Roberson: District might restore 2 furlough days

Richmond County public school employees may get two more days of pay than they were expecting.

Schools Superintendent Frank Roberson said he wants to restore two furlough days as regular paid working days. District employees were assigned eight furlough days as a cost-saving measure when the 2010-11 budget was drawn up last spring.

His statement drew cheers from many of the roughly 475 people packed into the lecture hall at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet this evening for the first State of Public Education Forum in Richmond County. The school board would have to approve the addition of two paid working days.

During the forum, Roberson discussed where the school system, which he described as "good," and where it is going, which he said must be better than what it is now.

"We have a good school system, but good will not be good enough three or four years from now if we want to compete in a global economy," he told the crowd, which applauded. "Our direction is pointed toward a great school system in Richmond County."

Also in attendance were members of the school board and the Augusta-Richmond County Legislative Delegation, including the chairman, Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, and Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, who gave closing remarks.

After the forum, schools spokesman Lou Svehla said organizers had prepared 300 packets for attendees, but those ran out quickly. Carol Rountree, the district's executive director of student services, said district staff began organizing the forum just before winter break and kept working while many employees were enjoying the time off.

The crowd was mostly educators -- more than two-thirds stood when Marcus Downs of the Georgia Association of Educators asked them to -- with most of the rest being parents and a few students and other community members.

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