FY2020 – Tentative Budget

After numerous calls from the vice chair for a motion, the board reluctantly passed the DeKalb Schools FY2020 tentative budget. CFO Michael Bell and Interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer, Linda Woodard, also responded to some follow up budget questions from last week. Let’s go through the good, the bad and the ugly.

6/10/2019 – DETAILED Budget (2,300 pages)
6/10/2019 – Approved Tentative Budget
5/6/2019 – Budget

June 4, 2019 – $3,000 Raise – Q&A With The CFO
May 25, 2019 – $3,000 – Teacher Raises – Metro Atlanta
May 11, 2019 – FY2020 – Budget – No Raise For Teachers

We started this year (FY2018) with a fund balance of $122 million. As we close out the end of the year, it looks like we will dip into our reserves for $10 million and start next year with $112 million.

The board was hesitant to pass the tentative budget which is anticipated to draw down reserves another $28 million … up from a projected $14 million in in May.

DeKalb Schools is projected to draw reserves down to $84 million by the end of FY2020.

FY2020 State QBE funds are $22 million more than last year. However, Dekalb Schools FTE numbers have gone from 100,648 to 99,837 which accounts for a large drop in QBE funding.

Using the old QBE formula, state revenues would be roughly $487 million. The Governor/Legislature bumped up QBE giving the school district roughly $28 million to $35 million that it wouldn’t have otherwise had.

The administration is requesting that we use $28 million for a $3,000 supplemental raise for certified staff as requested by the governor and legislated in HB 31.

An additional $12 million will be appropriated to fully fund a full year of the certified staff salary adjustments made last January.

It is anticipated that $5 million will be needed to fund the classified staff salary adjustments coming out later this month.

Linda Woodard

Linda Woodard
Interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer

DeKalb Schools CFO Michael Bell

Dr. Michael Bell
Dekalb Schools Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Q: Are Speech and Language Pathologists included in HB31 that the state intended raises for?

Linda Woodard: No. However, Speech and Language Pathologists are on Certified Schedule Z with Counselors and have been budgeted to receive the increase (From HCM).

Q: What is meant by “earned” employee regarding the state funding?

Linda Woodard: “Earned” employees are those that are fully certified by the state’s Professional Standards Commission

Michael Bell: Our students actually earn FTE. The State pays the value of the FTE in the category reported, Xs the total number FTEs impacting QBE payments.

Q: How many certified teachers do we have on the teacher salary schedules? How many of them are “earned certified teachers”?

Linda Woodard & Michael Bell: There are 6,673 Teachers on Schedule E as of March 2019. The number considered earned is 6,095 (recommendation is to visit QBE in Finance (DoE Website) for exact earnings). *7,291 total employees on the E Schedule.

Q: Can you tell me more about non earned certified teachers on the teacher salary schedule? I don’t understand why we have them, how they are used or from what funds they are paid from.

Linda Woodard: Non-earned certified teachers are those that are working towards certification and have enough certification credentials that is allowed by the state. They are typically fully certified within 3 years depending on their specific cases

Michael Bell: Non QBE earned certified teachers operate within certain District programs that are FTE funded back at the Home School. The specific staff at the following programs are therefore locally funded:

Science Centers
International Student Centers
Technology Centers
Other Full Site Programs and Programs located within Schools

Some programs have secondary funding sources such as State/Federal or private grants – which usually do not cover the full costs.

Q: How many employees total are on teacher salary schedules?

Linda Woodard: 7,291 employees on E Salary Schedule What types of employees are not certified teachers that are on the teacher salary schedules?

Behavior Interventionist
Interpreter for the Deaf
Nurse, School (Special Ed)
Nurse, School Coordinating
Spec. II, Stud Supp (non-cert)
Specialist, Instructional FSC

Q: What schedules are psychologists, counselors, social workers, special education specialists and speech/language pathologists on?

Linda Woodard: Schedule Z (currently 1% higher than teacher rate) for Audiologist, Diagnostician, Liaison, Special Ed Behavior, Counselor, Psychologist, Social Worker, Teacher, Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapist. Schedule LT for Lead Teacher Special Education

Q: What other types of employees are on the schedules with psychologists, counselors, social workers, special education specialists and speech/language pathologists?

Linda Woodard: Audiologist, Diagnostician, Liaison, Special Ed Behavior, Teacher, Occupational Therapy and Teacher, Physical Therapy

24 responses to “FY2020 – Tentative Budget

  1. I am guessing that the 3K increase is a one time supplemental income spike, but not added to salary base. Is that correct?

  2. Stan Jester

    @J.Coop, It’ll be permanent if the Governor/Legislature continue to use the same QBE state funding formula AND the school district doesn’t haven’t to pay $100+ million for the TSA case which should be decided by the end of this year.

  3. Still Dismayed

    Q: Are Speech and Language Pathologists included in HB31 that the state intended raises for?
    Linda Woodard: No. However, Speech and Language Pathologists are on Certified Schedule Z with Counselors and have been budgeted to receive the increase (From HCM).

