Epic HR Fail – Teacher Vacancy Report

Welcome back to school!  Using the various online school district application/vacancy systems, the FactChecker staff did a back of the envelope calculation of teacher vacancies across the Atlanta metro area.  The DeKalb Schools Human Resources Department has no doubt left the district behind the eight ball in having qualified staff on day one.

DeKalb’s School House Vacancy Report by region as reported by the administration on August 7, 2015.

School House Vacancy Report (click here to enlarge)
School House Vacancy Report

21 responses to “Epic HR Fail – Teacher Vacancy Report

  1. Two things jumped out at me when I watched the video of the August work session.
    What about special education vacancies? That is usually included in the Monthly HR report, but wasn’t included in this report.
    Why are only General Funded Vacancies reported? That is a new term and allows for any Title 1 funded vacancies to be left out of the report. Why not report all instructional vacancies?
    Stan, please ask for the HR report to show all instructional vacancies and to break out special education as a subgroup. Also, the number of unfilled teacher vacancies needs to be reported to the BOE every month. The BOE should consider rewriting board policy GA to expand what is required in the Monthly HR report.

  2. Kirk, I noticed that disclaimer as well “Total Instructional General Funded Vacancies”. 149 vacancies at this point is unacceptable and if there are more that are being “hidden” by HR, well, that department is the disaster that we know it is. Some of the schools with the most vacancies are those schools where students need the most academic assistance.
    I realize Dr. Green needs time to do his due diligence, but HR should be one of the first departments to face a total house-cleaning, from Ward-Smith on down. This department is responsible for recruiting, hiring and maintaining the quality of teaching talent needed in this failing district. The performance of this department is embarrassing and shameful.

  3. Good questions. I would like to know Title I vacancies as well. I’ll see if HR can include those.

  4. So, taking the number 149 as a valid vacancy number, and assuming an average (?) class size of 26-27 students, that’s the equivalent of over 4,000 students not being provided with a teacher. Now as a mental image, picture Lakeside and Tucker high schools with every classroom chock-full of students and none of those classrooms having teachers.

  5. fed up with HR excuses

    On PATS, total of 207 classroom teacher vacancies. This number includes special ed (72).
    Also need: 12 parapro’s.
    Special Ed: 21 parapro’s.
    Instructional other (Vocational, Therapy, special, ot) : 24.
    Counselors: 6
    Substitutes: 16.
    All in all, its 286 direct contact positions unfilled as of today’s PATS.
    Yes, that is a small amount of unfilled positions compared to the overall picture, but as a parent of a 9th grader with “player to be named later” as her teacher in math, I think it’s ridiculous. Didn’t they know there were kids showing up on August 10th? Surely someone could have been recruiting long before the end of last school year.

  6. Stan, I think that the school board should ask its one employee – the superintendent – to explain just why the Dekalb County School System is so far out of line with its neighboring counties insofar as teacher recruitment is concerned. This is not just the case this year, but has been the case for a number of years. And do you know what happened to Dr. Kathy Howe?

  7. howdy1942,
    I don’t think it is a mystery why DeKalb County has trouble recruiting teachers. The pay is below neighboring districts. There is no TRS contribution. The reputation of the county as an employer is in the toilet. If you were a veteran teacher would you take a pay cut to teach more students every day and be treated badly?
    That said, I believe the teachers who do commit to DeKalb County understand what they are getting into and are the kind of teachers who really want to make a difference. Teachers who want to make things better.
    I raise my glass to all the teachers in DeKalb County Schools. Respect!

  8. Dr. Howe is Director of DOLA (DeKalb Online Academy).
    Factions of the board have been trying to get money to the teachers since early this year. All public school districts pay into TRS, the state retirement pension plan. In 1979 DeKalb Schools opted out of Social Security and started paying into TSA, a 401K type of defined contribution plan. In 2009, DeKalb Schools stopped paying into TSA.

