Saturday, July 25, 2009

Governor Perdue Calls for Teacher Furloughs

by Ella Smith

Governor Perdue just announced a request for school systems to furlough teachers three days this year as he cuts three percent more from Georgia’s educational funds. The three days of teacher furloughs will only cut one percent from the budget – school boards will have to cut two more percent from their budgets at a time when many school systems are struggling to stay afloat as it is. Governor Perdue’s plan to balance the budget on the backs of Georgia's 128,000 teacher families and on our more than 1.6 million students is not the way to go. More effort should have been made to find other sources – either budget cuts or enhanced revenues.

The economic crisis we are in is very real and educators are not unmindful of the difficult choices our state leaders must make. We understand that having a balanced budget is important to the state, however, how could anyone not believe teacher furloughs will inexorably damage teaching and learning? The announcement, just as the school year is about to begin, could not come at a worse time. Not only will it be a terrific blow to teacher and student morale, it will undercut the normal “back to school” enthusiasm of parents, teachers and students that gets most school years off to a positive start.

Due to all the meetings and registration procedures that school administrators require, teachers already struggle to be ready for school in the five days planning that they are currently provided. Now that teachers will have only two days for preplanning – days that are totally filled with teachers’ meetings and registration – I know there is no way teachers will have time to prepare for their classes.

Teachers already spend many hours grading work at home, attending PTA meetings, and sponsoring clubs and groups without compensation. Frequently, you will find many teachers at school at six or seven o’clock at night and in the morning before class, working to keep up with all the demands of their jobs. Many teachers currently already work many hours a week without getting compensated.

Education appears to be like a leaky ship and educational funds continue to be leaked out due to cuts made by the state over the last few years. The nearly $2 billion in "austerity cuts" to education and the failure to address an antiquated QBE funding formula for K-12 education has put pressure on local school boards in our state. These cuts had already put the education of our Georgia students in a dire position even before the current economic crisis developed. Please contact your legislative leaders and do not let the ship sink. Public education is too important to every child in Georgia and to the future of this great state of Georgia.

Our future professionals, technical staff, legislature leaders, workforce and governors are in our classrooms today. After years of consistently shortchanging the schools boards of this great state financially, our leaders today add to the downgrading of our schools by demanding teacher furloughs. A year from now many of these same political leaders will be asking for contributions and votes. Hopefully, all stakeholders in education and their families will keep the past several years in mind and vote for change to make sure our Georgia schools keep improving our education system instead of trying to sink our ship.


Below is a letter written to all Fulton County Employees from Superintendent Cindy Loe:

Dear Fulton County Faculty and Staff,

As you might have already heard in the news, Governor Perdue recommended yesterday that teachers and other employees be furloughed three days this school year. This announcement comes at an unfortunate time, especially as we prepare to begin a new school year in less than three weeks.

The school system’s 2009-10 budget already has reduced many employees’ workday calendars by 5-20 days as a cost-saving measure. With the governor’s announcement, we are now faced with implementing a similar furlough to our teachers and others who were not affected by the previous workday reductions. Employees who already have experienced workday reductions are not impacted by this new furlough.

I have communicated with school board members and other system leaders to determine how our expenditures can be reduced without negatively impacting our focus on students. Based on their input, I will be recommending to our school board that teachers take these three furlough days during preplanning week, August 3-7. The specific furlough days will be decided by each school’s principal to allow flexibility for the activities already scheduled. School administrators will contact teachers directly to share the week’s new schedule and start dates. Non-teaching staff who are impacted will have their furlough days decided by their principal. The school board is expected to take formal action on the new workday calendars next week.

The good news is that our 2009-10 budgeting process allowed us to keep most full-time staff employed and that we were able to avoid lay-offs and other personnel reductions faced by other metro Atlanta school systems. While not ideal, participating in this furlough will help keep our employment continuity.

