DeKalb County Schools to spend $85,000 on marketing campaign - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

DeKalb County Schools to spend $85,000 on marketing campaign

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Near the intersection of Buford Highway and Clairmont Road, your commute is about to look a little different. The DeKalb County School District launched a new billboard marketing campaign to change the perception of the school system.

Tim Halloran has raised three children in DeKalb County Schools and has a degree in marketing. 

“I don’t know what they’re going to advertise to be honest with you,” Halloran said.

And as someone who works in the marketing industry, he was perplexed to learn that the county would spend $85,710 of taxpayer money for billboards and other ads which say, "I Love DeKalb Schools. Inspire, Achieve, Excel."

“Put it in the classrooms, give it to the teachers before you’re off advertising something that’s probably going to be a water sandwich to be honest with you,” Halloran said.

School board member Stan Jester is also opposed to the campaign and wrote a blog stating that the billboards should say, "Most failing schools in Georgia, worst paid teachers, deficit spending and 2nd highest millage rate in Georgia."

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green disputes some of Jester’s facts and said the school district is improving.

“We’ve taken care of that. We’ve addressed that.  This comes after we’ve addressed that,” Green said.  “We got our accreditation last year in January for a year and then we were up for a five-year renewal right after that.”

CBS46 asked Green why the county didn’t put the money back in the classrooms.

“Well we’re doing that. I think there’s an opportunity here, a unique opportunity. As you know we’ve increased our fund balance and we’ve been able to do that, we’ve been able to rollback our millage rate and at the same time give raises to teachers, 2.5 percent raise to teachers.  And also give a 2 percent raise to staff,” Green said. 

Green said the county has a success story to tell and they want to celebrate and showcase it in hopes of building a positive movement.

“Well I think people are just kind of fed up to be honest with you. I think people are at a stage where they want to see their tax dollars, which continue to go up, go into educating our children and improving our schools and their test scores,” Halloran said. "I think before you start advertising something, you've got to get your product right and their product is not right, right now.

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