A hiccup in the plan to furlough Georgia teachers

The state Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting for next Tuesday to erase a potential glitch in Gov. Sonny Perdue’s plan to reduce state spending by giving more than 100,000 teachers a three-day furlough.

The act of giving teachers a forced vacation (without pay) must be done through the 181 individual school systems with whom these educators have contracts.

The governor will cut allocations each school system in amounts commensurate with those furloughs. Teacher contracts are for 190 days — 180 in the classroom. Perdue is recommending that non-instruction days be sacrificed.

Again, technically, the final choice is up to the school system. However, to dip below those 190 days, each school system needs a waiver, special dispensation, from the state Board of Education.

That’s what the Tuesday meeting will address. Possibly in the form of a blanket waiver for all school systems, according to Dana Tofig, spokesman for state School Superintendent Kathy Cox. Here’s the rule involved.

Now, teachers and other concerned citizens are welcomed to attend the 8 a.m. public meeting. But according to the notice, “in order to save money, many of the State Board members will participate via conference call.”

You can catch it on the web, too.

48 comments Add your comment

Base

July 23rd, 2009
10:33 pm

Power hungry Sonny now takes on the school boards how many more things can he screw up? He needs to go to his illegal property in Florida and stay.

Parker

July 23rd, 2009
10:50 pm

should the furlough days affect PreK teachers who are paid from lottery funds

gottabekiddinme

July 24th, 2009
12:37 am

I have been reading through blogs as I never have before about this situation. I am a teacher of 28+ years….and glad to have a job in these economic times. I am thankful to have one when many of our school’s spouses lost their jobs early this year when a major factory closed in our area. Those women are now the only working person in their families. I really hate this for those teachers!!

However, on other blogs…especially those I read by someone named “jim d”—I am incensed by the comments by some non-educators–they really believe teachers are PAID for summer vacations, etc!!! (Makes one wonder about their level of education!!)

Teachers are contracted for 190 8 hour days in Georgia. However, when we have additional training, faculty meetings, parent conferences, etc. that fall outside of that 8 hour day—we get paid no more. NOTHING is paid for past that time allotted…no PTO meetings, no band concerts at night, no Friday night football games we are expected to go to support, no parent meetings we wait until 6 p.m. to have to accommodate working parents, no time spent at workshops/in training, NOTHING. We are salaried employees. We earn 12 sick leave days per year and 3 personal leave days/yr. (and personal leave days are discouraged to be taken in many systems as they don’t want to pay for subs) Unless you call our personal leave VACATION days, we have no paid vacations as teachers!!! If a teacher became ill and used up all of his/her sick leave, then his/her salary would be cut by 1/190th of the total with that amount deducted from his/her paycheck.

When you consider that it has taken me THREE degrees (BS plus two graduate degrees) and 28+ years experience to finally reach a salary level of a little over $65K a year….yet my brother hires new graduates from GA colleges who expect to earn $75 their first year in his field of business………..hmmmmm. Teachers are certainly NOT in it for the money!!! And new teachers just starting out certainly do not receive wages that lure into the field of education!

If you are a non-educator…and you have even ONE WEEK OF PAID VACATION—you have more “vacation time” than a teacher in Georgia! Do your homework before you embarrass yourself again by griping about teachers’ “paid” Christmas, spring break, summer, etc vacations!!! We do not get a DIME for any of those days!!! Yet..the teachers in my school seldom work less than 5-15 additional hours/week……w/ no additional pay. We have no breaks….. yet if I worked in most any other job, I would have a 20 min. break every 4 hours to at least have a restroom break. And a lunch hour!!?? Ha!!! Try eating in a noisy lunchroom with kids during a 30 lunch break that really means about 15 min. of time to sit down after getting them through the lunch line!!

I have worked a variety of other jobs during my life….full time summer jobs, part time jobs during my college days and after school…..yet ONLY in the school environment have I ever had to be on my toes the entire time.

I think every parent should have to spend a week as a substitute teacher (and those who gripe about teachers without walking in their shoes) ! As those parents who already spend quality time volunteering in their kids’ schools know…………whew! Teaching is a HARD JOB!!!!

