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North Carolina teacher assistant job cuts possible

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Supporters joined Progress N.C. for a rally in Winston-Salem today fighting for teacher assistant jobs.

The proposed state Senate budget would eliminate approximately 8,500 teacher assistant jobs in North Carolina.

Davidson County Teacher Assistant Laura Wright is one of the people who does not know whether she has a job this coming school year. “I hope that I will. Of course, I need that income for my family. And if our jobs are cut, the senators and the state are gonna be the ones left in a lurch because our students are gonna be hurting.”

Laura says her TA contract also requires her to be a bus driver. “We are going to have challenges filling those positions.”

FOX8 checked with Piedmont school systems and most were unsure how many TA jobs they will have to cut next year; they are waiting to hear more about the state budget.

  • Davie: Would lose 35 of 160 current TA’s if Senate budget passed as is.
  • Rockingham: Had 120 last school year.
  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth: Had 500 last school year, has planned for 400 this school year.
  • Alamance-Burlington: Had 203 last school year
  • Surry: Had 161 last school year
  • Guilford: Had 1,128 last school year

(Note: not all TA positions are state-funded. Some are locally funded jobs.)

Melinda Zarate with the NC Association of Teacher Assistants added, “They need to get their priorities straight and realize education should be the number one priority in North Carolina. Otherwise, they’re not gonna have the future they think they see.”

A spokesperson with Senate Leader Phil Berger’s office told FOX8, “The Senate budget makes students a top priority. It increases funding for K-12 public schools by $453 million over two years, but targets those dollars toward measures proven to have the greatest impact on student achievement – smaller class sizes and having high-quality teachers at the head of the classroom. It increases starting teacher pay, provides teachers an average four percent pay raise and adds 6,700 new teachers over two years to lower class sizes in Kindergarten through third grades – a step research has repeatedly shown is key to academic success.”

The statement continued, “The budget also limits the amount of state dollars spent on measures that are not proven to have a meaningful impact on classroom outcomes. Local school districts and superintendents still have flexibility to direct available funds to teacher assistants if that is a top priority for them.”

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