Furloughs start next Thursday, Friday for Bibb teachers

The Bibb County school board voted Thursday for teachers to take unpaid furloughs next Thursday and Friday as well as a day off in October.

Schools will be closed those days in Bibb as well.

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that the state’s 128,000 teachers are to take three furlough days and that public school systems would need to slash their fiscal 2010 budgets by 3 percent to ease an estimated $900 million state budget shortfall.

For Bibb County, the 3 percent state cut means a $3.3 million loss to the school system’s $187 million general budget and another $2.4 million withholding for teacher furloughs.

“I’d hoped to do less,” Superintendent Sharon Patterson said of the furloughs.

But she said she decided to act now because if more state cuts are required, there might not be any flexibility for teachers to take off later in the school year.

Now teachers will have three work days before school starts Aug. 6. School officials said the reduction in work days won’t reduce the educational opportunities for students.

Patterson also is taking a three-day pay cut but will not take off any days of work, she said.

All employees who work 190 days or more during the school year will take unpaid furloughs. That is expected to save about $2.4 million from the general fund.

Employees who work 244 days in the school year, which include central office staff, custodians and transportation office personnel, will be furloughed Oct. 9 and Dec. 21-22.

Employees who work 230 days, which include high school principals and high school athletic directors, will be furloughed Oct. 9 and two days by Dec. 18.

Employees who work 220 days, 210 days, 205 days, most who work 200 days, 195 days and 190 days will take off Thursday and Friday and Oct. 9.

To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.