Are teachers getting snowed by the snow days?

I am still trying to work this one out for myself. Is it fair if the snow/flood days turn out to be furlough days in Gwinnett or anywhere else?

Is it fair to apply recent snow days in metro Atlanta to furlough days?

Is it fair to apply recent snow days in metro Atlanta to furlough days?

This issue was first raised in an e-mail to me from a Gwinnett teacher.  I called and chatted with Gwinnett’s communications director Sloan Roach about this, and then Sloan followed up with an e-mail with more detail.

First, the teacher’s e-mail:

I am a teacher in the Gwinnett system, and I was wondering if there is any way you could do some research into Gwinnett’s plan for the furlough days the Governor has issued.  Our principal has told us that Gwinnett is proposing a plan where the three days that we had to cancel school (2 in September and 1 in January) would be considered our furlough days.  However, because the students still need to make those days up, we would have to work the make-up days.  The way I see it, that would mean that we would be teaching those days for free.  Would this be something that is even legal?  My principal talked like the plan would need to be approved from the state, so I was hoping that you could get some more information either from someone at the ISC or at the Georgia DOE

And the county’s response from Sloan Roach:

It is not surprising that there is some speculation on this; however at the district level we are still discussing how to best implement the additional three furlough days. Nothing has been communicated to schools yet on this as we are still looking at options to minimize the impact on teaching and learning.

As for the make-up days for inclement weather– that is a totally different issue. Our district already has determined that it will make up the three days missed due to flooding and the snow day. (That calendar is posted on our web site.) First Flood Day (Sept. 21) missed– Make up on Feb. 12 (originally scheduled as a snow make up day) Second Flood Day (Sept. 22) missed– Make up on March 15 (originally scheduled as a snow make up day) First snow day missed (Jan. 8)– Make up on Feb. 15 (This was originally scheduled as a student/teacher holiday. In October, it was changed to a potential snow make-up day. With the day missed on Jan. 8, students and teachers will now be at school on this day.)

We do have two snow make-up days remaining in the GCPS calendar. In Gwinnett, teachers’ pay is not docked for the days we missed due to inclement weather as we know we will make those days up within their 190-day contract.

To the teacher’s question about state consent: This is from DOE’s Matt Cardoza: “No, we do not have to approve furlough days.  The only thing they would have to bring to us would be a waiver of the 180 days or instruction or its equivalent.  Outside of that they are free to use the furlough days as they choose.”

46 comments Add your comment

mift

January 26th, 2010
2:22 pm

Students will not have to make those days up. henry is doing this as well. No biggy

mystery poster

January 26th, 2010
2:42 pm

It does seem that if the pay is docked due to furlough for Jan 8 and then they have to come in on a teacher holiday (Feb 15), that they would be working for free. I’d expect a lot of calling in sick.

Paul

January 26th, 2010
2:46 pm

they should have used 01/18/2010 as the makeup day as opposed to 02/15/10.

Uncle Commode

January 26th, 2010
2:58 pm

This action is completely necessary and legal. You will report ontime and work these days speciifed or be fired. You teachers have had it too good for too long. Its rare we ask much of you and when we do it turns into nothing more than a bytch session.

Please cease with these 5th grade theatrics and behave like the adults you believe you are!

Texas Pete

January 26th, 2010
3:03 pm

Paul is a dang trip. LOL!

Sick&Tired

January 26th, 2010
3:06 pm

I would suggest they not get paid for snow days, like an hourly employee and it will not make a difference if they have to work on a furlough day. We are all getting screwed these day, teachers – welcome to our world. If I were a teacher, I would just be happy like the rest of us, who still have jobs.

UGA Teacher

January 26th, 2010
3:15 pm

For those of you bad mouthing those of us who chose to teach your unruly children, I’d like for you to try it for just one day. At the end of that day, you’d walk out and never come back. You think we’ve had it easy, why don’t you try it for just one day. I guarantee you’ll keep your mouths shut from now on.

