Furlough days won't close agencies

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ATLANTA --- A day after Gov. Sonny Perdue called for every state worker -- including teachers -- to stay home three days in the next five months, government officials began sorting out the details.

Agencies won't close their doors completely during mass-furlough days. Instead, most are leaving staff scheduling to individual supervisors who can judge how to keep services to the public available.

Many agencies already have imposed worker furloughs as a way to save money in response to earlier budget trims. Mr. Perdue said that no worker should have to miss more than 12 paid days to comply with his latest request for cost cutting.

Each day of furloughs saves taxpayers $135 million when teachers, University System employees and all state workers are included. Teachers alone make up $33 million in savings, according to the governor's office.

"I know it hurts," Mr. Perdue said Tuesday. "A lot of people are hurt in this economy."

Mr. Perdue said his staff's latest projections show the state on track to be $900 million over budget if the furloughs and other cuts aren't implemented. And after adjusting for public-school enrollment growth, the state will have just $35 million in reserves, less than one day's operations for the government.

He asked every agency to recommend to him ways they can eliminate spending by 4 percent, 6 and 8 percent for the balance of this fiscal year and next year. In those meetings, Mr. Perdue will look at possible alternatives when staffing is critical, such as at the Department of Corrections, which won't be furloughing prison guards.

The public's safety won't be compromised, officials say.

It will be like each worker required an unexpected sick day, said Gordy Wright, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

Local State Patrol posts will furlough troopers when traffic is lightest in their areas, he said.

Reach Walter Jones at walter.jones@morris.com.

THE NUMBERS

13,400

State workers in the Augusta metropolitan statistical area (Richmond, Burke, Columbia, McDuffie, Aiken and Edgefield counties); some are South Carolina state employees, but the Labor Department includes them in Augusta's total

3,159

State workers in Richmond County

Note: Numbers exclude employees of the University System of Georgia and teachers

Sources: Georgia Department of Labor; State Personnel Administration

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concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 07/23/09 - 06:25 am
0
0
Mark Taylor campaigned

Mark Taylor campaigned against Sonny saying all these things would come to pass if no changes were made. Sonny you are quite the planner.

Serioun
3
Points
Serioun 07/23/09 - 07:56 am
0
0
What do you expect from man

What do you expect from man who has a degree in Veterinarian Medicine. Although working with the legislature could be compared to working with animals, I don't think that is what we really needed. I never voted for him because I didn't feel he was qualified, I think the furloughs should only apply to those who did. It like shock treatment.

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 07/23/09 - 08:01 am
0
0
They need to close state

They need to close state offices, making the entire staff take the same furlough day off. Closing the office on one day here and there saves more money than leaving the office open with scattered reduced staff. The people of the state will not wither and blow away if a state office is closed - it would be just like another holiday.

Riverman1
82261
Points
Riverman1 07/23/09 - 08:26 am
0
0
It's hilarious that some

It's hilarious that some think having teachers in the class three fewer days a years means anything. Homeschoolers are laughing hard.

Riverman1
82261
Points
Riverman1 07/23/09 - 08:33 am
0
0
Actually, Bedden could make

Actually, Bedden could make teachers work those three days. All he has to do is lower their pay for the entire year by the percentage the three days account for. Thus, they would be getting "paid" for those three days.

Riverman1
82261
Points
Riverman1 07/23/09 - 08:43 am
0
0
Yeah, show me those social

Yeah, show me those social skills learned in Richmond Cty schools.

teacher02
3
Points
teacher02 07/23/09 - 09:06 am
0
0
A 4 day school week could

A 4 day school week could save millions more. Consider all of the money that would be saved across the State by not running the buses 1 day a week and forcing school building to remain closed on those days. Students and teachers would work the equivalent hours condensed into the 4 day time period. This has not had a negative impact on student performance in the few places this has been adopted. If we're going to continue class size increases and teacher layoffs/furloughs, then all options should be on the table.

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 07/23/09 - 10:58 am
0
0
I agree with teacher02 that a

I agree with teacher02 that a four-day school week would save us taxpayers untold millions.

referendum09
0
Points
referendum09 07/23/09 - 12:44 pm
0
0
It was nice to see the state

It was nice to see the state legislature setting the example and taking a furlough themselves. One day less pay for someone making a six figure salary has less impact than an hourly employee.

I am disappointed they are including teachers. Georgia's education system is not in the US top 10. Students need more days in class, not less. Also what are working parents to do during those days, it is effectively a secondary furlough for non-state workers?

teacher02
3
Points
teacher02 07/23/09 - 01:01 pm
0
0
referendum09, I believe that

referendum09, I believe that the furlough days will be during staff development days (at least the Richmond County model is), so students will still be in school the same number of days. However, the placement of those days could be set up in a way to encourage teachers to come in and work regardless (i.e. the last planning day before the 1st day of school).

up2nogood
0
Points
up2nogood 07/23/09 - 01:42 pm
0
0
Going to a four-day school

Going to a four-day school week would not work unless you cancel much of summer vacations or change the state constitution. Students are legally required to attend 180 days of school. Personally, I'm in favor of cancelling summer break. The only reason that ever started was because farming families needed their children home to help bring in the harvest. It's been a long time since that was the case in Georgia. Also, parents could save thousands of dollars by not having to put their kids into daycare for three months every year.

teacher02
3
Points
teacher02 07/23/09 - 02:38 pm
0
0
A number of counties across

A number of counties across the country have already adopted a 4 day school week with no problem. Those schools are only in session for 144 days, which is fine, because they still meet the same number of hours as they did in the 180 day normal session. As for summer break, even if it were abandoned in favor of the Year Round model used in some places (which I would be fine with), there is still the equivalent time off. Either way, children would be in daycare for just as long.

up2nogood
0
Points
up2nogood 07/23/09 - 03:25 pm
0
0
I'm not so sure. Parents

I'm not so sure. Parents could more easily plan vacation time with their kids if it broken up through the school year instead of mostly coming in the summer months. Also, I believe a year-round model would improve student retention.

chuckroast2000
0
Points
chuckroast2000 07/23/09 - 08:59 pm
0
0
it is better than having to

it is better than having to take 10 days off or not having a job.

class1
299
Points
class1 07/23/09 - 09:48 pm
0
0
They will figure a way to

They will figure a way to make teachers come to work without pay. The administration will put the guilt trip on you if you don't volunteer to come on an a off day. They will make it sound like you are doing it for the kids.

just float
23
Points
just float 07/24/09 - 12:58 pm
0
0
Teachers already work for

Teachers already work for free. There are not enough hours in the school day to complete the piles of required paperwork AND teach the kids. Watch the faculty parking lot one day and see how many walk out empty handed.

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