Yes, you read that right — Wake County Public Schools would have to eliminate nearly 700 teacher assistants this fall  if the Senate’s budget plan becomes law this summer.
The county would have to cut 693 TAs out of 1,250 positions allotted for the upcoming school year, according to WNCN. The Senate’s budget offers teachers who give up their tenure an average 11 percent pay hike beginning this fall. To pay for the plan, Senate leaders decided to gut the budget for teacher assistants — a line item that has already suffered deep cuts over the past several years.
“It is a great step in the right direction to address teacher salaries,” Wake County School Board Chair Christine Kushner said, “but we have teacher assistant positions that are being cut.”
The school system further said it would have to reduce bus services and the number of drivers used to transport students due to a proposed cut of $2.9 million in transportation funding.
There could also be a reduction in the number of drivers education classes offered for students, the school system said.
The raises built in to the Senate budget are for teachers paid with state money. Wake Schools said it would cost the school system $13 million to provide raises to any teachers paid with local funding.
Wake Schools cautioned that providing local raises could mean additional personnel cuts.
Cumberland County Schools has reported it would have to cut 220 out of its 330 teacher assistant positions  — and that comes on top of cutting 100 positions they have already slashed for the upcoming year.
Some counties use TA funds to pay teachers’ salaries as well. In Stokes County , the Senate budget plan would mean cutting eight teaching positions in addition to 30 TAs.
Members of the House have reviewed the Senate and Governor’s budgets and plan to have their budget on the floor by the end of this week.