Monthly Archives: August 2014

Dekalb – Incompetence Punctuated By Fraud – #TBT

Nancy Jester always said, “We only have two problems in DeKalb: Incompetence and Fraud.”  Many of DeKalb County’s leaders are either in jail or on their way to jail.  The AJC reported yesterday, “DeKalb County taxpayers forked over more than $34,000 to the boyfriend of Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, mostly for his advice on how to be a commissioner.”
Whether it’s DeKalb Schools or the County Government, Nancy Jester’s article, Subsidizing failure in government, is as germane today as the day she wrote it.
Subsidizing failure in government
By: Nancy Jester
So, what’s the solution to bad government? More government! DeKalb’s Interim CEO, Lee May, recently created a new full time position: Chief Integrity Officer. The word ironic comes to mind but doesn’t really do justice to the situation.
The problems demonstrated by DeKalb’s officials won’t be solved by an ethics board or an integrity officer. You know what solves ethical problems? Elected officials and government workers with ethics. DeKalb’s real and perceived problems will only be resolved with new leadership. Spending more money on faux ethics and integrity is simply just spending more of the people’s money. It doesn’t ensure or purchase ethics or good government. In fact, in addition to increasing the cost of government, it creates more opportunities for corruption. It increases cynicism. So in the style of Ben Franklin: A government that lacks ethics and public confidence to the point it creates a position to implement integrity, is likely to have neither.

The Other Half: School Employees Who Don't Teach

The National Center For Education Statistics released Back To School Statistics. From 1970 to 2010, in the United States student enrollment increased by a modest 7.8%, while the number of public-school teachers increased by 60%. During the same time, non-teaching staff positions increased by 138%, and total staffing grew by 84%. Teachers across the country now comprise just half of all public-education employees. Their salaries and benefits absorb one-quarter of current education expenditures.
As Nancy Jester has said over the last few years, Spending at DeKalb Schools since 1996 reflect the same trends. Student enrollment has increased 16% over the last 20 years. At the same time, spending on General Administration increased by as much as 150% and spending on Staff Services increased by almost 400% leading up to the recession while spending on teachers only increased by 50%.

You can see the graph and data for your school district here: Dekalb, Fulton, APS, Cobb, Gwinnett, and many more.