Library Workers Step In For Teachers In Atlanta Amid Budget Shortfall
In light of a major budget shortfall and a shortage of teachers, Atlanta Public Schools has asked school librarians to fill in in the classroom.
"Dozens" of employees from APS' media centers are being placed in positions vacated by teachers involved in the district-wide cheating scandal, positions that the library workers say they aren't certified or comfortable to take on, WSBTV reports.
"I haven't taught elementary level education in 21 plus years," one employee wrote in an e-mail to WSBTV. "I'm not prepared to teach the very children who have been cheated by the cheating scandal."
The transitions are being implemented as APS feels its thinning resources. The district is facing a $20 million shortfall, and is looking to slash $10 million this year, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
APS is also considering furlough days to reduce costs, according to AJC. A large cost comes from the need to pay more than 120 employees who are on administrative leave for being a part of the cheating investigation -- the paid time off is biting into the district's budget by nearly $1 million monthly.
In addition, the system has hired 109 new employees to replace those who have left schools across the district, according to WSBTV. But not all are teachers.
"It's a crisis in the sense that we didn't plan for it, but it's certainly one that we're going to solve and work through," APS interim Superintendent Erroll Davis told WSBTV last week.
Davis promised last month that those who were implicated in the investigation would not be back in schools. But one teacher told WXIA-TV last week that though she was placed on leave for being named in the investigation, her principal called her to prepare to teach for the coming year.
An APS spokesperson told WXIA-TV that the call was likely a mistake.
In addition to cutting administrative and curricular costs from the budget, the district also faces the possibility of returning nearly $1 million in federal funds that were granted for falsely high test scores.
The teachers who are costing the district millions are those remaining from the list of 179 implicated educators who did not respond to Davis' memo last month to quit or be fired. The district is now determining how to proceed, and APS faces a long process ahead for ridding the system of those who are targeted in the report.