Do those people also “gripe” about firefighters “sitting around waiting on a fire?”
Ludicrous….right??? Teachers provide a vital service too…..for far too little pay just as other public servants.

gottabekiddinme

July 24th, 2009
12:39 am

Correction for submission: $75K

Thanks to those who understand

July 24th, 2009
1:14 am

Wow (gottabekiddinme), thank you so much for that information. I feel like you must be an elementary school teacher. I teach kindergarten so many times I NEVER get a lunch break. Scenario: Kids go through the line and may need lunch money, may be sick and in need of calling home etc. By the time I take care of the ’situation’, whether it be by paying for lunch (out of my own money) or waiting on parents to come get a sick child, lunch is up. There are so many that complain about out summers when they don’t realized that we are contracted out for only 190 days and that money is actually divided to cover the 12 months in the year. On top of that we have to wait until the end of the month to even get that money, which we have already earned! Each year I’m asked how many hours I actually put into my profession outside of the normal eight hours, I laugh because it asks 1,2, 5, 10+. Its’ always more. Planning lessons, coming early or staying late to meet parents, looking for materials to enhance lessons, and so much more is spent weekly. Many days I may not leave the school until 5 p.m., sometimes I’ve been the last one with the janiotors (6:30-7 p.m.) Calculate that with the time spent going to Wal-Mart, Target, to purchase supplies to enhance lessons, and time spent on the Internet that is WAY more than 15 hrs. extra each week. 2hrs minimally each day multiplied by even 190 (not including weekends) is 380 extra hours in addition to the required 1520. Tell me how many other professional do that?

Ruth Carmen

July 24th, 2009
1:20 am

“Amen,” to gottabekiddinme. I came back to the profession of educator after thirty years of doing other jobs. Teachers along with firefighters, police, and nurses are the most underpaid folks in America. Yet we are all critical to the survival of our country. Go figure!

Villa Rica DAWG

July 24th, 2009
1:59 am

My wife would fall in love with you after reading this…

Special Ed Teacher

July 24th, 2009
2:22 am

As an educator with 19 years of experience, I applaud the educators who have written to help dispell the myths that surround our profession. I agree that parents & others who believe they understand the educational system so well need to substitute teach at least one week per school year, if not more to be better informed of the reality. I don’t think teaching is the hard part of my job, rather dealing with testing mandates, pushy parents, and behavioral issues are often the biggest challenges I face daily.
Thanks to the earlier writers for educating those who think they know but really don’t have a clue.

Kay Kennedy

July 24th, 2009
8:45 am

Perdue is the biggest jack ass ever elected to office!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How much more can he cut from education before he bleeds it dry??? To him, teachers are no better than doormats, and most of them are more educated and more intelligent than he. What a jerk! Georgia will never improve while he is in office. He should be impeached for gross imcompetence!!!!!

Grumpy

July 24th, 2009
9:41 am

I have been married 32 years to an educator. She is an excellent teacher. She is a professional. She loves her kids, despite having to listen to those idiots out there who believe all of the social ills of our country should be laid at the feet of teachers. She has gone out on her time and with our own resources to get her Masters degree and, recently, her Educational Specialist Degree. After 30+ years of being a an excellent educator, she is finally making a salary that just about near what her worth is. She has attended and participated in every staff development program mandated by her school board. There is no telling how much money we have spent out of our own pockets over the years to clothe and get shoes for children who come to school with nothing more than a the old, tattered clothing on their backs. She, along with other teachers, have done these things only to be treated to criticism from people who know nothing about what it means to teach in this country — these ignorant, know-nothing ingrates who never took the time to read to their own children because they were too busy watching television to be bothered. But somehow the expectation is that it’s the resposnibility of the education community to turn a pig’s ear into a silk purse.

I’m sick and tired of listening to these educational “critics” who have never spent the time it takes to plan for and deliver one hour of classroom, or who have had to work a 10- to 12-hour work day with one 20-minute “lunch” break supervising students and not even enough time to go to the bathroom during the course of her day. How many of you so-called educational experts have had to wait all day to relieve yourselves on your “tough jobs”? How many of you get a 20-minute lunch, that’s not your time, but time you have to spend watching out for kids?

You want to criticize teachers and the educational system? Well, quit your jobs and see if you can get hired as a teacher; do all the things required of you to receive a teaching certfificate; work 2 to 3 hours every school night to be a prepared professional for the next school day; tolerate all the obstacles placed in your way by politicians, school administrators who haven’t stepped into a classroom in years, and by some idiot parents who expect you to do in one semester what they failed to do for years with their child. If you do all that, you have the right to criticize. Otherwise shut that pie-hole under your nose!!!

lawyer

July 24th, 2009
10:49 am

Has Sonny ever heard of “breach of contract”. Teachers are not “at will” employees. They have written enforceable contracts that require the county to pay them a specified amount for the required number of work days. It is all spelled out in the contract. He has unilaterally declared a modification of written agreements. Illegal? Maybe. These “furloughs” may well turn into paid time off for hard working teachers who for the most part will pay dearly in the form of extra work for which they will NOT be paid. Teahcers are dedicated to their students and will not “lay off” for three days of valuable time.

