Oxendine says he wouldn’t have ordered teacher furloughs

Remember how we said those eager to replace Sonny Perdue might consider the governor’s decision to give teachers a three-day furlough to be something of a gamble?

Here’s something from this morning’s Athens Banner-Herald:

The leading Republican candidate for governor Wednesday criticized money-saving teacher furloughs and the way Gov. Sonny Perdue handled tri-state water negotiations.

Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, campaigning in Athens, said Perdue should have exempted teachers from the three-day furloughs he announced Tuesday.

Oxendine did not say specifically what he would cut to save the $300 million the state will save by not paying 100,000 teachers for three planning days, but he said he would have looked elsewhere in the budget for savings.

“When we are lagging the country in test scores and dropout rates, cutting education is probably not the best of ideas,” he said.

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67 comments Add your comment

ChrisS

July 23rd, 2009
9:56 am

They should have just not done the furloughs. State employees are important as well. The difference is that when non-educators are furlough, they actually get a day off work. Most teachers will just have to work without pay.

Sarah

July 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

Maybe not cutting over a billion dollars from the state’s education funding would have helped us with that “lagging the country in test scores and dropout rates” too. Thanks GOP for putting the children last, but then again they can’t vote for you so what do you care right?

The Snark

July 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

It takes no leadership to simply send out a memo saying “Cut 5%” every time the revenue estimate comes in 5% low. A real leader in the Governor’s office would have ordered a top-to-bottom analysis of where money is spent in every department and made a plan for targeted cuts. The Republican leaders in this state are amateurs.

sm

July 23rd, 2009
10:55 am

This is always what Perdue does. When we were short on fuel after Katrina, cut the schools. When the state is short on money, cut the schools. What is his next move? This governor is a joke.

Dash Riptide

July 23rd, 2009
10:56 am

“They should have just not done the furloughs. State employees are important as well. The difference is that when non-educators are furlough, they actually get a day off work. Most teachers will just have to work without pay.”

A furlough is just a pay cut no matter who suffers it. The work that needed doing during that “day off work” will still need to be done. Also, it strains credibility for those who get months of down time to begrudge others who might not have to work through a furlough day (or three).

Michael

July 23rd, 2009
11:18 am

Not all but some state employees that are not educators (such as support staff for said educators) will just work without pay as well Chris. Just because we are not getting paid does mean the job goes undone. Sure I could take the “day off” but my work still has to be done.

I would also add that furloughing employees takes money out of their wallets, money that would be used in the Georgia economy. Its a catch 22.

This also makes me wonder why states have to have a balanced budget but the federal government can run a muck.

Anotherteacher

July 23rd, 2009
11:55 am

Stop using us teachers as your political bargaining chip. Oxendine, you and your office raised everyone’s insurance payments so those of us with insurance could cover those without.
All politicians should stop seeing the voter population as Pavlovian dogs that will drool over anything.

Steve

July 23rd, 2009
12:00 pm

Please do not use any politician’s name and leadership in the same sentence. Unfortunately, we get what we vote for and then there is no accountability. The best and brightest go into business and the cannots go into politics.

AH

July 23rd, 2009
12:09 pm

Agreed Sonny shouldn’t have furloughed any state employees. There should have been firings. This includes from educators and other state workers. Then if you fire a few and still need to make cuts do the furloughs.

Rule .303

July 23rd, 2009
12:14 pm

“Maybe not cutting over a billion dollars from the state’s education funding would have helped us with that “lagging the country in test scores and dropout rates” too. Thanks GOP for putting the children last, but then again they can’t vote for you so what do you care right?”

Good idea, waste good money on something bad. Here’s a better, fire all the bad teachers who are responsible for GA’s crappy education system. Oh, never mind, we’d only retain about 20% of the teachers.

jim

July 23rd, 2009
12:27 pm

What about state troopers who will most likely be furloughed. Did you know that all of the money generated from fines does not go back to the state? All fine money goes back to the county or city where the offense occurred and a small portion goes to the court system. Here’s an idea, let the state have a portion of the fine money that is generated and troopers can keep working and keeping the roads safe.

asudst1992

July 23rd, 2009
12:32 pm

I’m an educator, and I refuse to bring my work home with me. I must admit that I’m no longer in the classroom though,but when I was, I graded work during down town at work. I will read and answer emails only while at home. Furlough me, and I’ll sit right here on this couch like I am doing now. Most educators are really dedicated to their profession, but some need to ease up a bit and not work themselves to death.

DeKalb Conservative

July 23rd, 2009
12:34 pm

Here’s an idea… cut funding of additional non-curriculum-based programs.

Let’s start with athletics.

Oxendine obviously has issues around basic economics and is pandering to teachers and their families. Saying you’d find other ways to find cuts isn’t providing a solution and isn’t being financially responsible.

asudst1992

July 23rd, 2009
12:38 pm

Cut athletics? Oh no, you said a bad word. That will not happen…especially with the big three: football, basketball, and baseball. Athletics also makes money for schools and systems now.

Jen

July 23rd, 2009
12:40 pm

I feel that there are other ways to make the needed cuts to balance the budget. Every state agency should start with reducing or eliminating the number of blackberries & the services to operate these blackberries that are assigned their employees. Instead of traveling long distances to gather everyone for a face to face meeting…incurring car rentals, airfare,hotel rooms, meals,etc. utilize conference calls and other technologies,etc.
With the rising costs of everything from gas, groceries, utilites, etc., all employees, state or otherwise, need their full salaries.

William

July 23rd, 2009
12:46 pm

Furlough less and fire more state employees. I have worked for both the state education and transportation departments and I can say with out a doubt that both are filled with inept employees who get very little work accomplished during the day.

DeKalb Conservative

July 23rd, 2009
12:47 pm

Sweet! If football, basketball and baseball make money then that means they are self sufficient and would need NO money.

Problem solved.

Bill White

July 23rd, 2009
12:47 pm

I love Sonny and love that he’s taken action on this, but it doesn’t go far enough. How about getting these overpaid teachers to quit by dangling a carrot over them to do home schooling? I bet they could either home school their own children (preferable) or maybe they could go into business home schooling other children. Think about it: Kill all most taxes and give parents (a man and a woman) the power to hire their own home schooler if mom can’t do it. I live in Mississippi and I know so many mothers who stay at home to school their children. It’s working out great. My aunt near Brasstown agrees and thinks Sonny needs to stand up to the teacher’s union and say no to this overpriced public education system. You all in Georgia should think about working together to shut it down. I don’t know much about that Oxendine fella, but he sounds like he worked hard as the state’s Insurance Commissioner for a while. Now I see that the teacher’s union might have gotten a hold of him. Sorry John, but you have to cut the budget in places like education, libraries and state parks. Your state should only fund police and fire with bare essentials.
I think my aunt should support Eric Johnson, but if he starts sounding like this, I don’t think she’ll have any good choices. I think Eric would be a great governor who will continue to work towards private education, promoting Christ-centered values in the state house and wiping the idea of public transportation off of Georgia’s agenda.
God Bless,
BOW

SMM

July 23rd, 2009
12:51 pm

Well, Mr. Oxendine, you just lost my vote. Furloughs, if they’re going to be done, need to be done fairly – across the board. There are plenty of other state employees in just as critical positions as teachers – 1st responders (EMS), public safety, public health workers, etc. You seem to be saying whatever it takes to get the teacher vote. Sorry, but this just turned me off to you!!! The better reponse would have been to cut some of the fluff projects like the fishing and wildlife museums, million dollar parking garages, etc.

2Cents2

July 23rd, 2009
12:53 pm

Atlanta could easily drop it’s employee rolls by 1/3. I still can’t imagine why it took 7 guys to replace my water meter. 2 to do the job, 2 to watch and the other 3 to talk on their cell phones, while sitting on the curb. Oh, they did stop talking for a second to tell me they liked my car… What a waste of tax dollars.

pd

July 23rd, 2009
12:53 pm

Ox is a bribe taker.

Nappytop

July 23rd, 2009
1:00 pm

Well, Mr. Oxendine, you just lost my vote. Furloughs, if they’re going to be done, need to be done fairly – across the board. There are plenty of other state employees in just as critical positions as teachers – 1st responders (EMS), public safety, public health workers, etc. You seem to be saying whatever it takes to get the teacher vote. Sorry, but this just turned me off to you!!! The better reponse would have been to cut some of the fluff projects like the fishing and wildlife museums, million dollar parking garages, etc.

Anyone who wants to be governor in the state of Georgia should pay attention to the teachers…we eliminated Barnes and we will do it again!

