Micro-Schools – Students & Teachers Coming Together

Given the recent failures of virtual learning this past Spring combined with the Fall semester starting virtually, parents are searching for options to educate their children. A number of families are coming together to start their own Micro-Schools.

Micro-schools are growing in popularity for families who want their kids to have something more than virtual learning. Many parents don’t have the time or energy to monitor their child’s online education. Teachers are considering side hustles now that they are looking at numerous furlough days.

Families are getting together in groups of 5 to 10 students to form a Micro-School to outsource education services. It’s a 21st century Little House on the Prairie style education.

Most Metro Atlanta schools originally planned on having some amount of in-person traditional learning. Teachers and administrators have been worried about the health of teachers. School districts have been struggling with the logistics of social distancing students and staff. On Monday, Gwinnett County was the last school in the metro area to finally decide to go 100% virtual this Fall.

Enter Micro-Schools.

DeKalb Micro-Schools
DeKalb Schools administration indicated to me that they are not inclined to have teachers at school during the work day. The administration said at the board meeting they do not intend on paying substitute teachers unless they are working. Many teachers and subs are seeking a way to to close the gap in their paycheck.

What will the micro-schools teach? Public schools will be opening virtually in August. At the very least, micro-schools will just simply need to keep children on track with their virtual classes.

It will be interesting to see how micro-school compliments and augments the virtual learning process. What are the long-term implications of micro-schooling on public education as a whole? What are you seeing on the horizon? What are your thoughts on micro-schools?

Board Policy GAG – Staff Conflict of Interest

In accordance with Board Policy GAG – Staff Conflict of Interest, employees may, during the hours not required of them to fulfill appropriate assigned duties, engage in other employment, provided such employment does not violate any pertinent section of this policy, Board Policy “Code of Ethics,” Descriptor Code “GBU,” or any contract the employee has with the District.

Except as provided for in District-sponsored programs: (1) no employee shall provide tutoring on District property, for which compensation that is in addition to the employee’s District salary, is received; and (2) no employee shall tutor, for compensation, either during the school year or summer, any student who is currently assigned to the employee.

60 responses to “Micro-Schools – Students & Teachers Coming Together

  1. Conflict of interest

    Isn’t it a conflict of interest for teachers to make money providing a service they are already paid to do? Not to mention many have stated online was way more work, where would they find the time? I also toothy they felt it was life threatening to work face to face during COVID.

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  2. @Conflict Of Interest, I’ll add this to the article …

    In accordance with Board Policy GAG – Staff Conflict of Interest, employees may, during the hours not required of them to fulfill appropriate assigned duties, engage in other employment, provided such employment does not violate any pertinent section of this policy, Board Policy “Code of Ethics,” Descriptor Code “GBU,” or any contract the employee has with the District.

    Except as provided for in District-sponsored programs: (1) no employee shall provide tutoring on District property, for which compensation that is in addition to the employee’s District salary, is received; and (2) no employee shall tutor, for compensation, either during the school year or summer, any student who is currently assigned to the employee.

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  3. Conflict of interest

    What if they provide this instruction during “work hours?”

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  4. dekalbparent08

    Pay taxes for public school and hire teachers to teach your kids during VL. Parents gotta love the double whammy. Let the price gouging begin.

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  5. I have heard about these groups as well. I am concerned about the “in person” contact even if it is a small group with a teacher. It’s a risk. Even with masks and infection control as best you can. I would be hesitant to do this. I want a vaccine first before bringing even small groups together.

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  6. Curious Stakeholder

    Personally, I am all for families and neighbors working together to make sure their children are being supervised and educated while other parents are working as needed to support their children. However, I do not recommend this idea with the increasing number of covid cases that we are seeing daily unless it is the only choice for those parents. My family and I are not allowing any visitors to our home (friends or family members) and have been practicing social distancing anytime we must leave the house for any reason, which is a rare occasion. I am working out my schedule now so that I will be available to work from home and still assist my children with their assignments. With so much uncertainty, I would not trust my children to be in the care of anyone other than my husband and myself.