Someone needs to give Sonny a good kick in the you know where and maybe he will understand the meaning of a written contract and perhaps more importantly, the value of teachers.

Para Professional

July 24th, 2009
11:20 am

Not only are the teachers being unfairly furloughed it is the Para Pro’s the custodial staff the office staff the counselors and the Administrators.I am not sure about the staff at the County board of education. Everyone in the school is being furloughed. For classified staff (180 day staff) the 1st 3 days we take off in my county it is done without pay. Whether it is for sick-leave of a personal day! So if you are sick 3 consecutive days you will get a considerably smaller paycheck. Already the pay we receive is considerably smaller.But I do love my job and feel blessed to have it I just think there are better ways to reduce a budget. Educators are already in big demand with short supply. No wonder college students are not wanting to go in to education when they see how little educators are valued in the state of Georgia. Oh well the state of Georgia should have record numbers show up at the polls next year when it is voting time. I know I intend to be there. What are the days slated for Sonny Perdues furloughs?
I don’t think i have heard about those.

GeorgiaGirl

July 24th, 2009
11:55 am

Does Sonny Perdue remember that teachers helped get him into office in ‘03 when we got fed up with Roy Barnes?

GA teacher

July 24th, 2009
2:09 pm

As an educator I could stomach this a lot better if I knew that the entire state was chipping in. Are ALL state employees begin asked to do the same thing?

One final thought…if we are forced to take furlough days in the current econ crisis, imagine what will happen if states are burdened with a tremendous increase in liabilities with the national healthcare bill…teachers MUST understand we will be hit again and again, and state governors will be powerless to help us when they are faced with unsustainable expenses for a national healthcare policy. Teachers are traditionally liberal, but be VERY careful here.

State Employee

July 24th, 2009
2:35 pm

Yes, GA teacher: ALL state employees have to take at least three furlough days by Dec. 31. But my agency will have taken six in this calendar year (2009) and probably more next year.

Unbelievable

July 24th, 2009
2:50 pm

I would like Gov. Purdue to see the books I use to teach with. If he saw the best one on the floor he would throw it away because they are so old and used. They look like garbage. I have requested new books but am told there is no money. I am stunned that education is respected so little in our culture. Even in our country, the high achievers seem to more and more come from other countries and I believe that is because education is valued. There are more and more demands placed on us each year by the state and less and less resources to achieve those demands. Continuously reducing our pay will lower teacher morale and that means a lot in the job we have. Please, Gov. Purdue, consider other ways to solve this problem. We already have so many!

Tire of the Whining

July 24th, 2009
4:06 pm

You people need to grow up. You are no more special in this economy than anyone else. Layoffs, pay cuts, we’re all facing them. Why should you be different? I’m the son of one of the hardest working teachers I’ve ever known. The fact is she is the exception, not the rule.

Post education is essential for most professional careers. It’s almost always done on that person’s dime and time. If you want a professional career, you have to keep up with your profession.

190 days per year? So choose, either this is a part time or full time job. If it’s part time, then you’ve got the best part time job anywhere. If it’s full time, then you’ve got a huge vacation package and still 7 more sick days than the average corporate professional. Pick one; you can’t have it both ways.

Overtime? I don’t know any salaried employees who to don’t put in 10 to 30 hours per week in over time. Talk to an IT pro. 60 hours per week, 50 weeks per year on 24/7 call for $45-50k. Oh wait, that the average teacher’s salary in Ga as well isn’t it. Do you want to keep talking about time commitment?

Did GeorgiaGirl really insinuate that the Governor should make decisions based on who supported him? Is that how our system is supposed to work? So if a contract makes a major contribution to a campaign, then he SHOULD get special treatment…right? I thought that was called corruption?

Let’s talk for a moment about just what Georgia teachers are worth. On average, GA public schools are ranked #41 in the country. I’ve never met so many people (lived in 4 other states) wanting to home school or attend private schools. Let’s be realistic, on average, you’re not even the best at what you do.

Did Ruth Carmen really group herself in with fireman and policeman? Not even close. If fire, rescue and law enforcement personal tried to put as much responsibility back on the people they cared for as teachers do, our morgues would be over flowing and vigilantism would govern our lives.

