Caldwell School District approves furloughs

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by KTVB.com

NWCN.com

Posted on June 23, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 1:55 AM

CALDWELL, Idaho -- Ten days of furlough -- That's what teachers and administrators who work in Caldwell schools will be forced to take next year.

District leaders made the decision last week, saying it would save nearly half a million dollars.

Due to state budget cuts, the district did not get $3.1 million. A good portion of that $3.1 million was made up in supplemental levies but the rest had to come from somewhere so the district opted for furloughs.

Most of the district's nearly 800 employees, including all teachers and administrators, will take the furlough says.

Caldwell School District spokeswoman Jennifer Swindell says even though teachers will work fewer days, student classroom time will not be affected.

"Our student teacher time will stay the same. We've cut out a couple of days before school starts. And we cut out a couple of days through out the school year that have been dedicated for professional development," Swindell said.

In order to deal with the budget shortfall, the district presented two options: freeze teacher salaries and give them 5 to 7 days of furlough or leave salaries alone and have 10 days of furlough.

Teachers voted for what they perceived to be the lesser evil, and can now count on raises next year. Also, no one will be laid off.

"That was one of goals, not cut any programs that we offer children and to not layoff any employees because we're the largest employer in Caldwell. And Caldwell already has one of the highest unemployment rates for major cities in the state. So we felt it was very important to our community that we keep everyone employed and we were able to do that," said Swindell.

The only other change next year at the district will be no new textbooks.

The district spokeswoman says the total budget next year is $26 million.

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