How furlough days affect the school’s budget and teachers


A school budget plays an important role in allowing for the school to buy equipment for upcoming years. Ever since the pandemic hit last year, more measures have been taken into consideration to save costs, with one of those being through furlough days.

Furlough days are temporary unpaid mandatory days off for staff. Furloughs are mainly there to help save funding for the state budget, but at the cost of a teacher’s income. This measure can affect staff because at the cost of saving money for the school, teachers will be paid less. Jennifer Long, English teacher, said, “Instead of having teachers go in the wrong direction on the pay scale, the district reduced the number of days worked by two and subtracted two days’ worth of salary from each salaried employee’s pay. So while we are getting paid less this year, if things are better next year, we are still on the same level of pay and can continue up the pay scale if funds support it.” These furlough days will be on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Friday, Dec. 18.

Although many districts go with the plan of adding furlough days to save costs, some other districts use CARES Act money to refund money to teachers due to the furlough days. Douglas County, however, has made no indication that they plan to use CARES Act money to pay back teachers for those furlough days. Emily Muellenberg, social studies teacher, said, “How it impacts me and other teachers is pretty significant. Because, not only are we losing two days of pay, but we also had our salaries frozen this year, meaning we didn’t get any increases, as is typical in most years. So, with a freeze, plus furloughs, every teacher in the district this year is effectively taking a pay cut.”

On the topic of school fundings, the principal is the one who makes the call for where the budget money goes and plays a major role in deciding the main plan for the school year. Chris Page, principal, said, “We get a list of what everyone registers for, we then also get to predict what the student attendance will be for the next year. Based off of what we predict, which is usually based off of trend data, we then get that amount of money from the district to put into our budget. From there, we start by asking what do kids want to request to take.” These measures help ensure that the site-based budget is used accordingly.

Furlough days are also very important as they are known as a safer alternative rather than shutting schools down. Page said, “To balance out the budget for the district, they had to cut somewhere, and they did a lot of cuts at central admin, where they got rid of some people. At the end of the day, one of the easier ways was to do a furlough day because it saves so much money, and so there’s two furlough days for everyone in our district.” Overall, furlough days are a lot more important than how they seem, especially since it saves many teachers from losing their jobs to schools that shut down.

Jaysen Anderson, Staff Reporter