Breaks? Most salaried people don’t get breaks. The same law that governs breaks for everyone else governs teachers as well. The reality is that most people don’t take them or they just spend more time at work.

The average corporate job allows you 5 sick days and 10 vacation days. And yes, corporate employees have to maintain there their education on their own time and at their own expense.

The average college graduate in this country makes $52,500 per year, so GA teachers are on the lower side of that (by 6k), but then again, those other employees work 250 days per year to get there.

Folks, if you’ve read this much, you are pissed off. All I’m saying is that you need to climb down off your tower and stew in this economy with the rest of us. Yes MANY teachers work very, very hard. Your lives however (with only a few exceptions), are not at risk. You don’t work as many hours as most others in your same salary range and you don’t volunteer any more time than the average baseball coach or scouting leader. Maybe you’d prefer a lay-off and larger class sizes? Better hope it’s not you that gets cut.

A little perspective

July 24th, 2009
6:21 pm

Salary Days Worked Salary / Day
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 190 $342.11 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 260 $250.00 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 245 $265.31 Normal – 3 weeks vacation
(Teacher’s will have to work 2 hours 25 minutes extra (unpaid), 190 of their 190 days, to lower their per day pay to equal that of the private worker taking 3 weeks paid vacation. This will require a teacher to remain at school working until 5:30 pm or 6:30 pm nightly, depending on when you arrrive! Be honest, that’s not happening!!)

Salary Hours Worked Salary / Hour
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 1520 $42.76 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 2080 $31.25 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 1960 $33.16 Normal minus 3 weeks vacation

Salary Weeks Worked Salary / Week
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 38 $1,710.53 Normal (40 hr week (5 days) Compare
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 52 $1,250.00 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 49 $1,326.53 Normal minus 3 weeks (15 days) vacation Compare
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 55 $1,181.82 Normal w/ vacation plus 5 hrs/week minimum, expected to be worked unpaid overtime

Salary Months Worked Salary / Month
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 10 $6,500.00 (Probably closer to 9 months with Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Spring Breaks but I’ll be conservative with my analysis. 190 days calculates out to 8.77 months.)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 12 $5,416.67

Salary Months Paid Salary / Month
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 12 $5,416.67 Most Teachers receive their pay over 12 months
Teachers Pay with Furlough $63,973.68 12 $5,331.14 Loss of $85.53 per month in pay (loss of $1026.32 /yr)

AntiGovernment

July 24th, 2009
6:32 pm

A little perspective, a great compilation. I looked that up as well. It does prove teachers are, in fact, overpaid for what they do & the hours they put in. They will continue to whine though.

A little perspective

July 24th, 2009
6:41 pm

If you break it down, the numbers and complaints don’t add up:

Salary Days Worked Salary / Day
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 190 $342.11 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 245 $265.31 Normal minus 3 weeks vacation
(Teacher’s will have to work 2 hours 25 minutes extra (unpaid), 190 of their 190 days, to lower their per day pay to equal that of the private worker taking 3 weeks paid vacation. This will require a teacher to remain at school working until 5:30 pm or 6:30 pm nightly, depending on when you arrive! Be honest, that’s not happening!!)

Salary Hours Worked Salary / Hour
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 1520 $42.76 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 1960 $33.16 Normal minus 3 weeks vacation

Salary Weeks Worked Salary / Week
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 38 $1,710.53 Normal (40 hr week (5 days)
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 49 $1,326.53 Normal minus 3 weeks vacation

Salary Months Worked Salary / Month
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 10 $6,500.00
Private Business Pay $65,000.00 12 $5,416.67
(Probably closer to 9 months with Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Spring Breaks but I’ll be conservative with my analysis. 190 days calculates out to 8.77 months.)

Salary Months Paid Salary / Month
Teachers Pay $65,000.00 12 $5,416.67
Teachers Pay with Furlough $63,973.68 12 $5,331.14
Most Teachers receive their pay over 12 months so this furlough would amount to a loss of $85.53 per month in pay (loss of $1026.32 /yr)

Whatever way you want to slice the pay for work argument, I don’t think teachers have a valid “over worked underpaid complaint”!! My wife is a state worker(with college degree) and has been furloughing since June 2008, with no hope in sight of it ending!! Not to mention when the next raise will come!! This is a hardship on us, however, we adjust and move on. She still has a job!! I just get tired of the “not us, we are teachers” point of view. I value the job teachers do, however, we all work each day to get the job done and I am soooo tired of the “you just don’t know what we go through” complaining!!

Suz

July 24th, 2009
7:50 pm

$65K for a teacher, that is actually teaching in the classroom? Sure, if you have a doctorate and almost 30 years experience. Otherwise, you better lower your estimates quite a bit!!!!! I have a master’s in engineering, have a t-5 teaching certificate and 12 years of experience, and I certainly don’t make $65K!!!!!!

LookAgain

July 24th, 2009
8:35 pm

I have been teaching for 8 years and make nowhere NEAR $65K. Please get your facts straight.

A little perspective

July 24th, 2009
11:50 pm

Suz and LookAgain, The 65k wasn’t my numbers, it was a teacher’s salary from an earlier post above. However, I stand by my analysis. You can insert 30k, 25k, 50k, whatever salary amount. A teacher is contracted to work less time (days, weeks, months, hours) than a person making the same salary in the private sector (even when paid vacation time is considered). Teacher contracts, from a teacher’s post above, are for 190 days. Private sector jobs even after 3 weeks vacation are for a minimum of 245 days. Any way you look at it, with both jobs paying the same salary , teachers will get paid more per hour/day/week/month than the private sector professional. The math is solid! Please just consider this when educators are making the arguement that teachers are over worked and under paid!!! Most teachers are getting twelve months of salary for 9 or 10 months of classroom work. Whereas private sector professionals are getting twelve months of salary for twelve months of on the job work!!

$65K???

July 24th, 2009
11:59 pm

Ok, I want to know where I can work at teaching and make $65K. I have two degrees and am working on a third and have been teaching for 15 years. l don’t make anywhere NEAR 65K. Additionally, my husband works in the prison system and they are already furloughed one day a MONTH and he already only makes half what I do. TOGETHER we make 75K a year. People REALLY need to get their facts straight before they start ranting on teachers. If I worked in the private sector making what I make a day for the public school system, I would be bringing in about $80K. Not to mention all the over time. Just give me a duty free lunch and I will be much happier. This furloughing crap is just that. Slavery was abolished YEARS ago, so how is it legal that ANYONE is having to go through this?

scindapsus

July 25th, 2009
11:41 am

The reason teachers are getting a raw deal in this is NOT that they, like all other state employees, are having to take a salary hit here. The problem is that, unlike other state employees, teachers still have to work on their “furloughed” days. Sonny made a point to single them out in this fashion. Think about the furloughed cafeteria workers at a school; do you think they’ll be spending their furloughed days preparing meals for the kids? Of course not; their pay will be reduced just like the teachers, but their work hours will be reduced as well. Thus, while everyone else is getting furloughed, teachers are just getting a pay cut. Which would you rather have?

Tax Free Holiday????

July 25th, 2009
12:55 pm

Our local newspaper published an advertisement for the tax free holiday for school supplies.
How does that make sense when state employees have to be furloughed because there is not enough tax revenue coming in? As a teacher who is being furloughed for at least 3 days – I say everyone can pay taxes every weekend on what ever they purchase until this recession is over.

My 2 cents worth

July 25th, 2009
12:56 pm

Two things: Number 1 – Let’s stop quibbling about overpaid/underworked – underpaid/overworked. As professional educators we all know going in that we are going to work hard and long, but our worth isn’t based on that. I would generalize that this tenet of work ethic applies to just about everyone who works, with no regard to occupation (am I right?). OK, so take the financials a tick farther: guess what I’m not going to do, lossing discretionary income to the tune of about $10 per day for 3 months in a row? I’m not going to stop at a fast food drive thru window for a cup of coffee and maybe a biscuit on the way to school. I’m not going to buy breakfast and lunch at school. I’m not going to pick up food on the way home each day, or when I’m out running errands or my kids up and down the highway doing our after school thing. I’m not going to get my hair cut. I’m not going to get a manicure and pedicure at the local nail salon. I’m not going to have my hair color done by a professional. I’m not going to buy new clothes or shoes for myself. I’m not going to go to a movie. That home repair I was considering: delayed unless absolutely necessary. I’ll cut my own lawn rather than have the lawn service do it. Are you getting the picture here? I think many, if not all, of the 128,000 teachers and families are going to adopt the same “down sizing” in personal finances in some form as what I’ve listed (and there are many more ways to down size that I didn’t list – can you think of some other ways?). So now we are multiplying my cost saving daily amount by 128,000 plus family members. Of course, teachers and their families are not the only ones that are taking pay cuts. So there you go; the numbers are huge. Look for more businesses to fail, homes to be foreclosed. Thanks, Sonny.