Governor Perdue also plans to cut funding to school systems by an additional 3 percent this year. This represents a $7.6 million reduction in our Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding. While we understand the economy’s continuing effects on state funding, this requires that we again examine our spending and allocation of resources. I will be working with our school board and system leaders as to how this reduction will be addressed in our current budget.

Thank you for your support and understanding. We are doing everything possible to meet our school district’s budgetary needs with the least amount of impact on students and staff.


Cindy Loe, Ph.D.


Kim Gokce said...

Plain spoken, this is simply a pay cut because most teachers are going to put in the time needed to support their kids anyway. I see this as a way to get around collective bargaining agreements for teachers' pay.

I've seen similar approaches used in private sector employment - "you must take time off next week without pay but we still expect your project to come in on time." Anyone with any professional pride gets the work done in spite of the cheap shot by management.

During "austere" periods such as now, it is easier to justify and get away with and so we do.

Also, this is much easier to manage than actual operational and process changes to save money. The path of least resistance if you will ...

Ella Smith said...

So true Kim. I would not mind if the school administration truely gaves us these two days for planning but we are going back on Monday and Wed. Monday is school meetings and Wed. is school registration so that gives me no time to plan, move books to my classroom for students to check out, complete a syllabus for each class I teach. I teach 4 or 5 classes. The syllabi along take a great deal of time to prepare.

Right now I am in shock. I am not so upset in the 1% cut in pay as I am the time I need at the beginning of the year. Normally I have to spend a great deal of time the week-end before school starts trying to finish up so I am prepared with the current amount of time allowed.

As a special education teacher we also have to sent out accommodations to all the teachers and check to make sure our students are in the right classes. This now will becomc secondary and have to happen after school starts which is so unfair to those children. It is so important that I send out accommodation plans before the first day of school.

Again, I am upset at the days Fulton County selected. I had perfered to see them take away planning days during the school year than days at the beginning of the school year.

From another prospective it is over and done with at the beginning of school. Also many employees across the countries are taking cuts in salary due to the economic. My husband has given himself a cut in salary to benifit the company he runs. I do not mind doing my part, but I do mind having my pre-planning days taken away.

Again, if the county and school would give up all of their required attendance meeting it would not be as big of a deal. Teachers spend a great deal of time in meetings and in-services at the beginning of school.

Anonymous said...


I think the reason so many systems are choosing the days at the beginning of the year is that, under the current budget crisis, there is fear that they make have to take some or all of the other planning days if things continue to worsen.


Ella Smith said...

From Page-The Teachers Union-I thought it was interested as how they are reacting to the situation on behave of the teachers:


PAGE is working hard to research and obtain answers to the many questions and concerns that have been raised by Governor Perdue’s proposed furlough plan. At this time, there are many unanswered questions, the primary one being whether the governor has the legal authority to order teachers to take an unpaid leave since teachers are actually employed by local systems. To determine the legality of local systems implementing a furlough, we have to review the contracts of each school district to determine if a furlough would be in violation of the terms of the contact. Many contracts contain language regarding salary making it “contingent upon state funding.” This language has been included for just such a situation as we are currently in.

As a secondary matter, if the furloughs are contractually legal, we do not know what impact the implementation would have on teachers, such as when the furloughs would take place, how they would be deducted from payroll, over what period of time, etc. While these decisions will likely be made system by system with guidance from the Georgia Department of Education and the State School Superintendent, our efforts here will be to work with our members and districts to encourage actions which will mitigate as much as possible the negative aspects of the furlough plan.

As additional information becomes available to us, we will update our members through our listserv. You may always contact our legal department directly with any questions/concerns you may have. You may reach the legal department at 770.216.855 or toll free 800.334.6861. Mon. – Thurs. 8:30 am- 5:00 pm. and Fri. 8:30 am- 4:00 pm.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Please do not forget that all DCSS employees have to take May 30, 2010as a furlough day. Remember when they could not give teachers their step increase and everyone making over 100k per year had to take a 2 percent reduction is salary.

My thinking is that if they can find over 9 million dollars to start the Military school, then there must be a way to get a least one of the states furlough days.

