Elbert County schools go to 4-day week

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ELBERTON, Ga. -- Elbert County schools will go to a four-day week in the 2011-12 school year.

The Elbert County Board of Education this week approved the dramatic schedule change as part of a budget-cutting plan.

Under the new schedule, students will attend school Tuesdays through Fridays, though the board added an hour to each school day to help fulfill state school attendance requirements.

The Elbert County School District will become the seventh school system in the state to set up four-day school weeks to save money. The system's 2011-12 school year will include 146 days.

The board adopted a four-day week and several other cost-cutting measures to help offset a $4.8 million budget shortfall, schools Superintendent Abe Plummer said Friday.

"There have been a lot of austerity cuts from the state; we lost funding from (the federal Quality of Education Act allowance), and we've seen a decline in local revenue, among other budget reductions," Plummer said. "We've been able for three years to cover these types of things by attrition, but that was not going to be the way to resolve them this year - we had to go with this and (cutting) personnel."

The board eliminated 25 jobs in the district, a 4 percent cut in a system that employs 600 people, including bus drivers, Plummer said.

The board also added 10 unpaid furlough days to the school calendar to save about $900,000.

The shorter school week will save the school system $476,000, Plummer said.

In addition, 14 teachers took advantage of an early retirement incentive package for a savings of $676,000. The school system also saved $575,000 by eliminating local supplements to teacher salaries.

The remainder of the $4.8 million shortfall will be made up through other cuts, including attrition - not filling positions when employees leave - and possibly by other teachers opting for the early retirement incentives, Plummer said.

Reaction to the changes have been mixed, Plummer said.

The Elbert County School District used Peach County in Southeast Georgia as a model for its four-day school week plan, Plummer said. Peach County school system officials said they noticed improvements in attendance from students as well as teachers under the four-day school week plan, he said.

As to what parents will do for child care on Mondays when there is no school, Plummer said he had "no solutions for that issue.

"I'm sure we'll be hearing more about that," he said.

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seenitB4
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seenitB4 05/14/11 - 09:03 am
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Many schools may have to take

Many schools may have to take this path........less ac used....less gas for busses.....

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 05/14/11 - 09:52 am
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Sounds like a good plan.

Sounds like a good plan.

Ushouldnthave
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Ushouldnthave 05/14/11 - 10:25 am
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I wonder if the parents

I wonder if the parents employers will also go to a 4 day week. The reason school is set for Mon thru Fri during business hours is BECAUSE THEY'RE BUSINESS HOURS. This short sighted solution is what gets school boards voted out of office.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 05/14/11 - 10:46 am
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Ushouldhave, you are right;

Ushouldhave, you are right; it's politics that usuually prevent elected officials from making the tough decisions. However, the purpose of the school system is not to be anyone's baby sitter, it is to provide an education. It's going to be painful to some people, but they will survive and with the right attitude perhaps even grow from the experience. Personal responsibility does wonders.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 05/14/11 - 10:47 am
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$476,000 doesn't seem like

$476,000 doesn't seem like that much of a savings to me, not for eliminating an entire day out of the week. In fact, if you follow the children on this, it'll be interesting to know how much childcare will be costing the parents for this one day. I know that some parents stay home, or the grandparent is available, but there are plenty of parents who have to work and will have to hire someone to keep the child. I still say that allowing business sponsorship and advertising within the schools will add plenty of money into the system to make a good impact on this budget problem.

seenitB4
91146
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seenitB4 05/14/11 - 10:55 am
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Elbert county has 1 high

Elbert county has 1 high school & 1 middle school....so 1/2million or so means a lot.
http://www.elbert.k12.ga.us/

seenitB4
91146
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seenitB4 05/14/11 - 11:07 am
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Elbert county has 1 high

Elbert county has 1 high school & 1middle school....so1/2 million would make a difference..I posted a link but AC has it held in limbo.

