Richmond schoolteachers facing more furloughs to trim budget

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 2:49 PM
Last updated 7:15 PM
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All Richmond County school employees, including teachers, will be furloughed one day, Superintendent Dana Bedden announced this afternoon during a news conference on how he plans to offset a $7.2 million shortfall.

The furlough day is on top of four days of pay already taken from teachers and four furlough days given to other employees. To compensate, teachers will be allowed to work 15 minutes less each day.

The news comes a week after Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue detailed his plans to balance the state’s budget in wake of a projected $900 million shortfall. He announced that he would withhold 3 percent from the state’s education funding formula and the equivalent of three furlough days for all state-funded school employees.

This morning, the Georgia Board of Education voted to waive its requirement that teachers and similar certified staff members work 190 days, allowing local school systems the flexibility to furlough these workers.

The governor’s cuts added to Richmond County’s existing $1.1 million shortfall, the result of the school board holding the line on taxes and voting not to shift the burden to property owners.

Other measures planned to offset the shortfall include: Selling the old Hornsby and Sue Reynolds elementary schools; increasing class size for early intervention programs; and pulling $4.4 million from reserves.

Taking money from the reserve fund leaves the fund dangerously low, Dr. Bedden said. It will be less than a month’s payroll.

Dr. Bedden said all of the cuts will directly affect instruction and employees, although it was his top concern to avoid impacting these areas as much as possible. The superintendent encouraged the community to get involved in Richmond County education by volunteering or contributing financially to a foundation established through the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Bedden has avoided laying anyone off through the latest round of cuts, saying it’s crucial for the economy to come out of a recession. The school system’s 5,000 employees need to keep working, earning a paycheck and contributing to the economy.

Since becoming superintendent less than two years ago, he has now cut $60 million from the budget. Since last year, the budget has been reduced 12 percent, or $32 million.

“I want to make no mistake. This will hurt,” Dr. Bedden said.

Comments (19) Add comment
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FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 07/28/09 - 02:04 pm
0
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Yes, it will hurt.

Yes, it will hurt.

concernednative
28
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concernednative 07/28/09 - 02:14 pm
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I would have like to seen

I would have like to seen less impact on the people that deal with the kids everyday. I don't mean to pick on the central office but let's face it the majority of their work it set up things and manage ; but on a day to day level they wouldn't be missed as much.

redapples
681
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redapples 07/28/09 - 02:21 pm
0
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Working 15 mins less each day

Working 15 mins less each day is a bunch of crap! Just give them a day off when they are not being paid. Once you are at work 15 mins less is nothing...it's like a slap in the face! I thank God I don't work for RCBOE! My thoughts are with my cohorts who are having to endure this!

happy
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happy 07/28/09 - 03:27 pm
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hmmm what about the weeks

hmmm what about the weeks when I have bus duty and have to stay 45 minutes late to supervise students while waiting for the bus? They have been getting free time from teachers for quite some time...

Whatthetruth
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Whatthetruth 07/28/09 - 04:05 pm
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One more time....If the

One more time....If the flexibility is in place, why are Rcboe teachers being asked to work on those days and instead being asked to take 15 minutes off each of their days throughout the year? Teachers already work over 1 to 2 hours for free anyway... Furlough is a furlough, for those days of furlough; teachers should not be required to work, especially since this flexibility has been granted. What is fair is fair. How in the world will you monitor taking an extra 15 minutes off each day? Most districts are taking the 3-day furloughs; Rcboe teachers are taking 5; who is standing up for the employees and subsequently the students in this district? Dishearten teachers will definitely impact student performance

CarlA
114
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CarlA 07/28/09 - 04:05 pm
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Is Bedden taking having to

Is Bedden taking having to take a furlough as well?

Whatthetruth
0
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Whatthetruth 07/28/09 - 04:06 pm
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amen redapples!!

amen redapples!!

