Union County schools cutting 400 teacher jobs

Union County schools cutting 400 teacher jobs

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by AMY COWMAN / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @amywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on April 4, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 6:49 PM

WEDDINGTON, N.C. -- Union County schools are overextended by nearly $10 million, causing major cuts in the classroom. The Union County School Board approved cutting hundreds teaching positions in Tuesday night’s meeting.

The cuts came from the state, but some say it's up to the local government and school board to help pick up the slack.
               
"We're very disappointed.  We feel as though there is a choice and there are some changes that can be made," said Antioch Elementary PTO President Amelie Schoel.

Parents in Union County are getting revved up and for a good reason—cuts to their children's classrooms, specifically 350 teacher assistant positions that are being taken away.

"A student will receive individualized or small group instruction about three times a week in this new setting, and if these changes are to go forward the average student would be lucky to have one time a week," added Schoel.

The Union County School Board approved the cuts, which come from the state level to a total of $9.6 million, so in addition to the TA positions, 53 vacant teacher positions are being cut. Superintendant Dr. Ed Davis says he had no choice but to make the recommendation.

"We've trimmed everywhere else we could.  In years leading up, we've cut custodial, we've cut clerical, maintenance, administration,” said Dr. Davis.

Parents say they understand mandated state cuts, but are disappointed that only one board member spoke out in Tuesday night’s meeting to ask the County Commission for short term help with funding.

“I do think they have the ability through extra funds they got through the sales of the hospital, through extra discretionary funds they keep in their rainy day fund," argued Schoel.

No formal request was made to the commission, so parents say they'll be on the forefront speaking out to their board members and ask other parents to do the same.

"If they were listening what they heard is the people who elected them really want them to step up and work with the county," said Schoel.

Dr. Davis says there is a proposal to ask the county for $2.2 million to help the cuts, but no formal request has been made to the commission yet.
 

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