Furlough days will be eliminated and the pre-kindergarten program in the DeKalb County School System will be restored under a tentative 2011-12 budget adopted by the school board April 18.
The $1.16 billion budget, which is subject to change before overall approval by the board in July, has a list of approximately $42 million in improvements, including restoration of furlough days for 10-, 11- and 12-month employees.
Other significant restorations include pre-kindergarten programs, covering Advanced Placement exam costs, and money for fingerprinting and criminal background checks.
The board also discussed secondary math options for the system that were developed to help students who are struggling with high school curriculum. The secondary options were originally put forward by Georgia Department of Education on March 14.
“The whole point of the state coming back to local school districts and providing flexible options [is] so that we can provide pathways for these students that have been failing miserably in math, with the opportunity to put in two models,” Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson said.
If passed, the change in policy would allow students the choice to remain in the integrated program, which infuses the teaching of algebra, geometry, advanced algebra and pre-calculus, or take each subject separately.
“Some parents feel like their students will perform better if they could just focus on the algebra content at one time; then, you have some students who are doing very well with the integrated approach,” said Morcease Beasley, interim deputy superintendent of the department of teaching and learning.
“Therefore, we were presented with this option, this flexibility, and we had to really listen to everyone and try to do what’s in the best interest of all our students,” Beasley said.
Only students who are rising ninth graders, ninth graders who fail Mathematics 1 or Mathematics 1 Support or 10-12th graders who do not have any math credits would be eligible under the proposed policy change to opt-out of the integrated system.
The board also discussed the implementation of the STAR staffing formula, which will calculate the positions for assistant principal, counselor, media specialist, art, music and physical education by the enrollment size of each school.
“The STAR staffing formula is designed to bring clarity, equity and fairness to the process to provide each school with the appropriate number of [teachers],” DeKalb Schools Chief Financial Officer Marcus Turk said.
Tyson also discussed the efforts the school system is making to address the reasons it was placed on accreditation advisement by AdvancED, the parent corporation of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
AdvanceED identified eight required actions it said the system must address before Oct. 31 to be restored to full accreditation status.
“We have eight subcommittees that have [developed] an action plan that is now in progress and work is occurring on a daily basis within the subcommittees to ensure that the school district is responsive to all eight required actions,” Tyson said.
The full report issued by AdvancED offers a much more in-depth analysis and is available on the DeKalb County School System website at www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.