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  7. Work Hours – Employees may, during the hours not required of them to fulfill appropriate assigned duties, engage in other employment.

    Double Taxation – I’m not against the money, public taxes, following the child. If public taxes followed the child, then low income families could afford micro schools.

    COVID-19 Risks – Much like going to the grocery store, there are risks in contracting Coronavirus. Please consider the risks carefully.

    Question – What’s the plan if we never find a vaccine to COVID-19?

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  8. dekalbparent08

    Thanks, Stan. While my children do not attend school within your region, I follow your blog, appreciate your hard work and communication. You will be missed.

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  9. Hi
    Work hours for teachers is 8 hours a day. We get paid by the district for 8 hours a day. It’s a full day of paid work for the schools. Has this changed? We can’t do any other work employment until after 3:30 (if you are a 730-3:30). I have had that drilled into my head by administration for years. If paid DCSD teachers teach during the day at a mini school then that sounds like double dipping to me.

    What is the plan if we never find a vaccine for Covid-19? It’s a good question .Hopefully as time goes by the school districts can provide a well thought out plan on how to safely educate our children.

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  10. I don’t personally feel I can prepare properly until DeKalb shares the plan. Will there be live instruction? Will each teacher for a grade follow the same lesson plan and assignments? What will assignment due dates look like given some children may need help that cannot be provided until the weekend or evening? How will children with IEPs be given the right tools to succeed?
    I have 3 children. I have a full time job that requires me to be an active contributor for the majority of the daytime. I will also be the sole adult providing instructional support for my children.

    I agree with the decision to start virtually given the current case count and rapid spread.
    That being said, I am so disappointed that school district leadership did not have a continuity plan in place.
    This pandemic has existed for many months now. I don’t want to hear “but the superintendent role was transitioning.” There is enough well educated and highly paid year round administration in our district. These individuals should have gotten feedback throughout the spring, developed strategies, and laid out a continuity plan on how to better support a distance learning environment. But there is NO PLAN. This district chose to put their head in the sand and hope the pandemic would go away.
    Now parents are scrambling, kids are anxious, and teachers have little to no guidance with school a few weeks away.
    Stan, when will a plan be published?

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  11. I agree with Rosey. All of my teaching career, teachers (including me) were told they could not do any work for pay within the 7:30-3:30 or 7-3 work day of eight full hours. Any full-time DeKalb teacher should not be allowed to microschool, babysit, or wait tables during their work day. Unless teachers have flexible work hours during which they are available to their DeKalb students and can submit what their 8 hours are, I think this is a conflict of interest. Now, private school teachers, retired teachers, and substitute teachers do not fall into this category.

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  12. I see this as a significant “haves” and “have nots”. Parents are going to do whatever is within their power to make the best of this difficult situation. We all learned a lot from the end of the prior school year and have time to plan for better circumstances. The problem(s) is those that are left behind – without options or a support network. I have the privilege of being able to teach my children at home, safely. I want to make sure I am using my voice to recognize that there are significant numbers of Dekalb families who cannot and struggle in the best of times, much less these different times.

    I hope to see the county & school district work together to pool resources to feed and care for the working poor and underprivileged portions of our community. It could be that community centers are opened up or smaller numbers of children are allowed access to the school at some point with adequate protections.

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  13. Multiple Perspectives - Parent