Teacher in Forsyth

January 26th, 2010
3:15 pm

Forsyth County planned well this year. The county issued a statement last week that said our teachers will not be taking 3 more furloughs because we have saved enough money with other measures to absorb the decreased budget. Each school has been diligent in limiting paper usage and lowering electricity costs. Many of us complained when we were asked to remove our electric pencil sharpeners, lamps and other similar items from our rooms…but now that we are one of the only counties able to continue with out pay interruption the complaining has certainly stopped! I know that our county cares about us as professionals and is completely dedicated to the education of our children. We may not always agree with or understand decisions that have to be made, but at least I feel the “powers that be” in this county are trying to do what is best for all involved.

Steven Samuels

January 26th, 2010
3:19 pm

If they make those make-up day as furlough days, that does mean schools will be canceled. I think that’s what a lot of teachers wanted the furlough days to be, isn’t it? It just doesn’t have as much impact on parents as otherwise, but it sounds like instruction days are being used as furlough days.

Rich

January 26th, 2010
3:28 pm

If the county/state can change a teacher’s contract, why do they have contracts?

Uncle Commode

January 26th, 2010
3:28 pm

UGA Teacher

January 26th, 2010
3:15 pm

Too bad. You chose your fate! Thought summers off would be nice and being a professional baby-sitter would be easy enough for ya butt didnt the cards were not in your favor.

Add to that its “SOOO NOBLE” to be a teacher…*TEWY*
Dont like your job then get another one. NOW get off this blog and get to teaching…

Uncle Commode

January 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

Enter your comments here

Uncle Commode

January 26th, 2010
3:32 pm

Oh yes UGA Teach. Look, you chose the noble profession of teaching so you might look down upon us commoners, while your nose is in the air, and state “Im a teacher” then expect us all to kneel and worship.

Tough nuggies. You chose your lot so deal with it. In the meantime my tax dollars are paying your salary so get off this blog and get to WORK!

mike

January 26th, 2010
3:34 pm

It’s Georgia Rich, 49th in the nation and by God proud of it. Quit askin questions boy…or else

ugaaccountant

January 26th, 2010
3:39 pm

Furlough day – the intent was not to only have 177 instructional days, it was to pay you less money in total for the same amount of instructional days. When your pay is cut, it doesn’t automatically mean you get to show up less often. Sometimes your pay simply is less for the same work as before. This is what the entire country is dealing with, teachers aren’ any different than the rest of us in this situation.

Now I don’t know if there are legal aspects to the teachers contracts that change this. Probably there are, and that would explain why different districts are treating things differently.

That Guy

January 26th, 2010
3:50 pm

@ UGA Teacher,

A very bold statement coming from you in light of your chosen profession. Not a slam, but come on now. I’ll go out on a limb to say that if I ever find out that my middle and/or high school kids are unruly or disruptive in class, I assure you that the threat of ISS would be the very least of their problems.

In my case, you’re partially correct on one count….I would probably be led out by the authorities at the end of the day. ;-) ….and wouldn’t want to come back.

futureteacher

January 26th, 2010
4:04 pm

Uncle Commode. I can’t believe you are being so rude to the people who are educating the future basically. No one expects you to kneel and worship and I don’t know where youre getting this idea that teachers are any different than you are. You alone do not pay for their taxes so you just thinking that you can tell them what to do makes you look ignorant.

Peter

January 26th, 2010
4:07 pm

Taking snow days is deceitful and immoral. I noticed a recent snow day taken that wasn’t really necessary so it could be used as a furlough day. I don’t think teachers should get special treatment because of their union. Shame on you teachers.

Rich

January 26th, 2010
4:08 pm

Do not respond to Uncle Commode and he will go away.

justmy2cents

January 26th, 2010
4:32 pm

Yeah…those snow/ice days….I had to work. The joys of being a 240 day employee. Hopefully I get to pick my 3 furlough days.

really? seriouslyl?

January 26th, 2010
4:34 pm

Maureen, is it possible you could include a filter that catches phrases like “teacher’s union” and “paid vacations”? I am getting to the point that when I see these phrases from people who write in, I immediately discount their opinion because they have not made an attempt to *begin* to understand the teaching profession.

I mean this seriously. I’d like to see this blog truly discuss educational issues without a bunch of reactions to mythical situations.

