Speculation continues over whether the DeKalb County school board is searching for a new leader for the district. That troubles some stakeholders who already had concerns about the board’s shaky history.
Rumors began late last week that DeKalb School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson would soon resign. David Schutten, the president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, said the news was disconcerting.
A former Dunwoody High School employee has filed a lawsuit, accusing the DeKalb County Schools of violating the state’s Open Records Act. The suit asks for access to Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s text messages. The district said it let 37 graduation coaches go last spring due to budget cuts, including Cynthia Gipson . According to the lawsuit, Gipson received a “tip” that Dr. Atkinson’s text messages contained information related to her dismissal.
The Dekalb County school system is facing a budget shortfall of $73 million next year. To shore up the gap, Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson has proposed increasing the student-teacher ratio and boosting property taxes.
The deficit is largely due to declining property tax revenues. But Dekalb Schools’ spokesman Walter Woods says it’s also the result of increased health care costs and more than $40 million in under-budgeted funds.
“This is hard, fixed costs like fuel and equipment, utilities, things we have to pay every year. Those costs keep going up,” says Woods.