    I was the son of a teacher and know first hand the love, effort, and drive that almost every teacher has for their students. While nobody could have predicted this pandemic, I am flooded with a range of emotions all over the spectrum and imagine most of Americans are too. Here are some and as you see – all over the place.
    – How will teachers face the challenge of virtually teaching a class as well as their own children?
    * Will some school districts require them come in person to the school building? With or without their kids?
    * Then I think – how will general public continue in their jobs while teaching their own children?
    * Do people automatically think – “men work and women are stay at home moms – so they are covered”?
    * Do people think – “grandma or Aunt Sally will watch the kids?” But what if you are a transplant with no family to off load your kids to work and cover the bills?
    * What if they are essential workers in healthcare fighting Covid? Do their kids get the shaft?
    – Does every teacher want to teach remotely or if given the option would 10, 20, 30 or 40%+ elect to teach in person?
    * Why haven’t we heard much from this group? Do they not exist?
    * Are they being bullied / pressured by teachers and administrations to “fall in line”?
    * What is the Board’s view on teachers having different opinions publicly? Is it a “fall in line”?
    – Why must I consider spending $1,000 per kid , per month options for virtual learning so I can work?
    * Should I move counties – but I want the diversity of Atlanta. And now all counties are in lock-step – so am I missing the glaring dangers that outweigh my children learning how to read?
    * If I am spending money on these pods, should I move to a private school that has in person learning?
    – What are disadvantaged kids and families doing who can’t afford the pods?
    – What are all families regardless of background doing who can’t afford $500-$1,000 for the pods?
    – Should I just have my kids repeat their grade next year?
    * What will happen to the school system if 20%-40% of kids repeat? Will Elementary schools be flooded and even more overcrowded next year?
    – Why hasn’t the Board given families and teachers the ability to choose virtual learning or in-person learning?
    * Are the logistics too challenging?
    * Has there been any planning done for this over the past 3 months?
    * If so, what is it? Sit tight and be patient doesn’t work for all of those needing to make plans now.
    – If a large group of teachers and students test positive for antibodies for the virus, will there be a shift?
    * Or does the unknown of antibodies effectiveness outweigh the risk analysis of kids falling behind more from virtual learning?
    – Why has this turned political? If you hate one party you feel one way. If you love one party you feel the other.
    * Initially this showed with school board positions ahead based on Red/Blue voting districts.
    * Everyone wear a mask! Wash your hands! Avoid large crowds
    – I haven’t seen anyone advocating for Children of all backgrounds. Who has their voice?
    – If planning for the region hasn’t been very good the past few weeks/months – why should we have comfort that it will suddenly improve over the next few months?
    * Why do people tell us to “relax – its under control” when it doesn’t appear folks in charge are prepared nor have they ever dealt with anything like this.
    * Educators are being asked to do something outside their traditional scope –

    As I mentioned – a range of emotions that probably differ from others and in some cases are similar. I think what is frustrating the most is the lack realizing that these views are wide-ranging across the country. But we have only been given one option and its not a very good one – at least for me. I assume probably 30%-45% feel the same way I do. After 1 month of virtual learning, don’t be surprised if that number grows to a majority. Once we get to the end of October and are not in a classroom – this whole school year will end up being virtually taught.

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  14. dekalbparent08

    @rosey. During the spring we had a 2nd grade teacher email the parents her office hours were 830-130. So not everyone was doing the 8hours per day in the spring VL. Thank you for all the teachers who worked the 8 hours plus. But there those that didn’t.

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  15. Dekalb parent

    Proper homeschooling curricula through a certified program would be only way to go. IMO. These micro schools will have in person contact, could be conflict of interest. Also in person contact so the risk is there for those who wanted to eliminate it. Personally I see private school enrollment going up over next 6-12 months for those that can afford it. Many have the ability to do in person instruction or they have a more robust virtual program and accountability for grades.

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  16. DCSD Teacher

    @dekalbparent08

    Hello! Regarding the comment about the 2nd grade teacher with office hours from 8:30 – 1:30, I just wanted to offer a different perspective. The hours between 1:30-3:30 may have been dedicated to other school related tasks. For example, I worked in Gwinnett County in the Spring. We were required to be available to respond to parents and students during certain times of the day, not during the entire work day. When not responding to parents, we were completing other required tasks, virtual staff meetings, end of year paperwork, etc. So, just offering a different viewpoint since I taught virtually, while also being required to do many other tasks for school.

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  17. Dekalbparent08 – as teachers, we were asked to provide parents and students with several hours a day that we would be sitting at the computer ready to answer any questions (virtual office hours). During the other hours of the day we were creating lesson plans, learning new software programs, creating lessons, grading, and attending virtual meetings. I am sorry if it felt like we weren’t working our 8 hours, because the spring semester was a difficult time for us all.