This was all in out contract that had to be signed back in Feb. of this year. Our contract was less this year by the prior year by one day.

Cerebration said...

"9 million dollars to start the Military school" --?

Never heard about that! Where'd you get that figure?

One Fed Up Insider said...

It was in one of the past blogs when Clew wanted to get the Military School at Heritage and the schools was going to need 9 million dollars worth of upgrades by August 2009.

Didn't I read that right or mis read it? I am old and the eyes do not work as good anymore.

Cerebration said...

I'm strictly going from memory here - but I think that the $9 million was the estimated cost to get Open Campus/DSA up to par for the military academy. (Open Campus & DSA & Jim Cherry have all left the Druid Hills property.) The costs to upgrade Heritage were said to be new "adult sized" toilets and desks, etc. But that's it - no plans beyond that - Dr. Lewis apparently hadn't considered the lack of PE space for these high school marine corps students - when he creatively proposed the idea to bus them over to Adams stadium every day for drills!

Interestingly, now asbestos has been found on the Druid Hills property and the cost has escalated to $30 million - so they property has been closed. Empty - and sitting there awaiting a new economy. I agree with DunwoodyMom who always proclaimed that the school systems ultimate desire is to sell the property to Sembler...

Sad, IMO.

But we've digressed from the subject at hand.

I'm sorry to say - the furlough request doesn't seem out of line to many of us out there in the private sector. We've all been making sacrifices for quite some time. I can count on my hands, very quickly, at least ten people I know well, who have college educations and many years of professional experience who find themselves out of work - or out of business.

The economy is really bad - and people who work in the government are just now being forced to realize what the rest of us have been enduring.

I feel bad for teachers - but the choice is cutbacks - and job losses for some. After all, schools make up over 55% of the state budget and over 70% of the county budget. You can expect them to get hit hard when the money's not there.

Conversely, check out what is happening in the criminal justice system - we're letting criminals out of jail because we can't afford it. Or as a letter-writer in yesterday's AJC informed us - we are letting mentally ill out of jails with only a bus ticket and a check for $25.

Unlike the federal government - our state constitution does not allow us to go in debt to pay for public services.

I would much rather give up a few days' pay than lose my job and my benefits forever.

Cerebration said...

someone at the AJC blog posted the plan for Cobb --

The cobb board voted 6-1 tonight against teacher furlough days. They are taking money out of reserves. The district’s attorney suggested to the board that legal fights could follow if they furloughed teachers after contracts had been signed. The board decided against the furloughs because teachers in cobb are already taking a 2 percent paycut, 50 percent step decrease and reduction of contract days from 191 to the state mandated 190.

Anonymous said...

So our school system has an easy way to save money and build up its reserves: Finally start checking and enforcing residency!!! No more non-county resident students faking their way into DCSS schools. No more non-county resident teachers and staff being allowed a $12,000 per year per child perk.

There are your savings and added reserves right there!

One Fed Up Insider said...

Cere... All I was stating earlier is... Instead of DCSS now having to do 4 days. Can't they just still keep us at 3.

Ella Smith said...

Dekalb reserve is not what it used to be. I noticed that money was down apparently in coming into the county through taxes also.

I agree Cerebration, that a furlough may be necessary. I have seen this coming. I just wish the days were not the days at the beginning of the year. I am selfish but I really need though days to get ready for school. I am willing to give up 1% of my salary to help balance the state budget. In this regards I am not selfish. I just wish as teachrs we had a little latitude as to what days we were furloughed as to allow us to do our job and prepare for the school year.

I am wondering if it is legal because contracts were signed last spring. The contact has employed me 190 days on my contract. I am wondering how this will work legally and what Page will do. It is definitely breaking a contractual agreement. I cannot leave the school system after I have signed the contract. They agree to pay me for 190 days of work at a certain salary. This is all in my contract. Teachers are under contract from year to year.

