Columbia County plans teacher furloughs, eliminates fall break

  • Follow Metro

Columbia County school officials on Tuesday adopted a new calendar that includes two teacher furlough days and no fall break.

Initially, school board members had adopted a calendar for 2009-10 that set aside Oct. 22 and 23 as the fall break, with Oct. 22 a professional learning day for teachers.

Now classes will be held on those days, but pupils will receive the entire Thanksgiving week off. The unpaid teacher furlough days are set for Aug. 3 and Nov. 23 -- days school will not be in session.

By taking off the entire Thanksgiving week, Superintendent Charles Nagle said, the system can save as much as $100,000 on electric bills.

On Tuesday, state Board of Education officials approved waiving a requirement that educators work 190 days each school year. The waiver gives school systems the flexibility needed to enact Gov. Sonny Perdue's plan to save money by asking teachers to take three unpaid days off by the end of the calendar year.

School systems are not required to enact the furloughs, but state funding for the salary equivalent will nevertheless be denied them.

Columbia County officials chose to furlough teachers for just two days.

Eliminating three teacher work days equates to about $1.5 million. Mr. Nagle proposed several methods to make up the additional $500,000 in salaries and about $3 million in state budget cuts, but none was approved Tuesday.

While furloughing teachers, the system also can furlough system-paid employees, which will save about $300,000. Mr. Nagle also suggested that he could divert some stimulus money and other instructional funds to help.

During the past year the system lost about $9 million from cuts.

Still, raising taxes won't be considered, Mr. Nagle said.

"We feel like it's not prudent at this time for our community to shoulder that," he said.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

READ MORE

Richmond County to furlough teachers Feb. 15

Comments (25) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
debby
12
Points
debby 07/29/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
Teachers weren't set to begin

Teachers weren't set to begin work until August 4th. Are you sure August 3rd is the correct date?

momof2
0
Points
momof2 07/29/09 - 09:44 am
0
0
I can't believe they took

I can't believe they took away fall break after the calendar had been set! Our family had a vacation booked already. What a pain!

augustajacket
0
Points
augustajacket 07/29/09 - 11:11 am
0
0
Momof2, your attitude is the

Momof2, your attitude is the problem we have in much of society today. Be grateful for someone who is willing to at least make decisions. Besides, you will probably just keep your kids out of school anyway and make up an excuse for their absence. Get over it.

coolette
10
Points
coolette 07/29/09 - 11:30 am
0
0
I am thankful the days

I am thankful the days scheduled will be days the students are not at school. Thank you Mr. Nagle and Miss Regina for making sure these days wouldn't conflict with learning. Let's really make our teachers feel appreciated this year with parent support and encourage our children to do their very BEST!! Teachers are just as important as PARENTS!! Our children are with them for the majority of the day.

mosovich
807
Points
mosovich 07/29/09 - 12:19 pm
0
0
Amen augustaheel! AMEN!

Amen augustaheel! AMEN! Some people just don't get it..

gnx
7
Points
gnx 07/29/09 - 01:00 pm
0
0
They can save even more on

They can save even more on those electric bills by cutting off some of the lights in parking lots at night as well as those electric signs in front of many of the schools.

coolette
10
Points
coolette 07/29/09 - 01:14 pm
0
0
We need those lights to

We need those lights to discourage vandalism!

momof2
0
Points
momof2 07/29/09 - 04:17 pm
0
0
Augustaheel, if I was a

Augustaheel, if I was a parent that would just keep my kids out anyway, then why would I even care that they changed the calendar? No, I make sure my kids are in school every day and I DON'T take them out unnecessarily. After the initial shock of them changing the calendar, I'm over it. But they could have kept the calendar the same for the kids and taken the furlough days from preplanning and fall break. I think the weeklong Thanksgiving break is a fine idea. I just don't like that they changed the calendar so close to school starting because I HAD already booked a long weekend. I chose to plan it over Fall Break so that I wouldn't have to take the kids out of school. But I'm glad you think *I'M* the problem in society these days. That's laughable.

workingmom
0
Points
workingmom 07/29/09 - 05:00 pm
0
0
I am pleased with the way the

I am pleased with the way the furloughs for CC teachers were handled. Thank you to all those who spent time constructing a plan that would not hurt the students and be as fair to the teachers as possible. It makes CC teachers realize how fortunate they are to be working in such a wonderful system. (debby, the August 3 date, as I understood it, was taken from one of the post planning days and added on to the beginning of the school year as one of the furlough days.)

zippy
250
Points
zippy 07/29/09 - 05:12 pm
0
0
i still do not know how the

i still do not know how the govenor can make a county employee take a furlough by cutting the funding to the county BOE. The BOE contract states that the contracted salary is contengent on funding being available from the state by an act of the general assembly. When the govenor gives a directive to withhold funding already appropriated by the general assembly, it is not an act of the general assembly which would justify the BOE to adjust the teacher's salary contemplated by the contract. Having said that, the teachers of columbia county would probably work the three days for free anyway. Given the choice of teaching a child or contesting a budget issue, they will choose the child every time. Therfore the point is probably moot. I am only commenting to show some concern about the contract wording.

echaoandzoe
0
Points
echaoandzoe 07/29/09 - 07:45 pm
0
0
I'm a single mother who has

I'm a single mother who has already paid $1500 and has already promised to take my child to Disney world. I'm sorry but I think this could have been handled better. I'm not letting $1500 and a trip that I have been planning for over 2 months go down the drain. I have also already been approved for time off at my job which I'm not changing. I guess my daughter will have to be an "unexcused absence", which makes me mad because I was so careful to plan all of our time off around the previous calender! I already requested a vacation day for Nov. 25th but it is now to late for me to add Nov. 23rd & 24th and now I am going to have to find & pay some one to watch my child those days. Parents and their children who make plans in advance, I guess, are being punished.