William

July 23rd, 2009
1:00 pm

Oxendine lost my vote. I hope a decent Libertarian runs for the office.

what about it

July 23rd, 2009
1:06 pm

First let me say that teachers do not get time off in the summer. They are going to classes to keep their certification. Here is what you can do to balance the budget:
1. Reduce the staff of the governor and the house and senate(trim their fat and they will find a way to balance the budget)
2. remove all open job slots in the budget and only reinstate when correct paperwork is done to show need.
3. use teleconferences and web meetings
4. stop paying for blackberries for ‘everyone’. A pager will work fine and is cheaper
5. stop paying benefits for illegal aliens
6. stop thinking that healthcare for everyone is a right set aside in the Constitution
7. court order DNA samples from all males that a unwed teenage girl has sex with to determine whose child it is and make the male pay child support
8. Make it a law that if a child has a 504 in their folder for school they cannot get a drivers license until they are 21. This would save a ton of money on printing costs and help the environment. It would also free up teachers to teach instead of sitting in meetings

Nikole

July 23rd, 2009
1:13 pm

@ Bill White—There is no union in GA. If there were, I wouldn’t be facing a $600 loss in my August pay. Shadow me for a day and you will find that I am overworked and underpaid.

DeKalb Conservative

July 23rd, 2009
1:20 pm

@SMM

“Well, Mr. Oxendine, you just lost my vote. Furloughs, if they’re going to be done, need to be done fairly – across the board. There are plenty of other state employees in just as critical positions as teachers – 1st responders (EMS), public safety, public health workers, etc.”

LMAO! You must be a product of the public school system if you can’t differentiate the critical importance of teachers v. 1st responders and public safety. Last time I checked when a state of emergency is declared and people are supposed to be off the roads, teachers don’t count as an exception as “critical employees”

Probably a bad time to also mentioned Japan is experimenting w/ robots in the classroom as an alternative to having a human present?

Linda

July 23rd, 2009
1:23 pm

Please tell me how reducing salaries to almost 300,000 people is going to increase retail sales and thus increase sales tax revenue. Panic? Maybe not, but it sure will keep me from shopping or contributing to charities!

Ellie

July 23rd, 2009
1:23 pm

Leave the teachers and education alone. They are under paid as it is and this is three days they will basically be working for nothing even though required to be in the classrooms. Now every elected official, including legislators, should be docked a minimum of five days pay. The same for their TOP staff people. Oh no, not days off, just dock them five days at a minum on their checks. Then hopefully they will get the message of what they are doing to the teachers and education system and see how those “little” guys who are busting their butts every day in the other departments feel. I am sick and tired of education taking a hit every time there is a budget problem. No wonder Georgia is at the bottom of the list nationally – we have a bunch of inmates in the asylum running the asylum.

CORE VALUES

July 23rd, 2009
1:44 pm

I will be voting for AUSTIN SCOTT a REAL CONSERVATIVE that will LEAD Georgia with a balanced budget.

303 aka slacker parent

July 23rd, 2009
1:48 pm

how about parents do a little work at home with your kids. It is idiots like 303 who send their 6 year olds off to school with the mental developement of a three year old, then blame teachers that are the problem.
Parents today are real slackers. And believe me, these imbocile chickens will come home to roost.

Dana

July 23rd, 2009
1:49 pm

BOW…homeschoolers are doing great in Mississippi?? Now that’s a real endorsement for that cowpie state…….sure, everyone hire your own teacher and let them teach whatever they want…look how well it works in Mississippi – a state widely renowned for its education prowess….NOT!

asudst1992

July 23rd, 2009
1:50 pm

Dekalb Conservative, In some districts and schools, the athletic department operaters strictly off of the money earned or raised. So, that’s already a practice is some areas…No athletic budget…ask a coach or two in small districts and schools.

CORE VALUES

July 23rd, 2009
1:53 pm

AUSTIN SCOTT FOR GOVERNOR!!! AUSTIN is a strong ADVOCATE for CHILDREN’S EDUCATION. A STRONG CONSERVATIVE for FAMILY VALUES! This young man is going to be a strong candidate for Governor.

Bill White

July 23rd, 2009
2:00 pm

@Dana We pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. We did well after the big hurricane and didn’t whine about it all. Hmm, who’s this Scott fella?

Tony

July 23rd, 2009
2:23 pm

I’ve been an educator for over 24 years and was looking forward to having a better quality of life at the end of my career. I no longer can count on step raises and everytime we get a cost living incease, that is offset by an increase in our health insurance. I was hoping to enjoy being an empty nester but with rising insurance cost, unstable gas prices, increasing cost of living and my home is worth less because appraisals are down that’s a moot point. What do our state leaders do? Force me to stay home and make less money. I thought we lived in a free country. The uninformed will say but you teachers get summers off. My summers consist of catching up on all home repairs I was unable to complete during the school year because I work late and weekends. Other days usually weekends I will attend workshops for school reform and teacher recertification. Finally, I might have the time to take a two weeks for a vacation which we were unable to afford this year. This furlough not only affects my current pay but my retirement. I will probably have to work during those furlough days so I can get my work done but our leaders already knew that.

jboy

July 23rd, 2009
2:27 pm

Well Mr. White:

Nobody ask you thar in Mississippi, with your state’s worst education scores and God forbid your terrible highways. Yall obviously don’t have state workers competent to work on them or the money. So take care of your own before you come over here in Georgia. We will handle our OWN!!!!! :(

SQ

July 23rd, 2009
3:05 pm

State agencies paid over $40 million last year to one company, state-contracted Covendis Technologies, to have IT consultants. Anyone see a way to save a bundle without furloughs to any state employee or educator?

