04/01/2014 – David Schutten

04/01/2014 Work Session & Board Meeting
04/01/2014 Public Comments
Public Comments – David Schutten

David Schutten (President – Organization of DeKalb Educators)
Thank you Dr. Bradshaw for working cooperatively with us to solve the concerns of the staff at one of his schools. We’re on the way to resolve that rather than make a big deal about things publicly.
Thank you for putting changes to Policy JBCC on the table today. Concerning student assignment, for several years I’ve come every year since the policy was changed to ask that teachers and other staff be allowed to send their children to schools in the feeder pattern.
Our budget priority is the same as yours – eliminate the calendar reduction days, get a 1% or 2% COLA [cost of living adjustment].
Thank you Mr. McMahan for pointing out that a starting teacher in DeKalb makes $40K and $44K in APS. 12 years later, that same teacher will make $44K in DeKalb and $56K in APS. The liquidation damages of $750 is a drop in the bucket compared to a $12K pay raise. I understand Mr. Thurmond’s point about teachers abandoning their contract and violating the code of ethics, but what about the principals, HR directors, Superintendents and boards of education that are also violating the same code.
If we are serious in DeKalb county, you need to go after the school systems who are breaking the code of ethics. School systems use to respect the contract of other school systems.
Salary cuts to counselors – many of you are not aware that 3 years ago, counselors took an additional 11% pay cut over and above the furlough days. That was distressing to the counselors and hurt the morale.
We’d also like to see the cuts in the educational media program, educational media specialists and media clerks be restored.
Deferred Maintenance – Deferring maintenance is causing long term damage to the school system. It’s going to cost a lot more in the long run.
The schools in South DeKalb are getting a bad rap because I spend a lot of time in the month of March every year going in and out of schools, helping students with scholarships. I’ve been to MLK at least 10 times. I haven’t witnessed any fights. I was a chaperon for the students that went to Athens. It was the best behaved group of kids. We had several hundred kids.
There’s a lot of good things going on in South DeKalb. We have to stop focusing on the negative and start looking at the positive. It’s not as bad as everybody says it is.