Educators rally in Greenville

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Educators say time is running out on the state budget. Teacher assistants are especially concerned.

They stood on these steps right here at the Pitt County Courthouse demanding answers. They say the state budget should have been completed weeks ago.

“It all starts with children in our education.”

25 TA positions have already been cut at Pitt County Public Schools as a result of the unfinished budget. A retired teacher assistant, Brenda Gatlin Hawkins says the budget should have been completed on time.

“That missing set of hands out of the classroom will really be damaging to education.”

Hawkins says TA’s are crucial in schools.

“When students come in for the first time, they need that extra hug and reassurance that they will be ok and they will be taken care of. It also gives parents feel like I don’t have to worry.”

One community member says education is the economic driver of our state, and teacher assistants are part of that.

“TA’S are important to make sure all of the kids have the attention they need and that they are taken care of and things aren’t going array in the classroom,” Uriah Ward.

Hawkins says she has one thing to say to representatives.

“Please look at what you are doing before you make more drastic cuts.”

Organizers of the event say it’s estimated over 8,000 TA’s will be laid off as result of the state budget. Beaufort county schools recently cut 16.

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