Muscogee Co. schools prepare for possible furloughs - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Muscogee Co. schools prepare for possible furloughs

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Furloughs could be coming to Muscogee County, and school board officials make preventative plans. The Georgia State Board of Education decides on furlough days in a meeting Tuesday, but Monday Muscogee County got a head start in preparing for the possible set-back.

Last week Governor Sonny Perdue told school superintendents three percent of the budget would be cut, and a five percent cut would be made to transportation funds and money for school nurses. That means more than $5 million from Muscogee County funding.

After that monetary hit, now the school board has to prepare for possible furlough days by changing the calendar.

Superintendent Dr. Susan Andrews told News Leader Nine, "The reason we're setting the calendar up for this is that if we furloughed and those days were in the middle of a week, then we run into problems with the fair labor standards act and teachers being exempt workers."

Instead of waiting on the results from the state board of education, Muscogee County School Board took preventative measures by moving around already scheduled "teacher in-service days". Andrews said, "Teachers are concerned about furlough days and we all know how important those days are for teachers and we don't want to have to cut them. We think they are very critical."

The board voted to move "in-service days" from October 23rd, February 11th and March 15th to December 21st through the 23rd.

"We're preparing the calendar in the event they furlough, now the days are in one week where nothing else is going on and that will keep us from having to do time sheets and do everything we'd have to do under the fair labor standards act," added Dr. Andrews.

These changes are only for employees and the student calendar will not change. Andrews says the final calendar could shift again, pending the state's decision, "What we're waiting on is the state board to meet tomorrow and do what they have to do as far as changing rules. If they change the rule it will give our board more information about how to move forward."

The board made these decisions in case they have to furlough those three days. If not, the board will re-evaluate and possibly amend the calendar back to its original state, or come up with a better solution.

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