March 27, 2009

Furloughs for Georgia's Educators? - Part II

First, I have to laugh and apologize. I am one of those crazy analytical people, and to think that I misspelled "Georgia" in yesterday's title made me laugh this morning when I noticed it. I guess so much for trying to be perfect. Anyway...

I received a few communications on Thursday saying that they would respond, but I had one very good response, and it came from Representative Edward Lindsey. I will post his response below, but I must say that I was impressed by the clearly well thought out response to my letter.

There are many issues and ramifications to any decision that is made whether it be to act or not act, but the decision should be clear, concise, and as painless as possible. I know that Representative Lindsey's comments were "designed to begin the discussion on how to deal with the financial shortfalls facing local school systems," but such a broad reaching action could cause undue harm on those that quite literally do the most for our state day in and day out.

The e-mailed response is below:
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009


Thank you for your thoughts and concern regarding teacher furloughs. Let me first emphasize that at the present time furloughs are not in the proposed State budget. In addition, the proposed budget continues full funding for school nurses, graduation coaches, RESA, ETTC and National Board Certification. These were all priorities this year of education advocates in Georgia.

My comments the other day were designed to begin the discussion on how to deal with the financial shortfalls facing local school systems caused by declining revenue in their local areas. I believe strongly that teachers and local school systems need to continue the discussion amongst themselves and consider the possibility of up to six day furloughs. The problem is that in our present economy many school systems are reeling from revenue shortfalls and the only legal alternative that they have for cutting costs is to lay off teachers. Furloughs provide a second alternative to save teachers’ jobs and to keep these professionals in the classroom.

In furloughing six days we will in effect be rolling back for one year the 2009 teacher pay raise. Please recall that teachers in this State were the only State employees that received pay raises in 2009. That said, I do not underestimate the financial hardship this would bring to families of teachers. However please keep in mind it is my intention to plow these savings directly back into the classroom. This could preserve between four to five thousand teacher jobs in Georgia.

Thank you again for your email, with

Kindest Regards,

Edward Lindsey

Georgia House of Representatives
District 54

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