UPDATED 7/24: Will Georgia teachers get furloughed?

UPDATE: Cobb County is making other cuts to avoid furloughing teachers. Other systems — including Gwinnett, Forsyth and Henry — already announced furlough dates.

UPDATE: The State Board of Education is scheduled to meet this coming Tuesday to clear any obstacles preventing school districts from furloughing teachers and other school employees. The board is expected to vote on waivers to change the number of days Georgia requires school employees to work

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday (July 22) a plan to fill a $900 million hole in the budget. The plans includes all public school teachers taking three furlough days by the end of the calendar year.

Technically Perdue can’t order teachers to take furloughs because they hold contracts with individual school districts, not the state. It’s up to local superintendents and school boards to decide what to do.

Basically the state will cut the amount of funding school districts get to subtract three furlough days. School systems could furlough teachers or find other ways to make the cuts.

Cherokee County schools Superintendent Frank Petruzielo said the system’s teachers will be furloughed Monday and Tuesday when they were scheduled to plan for the upcoming school year. The third furlough day will come in November.

Others are following Cherokee’s lead. Henry County announced this afternoon the furlough days for teachers: July 27, July 28 and Nov. 3.

Just got Gwinnett’s dates for teachers: Aug. 3-4 and Oct. 9

Many districts have already cut to the breaking point. Let’s not forget these furloughs come on top of a 3 percent cut in school funding and years of austerity cuts.

Should school leaders decide to furlough they will likely target days students were already scheduled to stay home. That means teachers will be saying good-bye to planning days. Some systems may eliminate parent-teacher conference days as well.

I wonder how much work teachers would still have to do while furloughed.

After all, lessons must get planned, tests and papers must get graded and parents still expect responses to their phone calls and e-mails. Many teachers who do their jobs well already put in hours beyond the regular school day.

Do you think teachers should face furlough? If not, where else can schools cut?

576 comments Add your comment

what would jim d do?

July 22nd, 2009
8:37 am

I don’t like it but thats beside the point. Everyone is hurting and cuts have to be made. We are spending ourselves into bankruptcy people.

watch and see

July 22nd, 2009
8:43 am

To tell you the truth, I’m surprised GA didn’t come up with this a long time ago. Up until this year Cobb teachers were contracted for 191 days. The state requires 190. Not that I want to see my paycheck decrease, but I am more than happy to stay home on teacher work days. They are a complete waste of time. My old district in the northeast contracts their teachers to 185 days. There is no post-planning. The last day of school for kids is the last day of school for teachers. And to those who wonder how they close up and finish their paper work. Trust me! It’s done!
But the truth is I imagine morale will be at an all-time low this year, which is unfortunate.

Whatever

July 22nd, 2009
8:58 am

“Work” days are a waste of time. Do I want less money? NO. But to me time is pretty valuuable, so I’m ok with this idea.

teacher and single mother

July 22nd, 2009
9:03 am

I hope our furloughed days will be spread out in different months of the year as if these are taken during a one month period, then my paycheck is changed quite a bit.

Class of 74

July 22nd, 2009
9:03 am

A few furlough days won’t kill us. Teachers are very resourceful, and everything that needs to be done will get done. With all the economic uncertainty, I am very thankful for my job.

Joy In Teaching

July 22nd, 2009
9:09 am

If being forced to take a furlough means that another teacher gets to keep their job, then I will suck it up and deal with it. I knew going into this line of work that I would never be wealthy. I’ll just eat more dried beans, NOT buy pen and paper for my students, and I’ll be fine.

They probably will take place during teacher “work days.” Although, to be honest, I’ve never been able to accomplish much actual work or planning during those days as they are filled up with useless meetings. Does this mean that all of those meetings will take place after school instead? Figues.

ScienceTeacher671

July 22nd, 2009
9:11 am

In our district, we don’t get to work on “work days” anyway; we have to go to meetings and in-service training. (Cutting out the training sessions and the associated brought-in-from-somewhere-else trainers would save some money.)

Furloughing teachers during preplanning, as some districts have announced they will do, is just wrong, and will have a detrimental effect on teaching in those districts.

marshlady

July 22nd, 2009
9:11 am

I understand the problem, however I’m trying to decide what bills we won’t have the money to pay since my spouse and I both are teachers. In addition this is probably only the beginning.

