SJ school district to take 1-week furlough

September 30, 2010 7:04:09 PM PDT
Many parents in San Jose have to figure out what to do with their kids next week, because schools are closing. San Jose Unified is shutting down all week to save money.

It's taken several weeks and hard work for the kindergartners to get the daily routine down. Now they'll be off for a week and when they come back, they'll have to learn it all over again. For teachers, five furlough days means a cut in pay.

"This is not a vacation for anyone. It's going to be a financial hardship for a lot of teachers, myself as well, with the rents and the mortgages here in the Bay Area. I think for the kids, it's also hard because they are not in school learning," said San Jose teacher Kinzi Blaire.

Veronica Marinada-Pinkney is a parent who will try to make up the lost time at home.

"Just having to figure out what things to do at home with them, since they are off the whole week, I don't want them to miss out. So we have to figure out what it is they are going to have to do," says Marinada-Pinkney.

The furloughs are across the board. Everyone working for the district will be off. It saves the district $5 million.

"Had we not done this, teachers would have been laid off. San Jose Unified didn't lay off any teachers and so we would have had massive teacher layoff and that would have hurt us instructionally, that would have hurt our kids," says Karen Fuqua from San Jose Unified.

San Francisco Unified had to lay off teachers and they face four furlough days this school year; management will take five. But San Francisco decided to spread out the furlough days. The first one is on Nov. 1, then again in February, March, and April.

San Jose felt lumping all their furlough days together in one week will serve the kids well.

"We felt that it was best instructionally for our children. If you do an instructional day a week, that would be basically like doing holiday weeks and we know that for children, that really is not the best. You don't get a full block of curriculum," says Fuqua.

San Jose parents have had months to prepare for next week. Still, it's hard on most all of them.

"I know a lot of the parents here are talking about sharing babysitting. Some of them will be watching the kids for other parents who are working and some of them have talked about how they are going to take turns with spouses taking days off from work," says Marinada-Pinkney.

San Francisco and San Jose will get millions of dollars thanks to the jobs creation bill voted on by the U.S. Senate -- enough to wipe out the furlough days. However, both districts say they don't know what they will do with that money because there is no budget in place and who knows what kind of cuts they face next year. So San Francisco and San Jose Unified are, for the time being, going to hold on to that money.


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