DeKalb Bus Driver Sick Out

Might be a walk to school day tomorrow. DeKalb Schools bus drivers may be sick Thursday and Friday, April 19-20.

Last week this memo was circulated among the bus drivers and monitors. It is rumored that the date was pushed back to April 19 & 20.
DeKalb Schools Board of Education will shortly review a Compensation and Class study of all employees in the school district. Included in that will be a bus driver pay comparison with the other Metro Atlanta school districts.
Since early March, Chief Operating Officer Joshua Williams and Superintendent Green have been meeting with driver representatives.
Dr. Green met with the bus drivers yesterday, April 17, at 10:00 AM in the AIC Auditorium to hear their concerns. The meeting was full – standing room only. The bus drivers were very passionate about their dedication to the job and how much they care about the children.
They requested that the Superintendent and his administration, along with the Board, address their long-standing and ongoing concerns. Various individuals spoke at the microphone representing the overall concerns of the bus driver community.

Categorization of Bus Driver Concerns:
1. Salary increases/COLA
2. Better retirement plan
3. Fair pay for sick leave days
4. Timely correction for pay stub errors
5. Timely response once they present concerns at board meetings
6. Pro-rated interest on salaries – where does it go?
7. Better insurance plan to cover surgeries, etc.
8. Incentive bonuses
9. Attendance incentives
10. Discipline committee for driver infractions
11. Bring back bus driver/bus monitor of the year program
12. Better parent compliance for the student rider agreement
13. Clean-up Transportation Department top to bottom
14. Restore step increases
15. Salary for bus trainers and not an hourly rate
16. Restore higher pay for transient bus drivers
17. Restore 8 hour pay for backup drivers
18. Confirm Dispatch receive more personnel
19. Inquire about $10M former Superintendent stated could be used for bus driver retirement
20. Request for Board presence at meetings and board members to take ride on bus routes
21. Time response when calling for school administrators to buses during student incidents
22. Reclassify bus driver position from part-time to full-time to resolve pay, benefits, and retirement concerns
23. Need working lights at Panthersville Stadium
24. Fix potholes at Panthersville Stadium
25. Need restrooms at Coralwood & North Decatur bus parking lot
26. Need more restrooms for females at AIC parking lot (OSHA)
27. Need tracking for locating buses
28. Restore special needs bus monitors to field trips
29. Need PBIS program in transportation program
30. Need to educate bus drivers on political structure; who is responsible for what
31. Need knowledge on why protocols exist when no-fault accidents take place; why the need for testing
32. Increases for special needs bus drivers due to handling older/bigger students (e.g. 21 years of age)
33. Determine length of time it will take for resolutions to concerns
34. Need intercom and air conditioning on ALL buses but especially transient bus drivers
35. Want superintendent and board to attend annual bus driver meeting
36. Stop using transportation as dumping ground for failed school administrators
37. Too top heavy
38. Fair treatment for bus drivers
39. Address overcrowded buses
40. Need itemized pay stub
41. Written correspondence on any proposed salary and step increases
42. Allow bus drivers to participate in Open House each year to share bus rider agreement
43. Review hiring process of bus drivers
44. Pay bus drivers for training class and not a stipend at the end
45. Compare assistant field supervisor
46. Share when you will go to board with recommendations
47. Add bus drivers in publications
48. Share what you can commit to for bus drivers
49. Concerns with going to 7 Regions next school year and impact to special needs drivers
50. Review history of bus driver concerns
Dr. Green listened to each concern. Everyone that wanted to speak had an opportunity to speak. Dr. Green will continue to meet with driver representatives. The bus drivers selected their own representatives. The purpose of these meetings is to begin the collaborative work of setting priorities and the action plan for resolution of the aforementioned concerns.

This robo-call will be going out this evening …

This is an important message from the DeKalb County School District.
You may have heard talk about the possibility that some of our bus drivers may not report to work during the next three days.
DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green has been meeting with the drivers and we are working in partnership to address their concerns. In the meantime, we have a contingency plan in place. Please note, some buses may arrive and pick up a little later than usual.
Some of you may be concerned about the impact this will have on testing. There will be NO consequences to students if they arrive as a result of a late bus. The district will work to find time for students to take the test.
If you have transportation questions pertaining to a late or missed bus, please call our hotline at 678-676-1200.
Please know that the district’s TOP priority is getting your children to and from school safely.
Thank you for your continued support of the DeKalb County School District.

70 responses to “DeKalb Bus Driver Sick Out

  1. Bus lives matter! That’s a good one! They do have valid complaints — and have for years. But in Georgia, I’m not so sure they can meet and plan a ‘sick out’ which is essentially a strike. They have no union. They actually could get fired for hosting this Saturday event. I do wish them luck though.