Single mom

July 22nd, 2009
9:16 am

First of all, they are not giving us a cost of living raise for the next two years, but are raising our insurance rates, making our check less, which I have accepted. Now they want to take two days off my paycheck for the month of August? I am a single mother barely getting by as it is and taking two days at once puts me under with my bills. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for my job and glad this is all that has happened to me but when will they stop making education suffer so the higher ups can still keep their salaries?

I teach

July 22nd, 2009
9:17 am

School districts in the Northest and elsewhere contract their teachers for 185 days or less. I’m surprised GA didn’t catch on to this idea long ago.

Lindsey

July 22nd, 2009
9:19 am

Sonny Perdue should be ashamed of himself. Does he know how much a teacher makes, especially a new one?

Work days are not a waste of time. I get loads done on those days because I don’t have 5 year olds creeping over everything.

I already go in a week early(with no pay), what more do they want??

Single mom

July 22nd, 2009
9:25 am

Of course…. let’s not forget they upped the amount we have to pay into our retirement accounts. This already has taken money out of my check. I am looking at $150 less/ month, at least on my check already.

Henry County Teacher

July 22nd, 2009
9:26 am

I am thankful to have a job that pays bills, provides insurance, and offers retirement, but I just spent $15,000 to get a Specialist’s Degree so I would get a decent raise. Now the county is cutting my raise for the advanced degree by $2,000, not giving me a regular raise for two years, raising my insurance, and requiring me to contribute more to my retirement because the account has lost money. Now, they want me to give up approximately another $900 for furlough days. Don’t they realize that if teachers are unhappy, overworked, and underpaid, the children (who are everyone’s future) will suffer too?

Claire

July 22nd, 2009
9:28 am

Cherokee needs to follow Murray County’s lead and make cuts in places other than teacher’s salaries. They have added one hour to each school day for the 09/10 school year, allowing them to start back to school after Labor Day and saving over $70,000 in bus fuel costs alone. Imagine how much would be saved in Cherokee in fuel, not to mention utilities for not opening all the schools in the county until later in the summer. The amount saved could possibly eliminate the furlough need. Why isn’t this same plan being implemented in Cherokee County?

jim d

July 22nd, 2009
9:35 am

Teachers get what they deserve from their employer in the way of working conditions.

HMMM–now where have i heard that befor??

inBallGround

July 22nd, 2009
9:46 am

Glad, I’m working. From reading this, I havent seen a cost of living increase since I moved to GA 12 yrs ago and that’s business. I have only 3 weeks vacation, and these educators have how many days off all year ?

Norma Rae

July 22nd, 2009
9:47 am

If they our furlough days are those ridiculous Staff Dev. days where we listen to speakers and attend useless workshops, then I’m all for giving those up. They were a a waste of time. I’m sure that if all those top heavy jobs in the central office, all those area coordinators and assistants to the assistant superintendents, etc. were eliminated, then teachers wouldn’t always have to take the hit. Many of us have already lost a percentage of our pay, no step raise, National Board money cut. What next?

al cason

July 22nd, 2009
9:47 am

FAIRNESS FOR ALL: i believe that if a one state employee has to take a furlough then all state employees should (including teachers/govenors
/legislators/hospitals/etc)–everyone should take them–already too much has been placed on a limited number of state employees taking furloughs while others haven’t had to take furloughs. That would lessen the pain on solving this problem and would be much better than laying people off. Also parents that don’t own property with children in school should pay stipends or some form of tax to take the burden off of property owners and help prevent furloughs. Again it is not fair for a taxpayer with no children to pay all of the education expenses of a non-taxpayer with 3 children in school (what a deal that is).

Single mom

July 22nd, 2009
9:51 am

We do not get days off in a year. Most of us are working two jobs to make ends meet and if we are not doing that we are spending our personal money, spending weekends, nights, and our paid holidays preparing for your children. If you know of a teacher that doesn’t do those things, then they will not last long in the profession. I don’t teach for the money, but because I love what I do.

ScienceTeacher671

July 22nd, 2009
9:55 am

inBallGround, if it’s time off you want, become a teacher. Georgia makes it easy to change careers. ;-)

ScienceTeacher671

July 22nd, 2009
9:57 am

Mornin’, jim d! If it bothers me too much, I’ll go back to the private sector…because I can.

Or maybe I can’t — are there any jobs left there, or have we outsourced them all?

jim d

July 22nd, 2009
10:00 am

I gotta ask but
one question. Have teachers in this state really been beaten down so badly that they will take another licking and keep on ticking or will they raise up??

