• Budget battle may jeopardize Ga. teacher jobs

    By: Scott MacFarlane


    WASHINGTON - Metro area teachers' jobs may be on the chopping block if Congress does not reach a compromise on looming budget cuts by the end of the week.

    Channel 2's Scott MacFarlane talked to Atlanta-area school principals who are concerned about what will happen if there's no deal.

    School principals are saying the federal government's budget crisis will cause devastating cuts to local schools, almost certainly leading to teacher furloughs and even larger class sizes for your kids as early as next year.

    "We'll have more furlough days, less people to work with children. Education is expensive, but it's a lot cheaper than ignorance," said former Gwinnett County school Principal Hal Beaver.

    Both parties blame each other for the "jam."

    The government has to cut $85 billion, squeezing the military, public health programs, government workers and schools.

    Critics said the White House is exaggerating the impact of what's ultimately a 3 percent cut in government spending to scare Americans and score political points.

    Channel 2 Action News asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about those concerns.

    "We have to inform the American people what might happen, what will happen, if Congress refuses to do the right thing here. These aren't scare tactics, these are facts," Carney said.

    There are supporters of the budget cuts who'd like to see the government save the teaching jobs, but lop far more from its spending.

    "We're in a fiscal crisis. We're facing a lot of red ink and too little willingness to address it. This seems to be just half of a first step," author Gene Healy said.

    MacFarlane was told elementary school principals from Georgia will canvass Capitol Hill Tuesday urging local legislators to resume negotiations to stop the billions of dollars in budget cuts.

    But congressional staffers said as of now, there are no negotiations scheduled before the March 1 deadline.


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