  2. My kids have been fortunate to have wonderful, caring, competent bus drivers for the last 8 years. I can’t thank them enough for transporting my kids safely to and from school daily, especially in inclement weather and ridiculous traffic. Once years ago, when my youngest child ran down the driveway to the mailbox before I could grab him, an observant and quick-thinking bus driver put on her flashing lights and stopped traffic to protect him from oncoming cars. She may have saved his life. I hope that at least some of their demands can be met, so that we can retain the best bus drivers and attract even more competent individuals to this needed profession.

  3. Retired DeKalb teacher fed up with wasteful spending.

    Happy to see them take a stand for themselves. Teachers need to also, only WAY to get bro Greene to do ANYTHING FOR THEM. HE ISN’t concerned, just so babysitters in classrooms!!

  4. This robo-call will be going out this evening …

    This is an important message from the DeKalb County School District.
    You may have heard talk about the possibility that some of our bus drivers may not report to work during the next three days.
    DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green has been meeting with the drivers and we are working in partnership to address their concerns. In the meantime, we have a contingency plan in place. Please note, some buses may arrive and pick up a little later than usual.
    Some of you may be concerned about the impact this will have on testing. There will be NO consequences to students if they arrive as a result of a late bus. The district will work to find time for students to take the test.
    If you have transportation questions pertaining to a late or missed bus, please call our hotline at 678-676-1200.
    Please know that the district’s TOP priority is getting your children to and from school safely.
    Thank you for your continued support of the DeKalb County School District.

  5. The # they gave for the district’s hotline is the main DCSD number. How is that a hotline? Have you ever tried to call DCSD transportation with an issue on a “typical” day? Good luck!

  6. Mr Jester,
    I have watched the bus drivers request a meeting with Dr. Green for the last two years. They have gone to board meetings and asked him to meet with them. It does not seem like there concerns were taken seriously until they decided to strike. Mr. Jester, we enlarged our PR department. So many new hires in non school based areas come in at the top of the scale. It is easy to understand the frustration felt by the drivers. They have one of the most difficult jobs in the entire school system. No directions were given to the principals other than not to say anything, On the news Dr. Green said, “some of their concerns could be addressed immediately. I am sorry, If that was the case, why weren’t they addressed before it got to this point? No one wants to see a strike. Our children need to be in school. The bus drivers alsohave families and children. They are fighting for our children and theirs.
    I appreciate you and Nancy giving people a place to vent and express their thoughts. God Bless you and God Bless our bus drivers.

  7. DSW2Contributor

    “Some of you may be concerned about the impact this will have on testing. There will be NO consequences to students if they arrive as a result of a late bus. The district will work to find time for students to take the test. ”
    Stan, the district’s statement is complete bull sh–!
    Georgia DOE requires that students with disabilities be given accommodations during testing. Here’s the list:
    Notice how accommodation #36 is “Extended Time”. Several other accommodations, such as “Oral reading of the test questions”, make the testing process much longer. Thanks to these accommodations, it is already nearly impossible to finish standardized testing during a regular day. Where the f–k are we supposed to “find time for students to take the test” if the buses might be hours late tomorrow?

  8. DSW2Contributor

    Joy said ” So many new hires in non school based areas come in at the top of the scale. ”
    Joy, are you aware of the plan to increase the number of regional superintendents and regional “micro cabinets” in the coming year? (That’s #49 on the bus drivers’ list.)

  9. Nancy Jester

    I just wanted to say, “Thank you!!!” for your kind comments. I will add that I am grateful for our bus drivers. Their roll is so important to our community. My children have been blessed by some amazing bus drivers. Just this year, my youngest child’s bus driver gave all of her student riders a “goodie bag” before Spring Break. My children’s bus drivers have brought much joy to my kiddos. They give them compliments as they start their day. They have sweet remarks in the afternoon. Most importantly, they watch over them and deliver them safely to and from school. We should invest in these wonderful servants.

  10. Good Evening,
    I’m going to get straight to the point, first where’s your integrity? You’re lying “School Bus drivers out sick” smh. Really? Sick? Call it what it is, but don’t lie. Even my son’s bus driver sent a message lying, please set a better example for the children.
    Before applying for the job & accepting the job, was the bus drivers aware what the job consist of? If so, let them go and hire more people replace them. It’s obvious they don’t want to work, its a better way to handle every situation. Stop placing kids in grown folks matter and handle your business like adults or find another job! Most Society today just spoil…

  11. RetiredForcedOut

    Stan Jester,
    Where is the district’s org chart? Too top heavy with Green’s favorites. Investigate the top tier. There’s more to these relationships than employees.

