Tuesday, October 20, 2015

DeKalb County School System Annual Budget - "Who's Minding the Store?"
Board of Education Needs to Step Up and Do Their Job


The following is posted with permission of its author.  A look back at the 2014 DCSS School Budget. 

In the interest of showing all the relevant information regarding how DeKalb County Schools spent money in fiscal year 2014, a basic analysis was done using the GaDOE “School System Financial Reports.”  These reports are compiled from the form DE46 which each school system submits after they “close the books” on a fiscal year. The School System Financial Report includes seven categories of expenditure; Instruction, Pupil Services, Staff Services, General Administration, School Administration, Transportation, and Maintenance & Operations. These, as well as Total Expenditures, are reported both as a total amount and on a per FTE (student) amount.
 
In the table below the Budgeted amounts were found by adding any mid-year adjustments to the approved budget. The Actual amounts were taken from the GaDOE School System Financial Reports.


2014
Budgeted
Actual
Difference
Difference as % of Budgeted
Instruction
566,783,106
552,876,809.91
(13,906,296)
-2.5%
Pupil Services
36,042,393
27,555,261.2
(8,487,132)
-23.5%
Staff Services
33,542,357
49,007,767.15
15,465,410
46.1%
General Administration
17,134,866
36,451,363.58
19,316,498
112.7%
School Administration
52,422,675
53,356,264.61
933,590
1.8%
Transportation
46,248,008
48,029,119.69
1,781,112
3.9%
Maintenance & Operations
74,923,875
74,989,663.98
65,789
0.1%
Total Expenditure
827,097,280
842,266,250.13
15,168,970
1.8%


When you add the deficits seen in Instruction and Pupil Services, you find a total of $22,393,428 was budgeted, but not spent, on student instruction and activities designed to support student instruction. 

This table also shows DeKalb County Schools spent more than double the budgeted amount for General Administration. This is defined by the GaBOE, in part,  as “activities performed by the superintendent, administrative support personnel, and deputy, associate, or assistant superintendent having overall administrative responsibility.” In other words, the central office. 

This was Superintendent Thurmond’s budget. His staff spent the money. The BOE provided NO oversight because when they asked relevant questions, the staff wouldn’t answer them. One such question was regarding the more than $2million requested for “Additional School Based Salary and Benefits” requested. Both Dr. Bell and Dr. Smith refused to say what that money was for. The question now is, why was that money requested when more than $13 million was not spent on instruction?

This is being shared to help the BOE understand why they need to step up their oversight of the budget. One Board member has stated, repeatedly, her belief that questioning the staff is not their role and the BOE needs to “let them do their jobs.”

Fiscal year 2014 showed what happens when there continues to be NO oversight of how DeKalb County Schools spends money. Observers of DeKalb Schools know fiscal year 2015 is being managed in exactly the same way.

Superintendent Thurmond did not put as much money into the classrooms as he promised. The per FTE amount spent on instruction in fiscal year 2014 was just $53 more than the per FTE amount spent during fiscal year 20003. The BOE needs to hold him accountable.

Please contact your BOE representative and politely ask them to provide an increased level budget oversight.

3 comments:

  1. Everyone should be outraged. What a travesty that adults are profiting at the detriment of Dekalb kids!

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  2. Not surprised. Dekalb County Sanition Dept. had been audited and somehow the abatement that had given seniors and those on disability an exemption, now had to show that they are either 65 and make less than 26k or disable and make less than 26k. Copies have to be submitted. Both have to also submit a copy of the deed or title. Funny how the county can find ways to get the public to give them money, eh ?

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