DeKalb County

DeKalb Co. down 400 teachers as school starts, superintendent explains plan to hire administrators

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County Schools open their doors on Monday, but the district is still down 400 teachers in the classroom.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was at a meeting with the new superintendent of schools, where he answered questions ahead of the school year’s start.

The meeting follows confirmation on July 24 that the DeKalb school district would be spending millions on recruiting new administrators amid the teacher shortage.

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Newly selected DeKalb Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton announced in July that he’d be spending $12 million to hire 110 administrators to work as support staff.

He began his new role in Georgia on July 1, amid noted criticism from county residents.

Horton arrived in DeKalb amid a teacher shortage already impacting operations.

In the previous school year, the district had a 300-teacher shortage. This year, that number only grew ahead of the start of school.

The district needs to fill 400 positions. As an effort to recruit teachers and staff, a banner asks people to apply to be teachers and bus drivers.

While Horton said the $12 million was intended to improve student learning through hiring support staff, recruitment efforts for teachers and drivers isn’t working.

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Explaining the choice to hire 110 administrators during a 400-teacher shortage, Horton told Channel 2 Action News that the controversial choice was to help put resources in place for schools where they’re needed.

“This is not about stacking the central office with administrators for fluff or for fun,” Horton said. “Over $7.5 million ere invested in our schools.”

Horton said the hiring decision, which he made in his first two weeks on the job, was decided after researching the district.

The new superintendent said he’s investing in DeKalb County’s special education program, and working to enhance safety, hire more tutors, and build s stronger relationships between teachers and students.

“I didn’t just start working on this two weeks ago on July 1. It was an idea, I’ve been talking to critical team members and those in the RNE community and also had the opportunity to look and observe the surveys principals took on 2021 that talked about supports they would need,” Horton explained. “So I took that data and we go to work.”

There are 138 schools in DeKalb County. When asked how he was going to bring in tutors when hiring teachers has been difficult, Horton told Channel 2 Action News he wants them to all run the same way, within reason.

He said he’s confident everything will work out by Monday’s start of school.

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