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  18. @ worried mom … yes!!

    I am so disappointed that school district leadership did not have a continuity plan in place.
    This pandemic has existed for many months now. I don’t want to hear “but the superintendent role was transitioning.” There is enough well educated and highly paid year round administration in our district. These individuals should have gotten feedback throughout the spring, developed strategies, and laid out a continuity plan on how to better support a distance learning environment. But there is NO PLAN. This district chose to put their head in the sand and hope the pandemic would go away.
    Now parents are scrambling, kids are anxious, and teachers have little to no guidance with school a few weeks away.
    Stan, when will a plan be published?

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  19. @dcsdteacher Thank you for clarifying. Communication was definitely lacking in the spring. As a single working parent managing 3 different children’s academics there will need to be more flexibility. I hope the district takes this into account. Families have rent to pay and food to put on the table. Also, I know that teachers have their own children to tend to. It would have been more manageable if there were different office hours different days. Given the situation we can’t flip traditional school to virtual as is. There is a need for more flexibility and staggered hours. It is tough all around. Again thank you for your reply.

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  20. Adrienne Duncan

    And once again special needs kids are dropped. Because micro schools aren’t planning to include them either. Stan is like to hear from our board and new super how DeKalb intends to provide FAPE and fulfill the legally required IEP goals virtually. Because it did not happen in the spring.

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  21. Old Tired Taxpayer

    We homeschooled and it was a lot of work, but even worse is the emotional strain of taking full, sole responsibility for your child’s education. There were and are support systems helping with the academics but my biggest caution would be the exit strategy. Your child will need a credential and Bryan Caplan (The Case Against Education), an economist, explains why a GED is not a marketable option.

    Today there are multiple virtual academies that appear to be viable options addressing many of the challenges of homeschooling. In some cases the money does follow the student, though it may be laundered through the local school system. Had these been available we would have given them serious consideration.

    In our neck of the woods some families have already formed “pods” creating closed groups supporting play and socialization for their children. It would seem reasonable to enhance the pod structure with a virtual academy and some homeschool resources, with proctoring done by tag-teaming parents. It isn’t clear that having a paid proctor would be necessary or even helpful as that would be a vector into the pod. School days and times (the “calendar”) would be set by a small, already cohesive group of parents and need not be restricted to times of day dictated by convention.

    Not an option for everyone, but it might work for some and it may even be better than what is offered by DCSD. You may not even feel a need for this blog 🙂 .

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  22. DeKalb missed the opportunity to gather true stakeholder feedback regarding reopening by not collecting and presenting responses by individual grade levels. Thoughts for a parent of a Kindergartener are very different from those of a Senior in high school.
    For too long, a lot of parents have treated public school as free childcare, and it shows in our educational outcomes. Parents and guardians are children’s first and most important teachers. When they don’t do their job, it’s must more difficult for teachers to be effective.
    DeKalb can continue to spend millions on computer hardware, software, and internet access, but there will still be students who cannot and/or will not use these expensive tools. Technology will not replace a caring and capable human being (teacher, parent, or other trusted adult).
    For a typically-developing student, parents may be able to help their children a lot in elementary grades, but for an exceptional student, a trained professional will often be more effective.
    I can’t begin to explain all of my conflicting thoughts and emotions here. I’m not going to judge anyone for doing what they must or think best for their child in a crisis situation.

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  23. When is the start date for teachers if the students report back on the 17th????

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  24. The proposed calendar gives Aug 10 as the pre-planning start date. Are there other 10 month start dates being considered?

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  25. Stan Jester

    @JanJ, I’m seeking clarity on the current start date for teachers. Principals are sending emails out saying 7/27, but I don’t think that is accurate. I thought the start for everybody was pushed back 2 weeks. I’ll publish something as soon as I know.

