Furlough days result in unprecented five-day weekend

Zak Jones, Section Editor

It’s Thursday. Not any Thursday, but it’s Valentine’s Day, when students usually parade around campus in a fit of adolescent love. But this year, the pseudo-holiday will be observed, in a way, along with President’s weekend to total a five-day weekend.

This year, the school district instituted a new policy to quell the budget crisis–furlough days. A long employed alternative to staff layoffs, furlough days are days without work, but days without pay as well for the entire high school staff.  In practice though, the furlough day presents as many problems as it solves.

“There are two types of furlough days,” history teacher Kurt Dearie said. “One type takes away days without instruction, like teacher training or preparation days. The other takes away instruction days, where teachers teach students.”

The school district will enforce a combination of the furloughing methods, two teacher training days and three instruction days will be snipped from the calendar this year. But according to Dearie, not only are the forced off-days poorly planned, but unnecessary as well.

“It would have been a better decision to put the dates at the end of the year, rather than distributed throughout. Now the days take away instruction days before testing,” Dearie said.

The furlough days also call into question the proposed opening of Sage Creek High School next year.

“It will take between $1.5 and $2 million to run and maintain the new school for a class of only about 300 students,” Dearie said. “It proposes an unfair distribution of capital we do not even possess.”

In Dearie’s view, the furlough day is a money trap and delaying Sage Creek is the only way to stockpile enough revenue to dig out of the deficit. His plan instead spends the money on much needed supplies for Carlsbad High like a tutoring program.

From the student’s perspective, the furlough day feels like a guilty pleasure.

“My mom is a teacher and I feel bad she won’t get paid,” junior Bridget McGowan said. “But I’m going to enjoy the day.”

Similarly, the teacher message against the furlough days does not perfectly translate to students.

“I do not believe missing three or four days of school will affect us much. I feel like teachers make a big deal about it,” junior Taylor Team said. “But I don’t think missing three or four days of school will affect us too much.”

No matter the perspective, the school district will meet again on February 21 to release and assess the budget as well as this year’s spending thus far. Based on these numbers, the district will discuss whether furlough days will return to the district next year.