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Cumberland teachers face job cuts

June 3, 2009 5:44:49 AM PDT
The proposed budget for Cumberland County schools could lead to the elimination of more than 100 teaching positions and also the removal of 180 third grade teaching assistants.District leaders say they're faced with little choice. Seventy percent of their funding comes from the state, and 90 percent of that money goes directly to pay salaries.

If the Legislature passes its budget in its current form, hundreds of jobs will be lost.

Debra Nobles has been a teaching assistant at Margaret Willis Elementary School for 31 years.

"It's very discouraging because I feel like that teacher assistants are a major part of the classroom because as you can see with the number of children we have in the classroom - one teacher - it's very hard for her to get to all of the children. And we have lots of children who need extra help," she said.

Teachers like Domini Pierce - who has a third grade teaching assistant - say the proposed cuts couldn't come at a worse time.

"This year we experienced a lot of growth in the classroom with the reading. Our EOG scores look good. And without her a lot of our kids just wouldn't be able to do what they do," she offered.

The teachers and staff at Margaret Willis have written the Governor and state law makers to voice opposition to the cuts.

"And we've all said the same thing: "Please don't do this to us. You're setting public education back 30 years,'" said Principal Peggy Raymes. "It's not fair to balance the budget on the backs of one group of people."


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