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Local Teachers, Teaching Assistants, and Parents Protest Potential Cuts To Teaching Assistants

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Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR
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Protesters gathered outside of the New Hanover County Schools building.

The General Assembly approved a temporary budget at the end of June before taking a week-long recess. The delay prompted a local protest from teachers, teaching assistants, and parents. 

North Carolina’s delayed budget leaves many school systems in limbo as they plan for the upcoming year. The House’s proposed budget maintains current funding levels for teaching assistants, but, according to News & Observer, the Senate’s plan could eliminate over eight thousand teaching assistant jobs.

William Johnston is State President of the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants:  

"It is a shame that some members of our General Assembly do not hold themselves to the same standards that they have implemented for us. We are required to meet standards, guidelines, and deadlines with no exceptions ever. Our General Assembly and elected officials, with a deadline of July 1, 2015, failed to give North Carolina a budget."

Nancy McCullough, a retired teacher, says assistants are vital for special needs students:

"We have federal legislation—IDEA and ADA—which mandates that we meet their needs, and without teacher’s assistants in classrooms, it will simply be impossible to do that. And so, what these legislators in Raleigh are proposing to do is violate the rights of those students and to mandate their failure and the failure of their teachers."

The Senate plan would boost teacher pay and the number of teachers. The General Assembly reconvenes Monday.