  12. This concern is heart breaking:
    “Stop using transportation as dumping ground for failed school administrators.”
    Exactly. Stop the lemon dance. When people deserve to lose their job, fire them. Get them out of the system.
    In Atlanta Public Schools, the transportation is horrific. There aren’t enough bus drivers nor working buses. Kids are routinely missing their first period class altogether and standing outside, vulnerable, waiting for their buses, which are routinely more than an hour late. We’ve seen no list of concerns from APS bus drivers. These concerns seem reasonable to me, especially the ones about the failed administrators and the parent agreement for behavior of children on buses. Thanks, Stan.

  13. DSW2Contributor

    At 6:35 AM this morning, Fox-5 broadcast from in front of a row of parked school buses that are supposed to serve Tucker schools. The reporter said that 29 of the 33 drivers called in sick.

  14. The following number of no shows have been reported at this time:
    Region 1: 45 no shows
    Region 2: 67 no shows
    Region 3: 38 no shows
    Region 4: 78 no shows
    Region 5: 40 no shows
    Special Needs: 53 no shows
    Shuttle: 62 no shows
    Districtwide: 383 out of 908; 42%

  15. The following are the approximate percentages of pick-up and delivery completion at this time:
    98% of all ES routes complete
    55% of all HS routes complete
    45% of all MS routes complete
    Currently under a 1 to 1 1/2 hour delay.

  16. Bus drivers have one of the hardest jobs in the system. They deserve all the money…not the high paid minions at AIC!

  17. I hope they fire the drivers and drain the swamp.

  18. Just heard Dr. Green say on the noon news that drivers who continue to be out “sick” will need to produce a Dr. note or face serious repercussions.

  19. dcss escapee

    Many of those concerns listed could be said for every hard working DCSS employee who have watched year after year as the working people were eliminated only to have a high level person swoop in at 4-5 times the pay of the average worker. We need an overhaul and we needed it 10 years ago if not longer.

  20. Bill Armstrong

    This is a disgrace & harms the parents & kids that can least afraid to deal with this. In our area many of the parents are at work before many of us have left the house. The ES kids get to our school at 7am, I’m assume everyone else is close to the same. What are these parents to do? Many in our area rely on public transportation as well, they need to know their ES children are safe & not out on the sidewalk of a busy street waiting for their bus. I imagine few here would leave their 5 year olds in that situation.
    When I was dropping off my safety patrol off at 7 I saw the special needs buses there – they must have been torn, as a rule the drivers really care for their kids, those carrying special needs students know they need reliable routines. They daily process of the wheelchair lifts, etc. So they were there. At least 1 other was there as well, but not all as of 7. I have no idea when they all made it. But I know some had many less than normal. Because some of these parents walked their kids to school, many there before 7 or shortly after. Others had older siblings walk them – I saw some MS/HS-looking kids walking their ES siblings. I assume they would then walk on to MS/HS. And I saw some ES kids that walked themselves.
    I heard from some carpool Moms that were tempted to give these children rides, but didn’t have room, but more importantly, a bad idea in this day & age.
    Now I see we are getting alerts some buses have arrived & are leaving. Orange bus is making a trip & then coming back for the blues, etc.
    I have no doubt that the system treats its drivers poorly. Now it’s all over the news. Getting this much attention without a union, impressive.
    That it was needed, outrageous.
    This is on Green & company. Pathetic. I hope they can step up to the plate. Demanding doctors notes? What a load of crap. These drivers transport the children of DeKalb to & from school. Their cargo is beyond precious.
    Hey, red bus just left. I bet there are many parents who didn’t get that text & are hoping their babies get home safe.

  21. Stan,
    Are you able to share what the ‘contingency’ plan was and did it include testing information? GA Milestones testing was a mess at our school. It didn’t start until after 10:00 because the principal was waiting to hear from the RAG department to get an all clear to test. Yet, other schools started at the regular time of 8:30. Obviously, this wasn’t part of a discussion by the cabinet and shared with principals. Then, because teachers were required to reach out to parents to ensure the students had a way home—parents came during testing (which went past 1:00) to pick up their students. Dismissal was another disaster. DCSD has got to do better, not only for their bus drivers, but the teachers and students who are dealing with this situation.

  22. Keep in mind that DCSD has been without a Human Resources leader for more than a year. One would hope that a good HR leader wouldn’t have let things get this bad. But I agree with Bill Armstrong that this buck stops with Dr. Green.
    This is so unfortunate, for the bus drivers and for families all over DeKalb who have yet another crisis after a year of hurricanes, snowstorms, and water main breaks.
    And then there’s the National School Walk Out planned for tomorrow….

