Hundreds of jobs eliminated in NHC school board budget

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The New Hanover County school board unanimously approved their budget for the upcoming school year.

In these tough times they had to cut 6% of the budget, which means several jobs will be eliminated.

New Hanover County Schools will operate with about 260 fewer positions during the 2009-10 school year, but most of those jobs are already vacant.

The schools will officially eliminate about 230 jobs that were frozen this past school year, but about 30 employees will lose their jobs.

School board chairman Ed Higgins said many of the 33 actual reductions will probably come from teacher assistant positions.

"But what we're hoping is in December we'll be able to bring back some of the people," said Higgins.

Higgins said they are looking at cutting teacher assistants for upper elementary grades because kindergartners and first graders require more attention.

Teacher jobs aren't the only at risk, office staff positions and maintenance workers could lose their jobs as well.

"We're trying to do the best we can," said Higgins.  "But the fact is we get a lot of funding from the county and the county is very generous to us and I'm not criticizing the county. But nevertheless we took a 5.5% hit from and a 7% hit from federal government."

Board members said they won't make any cuts until after July 15, when they find out how much money they'll get from the state.

They say the budget was approved with the worst case scenario in mind.

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