Cerebration said...

oh - I get it - you already agreed to one furlough day - so really, you should only have to give up 2 more - not 3 more...

It's a mess - but so is everything right now. I do have sympathy for the teachers - as I do for everyone who is losing their job, having to take a pay cut or take a furlough. But it's a bigger problem than just DeKalb or Georgia...

I heard rumblings that there is something in many contracts that state 190 days, if the budget allows... you may need to check the wording of your contract.

Unfortunately, Ella - as in the corporate world - the "furlough" doesn't excuse you from getting the work done. Choosing these particular days (IMO) is a way to get teachers (who are usually very conscientious) to do the work, without the pay. I mean, it seems like these are days - of all days - that teachers really have to work.

Anonymous said...

Teachers, as far as I know, no one is preventing you from working so that you will be prepared for the first day of school. If DCSS is saying you can't enter the school and perform your job-that is bunk. Please remember that we parents consider you to be true professionals, and not punching a clock.

We are all suffering. I have had my pay cut at my job, but still must perform the same quality and quantity of work as pre cut-back expectations. Many of my friends are unemployed or under employed.
It is really ugly out there and it is not going to change soon. Be thankful you have a job and really good benefits.

All that being said, I have a proposal to DCSS. Furlough administrative staff (who work year round) during the extended Thanksgiving and winter holidays.

Anonymous said...

OK, Let's see if I get this right. I won't get my step increase; I may or may not get any kind of legitimate pay raise; I'm already furloughed for a day at the end of the school year;and there may be 3 more furlough days to come;and I'm supposed to attend some pep rally on Friday of pre-planning week (I'm not going if they cut my pre-planning days due to furlough); ooh, and my school is being renovated so I might not get a chance to really get my class together anyway; and we have new directives due to "America's Choice" (your economic stimulus dollars at work); and our administrative staff has changed;and we are supposed to gather our own straw to make the same numer of bricks. (look it up)

I think five years or less and I'm out of dekalb county schools. We just don't seem to have it together and I don't see things changing for the better in the near furture.The only reason I have job security is because no-one wants my job. I'm feeling very negative right now - highly unusual for me. Not a good way to start the year.

I need a transfusion of faith.

Ok,........I understand the financial crisis, but does this furlough thing apply to only teachers or does it affect building administrators, county administrators, Board of Education officials, Sam Moss Center personnel, William Bradley Bryant Center personnel ??????

Money & Politics; Education has become completely driven by money and politics. I am so Naive - I thought it was supposed to be about the children.

Note: While I realize that no final decision has been made (Emergency called Board Meeting on Monday @ Arbia Mtn.), I can't help but be skeptical.

Cerebration said...

"does this furlough thing apply to only teachers or does it affect building administrators, county administrators, Board of Education officials, Sam Moss Center personnel, William Bradley Bryant Center personnel ?????? "

I've been wondering that too. Actually, how much does it really save? The only time you can do this is some kind of planning day - otherwise, we have to hire subs - and there goes some of the savings. Also - bus drivers can't exactly take days off either.

Admin - however -- no problem if some of them go missing for a week or so...

Ella Smith said...

To my understanding it is just teachers who are getting furloughed. Many other school house employees have already taken big cuts. Assistant principals, counselors, and Lead Teachers of Special Education have all been cut back on days this year.

Legally I do see some problems occurring as teachers are under contract for 190 days and if these days are cut then the school system breaches the contract they made with their teachers. It will be interesting how the teachers' unions respond to this.

I will do whatever I have to do to get the necessary work done as far as first day needs. But, I decided if I am not getting paid I am taking a long week-end and going to the beach. I spend too much time at work during the school year.

Anonymous said...

Because of current economic conditions -- as well as the state's constitutional mandate to have a balanced budget -- the teacher furlough days seem reasonable to me. What bothers me signficantly more are the "austerity cuts" that Sonny implemented in our times of plenty. They clearly demonstrated his priorities, which were not education.

mykidsmom said...

