Ga. pre-k teachers leave to avoid pay cuts - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GA. pre-k teachers leave to avoid pay cuts

A lot of good pre-kindergarten teachers are leaving pre-k classrooms.

The state cut pre-k spending by $54-million because of a shortfall in lottery revenue.

In most counties, that means fewer hours and lower pay for pre-k teachers, many of whom went looking for other jobs.

Kelly McConnell is a pre kindergarten teacher in Lee County.

She says pre k is more important than some people might think.

"Pre-k is the foundation for everything, for the whole educational process," says Kelly McConnell, Lee County Pre-Kindergarten Teacher.

"They are opening milk cartons, they are eating their own lunch, they are standing in line, they are using manners, they are sharing, they have come so far just with social interaction," says Rachael Sandal, Lee County Assistant Pre-K Teacher.

But that educational foundation is being hurt by lower lottery sales.

Some teachers left for other careers, while others moved into teaching jobs in higher grade levels, where salaries aren't tied to the Georgia Lottery's success.

"It is almost as if they are not encouraging people to come into pre-k who have higher degrees, or who have more experience," says McConnell.

That's because supplemental pay, awarded for certain degrees or experience levels, is frozen.

To save money, school days were also eliminated, and class sizes increased.

"Increasing class size is just not something you want to do, the two more actually seem like about 6 more, it really does," says McConnell.

Some school districts, including Lee County, came up with local money to keep their pre-k programs in tact.

"With the changes that the governor made, pre k is only being funded 160 student days, well Lee County, decided locally to fund the remainder of the days, so the teachers here at pre k were paid just as the teachers who teach k-12," says McConnell.

And she says children who attend pre-k are better prepared for school and more likely to graduate from high school, attend college and get higher-paying jobs.

Governor Deal  took similar steps to ensure the long-term viability of the HOPE scholarship program, which, like free pre-k, has run off lottery revenue since it started.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Two arrested in connection to Valdosta shooting

    Two arrested in connection to Valdosta shooting

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 10:36 AM EDT2017-07-25 14:36:07 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    Valdosta Police have arrested two people in connection to a shooting on Shanna Circle that happened on July 15.

    More >>

    Valdosta Police have arrested two people in connection to a shooting on Shanna Circle that happened on July 15.

    More >>
  • 10 things to help parents prepare for back-to-school

    10 things to help parents prepare for back-to-school

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 8:28 AM EDT2017-07-25 12:28:54 GMT
    (Source: WALB)(Source: WALB)

    As you try to prepare your child for heading back to the classroom, here is a list to help make sure you and your student are prepared for the upcoming year.

    More >>

    As you try to prepare your child for heading back to the classroom, here is a list to help make sure you and your student are prepared for the upcoming year.

    More >>
  • Downtown Tifton: 'A Great Revival'

    Downtown Tifton: 'A Great Revival'

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 7:59 AM EDT2017-07-25 11:59:17 GMT
    There's a number of businesses in the downtown area (Source: WALB)There's a number of businesses in the downtown area (Source: WALB)

    Downtown Tifton’s occupancy level is at 98% and the City’s economic development director said that’s good news for residents.

    More >>

    Downtown Tifton’s occupancy level is at 98% and the City’s economic development director said that’s good news for residents.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly