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Face with Budget Cuts, Could Duval County Public School Teachers, Employees May Face Furloughs

10:29 PM, Apr 29, 2011   |    comments
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  • Duval Public schools may have to furlough all employees to balance budget
  • Duval School Board Member Tommy Hazouri doesn't want furloughs, but says 50-50 chance they could happen
  • Legislature may send Duval less money than expected, budget to be final next week
  • 10-month employees face 4 cday furloughs, 6 days for 12-month employees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Furloughs for all Duval County Public Schools employees always have been on the table to balance the school budget, but way down the list.

New numbers out of Tallahassee could cause school officials to take a closer look at the option.

Under the proposal, 10-month employees, such as teachers, would be furloughed four days, about a 2 percent pay cut. Twelve-month employees, such as principals, administrators and staff, would be furloughed 6 days, about a 2.3 percent.

"Nobody wants to do that; that is not high on my list," said  Duval County school board member Tommy Hazouri. "It is not high on the school board''s list, but it is one you have to have on the table."

Employee furloughs will get a more serious look if the House version of the state budget passes in the Legislature. The finance director of Duval schools thought $39 million in cuts would be made under a best case scenario. That number appears to be out the window.

"Actually it has gone the other way," said Mike Perrone. "We've gotten news earlier in the week and expect to get in the final legislation,  a number where it will be worse than the $39 million in cuts. We don't know how much more, but it is heading to be more like the governor's budget was."

That means millions less for Duval schools. Hazouri thinks there is a 50-50 chance there will be furloughs.

Furloughs aren't the only thing to effect teachers and other school's paychecks in a negative way. They face paying 3 percent of their pay into the state retirement system. They could also have to pay more for health insurance.

"They can't handle that, we can't handle that. The teachers don't deserve to be piled on like that," said Hazouri.

Hazouri said he has never been more disappointed. "Shame on them for doing this to K-12 education, also putting in on children and the backs of our teachers."

Hazouri points out that per student funding for this legislative session will be about $6200 a student. He says that was also the figure in 1976, which shows education is not their top priority.  "This is bare bone times, it really is, and somebody's going to get hurt."

Just how much money the county will get, and how it will effect furloughs and other cuts,  will be better known next week when the Legislature is expected to pass it's final education budget.


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