Decatur School Board swears in members, seeks student representativeNewley elected Decatur School Board Member Tracey Anderson is sworn in by Judge Rhathelia Stroud at the Wilson Center on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Decatur, GA — Two Decatur School Board members were sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 9. James Herndon will serve a second term on the board and Tracey Anderson will serve her first term.
Herndon holds the District 1, Post B, seat. Herndon was first elected in 2019 and will serve his second term on the board. Anderson represents District 2, Post B, filling former Board Member Tasha White’s seat. This will be her first term on the school board.
A Decatur High School student could also be selected to serve on the school board as early as this spring. The school board is looking to add a student representative who would provide input to the school board, but would not be a voting member.
The district is also looking to see if they can have a student voting member on the board. Chief of Staff Amanda Lynch presented the regulation to the board on Tuesday. Regulations do not require school board approval, and the administration will work toward selecting a student member this spring.
The student would be able to attend and participate in all school board meetings, except for executive sessions. Students could receive course credit for serving as the student representative.
The student representative would serve two years beginning in 11th grade. In their junior year of high school, the student would be an apprentice in a training role.
“The apprentice is expected to provide input, which might include requests or preferences of students, to the student board representative,” Lynch said.
In their senior year, the student would serve as the Student Board of Education Representative, according to the regulation attached to the agenda.
“The City Schools of Decatur (‘CSD’) Board of Education believes that engaging the student body and seeking its input and feedback regarding the district’s educational programs and activities is vital to achieving the district’s vision and mission and carrying out its strategic plan,” the regulation states. “To this end, the Board of Education supports the participation of a Student Board of Education Representative, selected by the district’s high school students.”
Students interested in running for the position would have to declare their candidacy. Students would be elected by a majority of their peers in ninth through 11th grade.
To view the regulation, click here.
In other business:
– The school board is also seeking to increase teacher and staff pay. Chief of Human Resources Adena Walker presented a salary and benefits analysis and several options during the work session.
Board members favored an option that would increase the entry-level salary to $55,200 while working toward increasing the entry-level pay to $57,000.
“This ultimately ties back into one of our strategic accelerators, which is cultivating and retaining high-quality professionals,” Walker said. “One of the goals of this accelerator is to propose a competitive compensation package for all positions to support the recruitment and retention of qualified employees based on market conditions, with board-established budget limitations.”
In the presentation, the option of increasing the entry salary for teachers was listed as option No. 5 the impact on the budget would be about $1.6 million to just increase the salary. To increase the salary and benefits, it would cost about $2 million.
To increase the entry-level salary for teachers to $57,000 – which was option No. 7 in the presentation – the cost could be about $3.1 million. To increase the salary and benefits, the total impact on the budget would be about $4 million.
For both options, there would be additional increases for each step on the school district’s salary schedule.
“I would highly encourage us to say…can we afford option seven, oh we can’t, but maybe we want to get there by FY 2028,” School Board Chair James Herndon said. “Can we afford starting at option five next year? That would be great. I would like the conversation to start and end there in terms of total compensation for teachers and staff.”
– During the regular meeting, the board recognized several students for their accomplishments in the middle school spelling bee, band, civic engagement, and the Young Georgia Authors Contest.
Nuha Muneer won Beacon Hill Middle School’s annual spelling bee in 2023. She also won 2nd Place in the Junior Beta Spelling Bee at the Georgia Junior Beta State Convention. Muneer will compete at the Junior Beta National Convention in June.
DHS band students Spencer Mullen, Spencer Wilson, and Aadi Shrikant were chosen as winners of the Georgia Music Educators Association Composition Contest. They submitted their music creations and were chosen from an applicant pool of other high school students from across the state. Their compositions will be performed in January at the annual Georgia Music Educators Association annual teacher conference.
Decatur High School students Juno Rogers and Payton Sobon will serve on the city of Decatur’s Environmental Sustainability Board.
Here are CSD’s 2024 district winners of the Young Georgia Authors (YGA) writing competition:
– Max Zheng – Kindergarten at Westchester Elementary School
– Viraaj Mishra – 1st Grade at Westchester Elementary School
– Molly Skeen – 2nd Grade at Winnona Park Elementary School
– Liesel Gilliam – 3rd Grade at Talley Upper Elementary School
– Alice Wilke – 4th Grade at Talley Upper Elementary School
– Claire Camp – 5th Grade at Talley Upper Elementary School
– Charlotte Custer – 6th Grade at BHMS
– Annabel Kim – 7th Grade at BHMS
– Junebug Brown – 8th Grade at BHMS
– Bethany Mikrut – 9th Grade at DHS
– Raina Johanson – 10th Grade at DHS
– Tobiah Watts – 11th Grade at DHS
– Margaret Pousner – 12th Grade at DHS
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