Teachers, I feel for you, but then again I feel for all individuals who have lost their jobs, those that are having to do their jobs and the jobs of the people laid off with no salary compensation, those who have had their salaries reduced due to the threat of layoff, companies no longer contributing to 401-k's, employees paying larger share of healthcare costs, sick days cut.

As much as I appreciate what you do, teachers, welcome to the world the rest of us are living in. I'm sorry, but what you are being asked to do is nothing the rest of the country is not facing.

Ken Thompson said...

I'm sorry, but I can't come to the pity party. I'm just a lowly taxpayer who just wrote the big check, and my vision is not clouded by having a child in the system or being on the guv's payroll (no matter how indirectly).

So when I read things like:

"having a balanced budget is important to the state",

"teacher furloughs will inexorably damage teaching and learning"

"teachers currently already work many hours a week without getting compensated"

"the education of our Georgia students in a dire position"

"Public education is too important to every child in Georgia"

"make sure our Georgia schools keep improving our education system"

This kind of hyperbole is commonly found in discussions surrounding public schools, especially the largely unsupported refrains of "How Great We Art", but in these circumstances it is particularly galling.

But more to the points. A balanced state budget is not a nicety, it is required. And the dismissive language is not appreciated.

And as others have pointed out those of us who work to pay, and help our businesses pay, the taxes the government spends on public school salaries are often exempt and live in harsh world relative to those who do not have to continually make the case for the value of their products and services but who instead have the political clout to bend the system largely to their will.

The pollyanish we just can't let out children down---public schools are too important bromide is losing traction in the real world. Look at the graduation rate for what it is: one minus the dropout rate. That tells even the casual observer the system is even worse than unavoidably suggested by nationally normed tests. Does anyone really believe SAT scores would improve were dropouts to take the exam? Fact is, public schools don't even complete the job, and when they do, the results are horrible. Every year more parents realize this and act accordingly both in how they educate their children and how they cast their votes.

As for the sky is falling rhetoric, let me observe that the sky is already down around our ankles. By any objective measure (IE not of, by and for the local/state education systems) DeKalb is one of the worst, in a state consistently near the bottom, in a country that significantly and increasingly lags its peers. Now add to this the fact that we're not the cheapest per FTE. Truth be told, for what DeKalb spends, taxpayers could pay for a private school education. So don't try to scare us with FUD about a desperate situation, rather answer this: if we cut the budget in half, to $5700/FTE, then, as measured by objective educational outcomes, would it really be any worse?

Cerebration said...

Good points all around, Ken. Most importantly, our state, bound by our State Constitution must maintain a balanced budget. Public education accounts for over 55% of the state budget -- do teachers really expect the other 45% of state employees to suck up the cutbacks for the entire budget?

No one likes to take a pay cut (which is all a furlough really is - except with the benefit of not having to work a few days) but this is unavoidable. Government employees haven't seen near the devastation that the private sector has --- and remember - it's the private sector that generates the funding to run the government. As we plummet - government will generate even less - so watch for this to get worse. (Unless you think we should hike tax rates - which would help for one day - and then have an even worse effect on businesses.)

There is the option Arne Duncan seems to be advocating - closing poorly performing schools, firing all of its employees, and then reopening as a charter school. Duncan already has plans to do this for 5,000 schools nationwide. Don't think he won't be visiting DeKalb one day soon.

Sorry to be a doomsayer - but I have a lot of contact with a variety of corporations. It ain't pretty out there...

Cerebration said...

That said, as we have reported here, DeKalb county schools are much, much, much too top-heavy - and continues to balloon under Crawford Lewis' leadership. (He just reinstated 4 - six-figure positions under him less than 3 months ago!)

Cut the bloat at the top - and then ask for teachers' sympathy...

(For further reading - check out Ella and Kim's report by clicking on Mr. Potato Head on the front page.)

Cerebration said...

