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DeKalb Schools Pre-K

Hey Nancy,

My son is supposed to start pre-k in August at Chesnut. I know that the Board approved the 2013 budget last week and that 2.7 million was cut from pre-k. However, there seems to be lots of confusion (including in the media) as to what this actually means in terms of this coming school year’s pre-k classes.

  • Will the Pre-k programs in the public elementary schools only be funded with the state amount?
  • What does this mean for the school year?
  • What does this mean in terms of the current pre-k teachers?
  • Will they have to change to uncertified teachers?
  • Will the program have a shorter day?
  • More students?
  • Will there still be a paraprofessional in the class?

.
What’s up with that?

  1. I have asked the Superintendent to communicate with the incoming Pre-K families and explain what impact the budget is going to have on their class for the upcoming school year. I have posed many of the same questions you have and I await a response from the school district’s administration.

    I encourage you to contact your school’s principal and the county office and ask them for more details on how the Pre-K program in DCSD will work for the 2012-13 school year.

    .
    When I receive updated information about the pre-k program, I will certainly communicate it.

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19 Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    I received a response from the Superintendent’s office.

    It appears that they are likely going to follow Fulton County’s model. Does anyone know how many school days Fulton has in the reduced pre-k calendar?

  2. Holly says:

    Now that the vote has been made and Pre-K’s funding has cut positions to “Non-Certified” salary scale. What happens to the Certified Pre-K teachers who have already been issued contracts and promised teaching positions for next year? Are their contracts still valid?

  3. Laura says:

    My son is suppose to start preK as well. According to the state guidelines, it looks like the state will fund 160 days. You can see the teacher requirements on the state webpage. It looks like they pay the teacher based on experience. You can see the pay scale at the link below. Look under 2012 – 2013 preK rates. I am hopeful our principal will be able to find someone good who wants to just get into the school.

    http://www.decal.ga.gov/Prek/PreKProgramChanges.aspx

  4. Jennifer says:

    Actually, based on the FAQ on the state website, it appears that the state will fund pre-k for a total 170 days this year. Am I correct?

    http://www.decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/PreK_FAQ_FY2013.pdf

  5. Laura says:

    Yes, I think that is correct. I think that it does allow for pay for a certified teacher though.

  6. Kimberly says:

    Hello Nancy,

    I am a veteran teacher of Dekalb County with over 10 years experience in as a certified teacher in grades 6, 5, and 2. I was moved to a Pre-K position for the 2011-2012 school year. If I am understanding this correctly, our salaries will now be based on the 2012-2013 DECAL pre K rates. Will veteran teachers of Dekalb lose their salary step increases from their years prior to teaching Pre-K? Right now we are being told that we cannot move or even apply for open positions in other grades within our school.

  7. Becky says:

    We have contacted the school and the county office, and no one claims to know anything. I was told on Monday 7/2 that they “hope” to know something “soon.” No hints of what “soon” means though, and I was asked for “patience” – although I’m starting to run into problems at work where I can’t schedule meetings since I don’t know when I am going to need to be home with my son.

  8. Nancy Jester, DeKalb County Board Of Education says:

    Hi Becky! It is my understanding that everyone who obtained a DCSD pre-k spot through the lottery will be served in the upcoming school year. I have asked the Superintendent to communicate with parents about this issue.

    As you have probably read, the state does not fully fund what DeKalb expends to provide pre-k. There are other layers of complexity to the state funding (such as certain grants that are “grandfathered in”) that have slowed the process of developing a new pre-k delivery model.

    I share your frustration and I continue to urge the district to communicate with parents with all due alacrity.

  9. WUWT Moderator says:

    WORK SESSION & BUSINESS MEETING 7/9/2012 – 6:00 PM

    Tune in tonight at 6:00 PM to the DeKalb County School Board’s WORK SESSION & BUSINESS MEETING

    Click here to see the agenda including an amendment to the school calendar.

  10. AFM says:

    Nancy, Thank you for responding to this issue. It is very distressing to not have this information so late in the summer. It would be helpful to at least know if the program will be full time so that parents can plan their childcare arrangements. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  11. Stacy says:

    I am a teacher for Dekalb County and I am certified to teach P-5. I was hired for a Pre-K position for the 2011-2012 school year. Prior to the end of last semester, my principal told me she wanted me to teach 4th grade for the 2012-2013 school year. Right now we are being told that we cannot move or even apply for open positions in other grades within our school. How long will will this be in effect? I also recieve my Master’s this fall, when will I be able to receive Master’s level pay?

  12. Very Confused says:

    First I would like to say, Nancy, you are one of the most qualified members that I see on the Board. I highly value your choices and wisdom that you bring to the meetings. I am even more impressed with your willingness to create this blog to help provide transparency to a very opaque administration. Thank you.

    Here is my question/situation: Similar to Stacy’s comment above, I was asked to teach Pre-K for the 2011-2012 school year even though most of my 21 years of experience has been in other grade levels. I reluctantly agreed. Then, this past spring, I was contacted to interview for a transfer position to a school and grade level that could better utilize my gifted teaching certification and preference. However, before I could interview, everything was put on “hold” due to the budget. Now, I have no idea if I will have a job, whether I will be able to keep my current salary (even though being offered a contract in May), or have to take an approx. 50% pay cut in salary in a grade level that I was not originally hired to teach. When offered my contract in May, the letter attached stated (in some similar words) that each teacher should understand that the contract binds them for the entire school year and is a contract with DeKalb Schools, and not a specific grade level or school. The teacher could lose their certification if they breech the contract. Careful consideration should be made before signing. I signed this contract, had it notarized and returned it by the deadline stated. Now, I cannot receive any information on whether that contract will in fact be honored or is indeed just a scrap of paper. My principal and everyone seems to just keep stating that everything is on “hold” and there are supposedly no changes yet.

