Educators don't like budget proposal to cut two instructional days

With 8,400 students, Pulaski County has the 14th largest school system in Kentucky. Its superintendent Tim Eaton, isn’t sold on a plan that could result in all of those kids staying at home two more days a year.

“I know there’s tough issues in the state, but I don’t think educators across the state are very fond of this method,” said Eaton Monday.

That method, if made law, would help balance Kentucky’s budget by reducing the number of instructional days from 177 to 175.

“I’m not sure how many of our certified staff really understand this is a pay reduction for teachers,” said Eaton.

The KEA, as well as the Kentucky education commissioner, have already balked at this issue, with commissioner Terry Holliday indicating that Kentucky kids need to go to school more than they are already are.

Many states that surround Kentucky have longer school years, with 180 days being the average. Still, lawmakers have support for the plan, and the Pulaski Superintendent believes it will pass and become part of the 2010-1011 budget.

“I would say the chances are really good, because it’s a bi-partisan effort and it seems to be agreed upon by the leadership in both chambers,” said Eaton.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says individual districts could still choose to use the days by dipping into their contingency funds.

“The longer we pay for the extra days in Pulaski County, it will cost us $320,000 annually,” said Eaton.

Educators say the two days will equate to about a $500 pay cut for teachers.

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