  23. DSW2Contributor

    “Marietta Schools launching app for parents to track their child’s school bus”:

  24. DCSD has been in the process of implementing that for a while. I’m not sure if the ETA.

  25. I don’t get the comparison he made to the beginning of the school year — so it’s ok for kids to stand around at a stop for 1- 1.5 hours (year after year) because DCSS doesn’t have their stuff together notwithstanding years of historical rider data and the address of every kid in the system (it is 2018 people), but it is putting kids in harm’s way now? Doesn’t seem like you can have it both ways. Does he ask for a Drs note for people MIA in the central office? A large chunk of what the drivers seem to be asking for is responsiveness and some sort of concrete commitment to resolution instead of being continually blown off with fuzzy statements of “continuing to work with…” when that is clearly not happened over many years, compounded by increasingly poor and potentially unsafe working conditions. And restrooms. Really??? Highly paid, self-proclaimed “skilled administrators” should have the management skills to have prevented this. That is a large part of what management is in my opinion, not letting things get to this point (in other words, MANAGE) especially when so many at the central office are paid soooooooo much. Earn it for once.

  26. I’m not impressed by people who choose to simply not show up for work. Especially when the laws are quite clear as to what a public employee can and cannot do as a condition of their employment. These folks have, essentially, terminated their employment with DCSS according to the law. It will be interesting to see how the Green Regime responds, especially since they have a history of not caring too much about following rules and regulations themselves.
    I wonder also if he is aware that he’s exacerbating the transportation problem by abandoning the concept of neighborhood schools.

  27. The school district is in dire need of bus drivers. We should have a Comp and Class Study shortly and we’ll see how the bus drivers are paid compared to other bus drivers around the metro area.

  28. it is illegal for any public employee to “promote, encourage, or participate in any strike.” OCGA 45-19-2
    The school district has the right to terminate employees involved in the strike … especially those who promoted it.

  29. The buck actually stops with the BOE. They are responsible for 1) managing one employee (the superintendent – and evaluating him, setting goals, expectations, holding him accountable), 2) ensuring the tax payers’ money is used in a fiscally responsible way (approving, or not, the budget presented by the superintendent and his staff), and 3) creating policies and procedures to guide the district’s operations.
    It is up to the BOE to approve, or not, the recommendations of Dr. Green and his team. How many times have they defeated a recommendation presented by Dr. Green and his staff during Green’s tenure? They approved each head of HR hire recommendation, approved the budget which determines bus driver salaries, etc. The bus drivers have been speaking about BOE meetings for years – what has the district done on the 2 years Dr. Green has been here to work with them on their concerns? Will the BOE hold Dr. Green accountable for this mess?

  30. Thank you, Stan and Nancy Jester, for this forum, and for caring. Please reach out to us to volunteer to help you do anything, especially to get re-elected.

  31. It is a shame that the needs of the bus drivers have been ignored for so long…dire needs have brought them to this point. And it seems it has finally got the attention of the media. Dr. Green threatening the drivers with loss of job is unproductive at this point. What is he going to do? Fire them all…when they don’t even have adequate number of drivers presently.
    I have always thought the highest paid employees in the System should be those who have direct daily contact with students…not the desk central office folks.

  32. This is what we are teaching our kids. If we don’t like something, we refuse to do our job. The county should not be allowing walk outs just because they agree with the agenda. The school should have serious consequences for kids that refuse to go to school .. not promoting walk outs.. which are student’s versions of strikes. There are consequences in real life. As Stan just posted on Facebook.. It is illegal for school employees to “promote, encourage, or participate in any strikes.” hmmm
    As for bus drivers, I cannot imagine trying to do their jobs. I can only assume that their complaints must be valid. They have our most precious lives in their hands. Most of the drivers that I have encountered and ridden with (probably over 100), are amazing! On the other hand, my child has had one or two horrible ones that are racist, verbally abusive to students, and should not be driving. After a complaint was filed with numerous eye witnesses, nothing was done. The driver should have been fired; however, this person just happened to be related to a transportation supervisor. So, of course, nothing was done.
    There probably does need to be an overhaul in the transportation department. There probably needs to be additional funds and resources for the transportation department in order to keep our good drivers and get rid of the crummy ones.
    It would be nice if the county could make these changes without a strike. Maybe that is why they feel the student walk out is a good idea. Since THEY only listen when someone is irate, that is how they expect other politicians to perform. Sad.

