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DeKalb teachers spared up to nine furlough days; will have to take one

The county's board of education approved the 2021 fiscal year budget on Friday.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County teachers facing potentially as many as nine furlough days this year were spared somewhat on Friday, with the board of education settling on only one such day in a vote.

The board approved the 2021 fiscal year budget with a 6-1 vote, reducing a proposed nine "calendar reduction days," a different term the county uses for legal purpose but that is similar to furloughs, to one.

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The potential nine furlough days had been met with resistance, including a petition started earlier this week calling for no furlough days that garnered more than 1,200 signatures.

The board said they were able to reduce possible furloughs through budget reviews, buying back one day with CARES Act funding and adding four professional development days at a county-operated professional learning institute.

Those learning days will apply to school-based personnel, meaning central office staff will still have five furlough days.

The district issued this statement:

Today, the DeKalb County Board of Education approved the budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The approved budget includes five calendar reduction days for district employees. However, the district will also offer a four-day paid Professional Development Institute for teachers, leaders and support personnel. As a result, these employees will experience one reduced work day in the next year.

The budget also maintains a mid-year step increase for all district employees. It keeps the general fund balance at over $100 million to prepare for future economic hardships anticipated during the pandemic and recession.

The Professional Development Institute involves four full days scheduled with training, modeling, planning, shadowing, and creating instructional and procedural tools, while incorporating parent engagement strategies. The technology-rich symposium will also afford staff the opportunity to analyze data and target appropriate "supports/interventions" for students. The instructional modules will focus on how to effectively teach in a virtual remote learning environment, how to keep students engaged in the learning, how to monitor student progress, and how to support students and staff dealing with trauma and the impact of COVID-19.

The school district, like most other districts across the country, is facing significant budget cuts from the state and the expected decline of tax revenues.

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