San Jose teachers agree to unpaid days off

January 15, 2009 6:46:02 PM PST
The state budget crisis means millions of dollars in cuts to school districts. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered two furlough days a month for state workers to cut costs. Now the San Jose Unified School District has come up with its own furlough plan to help deal with cuts there.

More than 2,000 San Jose Unified School District employees will take two unpaid days before the end of the school year. Several unions representing the different categories of school workers have agreed to the plan. One union still has to vote Thursday night.

The district is facing nearly $11 million in cuts for the remainder of the school year. Two unpaid days will save more than $1.5 million.

"Our number one interest is our bottom line and that ottom line are our students," said Teachers Association President Janice Allen.

Allen says they agreed to lose money out of their pockets for two reasons. The first, to save programs for the students, and the second, to save each other's jobs.

"There aren't a lot of options that you can do mid-year. This was one of them. One of the others we did not even want to think about was laying off teachers in the middle of the year," said Allen.

Students will not lose any class time because the two days, January 20 and March 6, were in-service and staff-development days.

Next year promises to be worse than this year.

"Be probably about a $23 million cut for 09/10," said Leslie Reynolds, president of the school board.

Also in San Jose Thursday, state workers angry about the governor's work furlough plan demonstrated outside the state building. He wants all state workers to take two unpaid days per month, beginning in February.

The workers have sued Schwarzenegger in superior court and six state agency heads have said they will not comply with the governor's plan.

"That's just a sign that the governor is being a little bit too brash," said one worker.

The court is expected to hear the case at the end of the month on January 29.


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