As expected, the Bibb County school board approved a plan Monday that will require teachers to be furloughed for four days.
The furlough will include Jan. 8 and other days spread over the next few months.
“We kind of knew these were coming,” said Rutland High School world history teacher Tony Jones, who said the lost wages likely will affect his travel plans and mean less money for his college-age son. “All teachers are willing to do their share, but it seems to be convenient for the state to (continue to) furlough teachers.”
Earlier this school year, Bibb teachers took three furlough days to compensate for a state budget deficit. Now with state sales tax revenues still down, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced this month that the fiscal 2010 budget will need to be adjusted to shave another $617 million in education spending.
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Bibb County schools Superintendent Sharon Patterson said Bibb may lose about $5 million total in state revenue from imposed furloughs and a 3-percent cut.
By requiring all 2,700 Bibb employees to take up to five furlough days, the school system estimates savings of $2.7 million in salaries and benefits and may make further cuts.
“I have never had to furlough teachers in my entire career,” Patterson said. “This is the economy that has put us in this situation.”
The school board put off making the furlough decisions at the last two school board meetings to fully weigh the impact, but the board needed to make a decision because employee paychecks have to be processed no later than Feb. 25.
The proposed furlough plan is as follows:
- High school principals and top administrators at the central office, as well as employees who are contracted 230 days or more, will face five furlough days. They and all other employees won’t be paid for Jan. 8, the day the system closed in the event of inclement weather. They will take other days during students’ spring break or after the end of the school year.
- Teachers and others who work 190 to 220 days will take four furlough days. The furlough dates include Feb. 12 and days in late March and early June.
- School paraprofessionals will take two furlough days.
- Bus drivers, crossing guards and school lunchroom workers would take one day, which will mean not getting paid for Jan. 8 when school was closed. Bus drivers likely would get $66 less in their February paychecks, officials said.
The school system also recommended changing the current school calendar so that May 20 and 21 will be half-days to allow teachers planning time as a result of the furloughs.