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Columbia County school board cuts positions, adds furlough days to save money

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The Columbia County school board added furlough days and cut positions Wednesday to save money.

Superintendent Charles Nagle said he is expecting to lose about $6 million in state funding for next school year.

To recoup that, Nagle added five furlough days into next year's calender, which the board approved. By eliminating five days, the system will save about $3 million, he told board members.

Three of those days will be staff development days, while the remaining two are instruction days.

This school year, state officials withheld the funding for six school days, but Columbia County just took away three.

The new calendar includes a week off for Thanksgiving, which was introduced this school year.

Should tax revenue or state funding exceed expectations, furlough days can be eliminated from the calendar, Nagle said.

The board approved eliminating 25 positions, including 12 teaching positions.

The cuts will save about $1.3 million, Deputy Superintendent Sandra Carraway said.

Most of the cuts can be accommodated through attrition, but some teachers likely will be laid off.

At least five positions were in the middle-school Spanish program, which the board decided to phase out Wednesday.

"If you don't cut this, you've got to cut something else," Nagle told school trustees.

The program had been taught to seventh- and eighth-graders, who earned a Spanish I credit.

The program will continue for one more year, so the 455 seventh-graders enrolled in the course can finish the program next year.

The move will save the school system about $350,000 next year and $210,000 the following school year, when middle school Spanish will be gone for good.

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scoobynews
3771
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scoobynews 04/28/10 - 09:11 pm
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Thanks Troylus maybe now csra

Thanks Troylus maybe now csra can understand how things really work. I almost laughed when I read that we get a fat pension. That is money that comes straight out of the teacher's own pay check every month and it goes into the Teacher Retirement System. As for summers off that is a joke too. Teacher salaries are for 180 days and spread out over the year. Most teachers that I know have to get jobs over the summer to make ends meet. As do a lot of working American's with part time jobs after working a full time job all day. These are hard times on teachers and other professionals the least of anyone's worries should be that you have to rearrange some vacation time because you feel "dumped" on. As stated before many of us would love to go on a vacation, I have not been on one in over 4 years.

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/28/10 - 09:12 pm
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So we don't have money to

So we don't have money to fund the schools and the answer is to start school earlier and extend the school year. If that's the logic coming from the school system, we are in serious trouble with our education system. I can fund my own vacation, it's just a shame that the school system can't get their act together so parents can make reasonable plans. What a shame --- teachers are actually having to pay a small portion of their retirement like the rest of the Nation's workers!

corgimom
28175
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corgimom 04/28/10 - 09:15 pm
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Chillen- "but those several

Chillen- "but those several hundred kids participating still have to be educated in a classroom somewhere and someone has to be paid to educate them in something."

They'll just add on time with their already existing teachers. No additional costs.

troylus
1
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troylus 04/29/10 - 05:23 am
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csrareader: I see you still

csrareader: I see you still haven't picked up just yet. Go back through this very website and find out the date CCBOE released its calendar. Then go back and find the date the Governor said he was not going to fund 6 days of education. Figure out which one came first. Hint: I already told you.

Next, go through this very website and find out how many days of education the governor has said he recommends NOT FUNDING for next year. HINT: he said 10. CCBOE has decided to fund 5 of those. School is not going to start earlier. You will have 2 more days at Thanksgiving for an extended vacation. So, instead of 'dumping' on you when you claim that you don't see it coming, the board is actually giving you time to plan because it knows beforehand that the money isn't coming. Pretty considerate, even though August 9 (the 'proposed' later starting date from the original August 5--but hey, what does logic have to do with it?) is the new suggestion.

I guess you should state your real beef: you are angry because the school system's decision to give students two more days off doesn't coincide with the time YOU scheduled vacation.

Here is your homework assignment: Go and ask the rest of America (your idea) how many of them are willing to work for free so that someone else can have things he wants. [Just in case nuance is lost upon you: Teachers do not mind paying for their own retirement. The misconception here is that retirement is a 'perk', that teacher's get paid for time off in the summer, and that every teacher just punches a time clock for thirty years and coasts to the easy life.]

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/29/10 - 05:48 am
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Troylus, if my vacation

Troylus, if my vacation conflicted with the new school calendar I certainly wouldn't let it stop me from missing a few days of school. With the logic displayed in your narrative, it's obvious that my children wouldn't miss much by starting late. I assume that you're a teacher with your overly sensitive defense of the school system.

Here is YOUR homework assignment: Go ask the rest of America how many of them would like to have the summer off -- paid or unpaid. I think you will find that school teachers have benefits that all working individuals would love to have. And on the retirement issue, retirement is a "perk." Although teachers pay a small portion of their retirement, they recoup far more from the system after they retire. Here is the second part of YOUR homework: Do the math. How much do the teachers pay into the system, and how much do they take out? I think you will find that they are getting much more than they pay, so you can't say that teachers are "paying for their retirement." It is a perk, plain and simple.

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/29/10 - 05:55 am
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Scoobynews, if you haven't

Scoobynews, if you haven't been on a vacation in four years, it's because you chose to not go on a vacation. There is no reason that anyone can't afford to go on a vacation. Now having said that, there are vacations that I would like to take but can't afford. However, I can afford to take a vacation somewhere and do, and you could do the same. Don't try to play the overworked and underpaid educator card.

corgimom
28175
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corgimom 04/29/10 - 06:40 am
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"There is no reason that

"There is no reason that anyone can't afford to go on a vacation."

Perhaps Scooby cannot afford to go on a vacation because she spends her extra money on the children in her classroom. I've already spent over $500 this year- as a volunteer- and every teacher I know does the same.

I am appalled that someone would be so arrogant to think that everyone can afford to go on vacation.

workingmom
0
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workingmom 04/29/10 - 06:52 am
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With a window of more than 10

With a window of more than 10 weeks during the summer when children are not in school, why would anyone choose to plan a vacation close to either end of that time period? The calendar is subject to change and believe it or not, the school system is not trying to "dump" on anyone. That just does not make sense.

MartinezMother
0
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MartinezMother 04/29/10 - 07:58 am
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Corgimom, Thanks for your

Corgimom, Thanks for your support. As a science teacher's wife, it irks me that he spends as much as he does on the classroom, but I recognize that it's his passion for teaching (combined with a very low school supplies budget) that leads him to do it. I reluctantly supported him when he decided to leave a lucrative career in the private sector to pursue a life-long dream of teaching. It's been five years now, and in 18+ years together I've never seen him happier, despite the huge pay cut and the crazy hard work. (And crazy hours, too--for those who complain about teachers' time off, you have no idea what you're talking about. He puts in 12 hour days nearly every single day, plus huge chunks of time on the weekends. And that doesn't count school functions...) I have to say, though, that the lack of job security this year and last is pretty crazy. Not so much for us--we'll likely be ok no matter what--but for people who chose the career field just out of college, it must be devastating. To me, it's an abrogation of the social contract. Even in the best of boom times, we pay teachers far less than their education level warrants, and give them no respect on top of it. The flip side of that has been, historically, that they at least have secure jobs when the boom times end. It seems fair that the since they benefit from the good times far less than the private sector, they're at least minimally protected when those times fade. Not to mention, what's more important that building up an educated workforce to protect and enhance the future well-being of our state?

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/29/10 - 08:24 am
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Once again, everyone can

Once again, everyone can afford to go on some type of vacation if they choose. That vacation may not be an expensive trip to Disney, Hawaii, Europe, or a cruise, but YES, everyone can afford to get away somewhere, even if for a short period of time. Maybe that would mean cutting out some "essentials" like cell phones, premium cable television channels, eating out several times a week, flat screen televisions, etc., etc., but everyone can afford to go somewhere -- maybe not where you want to go, but somewhere. That is my point. Everyone I know would love to have what is essentially a very long weekend every summer.

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/29/10 - 08:39 am
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From Troylus: "Teachers do

From Troylus:
"Teachers do not mind paying for their own retirement."

From the Atlanta Constitution:
"For every dollar that a teacher gets, he or she paid 5 percent into the pension plan in 2009 and 5.25 percent in 2010. The tax dollars contributed to the plans by employers was raised from 9.28 percent to 9.74 percent."

Also from the Atlanta Constitution:
"Gaps in pension funding could lead to more teacher reductions, larger class sizes and educational program cuts over time to cover promised benefits."

It appears that taxpayers are paying almost 2 dollars into the pension fund for every dollar that a teacher pays, and that still leaves a shorfall. The next round of teacher cuts and cuts of ecucation programs may be caused by teachers NOT paying enough into their retirement system.

f1262
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f1262 04/29/10 - 08:50 am
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Martinezmother, Nicely said,

Martinezmother,

Nicely said, as I am the partner of a teacher that spends many extra hours at school and at home just grading papers and setting the class up for the next day of teaching. It definity is not a 8 hour a day job. I also feel that they are not fully appreciated for the jobs that they do. Bless you all.

