Members of the Scotland County Schools Board of Education voted on Monday to cut teacher assistants’ hours to 88 percent for the upcoming school year as a way to save jobs while coping with state budget reductions.
To keep teacher assistants working 100 percent of the time, the county would have to deplete a large chunk of its fund balance. Cutting hours allows TAs to keep their jobs while enabling the county to avoid gutting its savings.
State lawmakers enacted a budget this summer that cuts teacher assistant funding by 22 percent, according to N.C. Department of Instruction CFO Philip Price.
That cut comes on top of years of funding cuts to TAs. In Scotland County last year, the district had to eliminate 44 teacher assistant positions, which included 25 layoffs.
Earlier this summer, Gov. Pat McCrory pushed back hard on Senate lawmakers’ wish to gut funding for teacher assistants, insisting he wouldn’t sign a budget that slashes TA jobs.
In the end, McCrory signed the budget last week and said he was happy to do it because it preserves all TA positions — yet many local districts are already reporting that they must cut teacher assistant jobs thanks to the budget he signed.
But just days after the budget was signed into law, I reported that McCrory is working with the school superintendents’ association to come up with a budget fix that would allow school districts to hold onto their TAs (see my story here).
Scotland County is coping with other education cuts handed down to them by the state lawmakers, which include:
- $40,000 cut in state funding for at-risk students;
- $38,000 cut in state funding for digital learning; and
- $117,000 cut in state funding for driver’s education