“It is not an exaggeration to say that our wonderful little school is in crisis,” states the letter signed by more than 300 people. “Sadly, DCSD’s most recent efforts to ‘right-size’ our schools by decreasing staff are only driving more concerned parents and their students away. We desperately need a different approach.”
Asked if certain areas of teachers were more affected by the adjustment in teaching positions, a DeKalb spokesman said the district is required by federal law to provide resources to students on a comparable basis.
Most DeKalb teachers — 91% — returned to work this year. Last year, the district used bonuses to retain teachers. This year, the school board approved employee raises. The average teacher will get a raise of at least $3,800.
Despite the cut positions, the district is still looking to hire more than 400 teachers.
DeKalb has more than 1,000 open positions as of Friday, including 433 teachers. That’s down from about 600 open teaching positions it had in the beginning of June.
“While we are experiencing throughout the state of Georgia and nationally a shortage of certified teachers,” Ward-Smith said, “we continue to recruit individuals who we believe will be a magnificent fit.”
The district is using hiring fairs to help fill those spots, and plans to tap recently retired educators to come back to the classroom.
Beginning July 1, educators with more than 30 years of experience in teaching who had retired for at least a year can return to the classroom in certain subject areas and still earn their full pension.
DeKalb officials hope this allowance will help them fill critical shortage areas of math, science and special education.
DeKalb is the state’s third-largest school system, with nearly 94,000 students.