Wrapping up a morning of hearings on the state’s 2011 budget and the monster cuts that could come with it, Scott Austensen, the deputy state school superintendent for finance, touched not one, but two third-rails of Georgia politics.
First, he told lawmakers at the Capitol, the state needs to look at reducing the 180-days of instruction now required for K-12 students. Secondly, lottery money could be used to offset some technology expenditures in public schools – something lawmakers haven’t approved in years.
Afterwards, in a scrum with reporters, Austensen said that, depending on the severity of cuts to come, budget writers need to look beyond the teacher-training days now used for mandatory time off:
“Thus far, the six-day furloughs have come out of professional development days because – by law – even though the governor [declared] the furlough days, he didn’t change the requirement of 180 days or the equivalent…
“We’re suggesting looking at how deep those cuts may be. If it’s another six days, well, maybe that’s professional development. But if it’s going to be more than six days, we need to look at giving school systems the ability and flexibility to reduce some of those 180 days.”
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