Wisconsin Teachers May Face Furloughs Soon
New Senate Leader Proposes Cuts For Next Budget Cycle
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin teachers may be facing furloughs in the coming budget cycle.
Incoming state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said a teacher from his district gave him the idea, pointing out that students are in school for 180 days by law, but teachers work for 185 days by many district contracts. That means there could be five days possible for furlough that wouldn't affect teaching time, WISC-TV reported.
"It is something that I think may have to be done in an effort to balance this budget," Fitzgerald said.
There could be many legal issues with requiring furlough days for teachers, according to John Ashley, Wisconsin Association of School Boards' executive director.
"I think we want to be cautious, there is a fair labor standards act, we have 424 school districts and 424 different contracts out there," Ashley said. "But I do think it is something we want to look at for flexibility as school boards, ways in which we can improve student achievements."
Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell said in a statement Friday that they would work with the new Legislature and administration on ways to "get at the root of what needs fixing."
"Local decisions about how much time educators need to prepare classrooms and lessons ... are best made directly by the educators and elected representatives on local school boards," Bell said.
A spokesperson for Gov.-elect Scott Walker declined to comment on the issue.