coolette
10
Points
coolette 07/29/09 - 08:05 pm
0
0
I bet if you can prove that

I bet if you can prove that you purchased your tickets prior to the change it would be excused. You made your plans based on the current calendar and who could have imagined that they would change the calendar just a couple of weeks prior to school starting. Common sense would prevail!

echaoandzoe
0
Points
echaoandzoe 07/29/09 - 08:24 pm
0
0
I'll be happy to prove it if

I'll be happy to prove it if I can get the absence excused but I was told today that ALL absences would be "unexcused". And what about the my thanksgiving holidays in which I have already had approved at work, that I cannot change. I would have been happy to schedule my vacation then, but now, instead of spending the "new" Thanksgiving holidays off with my daughter I am going to have to be at work while she is with a sitter. I schedule my work days around my daughters holidays so that I will be able to spend that time with her. If they needed to take extra days off then maybe piggyback other holidays (like Christmas). Don't take a holiday (fall break) away that they have been taking for at least the last 30 years!

echaoandzoe
0
Points
echaoandzoe 07/29/09 - 08:30 pm
0
0
By the way, this is in no

By the way, this is in no offence to Charlie Nagle, I really do appreciate what he has done and I know he is only trying to do what is best for the school system. I am just a little mad because I have taken a lot of time in planning my schedule and I had it all worked out where I would not need to get a sitter through the rest of the year, not to mention the fact that I have been saving for this vacation for a long time.

augustajacket
0
Points
augustajacket 07/29/09 - 10:45 pm
0
0
Momof2, it is a shame you

Momof2, it is a shame you can't read. Your attitude is the problem. Forget that this affects teachers and all, let's make sure you get your vacation. Egocentricity is a major problem in our society and your comments indicate you could be the poster child.

momof2
0
Points
momof2 07/29/09 - 10:59 pm
0
0
I'm not forgetting that this

I'm not forgetting that this affects teachers. Many of my friends are teachers. In fact, a teacher was planning to go on my trip with me and now she has to cancel also. The fact that they're doing furloughs sucks, but it should have the least effect on students as possible. What I said did not warrant the response I got from you. I'm certainly not the only one voicing the same opinion. I think your name says it all and you're just trying to start trouble.

redapples
660
Points
redapples 07/30/09 - 12:51 am
0
0
Times are tough all around

Times are tough all around and I think parents and educators alike should be grateful to Mr. Nagle and the BOE for their thoughtful approach to this problem. Looking over at RCBOE it could have been much worse!

jaschild
5
Points
jaschild 07/30/09 - 06:28 am
0
0
can someone explain the

can someone explain the purpose of the healthy reserve $$$ CCBOE keeps and what situation will justify using it instead of cutting back on teachers/paras/secretaries and having larger classrooms?

holmesla
0
Points
holmesla 07/30/09 - 07:40 am
0
0
augustaheel - it has nothing

augustaheel - it has nothing to do with Egocentricity. Parents look at their children's school schedules and they make plans accordingly. momof2 simply said that she was unhappy about the schedule change because she had made plans. That is her opinion and she is entitled to it. I don't see how we are bad parents because we made plans to take out kids on vacation when they are out of school.

ReginaB
0
Points
ReginaB 07/30/09 - 09:48 am
0
0
When we were discussing the

When we were discussing the options for absorbing these budget cuts we recognized that no matter which option we chose we would not get 100% support. We chose rearranging the calendar and enforcing 2 furlough days because with the very short time available it seemed the least disruptive solution.

I am very sorry that some families vacations plans are being disrupted. I believe that the school system will follow this closely. I may recommend the no testing be given on the Oct 22& 23 dates. That would minimize the impact on students whose parents opt to continue with their plans and let their students receive unexcused absences.

As for using the reserve fund. The state auditors say that systems need to keep enough money for two months expenses. Currently our monthly expenses come to about $15 million, so at $26 million we are just short of that goal. This year, because property tax bills are coming out two months late, we will have to use that money to tide us over until people send their taxes in.

Believe me, a great deal of time and digging through the budget was done before we voted on Tuesday.

I just ask people to be patient as we work through this situatio

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 07/31/09 - 01:17 am
0
0
Be thankful you can afford a

Be thankful you can afford a vacation at all. The majority of people I know haven't taken vacations in years. I haven't had one since a family reunion in 2001. And I haven't had a vacation of my own choosing for even longer than that.

holmesla
0
Points
holmesla 07/31/09 - 07:14 am
0
0
No one ever said they weren't

No one ever said they weren't thankful. I am very thankful for everything I have because I have worked my butt off to have it.

workingmom
0
Points
workingmom 07/31/09 - 05:59 pm
0
0
In these tough economic times

In these tough economic times everyone has to give a little; some, more than others. I'm sure the teachers will be willing to try and work with parents/students who may have already planned a vacation during that long weekend. There are probably faculty and staff members who have planned vacations for that time as well so they do understand the frustration.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 08/01/09 - 12:37 am
0
0
holmesia I've "worked my

holmesia I've "worked my butt off" too as you put it, but in many people's lives a vacation isn't "the end" they are working for...LOL.

karenlyss
3
Points
karenlyss 08/05/09 - 09:48 am
0
0
Extending Thanksgiving break?

Extending Thanksgiving break? how does this help the students to be out of school longer when GA is behind national averages for scores already? And for parents they not only have to find camps, sitters or take vacation days for the 2wk Christmas break now we have to do the same for 4 days the week of Thanksgiving,,and they decide this 3 1/2 mths out?? most of us havd turned in end of yr vacation requests over a month ago, who has $ in their budget so close to Christmas to come up with more money for a camp or sitter?

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs