CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nearly half of all CMS teacher assistants could have their hours and days cut in order to save their jobs, if a state budget proposal cutting $12 million from CMS is approved.
Parent Nicole Roberge says her son James' teacher assistant was crucial to his success because James has a speech impediment.
"He would have gotten lost in the shuffle if it wasn't for her,” Roberge said.
A proposed state budget cutting millions in teacher assistant funding means about 400 of CMS's 1,000 teacher assistants could work fewer days and hours, in exchange for saving their jobs, said CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison.
"To even think about reducing their hours and their days is not the most enjoyable decision I will make as superintendent. However, it will allow us to protect as many jobs as possible,” he said.
The state budget also does not include teacher raises. North Carolina already ranks near the bottom in teacher salaries.
"They hung a sign on the state that says professional teachers are not welcome,” said Classroom Teachers Association President Judy Kidd.
Less money in the budget, fewer teacher assistant hours in the classroom and teachers upset over low salaries is not what Roberge wants for her son.
"Just so the kids that need the little extra help can get the little extra help, and be there for the kids and for the teachers."
Governor McCrory's recommended budget includes hiring 1,800 more full-time certified teachers throughout the state rather than classroom assistants.
Once the state budget is finalized, Superintendent Morrison will see if he can make the money up with federal or county dollars.
Legislators approved the state’s nearly $21 billion dollar budget Wednesday afternoon. It now goes to Governor McCrory for approval.