Teachers protest furlough days ahead of DeKalb Board of Education budget vote

DeKalb County School District staff were protesting at the district’s Stone Mountain headquarters early today asking the board of education not to approve furlough days in its 2020-21 budget.

Photo by Jay Phillips

DeKalb County School District staff were protesting at the district’s Stone Mountain headquarters early today asking the board of education not to approve furlough days in its 2020-21 budget.

The board is expected to vote on a budget tomorrow at 10 a.m. after it was delayed from the July 20 meeting amid discussions on how to have minimal impact on staff.

According to DCSD documents, the district will lose an estimated $54.2 million in revenues this school year from the state due to 10 percent statewide budget cuts approved June 26.

An initial budget proposed 10 furlough days for all employees. Another option for the budget proposal considered eliminating mid-year pay step increases for staff and reducing Instructional Support Specialists (ISS) positions.

“Furlough days aren’t fair. Our job is not easy,” read one sign at the protest.

Photo by Jay Phillips

At the protest, one teacher, who did not want to be named, passed around a petition for attendees to sign who are against furlough days. She indicated that teachers were planning to protest at the BOE meeting tomorrow. However, since the meeting will be held virtually, they “wanted to make sure their voices are heard.”

Some protesters had signs regarding cuts to teachers’ pay, one stating “Don’t cut my pay for TSA.”

At the July 20 BOE meeting, DCSD staff was instructed to redevelop a proposal that has minimal furlough days, redeploys the ISS positions into certain vacant positions and keeps a mid-year pay step. Staff was directed to not go below $100 million in reserves or savings, as district leaders anticipate a significant economic downturn for the 2021-22 school year.

Photo by Jay Phillips

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