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  26. Micro schools are at best a band-aid. If you think our system is uneven now, wait until we have tiny groups being taught a curriculum that undoubtedly will be all over the map. Can’t see it working, and don’t intend to expand beyond my 8 hour day (often far longer) to teach in one.

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  27. Outside looking in.

    I am sure I am not the first person to point out that training teachers in online instruction, creating online learning materials should have begun immediately. It was pretty easy to see that this entire country was not going to take this virus seriously. By Memorial Day, all over the country, states opened with numbers rising. We have successful online schools. How difficult would it have been to go to them to look for solutions. If there was a failure–it was solely with the district offices and BOE. Online schools have set times for classes. Kids are engaged only during those classes. Part of the chaos were many teachers–especially at the elementary level, felt they needed to keep throwing things at the kids all day long. Things were showing up on dojo at 7 at night. These teachers had NO direction and everyone understood but those in charge all spring and summer to figure this out. DO NOT BLAME TEACHERS. The district should have adopted a statewide platform for delivering classes, checking attendance, allowing for communication between students and teachers during class–in a organized, classroom way AND making sure that all kids had internet access and computers. From where I sit, it seems BOE sat back waiting for a new superintendent to show up and not take responsibility of making sure that planning and additional resources were being done. I do think the survey was helpful but it should have not been the only work done spring and summer. What is the plan for those special needs children? Maybe all this was done but it sure seems hidden. Have any of those in charge actually watched how a real cyber school day operates? Of course, online is the ONLY way now. I just wish more time, thought and resources had been put into planning for this–before July 1. If I have misjudged, I do welcome being wrong.

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  28. Pissed Parent

    Can I just speak for parents that have to work and cannot teach their children during the day? Most likely the parents that have to work during the day are probably working jobs like grocery store clerks, office employees, health professionals and such…. where do you think they are going to come up with the extra money to have someone microteach their children?? The vast majority of parents do not have “daycare” money to spend in a weekly basis to have someone teach their children. The government should provide such resources or the school district should repurpose employees like paras, whose jobs rely on student attendance and have them meet virtually with small groups of students to offer extra tutoring. Let’s not forget that public education is paid from taxes and government funding. Parents should not have to pay to educate their children.

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  29. Outside looking in.

    Above, I meant county-wide, not statewide.

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  30. CDC Head says

    What does the School Board think about this quote?
    “I’m of the point of view as a public health leader in this nation, that having the schools actually closed is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen,” Robert Redfield, head of Dekalb County’s CDC. July 2020

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  31. ParenTeacher

    Stan, you said:
    “DeKalb Schools administration indicated to me that they are not inclined to have teachers at school during the work day. ” – has anyone given you a reason why? Are you saying that we will not have access to our classrooms, the copier, and other valuable resources that are housed inside schools? I am in agreement that we need to start the school year online and remain online until we have a clear plan for re-entering the classrooms, but (many) teachers want/need access to the buildings. Thanks!

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  32. Downbutnotbroken

    Mr. Jester, with all due respect, you repeatedly refer to the virtual end of spring semester as a “failure,” which seems to indirectly imply that teachers did not do their jobs or did a poor job of it. You have also stated in earlier comments that your own children did next to nothing during this period. Maybe it’s fair to point out that teachers were forced to turn on a dime and teach virtually with no preparation. Many of us had never taught virtually and liked it less than many parents and students. Further, the district tied our hands by asking us to limit assigned work to no more than an hour a week and denied teachers the ability to give zeros – these were not our choices, but district mandates. The fact that there was no accountability placed on students was not our choice, but again, the district’s.
    As to the conflict of interest, I wonder how many parents who are concerned about teachers working other jobs consider it excusable to expect teachers to email them back over weekends or after an eight hour work day? Do you find it reasonable for teachers to stay 4-5 hours after the eight hour work day for open houses and curriculum night, when we miss our own children’s’ open houses and curriculum nights, when we forego dinner with our families? Is it reasonable that teachers grade papers at home at night and on weekends because their planning periods are consumed with professional development and mandated PLCs? Is it reasonable to ask teachers to take cuts in pay at time when just like other folks, maybe their spouses or partners have lost jobs due to the pandemic? The double standard that some community members apply to educators is an old one, but that doesn’t make it less frustrating or painful. In March, people were singing our praises because suddenly they had their children at home and gained a new appreciation for what teachers do. How quickly tide turns.