Base

July 23rd, 2009
3:41 pm

Sorry Sonny and the goofy legislature fail again. Transportation,unemployment,education,water all needed attention not failure.What cuts have they taken? Vote them out.

Norbal

July 23rd, 2009
3:59 pm

Isn’t it funny. Here the loser oxendine says he wouldn’t do this, wouldn’t do that. But allowing for insurance rates to be raised, specifically by companies who contributed to his campaign, and still having the guts to put his wife & kids on the web for votes. Isn’t it lovely? oxendine = loser.

It's simple....

July 23rd, 2009
4:54 pm

Let’s shut the schools down on 3 student days and then see the parents scramble for childcare or have to take off work….then maybe they will change their tune……teachers raise the kids in this state (and others)….if you think we are sub-par then home school and raise them yourselves and do the education system a favor….apparently you can educate them way better than the professionals do… Go for it!!!! If parents did their jobs the right way at home, then teaching kids at school would be a breeze…..it’s a team effort. Do you tell your dentist how to fill a cavity? NO. Do you tell a doctor how to birth a baby? NO. Do you tell a mechanic how to fix your engine? NO. Then, how in the world do you think you can tell teachers how to do their jobs? If you have a right to be blogging with moans and complaints…then teachers have that right too….that’s what a blog is all about…an open forum to speak freely…My biggest complaint is sub-par parents who expect the education system to work miracles on kids due to their lack of parenting…I’m a teacher not miracle worker!

RJ

July 23rd, 2009
4:57 pm

This plan is a disgrace. It’s heartbreaking to read these stories from teachers. They are our greatest assets and year after year, they take it on the chin. Education is key to lifting the masses out of poverty. Education promotes economic growth-hey, conservatives should love that! Education reduces crime. Funding Education is a win-win in this state. This lousy governor has failed on every level since he got into office.Instead of showing leadership on attracting businesses, expanding education and building infrastructure,this benign throwback imbecile of a governor appeased the far right-wing religious nutcases with the sonogram requirement or prayed for rain. Why aren’t biotech firms locating here, because jackweeds like Sonny want to make a statement on stem cell research-wow I bet his supposed hero The Gipper would like that stance! Why aren’t businesses locating here? Because Moron Sonny and his ilk are against public transportation-ohhh, the boogeyman might be riding the rails ready to confiscate your money, guns and pure daughters! With so much potential in this state, Sonny has squandered it. What an embarrassment.

It's simple....

July 23rd, 2009
5:00 pm

And by the way, I’m at home during my well earned summer break after spending 5 hours working in my classroom for the third day in a row (for free) to prepare for the upcoming school year….How many of you are blogging on your employer’s dime? Just asking…

It's simple....

July 23rd, 2009
5:23 pm

…….So what….parents/taxpayers have a negative perception of educators…..what’s new with that? Guess what, I have many negative perceptions of the parents of my students and their ability to do exactly that….be a parent! Geez, you have to pay a fee and have a license to drive, pay a fee and have a license to fish and hunt, pay a fee and get a license to operate machinery or own a business……I say let’s start charging people a hefty fee ( A Parenting Tax) with required “parenting” coursework ( and renewal courses, as well) at their own expense to earn a license and the privilege to become a parent…..that would certainly off set the state deficit…..and most definitely improve the quality of our education system. Hmmm?

