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Hall County Schools furlough day cut
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Hall County Schools students need to check their calendars again.

Instead of going to school on Monday, Feb. 21, Hall County employees asked to remove the furlough day on Friday, Feb. 18, instead.

With new federal stimulus money on its way to the states, Superintendent Will Schofield announced Monday that teachers and students should be prepared to be in school on Feb. 21. After parents and employees spoke out the next morning, Schofield realized that Monday is actually President's Day, a typical holiday each school year.

"Employees and parents said that's when their families and spouses would also be off, which is a natural time to do something as a family," Schofield said Thursday afternoon. "We surveyed all of our employees, and they'd absolutely rather have Monday off rather than Friday."

Within 12 hours of sending out the survey, almost 1,600 employees responded, and 70 percent preferred Monday as the holiday.

"It's straightforward, and we will follow through at the September board meeting," he said. "All I can say is I'm sorry I didn't realize at the time."

The Friday furlough day is being eliminated as federal funding makes it possible to add instructional time back to the school calendar.

The "emergency" $26 billion jobs bill pushed through Congress on Aug. 10 will send about $550 million to Georgia and almost $5 million to Hall County Schools if all works according to plan.

"We've said from day one that we'd like to protect instructional time, and although we're not in a position to recommend adding the day back in yet, we need to go ahead and inform people who may begin to make plans for that weekend," Schofield told the board Monday night.

"It'll be a day with pay for teachers and a day of instruction for students, so I did want to run this by you and get head shakes about whether we should put this time back into the calendar."

On Aug. 10, Democrats demanded a one-day session to act before children returned to classrooms, and Republicans called the bill yet another government bailout. The legislation was approved mainly along party lines by a vote of 247-161, and President Barack Obama immediately signed it into law.

All Hall County Schools board members agreed to add in the day for the sake of the students, though several didn't agree with the political move.


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