DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Some DeKalb County school teachers are outraged by their employment contracts for next year.
One teacher told Channel 2’s Liz Artz, "It’s just one more thing, one more blow."
The teacher didn't want to be identified, but she wanted her voice heard. She told Artz she speaks for dozens of DeKalb County school teachers who are outraged about next year’s contract that has a liquidation clause the teacher called “mean spirited.”
It would require an employee to pay the district $750 if they left DeKalb schools after signing the agreement and before the contract is up.
“We have to sign our contract by Thursday, if we don't sign it [we] don't have a job for next year,” the teacher said.
The DeKalb County School District released a statement Sunday saying:
“Improving student achievement is the number one priority of the DeKalb County School District. Historically, student performance in our district has been negatively impacted by educators who sign legally binding contracts and then abruptly announce just prior to the beginning of the new school year that they are also contracted to work in other districts.
When this occurs, the District’s ability to provide each student with a highly qualified teacher on day one is compromised because the teacher recruitment pool has been severely diminished. DeKalb's liquidated damages clause is based on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission's, The Code of Ethics for Educators, Standard 8: An educator shall fulfill all of the obligations detailed in the contract with the local board of education or education agency for the duration of the contract. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: 1. abandoning the contract for professional services without prior release from the contract by the employer; and 2. willfully refusing to perform the services required by a contract.”
The district said the monetary penalty would be used to hire a replacement.
The teacher said as little as they get paid, that is a lot of money.
The contract is also for 186 days. The veteran teacher said they are supposed to work 190 days a year, so she is reading it as four days of furloughs for next school year.
It’s a big deal because DeKalb teachers are no longer salaried employees, she said they now get a day rate.
The contract is to be taken seriously. A breach could end up at the professional standards commission, which could suspend a teacher’s license for six months