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Benefits May Start to Come Back for Dekalb Co. Teachers | News

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Benefits May Start to Come Back for Dekalb Co. Teachers

DEKALB COUNTY, GA -- Teachers in DeKalb County have taken pay cuts, furloughs and lost benefits in recent years.

Now, they may be on the verge of getting some of it back.

In Georgia, the new Race to the Top funds are bringing an influx of money to school systems around the state. Now, the new federal jobs bill will provide even more money for education.

In DeKalb County, teachers who have struggled for several years expressed their desire for help at Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Education.

"I would like to address the board as to the sheer number of dollars it will receive," one teacher said.

Another said, "The current atmosphere we have in this county can only be described as toxic."

"Take the money from the jobs bill and put it back in our pockets where we desperately need it," a third teacher said.

It wasn't quite "Show me the money," but it was close.

Thankfully, the chair of DeKalb County's Board of Education seemed to believe the teachers would start to get back some of their lost benefits.

"Whatever gets approved by the Board, it's going to be to the benefit of the teachers," Chair Thomas Bowen said. "I think they were speaking very honestly saying, 'We need these cuts.' If there's going to be any restoration, it should come back in their direction."

Those restorations will like come in the form of reducing furloughs and improving retirement benefits.

The county knows exactly how much money it will receive from the Race to the Top funds: roughly $18 million. It does not yet know how much it will get from the new federal jobs bill.

Regardless, Bowen was quick to caution that the money received from both bills can only go so far.

"We're in excess of $100 million in cuts," Bowen said. "So getting a check for $18 million is basically restoring 18 percent of what we cut. So you can't make large-scale restorations."


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