Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Six furlough days for teachers?

UPDATE: Please see this related story, which notes some of the cuts restored in the state education budget, including funding for school nurses.
State Rep. Ed Lindsey, who chairs the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education, just floated a proposal: teachers across the state might be asked to take six furlough days during fiscal 2010.

The furloughs would potentially fall on six planning days and they would save the state about $200 million, said Lindsey, R-Atlanta. It would essentially wipe out the pay raise teachers got in fiscal 2009 and the savings could be sunk back into the state's education funding formula, he said.

Because contracts were already signed, teachers were the only state employees to get their regular 2.5 percent raise this year. Lindsey said furloughs may help the state and local systems avoid the prospect layoffs, which some systems are already discussing.

"Over the next two weeks or three weeks, we would be remiss... (if we) did not consider (furloughs)," Lindsey said.

Georgia Association of Educators President Jeff Hubbard was present for Lindsey's remarks, which came shortly after the sub-committee's budget vote Tuesday. Hubbard said furloughs aren't ideal, but he didn't reject them out of hand.

"It's an economic reality," he said. "And we realize that all of Georgia's citizens are having to play their part right now."

Hubbard said a couple of school systems, Gwinnett and Forsyth, are hiring staff right now. Others have freezes on. But "the majority" are cutting staff, whether teachers or other staff, such as paraprofessionals, he said.

"We understand (the legislature is) in a tough spot," Hubbard said. "Hopefully this will help save some positions."


midstate teacher said...

Sure, I would go with the six days of furlough if they also reduce the paperwork. My planning days are about 75% paper work and 25% talking about paper work. My spouse wonders why I am in one hour before school, one hour after school, then spend about 15-20 hours a week grading papers or working on lessons.

mitt said...

Midstate Teacher omitted the most important part of the argument in the last sentence, I'm sure the words "at home" were meant to be added.

chris said...

On those planning days the administration has staff meetings and Professional Learning. I'm sure it really wouldn't be a furlough, the teacher would be expected to be there (the principal makes a lot of stuff mandatory the staff be there), even if they aren't getting paid.

The Riverbum said...

As a certified teacher, I can relate to the workload that teachers are under. But at the same time, our district has already sent over 500 employees home, unpaid for a week during this year (including me), and we have no idea what next year will bring!

I disagree with Chris, in that the principal would also be on furlough, as would the professional learning staff that the school district provides...not to mention that the heat/air would be shutdown during those times to save money. Plus, I think it would be such a big thing, that nobody would put up the the negative public relations of being called on the carpet in public.

Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. said...

On Rep. Edward Lindsey's plan to cut six days work off Georgia teacher's salary, I suggest Rep. Lindsey, a well-to-do attorney, cut six days income from his own salary as a State Rep, and then contribute six day's salary as an attorney to the state budget! Leadership means taking the first step you are asking others to take. Of course, he won't!
Dr. Stafford