Melinda from Forsyth County

July 22nd, 2009
10:03 am

Even if I am unhappy, overworked, and underpaid, my students WILL NOT SUFFER from it! I hope I have a better character than to blame my kids for something they have no control over. I look at my brother who was building $800,000 homes for people and who is now operating a hot dog stand and is doing it with enthusiasm and flair… He is making the most of a bad economy, as should we all. We are lucky to have jobs we love. And as Linus once stated in shock, “Are you suggesting that Miss Othmar would actually ACCEPT MONEY for teaching?????” To that student, teaching was a noble profession and a calling. I feel that way, too. Let’s all pull together to help each other and accept solutions that may provide more employment for others!

jim d

July 22nd, 2009
10:04 am

never mind–my bad–forgot who we were talking about here

fairness for all

July 22nd, 2009
10:06 am

Allen

July 22nd, 2009
10:08 am

So has Sonny “furloughed’ his fishing hole the state is funding yet?

Joy In Teaching

July 22nd, 2009
10:08 am

What I do want to know is…are they going to redo our contracts? How does that work, exactly?

Jennifer

July 22nd, 2009
10:10 am

Yes teachers have substantial vacation time, but what many do not realize, teaching does not stop when we walk out the door. We have to complete lesson plans, grade papers, make out tests, etc. These days many school districts are “utilizing” teachers during their planning periods to watch other classes so the system will not have to pay for a substitute. Teachers can have at least one, if not more, planning periods taken from them during a week. I am thankful to have a job and if I have to furlough, I will…but I am very tired of the attitude that teachers have it easy….the planning days seem to be more important at the beginning of the school year than at the end of the school year…I have an idea, why don’t school system cut some of these inflated supplements the coaches receive…they should not cut sports, just the outrageous supplements…how can a coach receive a $10,000 extra supplement to his/her salary? Half of that supplement amount could buy new books so students would have a book to carry home rather than having to use a class set…I apologize for my soapbox, but I’m tired of people saying teachers have it easy.

jim d

July 22nd, 2009
10:12 am

melinda,

no pain no gain

jim d

July 22nd, 2009
10:17 am

yes indeed, Georgia teachers are about to F’d

what would jim d do?

July 22nd, 2009
10:17 am

“Have teachers in this state really been beaten down so badly that they will take another licking and keep on ticking or will they raise up??”

Fair question jim d. Heres my status:

Yearly Salary: 50K
Part Time: 15K
Military Retirement: 25K

Can’t speak for other teachers but theres no beat down going on here. Its known as PLANNING.

Ga Master Teacher

July 22nd, 2009
10:20 am

As a veteran teacher in the state of Georgia, I have always felt supported and appreciated. I understand these are tough economic times and that accommodations need to be made. My district has already built in two furlough days if needed into our contracts and I feel they will be implementing this. I am fine with this. However, taking these two days at the beginning of August will be extremely detrimental. Teachers need this time to prepare for the new year. It takes much longer than 5 days to get ready to teach a whole new bunch of kids, prepare a welcoming and inviting classroom and meet parents, not to mention deal with the tremendous amount of paperwork that has to be done. Plus, cutting two days in one month will be very difficult for some, if not most, teachers. If the three days are spread out throughout the year, that is a much more acceptable option and one I am okay with taking.
InBallGround, and all others who think teachers have it so easy with summers off, let me just tell you that you have no idea what you are talking about. I go in to work at least an hour before I am supposed to be there so that I can prepare for the day. I also stay at least an hour after I am supposed to in the afternoon. I grade papers and work on lessons and contacting parents well into the late hours of the evening. I spend Christmas “vacation” working on more projects and stimulating activities for the second semester. I spend spring break working on end of the year plans and contacting parents. A good deal of my weekends are spent repeating all the actions listed above because there is not enough time in the regular school day to possible get all of this done. The summers are spent working a second job, because they don’t pay us enough as it is, and going to trainings so that I will be up to date on the latest trends in education so that I can provide the best learning environment possible for the children I serve. Did I mention I have a three year old and an infant? So, all this “extra” time you seem to think teachers have is really time we’re spending working without pay so that your child will have a better future, and this unfortunately comes at the expense of time with our own children.