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 07/28/09 - 05:01 pm
0
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why no cuts to the "sacred

why no cuts to the "sacred cow" sports programs, i wonder how many furloughs/cuts or layoffs could have been avoided by not building football stadiums or b-ball gymnasiums for schools that are the worst in the county, and in the case of laney the worst in the state (and before this year graduated less than 33% of its seniors) regularly fail to meet ayp and graduate less than 70% of its students on a regular basis

blackambiance79
0
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blackambiance79 07/28/09 - 05:16 pm
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jisomjr, why keep bringing

jisomjr, why keep bringing up stuff that's already have been decided upon? That's not going to solve anything. What is your suggestion from here on out because the majority of these stadiums and gymnasiums have already been built. What cuts exactly are you proposing? Eliminating sports teams altogether isn't a viable option. Sports, needless to say, is what keeps a lot of these kids out of trouble with the law. And yes, it was one the most shameful moments in Laney's history to have such a despairing graduation rate. But they did improve this past school year and intend to keep improving this year. You are more than welcome to lend your helping hand to make Laney and other schools in Richmond County better.

JEF
0
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JEF 07/28/09 - 05:53 pm
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I appears that contracts do

I appears that contracts do not mean anything. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court.

giwi
116
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giwi 07/28/09 - 07:23 pm
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Happy, I agree with you. Just

Happy, I agree with you. Just tell one of your administrators that he/she needs to come and relieve you after 15 minutes. Go ahead and have your bookbag and purse in your hand while you are on duty so you can go straight to your car.

blackambiance79
0
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blackambiance79 07/28/09 - 08:05 pm
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giwi, good suggestion...lol

giwi, good suggestion...lol I would be surprised if they would do it though...

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 07/28/09 - 08:16 pm
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This is not good...I pray for

This is not good...I pray for our teachers and our students...it seems that they are the ones who are going to suffer while the BIGWIGS are getting paid the bick BIGBUCKS to do practically nothing...nothing good anyway! I guess the Super cannot hire anyone else since he has made his top more heavy financially...guess it is great to be in the CLICK!

LadyCisback
4
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LadyCisback 07/28/09 - 08:24 pm
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This is ridiculous!!!.. I

This is ridiculous!!!.. I regret not accepting the job in Florida!!

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 07/28/09 - 08:50 pm
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how bout that 70k dollar

how bout that 70k dollar tractor they just bought to mow fields? With AC? Eh?

The Ode
2
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The Ode 07/28/09 - 09:24 pm
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I love it when teachers

I love it when teachers complain they work all of this free time. You are on salary not paid hourly. You don't get phone calls at night or have to fly across the country on the redeye or work on weekends or holidays. The good teachers should get paid more....much more but they can't give up their almighty teacher unions and tenure to be judged on individual merits so it is hard to feel sorry for them. Socialism sucks don't it?

tmoh001
0
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tmoh001 07/28/09 - 09:57 pm
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Ode, let me start by saying

Ode, let me start by saying that I work evenings planning lessons, I work on the weekends planning lessons, and I make phone calls to the homes of students who need some extra prodding from parents. I go to bed with redeyes from the extra work that I do and sometimes have to take a job during holidays to make ends meet. I don't complain and would love for you to come and work with me for a day to see how you would fare. Oh, and the almighty teachers union is a figment of your imagination. GAE and PAGE are more like small time lobby groups here in Georgia. This comment is from a lifelong Reagan republican. Sucks doesn't it?

LCparent
0
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LCparent 07/28/09 - 10:18 pm
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The Ode, evidently you have

The Ode, evidently you have no teachers in your family! Teachers make and receive phone calls at home after work from parents and from students. I know plenty of teachers that work on weekends and many extra hours after school. I also know of teachers who "donate/ volunteer" their own time to lead clubs and chaperone dances. I know coaches that receive tiny supplements for hours that they devote to their team. These same coaches stand in parking lots waiting on sorry parents to pick up their kids long after the games are over. Teachers sell themselves short. In my county, teachers are contracted to work 8 hrs a day for 190 days. That's what they receive a salary for. If they work less, it counts as personal or sick days. If they work more, they get no extra credit! If the teachers across the state worked JUST their contracted time, parents and the rest of the community would have to step up to fill the void or the kids really would be the ones that would lose!

DeborahElliott2
4
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DeborahElliott2 07/28/09 - 10:46 pm
0
0
Let me see if I got this

Let me see if I got this right, You want teachers and bus drivers to work for free, while on contract and cut their pay (even despite federal labor laws) instead of bringing down the school to a 4 day work week that the rest of the nation is doing so u can still have a full 5 day week and cram kids into classes? Bah hahahahaha. No.

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