State school board sets teacher furlough policy
Posted May 6, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.
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.