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DeKalb schools discover employee overpayments

DeKalb schools discover employee overpayments

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- Seven employees of the DeKalb County School District might have to pay back a total of about $47,500 in overpayments discovered during an employee verification process.

School officials issued an alert on Saturday with results of the report, which started in February.

Two of the employees have left the district, five others were on leave.

The district's legal affairs office will now work to recover any unearned payments.

The survey of 15,000 employees also identified 148 non-verified employees, mostly substitute teachers or part-time coaches. The district stopped payments to them beginning with the April 13 pay period.

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson ordered the process in February, along with an independent audit of Central Office and school-based personnel.

Dr. Atkinson said it's part of a move to shrink the Central Office and drive more resources to schools and classrooms.

Gladys Cook Scholarship winners announced

Gladys Cook Scholarship winners announced

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- The DeKalb County Council of PTAs has announced this year's winners of the Gladys Cook Scholarship.

The prize, named for a former DeKalb PTA president, is awarded annually to one student from each county high school. It comes with $1,000 for them to use toward their college educations.

"I want to congratulate each of the wonderful students recognized by the Council of PTAs and the Gladys Cook Scholarship," DeKalb Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson said in a statement. "One of our slogans is, 'Miracles Happen in DeKalb Schools Every Day.' These students and their inspiring stories are outstanding examples of those miracles."

This year's scholarship recipients include:

Arabia Mountain High School
Kyle Jackson Woumn
Will attend Georgia Tech
Major: Computer engineering and Spanish

Ga. high school students take longer to earn diplomas

ATLANTA -- A new method of calculating graduation rates reveals that more high school students are dropping out than had been previously counted and some of them are taking five or even six years to earn a diploma.

According to reports the new formula was released last week. It shows that Georgia's 2011 graduation rate dropped 13 percentage points using the calculation, to 67.4 percent.

RELATED | Compare graduation rates by school

Last chance to vote on new DeKalb school calendar

Last chance to vote on new DeKalb school calendar

DECATUR, Ga. -- The DeKalb County School District is considering a new school calendar that would include early dismissals every Wednesday.

Parents are being encouraged to vote online for one of three proposed calendars for the 2012-2013 school year.

All three calendars call for classes to end one hour earlier on Wednesdays.

One of the options is a modified school calendar that would start on August 1st. It would include four one-week breaks during the school year, with a two-week break at Christmas.

The proposals were developed by a calendar committee, formed at the request of DeKalb Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson.

The committee included parents, teachers, principals, district office staff, and community partners. 

Nearly 90 metro Atlanta schools near bottom of barrel

Nearly 90 metro Atlanta schools near bottom of barrel

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Education has released a list of 156 schools labeled as "focus" schools under the state's new accountability system.

The schools, many of which are in metro Atlanta, are one step above the state's worst performing schools, called "priority" schools, which were released last week. The "focus" schools are ones with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent over two years or have large gaps between the highest and lowest achieving subgroup of students on campus.

Subgroups can be determined by race, special needs and family income.

The state was one of 10 to win waivers last month from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Bill would revoke bonuses for teachers caught cheating

Bill would revoke bonuses for teachers caught cheating

ATLANTA -- A Senate committee has passed a bill that would revoke bonuses for Georgia teachers who cheat on standardized tests.

The Democratic-backed legislation was approved unanimously by the Senate education committee Monday. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote before heading to the governor's desk.

Under current policy, teachers can receive bonuses or incentive pay based on the standardized test scores of their students.

The bill stems from last year's cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools.

A state investigation in July revealed widespread cheating by educators in nearly half of the Atlanta's 100 schools dating to 2001. In all, nearly 180 teachers and principals were accused of giving answers to students or changing responses once the tests had been completed.

Nearly 40 metro schools among worst performing

Nearly 40 metro schools among worst performing

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Education has released a list of the 78 worst performing schools in the state as part of its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Nearly half of those schools are in the Metro Atlanta area. Of the schools listed, 14 are Atlanta Public Schools, nine are in DeKalb County and three are in Gwinnett County. Fulton and Cobb County each have one school on the list.

The list identifies the state's "priority" schools -- those that consistently perform poorly on tests, have low graduation rates or are already receiving federal improvement funds.

To be considered a "Priority School," one would have a graduation rate of 60 percent or less for two consecutive years, have low achievement on standardized tests or receive School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds to implement a school intervention model.