An inside view of what needs cutting in schools

Tue, 02/24/2009 - 3:24pm
By: Letters to the ...

I am writing this letter and sending it to everyone who may have a true concern or vested interest in helping the Fayette County School System find its way from lack to abundance.

I am employed by the county and for that reason I do not feel comfortable signing my name. I am not attempting to wound anyone, personally or professionally. In my opinion, the positions that are named here are simply redundant or useless and are in need of a staunch evaluation before they are allowed to remain as part of the system.

1. Completely eliminate the practice of hiring non-posted positions.

• Custodians and secretaries who are already on the payroll should do custodial and clerical work that needs to be done in the summer. Administrators’ children are hired yearly, and (I have witnessed) simply play and disappear during most work hours. You have created a summer work program for upper-level administrators’ children that is unethical.

2. Eliminate outside “consultants” who are hired to do the work of individuals already on payroll.

• Gifted consultant hired to test students at Mcintosh High School. Teachers of the gifted or the county gifted coordinator, L. Ann Richardson, who was paid $108,112.96 plus $6,875.15 travel for fiscal year 2008, would be the likely person to assist with testing. She could use some of her travel dollars to actually go to the schools where the gifted students are. The county also employs a “Director” whose departments’ description includes testing and a “Testing Coordinator,” one of which could possibly assist with some actual testing of these students.

3. Eliminate the Office of Public Relations.

• No other school system in the state of Georgia the size of Fayette County has this type of “specialist.” Apparently, Melinda Berry-Dreisbach has a staff.

• This is not listed on, but at least one staffer, Natalie Jones, sends out emails from the FCBOE Public Relations office.

• The FCBOE cable channel should be eliminated as it does not affect instruction and only reaches households that have cable.

4. Abolish the office of Deputy Superintendent.

• A simple review of the job description and actual duties performed would facilitate the elimination of this office. There are just too many administrators at the Central Office level.

5. Downsize the department of Professional Learning. We have two professional learning directors, Watson and Fleming.

• If you are able to go online and view the PLU classes that are being made available to the educators of our system, you will realize that this department has very little to offer. What is offered, scheduled, recorded, etc., is done by clerical personnel.

6. Eliminate the VERY redundant positions at LEC/Career Tech/Community School/Open Campus.

• The webpage indicates the following administrators are directing or administering there: Ed Steil and Tim Carder.

• Cindy Campbell and Ruth West are listed as “Managers.”

• The webpage doesn’t mention “administrators,” Liz Grove and Linda Kippa, who are employed, in some capacity, there. This leaves open the possibility that there are other unnamed administrators on the payroll.

• I have been in many areas of that building at various times of day during most months of the year and I have yet to see one student or non-FCBOE employee in the building.

7. Eliminate the Welcome Center staff.

• What is a “Planning Officer” anyway? Why didn’t that person plan for the lack of increased enrollment that we are experiencing?

• If Fayette is indeed losing students and enrollment is down, the individual schools should again assume this duty. The schools are the ones who know the students, their parents, and their areas.

8. Why does a system of our size and financial status have assistant superintendents, directors and coordinators for the same positions? Do the directors need coordinating or do the coordinators need directing? And do they all need supervising on the executive level?

9. Eliminate the supplement for “technology contacts” at all schools.

• The county employs a Technology Services Director and a staff of 12 others who should be able to contact the SASI clerks, principals or assistant principals at the individual schools.

10. Eliminate assistant principal positions at schools with less than 350 students.

11. Severely downsize the Human Resources Department.

• The county is not hiring new personnel and benefits are being decreased, so the demand for this department decreases.

12. Discontinue the practice of financing trips to conferences and conventions.

• If the educator deems it a “professional necessity” to attend the conference he/she should pay the registration, dues, travel and expenses out of pocket for this important event. Classroom teachers who require materials, etc. frequently pay for them out of pocket These luxurious trips should be treated the same way.

• Discontinue the practice of financing and allowing administrators to attend continuing education “seminars” during school time unless they use acquired personal or vacation days, travel at their own expense and pay registration and other expenses out of pocket.

13. Scale back or eliminate the Bee Hive.

• After a dose review, if the center is deemed a necessity, charge a fee for materials and staff it on a part-time basis. The current staff makes more than most paraprofessionals who work directly with children five days a week.

Administrators are non-tenured employees and therefore can be released from their positions.

With the above cuts, combined with attrition, scaling back raises, reducing the supplement, lowering your contribution to the benefit package along with a small increase in class size, you should be able to eliminate all other cuts. This will enable you to retain all other personnel and protect the integrity of the school system.

[Editor’s note: The writer has requested anonymity because of employment concerns.]

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Submitted by inmyopinion on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 3:44pm.

The current round of cuts by the BOE have neglected to address many of the areas that were mentioned in this letter. If the citizens would take the time to view the salaries of BOE central office employees at they would be amazed at the incredible compensation for individuals occupying postions that in the real world of business would not even approach those rates. Example - the HR department has the following two salaries -


This is a combined total of over $200,000 for two of the many in the HR department. This is only one example of the Kingdoms we have built
in the Fayette County BOE. It is a diservice to the taxpayers of Fayette County that the current BOE and Superintendent do not address and bring the cost in line.

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 8:33pm.

Someone suggested we get a 'vote of no confidence' going for the 3 amigos....that would be an understatement as well. These are gross deeds done against the smallest. I feel our smallest and weakest were not even figured into the equation except as small little chess pieces, given no consideration on their shyness or small little world. This is all about big bucks and planks on schools and doors with peoples name on them.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 8:55pm.

