RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina public schools laid off 847 teachers among 2,681 jobs cut as they headed into this academic year, the state Department of Public Instruction reported Wednesday.
The layoffs came on top of hundreds of education-related cuts in the academic year that ended in June. The survey of the state's 115 school districts found that last year 609 teachers and 1,211 total schoolhouse jobs were cut.
The state schools agency wanted to know how many positions were eliminated, whether or not those jobs were vacant, and how many people actually lost their jobs. The survey asked school districts to describe layoffs and overall position cuts going into the just-started academic year and for each of the previous three years.
The results show that 6,861 people lost jobs and 16,678 positions were eliminated over the four-year period.
The totals don't include Guilford County Schools, one of the state's largest districts with more than 71,000 students, which did not respond to the survey, DPI reported. Duplin County Schools also did not respond to the survey, the agency said.
The survey of people laid off and unfilled positions eliminated is a political hot potato in Raleigh. Democrats contend state budget-cutting will hurt education. Republicans say teachers were protected from the layoffs spread across state government and any cuts were up to local districts.
GOP lawmakers also said public schools had available about $250 million in federal education jobs funds that expire in September 2012. DPI said that money will be used during the 2011-12 school year to save about 5,000 jobs.