Henderson County Public Schools Lose 23 Teacher Assistants - WSPA.com

Henderson County Public Schools Lose 23 Teacher Assistants

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Instead of preparing for the new school year, hundreds of teachers assistants in North Carolina may be looking for a new job. Instead of preparing for the new school year, hundreds of teachers assistants in North Carolina may be looking for a new job.
HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. -

Helping the youngest of all students make it through their first year of school can be rewarding and overwhelming at the same time.

"You can't do it on your own, not just one person in there," said teacher assistant Sabrina Hickman.

Class is back in session at Bruce Drysdale Elementary, a year-round school in Hendersonville. And Hickman who assists in a kindergarten class is thankful to be working.

"I brought them together at the end of last year and told them what was coming down," says Bruce Drysdale principal Christine Smith, "Half of them left in tears. It was a very, very tough meeting."

School districts across North Carolina are still trying to figure out how much money they will receive from the state.

Last month, lawmakers approved spending $7.8 billion on K-12 education and slashing funding for teacher assistants.

In order to meet the state's budget requirements, Henderson County Public Schools will lose 23 teacher assistant positions.

Teacher assistants are usually placed in kindergarten classrooms to help the instructor meet daily educational requirements by either working with students in small groups or individually.

Smith says her school will be down two assistants this year, and while it's not enough to greatly impact student's learning, it's cause for concern.

"After next year, we will have lost 42 percent of our teacher assistants. I honestly don't know what we will do," Smith says.

Statewide funding was eliminated for about 3,800 teaching assistant jobs for the 2013-14 school year.

In neighboring Buncombe County, 24 teacher assistant positions left vacant through retirement and attrition will not be filled, according to school district spokesperson.

Asheville City Schools has recently cut 9 teacher assistant jobs.

Those opposed to the cuts say it will reduce what kids can master in the classroom.

Being able to see the progress students make is what Hickman says keeps her motivated.

"They just like spread their wings and fly," Hickman said.

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