they owe $27.5 million on the TRS lawsuit. It is the refusal to dip a little further in the reserves to cover the STEP increase that would cost only $6 million!!!!! So we’d have $96 million left over instead of $101 million. Yes, the furloughs SUCK!!!! All staff are paying for DeKalb’s past issues.
I think the BOE should ask for MORE to come out of the reserves to make this happen at the very least while keeping the rest of the superintendent’s recommendations. There is money for all of it. I truly don’t think it is an either/or for ISS and step…that is just how it was presented because feelings were hurt when whoever formed the original three budget options were called out. They still tried to play the “sway game” pitting teachers against ISS.
You claimed…”AJ has pointed out in numerous blog posts, she doesn’t know what’s happening this year. ”
I know you like to put words in my mouth as you did in the last thread….I did NOT at any time say I did not know what Is happening. I know as much as you do. Do teachers (aka YOU) know what is going on this year? If so, please tell us as your gripes seem to be more focused on everyone outside the classroom. If this was a mystery movie, I’d guess you wanted to be out of the class in an admin position for a while now but somehow “no one has given me a chance!”…but I don’t want to presume since we are definitely about attacking our DeKalb family of educators. We support and love each other. Rah rah!
I likely have a better idea about what is happening as I’ve deliberately been in contact with school and district leaders about what my role moving forward will be… continuing to SUPPORT teachers, the RTI process, students, parents, analyzing data, and offerIng training (PL) for the virtual platforms to teachers who don’t know what to do when they return. My job is assuredly not as you say, “ another “pay first” and “figure out later” personnel expenditure“…whatever that means. (Eye roll emoji here). I will remain as dedicated and effective as I was last year, inside the school and/or virtually. I’m ready to go 100% either way.
Thanks, as always. I know you are going to ROCK the virtual education world in August. I have faith in you, dekalbteacher. (Thumbs up emoji here)
What about the substitutes? I do not see a need for them during VL days. They will not have access to “lesson plans” they will not be able to login to the teachers’ learning platforms. Is their salary part of the budget? Surely, money is being saved there. I agree with all who say the fat needs to be trimmed from the District office. Other school districts run successfully with fewer people. In DeKalb, we have several people doing the same job, yet nothing gets done— coordinators coordinating coordinator. Really?? I believe the job descriptions need to be shored up and some positions reduced and or eliminated. Then everyone needs to reapply. Perhaps we can get better qualified people that way instead of promoting teachers into positions that they do not have the educational background /degree for. Do hospitals promote nurses to doctors? Do airlines promote flight attendants to pilots? I know how to balance a checkbook, perhaps I should be over the budget. We have so many unqualified people making decisions for us (this goes for the Board too). If you work in a schoolhouse then you are valuable, period. Teachers look at getting out of the classrooms because they are not valued. The highest salaries are paid to personnel who are not in the classrooms or the buildings. This is why we cannot keep good teachers. Pay them more. That’s the simple solution. It should be a demotion to be pulled out of a schoolhouse, not the other way around. If educating students is truly important, show it by valuing the very people who educate them. Until this happens, everything you say is just a pack of lies.
Mr. Jester, I would be amiss if in my own frustration I did not take the time to acknowledge you. I was admittedly despondent when the great DeKalb School Watch blog was terminated. I became resolute that we would once again go back into the abyss of silence regarding the questionable affairs of the school board…and then came you !
I am so grateful for your commitment to the district, the students, and the teachers. You have been a great advocate for us all. Your transparency and advocacy will be greatly missed! Again, I thank you for your service.
All the best to you and your family.
I feel that ISS should be put back in classrooms to help the overload of students that are low because all I see ISS working on all year long is paperwork for the principal and the cip plan which I thought they get paid to do over the summer not all year. I am disappointed about 9 furlough days without step raises and a raise period from this pass year and now another year for real DeKalb this is foolery! I can’t imagine you allowing them to linger on without going back to the classrooms to help ease the load from students not being in class from March to May! Like I said it’s not like they help the teachers like it supposed to have been designed for. You can’t ask them to even help with a small group, bulletinboards, lessonplans, model a lesson but, you can find them wanting you do there work while they do the Principal work. So what would be the use of them especially if we are virtual learning.
None of this budget determination or instructional plan is about you or me. It’s about making sure that this massive school district with more than a billion in public funds runs as effectively as it should for our students and our community, especially with so many needs and so many challenges. I can’t imagine how anyone would argue against asking questions and challenging decisions that haven’t been explained or thought out.
Sorry if I wasn’t clear in trying to summarize what I’ve inferred from everything you’ve shared. If you know as much as I do, then that means neither of us knows how ISS will be used. My point is that if this information about your job function during virtual learning hasn’t been communicated to you, then that’s a logistical problem and the same pattern I have witnessed for more than ten years as Dekalb has collected more Title 1 and ESOL funds, eliminated almost any tool of measurement of programs or staff above the teacher level or out of the classroom, sought more permission to waive requirements, and grown its instructional and communication personnel. You may know what you plan to do because you may have been working on your own time over the summer as many of as teachers do. That’s great, but that’s not a district plan.
Other districts are giving two weeks of pre-planning. In our school district run largely by self-anointed and institutionally appointed leaders, we have one week. In the absence of any explanation, we will conclude that the district isn’t ready or the district doesn’t understand how much is involved in getting ready for this. Either one is a problem, and no parent or students or teacher should have to “hope” it will work out or just trust that our “family” is doing what it needs. Dekalb is not an organization run by volunteers and donations but a major organization with lots of money paid to people who should’ve sorted much of this out.
I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but it sounds grossly out of touch to be discussing “data analysis” and “support.” Again, no one has asked us what type of support we need. Great that you may have ideas of a lesson teachers, but who is going to call all those parents of students not showing up or not doing work? Great that you have a good tip for a video or Teams lesson. Who is actually creating the video or teaching the class? Who is still grading the work? What data are you going to be analyzing? Schools struggle to administer tests during face-to-face school. Many students don’t take MAP or benchmarks seriously because these don’t have grades. Are you going to be helping teachers figure out how to analyze an on-line assessment that may already produce that data or an online assessment that is not even reflective of students’ knowledge as much as their determination it’s not a necessary assessment? Then there’s the cheating that was largely ignored in the spring. I’m not trying to attack you, but just raise the many questions that should be answered before deciding personnel and instructional needs. So far so many of the “support” tasks I can assume I’ll need are not ones requiring a certified teacher, that a smaller class of students would surely benefit more from if for no other reason than fewer people in a zoom or teams and more chance to discuss with the teacher, but any of the many other staff who will have far less to do during virtual school. I’d also like to know how Dekalb reached out to universities to see what types of “support” would be available, since virtual collaborations are so much easier than in-person to arrange, so that we’re not paying for things we don’t need to at the expense of other things.
It does appear the superintendent and board are approving a plan that is paying first and figuring out later since the superintendent seems to be recommending the budget that was created before she arrived and the district isn’t arranging for time to prepare for teachers or for parents.
I guess as a teacher for DCSD I am stuck for this year and will begin looking for a job in another district for next year. The Furlough days are what they are; a way to make up for a lack of proper financial management over a long history. But the constant failure in leadership/administration (both county and local school level) is too much. It’s over and over and over. DCSD has proven that it can’t even maintain or keep buildings clean. DCSD continues to put our students last at every turn.
Is there not a line item budget somewhere? This fall under open records.
The Palace needs to post how funds are used that support that single facility.
The Board obviously supported an unethical and illegal action that was rectified with the Gold lawsuit
Shame on making teachers pay this back by furlough
Is there anyway to bring back Michael Thurman to manage finances?
How can we have another round of furlough days when we haven’t gotten our money back from the first one years ago? Slave mentality in the purest form! I am really fed up! Dekalb used to be number one and people would move to DeKalb because of the great school system. Will we ever get back to being number one?