Number 2: I was at my school working this summer. I was working in my room Friday, moving furniture. I was planning to work Monday and Tuesday. Now I’m not so sure, after reading the comment about not being covered by insurance should an accident happen. I’m cringing and thanking my lucky stars when I think about all the “potential” accidents that could have happened to me Friday. I brought home some work to do, though, so maybe I’ll just stay home and work. Never mind that Wednesday we’ll be in meetings most of the day, and Thursday is open house. Parents will just have to understand….

And what is this I’m hearing about a meeting on the “teacher furlough issue” early this coming week? Did somebody not think this thing through before “implementing” it? Hmmmm – stay tuned.

Base

July 25th, 2009
4:45 pm

Is Sonny and his staff taking a cut too? Why not cut authorities out and their high salaries.

The Sarge

July 25th, 2009
8:35 pm

As generation upon generation of potential future educators look at how their yet-to-be-chosen profession keeps taking one hit after another (you think this will be the last time teachers are targeted for state “bail-out” duty?), the teacher roles will shrink. Our political leaders keep “singing” from the same ole hymnal of “prepare the kids for the future global economy”…who’s going to prepare them? Oh yea, unemployed stay-at-home parents.

Another GA Teacher

July 25th, 2009
9:15 pm

I agree with the above.
Governor Perdue and all Georgia State Lawmakers you lead the way. You give up your pay FIRST.

We teachers rarely stage protest rallys or anything along those lines, BUT

Another GA Teacher

July 25th, 2009
9:19 pm

BUT WE DO VOTE.

We must not forget this!!! Each and every single elected official needs to held responsible for this on ELECTION DAY.

obomaisaclown

July 26th, 2009
1:31 am

Thank your President who would love to run the economy in the ground if it mean pass all Him left wing spending programs. It will only get worse as the clown continues to run our country like the rookie he is ,

Teacher Too

July 26th, 2009
2:07 am

To: A Little Perspective
I’m chiming in with the other posts – most teachers DO NOT make $65K. Try about somewhere in the $45K range. You are more than welcome to go to most county BOE websites and look up the salary schedules. I’d check it out before going on your rant. See, my biggest issue is that you are taking the pure 190 days and looking at that hard number. However, I DO NOT get paid for the 5 days I spent this summer attending a professional development course. I DO NOT get paid for the 150 essays I need to grade 3-5 times a semester. (Do some math: 150 essays x 10 minutes a paper = 1500 minutes/60 = 25 hours OUTSIDE of my planning time). I’d just like to see some people really understand the realities of a teaching position before criticizing those who choose this path. Oh, and before you comment further, I was in the corporate world for many years before joining this profession. Teaching is the hardest, but most rewarding job I have ever had. Just get your facts straight before lambasting what you don’t know, please.

Discouraged teacher

July 26th, 2009
11:53 am

Because I care about my students and I enjoy what I do, I routinely spend much of my so-called vacation days planning for the coming school year. I have clocked at least 10 planning hours last week, will probably put in 20 this week before we even reach our scheduled planning days. Now I am slapped in the face to find out I am being asked to take a 3-day pay-cut. Suze Orman tells women to stop putting themselves on sale. I am sure she would say the same to teachers. The teachers who only put in their 8-hour 190 days are not successful teachers. Most of us want to be successful, but maybe we should all work only the hours we are contracted to work. Can you hear the uproar when our lessons are not well planned, our papers not graded, our grades not updated because we wanted to spend our evenings with our families?
I believe we are going to be forced to take this furlough because as a group we have bought into the idea that we are here to serve and therefore should remain passive. We are meekly going to allow our services to be put on discount.

TheRestOfUS

July 26th, 2009
12:35 pm

Here’s a great editorial, from “the other Georgia”…that is, the part outside Atlanta:

http://savannahnow.com/node/758019

My 2 cents worth

July 26th, 2009
3:20 pm

More for what it’s worth:
Lawyer – we had to sign an addendum to our contract which in a nutshell said we agree to anything they say. It’ll be hard to find a loop hole for a “breach” brief.

