In case you missed it, Dr. Atkinson quietly dropped a bombshell at the last State Board of Education meeting.
Alex Granados at EducationNC picked up on it:
State Superintendent June Atkinson and State Board of Education Chair Bill Cobey were given the power by the State Board last month to implement the General Assembly-mandated 5 percent ($2.5 million) reductions at DPI. This month, they turned into the Board a document that cuts about 18 positions. But those 18 positions aren’t really going away. Three are currently vacant, and those positions will disappear, Atkinson said. But the rest will move to handle work under the General Assembly’s Excellent Public Schools Act, for which DPI received $3.8 million from legislators this past session.
“Please remember that it’s a matter of moving from state funding to state funding,” Atkinson said.
Do you see what Atkinson did there? She moved jobs that were slated to be cut under the $2.5 in budget cuts ordered by the General Assembly to a program that was given $3.8 million in funding.
While one can argue that she’s saved jobs, one can also argue that the funding was arguably not meant to be used in the manner in which Atkinson now has planned.
Atkinson is making the argument that the jobs she’s saving are the personnel that should be working under the Excellent Public Schools Act, yet she gave only vague details of what positions are moving.
The Excellent Public Schools act (SB 361) is supposed to be about supporting reading in schools, evaluations and teacher training/licensing issues. The money is arguably supposed to be spent on the program, not the personnel DPI already has.
In other words, money intended to assist districts in helping under performing children looks like it is being used to protect DPI bureaucrats. Reminder: As of 2013-14, over 433 people at DPI made over $70k; 80 of which made over $90K and 45 employees made over $100k.
If the State Board of Education is endorsing this shifting around of taxpayer funds, they should ask for a list of the personnel, their current title, what their new title will be and any changes in compensation.
The State Board of Education and the General Assembly would do well to take a historical look at DPI’s hiring and salary levels during Dr. Atkinson’s tenure as well. It is likely the bloat that is found will be impressive.