    “HB 31 includes a $3,000 pay raise for certified teachers and certified personnel, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists, media specialists and technology specialists starting July 1, 2019.”

  4. Stan,

    I know that at some point a budget has to be approved for the upcoming school year. But at what point is the school system going to do an audit of its schools, departments and vendors. If we are not sure on how money is being managed, we could keep increasing and increasing our budget to cover funds that are spent but not used in the appropriate way. At this time next year, will we be raising taxes again and going into the reserve again?
    The money may not be being used to benefit the students and the educators. The report from the state on DeKalb’s finances should be enough to concern every board member.

    With all due respect, you would also think that it would concern the superintendent. I think that having people say “good things” is more important than doing the right thing. We have added to our administration. We have seven regions. Has anyone done any kind of study to determine the benefit that comes from this structure? It seems like no one is accountable for anything. In the article in today’s AJC.com, even Mr.Bell is suggesting that we may need to look at our administrative positions.


    “The tentative 2019-2020 budget is now $98 million over last year’s approved budget of $1.097 billion. At $1.195 billion, it also is $28 million more than the district expects from tax collections.
    “What that means is … if this is executed perfectly, it will knock down the fund balance,” he said, saying the district would dip into its reserves to offset overspending.

    Bell cautioned that while the district’s budget continues to grow, the district will see another year where the number of full-time positions decreases. If there was a time to take a look at the number of administrative positions currently in the district, Bell said now would be a good time to see how many were actually needed.”

  5. On behalf of the Therapists

    The house bill clearly states that speech language pathologists as well as counselors and psychologists are included. It concerns me greatly that Dekalb County School Administration is not aware of that. If we are not included in July, rest assured there will be some vocal complaints. Please! No more shenanigans!

  6. Stan, why does the Board continue to pass a budget which is not fully funded through incoming funds? The reserves need to be for unexpected costs, not planned costs. If the District is required to pay the $100+ million for the TSA case, which by the way is the right thing to do since they did not meet their requirements and responsibilities when they took employees out of Social Security, how will it be paid? There will not be enough in the reserves to cover such a setback with the planned “drawdown.” It would have cost the District less to pay the TSA money than the cost of the legal battle to prove the District is “right.”

  7. Stan Jester

    @CathyD, Why do board members do what they do? You would have to ask them … they have their individual reasons. I doubt TSA would be paid in one lump sum. Any large settlement would be paid over time. TSA legal hasn’t cost the district $100 million.

    ALLYSON GEVERTZ Public Meeting

    If you want to talk to Allyson Gevertz, this is your next opportunity:
    6/18: Northlake Panera, 11:00-1:00 (all stakeholders welcome, including teachers and students!).

  8. Concerned Educator

    Stan, once again, leadership decides to do what is politically expedient, instead of what is right in the sight of God. I am so glad that I can take solace in the fact that the Lord knows exactly what is going on; and therefore, I can leave you all in His hands. Because, as His Word says: “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” And, again, His Word says:”All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord…”

    I am looking forward to the start of the new school year, in spite of the evil that the DCSD is allowing God’s enemies to perpetrate. God Willing, I will see you all at the end of July!

  9. Jesus was a carpenter

    J.Coop-If the 3k increase is a supplement,you would not have TRS deductions withheld therefor it would not count towards your 2 highest annual earnings that you would retire at.

  10. Michael Pastirik

    Mr. Jester

    Thank you for keeping us up on the important topics concerning issues involving education, educators, and students in the DeKalb County School System. The issues involved are so important (TSA, step increases, the money from the Governor – affect how we – educators – provide for our families and our own financial security), while class sizes, classroom budgets, quality of infrastructure (ex. the quality, safety, cleanliness of our school houses), time spent on testing, the quality of administrators, textbook/computer,chrome book issues, curriculum design and implementation, directly affect our students – our children – our future.

    We might not always agree on the solutions, or the means to solve the problems facing us. However, I can write that I admire your ability and willingness to serve our community (by being a School Board member), and through this blog, helping keep us informed, while giving us a means of sharing concerns, expressing opinions, and asking additional questions.

    I will be attending Ms. Gevertz’ meeting. I do have some questions, and I would like her to address my concerns. I hope to receive the same level of respect you have shown me when we directly met, and how you have responded in this blog.

    Have a great day.

    mike p

  11. Will we get the step raise and the $3000 if approved on June 25?

  12. I was just skimming through our tentative budget. What I saw deeply disturbs me. We have 7 regions, each with its own superintendent, 2 coordinators, and an administrative assistant. This comes to approximately 350,000 per year for each region. I guess running the district was too much for one highly overpaid superintendent to do. I realize that I’m just a lowly teacher who does the “work” of the district, teaching, but these seem to be the same administrators who give the teachers extra “work” to do to justify their existence. It seems to me that the focus has left teaching children and has turned to “how can we pay exhorbanant pay to the upper echelon” and those who actually impact the lives of children? Oh well, they can have the scraps. This is the same bureauocracy that got this district in trouble before with “friends and family”. Cut the fat! Allow us to do our job.

