Potential loss of teacher assistants woud impact students learning to read

Alicia Bryant, 9, a Havelock Elementary School third grader, reads during reading camp in July.

Alicia Bryant, 9, a Havelock Elementary School third grader, reads The Greek Chronicles during a reading camp held at Roger Bell Elementary this summer

Havelock News file photo
Published: Friday, August 15, 2014 at 01:06 PM.

Teacher assistants and media assistants in Craven County Schools are being told to prepare for the event that their jobs may be cut after the upcoming 2014-15 school year.

According to Craven County School spokesman Jennifer Wagner, some 250 teacher assistant-type positions are vulnerable. That includes 58 teacher assistants working in Havelock area schools.

“As of right now, based on the allotments that the state will be releasing, we do project to have a 22 percent reduction for our teaching assisting allotment,” Wagner said. “We will be short by an estimated $1.4 million in comparison to what we had last year.”

New hiring and replacement hiring for vacant teacher assistant positions has been frozen since the beginning of 2014.

“This year, they have pulled, by vacancies, people retiring, whatever reasons that have come out of teacher assistant positions, they did not re-staff those and they moved people around to cover them and we were able to capture 35 positions over this last year that way,” said Carr Ipock, chairman of the Craven County Board of Education.

But that is only a short-term solution.

“Now the state has said to go ahead and plan for proposed cuts for next year, so all we can do is continue to communicate the information that the state provides us by preparing employees to make them aware that funding each year continues to be cut and that there are chances that the funding will continue to be cut again,” Wagner said. “I think what has been communicated is that they need to be aware that the state continues to propose more cuts.”

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