Part-time Dougherty County teacher contracts on hold - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Part-time Dougherty County teacher contracts on hold

By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As the state and its school systems scramble to fix a growing budget crisis, teachers could pay the price. At the capitol, lawmakers are considering furloughing teachers. Here in Dougherty County we learned Wednesday that about two-dozen part-time teacher's jobs are in jeopardy as school leaders look for ways to trim the budget.

School budgets are tight across the state. "We're in very rough economic times and we don't know from one day to the next what our funding levels might be," said DCSS Public Information Director R.D. Harter.

Because of financial uncertainties, lawmakers are looking for some sure ways to save money. Representative Edward Lindsey of Atlanta has proposed a 6-day furlough for the state's 113,000 public school teachers.  It's a measure he says could save more than $190-million.

"It really just saves the state money and not the system," said Harter.

The Dougherty County School System is also looking for ways to save locally. "Right now we have to be really frugal with our finances and our budgets," said Harter.

The system is already renewing contracts for full-time teachers but part-timers, known as 49 percent teachers, may have a different fate. "Our 49 percent employees have been told that we will offer them contracts when we determine the needs for next year's class time and class size," said Harter.

Right now many part time teachers serve in the intervention role by doing things like helping improve student test scores. CRCT scores this year will help determine how many of the system's current two dozen part-timers are kept.

"We're taking every frugal measure we can and being economically responsible so we can keep all our people employed in the Dougherty County School System," said Harter.

The goal is to keep all of them but just like budget dollars in the state--anything can change.

School leaders say there are no plans to reduce full-time teacher positions. If the state orders furloughs, teachers would give up planning days.

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