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Thread: Furlough Fridays for Schools

  1. #1

    Furlough Fridays for Schools

    I was just wondering if anyone else out there is experiencing Furlough Fridays for their public school students? Hawaii implemented this on October 23. We will have 17 Fridays taken from the remainder of our school year because there is no money in the budget for running our public schools. Other public offices will also be affected to some degree. The Powers-That-Be decided to do this rather than reduce the number of state employees (or rather the unions would not let them fire anyone). Please note that I mean state workers other than teachers - we need them . I am just dismayed that education has to be affected by this and wonder how we will make up for the loss of instruction. I know that I will be working with my daughter at home during this time but that hardly makes up for her having a qualified professional giving her educational instruction. I checked our school calendar for the rest of the school year and there is hardly a week where there isn't a day missing from the week because of furlough days, public holidays, a few teacher work days, and holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break etc. Our next full week at school with no interruptions is March 22-26
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  2. #2
    DmOrtega Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gecko View Post
    I was just wondering if anyone else out there is experiencing Furlough Fridays for their public school students? Hawaii implemented this on October 23. We will have 17 Fridays taken from the remainder of our school year because there is no money in the budget for running our public schools. ... Please note that I mean state workers other than teachers - we need them . I am just dismayed that education has to be affected by this and wonder how we will make up for the loss of instruction. I know that I will be working with my daughter at home during this time but that hardly makes up for her having a qualified professional giving her educational instruction. I checked our school calendar for the rest of the school year and there is hardly a week where there isn't a day missing from the week because of furlough days, public holidays, a few teacher work days, and holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break etc. Our next full week at school with no interruptions is March 22-26
    Hmmmmm ... I'm confused. I've never heard of this. Will the teachers be working and the kids not going to school on those friday's? Isn't the school system required to teach for a guarenteed number of days?

  3. #3

    We ended up with 3 (I think it was 3),

    teacher furlough days. The first one was the week before school started for the studensts, but when the teachers would normally be there. Aides and office staff worked that day, but no teachers. One was last week, it was a day that was normally a teacher workday, so no students were scheduled to be in school anyway, but the teachers did not work or get paid. I think the next one is in March sometime.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by DmOrtega View Post
    Hmmmmm ... I'm confused. I've never heard of this. Will the teachers be working and the kids not going to school on those friday's? Isn't the school system required to teach for a guarenteed number of days?
    No, the schools are closed for everyone. The teachers don't get paid and the kids are not being taught. Our teachers are really great and a few offered to come in and teach anyway and they were told that they would have to pay to use the classrooms. I also thought that there were supposed to be a guaranteed number of days but that has gone out the window because there is not enough money in the budget. Gee, I wonder why the kids on the US are falling behind other nations
    All That's Left Are The Crumbs

    "You can never do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late"

    "Great minds talk about ideas; small minds talk about people" - Eleanor Roosevelt

  5. #5
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    I have not heard of Schools being closed on Fridays but in my town and most of the surrounding small towns, many of the Town Hall departments are closed on Fridays for the same budgetary reasons. For them I'm guessing they can get the work done in a lesser amount of days, but it seems absurd that the school curriculum could be competed with a 20% cut in classroom time!! (and What are all the parents who work outside the home supposed to do with these extra days of unsupervised kids?!?)

  6. #6
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    Some of the schools around here close early on a Friday when there is a holiday on the following Monday. The teachers will have a workshop for the afternoon, it's a full day for them. The students are in school the required amount of time for it to count as a full day (2-1/2 or 3 hours or so, I'm not sure exactly) and to qualify for federal reimbursement (which is, I believe, 181 instructional days).

    If your state doesn't qualify for the federal monies dependent upon the 181 day requirement, it seems to me that it's losing more than gaining for the amount to be saved in the short run.