GSU

July 23rd, 2009
6:08 pm

Everyone wants benefits at someone elses expense, that is what Government is for

GSU

July 23rd, 2009
6:10 pm

Nikole, if you are truly overworked and underpaid, QUIT!!! this is a free market. If you are going to complain, do something about it instead of whining. If you do it because you like it, that is a benefit just like pay and that makes up for the lower salary. Goodness, you people are lazy and uneducated

Concerned Teacher

July 23rd, 2009
6:46 pm

One thing that hasn’t gotten a lot of mention are the days that are actually being cut. We have been told that three of our pre-planning days will be the furlough days. This means when I get to school I will have two days to pull together rosters and get information ready for school. I have been planning lessons all summer and of course I will be going in to get my classroom ready for the first day even though I won’t be getting paid for it. I have to be prepared. No matter how much work I do (unpaid) I still rely on meeting with other teachers and professionals during pre-planning to get ready for the school year. At the end of the day it will be the students who will get the short end of the stick. I know plenty of teachers that won’t do any planning because they aren’t getting paid. They won’t care if their classroom isn’t ready. But I do and I won’t be able to with an empty school. On top of this I will be trying to plan for an increased classroom size. Some of you may not know this but the classroom size has increased from 28 to 32. Since I teach five classes a day this means I will have almost another class worth of students that I’m responsible for. So in a nutshell, I have less days to plan for more students and on top of that I will be getting paid less for the increase in work. Oh and with my smaller salary and no Sonny money to help supply my classroom, even more money will be coming out of my now smaller pocket to help provide students with a quality education.

This plan sounds like the right step towards bettering education in Georgia.

GSU I can’t believe you would call us lazy and uneducated. You must not be familiar with the fact that we have to have a degree in our field and be certified to teach. I have an undergraduate degree in science and a masters in science education. I would hardly call this uneducated or lazy. What you call whining is simply us expressing concern about being on a tight budget. I have every dollar spent for my monthly paycheck and now I’m wondering where I’m going to get extra money to supplement my loss. I have a contract with a dollar amount which means nothing. I still have to spend my money to support my classroom otherwise all of you would call me a terrible teacher. Everybody wants better educated students but no one wants to pay for it.

State Employee

July 23rd, 2009
7:26 pm

You must be a product of the public school system if you can’t differentiate the critical importance of teachers v. 1st responders and public safety. Last time I checked when a state of emergency is declared and people are supposed to be off the roads, teachers don’t count as an exception as “critical employees”

Guess which agency is going to be furloughed along side the teachers and IS present at every disaster but is always overlooked? Family and Children Services. Our workers are present at every disaster making sure people have shelter, food, and whatever else they need, but we earn less than teachers even though we have Bachelor’s and Graduate degrees as well. We have had no raise for the last 2 years and haven’t been able to replace our lost workers in a year. Teachers, imagine that, if one of your co-workers moves, goes to another school, or even goes on maternity leave that means, if your job is like mine, you would take over the whole class that is left teacher-less; there are no substitutes for me. I do my job AND my former co-worker’s. I am so over hearing from teachers that they are “special.” Nikole, shadow ME for a day and you’ll run back to your classroom.

know what

July 23rd, 2009
8:40 pm

Actually I think that a furlough day that there is no way you can even be present to work for free. Federal law mandates that if you work you must be paid. I am not a teacher but my company has mandated a 10 furlough days by the end of the year for us and we have very strict instructions that we must not work at all (do not come to office. do not telecommute, not even so much as much as answer a phone call from work on our furlough day)–These instructions were given to us from our HR dept orginating from our legal department). I can’t say if this applies to teachers in Georgia or not.

Just another opinion

July 23rd, 2009
8:51 pm

I am a state employee and love my job. The state of Georgia has only been a mediocre place for me to work regarding pay and benefits. I don’t get paid nearly what I think my masters degree is worth. I am not very happy about being furloughed. I certainly need the money just as much as the next worker. However, the bottom line is that I am very glad to have a job. I am very glad to be blogging tonight knowing that it could be worse but it’s not- I could be searching the classified adds for a job rather than complaining about the loss of three days of pay. Teachers, first responders, and all other state employees are all in need of a job and most will be able to keep theirs. I have resigned myself to sucking it up and moving on even through the furloughs, praying that this doesn’t get any worse.

Teacher Mom

July 23rd, 2009
9:11 pm

We don;t “get summers off” W are paid on (190) contracts. Still- in the summer I am planning book study units for my gifted students, planning differentiated lessons for the rest of the class, preparing academic calendars showing state standards and how they relate to topics/materials being taught, reading up on latest techniques to work with children with special/specific needs, ADHD in the classroom, Behavior disorders, etc. etc. All this while being a wife and mother. I work as much in the summer as I do during the school year.
I feel educators take the brunt of everything! Cut money from us yet expect us to perform at even higher standards. “Sure, lets take a 3% cut in education, you know those teachers will work anyway.” Basically, that’s how we feel we are looked at.
To those who have never worked in education or do not know someone who has/does, you need to walk a mile before you start making comments on our quality, our amount of work, or the “time off” we get. Stone in glass houses my friends.