Sweet son
10818
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Sweet son 05/14/11 - 02:27 pm
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Seenit, the only reason your

Seenit, the only reason your post was held up because it is weekend. Sean is off so he can't immediately pop you if he needs to. LOL I saw, maybe in the Atlanta paper that some school system was offered a cell tower but turned it down because it was too dangerous. They never did say why it was dangerous. Just my had a thought! In these days and times you have to be creative and make a buck anyway you can. As long as 4 days does not harm the educational process go for it! As Neil Bortz calls them; the "government" schools should not be looked on as babysitters.

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 05/14/11 - 05:38 pm
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Georgia ranks 48 out of 50 in

Georgia ranks 48 out of 50 in education. I assume Elbert County isn't at the top of GA's list but either way, less education in GA isn't a good thing in any way, shape or form.

If we fail to educate our youth properly then more will end up in jails and therefore we will spend a lot more tax money in the long run.

I am all for cutting out waste in government spending and I am sure this school system has some. However, to have a knee jerk reaction and remove a day of school for a small savings is not the right answer to this problem.

Sweet Son, although I agree with you in many aspects we must also face reality. Schools are a way for families where both parents MUST work to ensure their kids are being supervised and learning at the same time. This will put a great burden on the working class who pays taxes and will not effect those who are already non-productive citizens. Additionally, juvenile crime greatly increases in the summer and on weekends when school is in session. When youth are not in school and have more free time on their hands, more problems will occur.

How is all of this "change" in our country working out for us?

Tisk tisk what is this world coming to
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Savings on electricity and

Savings on electricity and air conditioning? It is left on 24/7 anyway.

Also if this is the best option why didn't they do it Monday through Thursday? It is easier for a parent to take a Friday off rather than a Monday.

scoobynews
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scoobynews 05/14/11 - 10:06 pm
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As a teacher who will one day

As a teacher who will one day also have child in school hopefully going Monday through Friday it irks me that all you can think of is how this will be a burden on the parents because they may have to shell out daycare cost. I do that now as well as many other parents. Schools are NOT daycare! When I have to be at work an hour earlier than my son when he starts elementary school I will pay for before hours care. When my son is sick I have to take the day off just like any other parent. What you all fail to see is TEN furlough days and lost supplements. That is a dramatic reduction of these teacher's pay! I as well as many other educators have not received a cost of living raise going on 4 years now as well as a reduction in our pay. Increased insurance cost and lack of money for supples which most of us have had to buy with our own money has caused even greater stress. As many of you love to say we all have to pick up the slack from the state and local governments so as you so fondly love to tell the teachers - suck it up and deal with it.

Riverman1
87605
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Riverman1 05/14/11 - 09:23 pm
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Heck, I say cut school to

Heck, I say cut school to three days a week and cut the salaries in half.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 05/14/11 - 09:25 pm
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Go scoobynews!

Go scoobynews!

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 05/14/11 - 10:14 pm
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Yes Riverman let's cut school

Yes Riverman let's cut school down to 3 days and teacher's salaries in half. Why not cut your day down to 3 days a week and your salary in half too it could help the economy out a lot I am sure. You fail to see the big picture. We don't need less school. American children are so far behind in world standards as it is. If you want to see some REAL news go look at the clips from the story Diane Sawyer did when she went to China. China is out doing us left and right. Elementary age kids can speak FLUENT english and we can't even get ours to write proper English at school. American's need to get off their high horse and realize that without teachers you would be doing all this yourself at HOME on your time not anyone else's time. Home schooling is a small minority of people. These are people who can afford to stay home to teach their children how to read, write, and do basic math as well as science and history. Are you ready to take on the task? I challenge all parents who complain about the education system to quit their job and stay home to teach their kid? Oh that is right you CAN'T because you need to earn a living. Well guess what teachers not only teach your children all those things but it is also how they support their families. The apples don't usually fall to far from the tree the parents that complain the most were often the ones that seem to think just like their kids do that teachers don't have a life outside of school. I love what I do but I also have other things that I enjoy doing and supporting my family is one of them. Most of these parents that also complain are the very ones that can't wait to see August get here so their little darlings can return to SCHOOL!

seenitB4
91146
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seenitB4 05/15/11 - 08:06 am
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Go scooby!!! You are

Go scooby!!!
You are right........others can suckup that other day.