    What a shame that it has to come down to this and that the children will be the ultimate losers here.
    ~ ~ Leslie ~ ~

  7. #7
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    I knew that some state universities in California have them, but I sure never heard of grammar or high schools closing. That's confusing to me, too. In 13 years of public school, we only lost 2 days (due to flooding) and had to make them up at the end of the year to meet the required minimum mandate.
    Seventeen days out of an already stupidly short school year is a lot
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  8. #8
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    We haven't experienced that here, although they are definitely looking for ways to trim the budget. There is talk of scaling back to half-day kindergarten, which I wouldn't have cared about a couple of years ago but now that I have a baby again I am thinking 'please God no!'
    Karen

  9. #9
    I was talking to my DH last night and he doubted my claim about how long it will be before our youngest has a full week of school so I went back and checked the calendar the school posted online. Sure enough, I didn't misread it and her first 5-day school week will be March 22-26, 2010.
    There were a few rallies at various schools today protesting the furloughs. Lawmakers are now suggesting that they go back to the teachers unions and ask that teachers accept a paycut rather than the furloughs. It is a no-win situation for everyone
    All That's Left Are The Crumbs

    "You can never do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late"

    "Great minds talk about ideas; small minds talk about people" - Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #10
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    I'm a teacher. Last year we all had .5% taken from our salary and were "given" a furlough day but it had to be used on a workday and not when school was in session.

  11. #11
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    We have statewide govt furlough days this year, but they are not impacting schools. They impact DMV, DNR, universtities and other departments. But, they don't impact buses, K-12, police, fire or trash (I think)

  12. #12
    In addition to the schools we also have most state departments and agencies closed on two Fridays a month through June 2011.
    All That's Left Are The Crumbs

    "You can never do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late"

    "Great minds talk about ideas; small minds talk about people" - Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. #13
    I heard about this last week during a meeting with a legal consultant we work with.

    I wonder about the legal implications regarding special education students; due process costs could definitely go up!

    For example, speech pathologists are in short supply most places already. They have a full load as it is. Now kids are not getting serviced on Fridays--that could be as many as 30 at a middle school. Where are they going to get their services, which are spelled out in a legal document?
    It will be interesting to see what happens with this.

    Oklahoma is finally starting to feel the pinch of the economic times. State agencies are getting 5% cut from their monthly budget again. There is talk of some smaller school districts not making it through the year, and others having to consolidate. Granted, we do have too many districts (over 530), but in some rural areas, it's been necessary.

    I just wonder when state workers are going to be furloughed and really dread it--not because of the pay cut, but because in my section, we are already understaffed and overextended. There is not enough time to do our jobs as it is. A furlough day will just mean a day of working from home.
    Jennifer


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  14. #14
    Wow, I haven't heard anything like that around here.

    I was flabbergasted to read though, that in one local school district, the teachers are considering going on strike! Now granted they have been working without a contract for over a year, but in this economy it seems like a pretty darned good idea to just suck it up, be thankful you have a job at all and go to work!

    I just don't see how they think they have any bargaining power at all right now???? Yeah, good luck with that.

  15. #15
    Teachers at our district were furloughed for 3 days this year. I think paraprofessionals were furloughed for 10 days and administration for 20 days. None of these days affect the students. In our district, the teachers missed 3 days before school started.

    Next year, we will have 5 days less of school because they are adding 12 minutes (I think) of instructional time to each of the days. I'm actually somewhat happy about this as the boys will not have to report to school until the 3rd week of August instead of the 2nd.

    Cheryl

  16. #16
    DmOrtega Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by lindrusso View Post
    I was flabbergasted to read though, that in one local school district, the teachers are considering going on strike! Now granted they have been working without a contract for over a year, but in this economy it seems like a pretty darned good idea to just suck it up, be thankful you have a job at all and go to work!

    I just don't see how they think they have any bargaining power at all right now???? Yeah, good luck with that.
    We dealt with a district here that did strike. The community was up-in-arms and most did not support the strike at this time. The school district took the teachers union to court and the judge ordered the teachers back to school on the following monday or face hefty fines, for both teachers and the union, retro to when they started the strike. It wasn't until the fines came into the picture that an agreement was struck between the teachers union and the school district. Strikes are illegal here but the teachers do it anyway and hold the community accountable for their actions.

    That leaves a very bitter taste for me regarding the strike in the first place. The teachers got most of what they wanted but the cost was my, and many others, trust. It was very arrogant but they did it anyway.

