Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, is the first hopeful out of the gate Monday with a news release denouncing cuts in bonuses for the state’s more 2,000 national board certified teachers.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this weekend that national board certified teachers are seeing the 10 percent bonuses they were promised cut in half. Gov. Sonny Perdue proposed eliminating the bonuses completely, but lawmakers provided just over half of the funding needed to provide the bonuses.
So those teachers are getting the equivalent of a 5 percent pay cut, often on top of furloughs.
“I acknowledge and understand that in order to avoid raising taxes, Georgia must address serious and substantial budget cuts, but teacher pay is off limits,” Oxendine said. “I call on Governor Perdue and thre General Assembly to immediately reverse this policy and restore this vital funding to the very best of Georgia teachers. The message this cut sends to those education students in our colleges and universities is demoralizing.”
Oxendine isn’t going out on a limb on the issue. Most if not all of the gubernatorial candidates support the bonus program. Former Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democratic candidate for the top job, first implemented the 10 percent bonus program and for several years headed the board that ran the national certification process. He called the cuts to the program “outrageous.”