    (Unrealistic imagery for a moment — why do I imagine myself on the first day of school sitting with 22 four year old students staring into space, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for a phone call on whether I have a job or not.)

    Of course, this would never happen. I am a professional and value what I do. I would plan to give them 100% until a decision is made. However, I cannot support my family on the State level of pay for Pre-K. I agree that they can find many less experienced people that would greatly appreciate working for that salary. However, DeKalb offered me a contract at a contracted salary rate. I accepted it and have turned down other opportunities because it is “supposedly” a binding contract.

    So, my main questions are: Does DeKalb plan on honoring our contracts? Are they considering the legal ramifications of not honoring these contracts? Why is there absolutely NO communication to teachers regarding this matter? Also, can we start planning a budget for 2013-2014 so that teachers can be notified before contracts are signed for next year if they need to seek employment elsewhere?

    WUWT.

    Again, thank you for ALL that you do. You are very much appreciated!

  13. Robyn says:

    Do we have any answers, yet? I’ve seen the calendar on the DCSS site that indicates it’s a 5-day program ending about a week before K-12. Is this the final verdict? That was published last week and I never would have seen it had I not been looking at the site for information related to another matter. My principal still has not heard a thing. I emailed my district reps as well as Dr. Atkinson and Ms. March. If I’ve missed an announcement, please let me know!

  14. Anne says:

    I was informed tonight that my daughter may lose her current pre-k teacher at any point in the year to save money by replacing with with someone that will probably be a new grad. Can they not let these teachers at least finish the school year. Four is such a vulnerable age where you need consistency. I am so disturbed to think that Dekalb would want to make the children suffer for there own budgeting mistakes. We need to let them finish the year with their current teachers.

  15. WUWT Moderator says:

    Hi Anne.
    Did your source say anything about why your current pre-k teacher might be replaced?

  16. Ashford Park Parent says:

    My child is in Pre-K at Ashford Park. We were informed on September 6th (at the Cirrculum night) that our teacher will be moving to another position.

    My interpretation of the information we were given is as follows
    1. The Pre-K teachers have experienced a significant paycut due to Dekalb County no longer subsidizing the state-funded salary
    2. Pre-K teachers have the ability to look for other positions that they are qualified for in Dekalb County.
    3. In our case, the there was an opening for a Kindergarten teacher in the school and our Pre-K teacher wsa allowed to fill that spot.
    4. The current open Pre-K spot will be posted for a new hire.

    There were many very upset parents. A letter had been sent home with the kids that day, but many people had not yet seen the letter and were getting the information for the first time at the Cirrculum night.

    In our case, we declined other options specifically to have our child taught by this top-rated teacher. It is disappointing to have the classroom disrupted after three weeks.

    As always – there are many layers to the situation and the teacher is pursuing the opportunity that allows her to retain her salary. I can’t blame her for that – but it’s a bad deal for the kids.

  17. WUWT Moderator says:

    I see. Your enumerated points say it all. Given the current state funding, Pre-K teachers have experienced a pay cut. I’m guessing your teacher and principal are conflicted regarding this decision. As you stated, this is probably a significant pay increase for her. She obviously needs to take care of herself before she can take care of her students in the classroom. I don’t think giving her a pay increase is possible until she takes the position. I don’t think holding that position for her until next year is an option either.

    What would you like Ms Jester to do for you? I will make sure she gets this message ASAP.

  18. Ashford Park Parent says:

    I am not sure if there is anything that can be done at this point. Ideally, a reversal of the budget cut and re-instatement of my Pre-K teacher to her position would be ideal. But I don’t realistically see that happening.

    The primary purpose of my entry was to let parent’s know that this is happening in more than one school and to answer the question of why the teachers are being replaced.

    Also – it would have been nice if parents could have had more official communication on what the budget cut was going to impact in advance. Personally, if I had known that teacher’s salaries were cut to be impacted so severely I likely could have predicted the current scenario and made other decisions prior to the start of the school year when we still had options.

  19. pre-k parent says:

    Going forward (next year), something should be done, but I don’t know what. It is not just pre-K that is being disrupted, but K-kids as well, who are also mostly brand new to the school. The problem seems to be that more K kids showed up than expected, in Ashford park, and I also know at Evansdale. At Evansdale, they knew right before school, so pre-K had subs for the first week, and it worked out okay. For some reason, it seems at Ashford Park, that even though they knew they needed an additional K class, it took a month to hire someone. So, now, after finally getting setled in, the K kids are getting shifted around to create a new class, and pre-K kids will probably end up with a sub before they get a new teacher. This year might be a bit special b/c of the budget cut, but the same thing can happen again b/c parents can just show up on the first day of school with their kids, w/o pre-registering – and then the school has to adjust. It isn’t good for anyone, and it is especially concerning when it is happening to the littlest ones while they are adjusting to a new school. My only solution would be to give some kind of preference to kids who are registered by the deadline (8/1, I think) to stay put – but my guess is that would be unfair to the neediest kids whose parents didn’t know enough to register them. I also agree that parents should have been told more about this possibility – I was aware with the cuts that we would likely have a new pre-K teacher, but didn’t expect that decision to happen the Friday before school started on Monday. For us, this has all ended up working out, and I hope it goes as well for the Ashford Park families.

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