Thank you.

Clayton Teach

January 26th, 2010
4:42 pm

Umm…Peter, there are no teacher unions in Georgia, PAGE isn’t an official union and doesn’t have any real power. ‘We’ don’t expect special treatment, just fair compensation for work completed, like every other hard worker in this state. I did not get a raise this year, and that’s okay because it’s tough times. I have done approximately 980 hours unpaid overtime and spent over $780 of my own money buying supplies for the kids and that’s okay too. It sucks, but I’ll take my furlough days without complaint because I’m still employed. Please be mindful of the personal sacrifices teachers make on a daily basis, so that your children, or your friend’s children have a brighter future.

John

January 26th, 2010
4:50 pm

As a spouse of a 20 year veteran teacher, this whole notion of having long sumer vacations is nonsense. School lets out in late May and teachers head back the first week of August. The uninformed believe teachers head off to the beach or take the kids to the club pool all summer long. Wrong. Some attend graduate school to work on advanced or specialists degrees. Others attend continuing education courses and teaching conferences. Just this past summer, my spouse, at the request of her principal, attended three conferences and workshops during a one month period. So, contrary to popular belief, teachers don’t rest on their butts all summer long. Don’t even get me started on the preplanning and post-planning activities they undertake before school starts and after it ends. And for all you ‘commode’ idiots out there, I’d love to see you deal with the crap parents bring upon teachers.

retired

January 26th, 2010
4:51 pm

It has been, for many years, that students did not need to make up snow days, if there were 3 or less. For the teachers and staff the extra days were tacked on at the end of the year. This has worked well since “Snow Jam”…the year we even had school on several Saturdays.
Keep in mind in GA ..Teachers have no collective bargining, hence no union.

Teaching and Loving It

January 26th, 2010
4:51 pm

I like to teach and I enjoy going to school everyday. I realize I could get worked up about the furlough day – but why I’m just glad I get to do something I like to do. Some people are in a career that they hate everyday, I’m so glad I’m not them. Thank you for letting me be in part of your childrens life.

catlady

January 26th, 2010
5:20 pm

Furlough days should be declared well IN ADVANCE, rather than retroactively, so that teachers can seek other (day labor)employment to make up for the lost money.

Uncle Commode, you seem to be constantly flushed!

In addition, we should refuse to take on any additional “work” until something comes OFF THE LIST! The turnip is completely bloodless now.

@ catlady

January 26th, 2010
5:29 pm

If I understand what the system person said, they are NOT retroactively declaring furlough days. Those missed days are to be made up on specific days – as indicated in the school planning calendar. Teachers did not work on those days, and even though their pay in those months didn’t change, they were, in reality, over paid in those months – they have no right to that money until they complete the make-up days.

I think you and other teachers here have argued that furlough days should be on instruction days. In a way, by Gwinett is doing exactly that. They are calling a planned regular instruction day (make-up day) as a furlough day and not have schools. So, shouldn’t you be approving of that decision?

Dogmom

January 26th, 2010
6:10 pm

John – Is the word, “No” part of your wife’s vocabulary? There was no need for her to attend those conferences unless she wanted to or needed the in-services hours for her certificate renewal. Most of my colleagues and I already work enough unpaid overtime from August – May to help our students learn, plus tackle the endless list of items that fall under “professional duties and responsibilities.” Summer vacation and holiday breaks belong to me and my family.

Catlady – I have drawn the line in the sand. If it doesn’t benefit me personally and/or the sky won’t fall in if it’s not done – it can wait until tomorrow. I leave at a reasonable hour and have severely cut back on the amount of extracurricular activities I attend. I had to do something. I was fast approaching burn-out stage. I call it self-preservation.

Off Topic

January 26th, 2010
7:09 pm

Greg, Marietta GA

January 26th, 2010
7:50 pm

People like Uncle Commode just make me sad. Such ignorance and stupidity, wrapped up in a smug, self-righteous demeanor. He accuses others of “looking down their noses” while doing just that himself. What a sad testament to our society that we have hateful people like him.

Truly, his parents and the education system as a whole failed that poor, miserable, uneducated man.

