"The budget has gone up $50 to $100 million every year, but the number of students has stayed the same," said DeKalb County Board of Education member Stan Jester. "What do we have to show for all the money we have spent?"
The proposed budget also includes $53 million more in salary and benefits for the district's 15,617 staffers, with most going for the 4,353 staffers who don’t work in schoolhouses. The district has added several administrative positions, including 18 roles in two new regional superintendent cabinets, as well as directors for grants, network security and the Early Learning Center. Michael Bell, the district's chief financial officer, said Friday that a mandated $23.4 million retirement contribution as well as $2 million in insurance for non-schoolhouse employees had significant impact.