Increased budget cuts could hit teachers

April 15, 2011 11:06:03 AM PDT
Wake County's Superintendent told reporters at a weekly media briefing Friday that teachers' positions could be next on the chopping block.Tony Tata said if the district faces a 9 to 10 percent budget cut instead of the anticipated 5 percent, they would possibly have to start cutting into teachers' positions.

"You gotta take a step back and look at everything," Tata said.

His comments come as the North Carolina General Assembly works to finalize the state budget. Education makes up nearly 60 percent of the state budget.

North Carolina's legislative leaders have proposed balancing a looming budget shortfall of more than $2 billion by cutting public schools by 9 percent, which includes shedding as many as 8,700 teacher assistant positions, but would hopefully spare teacher layoffs.

If teacher jobs are eliminated, school leaders say, they want to assure the public that the school system simply had no other options.

"We have to focus on protecting teachers first," Tata said. "If we protect teachers, we protect students. If we cut cut teachers you can rest assure we had no other thing to cut."

The superintendent also discussed the hot topic of possibly moving 14 year round schools to a single track schedule.

The school system sent out parent surveys Thursday to get comments from parents. Tata says parents should have confidence he's moving forward with due care, but with deeper cuts on the horizon all options have to be considered.

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