Echo

January 26th, 2010
7:54 pm

@ “@ catlady”…we were NOT overpaid! Our pay is dispersed in 12 monthly payments. If I quit today the school owes me money for days I have already worked, about 1.5 months of money. You need to know what you are talking about before blogging.

future teacher

January 26th, 2010
7:54 pm

Peter last time I checked teachers weren’t able to choose to have a snow day, that is decided upon the school board.

most education majors don’t decide to teach because of the money, in fact first day of classes we are told that this is not a money making profession. The fact is teachers are being overloaded with so much and already don’t seek extra compensation, much less even hope for it. What other profession is there where you have to provide your own supplies. Anything extra or special comes out of your pocket when all you’re trying to do is help 30 students learn. They are already talking about making the classes sizes to 45 to 50 students per teacher. I would like to see you in a classroom with 45 kindergartners and then tell us how you feel about all this.

future teacher

January 26th, 2010
8:03 pm

Also uncle commode… You used the wrong form of but. It would not be BUTT but BUT. I would work on the sentence structure before you start critiquing an article about Education. Maybe if a teacher was able to spend more time with you, this wouldn’t have happened. I guess those professional babysitters were just to eager for summer to come around for their holiday. Such a shame to waste those tax dollars… I know.

teaching future leaders

January 26th, 2010
8:08 pm

I am a teacher that is glad to have a job. I have worked for 969 hours so far this school year. That doesn’t count what I put in on the weekend. Do I choose this? Yes. Do I want to do a great job? Yes!
Most people that work a 40 hour work week would have logged in 800 hours compared to my 969. That is about four extra weeks worth of work at least. So, as I see it, I have already worked the month of June. For the time I work on the weekends to be the best teacher I can be, that would probably be half of July! Do I get summers off? NO. Do I spend my hard earned money on my students and my class? YES!! Do the tax dollars provide for the students in my class that can’t afford supplies??? NO!!! I hate furlough days, but I love my job and my students.!

So if anyone who thinks educators have a free ride, come spend a few days in my shoes and in my pocketbook! You have no idea!

Joy in Teaching

January 26th, 2010
9:00 pm

I have cut WAY back on the things that I used to do for school. For instance, I once headed an afterschool activity which took anywhere from 10 – 15 hours per week of time. Never did get a stipend in the 20 years that I did it. I just did it because I loved what I was doing and because it was beneficial for students.

I stopped that once the furloughs kicked in.

I used to buy all sorts of cheap folders, notebook paper, pens, and paper and keep them in stock if I ever had a student whose parents just didn’t have the money for it.

I stopped that once the furloughs kicked in.

I used to participate in every single dang fundraiser that came through the school, buying muffins, barbecue tickets, peanuts and yards of wrapping paper. Goodnes knows my hips didn’t need it.

I stopped that once the furloughs kicked in.

Do I still put in extra time on the job? Of course. It is part of the job after all. I went into the teaching profession knowing that part of my contract would be to fullfill all duties required of me as a teacher. I also knew that those duties would not be confined to an 8 hour day. While it bothered me at times, I still did it because it was part of my job. I even whined about it some because, well, I am human after all.

I will still do my job to the best of my ability. I will even spend the extra time required to do it. But dadgummed….I will NO LONGER give them any more than I am required to do. That ship sailed when the state of Georgia decided that my services weren’t important enough to actually pay me what the contract I signed with them said it would.

So…my room looks like crap. There are files and piles of papers everywhere because I haven’t had a planning day since July in order to deal with it. If we actually have time during post planning (assuming we aren’t asked for even more furlough days then), I might have time to deal with it then. I certainly can’t take a few minutes to deal with it during class because I can’t take my eyes off my students for a second unless they begin to act like animals. I certainly can’t do it during planning as I’m either in meetings or covering a class or trying to find a copy machine that is actually working. And I certainly am not about to stay after school to deal with it. I almost dare an administrator to say something about it. I can work up a few tears if I have to….no problem.

