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Long to stretch furloughs across year
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Because of recent state funding cuts, the Long County Board of Education voted Monday to require all school employees take three furlough days for the 2009-10 school year.
The board acted on the measure after it was recommended by Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters.
According to Waters, last week all school systems in Georgia were informed that the state would not fund certified personnel/teachers for three days during the upcoming year, and so the cuts had to be made.  
Waters also recommended that since certified personnel would have to take furlough days, all employees should take the days, as a measure of fairness across the board.
According to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Glen Purcell, as a result of last week’s announcement, the amount of additional lost revenue would be $495,454.
Finance Director Bridget Welch said that to make up for the lost revenue additional cuts would be made by reducing field trips. By making these cuts, Welch said the school system will reduce its deficit by $351,015. However, even after the cuts, the shortage in the budget will be $144,439.
Waters said the school system will make up the shortfall through the fund equity account from the 2009 fiscal year, a surplus from the previous year that all schools must maintain to operate as tax revenue is acquired.
Waters said furlough days for the teachers will be Oct. 12, Jan. 4 and May 27. The days in October and January are professional learning days and the day in May is a post-planning day. All three days are non-instructional days and students will not be in school.
Waters said the three furlough days for classified employees, such as paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers, would be administered by each of the school’s principals and the days will be taken in half-day increments.
BoE member Linda DeLoach was dismayed at having to approve the furlough days but said that by doing this, it insures that no jobs will be lost in the system.
Board member Billy Hall said, “We are fortunate that we are in a position to make these cuts, some schools are having to make cuts everywhere, from jobs to athletics.”
Board members DeLoach, Hall and Emma Strickland voted unanimously in favor of the measure. Chairperson Florence Baggs and member Dempsey Golden were not at the meeting. According to Waters, Golden was out of town and Baggs was sick.
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