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DeKalb school chief: Teacher raise calculations flawed. We’re starting over. 

UPDATE: Friday morning

Bernice Gregory, the DeKalb County School District human resources chief who came to the district last spring, has resigned immediately over concerns with a recently approved salary schedule.

Original story from Thursday evening:

When DeKalb teachers found out this week what their anticipated raises would be, many said the numbers didn’t make sense to them.   

Tonight, DeKalb Schools Superintendent Steve Green agreed with them. 

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“After further analysis, we reevaluated our calculations to ensure fairness. We found some egregious errors and want to make sure the raises are correct,” said Green.

Earlier today, Green said the problem was largely a misunderstanding by teachers on how a new step structure would work. Now, he says the problems transcend a misunderstanding and reflect flawed calculations, which he discovered after he had a team review the calculations and report back to him tonight.

“We need to recalculate the step process for everybody,” said Green. “We need to go in and correct the whole thing. We found some flaws in the algorithm. There is going to be a revaluation with an aim to put in steps that recognize their experience.”

His team’s review led Green to scrap both a letter and video that he intended to release tonight to staff explaining the new salary structure and instead go back to the drawing board. 

Green said the district will hire an outside firm to conduct the analysis. And he concurred with what critics have long said about human resources in DeKalb Schools. The department could use major change.

“It historically has been a challenge and we tried to patch it, but I think it needs a total inside-out overhaul,” he said. “We are not satisfied. There is significant change to come.”

The superintendent’s statements confirm what dozens of teachers have been lamenting in emails to me and on social media: The salary schedule didn’t align with their experience and years with DeKalb.

As one teacher told me, “I was going to take my kids to the beach with what I thought my raise would be. With what I’m now getting, it will be a day at Six Flags.”

Nor did the raises reflect the schedule endorsed by the school board, according to board member Stan Jester. 

“The disconnect is that there has been little to no communication from the administration and the salary schedules keep changing. The school district posted a salary schedule for a few days earlier this week that was really messed up,” Jester told me in an email tonight.

Many teachers were shattered when they saw their raises, which were far lower than what they had expected.

“I love my school, students and all that I have created in DeKalb. However, I will not be signing with DeKalb next year unless the raise is delivered as approved by the board (on years of experience) and not based on the state salary schedule. Some were going to get a few thousand and received $20 instead,” said one teacher on AJC Get Schooled Facebook.

About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.

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