School employees upset over pay cut deal

May 6, 2009 8:17:41 PM PDT
Parents and teachers alike, are fired up over a plan to save the state money.School employees say the state is serious about getting its money, but not serious about giving time off in return.

As the state sinks further in the financial hole, Governor Bev Perdue is trying to keep things afloat by ordering state workers to take a half percent pay cut, in return they will get ten hours off.

"It's ridiculous to think teachers and school employees can actually make up this time or take this time off," Jennifer Lanane with Wake NCAE said. "Essentially it's school employees making an involuntary donation to the coffers of North Carolina."

On Wednesday, the state board of education said teachers, bus drivers or anyone requiring a substitute in their place, can't take time off during instructional days.

But there is only one teacher work day left on the traditional calendar this school year and none left for year round schools.

"For terminating contracts and for people retiring there are no more teacher work days, so from now to the end of school they have no time to take so it's unfair they're giving money back to state, but they're not going to be able to take the time," teacher Elizabeth Whisenant said.

That's why school employees are speaking up.

"Economic times are already hard, then to say you're going to take something from my paycheck that I'm already stretched its utterly ridiculous to think you can balance my budget on my little paycheck," school bus driver Chris Bridges said.

School employees say the only way to solve the problem is to shut down schools for a day. They have already gotten support from the wake county school board, now they need to governor to give her okay.

Under the plan, part time employees will have to take flexible furlough time too. Many say it's hard to take comp time as is, they say they doubt without closing schools that they'll ever see their day off.


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