UPDATE 7/29: Atlanta Public Schools joins several others districts in saying they wont furlough teachers. Read the story here.
UPDATE: As expected, state board members cleared the way for school districts to furlough teachers. Wait there’s more: the unanimous vote gives school districts the opportunity to use up to seven more furlough days.
The State Board of Education is meeting today to vote on amending rules so that any of Georgia’s 182 school districts could change the terms of the teachers’ contracts to allow for furloughs.
Last week, Gov. Sonny Perdue requested that public school districts furlough teachers for three days to save the state about $100 million.
State employees will be furloughed three days and state agencies must cut their budgets by 5 percent because of a $900 million hole in the budget.
Perdue can’t make the districts furlough teachers. But he told system leaders that the amount of money they receive from the state will be cut to reflect furloughs. If schools systems don’t want to furlough, they have to find other places to cut.
Of course, school districts have been slicing and dicing their budgets for years because of austerity cuts and other reductions in state funding.
Some school districts – such as Gwinnett, Forsyth and Cherokee – decided to furlough. Many other systems have done the same, cutting into teachers’ pre-planning time as they prepare for the new school year.
Other systems – such as Cobb and DeKalb – have found other places to cut.
Several systems that furloughed teachers told them not to come in yesterday or today. Teachers, are you still doing work from home?
It’s expected that the state board will approve the change to allow for furloughs. But what message would the board send if they voted it down?
NOTE: The State Board of Regents is expected to take up furloughs and budget cuts for Georgia’s public colleges and universities when it meets Aug. 11 and 12.
STORY HELP: Reporter Nancy Badertscher is looking to speak with private school parents who are using scholarships funded by the tax credit approved by the General Assembly in 2008. If you would like to participate in this story please contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE STORY HELP: A co-worker is writing a back-to-school story looking at who is volunteering in schools. If your PTA or school has an interesting group — whether it be all fathers or all grandparents or employees from a local company — we want to hear from you. Send a note to email@example.com if you’d like to participate.