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  33. Downbutnotbroken

    To Pissed Parent, as a Dekalb teacher, I could agree more! It’s a shame the BOE waited until July to develop a plan when organizations such as the NEA were offering suggestions as early as April! It takes some thinking outside the box, and students may have to go to buildings other than their own, but if the board insists on keeping all jobs, we have certified people, including paras, who will not be needed in their traditional roles while we’re virtual, who can monitor students in computer laps and safely distance, if we’re talking about students who cannot be home and/or do not have access to devices or the internet.

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  34. Homeschool Parent

    As a homeschool parent and owner of a small homeschool facility, I definitely think parents should open their eyes to see that the traditional format of schooling is changing right in front of our eyes! I like micro-schools only because it is very similar to the layout of my facility. I think maintaining a group of 8 to 12 students by having tutors/educators collectively come into a central location teaching on a set day and time frame is great!

    It will allow the kids to have social interaction and a positive healthy environment where you can still implement small field trips, say on Fridays along with lunch together say at the park collectively. You create set hours like 9am to 2pm, allowing students to be dropped off and at least two instructors/parents on site to assist the educators.

    We have to get creative at this point and think outside the box to make sure our kids have what they need and are able to flourish academically and socially. ❤

    Tammy

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  35. Still Waiting

    It’s obvious the politics and agenda being pushed on this format . Wake up people.

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  36. Downbutnotbroken

    Still Waiting,
    Perhaps you should illuminate. No idea to what agenda you refer. Thanks.

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  37. Angela king

    What happened to the lawsuit regarding TRS? Did anyone received any money for iti

    1
  38. DHS class of 2021 parent

    The extra 2 weeks should be used to prepare teachers/staff for safety protocols related to re-opening the schools. Let’s say that numbers do improve in August and September, and that DeKalb schools welcome students back in mid October. Is that when training will be provided? Why not use the 2 weeks to work with the Department of Health, use CDC guidance, and prepare spaces (as realistically as possible) for students being on campus. Also, extra training for teachers to work with students remotely is needed. Simply cutting the teacher salaries with furlough days does NOTHING to support the students in the school system. It simply saves money and harms the adults who rely on the paychecks from the county, especially single adults/single parents. Stan, I hope you can share this concern with the school board and have them re-assess the furlough days. This is NOT the time to furlough our teachers…it is the time to support them with extra professional development and health and safety protocol training.

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  39. Stan takes a great deal of time to blog and answer questions- please take the time to peruse the articles he’s written recently before asking a question that’s been answered over and over again. This may or may not bother Stan but it’s a personal pet peeve.

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  40. Stan Jester

    DeKalb Schools Approves TSA Settlement
    June 9, 2020 – This morning the 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.

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  41. DCSD Teacher

    @DHS class of 2021 parent
    You offered a great perspective. I would love to get into my classroom during the pre-planning period to organize my room to meet CDC guidelines, learn the building expectations, etc. In the event that we return to in-person class at some point this Fall, it would be helpful to have our classrooms prepared so that additional time is not wasted. We were all quite unprepared in the Spring due to the abrupt way schools closed. Now that we have time to prepare, I hope the board is considering ways to prepare us for both virtual and in-person teaching. We can’t be told on a Friday that we must prepare our classrooms for in-person teaching that starts the following Monday. That will place us in the same frantic position we were in during the Spring.

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  42. This sounds like an unlicensed child care center. Small home care centers are licensed. Licensing is important to protect your children and ensure they have a quality and safe education. A licensed home care facility has to follow state regulations, background checks, ratios, follow USDA guidelines, have insurance, and provide a host of other regulated services to ensure your child is protected. Families are going to subject themselves to significant liability by hosting these unlicensed programs in their homes.