  13. Michelle Fincher

    Why do board members need $8000 for travel expenses? Where are they traveling for $8000/year? Is this audited? Thank you for being one of the three who had zero travel expenses.

  14. You know how government people are. They travel around the state, the country and around the world on the taxpayer dime. Many elected officials have training requirements. I generally spend $500(ish) a year to attend the Georgia School Board Association training in Savannah every year. Many board members attend state and national school board conferences. Board member travel expenses are delineated in the monthly financial report.

    While legal, it’s shameful the travel expenses a few government officials and employees have.

  15. My understanding (I may be wrong) is that unearned staff are not certified through the Georgia PSC— why are they possibly getting the same raise those of us who are fully certified may receive?

  16. Stan,
    I looked at the budget for some of the schools in Region I. There are salaries of principals that have increased almost 7 thousand dollars in one year. I looked at the salary of custodians and para educators and their salaries are in 24,000 to 30, 000 range. This year some of them were informed that they were at the top of the scale. There were many teachers that did not get a pay increase based on the study. There was some kind of problem and the salaries could not be computed correctly for teachers. It seems like based on the information in the tentative budget that the principals did get raises.
    Also on page 121 it seems like all of the subject area coordinators were upgraded to Coordinators. III. I wonder why?
    Please don’t forget all of the people both certified and classified that provide direct services to the students. I know that you don’t and you advocate for the schools. But it does not seem like that is a priority with all of our leaders.

  17. Concerned Stakeholder

    I would like to begin by thanking you for taking the time to keep the public informed. Greatly appreciated Stan!

    I have a few questions regarding HB31 pay increases and tentative budget position upgrades. I noticed HB31 DRAFT 3/27/2019, stated

    “6.) In lieu of other numbered items, funds for the State Board of Education for the purpose of providing a two percent increase to the state base salary for school bus drivers, lunchroom workers and school nurses. The amount for this item is calculated according to an effective date of July 1, 2019.”

    Does this mean that the bus drivers, nurses and lunchroom workers will receive a 2% increase? I haven’t heard or seen any discussion regarding this matter. How will this affect other school based classified staff e.g. custodians, secretaries, bookkeepers, and paraprofessionals?

    2. Will the Academic Coaches and Instructional Support Specialist, who are also certified personnel on teacher pay scale in the schools going to receive the $3000 increase along with teachers and additional certified employees?

    3. I also noticed in the budget under Curriculum & Instruction the Coordinator II, for Content Areas e.g. ELA, Math Science, SS, World Language, P.E., and Music have all been upgraded to Coordinator III positions. My understanding is this is the entire department and no other department in the entire district has such a request to upgrade the entire department. Is this deemed equitable for the remaining Coordinators in the district? What justifications were provided for this proposed upgrade?

    4. Can you explain why only 2 Area Superintendents are receiving an additional $10,000 salary increase from MBK and not all of the Area Superintendents?

    Lastly, KUDOS for voicing your concern at the BOE Meeting on 6/10/19 for pushing to reduce or eliminate additional testing; when it is not necessary. I hope we see change in the upcoming year.

  18. Still Dismayed

    @concerned stakeholder, scroll down to the education section in the final highlights below…perhaps it will answer a few of your questions.

  19. Still Dismayed

    Are all staff on the ‘counselors’ schedule receiving the raise per HB 31 intent? Therapists are ‘certified personnel’ and ‘special education specialists’… “HB 31 includes a $3,000 pay raise for certified teachers and certified personnel, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists, media specialists and technology specialists starting July 1, 2019.”

    AJC statement today…
    “Some DeKalb employees have voiced displeasure online that the raises will not be given to speech and language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists and others in the district who work directly with children but are not on the teacher salary schedule.”

    If this is true, then it appears that DCSS moved therapists off the teacher scale intentionally…previously having put us there to save the district money by giving us all pay cuts….now moving us off again to avoid giving us raises.

  20. DSW2Contributor

    From Channel 2 News:
    “A group of international college students came to Atlanta to learn but instead were victimized. An instructor in their program said it happened last week outside the Fernbank Science Center in DeKalb County. Their van was broken into, and the students quickly realized their bags and thousands of dollars in cash were taken.”

    The security camera was *NOT* working.

    Stan, the board really should be demanding monthly updates on the number of broken security cameras around DCSD.

  21. https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/wanted-dekalb-schools-seeking-teachers-for-new-school-year/XhDVqx9JplNyUmwlyOI2ZK/

    Is this typical of all metro-Atlanta school district?
    “DeKalb has lost an average of more than 850 teachers a year since the 2015-2016 school year.”

  22. Stan,

    I would like to point out the district did NOT start this school year with $122 million in reserves. According to the FY ’18 Final Financial Report which was part of the November 2018 Monthly Financial Report to the BOE (pg. 14) the Total General Operations fund balance was $110 million. https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=989160&MID=68355

  23. Has the schedule for the 2019-2020 teacher salaries been posted? I have been looking at the website and cannot see where the salaries are posted.