GAterp
2
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GAterp 04/29/10 - 09:45 am
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To all of the folks who think

To all of the folks who think that teachers do not work hard and also have it made in the shade, what you need to do is sign up to substitue teach and see what it is really like. I enjoyed it immensely, and I think the kids at all grade levels liked having a male teacher in the class for the day, even if it was only temporary. It's really hard work! And I did not have to do all the preparation and grading that is required either. So for me it was hard work, but also very much enjoyed. I respect each and every person that enters and stays in this worthwhile profession. To me a good education is much more valuable than the best religion. Finally, when you keep cutting taxes, and live beyond your means, then this is the kind of financial situation that you are left with and it is not the fault of the teacher.

PUPPYMOMMA
1344
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PUPPYMOMMA 04/29/10 - 10:27 am
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I'm glad someone thinks that

I'm glad someone thinks that everyone can afford a vacation. Consider themselves fortunate. Around my house we have 'stay-cation'. That's when you stay at home and complete extra work chores, read a book,cut the grass,etc. My mom use to tell us kids that she was not our source of entertainment during summer vacation. If we went anywhere it was to visit Grandma.

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/29/10 - 10:43 am
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I'm not saying that teachers

I'm not saying that teachers don't work hard. They do. But I'm also saying that they have a sweetheart retirement deal and have the benefit of a LONG weekend every summer. I'm sure that all the other working folks would love to have a retirement deal where the taxpayers pay two dollars into their retirement plan for every dollar they pay. Just for comparison, the norm is 50 cents on the dollar for most 401(k) plans (if folks are lucky enough to have Company-sponsored 401(k) plans.

cleanup
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cleanup 04/29/10 - 10:52 am
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Csrareader, you seem very

Csrareader, you seem very jealous of teachers. I'd say that you should become one, so you can get that awesome retirement deal, but you would never get it since you wouldn't last a week. Sorry, Charlie, just keep on whining illogically.

GAterp
2
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GAterp 04/29/10 - 10:53 am
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There are big differences

There are big differences between regular pensions and 401(k) defined pensions, which are just an additional savings plan. Education of the general public is just one of the many services that you receive for paying taxes. Government workers get the same regular pensions too. People who do not want to pay taxes then should receive no benefits or services.

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/29/10 - 11:05 am
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No, I don't want to teach and

No, I don't want to teach and don't think I would make a good one. But I am tired of hearing teachers whine about "possibly" having to increase what they pay into their retirement plan. I'm tired of hearing teachers whine about maybe missing a year of their cost of living allowance. I'm tired of hearing teachers whine about not getting paid over the summer. It's a long weekend. And so what if you get jobs over the summer. Many people have weekend jobs. You just have the advantage of having a very long summer weekend. The teachers union is going down the same route as the postal workers union. The benefits package is simply not sustainable. Go talk to the Economics teacher down the hallway.

cleanup
0
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cleanup 04/29/10 - 11:16 am
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And I get tired of explaining

And I get tired of explaining that there IS no teacher's union in Georgia.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 04/29/10 - 11:27 am
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I used to live in Atlanta, my

I used to live in Atlanta, my neigbor was a public school art teacher. She complained constantly about the unions pressuring her to join & threatening her that she'll have no legal protection if a parent sues her, etc. She refused to join. This was in the late 1990's.

What is the Georgia Association of Educators (http://gae2.org/)? They are affiliated with the NEA. If they aren't a union, they are mimicking one. Personally, I'd say it's a union.

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 04/29/10 - 11:33 am
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"The Professional Association

"The Professional Association of Georgia Educators lobbies and negotiates with the State School Board -- sounds like a union to me:
The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), founded in 1975, is the largest organization for professional educators in the state, with more than 78,000 educators, administrators and school support personnel members. (See Growth Chart) PAGE offers its members unmatched legislative advocacy, legal protection and attorneys who are available by phone, e-mail or fax during normal business hours. In addition, PAGE provides professional learning to enhance competence and confidence, build leadership and increase student achievement."

The Georgia Association of Educators lobbies and negotiates with the state -- sounds like a union to me:

"The Georgia Association of Educators (or GAE, for short) is a professional organization for public education professionals. At our heart, GAE is a grassroots organization. Our strength comes from the dedication and involvement of our members. At last count, there are more than 40,000 GAE members across the state. Every one of those voices count in this organization—yours will, too. You see, GAE exists for you."

scoobynews
3771
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scoobynews 04/29/10 - 12:27 pm
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I get tired of people

I get tired of people assuming they know a someone's economic situation. You have no idea how many teacher's sign up to do afterschool, summer school, and work part time jobs. Nor do I like when people assume they know a person's home situation - whether they or a family member has an costly illness or if they are the bread winner with a layed off spouse. So CSRA stop ASSUMING you know what goes on with someone else's bank account. Unlike you, I as well as many others, do not have extra money to blow on a vacation. I had planned a day trip to the zoo for my child only to get an unexpected bill that same week. Hummmm car insurance for 6 months or go blow money in gas, food, and tickets while driving in my uninsured car. Many of us have priorities that are more important. I also had an unexpected surgery from last year that is still being paid on. It is pure ignorance peppered up with a dash of arrogance to assume that everyone has the money you do to blow. BTW GAE is NOT a teachers union nor is PAGE.