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  43. I just want to make two points:

    (1) In this time of crisis, it is great that people are showing how much they value education by paying for learning pods, tutors, extra resources and so on, and that people are recognizing how much schools provide beyond just education, like socialization, nutrition, childcare and so on. So people recognize that these things are vital social functions and that these things aren’t free.

    (2) PLEASE DON’T FORGET! Part of the reason that schools are so under-equipped for any kind of socially-distanced in-person schooling and for distance learning is because people don’t want to pay sufficient taxes to have excellent school systems.

    We have been running a system on the cheap, and when pressure comes on it, it breaks. This is no surprise to ANYONE who is actually working for a public school. When my classes have 38 students in them…

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  44. DeKalb has had plenty of funding

    @AndrewM

    If you think DeKalb has been running on the cheap, you’re sadly misinformed.

    DeKalb County has gotten more than enough tax dollars throughout the years. They have mismanaged it, wasted it on frivolous lawsuits, run a friends and family jobs program, given stupid bonuses and payments to exiting superintendents, and let their buildings disintegrate. And all the while they haven’t supported teachers and screwed over students. If anything, DeKalb schools needs to lower the millage rate and actually run the program more like a business.

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  45. AndrewM is right

    If we were willing to fund public schools at the level of private schools we’d be in better shape to handle Coronavirus. Smaller school districts with less overhead would also help.

    A cursory Google search shows tuition ranging from $13,700-30,330 for private high schools. Could you imagine DHS with an annual budget averaging roughly $50 million?

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  46. @Dekalb has had plenty of funding

    So when the financial crisis came and destroyed the tax base in DeKalb, did the school system suddenly become better managed, less wasteful, etc etc? No, it just became poorer, on the backs of teachers and families.

    We live in a democracy, and we get what we vote for and we get it to the extent that we pay attention and are involved in the process. Want a more efficient/less corrupt school district? Get involved and get your neighbors involved, don’t just starve it and think that will fix things magically. Want a BETTER school district? Do the first, and also, just like everything else in this world, you get what you pay for. So if you want excellence, be prepared to work for it and pay for it.

    (/Rant over. I know this is not really addressed to the people here, because they are the ones who ARE involved!)

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  47. I disagree that we are not paying enough to have excellent schools.

    DeKalb taxpayers pay a millage rate that is higher than the law allows. The high millage rate was granted when DCSD had some link with a junior college. But for years that link has not existed, yet DeKalb has not been required to reduce its millage rate to the limit set for other districts.

    The reason that DCSD doesn’t have excellent schools is that it mismanages its funds. As we’ve seen lately, occasionally that comes back to bite them like the $117.5 Million legal settlement.

    But mostly the funds are diverted away from teachers and the school house. Doing this for years makes us think this is “normal,” when it certainly isn’t normal. This pattern also has reduced our expectations.

    Sure, there are great teachers and great students who take these lemons and make lemonade. But so many students are poorly served, and so many never reach their potential.

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  48. DeKalb has had plenty of funding

    @AndrewM

    Actually, I have been incredibly involved in schools, from doing elem school couriers and field day events to volunteering throughout middle and high school. I’ve made the copies where you have to reduce it to half a page to save because there’s not enough paper. I’ve been on governing boards and PTAs. So don’t sit there thinking I’m just trying to starve the county.

    You are wrong when you think we need to send more tax dollars to the corrupt central office, because you and my kids won’t see a penny of it. Like Anonymous said, DeKalb already gets more than the law allows, yet they continually mismanage it. So yeah, a diet is called for. Sorry if you can’t see the forest for the trees.

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  49. Stan, based on the information Allyson recently posted, the board is going back on its decision to put ISS into classroom positions. Is this true? I thought ISS going back into the classroom would help with the budget and allow less furlough days. What happened?

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  50. @DeKalb has had plenty of funding

    “So yeah, a diet is called for. Sorry if you can’t see the forest for the trees.”

