Fri., September 6, 2013 12:00pm (EDT)

Teachers Union Pushes 180 Day Calendar
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 11 months ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Classrooms sit empty more after a 2009 law allowed Georgia school districts to replace 180 days of class with 180 "day equivalents" of class.  (photo Igoghost)
Classrooms sit empty more after a 2009 law allowed Georgia school districts to replace 180 days of class with 180 "day equivalents" of class. (photo Igoghost)
One of the state's largest teachers unions is campaigning to get the 180 day school year back on state lawmakers' agendas.

The Georgia Association of Educators says less that a third of Georgia's public schools are open the state mandated minimum number of days.

Most Georgia school districts take advantage of a policy lawmakers enacted during the height of the Recession in 2009.

To save money the state lets schools schedule less than 180 days of class if they have an equivalent amount of class time.

Schools added a few minutes to classes but cut days, weeks and, in some cases, a month of school.

GAE President Calvine Rollins says it's not the same.

"We talk about education," Rollins says. "We talk about achievement. But if we truly want Georgia students to achieve, then we must reinstate their full calendar."

Rollins started a round of media appearances this week in Albany and plans to push the school funding issue in Savannah, Augusta and North Georgia.

Rollins says it's a matter of fairness.

"Lawmakers had the power to change state law and cut school funding," Rollins says. "They equally have the power to restore those 180 school days for every system."

Larger, wealthier systems have been able to keep many days while smaller, poorer ones cut as much as month of class.

The issue is expected to come up in next year's General Assembly.