School systems say budget cuts will hurt teachers, students - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

School systems say budget cuts will hurt teachers, students

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Pitt County Public Schools spokesman Brock Letchworth says as a school employee and parent, he doesn't like what the General Assembly's doing.

"With the general assembly, it became acceptable to bash public education," Letchworth said. "I'm not really sure why that came about."

What he's referring to is the senate's proposed budget.

It raises teacher pay but Letchworth says it proposes a lot of cuts.

"I think people would lose their jobs," he said.

If this budget passes, Letchworth said Pitt County Schools will be forced to eliminate more than 130 teacher assistants, teachers and school nurses with those assistants getting hit the hardest.
"It's really an insult in my opinion to the teaching assistants and a lack of respect for the value they bring to the classroom," Letchworth said.

That value is crucial to students and teachers as they provide a second line of instruction especially when students need one-on-one help. 
Other systems will face cuts too.

Craven County will lose several assistants who also serve as bus drivers.

Lenoir County will cut about 45 teachers and teaching assistants.

Beaufort County's school superintendent Dr. Don Phipps says he'll avoid layoffs by planning not to fill positions left vacant from retirement or attrition.

Though the budget is in the preliminary stages, school systems are still looking ahead and planning for the worst case scenario.
"Improvement of teacher pay should be a priority," Letchworth said. "However, we've got to find better ways to fund those salary increases where we're not affecting the livelihoods of other people." 
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