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G.K. Butterfield stops by Kinston school to talk sequestration cuts

G.K. Butterfield stops by Kinston school to talk sequestration cuts

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$25 million in funding and 350 teaching jobs are on the chopping block.

According to the White House, that's what sequestration means for North Carolina's education system.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield gave local teachers and 9 On Your Side the chance to ask questions when he stopped by the Sampson Alternative School in Kinston.

He described the automatic cuts to education as "painful," but said both parties just can't seem to agree.

"Democrats nor Republicans like the sequester," Butterfield says. "We all want it to go away. But we simply cannot agree on how it can be done."

Meanwhile, teachers told us it's really the students who will suffer the most.

"I'm concerned about not having those adequate resources that we need to teach the kids like we really want to," says Tarrus Carr, a social studies teacher at Sampson.

"The kids are really the ones who are suffering because we don't have as many resources, we don't have as many opportunities to teach them in all the ways that we can," says Scott Cole, a history and science teacher at Sampson.

When 9 On Your Side asked how schools like Sampson will be directly affected by the cuts, Butterfield responded, "Each school system is going to have to decide for itself where to make the cuts. I'm told that in many of the counties, teacher assistants are going to be eliminated. That's awful."

Butterfield did not provide teachers with any possible solutions, only saying he disagrees with cuts to public education and hopes the North Carolina General Assembly will make it a priority.

So for now, all teachers and students can do is wait.

"Sometimes I feel like we should take politics out of education and keep it separate," Carr says. "If you kept them separate, I think it would run a whole lot better. And put the kids first. They need to be first."

The sequestration amounts to $85 billion nationwide – which some lawmakers are quick to point out is only about 3 percent of the entire federal budget.

Butterfield plans to travel through Eastern North Carolina for the next few days to emphasize what these cuts mean for the people here.

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