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Schools weighing furloughs
Superintendent expects decision within the week
Judy Scherer
Dr. Judy Scherer - photo by Courier file photo
Liberty County School System administrators are trying to determine how to lessen the blow struck by Gov. Sonny Perdue to the state’s education budget earlier this week.
“We are currently studying different ways to take the furlough days with the least impact on student achievement,” county Superintendent of Schools Dr. Judy Scherer said. “We should have an answer by sometime next week.”
On Tuesday, Perdue sliced funding for public schools by three percent and called for 128,000 Georgia teachers to take three absences without pay between now and Dec. 30.  
“This cut alone is nearly $2 million additional dollars from an already tight budget,” Scherer said. “These additional cuts will mean additional cuts in services to students such as tutoring and summer remediation as well as delaying essential items such as new textbooks, maintenance, buses and etc.”
Perdue contended that the latest round of cuts were inevitable and essential.  
“We’ve got to live in the reality of the moment,” he said. “These steps are necessary and prudent to make sure we keep our promises to the taxpayers of Georgia.”
Scherer said LCSS had already reduced services and personnel to balance the fiscal 2010 budget.
But she said she believes the system will be able to work through its dilemma with support from parents and the community.
“Although no one is happy about furloughs, we understand the condition of our economy and that this is a necessary part of getting through this crisis,” she said.  “I believe our teachers and other staff members will continue to do the great job that they do to serve the needs of all of our students.”
Lily Baker, chairwoman of the Liberty County Board of Education and a former educator, said she hopes Liberty County teachers will see the recent cuts for the “animal” that it is, “An order from the governor and not the Liberty County School System”.
“When one makes a decision to become a teacher it is not about the money, it is about helping kids,” she said. “I am sincerely hopeful that our teachers, who did not see jobs cut and layoffs, will work with us.”
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