Tell it like it is

January 26th, 2010
9:05 pm

This county is crap…over crowded and corrupt as hell. Dunwoody ran anway …take note. if it weren’t for north dekal..you’d be living in the equivakent of the city of Atlanta……The crime rate is worst than clayton county….you guys just get slightly better press

catlady

January 26th, 2010
9:13 pm

Dogmom, unfortunately they keep heaping it on us during the school day and just add it to the pile that must be done right away.

@ Echo

January 26th, 2010
9:30 pm

I never said anything about teachers being overpaid. I was simply referring to the salary you received in September when you had some “flood” days. Schools were closed therefore you did not work. However, they did not reduce your salary for those days and pay you later when those days were made up. Only in that sense, you were overpaid – you just got paid for the days you have yet to work. That’s all.

Sick Out

January 26th, 2010
9:57 pm

Is it time for a statewide “sickout” yet?

To @ Echo

January 26th, 2010
10:57 pm

It has always been policy in my district to log 8 hours (at school) over 40 to make up for inclement weather days. I did that (as did most others). No overpayment here, thanks. I gave them my time in exchange for my salary.

Echo

January 26th, 2010
11:10 pm

Once again, you still don’t get it. My September paycheck is actually only a PORTION of what I have earned because my pay is spread over 12 months. In other words I only get paid 83% (about 10 months work paid out in 12 installments)of what I am actually owed during the school months…NOT including taxes and all the other deductions. The county/state gets to keep my money (and earn interest on it) by deferring my FULL pay every month.

College Grad

January 27th, 2010
7:39 am

And my Family wonders why though I have the love, the passion, and the skill I did not go into teaching.
I commend all you teachers and thank you for sticking with it. I would proably be curled up fetal on the floor by now.

Ole Guy

January 29th, 2010
9:54 pm

The first time I was introduced to the reality of the teachers’ world was right around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was Saturday morning; I was gassing up my Cushman Eagle (the Cushman is to the modern motorcycle as the California Woody is to the SUV). Who should approach from the building, repleat in the appropriate uniform du jour, but my geometry teacher…in my mind, one of the smartest, most logical teachers …and one of my sources of inspiration. That’s the day one of the cruel realities of the teachers’ world descended upon this kid.

Gwinnett Teacher

January 31st, 2010
12:29 pm

It is so disrespectful how some people think of teachers. We work our tails off educating your children (MUCH more than the 8 hours 190 days that we are paid for). Kudos to other counties for using their money wisely and showing respect for the professionals teaching in their schools. Clearly our superintendent would rather take all the credit for how wonderful Gwinnett schools are while taking advantages of the people responsible for it. After making the decision to take away two days of preplanning, he purposefully furloughed the principals on other days so that the schools would have to be open so teachers could come in. No, we didn’t have to work those days, and many teachers didn’t, but most teachers desperately need those days to prepare to teach your children (especially in schools like mine where you have to tear down everything in your classroom and start over from scratch every single year). What kind of impression would it leave on you if you came in for Meet Your Teacher Day and the room was bare? Most parents wouldn’t think about the fact that at that point, we’d only had one paid day in our classrooms (most of which was taken by meetings).

And no, Uncle Toilet, I didn’t have to be a teacher, but someone has to do it and I have a heart for it. But I certainly don’t have to take crap from ignorant people like you. Start treating us with a little more respect. If you don’t value education, then keep your little ones at home– good luck making them valuable contributors to society without the help of a teacher.

gwinnett teacher

February 2nd, 2010
1:21 pm

Well, according to the TAC meeting last night, no furlough days for Gwinnett for the rest of this school year. Our contracts for next year will be 187 instead of 190 days…interesting…..

Boywonder

February 19th, 2010
8:35 pm

I think it high time for the teachers to unionize and put an end to this crap.

And get Wilber-anks to do the really important cost reductions in his bloated administration.

I admire the teachers for putting up with furlough nonsense as long as they have, but enough is enough.

Most private sector employees would have said enough already – recession, depression, whatever!
Even those of us in the private sector are getting tired of the austerity and lack of raises. This can’t and won’t last forever.

I have yet to hear a plan from Wilbur-anks to get the finances back on an even footing, and eliminate these furloughs. But I’m sure he is too busy at the Edmunds-Allen store to worry about such trivialities.