While I do agree that the various departments need to cut their budgets to meet what is in the State coffers, I think that the scheduling of the Furlough Fridays cut into the student learning cycles with shorter weeks on an inconsistent basis.
It would appear to me that it would be better to consider attaching the furlough days to intersession and vacation periods. Parents can plan for extended days off rather than sporatic days here and there. As a teacher, I could plan for student work during the longer vacations so that students can do independent or directed studies activities at home...for high school students - research papers, papers requiring interviews of people in the community, art projects, the reading of tandem novels, poetry chapbooks. Many, many things could be planned to put the extended days off into real use for the students to explore, spend more time thinking and working on projects.
But what is common sense does not always seems to be the choice plan of action. It is noble of some schools to continue to run school with the teachers working for free. Despite all the public thrashing of teachers, this is really a noble act. People who are not in the field don't see the daily sacrifices teachers make for their students. But of one caution to these teachers who are willing to work for free, it would behoove them to check if they will be covered by State insurance should something happen while working outside of the State contract.
Let's hope that the financial straits we are in are a temporary measure. Rather than grumbling, we need to take action to resolve the situation beginning with the individual homes...more careful consumption, more conservative spending, better use of our resources, more consideration of our less financially able neighbors and friends. We cannot do everything but each of us can do something.