  33. Hello,
    Today some schools were visited by “transportation consultants from out-of-state.” They are visiting schools to discuss ways to make transportation better. We don’t have anyone in our planning or transportation departments able to handle this? I wonder how much we are paying for this?
    . When I got home, I watched FOX 5. Unless I missed it, I never heard Dr. Green state that the bus drivers were appreciated. Or that even though he could not agree with their actions. he understood the difficult job that they have each and every day.
    A local radio station interviewed some teachers, current bus drivers, former bus drivers and parents. They were all in support of the drivers. The radio station also offered legal help to the bus drivers. In my opinion, Dr Green’s comments made a bad situation even worse. Why didn’t he share with FOX5 the purpose of the out-of-state consultants? Are these experts also going to talk about the transportation problems that will occur by making these “Super-Sized High Schools?’ I would love to hear their opinions on that.
    Some people are so ready to criticize the actions of the bus drivers. How long were the bus drivers suppose to wait until their concerns were addressed?
    Listed in the concerns of the bus drivers is that there are plans to have two more regions next year. I find that so hard to understand. Until staff is given raises and step increases, how can we continue to have more and more jobs in administration on the county level created?

  34. @DSW2
    I hope and pray that this is not correct. What about due process? You cannot lead by fear.

  35. DSW2Contributor

    11-Alive is also reporting that bus drivers have been fired:
    “STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Several DeKalb County school bus drivers are out of a job after a massive ‘sick out’ was held Thursday.
    DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green said more terminations could be on the way, after moire than 350 of the system’s 908 drivers did not show up for work Thursday morning.”

  36. Bus drivers were perfectly aware they could lose their jobs and did it anyway to make a point about how bad it is. They appear to be saying .. while they would prefer to continue to work here because they like the kids and job in some part, things need to change. They did it to make a point, and could easily find a comparable shi* job elsewhere. I am tired of the threats/ blasé attitude about people that are just trying to make a reasonable workplace… yeah GA makes it clear they have no right to one but for crying out loud very few of the things on the list are unreasonable, and many are pathetic in that they haven’t been addressed in day to day operations. My kid hates her driver who is mean as a snake and I still feel this way!!! They have no actual authority to do anything to an ass**** kid except move them around on the bus, and they are asking for help in enforcing the parent agreement!! Why is that problematic?

  37. BUS DRIVER UPDATE – In accordance with state law7 Bus drivers were released for promoting the sick out .
    WALK TO SCHOOL DAY – It’s 20 degrees colder today, so wear a coat. The following number of no shows have been reported at this time today:
    Region 1: 28 no shows
    Region 2: 37 no shows
    Region 3: 32 no shows
    Region 4: 16 no shows
    Region 5: 22 no shows
    Special Needs: 26 no shows
    Shuttle: 26 no shows
    Districtwide: 187 out of 908; 20%

  38. Stan
    How can these people be fired without a chance to give their side? They could have a doctor’s note.
    I am sure many of us have missed work to have medical test or take care of a family member.

  39. These are people that promoted the sick out.

  40. DSW2Contributor

    I realize you are passing on numbers and other information as quickly as you receive it. Thank you so much for that!
    The “Districtwide: 187 out of 908; 20%” statistic included in your April 20, 2018 6:33 AM post is incorrect since it uses the same total number of drivers that you relayed to us in your April 19, 2018 at 7:58 AM post. DCSD has told the media that they have fired at least 7 drivers, so they should be using 901 (or a lower number) for their total number of drivers. Nancy would have caught that! 😉
    It is important we track the total number of drivers employed by DCSD. If Out of Steam Green ends up firing 50 drivers, the Palace isn’t going to admit to the media that we’re short 50 drivers — instead, they’ll tell the media all is well since 100% of drivers are showing up to work.

  41. dcss escapee

    Georgia is an “at will” state— any worker can be fired at employers discretion.

  42. Is mercy selective in the DCSS? I have posted the link about our former HR Chief. According to the article, he stopped coming to work. At some point he was given another job, but allowed to keep his salary. I remember writing that I hope the same mercy extended to him would be extended to others. I know that the situation is not exactly the same. but Dr. Brown had no history with the DCSS. The bus drivers that have been fired have worked for DeKalb for years. They should have at least been able to give their side, before they were fired.
    Someone had to take the time to listen to Dr. Brown. When the bus drivers begin to express concerns , they should have been extended the same courtesy.
    First, we removed nine principals. I didn’t say anything because I was not a principal.
    Then we out- sourced some of the jobs at plant services, I did not say anything because I didn’t work for plant services.
    Then 7 bus drives were fired, I didn’t say anything because I was not a bus driver.
    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

  43. DSW2Contributor

    This morning, The Intercept has published a story titled “Georgia Bus Drivers Joined the School Uprising, and Paid a Price”:
    As typical for the Palace, “A spokesperson for DeKalb Public Schools did not return The Intercept’s request for comment.”

  44. This is a serious post — Stan Jester, will you consider becoming the next DeKalb County superintendent?
    We need you.

