Lenoir County Schools: NC Senate budget costing us jobs - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Lenoir County Schools: NC Senate budget costing us jobs

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KINSTON, N.C. - Lenoir County Public Schools say the budget plan approved by the N.C. Senate on Friday night would cost Lenoir County Public Schools more than $1.9 million in lost state funding next fiscal year and eliminate more than 40 classroom positions, according to an analysis by the school district.

The budget proposal includes nearly $470 million in teacher raises, but finances that expense by making deep cuts elsewhere in funding for public schools. Statewide, the Senate budget would slash teacher assistant positions and cut funding for school nurses, transportation personnel, driver’s education programs and central office support.

“While I fully support teacher raises, I ask that the General Assembly look to other funding sources instead of cutting services to children,” Dr. Steve Mazingo, LCPS superintendent, said.  “I am confident that the Governor's office, the Senate and the House can find a way to give much needed raises to teachers while preserving essential funds to support instruction.”

The state House of Representatives is now at work on its own budget plan. The budget proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory, unveiled days before the General Assembly convened May 14, includes more measured raises for teachers and some shifting to local school districts of costs formerly borne by the state, but overall would have much less impact on staffing. The state’s budget is usually crafted from a combination of these three proposals by a legislative conference committee.

If the Senate’s plan stands, however, LCPS says it would see a decrease in funding of approximately $1.94 million. That total breaks down like this:

  •  $1,499,418 cut from teacher assistant funds. That would require the elimination of 30 teacher assistant positions. The Senate plan calls for eliminating teacher assistant positions in all second- and third-grade classrooms, reducing the number of currently employed teacher assistants by approximately 7,838 statewide. LCPS feels teacher assistants are important to the instructional process, especially for small group remediation.
  • ? $253,000 from this fund earmarked for eight teacher positions, which would be eliminated. Another. 5.5 teaching positions would be lost as a result of the Senate’s increasing the student-teacher ratio by one student in second- and third-grade classrooms.
  • ? $43,680 – or 5 percent -- cut from central office funds. The impact on personnel here is unclear.
  • ? $140,345 – or 6 percent – cut from transportation funds. The Senate budget eliminates 961 positions statewide and would mean the loss of two transportation positions for LCPS, according to Brent Williams, the system executive director of operation. “In addition, the proposed mandates requiring school districts to have fewer spare buses and fewer in-stock repair parts available for use would result in our school system having at least two fewer school buses on the road and almost no inventory of replacement parts available to meet our daily needs,” he said. “In the context of context of contending with rapidly increasing costs for fuel, tires, replacement parts and other equipment, these proposed cuts would have a tremendous negative impact on our ability to meet all of our existing transportation needs safely and effectively.”

Because of its economic status as a Tier I county, Lenoir would be exempt from reductions in school nursing staff. The driver’s education allotment would not be eliminated until the 2015-16 fiscal year.

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