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Teaching jobs on the line: If budget stays as is, 84 could be axed

By Maggie Blackwell
mblackwell@salisburypost.com
The Rowan-Salisbury School System could lose 211 jobs, including 84 teaching positions, if a proposed budget passes the N. C. House of Representatives in the next two weeks, according to a school official.
Tara Trexler, the schools’ chief financial officer, said local students were also facing 15 days off from school over the next two years if one proposal would have gone through. But state budget writers took that provision out.
The cuts are being made because of the severe deficit in state tax revenues. The governor’s proposed budget and the Senate’s proposed budget included cuts to education, but the House of Representatives’ budget contains even deeper cuts as revenue predictions sink lower.
The new plan proposes to:
– Increase classes by two students in every grade;
– Recalculate how teacher assistants are allocated to schools;
– Recalculate how assistant principals are allocated to schools;
– Cut instructional support personnel;
– Reduce allotments for system administration and non-instructional support.
As a result of these measures, Rowan-Salisbury schools would lose the following jobs:
– 84 teachers, grades kindergarten through 12;
– 75 teacher assistants, third grade;
– 20 reading assistants, grades 3-5;
– four assistant principals;
– seven guidance counselors, social workers, intervention specialists, attendance counselors, media specialists, nurses, and curriculum coaches, all grades;
– three literacy coaches, sixth-eighth grades;
– 18 central office staff, clerical workers, custodians and pay for substitutes.
In addition to the staffing cuts, the budget proposes to abolish funding for staff development for the next two school years. All teachers are required to complete ongoing education to retain their teaching certificates. Those with special certifications have additional requirements.
Delores Morris, assistant superintendent for human resources, said if funding for staff development is cut, teachers may wait to complete their credits, or some classes may be taught by existing personnel without state funding.
The plan also suggests reducing the stipend for teacher mentors by 25 percent, cutting the More at Four program by 10 percent, and cutting $300,000 from programs for at-risk students. It also cuts $342,000 from transportation.
The plan to reduce days of instruction from 180 to 175 next year and to 170 the following year was taken out of the plan. But students could still stay home for extra days if furloughs are added. Reduced days of instruction cause a pay cut of about 2.5 percent for school employees for each year.
The building capital fund would lose about $1 million under the plan. This money is used to maintain and support the school facilities.
The school system receives 70 percent of its operating funds from the state.
Legislators for Rowan County include:
– Rep. Lorene Coates, Lorene.Coates@ncleg.net
– Rep. Fred Steen, Fred.Steen@ncleg.net
– Sen. Andrew Brock, Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net.

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