    As far as the furloughs, I'd bet the kids need to be in class for a mandatory number of days during the year. If that obligation is not met, maybe the pta or city could take the school district to court. Furlough days should not impact the kids, period.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by DmOrtega View Post
    That leaves a very bitter taste for me regarding the strike in the first place.
    I think it would here too. From what I read the sticking points are pay increases. HELLO! LOTS of people are not getting pay increases and much worse. Not only that but it's very possible that if they DID get the pay raises, it would cause an increase in property taxes. So the people who are not getting pay raises would ultimately get stuck with the bill. Ridiculous.

  18. #18
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    I haven't heard about furloughs in our schools yet, but Seattle closed all its public libraries for a week the first week in September (I think). And some of the assistance programs I've been involved with are making employees take a furlough day every month.
    Just another Susan

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  19. #19
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    Regarding teachers' strikes, often times teachers strike for stuff like smaller classrooms which are beneficial to students.

    Regarding strikes in general, it essence it's telling working people to suck it up. Not much different than 100 years ago when one was told If you don't want to come to work on Sunday, don't bother coming in on Monday.

    FWIW, I think there are ENORMOUS issues with some of the municipal contracts that were negotiated in the past. I especially despise the whole double dipping in which employees are allowed to retire after 20 years with full benefits.

    However, I also think that a system which funds important local services like schools, libraries and police on the basis of property taxes is fundamentally flawed.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjsooner73 View Post
    I wonder about the legal implications regarding special education students; due process costs could definitely go up!

    For example, speech pathologists are in short supply most places already. They have a full load as it is. Now kids are not getting serviced on Fridays--that could be as many as 30 at a middle school. Where are they going to get their services, which are spelled out in a legal document?
    It will be interesting to see what happens with this.
    That's where I heard about this - I work with the disability community, and there was considerable talk about the state meeting its obligations to students who have an IEP. Because in many cases, providing, say, 2 days of services on Monday and Tuesday and nothing for 5 days is not much better than doing nothing.

    And this is a peeve of mine, but most states cut everything else before they cut anything that touches the schools. There are a whoooole lot of us who have long been furloughed, had pay cuts, and taken on the extra work from positions that are not filled due to hiring freezes and we do important, social-impacting work, too.
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  21. #21
    DmOrtega Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by blazedog View Post
    Regarding teachers' strikes, often times teachers strike for stuff like smaller classrooms which are beneficial to students.

    Regarding strikes in general, it essence it's telling working people to suck it up.
    Yes... suck it up is the result of every strike. Maybe you should just come out and say that. And this particular district did throw that into the mix of the other issues. Again... they hold the community responsible for their situation.

  22. #22
    DmOrtega Guest
    That last post was not directed to you personally Blazedog. I am frustrated with the way the unions have become. They don't seem much more then mobsters these days. Personal opinion only.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DmOrtega View Post
    That last post was not directed to you personally Blazedog. I am frustrated with the way the unions have become. They don't seem much more then mobsters these days. Personal opinion only.
    I think there are some issues with labor unions -- only a fool sees the world without shades of gray.

    However, I think a lot of anger is misdirected at unions -- in the scheme of things, who got away (and is still getting away) with mass economic "murder" of the economy and who is really screwing the middle and working classes? Just one example of who our anger should REALLY be directed at.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/77791.html

    This isn't really about unions but much of what workers take for granted in terms of working conditions was achieved BECAUSE there were unions that used the power of united workers to achieve important goals.

    Much of the decline in the American economy is due to the decline in working conditions and real income in ALL Americans. Good jobs being replaced by service jobs paying close to minimum wage and no benefits.

    In terms of American labor history, many of the workers were as courageous as workers in the Civil Rights movement. Many were killed and faced incredible economic hardship -- and many of them "struck" when their bosses were telling them to suck it up because there were many more that were willing to take their place -- scabs I think they are called.

    I think balancing the budget on the backs of school children -- as well as the disabled, elderly and others is deplorable.

    As my original post indicated, I think a system that funds itself on property taxes is inherently inequitable since it ignores the real "clustering" of wealth in certain communities as well as commercial establishments in others.
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

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