Why are they meeting Tuesday to figure out something was already implemented Wednesday? Cobb is paying their teachers; Murray is starting a month later and paying their teachers, another system is having 4 day work weeks. Seems like some of systems took more time to think things through and find an alternative plan. I got a letter Wednesday telling me the schedule for next week, starting Monday for pre planning, then either Wednesday or Thursday the system headquarters announced furloughs for Monday and Tuesday. Hard to know what to do with all this coming down so fast and furious – seems like not enough turn around time, and maybe not enough time given to thinking the whole issue through first…

My 2 cents worth

July 26th, 2009
3:24 pm

Thank you, TheRestOfUs for the link to Tom Barton’s column. Well written and great points. Now if we could just get the 800 pound elephant in the room to stand on hind legs and hold a protest sign…oh, wait, aren’t state employees prohibited from participating in politics? But I bet an elephant can be trained to pull a voting machine lever…

Susan

July 26th, 2009
5:06 pm

How can the school systems demand teachers to take the furlough’s since teachers have already signed their contract for the 2009-2010 school year? I thought that all signed teaching contracts are legally binding stating our salary for the year?

Robert

July 26th, 2009
9:43 pm

Susan, school systems cannot legally alter your contract. Any provision for funding shortfalls must be written into the contract and tied to an “assertainable standard”. The only standard referenced in teacher contracts is the state teacher pay schedule. That schedule is contained in Title 20 of the Georgia Code. Georgia Code may be changed only by a vote of the general assembly and signed by the governor. The General Assembly is not scheduled to meet in session until January. If your local Board of Education met to furlough you or in any way ammend your contract then they were in breech of that contract. Every local BOE has a legal, ethical and moral obligation to honor its contracts with its teachers and administrators.

Loves to Teach

July 26th, 2009
10:39 pm

All teachers know that they did not become teachers for the money. We will take our three furlough days without pay, because we are proud to have a job. We love teaching, it is all the other stuff that has nothing to do with educating children that really upsets us. We actually do not mind all the extra hours that we give or the extra money that we spend in order to perform our job as best we can. However, there should be many alternatives to furloughing teachers.

Many thousands of dollars are spent every year for a private company in the North to critique and grade the Georgia Alternate Assessment portfolios for students with moderate, severe and/or profound disabilities. Do we really need this service? Couldn’t this be done by someone already working in the Department of Education?

Educational testing, such as ITBS and CRCT is a major expense. Maybe we could cut back on testing, at least for the 2009-2010 school year. Progress can be measured for all students without this kind of testing. There are many pre- and post test that come with most textbooks that would more than adequately measure a students progress.

As much as everyone would love to see new school facilities built in their respective counties, now might be a good time to put all construction on hold.

It is interesting that it appears our contracts can be changed so easily. There have been teachers that wanted to be released from their contracts but were bound to honor them or have their certificate jeopardized. So, are our contracts legal and binding or not?

Cara

July 27th, 2009
9:14 am

I’m a teacher and I think this is crap. Not only because we might have a “forced vacation” but because he wants us to sacrifice those noninstructional days!! Hello!! We need those days to plan! We already work all the time without getting paid not to mention all the money we spend in our classroom…and now he wants us to take furlough days when the kids aren’t there! You can tell he’s never been in the education industry…

Cara

July 27th, 2009
9:18 am

and another thing, we barely get paid anyway!! Why not take the 3-day cut from someone that makes more than 40 grand a year!

Carlene Fravel, Special Ed Teacher

July 27th, 2009
11:21 am

I am just curious as to how many furlough days Mr. Sonny will take …. hmmm, makes you think doesn’t it?