  9. Thank you for clearing that up.
    Sorry for confusing the two.

  10. We received this in our email box and wanted to share it here >>
    August 5, 2015
    Community Group to Host HOT TOPICS: Juvenile Crime; School Takeover
    Decatur, GA. Have you been affected by Juvenile Crime? What laws impact the
    juvenile population? How can citizens become involved in the process?
    Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in
    chronically failing public schools to improve student performance? What does
    ‘School Takeover’ mean for DeKalb County schools and students?
    Concerned? Want to know more about these two HOT TOPICS? Join South
    DeKalb Improvement Association, Inc. (SDIA) on Saturday, August 15th to hear
    detailed information and ask questions.
    The Honorable Desiree Sutton Peagler, Chief Judge of DeKalb County Juvenile
    Court, will present an overview of DeKalb County’s Juvenile Court process,
    discuss laws that affect juveniles, programs that have been established
    specifically around juvenile crime and recidivism, and how individuals and
    organizations can best become involved.
    Ms. Rita Scott, Education Advocate, will speak on the Opportunity School District
    amendment that was passed by General Assembly in the 2015 legislative session,
    and will be placed on the 2016 general election ballot for approval by GA voters.
    The discussion will include Ms. Scott’s take on how schools will be affected,
    including school management, supervision and the allocation and expenditure of
    local, state and federal funds.
    Attend the meeting and join the discussion: Saturday, August 15 at Berean
    Community Center, 2440 Young Road, Stone Mountain 30088. The meeting runs
    from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, and is free and open to everyone.
    SDIA is a non-profit, non-political organization that serves as a voice for citizens
    in the southern part of DeKalb County about economic viability and topics that
    affect quality of life and are common to residents.
    Contact: SDIA@gmail.com

  11. Also, not terribly impressed with Stephen Green’s interview with Maria Boynton, CBS Atlanta. He really doesn’t say anything specific. Lots of cheerleading words. And lots of statements about what parents need to do – rather than what teachers and the school district needs to do.
    Some Green quotes: I’m confident. Ready to rock ‘n roll. It’s game time. I’m ready to see their bright, shining faces. Goal is to sustain the excitement. We will be sharp. Focused. People ‘expect what you inspect’. You need to inspect the quality of the classroom. They need to be college and career ready. We have to instill the excitement in students that we see in them that they can’t see – we need to be with them in the mix. Being present as a parent. Be there at a game or at a function where the kids perform. Parents presence speaks volumes. Parents have power – with a wink of an eye or an arch of an eyebrow – Like Allstate, I’m here to protect and preserve your child… I’m the real deal… on and on … yada yada… Time will tell. We are no-plussed thus far. In fact, he sounds quite a lot like Michael Thurmond in our opinion. Yawn.

  12. Stan, thank you for providing that update on Dr. Howe. Is the online position a new one or was it existing or was it created “just for her”?
    Stan, can Dr. Green provide some insight as to why Dekslb’s vacancies are so far out of line with neighboring counties? Is he looking into it? Does he care? Most of us just experienced a rather significant increase in our property taxes, in my case it was 13.4% year over year – why is it not possible to simply restore those TRA contributions? I’m venturing to guess that my tax increase was about average – would in increase of 13.4% in revenue for the school board not be sufficient to restore those TRA contributions?
    Kirk Lunde makes a very good point in reminding all of us that Dekalb County does not treat our teachers very well and correcting that should be Dr. Green’s top priority. All of his words about the importance of the classroom ring hollow if he doesn’t begin with the teachers. Teacher morale has been the top issue for years – what has HR done to fix that issue? I sure do wish that the school board would begin the long journey to make the position of teacher in the Dekalb County School System one that is sought after, one in which candidates line up for interviews, and one that produces a school system with a reputation of excellence. If we cannot get three other members of the school board other than yourself to share in that vision, then we are in much more trouble than we should be.

  13. Director of DOLA is not a new position. Sometime over the next couple of months I believe Dr. Green is planning on addressing the challenges DeKalb is facing trying to hire and keep highly qualified teachers.
    Like you said, tax revenues have increased dramatically. Over the last couple of years revenues anticipated to come into the general fund have increased by about $50 million annually. However, some of that money has gone to restore the fund balance cushion. The rest of it has been appropriated. I believe somebody said it would cost about $26 million to start paying out TSA again (at the same rate we were paying in the past).

  14. fed up with HR excuses

    pay it. that would speak volumes to teachers, parents, community and taxpayers. we are all over the greed, graft, corruption and divisiveness of this county, government or school admins. PAY IT!
    Update: math teacher position is still unfilled. Temporary substitute in place for at least 3 weeks.

