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Thursday, January 28, 2010
Bill Would Ban Administrator Raises If Teachers Are Furloughed
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 6 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to employment under the "Quality Basic Education Act"; so as to prohibit the use of state funds to provide a salary increase for the local school superintendent or administrators during a school year in which a local board of education furloughs teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, support staff, or other nonadministrative positions; to require the local board to provide notice and a hearing if local or private funds are intended to be used for such salary increases; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
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A bill with little "teeth". How often are state funds used to give salary raises?
I'll repost what I had in the Legislative thread (click the photo of the Capitol in the right hand column to keep tabs on the Legislature.
Rynders introduces furlough legislation
After DeKalb County Superintendent Crawford Lewis recently was voted a $15,000 pay raise by the system’s school board, other school system employees protested the move when they were required to take a furlough day.
State Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Leesburg, authored a bill late Tuesday afternoon that would halt such practices. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Lewis' annual salary was increased to $255,000 by the DeKalb County School Board.
House Bill 977 states: “If any local board of education furloughs teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, support staff, or other non-administrative positions during any school year, such local board of education shall not use any state funds to provide a salary increase for the local school superintendent or administrators during such school year.”
The bill also includes language that would force school boards that try to bypass state funds to give an administrator or superintendent a pay raise to explain the rationale with a public hearing for community input. They would also have to give seven days’ notice of the public forum as a legal notice in a local newspaper or publication.
Co-authors on House Bill 977 include state Reps. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta; Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody; Amy Carter, D-Valdosta, and a school teacher, and Jay Powell, R-Camilla. Lindsey is the majority whip and the former chairman of education appropriations. Millar is vice chairman of education.
“We wanted to send a clear message that you shouldn’t be furloughing people on one end, while giving others pay raises,” Rynders said in a phone call Tuesday from Atlanta. “To me, that defies common sense. I want to protect the people that are in the trenches.”
Do we really need a LAW like this? While I agree in this instance that Dr. Lewis should not take a pay increase while teachers are being furloughed, it's a bit of a knee-jerk reaction on the part of the legislature.
I don't think the legislature should be infringing on the BOE's turf. There may well be instances in the future where a raise is warranted for the superintendent even though others who work for the school system are being furloughed.
I think this law is just limiting the state's portion of the pay. The addition is that if the BOE wants to use their own money or donations, they have to hold a public hearing of some kind.
Does the legislature have jurisdiction over local BOE's (to require them to hold public hearings)?
Public hearings about what?
There will be budget hearings, lots of them.
What no one seems to be noticing, is that DeKalb is first out of the gate with its budget for next year among metro area school systems. I think that they are trying to give folks a heads up on how bad it is going to be and that is why the budget is out already. Many other systems are waiting until the state legislature does all the damage they can do before releasing a budget.
DCSS is having the hearing tonight because to provide early feedback. Official budget hearings (which the state requires either two or three) will be later this spring, once the full impact of the state budget is known and the tax digest is certified.
Actually, DeKalb has had this public input meeting for at least five years. The difference is this year there was advance notice of what the budget might contain and public participation.
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