Educators Rally to Demand Politicians Pass a Budget
In a pair of events held on Thursday in Raleigh and Saturday in Greenville, local educators rallied to demand politicians in Raleigh to their jobs and pass a budget before school starts. They talked about the cost of the delays to our students and the false choice politicians are offering that pits teachers vs. TAs, while they pass more tax giveaways for big corporations.
The budget which was suppose to be completed on July 1st, is now 45 days late. On Thursday lawmakers passed a bill to extend budget negotiations until August 31st. With many students heading back to school in just nine days, teacher assistants such as William Johnson are worried about the children and their education.
"It all starts with our children and their education. Our public schools and educators are running out of time but the politicians are asleep at the switch", Johnson said.
Johnson is also the State President of the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants. He has been a teacher assistant for 13 years in Bladen County and was named the 2012 North Carolina teach assistant of the year by NCATA.
With the Senates proposal to reduce funding for teacher assistants by $300 million over two years, more than 8,500 teaching assistant positions are at risk of being eliminated. Some teaching assistant positions have already been cut because of a lack of budget.
"School systems like Pitt, Beaufort, and Alamance are already laying off teacher assistants", Johnson said.
Earlier this month, the Pitt County Schools officially cut 25 teaching positions.
Teresa Sawyer also voiced her opinion at the rally. Sawyer has been a teacher assistant for the past 22 years. She was also named the 2013 and 2014 North Carolina teacher assistant of the year by the NCATA.
"My thoughts are with the students who will not be able to have teacher assistants working side by side with their teacher. School districts are in turmoil after being forced to set their yearly budgets with no idea of what lawmakers will do", Sawyer said.
See more coverage:
TWC News - Educators Pressure Lawmakers to Pass Budget
News and Observer - Teacher assistants rally for budget