It is with great regret that we have decided not to have our annual Retirement Celebration. This decision is based on COVID-19 and our desire not to put any member at risk. In order to keep all safe, we are looking to celebrate our retirees in the future when all will be safe to attend. If you, or you know someone who is retiring at the end of the school year, please send those names to the office (ODE_Office@yahoo.com) so that we have an accurate number to plan for.
As we come to the end of this momentous school year, I must say, once again, how proud I am of all of you and the work you have done to continue educating, feeding, driving the buses, keeping the buses moving and cleaning the buildings for our students. As always, ODE members take the challenge put before us and move forward. Thank you! We did not hear one word of complaint of the job we were asked to do. You are professionals always.
None of us know what the future holds, however; whatever comes our way, we will be ready to educate our future teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, secretaries, bookkeepers, mechanics, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodial staffs, etc. We have had compliments from the district office and from Joe Q. Public because of your work. I must laugh when I hear parents talk about educators and what you should be paid because of the little darlings they are having to deal with daily. This makes my day.
I do not expect school to start the way we are accustomed to, however; school will start on time whether it is teacher to student personally or virtually. Whatever the case my be, we will once again, work to make the best of the situation.
Everyone who wanted and signed their contracts should have them at this point. If you do not, please contact us as soon as possible. If you were on a PDP March 13th, that PDP will carry over when you return to the physical building during the 2020-2021 term.
I know that this has been stressful and that some are drained and burned out. Take time to sleep late, exercise and have some good food. Later, you may be able to take a day trip in the state. What ever you do, take time to enjoy your families. This is the very best medicine I’ve found!
We at ODE will continue to attend the DeKalb School Board Meetings and will pass along information as the budget process and search for a Superintendent continue. The DeKalb budget process will not begin until July, so NO decisions regarding possible furloughs will be made until that time. We will update you as this moves forward.
Once again, thank you for the work that you are doing and will continue to do with our students and for your membership in ODE. If you find that you have any issues, do not hesitate to call Mark Perez (678.920.9695) with your queries. I am in the office sporadically and Mark is the best choice currently. Mark will get any message to me as required. We will be back up to speed when the Governor has cleared the way for buildings as large as our to do so.
Volunteers are needed to phone bank in support of the candidates endorsed by ODE/GAE. If you can give an hour or two to make calls, please email your name and contact information to Deborah.Jones@gae.org or ODE_Office@yahoo.com.
Endorsed Candidates who represent DeKalb County:
• Senate District 10 - Emanuel Jones* (D)
• Senate District 41 - Kim Jackson (D)
• Senate District 44 - Gail Davenport* (D)
Join us Saturday as we Zoom and Hustle!
WHO: All GAE Members
WHAT: Join GAE and Fair Fight on a “How to Vote by Mail” Zoom Webinar and Early Vote Educator Action
WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 1pm
WHERE: Sign up here- https://www.mobilize.us/nea/event/272855/
WHY: Due to the current health crisis, the GA Secretary of State sent out Vote by Mail applications to every registered voter in the state. Georgia’s voting trends show most voter’s mainly turnout on Election Day, making Vote by Mail a new voting culture in the Peach state. GAE and Fair Fight have partnered to teach our members the best practices to Vote by Mail in the state, engage our members with a VBM action and making sure pro-public education candidates are elected!
Please take a few moments to take action concerning the HEROES Act and other additional funding for public schools during the Covid19 Crisis. Click on NEA's Covid Action Center. Take the pledge and send an email to your Congressional Representatives. The site is set up to make the emails very easy with scripts prepared, you can definitely add your own comments, too. During the board meeting Monday afternoon, Ms. Tyson said that the CARES Act funding could be used to reduce furloughs for school-based staff. More funding from Congress that could be used similarly would be very good for the district, our staff, and students.
Having heard some distressing rumors today, I decided to send out another note. Let me say to each and every member----There will not be a lay-off of any employee between now and the beginning of the next school year. So NO cafeteria workers, bus drivers, or custodians will be laid-off. Each person that was employed when employees were sent home will continue to be paid. When you hear this, please understand that it is just a RUMOR!
There is a need for additional bus drivers and cafeteria workers, as Mrs. Tyson said, “We must feed our students. We can’t be the only district in the metro not feeding our students. We can’t be the only district in the metro area not feeding our students.” The guidelines for the students to get their meals was in the NewsFlash.
If you have seen the article, “Georgia Enacts Emergency COVID-19 Rule Requiring Employers to File Claims for Partial Unemployment.” Mrs. Tyson said, “We pulled it Monday, March 30. I got general counsel unpacking to ensure we comply.”
We will keep you informed of all we know and hear. As you learn/hear on anything that would adversely affect us all let me know. NO RUMORS
So far, Mrs. Tyson and the Board are doing an excellent job where we are concerned.
Hoping this email finds you all well. I’ve sent a number of emails that didn’t get to you. I apologize for not getting this taken care of sooner.
I’ve been in communication with Mrs. Tyson and other high level members of her cabinet. They have been very good at getting answers to our inquiries. These inquires run the gamut from janitorial to bus drivers to special education services.
We’ve been out of the office, someone in the building tested positive for Covid-19. We are back in the office. We handled all the business of the organization from home, taking calls and disseminating information per member’s request. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to call the office, 678- 837-1170.
As you know, the Governor has closed schools for the remainder of this academic year. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you abreast of the county’s stance.
I hope you all received the GAE and NEA voting information that was sent out in late March. The 2020 GAE Spring Representative Assembly (RA) has been rescheduled from April 18-19. It is now scheduled for June 14-16 at the same location, The Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel. In the event a face-to-face meeting is still not advised by the Governor’s Office and/or the CDC, a virtual Representative Assembly will take place June 13-14. GAE is simultaneously preparing for both possibilities and information will be sent out to delegates accordingly.
Delegates elected to the April 18-19 Representative Assembly are automatically set for the June RA. There will be no need to hold additional elections.
DeKalb nor the State has adopted their 2020/2021 budgets, however we know that both must be balanced. DeKalb received input from the community at its March 9, 2020 School Board Meeting, however; a decision has not been made about the budget thus far.
The current fiscal year budget expires June 30, 2020. A new state funding plan would need to be enacted by that date for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The Georgia House of Representatives passed its version of the budget, which included a $1,000 pay raise for teachers and increases for school bus drivers and cafeteria workers. The Speaker of the House, David Ralston - R-Blue Ridge - stated this week that it is unlikely that the raise for teachers and his own proposal to reduce the state income tax would survive.
We will be in contact with Mrs. Tyson and the Board to work through the issues as they arise in our new normal. Please contact ODE if you have issues or concerns with your employment.
From GAE Legal Services
Despite the many rumors, there has NOT been a settlement reached in this case. Here's the latest information provided by the Director of Legal Services for GAE.
Big win! If you recall the Court of Appeals after finding a breach of contract, remanded the case back to the trial court for further consideration. Today, the Superior Court granted class certification! This means that over 10,000 current/former employees are allowed to participate in the lawsuit via class representatives. The Barnes Law Group remain the lawyers for the class. I am sure they will begin the process of notifying everyone who is or may be affected by this decision. Could the school board appeal? Yes. But after spending millions in taxpayer money they should settle the case.
ODE will keep you updated as this continues.