Teacher assistant jobs are squarely on the chopping block in state budget proposals.
School officials say cutting those positions can be devastating because teacher assistants now have a vital role in the classroom--instructing students and giving them the extra attention they need.
Tina Letchworth, Principal at Northwest Elementary School in Kinston, says "Teacher assistants in schools no longer just run copies and just sit and grade papers, they are instructional assistants that actually work with students in small group settings, assessing them, working side by side with the teacher."
In Lenoir County 32 teacher assistant jobs could possibly be cut next year leaving some teachers without the extra hands they say they desperately need. Pitt county could lose 119 teacher assistants. In Edgecombe County it could be up to 60. In Craven County up to 82.
The final decision has not yet been made on just how much schools are going to have to cut for next year, but school officials in Lenoir County are asking for legislators to hear their pleas not to cut the jobs.