GAterp
2
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GAterp 04/29/10 - 01:30 pm
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A teaching job is ideal for a

A teaching job is ideal for a wife whose husband also works. Especially when the kids start into school. But take a family man and give him a teaching job and just see how financially strapped he will be. His wife will have to work, and unless she makes more than him, they will not be living high on the hog.

baronvonreich
0
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baronvonreich 04/29/10 - 01:31 pm
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I know teachers work hard but

I know teachers work hard but so does most everybody else. It seems like there is an unproportional amount of whining by teachers about hours, salaries, schedule, work conditions, etc. All of these things are known and have been known forever and these people still made the conscious decision to go to college and become a teacher. Nobody is forcing you to be a teacher, or to receive a full pension after only 30 years of work, or government benefits, or the protection of tenure, or a schedule with every holiday and weekend scheduled off. Leave and go get in a job in the private sector if you want. Life is full of options. Quit whining.

GAterp
2
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GAterp 04/29/10 - 01:32 pm
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And there is NO teacher's

And there is NO teacher's union in GA. These other organizations like Page & Gae are not unions. A union can call a strike order and these organizations cannot do that.

GAterp
2
Points
GAterp 04/29/10 - 01:35 pm
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I really think that most

I really think that most decent teachers do not whine. My wife never complained all that much, a bad day now and then but that's normal for any job. When I used to substitute teach I never heard the faculty at any school complain at all. It's a worthy profession, and was better when there was good class discipline. And we all need to sacrifice today, so everyone seems to be doing their part. The only folks whining out there are the Tea Party advocates.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 04/29/10 - 02:11 pm
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GAterp. I've spent quite a

GAterp. I've spent quite a bit of time volunteering in schools. There are some great teachers and if they are upset they keep to themselves. They are to be commended and I'm glad they are teaching our kids. But many of them complain and gripe often (not that it isn't valid in some cases). I've even seen it done in front of the kids.

Those organizations you say aren't unions might not be "official" unions but they operate just like them. Negotiating with school boards on teachers behalf for pay, benefits, etc. Just like a union minus the strike part. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck.

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 04/29/10 - 02:30 pm
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Regarding GAE and PAGE... if

Regarding GAE and PAGE... if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. They function like unions, so I consider them unions.

Scoobynews -- Do you own a cell phone? Do you have cable television? What about your car? Do you eat out in restaurants? Do you go to movies? etc... etc... etc... These are all "necessities" that could be cut back to finance (as I have on occasion) family trips and vacations. As I said, I'm not talking about an expensive vacation. I don't believe that you can't afford to take a weekend trip, or even a day trip, with your family. So no... I'm not buying your statement that you haven't been able to go anywhere for four years because you can't afford it. Remember, we have no one to blame for our personal situation except ourselves.

scoobynews
3771
Points
scoobynews 04/29/10 - 03:01 pm
0
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CSRA - Yes, I need it for

CSRA - Yes, I need it for emergancies when I am on the road with my 15 month old son alone, I barely watch tv but others in my house hold enjoy it and no I am not going to pull out the bunny ears so I can go sun at the beach for one week, I have a USED car that I just recently bought last year after trading in a more expensive car, No I do not go to the movies any more because I can't see paying almost 30 bucks to watch a movie and eat popcorn while teenagers run up and down the theater because their parents use it as babysitting. Not that any of this is any of your business but I just can't seem to understand what your problem is? I will break it down in simple terms again - I have not been on a vacation in 4 years because I have other priorities. Will I ever go on one in the future? Sure when the time and money is right. 5:48. 5:55, 8:24, 8:39, 10:43, 11:05, 11:33, ( I guess you went to lunch), 2:30 - I WANT your job because it must be pretty darn easy to be on the computer all day and still make enough money to go on a vacation during the school year with your family. Tell me where to go to apply.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 04/29/10 - 03:14 pm
0
0
scooby it sounds like you are

scooby it sounds like you are on my plan - the Dave Ramsey plan. We haven't gone anywhere for 3 years and we drive used, paid for cars, etc. It's actually not as bad as I thought it would be. It's much nicer to see the money go in the bank than to the car loan company. And you know what? You can sun "on the beach" almost for free if you go to one of the lake beaches. Vacations at home are sometimes more relaxing & certainly better for your wallet.

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