Local News

State school board sets teacher furlough policy

Posted May 6, 2009

— The State Board of Education has restricted teachers from taking furloughs ordered by Gov. Bev Perdue on days they are supposed to be in the classroom.

The board voted Wednesday on a policy that allows school employees to begin using the time off immediately and in any increment.
Any worker who requires a replacement or substitute, however must take furlough time on non-instructional days. Otherwise, substitute would have to be hired, the board.

Teacher Furlough policy unfair, teachers say

Perdue, last week, ordered teachers and other state employees to take 10 hours of time off in return for pay cuts in May and June needed to balance the state budget.

But teachers said the school board's policy is unfair, because the only non-instructional days on the school calendar are teacher work days.

The Wake County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educator, which represents about 5,000 educators in the state, wants to close schools for a day.

"We're not opposed to doing our fair share, but it is impossible for school employees to take this furlough time," Jennifer Lanane, the group's president, said Wednesday.

Lanane said that teachers and other school employees already have compensation time that they cannot take.

Using teacher workdays, she said, would take away time teachers need for planning and other tasks they can't do on a typical school day.

"What's going to happen here is we're going to end up donating our time and donating part of our paycheck," Lanane said.

Under state law, students must attend school for 180 days. Perdue can order the change, but school board chief executive officer Dr. Bill Harrison said by closing school for a day, it will set a precedent

"I think once we start getting into that, it's too easy to think time in school doesn't count," he said.

Even though it is the statewide policy, local school systems will have some flexibility with the policy.

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  • time4real May 7, 2009

    Good ole Bev will get away with whatever she wants. Who is going to fight her? Teachers? Absolutley not! They are the "yes men" and whatever Bev and the school board say is what they do! thank goodness, wouldn't want to think for ourselves!

  • oldfirehorse May 7, 2009

    "Apparently Governor Purdue believes she can indeed do this, and absent an immediate legal challenge she's going to get away with it.

    I still believe this was a trial balloon by her office to see if there would be any legal opposition. If there isn't, then she's set a legal precedent and will be able to force more of these kinds of acts on state employees "for the good of the state", of course." - Bendal1 ------------- EXACTLY! I AGREE 100.5%! And, just like with June Atkinson's situation, even a court battle would take months (possibly years). Good ole' Bev' isn't backing down; why should she? They could throw her out of office and she would just go home and still be rich and happy. It's astonishing to me with all the legal beagle's running around Raleigh, that the Governor would even try these stunts. I guess if you grease enough palms you can get away with anything!

  • Bendal1 May 7, 2009

    "While this may make the Gov. and bean counters happy, it is NOT how personnel/pay matters are legally handled. You can't force someone to work "UNPAID", and give them a promissory note for time off 6 months from now!"

    Apparently Governor Purdue believes she can indeed do this, and absent an immediate legal challenge she's going to get away with it.

    I still believe this was a trial balloon by her office to see if there would be any legal opposition. If there isn't, then she's set a legal precedent and will be able to force more of these kinds of acts on state employees "for the good of the state", of course.

  • oldfirehorse May 7, 2009

    I'm kicking myself for doing this, because I'm breaking my own word. The reason HR said that state employees must take the 10hrs off is because if they didn't take the 10rs off, after having their pay (for time worked in 2008-2009) reduced by 10hrs, the net effect would be that they would have worked 10 EXTRA hours. 2080 hours worked=100%. 100%-.5% hours worked=2070 (approximately). 2070 hours is NOW what employees are being compensated for in 2008-09. But, they will have worked 2080 hours in 2008-2009 FY. Therefore they will have worked 10hrs unpaid. Granting time off in FY 2009-10 for the time they will have been forced to work "unpaid" in FY 08-09 will produce the net effect to the employee of having been (eventually) paid for the time worked. While this may make the Gov. and bean counters happy, it is NOT how personnel/pay matters are legally handled. You can't force someone to work "UNPAID", and give them a promissory note for time off 6 months from now!

  • time4real May 7, 2009

    "I can get a second job if I want (need is more like it). However, ten hours or a whole summer isn't a great gift to me. "

    Good, you're on board then! On board for your beloved leaders about to change your world up a little more. Word is, ALL schools are going year round next year, so that summer you don't "need", won't be an option for you! Or anyone else!

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 7, 2009

    I can concur that I was told yesterday evening that our pay will not further be deducted if we take leave.

    As a teacher, I do get summers "off", but its unpaid. A lot of you still consider that great. I can see that. I can get a second job if I want (need is more like it). However, ten hours or a whole summer isn't a great gift to me. I actually enjoy working and would rather get paid for my time then to have a two month or even 10 hour vacation and I need all the time I can get to prepare classrooms and teach.

    Sorry if that seems odd. I do NEED vacations. But not 2 months, ten hours worth. Its not like I can afford to travel or relax even when I'm not working.

    In the department of corrections, do you have to pay the other officer that replaces you that day out of your check? and does that officer not do the same job as a substitute does? Kids don't learn so well on the days their not taught and only handed busy work.

  • oldfirehorse May 7, 2009

    I promised not to post on this issue again. So, I'll just say, please enjoy your "bonus paid time off" that Governor Perdue has so graciously granted all state employees. And, I wholeheartedly agree that this is just a flash in the pan for what she's planning to do next. May just be that all state employees will get 100 or more "bonus paid time off" days real soon. I know my family is really looking forward to that.

  • Bendal1 May 7, 2009

    "10hrs not worked = 10hrs less pay = unpaid leave; or 10hrs less pay = 10hrs not worked = unpaid leave."

    Well sure; if you don't take the 10 hours of bonus time, then you aren't going to be compensated for the 0.5% loss in salary. That's why state employees got a letter from HR saying that taking it off was mandatory, and if it was not taken (as in the teachers' predicament), then the time (and compensation) would be lost.

    That's never been my contention about this issue, though. The way it was written, was to say that 0.5% pay cut is compensated by 10 hours of extra leave, but you HAD to take the time off to get the compensation (since it is paid leave).

    Don't take the time off, and you won't be compensated, which is what all the teachers are up in arms about. I agree it was poorly thought out, but I'm realizing that is normal with our newly elected Governor.

  • time4real May 7, 2009

    "I think it is telling of the governor and her advisors that this mess wasn’t anticipated and prepared for. "
    Well then you'll be happy to know that she IS anticipating and preparing for what she's going to hand you teachers next, it's called triple the 1500 being let go now and those that get to stick around will take a 5-10% pay cut with no discussion of additional off time. You'll be glad to know you'll be doing YOUR part to save HER state!

  • oldfirehorse May 7, 2009

    Oh, and I agree (with your front office and Personnel), that using the 10hrs off DOES (net) compensate for the 10hrs of pay already taken out of your checks. It's all in the terminology "unpaid" vs "paid" (I'm trying desperately to not use semantics here.) 10hrs not worked = 10hrs less pay = unpaid leave; or 10hrs less pay = 10hrs not worked = unpaid leave. Of course if they took the pay out of the pay period that you take the time off in it would be taken twice; or twice unpaid. Again, I'm really just trying to be helpful. I won't post on this issue again.

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