If you would like to ask questions or voice your concerns - consider attending this meeting -

Friends of Stan Watson
2009 Legislative Community Cabinet & Breakfast Meeting

Attended by
Rep. Pam Stephenson
District 92

Comm. Larry Johnson
3rd Commission District

Rep. Howard Mosby
District 90

Comm. Lee May
5th Commission District

Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler
District 93

With Guest Speakers --

Jesse "Jay" Cunningham
DeKalb School Board - District 5
DeKalb County School System

Sarah Copelin-Wood
DeKalb School Board - District 3

Dr. Pam Speaks
DeKalb School Board - District 8

Various employees of the DeKalb County School System will also be in attendance


Saturday August 1, 2009

9:00 am to 11:00 am

New Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church

Dexter O. Rowland, Pastor

2580 Snapfinger Road

Decatur, Georgia 30034

For additional information and/or directions, please call

678.360.0742 or 404.371.2988

Cerebration said...

Teachers may wish to attend this emergency called meeting of the BOE

To: All DeKalb Employees
From: Dr. Crawford Lewis, Superintendent
Subject: Called Board Meeting
Date: 24 July 2009

The Board of Education will hold an emergency called meeting on Monday, July 27, 2009, 10:30 AM at Arabia Mountain High School in the media center to discuss and vote on how to address the Governor's budget cuts.

No Duh said...

"I need a transfusion of faith."

Sorry, that has to come from the inside out -- not the outside in!

I've noticed teachers coming and going from our elementary and middle schools all summer. They are smiling -- guess they don't mind getting the work done however and whenever. And this was before anyone knew about furloughs.

Schools under renovation are a different story. If I were a teacher in that situation, I'd get all the paperwork done that I could and hope that the classroom was as habitable as possible on Aug. 10. Or, I'd come in on my furlough day and straighten it out.

Attitude is everything in life. In fact, if you think deeply about it -- the only thing you can change in life IS your attitude.

Let's not forget there are children in Africa (and other countries) that are attending school in shacks, using sticks in the dirt to scratch out multiplication tables and hoping there will be food at home when school is over.


Ella Smith said...

I do see many points mentioned here.

I also want to see our state have a balanced budget.

As I said earlier, I could see this working if the county administration would back off on all of their meetings scheduled but this will never happen and the teachers will start the first day of school unprepared.

About 90% of the teachers I know put in torns of hours that they do not get paid. In my department at school three of us worked 2 or 3 days straight after school was out because we had so much we needed to do to make sure this year went more smoother.

I will be interested to see what PAGE does.

Teachers are diferent than normal employees in the sense we cannot just go to the bathroom when we want. Most teachers do not even get a lunch period as they have to eat lunch with their students. We are already required to go to PTA meetings, open houses at schools, and attend meetings after school with no compensation. Comparing teachers to other employees is a little different as teachers are strapped for time anyway you look at it.

mykidsmom said...

Comparing teachers to other employees is a little different as teachers are strapped for time anyway you look at it.

Ella, the same can be said for the "corporate" world. Due to downsizing, many employees are now doing the job that 2 or 3 other people used to handle. Most of us don't have an "association" to fight for us on this - we just have to do it.

Ken Thompson said...

Most if not all jobs requiring a college degree are exempt positions--IE: exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Those in these positions are generally not represented by a union, do not operate with a contract, do not have tenure, and do not have any power over their management--not even a single vote, let alone collective lobbying.

Those of us who work in an at will state like Georgia show up every day knowing the boss could inform us that yesterday was our last day. We don't get raises for "sticking it out", in fact many of us are under pressure from global competition that threatens not only pay but undermines job security.

If we're lucky enough to have a job, and five percent of my colleagues just found out they're not that lucky, times are tough. The workload has not decreased as much as revenues and head count. And since we're exempt, we get to work uncompensated time just like teachers. Any work involving global partners includes evenings, very early mornings and weekends. And then there is travel with little or no notice...

But the point isn't to win at one-upmanship by showing you the brown grass on my side of the fence. The fact is by almost any measure teachers have it pretty good and the lack of appreciation and gratitude can be off-putting.