In December 2009, the FCBOE's designation as one of the few "school board of distinctions" in Georgia is up for renewal.


suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 8:37pm. do get something with your name on it in front of a school, think what you have done to get it, and how many children you have hurt to get it.

I personally hope you get your name on a police blotter instead!

Call for a vote of no confidance and have the state come in! I hear the gov hates waste! He would really get his panties in a wadd here!!! We need to do this...and turn the gov loose!

Submitted by mysteryman on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 9:22pm.


Submitted by Nitpickers on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 8:08pm.

No wonder the pilots are raising hell what with so many in the school offices making around 100 grand a year!

I know maybe they are smarter than just a common guy who drives an airplane but the pilots don't know that!

Human Relations, about 100K huh?
What humans do they relate to?
Do they keep everyone straight about racial problems?
Do they hire a balanced racial quantity?
Maybe the Ass't supers could larn to do thet?

Submitted by RT Tugger on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 8:15am.

Thank you for taking the time to relay these suggestions. I have another one: How about reducing the hours of the full-time Spanish translators? We employ translators who sit around ALL DAY to take the occasional phone call from parents who can’t speak English or to meet personally with Spanish-speaking parents who happen to come to the school. These are not ESOL teachers. There is NOT a steady stream of Spanish-speaking parents in the office or a constant barrage of phone calls for these employees. Why not have translators available from, say, 9:00 to 12:00? It is wasteful to pay someone for full-time work who in reality is only needed a couple of hours each day (and sometimes far less than that).

I agree that the Public Information Specialist and staff need to go. Besides being a luxury for a system of our size, they don’t do their job. Where is the effort to inform the public about the two public meetings this week? Why aren’t the dates listed under “Important Upcoming Dates” on the BOE home page? Instead, information on the meetings is buried on the eBoard website, where many people won’t know to look for it. I was told by an assistant to our Public Information Specialist that notices of these meetings are posted on the doors of the Board of Education. Wow! How many people just happen to stop by the BOE offices?

I think it is crazy that we have administrative personnel at three locations: the BOE offices, the LaFayette Center, and the former East Fayette Elementary School. This can’t be efficient. And now they want to use the mothballed new school for “satellite programs”? Don’t they have room for satellite programs at LEC or East Fayette? Good grief, how many more buildings do we need for alternative classes and non-teaching purposes?

The Welcome Center is a joke. This is where we pay personnel to make sure that students enrolling in Fayette County schools are legally entitled to be educated here. However, our superintendent (and his assistant and deputies) and our school board refuse to address the very real problem of theft of services by out-of-county students. All we hear is excuse after excuse of why it can’t be done, even though we keep hearing that teachers are aware of out-of-county students in their own classrooms. So yes, if you’re not going to enforce the law, then eliminate the Welcome Center.

It is unbearable to watch this BOE make bad decision after bad decision, knowing they have spent the reserve fund and led us to this sorry state of financial affairs. I wish they would quit whining about the state-imposed austerity cuts. ALL Georgia school systems have been hit with austerity cuts, but they aren’t all $14.5 million in the hole with surplus new schools sitting around. It is maddening that this board will soon have SPLOST funds at their disposal. I honestly would be interested in knowing what it takes to have this board censured by SACS or removed.

Submitted by fc1989 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 9:59pm.

These appear to be good ideas and you seem to have a great knowledge of the school system. Have you forwarded these to the superintendent (or one of his assistants) prior to this late date? I am not overly familiar with the inner workings but most of the suggestions (however valid) seem to be $100,000's remedies and the revenue gap is projected to be $14.5 million. What cuts are you suggesting the board not take? Your last paragraph says

"scaling back raises, reducing the supplement, lowering your contribution to the benefit package along with a small increase in class size, you should be able to eliminate all other cuts."

Scaling back raises sounds like the pay reduction they are planning. Lowering contribution to benefits package sounds like what they are planning to vote on Thursday. Increasing class size is what they already approved.

What are the cuts that you think can be eliminated and how does the $14.5 million gap get filled?

Submitted by Linda Wheatley on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 9:02pm.

You made some very good suggestions. I have friends who also teach in the system and have heard even more ideas not mentioned on your list. It would have been nice if some teachers would have been allowed to be a part of this process. From what I hear, mostly county office personnel made every decision and teachers were not involved at all. I think if the teachers had been allowed to have input, a much more sound plan could have been put into place and then they would feel some ownership.

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 7:39pm.

suggestions than all the high profile people at the Fayette County Board of Education.

I agree with most everything this person says, and admire their courage to tell the truth.

We are 10 mil in the red...Rivers cost 10 mil...the list of waste goes on and on.

The nepotism speaks volumes for the character of these people.

In my eyes, when you are even grubbing for the money by putting your kid in clerks/custodial jobs that a more needy and quite possibly better working child, you have reached the bottom of the value/ethics barrel, so to speak.

These people have no character or morals.

Submitted by hi grover on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 6:24pm.

Well done. BTW, What is the Bee Hive?

Submitted by Andre65 on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 8:09pm.

A place where you can get letters cut out (for spelling your name and such) or animal shape cut-outs or posters/papers laminated.

Submitted by CuriousBob on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 5:44am.

Now that I know what it is--I can see how it contributes to the education process!....Not!

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