Chevrolet

July 28th, 2009
9:01 am

As most of you know, teachers in Georgia are being asked to take furloughs and pay cuts in an attempt to help balance the state budget. I am sure there are other ways to do that. The past couple of years the teachers of Georgia have received what we called “Sonny money”. This is a $100 prepaid card that the teachers use for all of the supplies that we usually pay out of our own pockets. We buy posters, pencils, workbooks, flashcards, erasers, chairs, music, tissues and much more. It was well received by all certified personnel. This year with the budget cuts, the 128,000 Georgia teachers did not receive any such stimulus. If we do the math, that’s a cool savings of $12,800,000. Can we not balance the budget with an extra 12 million dollars? Why do the teachers have to take furloughs at all? Some counties are also asking teachers to take a pay cut. We are paid so little for what we do as it is. Is Governor Purdue taking a week long furlough? Is Kathy Cox or any of her assistant superintendents taking unpaid leave? What about the state issued cars, Blackberries, gas stipends and expense accounts for our high paid officials? Are the individual county superintendents and multiple assistant superintendents taking a week off without pay? If Governor Purdue took a week without pay, what we saved would probably pay my salary for at least a month or two right there. If teaching was a higher paid career, don’t you think that more people would major in education, therefore giving us a larger pool of teachers to higher from? Why don’t we start with the highest paid state employees instead of the lowest? Let us start at the top.
The other day I was reading an article about a woman who loved to pay it forward. During the back to schools sale at a major department store she will find a person who is overloading his/her shopping cart with numerous amounts of school supplies. She will ask this person if he/she is a teacher and if the person says yes, she offers $20 to offset the costs. If more people did this imagine what we could offer our students? In fact what if every movie star, rock star, millionaire and major league athlete would find a teacher, police officer, fire fighter, nurse or military personnel and hand out $1000 or even $10,000? What a difference that would make in the lives of people who make a difference in yours. This is the kind of stimulus package that would work for everyone. You don’t become a teacher for the money and now they are asking us to take a pay cut. Why are we budgeting less for our children’s education? Now is not the time to reduce the amount we spend per child on education. This just doesn’t make sense to me. How about you?
Instead of “Farm Aid”, why not “Teacher-Aid”? We can get artists from Georgia to have a concert tour to raise money for Georgia teachers. There are many famous singers and actors from Georgia, such as Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Gladys Knight, Amy Grant, Raven Symone’, Chris Tucker, Jimmy Carter, Burt Reynolds, Charles Coburn, Julia Roberts, Eric Roberts, Jeff Foxworthy, Holly Hunter, Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Kim Basinger, and Laurence Fishburn. Please someone step up and speak for the Georgia teachers. Think of a teacher that made a difference in your life. Why do we teach? Some of us are asking ourselves that very same question. “Welcome to Wal-Mart”.

Loves to Teach

July 28th, 2009
2:25 pm

With nearly $13 million dollars saved from our “Sonny money” seems like there shouldn’t have to be any furlough days. Maybe our Governor should ask a few public school teachers to help them make cuts and balance the budget. A group of teachers definitely know how to make a little go a long way!

Will anyone in the DOE office be furloughed and how will we know? There seems to be too many people in that office that have too much time on their hands – so furlough them. Chevrolet makes a good point – start at the top with the furloughs.

Discouraged teacher

July 28th, 2009
9:54 pm

Does anyone know if we might be eligible for unemployment for those 3 days? Even if the answer is, “no,” can you imagine what would happen if thousands of teachers stormed the unemployment offices to file paperwork? After a preliminary look at unemployment rules, it’s not as far-fetched as you might believe. The only thing is many of us may have been rushed into signing contracts that left us with less rights than we are worth for fear of no job being worse than any job. Perhaps we need to start having our lawyers look over the fine print. Perhaps we need a strong union looking out for our best interest. I love my job, my school district, and my students. I don’t love my legislators or Sonny Perdue.

Erty

July 29th, 2009
11:34 pm

My issue is not whether the furloughs are fair or not, my issue is if they are even legal. As an educator I signed a legal binding contract. On that contract it clearly states that I will be payed for 190 days of work. If the state can hold me to my end of this agreement, how is it that they can simply change the number of days that they will pay me? In most situations where professionals are under contract, in fact in any situation where there is a legal binding agreement both sides are required by law to uphold their end of the agreement. If not, they are in breach of contract, and are subject to possible legal repercussions. How then can our government simply change the rules regardless of the situation. I understand the severe economic issues Governor Perdue is having to deal with. Truth be told if I was asked to voluntarily take three furlough days, I really would not have any problem with that. Especially if it meant helping others to keep their jobs. However, I do not like our government simply ignoring the contract it entered with me and my fellow teachers. What’s the point of even having a contract.

Finally, I would like to address one statment made here. Someone broke down a teacher’s salary by 40 hours a week. I would simply like that person to understand that a teacher that only works 40hrs/week is a teacher you would not like to see in your child’s classroom. Most teacher’s already work upwards of 50 to 60 hours a week. I for one have spent roughly 20 hours a week every week throughout the summer working for our children.
Finally, I challenge many parents and citizens of the state of Georgia to go by their schools on your local furlough days. I can guarantee you will find many teachers working. Not because we want to, or for extra credit. We will be there because there is work that needs to be done, and if they weren’t there, most of these teachers would feel like they are short changing our students.

Grad Coach

August 20th, 2009
2:16 pm

I just heard from our local DFCS director that an additional 9 furlough days was just issued for his employees. Anyone heard of additional days being issued at the State level or by your local departments?