This calendar is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Teacher salary is our salary divided by 190 days. Breaks such as Thanksgiving and Winter Break were unpaid holidays always. Now they are attempting to put them back in as days we somehow were paid for. Do not tell us our unpaid vacation day is now a paid day that can be furloughed away. This way ONLY shows how the palace feels about the lowly classroom teachers. By passing this calendar, all current educators have the privilege of paying for the mistakes of the past. As far as the budget, if there ever was a rainy day, THIS IS IT! Use the reserves to eliminate the furlough days.
Good day everyone hope all be better.
To teachers & educators , food service s, administration, board, and Dekalb County. Attention DeKalb Board. May you revised this agenda plan equal quality is the key. Nine furlough days are not suitable timeframe due to the Pandemic.Teachers & staffs of the DeKalb County desire increased not decrease. Educators are the key to tomorrow future leaders in DeKalb County ….. Food service, transportation, parents custodians all the backbone for an awesome support system. May DeKalb County School achieve Expection & Greatness. An Former former DeKalb County School worker. Now an True Prayer Warrior For Jesus.
What time is the meeting today? Will it be aired online and DeKalb TV?
Very well written post.
The calendar and budget are “set” no one’s emails or vocal anger is going to change what they have planned.
They are not ready for school to open virtually on August 17th. There is NO plan hence why you have not heard details about it. They will half ass their way through this and tell everyone to “have faith”
This is a huge undertaking even in the best planned circumstances.
Many students will not have Chromebooks or internet availability on August 17th the county had said that much.
Students will not be penalized for “not showing up virtually” so why even have VL there’s not going to be accountability. Students and families can just use the excuse of “ no technology, can’t connect” etc
The county knows that legally they can’t hold these kids accountable because they can’t guarantee they’ll have the supplies needed.
Many teachers have already been told to make this as easy as possible on the families as they are stressed.
We were also told to make the first few weeks “fun” , why bother?
This is going to be a spring VL part II only worse, I fear.
The ISS position is funded from year to year according to the job description. What does an ISS really do? The reason why many do not know is because no one really knows. What does a teacher do? We all know. Dekalb currently has available jobs. Last checked positions were available in all areas of certification. All employees need their jobs. At this point, the district is saying that the 142 ISS positions are more valuable than all the teacher positions. Because if we keep the ISS positions then teachers cannot receive a half step pay raise. Is this fair to all teachers? Sacrificing the whole for 142!!! In addition, why not put all uncertified administrators back in the classrooms. Why are we paying uncertified administrators when I am sure their are certified administrators within the district who are still teachers, but because they do not know the right people are still in the classroom. While those who are not certified and know the right people are holding the positions. Check certifications of all administrators to see who holds clear renewable versus those who are working on certification.
Stan Jester | July 18, 2020 at 6:50 PM |
Where should the money come from?
Stan I mentioned this in a previous post under another issue on your page. The answer is simple. You asked where should it come from? The county will have 120 million in fund equity after the cares act money is spent on devices for your elementary students. This is where is should come from. This is why it is a state mandate that a school district have a fund equity balance of reserve cash for times like this. You extract from it when there are shortfalls or deficits rendered upon school districts. This is what all the surrounding districts are doing to fill financial voids this year. Most districts have better control of their finances than DeKalb does though, so they have a much smaller void to fill. Plus the fact the district will again be saving a lot of money for school operational costs once again by not opening the schools doors this fall. Believe it or not people, it costs millions to run a district this size when opened and much of that will be banked or misused else where once again. AGAIN PEOPLE OF DEKALB COUNTY, THERE WILL BE 120 MILLION IN RESERVES PLUS ADDITIONAL OPERATIONAL SAVINGS THIS FALL! This is where the money should come from Mr. Jester. I know you are aware of this but you seem to continue playing it down. Take this information to your local board or local leaders and demand the board not furlough you those 9 days and give you your step you most certainly earned!