DeKalb hiring a consultant to cut jobs, save money

DeKalb County's new school superintendent plans to evaluate every job and salary in the school system to seek ways to save money.

Redundant jobs could be eliminated, but it'll take a lot of work to find them. The school system, with over 15,000 full- and part-time employees, is the second-largest employer in the county.

So Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson is looking for help. The school system is soliciting bids from consultants, who would be paid to recommend money-saving restructuring.

The review would be due in stages, beginning in mid-January. Atkinson said any money saved would be spent in the classrooms teaching kids. She said the reports would likely lead to the elimination of positions.

"There are some places where I know we have quite a bit of overlap and we can consolidate," Atkinson said.

The first report, due Jan. 13, will focus on administrative positions, from the central office down to individual principals and assistant principals. The second, due March 15, will look at all other positions.

Atkinson would not speculate how much money could be saved. When asked whether she thought it might be politically difficult to downsize the school system, she said she believed that in these tough economic times the public is tired of seeing taxpayer dollars wasted.

"I really think, kind of like the movement in the nation, everybody's tired," she said. "They don't want it to happen anymore."

The solicitation calls for proposals for new job positions and salary ranges based on market comparisons. The document is published on the purchasing page of the school system's website (