  15. The state has a much better online academy than DeKalb’s DOLA. The entire DOLA department should be shut down and there should just be a coordinator or two helping students use the state’s system. The credits are accepted into the student’s transcript seamlessly. Why are we reinventing a perfectly good wheel? Oh yeah, jobs.
    Further, why not just sign up for Social Security for teachers? That would at least draw a line in the sand from which to move forward. We don’t have to return to the annuity option. In fact, I would say not to, as the trust there has been forever broken. So again, why don’t we just open up participation in SS? Oh yeah, because it would increase the system’s commitment to teacher salaries — Social Security costs employers 6.5% and employees 6.5%. And that would cut into the funding for those other unnecessary administrative jobs! Which, BTW, have we ever been able to find out definitively if administrators are participating in anything other than the state teachers retirement? ie; Do administrators or non-teachers participate in Social Security or some other retirement fund in addition to TRS? We know from his contract that Dr. Green does. Will this make him care less about teacher retirements?
    The cut in funding to the annuities for teachers cost teachers 6.5% of their pay. This has never been restored. DeKalb leaders have proven themselves untrustworthy – from the minute Tom Bowen announced that the Board can legally change its own policy at any time and therefore chose to forgo the annuity contributions and disregard the Board’s own policy requiring a two year notice. Who would trust any promises made by our school Board?

  16. At the Feb 2, 2015 board meeting, the administration presented the mid year adjustments. I made a motion that every dime of the mid year adjustments that didn’t go into the classroom be spent reinstating TSA. Nelson Mullins wasn’t sure if we could do that, so I withdrew my motion. I then made the motion that the non classroom expenditure adjustments be spent on giving teachers raises. I was subsequently berated by my colleague and everyone but me voted ‘No’ to give teachers raises.
    So, I make no bones about where I stand on these issues. You would need to contact the other board reps regarding their stance.
    I’ll regularly post the teacher vacancy reports. I’ll see if I can get that to include Title I vacancies as well.

  17. Lest we forget the history here (which is what many Board members hope will happen), read on for more on cuts to teachers. (Who in their right mind would apply for a teaching job in DeKalb?)
    Wednesday, January 20, 2010
    This just in…”DeKalb schools propose cuts in programs, teacher pay”
    Sunday, May 23, 2010
    What the Budget Cuts Mean
    AJC Special: School
central offices costly
    Luckily, for Ramona Tyson, her super stoked pension got a major boost during the time when everyone else’s pensions were slashed.
    Sunday, January 2, 2011
    It appears we were correct about Tyson’s pension boost
    Superintendent’s pay hike could raise pension
    And concerns about performance only serve to hire more administrators – and use up all the federal RTTT dollars.
    Thursday, November 18, 2010
    Newsflash! From the Superintendent: Inequities at DeKalb schools
    Sunday, June 5, 2011
    A True Kleptocracy: The Children Be Damned!
    Saturday, July 16, 2011
    Triage! That’s what they’re calling the plan to improve test scores.
    It’s just one futile exercise after another. Lots of ‘reports’. Lots of ‘promises’. Lots of ‘future change’ – but in the end, one failure after another. This is exactly why we gave up blogging about it – it’s proof of Einstein’s theory of insanity.

  18. I hope somebody has a plan. Kids are piling into classrooms which are about to hit waiver maximums. It’s a little scary to think about how I and other teachers will be able to actually teach in classrooms where you can barely move around. Does anybody have a plan for where the teachers will come from? It seems unlikely since there was apparently no plan to retain and hire teachers to just cover the status quo. I think our numbers are up.

  19. Keep in mind the term “staffed.” Stating that a teacher vacancy is “staffed” means that someone has been hired for the position. But if that someone is coming from a foreign country there is a 2-3 week timeline for travel, visa, etc. I’m not demeaning the quality of that someone – they may prove to be an excellent teacher! But stating that a position is “staffed” doesn’t mean that students are being taught by a qualified teacher.
    That said, I have observed strong support by teachers in providing lesson plans for substitute teachers, in the hopes that the students will have at least some instruction before a permanent teacher arrives. But I think it is mighty sad that when DCSD HR drops the ball in having qualified teachers in place from day 1, it is teachers who already have a full teaching load who are called upon to support “Ms. Vacancy” in other classrooms.

  20. I looked at PATS last night and there are 64 positions posted for “instructional/special education.” 54 of those are for classroom teachers or therapists.

  21. Fulton County Schools penings as listed on their website don’t match what their own staff reported to the board on Aug. 13th at work session. They said 100+ openings- I doubt they filled those in the last week. Our HR is failing as well, and they have been for some time by degrading the teaching profession and not providing adequate raises and services to their employees. The treatment has been awful since Broad agenda took hold.