Riverman1
87605
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Riverman1 05/15/11 - 08:19 am
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Scooby, I think the world of

Scooby, I think the world of teachers.....however, times have changed. Schools don't exist to make it convenient for parents to work. They are to educate...right? Or is it more of a daycare benefit for parents? The country is going broke and our education system is turning out poor students even though we spend more on education than China or any other country in the world.

Homeschooling with online instruction should be encouraged. Private schools should be encouraged. Public school instruction is geared to the masses and the sad fact is most families don't care about the education their children are receiving or getting them through college.

Plus, another cold, hard fact is that there is too much of a disparity in the intellect of kids (and adults). Public school teaches to the lower levels. Those who want to go to college have to work on their own. Those who would do better in blue collar trades account for about 75% of the population and they would be better suited in technical schools and apprenticeships. Public schools waste too much money, are ineffective and could be replaced with new technology. Three days a week is fine...two even better.

seenitB4
91146
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seenitB4 05/15/11 - 08:35 am
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river.....since you are

river.....since you are showing your honest feelings this am....:)

Please tell us just what happened to our school system......because at one tme it worked... thankyou :)
I'm smiling as I post...

Riverman1
87605
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Riverman1 05/15/11 - 09:26 am
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SeenitB4, so you want

SeenitB4, so you want honesty...... We are unique because we have half of our people coming from relatively uneducated, poor and one parent families. They drag the others down. They are not to blame, however. They are coming from slavery and more recently segregation. Their parents/grandparents grew up in that and pass that mindset on along with their poverty, psychological and real. Those demographics make schools ineffective in teaching to college bound affluent kids. My suggestions: mentoring that starts very early, more technical training in various ways.....and tincture of time.

seenitB4
91146
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seenitB4 05/15/11 - 11:18 am
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Thank you river & I agree

Thank you river & I agree with your post...let me add we also have the non-english speaking kids in our school system & that also brings the level down.......what amazes me is that we keep letting the tail wag the dog......we have 30% of the population dictating what the 70% should or shouldn't do.........we have smart kids today....we need to jump over the pc crowd & give them a chance.....it will take some strong leaders to make this leap...I hope we have the guts to vote them into office.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 05/15/11 - 12:52 pm
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Schools need to be reformed

Schools need to be reformed that I agree with but to shorten the school week is not the answer. We need to start taking middle school kids and putting them on a track that suits them. Not every child is going to college. Some will be our mechanics, welders, chefs, hairstylist, and other trades. We shove academics down their throats and many get bored with it then quit school causing this never ending cycle of poverty and government dependance. Until we change how schools work then we will never find a solution.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 05/15/11 - 02:47 pm
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scooby, don't you think

scooby, don't you think education cycles just like the economy? There was a time when what you are describing took place and it happened during the baby boomer era and pre Hope Scholorship Funding. I agree with you completely. Everyone needs a good education, but not the same type. There are so many college graduates now, like the old saying goes, that and six bucks will get a good cup of coffee. Today, skilled degrees and lessons that best mimic real life, are the best approach to getting a job that will pay a living-wage. College can be a wonderful experience, but more often than not, it is not preparing most students for employment.

Riverman1
87605
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Riverman1 05/15/11 - 03:27 pm
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Colleges today are an out and

Colleges today are an out and out fraud figuring out how to get government money and leaving people tens of thousands of dollars in debt. They have dumbed down college level material to what used to be 10th grade work. Graduates are given worthless degrees and have no hope of a job.

The colleges want as many students as possible and make the curriculum easy enough to keep them in school so faculty and administrators can keep their cushy jobs with big salaries.

Only about 10% of the population should go to college. The facts are the IQ levels of the general population don't support over half the population enrolling in college and 27% with degrees. Half the colleges should be closed immediately. We don't have the money to continue helping with this higher education scam.

monticelloboy
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monticelloboy 05/15/11 - 09:05 pm
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School is a learning center

School is a learning center and not a daycare center. Most parents have the conception that schools are meant to take over their responsibilities as parents. If you donot want the responsibilities of being a parent, donot have them. Responsibilities come along with children.

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