Ella Smith said...

Ken, as I was telling Cerebration just know by email I understand your points all too well. My husband is an attorney but this is not his current job. He is the CEO of a publishing company and they publish 3 or 4 publications normally a month. They primary job as advertisers is to recruit truckers. Well the times are real hard for their company right now. He is worried about keeping a company afloat that has been extremely sucessful for over 3 decades.

I do think most people do think teachers have it pretty easy. Respectfully I disagree. The numbers of new teachers getting out of teaching today because it is too tough and they do not like being so strapped in so many ways if unbelieveable. My daughter was one of them. She went back to school to be a nurse. She could not handle the pressure of the high stake testing and being constantly tied down so she could not even go to the bathroom when she needed to.

If you look on the state website you will see the number of new teachers which leave the profession. They actually have a Powerpoint about it and how to keep teachers. The situation is even worse in special education which is what I teach. I am so sick of the paperwork. I have to teach my classes like other teachers and then I have so much paperwork besides this that I spend so much time completing.

I think everyone should spend one day restrained in a classroom like a teacher and I have a feeling many would change their minds. If I did not have so many years in I might change my mind. Actually I love teaching very much, but so much of my job is not teaching, and grading papers. I think this is the part that many people from the outside world of education do not understand.

I am thankful right now to have a job and the 1% cut in salary will not kill me. Tenure also is a thing of the past. If a teacher gets unsatisfactory on their evaluation for two years then any county can dismiss them. Now it is true that they normally have another year to perform after having some problems but again if a school system or principal wants to get rid of you they can. They really go after teachers who stand up and speak out. That poor teacher who went public on her grades has a hard time in front of her. The county will get rid of her. We do have some protection, but not what many people think. Now as a special education teacher I do have some security as I can go about anywhere and get a job due to the shortage of special education teachers. These statistics are on that Powerpoint also that is on the state web.

If teachers jobs are so easy then why are teachers leaving the teaching force in groves. I think these statistics speak for themself.

Dunwoody Mom said...

No furloughs for Dekalb teachers, but no contribution to their retirement accounts for now...

There will be no new furloughs in DeKalb County schools for the coming year, but teachers and administrators will get a little less money when they retire.

The county school board responded Monday to state budget cuts by eliminating payments to retirement savings accounts for teachers and administrators.

The move will save $26 million - as much as $10 million more than was needed because of belt-tightening by the state.

School Superintendent Crawford Lewis pledged to return every un-needed penny to the retirement accounts after the current fiscal year ends next year.

The state cuts mean a loss of $16 million to $20 million for DeKalb, but Lewis said the governor’s staff told him more cuts would be coming next year. DeKalb reduced its budget more than necessary to prepare for that.

“It allows us to get ahead of the cuts that are coming in January 2010,” Lewis said.

The county’s 5,000-strong teachers union endorsed the decision, said David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators.

No Duh said...

Freshly minted teachers come out of college full of vim and vigor. They get assigned to a public school and immediately find out many of their co-workers (other teachers) are surly, rude, jealous, mediocre, lazy, tired, pre-occupied, and loath excellence (AND, they make two or three times more $$ than the new teacher). Any teacher performing to an excellent standard is immediately seized upon by the very powerful "old timers" who do not want anyone upstaging them or proving that even more should be expected of them. These teachers bully the new fresh faces to the point that they leave -- not because the work is too hard, the children are too stupid or their bladders too small. But, because their work environment SUCKS!

BTW, my son's third grade teacher had plenty of time to use the bathroom -- she was probably driving home to use her own! He did so little work and she was actually physically out of the classroom so much that he read all of the Harry Potter series before the end of the year (the WHOLE series, not just one book).

But, not being in the classroom, and not being in the classroom even after the principal tells you to stay in the classroom, and parents withdrawing their children from the school especially because she didn't stay in the classroom, is not enough to fire this teacher.

But, hey, the next year was a great year. It's not my kids I'm worried about. It's the ones whose parents aren't on top of things that need protection.