Melinda from Forsyth County

July 22nd, 2009
10:22 am

Right. Challenges such as these show what one is made of. I am not going to gripe about others and situations that I perceive as unfair. I have never been a coach… don’t want to be! Look at all they have to deal with and all the extra-curricular time. Not just coaches… but other areas too. I haven’t walked in their shoes so I can’t criticize. Challenges and adversity can build or deplete character. Come on, teachers! Let’s show everyone what we are made of!

consider your luck

July 22nd, 2009
10:25 am

This is a really bad economy. Consider yourselves lucky to only have to give up a few days pay. I am suffering a job loss (heavy construction manager with a college degree) that has placed us with no income and no health insurance for 10 months and not much hope for the future. It is difficult to change professions, since other professions are also hit by the recession and you have to compete with experienced people for those jobs. Hadn’t thought of a hotdog stand. That could be a good idea.

We would jump at the chance to have a job with benefits even if it means giving up a few days pay here and there!

jim d

July 22nd, 2009
10:31 am

here’s a thought– why not get rid of 3-4 asst. principals in every school—have only one disciplinary person–set thermostats up a couple of degrees, reduce outdoor lighting at night, reduce maint. staff, and a ton could be saved by reducing allowable personal and sick days for teachers and staff>

don’t take teachers work time–take their off time that they get paid for.

teacher in Gwinnett

July 22nd, 2009
10:34 am

To: jim d and in Ballground.

I don’t really understand why the two of you seem to be so insensitive to what is happening to teachers. I previously had a job in midtown where I made a great salary. However, I felt compelled to teach and work to fix the problems in public education that we face in this country. You, as US citizens, should be concerned about the fact that the schools are continuing to be cut. Do you not realize what it’s like to teach in a public school? I teach in a wonderful school; however, I have never worked harder in my entire life than when I became a teacher. I used to have a 3-week vacation, too, but when I left at 5:30, I didn’t think about work until the next morning. I definitely didn’t do the firm’s work at home EVERY weekend. Additionally, yes, we are finishing our summer break, but even though this is far from my first year, I still spent the majority of it planning for the next year and teaching summer school. What you don’t realize is that in high school, teacher’s classes are constantly changed. In elementary school, requirements change, textbooks change, etc. Your work is never done. I love being a teacher, but it takes more than the teachers in the state of Georgia being outraged at what is happening in the state before anything will happen. The citizens have to stop being so cynical about teachers and demand with us – not insult us or make fun of us. WE are more responsible than you for the future of YOUR children. Please keep that in mind in the future.

DeKalb Conservative

July 22nd, 2009
10:36 am

I’m really impressed by the postings here. I moved from MA a few years ago and I can assure you if this was proposed there you would find teacher’s union picket lines.

what would jim d do?

July 22nd, 2009
10:36 am

“don’t take teachers work time–take their off time that they get paid for.”

And what time would that be pray tell? I assume you know how a teachers salary is disbursed. Quit trying to be cute. You are coming across as a troll. An ignorant one at that.

$10,000 Supplement???

July 22nd, 2009
10:37 am

Jennifer,
Let’s not throw other teachers under the bus in a situation like this. Most coaches make between $500 and $3000 each year for the extra 30 to 50 hours each week that we put in shaping these student-atheletes as better people… It is not all about winning games. I am also a high school math teacher so don’t take the “PE teachers have it easy” route either.

jim d

July 22nd, 2009
10:42 am

Dear Teach in Gwinnett,

unfortunately some my insensitivity rubbed off of your boss (not exactly a warm and fuzzy personality).

Try setting through years worth of board meetings watching this man at work. Then listen to teachers complaining for 13 years, doing nothing to improve their own position, and you’ll understand why I’m a little cynical.

Doni

July 22nd, 2009
10:51 am

For those who think we are PAID when we have off time – no we are not. We are paid for 190 days work. That pay is then divided over 12 months. So, yes, we draw a pay check during our school vacations, but we are not paid for those days. For a new teacher in Georgia, their first year’s salaray is divided over 13 months, so they will receive a paycheck the first month they teach and not have to wait until September 30 to get paid.

Joe Paul

July 22nd, 2009
10:52 am

Teachers already get blamed for everything that is “wrong” with our schools, so now we get slapped again. Why don’t we let politicians work for free…that will fix the entire problem of money right there. Oh, and I don’t know any other line of work that allows people to say one thing and do another and still keep their jobs anyway. If politicians worked for free we would only get those who really cared about the people…enough to do it because it was simply the right thing to do. You know, like teachers, who work for a fraction of what others with the same level of education get paid. Come on S.P., you can do better than this.