    I am so sorry. Yes, because of my failure to see the forest for the trees, despite the fact that I actually work, every single day, within the system, I don’t actually understand the problems in DeKalb or the ways schools are funded or the distribution between central office or schools. I am frightfully naive and ignorant.

    Your DIET is my FURLOUGHS. Your DIET is my 38 STUDENTS IN A ROOM. Your DIET is my THEY STOLE FROM MY RETIREMENT.

    But I can’t see anything beyond that or more complicated than that because I only work here and focus on your children and don’t think or do anything about the organization I have dedicated 20 years to.

    You are complaining about inefficiency. Presumably you mean inefficiency right now, not a decade ago. You are arguing that cutting the amount of money available will bring efficiency. We have been living through austerity since the financial crisis of 2008. So obviously, that is not bringing about greater efficiency.

    Yes, solve those problems. Yes, improve the district. Yes, move money from central office to the schoolhouse. But don’t argue that having less money will do anything about these issues, because we have actual, factual evidence that that doesn’t work. TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

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  51. Downbutnotbroken

    Thank you, Sterling! Please share, those of you support this.

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  52. Stan
    What time is the Board Meeting today?

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  53. escapeefromdekalb

    @Pissed parent- Wow– not sure what you do for a living but this sentence tells me a lot about you–
    Most likely the parents that have to work during the day are probably working jobs like grocery store clerks, office employees, health professionals and such….
    I have been working at home for years, and have made a nice life for my family. Most families are working families where one or both parents work to afford the fine living in Dekalb county. The fact is all those government dollars you want provided come from those working people. Nothing from the government is free and they have no ability to generate money other than off of our backs.
    Please educate yourself on how the government has trapped people in a welfare state for years with these programs.

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  54. ParenTeacher

    Board Meeting 10:00 am TODAY – http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv

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  55. @AndrewM … The DeKalb County School District’s consolidated budget is well over $1.2 billion annually. Average enrollment is 100,000 students. That averages out to $10,000 per student (or $250,000 for a class of 25). It’s plenty of money. It’s just incredibly mismanaged. The district is far too large and has far too many waste holes. I used to write about it – and then I just found that I was re-writing the same thing over and over. As I grew tired of discussing the same issues with new people, I simply share my blog posts of old – as they are still relevant. Read on if you care to revisit Groundhog Day.

    This is one of our very first posts — exposing how much more DeKalb spent on administration as compared to other metro districts [I’m quite sure that if updated, the numbers would still be disproportionate] >>
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/02/dekalb-county-schools-system-as-mr_11.html
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/12/dcss-as-mrs-potato-head.html
    2003-2010 >> Revenue increased exponentially – and most of it did not go to teachers and students
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/12/follow-money-trail.html
    2011 spending reports >>
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/half-million-in-new-salaries-for-adding.html
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/where-have-all-our-teachers-gone.html
    dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/05/found-dcss-has-money-for-education.html
    And even the AJC chimed in from time to time on the Central Office waste >> https://www.ajc.com/news/local/report-dekalb-schools-have-too-many-administrators/R4eYvVu5D4x4FEP8zGaXMP/

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  56. @AmdrewM: you can’t compare private tuition at other schools and say that we need more taxes to obtain $50 million to run DHS. If we were a city school system, we would have plenty of funds to use – a report was done on this. But private schools have a campus with multiple buildings to maintain and renovate and lots of fields while DHS is one building and a not very large field. So we don’t need $50 million to operate one building. Cobb taxes are not high and the East Cobb schools are nice: Walton, Pope, Lassiter, Kell. Lassiter has a few gyms and large auditorium. Pope was expanded and renovated. Many East Cobb ES’s are renovated not replaced. No one complains about getting a new bldg. They did all this with low taxes. Almost all schools in Fulton are new and they don’t have high taxes (Lake Forest ES, Ison ES, Roswell HS, etc which all have large fields). The tax in Dekalb is higher due to operating Dekalb Community College which was then sold to became Georgia Perimeter College then GSU.

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