Maybe special ed teachers have a harder time going to the bathroom, but please spare me the whah, whah about using the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

We do a lot of Board bashing (me included) and it seems like Sr. Mgmt and the Board came up with a good resolution to avoid furloughs. Good work.

Cerebration said...

I can agree with that.

Also, No Duh, my mother-in-law taught ES for 30 years and she always had an issue with no time to use the restroom. She's been retired for over 25 years now. It continues to be a real issue and would certainly give me fits.

Ella Smith said...

I am excited that Dekalb School Board did the right thing and did not take away planning days from their teachers at the beginning of the school year.

Way to go to the Dekalb County Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm the "anonymous" who ranted about the furlough situation and who it might apply to. .......

Good job Mr. Super on not cutting any more days (we already have a furlough day built in to this years contract).

I do not see the need to use this blog as a means to separate, but rather unite our opinions to produce a better Dekalb County School System. We should not be producing petty arguments over "the plight of the teacher" versus "the employees who work in the real world".

I know all too well that the bathroom situation can a hazard but there are ways to manage without it becoming a real problem.....That's just it. It doesn't really matter what your profession is, you will be faced with what may seem to be an insurmountable obstacle. It is your choice in how you deal with it. "...Turn lemons into lemonade" and all those other cliches.

Let's quit throwing darts at each other and figure out how we're going to fix our schools. That's our issue. Let's stay on point!!

Ella Smith said...

I totally agree about fixing our schools but in every occupation I know you do get to go to the bathroom when you need to go. When you are a teacher you can not leave you class alone legally for any reason. This does cause a problem for many teachers.

As an individual with one kidney with a stint running from my kidney to my bladder for drainage proposes I go to the bathroom between every class in high school. This is how I deal with the situation. But some teachers do not change classes every so often and do not have parapros and it is a problem for them. Do you know any other profession whose employees cannot go to the bathroom when they need to go and must wait until lunch or until their children go to PE or music class in order to go to the bathroom legally?

Yes we have many problems in our school system that need to be fixed and teachers are not perfect. In fact many teachers may be part of the problem. But teachers for the most part are on duty from the time they walk into the school and do not have sufficient planning time etc. The data from the government shows this is why most teachers leave the profession. (Lack of time to Plan)

Ken Thompson said...

Since the pee topic just won't end...

When and what do these folks drink? Why aren't they complaining of dehydration?

As a concerned taxpayer, who is increasingly seeing schools with employees who put the loco in loco parentis, I would like the system to offer teachers, para-pros, and administrators many more opportunities to pee. In a cup.

Ella Smith said...

I do know many teachers who have health issues because of the issue so I really do not see it being that funny.

I would like to see alot more citizens in general also get caught using alcohol and drugs and drivings particularily. But this issue is a problem in our society in general. Of course we have teachers who drink too much and use drugs. As a certified Health teacher I would like to see all DUI or BUI caught and punished. This is just a safety issue to me. I would not discriminate against teachers or educators. They have a legal right to drink wine, beer, or alcohol in their home the same way that other adults do.

A few years ago we had a school super who got a DUI and was supported totally by the Dekalb County School Board. They said, "He made a mistake." Now that was interesting."

Anonymous said...

The reality is that DCSS by not giving staff the retirement funds for the year, teachers are working the same amount of days and losing funds that would be three times the value of the salary lost if they were furloughed.
In my case under a furlough my pay would be reduce just under $1000 for the year. Under the current plan I will lose over $3000 that was to go to my retirement account. This is something that I can not afford to lose. In addition I am working the same number of days for DeKalb. I have spoken to others and may consider legal action.
But the most important part of this action is that it sets a bad example and is the same type of fiscal thinking that caused the current situation we are in. We need to be saving for the future now more than ever. This is wrong in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

Taking legal action over what? Companies everywhere have stopped payments to employees retirement accounts. Your "union" had no problem with the move.

Good grief - just go do your job and quit whining.