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Budget discussed at GCS back-to-school briefing

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – State legislators are hashing out a final state budget while Piedmont school systems start the 2015/2016 school year. The two-year budget was supposed to be complete by July 1.

This week, Governor McCrory announced the House and Senate agreed to an overall spending amount of $21.7 billion this year, but the detailed allocations are still in the works. Last year, education was the second highest expenditure in the state, behind Health and Human Services.

Some Guilford County Schools students already started; the rest go back to school next Monday.

Superintendent Mo Green says it’s definitely a challenge to return to school without knowing the state’s budget, but it’s something they’ve done in the past.

“I hope lawmakers will agree on a budget quickly, but I would like to have the right budget. So if takes a little longer, take a little longer,” he said at a back-to-school briefing Wednesday.

This summer, state senators proposed eliminating more than 8,000 teacher assistant jobs and redirecting the money in part to hire more full-time teachers.

Kernoodle Middle School Teacher Assistant Debra McCoy tells FOX8, “It saddens me that there are some out there that may feel our position is expendable, that we’re not needed. But for me, I see the good we do every day. I see it year after year. And I hear from the teachers we work alongside how valuable we are to them.”

She’s been a TA for 15 years.

GCS eliminated three teacher assistant days for the upcoming school year, in addition to the two-and-a-half days they cut last year. They hope it will prevent layoffs.

Alamance County Schools sent a letter to all teacher assistants last week warning there could be layoffs at any point in the school year depending on the budget.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools spokesman Theo Helm said, “We’re holding off hiring new TA’s for that reasons because we don’t know what the final numbers will look like."