Teachers concerned about possible unpaid furloughs - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports


Teachers concerned about possible unpaid furloughs

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In about two weeks, students will head back to school in Muscogee County.

As that day approaches, now teachers must worry about the possibility of unpaid furloughs as the state of Georgia attempts to make ends meet.

Raymechia Smith is entering her 31st year teaching in the Muscogee County School District.

This year, she, like many other Georgia teachers, is concerned about possible furloughs.

On Tuesday, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue suggested it might be the only solution.

"We're hopeful that these three days during this calendar year can be found where it doesn't impact student achievement," Perdue said.

Smith says the expectations are easier said than done.

"We expect when the kids come, for the work to be done and for you to do the job, we want you to line up to these expectations, but we're not going to pay you to do this," Smith said.

Specifically, the Muscogee County School District has not made the decision to implement furloughs...yet.

But, districts across the state are being forced to cut what amounts to nearly a billion dollars out of the state's budget.

"Right now, there haven't been any decisions to make any furloughs. It's not completely out of the question. We've been saying that all along. We've been fortunate, in that, we have not had to furlough up to this point, and some school districts have," said MCSD Communications Director Valerie Fuller.

But that doesn't comfort teachers.

While they don't blame the individual districts for having to make cuts mandated by the state, they do hold legislators responsible.

"You treat your prisoners better than you do your students in school. You know, when you look at it per capita, what you spend per prisoner and spend per student, you spend more money incarcerating somebody than you do educating somebody...and you wonder what's wrong with education?" Smith said.

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