  45. the following number of no shows have been reported at this time:
    Region 1: 6 no shows
    Region 2: 8 no shows
    Region 3: 12 no shows
    Region 4: 10 no shows
    Region 5: 13 no shows
    Special Needs: 9 no shows
    Shuttle: 5 no shows
    Districtwide: 63 out of 908; 6.9%.

  46. Mr Jester,
    Has Dr Green won the battle but lost the war? Many school systems are looking for bus drivers. The school year will be ending soon. I wonder how many of the drivers that are returning to work now will leave at the end of the year ? I think that it is clear to anyone looking for a job as a bus driver that DeKalb may not be the best place to work.
    Will the concerns that the drivers had now be addressed? DeKalb has had many issues with HR this year. This may be another reason that people may look to other school systems for employment.
    I hope that real respect and attention will be given to the concerns of these very important individuals. Dr Green may be very proud of his actions, but this is not one of DeKalb’s proudest moments.
    Thank you and Nancy for working to keep us informed. It means a great deal.

  47. Under the category of “Fun Facts to Know and Tell,” I looked at PATS just now for job openings.
    First, the posting for Chief Human Capital Officer is still open, even though Dr. Gregory has been introduced at a BOE meeting last Monday. Perhaps she changed her mind, or perhaps this is just how the process works.
    Second, there are openings for 300 bus drivers. Salary ranges from $18,002 – $19,756. The job is listed as 6 hours per day but is also listed as Full Time, for 180 days.
    For comparison,
    Para-Professional, Pre-K is a Full Time job posted at $19,725 (no range) for 180 days.
    Para-Professional, Special Education is a Full Time job posted at $22,118 – $25,076 for 180 days.
    Custodian, High School, is a Full Time job posted at $26,839 – $29,685 for 246 days (12 month employee)
    I’ll be very curious about what the Salary Study has to say.

  48. Following a long pattern of abuse and neglect of its sanitation workers, Martin Luther King Jr. met with striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. King believed the struggle in Memphis exposed the need for economic equality and social justice. MLK was assassinated the next day.
    What would MLK do?
    Human Resources – The new Chief Human Capital Officer has started and is getting ramped up. There are obviously many holes in HR and their processes. Her work is cut out for her.

  49. DSW2Contributor

    On Fox-5’s Georgia Gang last night, the entire panel agreed that Dekalb’s bus drivers are underpaid. You can watch that episode on youtube;
    I’m hearing that transportation moved some morning bus pickup times up this morning, to give the buses enough time to make two runs to the same school. It supposedly worked well, but some elementary school children were being picked up at 6:15 AM.
    I don’t understand your analogy to MLK’s role in the Memphis sanitation strike. The analogy I see is that the school board is the Memphis City Council and Dr. Green is Henry Loeb.

  50. Yes, there are going to be 2 new regional superintendents added this Summer. Both will be filled by unqualified, Dr. Green favorites. You will recognize one name immediately and wonder how did they become recommended for the position. On top of those unnecessary, highly paid positions, there will be other central office high paying positions that start close to $100,000 each. DeKalb is about to become the most top heavy in the school districts history. All along, the board is approving what Dr. Green wants. The main problem is leadership. Green has no ties and no care for what takes place in DeKalb. When he first came here, he said he wanted to be closer to his grandkids and was trying to finish his career out. He has caused massive devastation to DeKalb schools and the board is to blame. Stan, the board has to get involved with these serious issues and concerns and stop allowing Green to make all the decisions he wants to make. His hiring decisions have been awful all across the board. DeKalb needs a new Superintendent who knows how to work with people, talk to people, negotiate with people, and treat people with respect. I seriously advise you to become involved with his hiring decisions. Research the people who he is promoting and entrusting. Many of these people don’t even qualify for the positions they hold. All of these new positions are overpaid and unnecessary. Do the children of DeKalb a favor and don’t renew the Superintendents contract!

  51. I agree. Don’t renew Greene’s contract. Push the board to vet these hiring decisions.

  52. I understand that you’re not a big fan of Superintendent Green. Given our last 5 Superintendents (Crawford Lewis, Ramona Tyson, Cheryl Atkinson, Michael Thurmond, Stephen Green) … who do you prefer to be our Superintendent?

  53. YOU!
    If you are not available, I am not sure where Superintendents are grown. We just need to look for better fertilizer. All of these seem to be grown straight from a manure pile. :-). Just Saying…

  54. Thanks for the sentiment. The mantra “Black children need black leaders” leaves me out of the running.

  55. Stan, all of those Superintendents have failed the district. Crawford started off doing a decent job but the power, money, and position changed him. If you talk to anyone who worked with Crawford in his early career in DeKalb, they will tell you he was a people person who cared about children. Over time, he became corrupt and he brought DeKalb down to rock bottom. There are still people connected to him that are working in the district. These employees should have been terminated a long time ago. Crawford use to be humble and then power went to his head. Ramona was the fill in. She made no changes and no gains in the district. Atkinson came in and brought many of her unqualified staff making huge salaries. This was an interesting group as Atkinson cared less about the people and children of DeKalb. She had her own agenda. During her stay, DeKalb cut hundreds of positions. This was when The school district lost the final talent that remained. Hundreds were unemployed for no reason and that is when they tried to restructure everything. What ended up happening was the new and poorly selected leaders in each department started to cut the veterans and experienced staff. That’s when DeKalb became a new and inexperienced district. That’s why it’s in such a mess as you have people in positions that have no clue on what they are doing. Thurmond was the politician who just wanted the job on his resume. He did boost morale which was needed after Atkinson left but other than that, Thurmond did nothing to truly change the direction of DeKalb. He too wasted money on high paying positions.
    Stan, it will be difficult to find a good Superintendent for DeKalb because DeKalb is not respected by other districts. The only school system that truly is respected in Atlanta is Gwinnett. Besides the money, most qualified superintendents do not want to come to DeKalb. That’s why we don’t have much to choose from. I believe the ideal candidate for Superintendent of DeKalb would be someone that has worked in DeKalb and understands the culture and climate here but has also branched out and worked in other school districts as well to have the experience from different points of view. Research needs to be done to find out not only accomplishments and qualifications but also personality. There are many bullies in these roles and DeKalb has had enough bullies. A superintendent should want to work closely with the board and get approvals on cabinet selections. I would want the board to approve and be on board with my cabinet selections. I could go on and on but the bottom line is, DeKalb is hurting. You have people busting their butts everyday and getting paid nothing and now you have all of these high paying central office positions where the friends network is alive and strong. Anyone who moves up the ladder to fast should be a red flag. Anyone that was previously demoted but is now in a high level leadership role is a red flag. There is a lot I know that I won’t put in this blog but I’m shocked at how nobody is doing the research. There are employees in DeKalb that are viruses that are plaguing the entire district. Look at the new HR person. How do you consider that person qualified? How can the interim before her stay in a role for two years? How do you let you good Principals leave the building to take coordinator jobs? How do you ignore the bus drivers for so long? A good leader starts off by evaluating what he or she has to work with and this has never been done. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense. The things that place here would never happen in most school districts. It’s embarrassing for too long.

  56. There is a lot of legislation around what my role is. “Staying in your lane” … is how people refer to it. Regarding HR, I theoretically approve the org chart and the qualifications for each position. To your point, we can point to quite a few well paid people in the central office that don’t meet those qualifications. Personally, I’m frustrated that position after position, I’m told we can’t find anybody qualified. The solution to that problem brings us back to the original question …
    Out of the last 5 Superintendents, who would you prefer? 6 years ago, DeKalb Schools had a chance to get somebody exactly like Robert Avossa (I would say better). The board passed. I don’t agree with many of Green’s decisions, but I don’t think he’s a crook. Perhaps having a Superintendent that isn’t about to go to jail is a step for dekalb schools.

  57. As always, well said Stan…

  58. You can’t stay in your lane Stan. The superintendent reports to you. You are his boss. I know where you are coming from. I know you have to let Green do the day to day operations. Someone like Avossa is needed but it’s rare we would have someone like him apply. Avossa stated with Orange County Public Schools . A great system with an award winning Superintendent.
    When you say you looked at the HR org chart, what do you mean? The positions may have been needed but some of the newer people in those positions are the problem. It’s not just HR, it’s finance, PL, curriculum and instruction. It’s bad in a lot of areas. Green isn’t the worse we had, but to say that at least he isn’t on his way to jail is pretty sad when that’s what we have to compare. I look forward to the next Superintendent interviews and I’m glad to hear you don’t agree with all that Green decides. If you are interviewing the next superintendent Stan, I feel as though you will know what to look for. DeKalbs problem is leadership. The right leaders will turn the entire district around!

  59. DSW2Contributor

    If the job of the Superintendent is to improve DCSD’s schools, then DCSD needs to hire someone who has already improved at least one DCSD school. Limit the “search pool” to Dekalb Principals, current and former, who:
    (1) served as Principal for five years or longer
    (2) led schools with high minority and/or high poverty populations
    (3) led schools that actually improved on GA state statistics.
    The five years or longer is because of the lag in school stat reporting: when the GADOE announces school performance results, those results are already a year or two old, plus whatever the Principal did to get those results would have started at least a year before that.
    Once you identify Principals who meet the three criteria, have them draw straws: whoever gets the short straw becomes the next Superintendent.
    I am completely serious and NOT joking. You will need to have them draw straws because anyone with a brain would not voluntary become the DCSD Superintendent.
    Any one of our successful Principals would be a much better Superintendent than what a “national search” would find. Take the $400,000 the board would spend on a national search firm and use it to hire an independent auditor, to keep the new Superintendent honest and prevent him or her from turning into another Crawford Lewis.

  60. DSW2Contributor: DeKalb does NOT need a DeKalb Principal for Superintendent. Many School principals in this school district have worked here all of their lives and this is all that they know. They have not been exposed to other school districts so they have nothing to compare DeKalb too. I don’t think a superintendent needs to have principal experience. Yes it will help but I don’t think it’s necessarily needed if that person has held other leadership roles in the school district. School districts fail thinking the school principal can manage any position. I have seen former principals fail when placed in positions they had no experience in. Just because you can manage a school (if they managed the school because at many schools, the APs run the school) doesn’t mean you manage, HR, PL, C&I, Transportation, etc. DeKalb needs a person who is humble and personable. They need someone with various experiences including DeKalb school experience but not only DeKalb school experience. They need someone who can negotiate and bargain. They need someone who is not on the verge of retirement. Let’s think long term like Wilbanks in Gwinnett. They need someone that really wants to bring change to the district.

  61. By state law I have to stay in my lane. SACS frowns upon the board of education getting out of its lane. The administration and a majority of DeKalb don’t want board members getting out of their lane.
    The org chart is in the purview of the board … it’s in my lane.
    Unqualified people are all over the place? I hear you … I’m trying to avoid names and support/guide them the best I can if they are going to be there.
    Question – I still haven’t heard anybody say you they think the best Superintendent is out of the last 5.
    Stephen Green’s History – Let me remind you, that Green was at the helm when Kansas City Public Schools went from one of the worst school districts in the state to average. He was a last ditch superintendent they brought in to save the school system before it was taken over by the state. He was subsequently Missouri’s 2014 Superintendent of the Year.

  62. If Green was Superintendent of the year, that means that place was in really bad shape. When a school system is identified as taken over by the state, there is no where to go but up. Of course he helped make gains and progress as there was no where to go but up. What worked there doesn’t mean it works here. Just because a Superintendent achieves elsewhere doesn’t mean it will work in Dekalb. DeKalb never had an instruction problem back in the day. Curriculum was never the issue. There are many issues now but the main issue now is leadership and that starts with the top. When Green said he was moving here to be closer to his grandkids and so he can ride his few years on out, that was a clue as to he wasn’t going to be here long term. DeKalb has had 6 superintendents in the past 14-15 years. As far as your questions about superintendents goes, I wouldn’t of chosen any of them. I think there were better qualified candidates that applied but was not offered the job. The lady from NC would of been good but we all know how that ended up. I forgot her name. I can’t rememeber all of the candidates but there were a few that seemed very much qualified but things were very different back then. Johnny Brown seemed ok but he was shut down by the board when he tried to make the necessary changes that were needed. DeKalb is a very different place that sits in its own bubble. Most outsiders don’t last long here because they don’t know the history or the past to be able to move forward. If I had to choose one out of those you mentioned, it would probably be Thurman only because he had personality but he lacked the educational experience. A good leader can get the right people in place but Thurmon made no changes. His heart wasn’t in it. He didn’t accept the job for the right reason and it showed but at least he boosted the morale! Even though Crawford started off well, in the end he devastated hundreds of lives and careers based on his bad decision making. The district has not recovered since. I’m not here to bash Green. I’m sure he did well during his career but he was not and is not what DeKalb needs.

  63. Thurmond? A number of people would agree with you. I would say he’s currently doing for the county the same thing he did for the school district.

  64. I wouldn’t recommend any of them but if I HAD to choose, it would be him. Atkinson was horrible as well and I heard she wasn’t great in Ohio and in NC. Ramona kept the waters still but did nothing to move the district forward. DeKalb is all she knows. Who would you choose out of the five?

  65. I prefer STAN JESTER to be our DeKalb County superintendent!
    Make it so, Nancy and Stan!

  66. RE: “Thanks for the sentiment. The mantra “Black children need black leaders” leaves me out of the running.”
    Who says black children need black leaders?
    If that is true, then what are the white children in DeKalb supposed to do?
    ALL children need GOOD leaders.
    That means YOU Stan Jester.

  67. DSW2Contributor

    Speaking of Principals, Evansdale ES’s announced her departure after four years:

  68. Dubai?
    I sincerely hope this Evansdale principal is fully aware of the dangers an American woman faces in Dubai.