Craven continues cuts to save money

Published: Friday, August 9, 2013 at 04:19 PM.

Teacher assistants in Craven County must take nine unpaid days off this school year as the school system continues to deal with a $1.27 million reduction in state funding for TA positions.

By cutting paid work days, the school system will be able to keep 305 currently filled TA positions this academic year.

The plan, announced Thursday, comes a week after Craven school leaders laid off five teacher assistants and eliminated 36 TA positions because of the reduction in state funding.

Principals at all 25 county schools called in their teaching assistants Thursday for face-to-face meetings on the plan, which saves their jobs and benefits this year.

“They were appreciative of the fact they tried to do things to save their jobs,” said Thomasine Hassell, principal at Grover C. Fields Middle School in New Bern. “At the end of the meeting, we sat and talked about the children we had impacted last year. When we make an impact on a child’s life, it is a greater reward than money. It’s priceless.”

Funds for teacher assistants took a significant reduction in the recently completed state budget. In Craven County, teacher assistants work in all schools and grades, with more of them assigned to kindergarten through second-grade classrooms.

They often open and close schools and perform an assortment of duties in addition to hands-on teaching. Many of them also serve as bus drivers.

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