5 things to know from DeKalb Schools’ monthly board meeting

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5 things to know from DeKalb Schools’ monthly board meeting

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ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
March 28, 2017, Stone Mountain: Bus driver Felicia Evans adjusts a side view mirror while performing a safety check on her bus before leaving the Gregory K. Davis Fleet Service Center at the DeKalb Schools Headquarters to make her afternoon run on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in Stone Mountain. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

1. DeKalb County School District officials’ first draft of the 2017-2018 budget calls for more than $1 billion, including extra spending related to raises over the last few years given out as the district recovers from the economic downturn. [Read here]

2. The district is helping bridge the digital divide: The district announced a partnership with wireless carrier Sprint at Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology before the Board of Education meeting. The partnership will provide Internet access to 200 of the district’s students at a cost of $480,000 over five years. [Read here]

Many Georgia schools lack robust internet connectivity on campuses and students’ homes, which is greatly hampering learning, education officials say. (Video by Emily Jenkins/AJC) www.accessatlanta.com

3. Fuzzy Math? Interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer Everett Patrick says the district currently has just two teacher vacancies. Board members question how the number could fall from 30 to two when the district only hired 17 new teachers during the previous reporting period. Patrick backtracks, saying many vacancies — 47 to be exact — have been filled with long-term substitute teachers.

4. Maintenance workers feeling the pinch: Board member Joyce Morley said during the budget presentation, held in the Committee of the Whole meeting, that she wanted to see some consideration given to the district’s maintenance staff. The division lost about 75 percent of its staffing since the economic downturn. The district has hired contractors to ease the burden, but many employees say they make less than they did 10 years ago. Dozens turned out for the district’s meeting, speaking in the public comments segment.

5. The age-old millage rate question. During budget discussions, board member Marshall Orson urged the administration to look at ways to bring the millage rate to pre-recession levels. “I think we owe it to our taxpayers,” he said. [Read here]

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