Under new budget, Cumberland county schools will be forced to cut 70 teacher positions
The recently approved North Carolina state budget no longer allows funding for teacher assistants to be used for anything else. This creates a problem for Cumberland county which uses some of that funding to pay regular teachers. As a result, district leaders say they will be forced to cut 70 teacher positions.
"Overall, this budget did not help promote public education in North Carolina," offered NCAE representative and teacher Tamika Kelly.
She says she worries the budget statewide will drive more teachers out of the classroom.
"If you don't pay veteran teachers they are the first to leave the profession. Then, there is nobody to mentor beginning teachers," she said.
The good news is the cuts won't mean immediate layoffs. The school board will be forced to dip into reserve funds to pay the teachers this year.
"What we are going to be doing is looking at where we are under-enrolled and there are vacancies and moving those vacancies to other schools with higher enrollments," said Ruben Reyes with Cumberland County Schools.
But other school systems may not have that option. Cumberland County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Till warns that budget shortfalls will in the end hurt students the most.