Mt. Diablo Unified considers 7 furlough days

August 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District could lose an entire week of school this year. It's a way to save money of course and on Tuesday night, board members decided to take idea to teachers for their approval.

"I think we could probably cut other things before we cut school. I think school is far more important," said Craig Pearce, a parent.

"We've cut in every other place. We have the lowest number of administrators per employee in the county and maybe in the state. We just don't have anywhere else to cut," said school board president Gary Eberhart.

The district is so cash strapped, it's already one of few in the state where sports are now funded privately and some students on the football team can barely afford it.

"If you would have seen us working out today, you would have saw about seven kids with no helmets," said Mt. Diablo High School head football coach Jerry Reese.

The proposed seven furlough days would save the district about $6 million, mostly in teacher salaries, but the teachers union questions whether seven furlough days are actually needed.

The state is allowing districts to cut a number of school days without losing state attendance funds.

"Seven furlough days is actually the maximum they can ask for, and I think they're asking for it because it's the maximum and not necessarily required to keep the district functioning," said Michael Langley, the Mt. Diablo Education Association president.

Langley says the seven furlough days without pay would amount to a 3-percent pay cut.

"You take away 3-percent, some of them have said it's the difference between making a mortgage payment," said Langley.

Negotiations with the teacher's union could begin in two weeks, and both sides agree the biggest losers in this battle will be the students.

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