School furloughs mean four longer weekends

In an announcement that likely received cheers from students and jeers from parents, the San Francisco Unified School District has chosen four days next school year in which schools will be shut down to save money.

The district that serves some 55,000 pupils, recently struck a cash-saving deal after contentious negotiations with the teachers union, United Educators of San Francisco, to implement four furlough days during each of the next two school years.

The furlough days set for the 2010-11 school year will allow for extra-long weekends for kids and teachers. Two of the dates, Nov. 1 and April 25, are Mondays. The other two, Feb. 4 and March 25, are Fridays.

On those days, schools, child development centers and district offices will be closed, the SFUSD said. The shutdowns will save the district around $9.2 million. The SFUSD is grappling with a two-year, $113 million budget deficit.

Superintendent Carlos Garcia has said time and again that there’s no possible way to remedy the shortfall without impacting students.

The district has already eliminated all summer school courses except for those serving certain special-education students or high school students needing a few more credits to graduate.

Last month, the district and teachers union agreed to nearly 200 budget-related layoffs. The agreement was considered a victory by both parties, as the initial proposal was for around 700 layoffs.

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