Laura from Forsyth

July 22nd, 2009
10:53 am

I am thankful to have a job! I never thought I would make a fortune teaching and I love what I do. If 3 days helps out, I’m in!

Kathie

July 22nd, 2009
10:55 am

I don’t know about the rest of you, but after not receiving any pay increase coming close to the rise in cost of living for the last couple of years a 1%+ paycut will pose a major problem for me.

Susan

July 22nd, 2009
11:00 am

Teachers make do with less and figure out a way ALWAYS, because we can’t let our students pay the price for bad decisions made on our behalf. Cutbacks can be made in areas that wouldn’t affect the teachers or the students. Is anyone talking about furloughing admnistrators and county office personnel? How about not replacing textbooks that are meeting our curriculum needs? In the 12 years that I’ve been teaching, we’ve replaced our math and reading texts three times….a wasteful practice. Material in these subjects has not changed. Perhaps the time has come to ask our teachers what they recommend….they are an intelligent group and can offer intelligent solutions. In addition, we try to do what’s in everyone’s best interest, with the students our #1 priority. Expecting teachers to take another cut is not the solution!

teacher in Gwinnett

July 22nd, 2009
11:00 am

To: all of the teachers who think it’s fine to be furloughed as long as you have a job.

I understand your feelings, but that is such a passive attitude! I can’t believe no one realizes that it’s a slippery-slope. If we’re okay with that and no one complains – what will happen next? I do agree with jim d in that we can’t just roll over and allow this. What other wasteful things are happening that could’ve been cut to keep this from happening?? My school just recarpeted the ENTIRE building. The carpet in my class was perfectly fine! I’m sure there are tons of other government things that could’ve been cut. I know that no one will say anything ever – because we are afraid of not having a job, but there has to be something that can be done. Where are the unions??

To jim d

July 22nd, 2009
11:01 am

You know that we only get paid for the days we work, therefore, I’m ok with your plan of only taking pay for the days we don’t work – that means we pay nothing! Yeah, jim d for gub’ner!

what would jim d do?

July 22nd, 2009
11:03 am

You do know the difference between salaried and hourly employees and how they are paid don’t you?

The Reality of Being A Teacher

July 22nd, 2009
11:04 am

Many people don’t realize that yes, teachers do get more vacation time than those who work in other professions, but our paycheck is actually based on the 190 days we work and is divided into 12 months so that we do not have to go 2 months without a paycheck when school is not in session. It is also important to consider all of the extra time that teachers put into planning lessons, contacting parents, staying after school for meetings, trainings, conferences, etc., and we are not compensated for this extra work and these extra hours. In another job it would be considered overtime and the employee would likely be paid time and a half. It is true, teaching is not a career that you enter with the expectation of becoming rich, and most do it for the love of it, but realistically we have to support our families as well. It is also important to consider the money that teachers take out of their own pocket to provide students with supplies in their classrooms. Many do not realize that the state does not stock a teacher’s classroom with everyday supplies. I have spent upwards of $300 to begin the year and I often spend more throughout the school year on materials I need for lessons. This all comes out of my pocket because I do care about making education fun, interesting, and I put my students first. I would like to know how many others who do not actually own their own business put that kind of money into their job every 9 months. While the extra work, expenses, and hours given to the school without compensation come with the profession, these realities should be considered when discussing furloughs. As someone mentioned above, workdays are now consumed with meetings and trainings, offering little time to actually work in our classrooms. These meetings and trainings will still have to occur, so we will surely be expected to stay after our normal working hours for more afternoons to take care of those meetings and trainings, therefore not really having any time from work subtracted at all, yet the pay will be. The point is, teachers, like others in service professions, are not compensated enough as it is, and taking more from them does give a blow to morale for some. Thank goodness teachers do love their jobs and choose this job for the love of it rather than the monetary benefits because if they didn’t, actions like these from our government would surely drive wonderful teachers who are shaping the future of our country from the profession.

Anne

July 22nd, 2009
11:04 am

My system is not only cutting teacher days. They are cutting all certified personnel the additional days. I now face 8 furlough days but am expected to fulfill all my job responsibilities which have multiplied exponentially with all the NCLB mandates and monitoring activities.