WEDDINGTON -- The Union County School Board reluctantly decided Tuesday night to slash more than 400 classroom positions in July, to deal with a $10 million budget shortfall.
In a meeting at Antioch Elementary School, the board voted unanimously to eliminate about 55 teaching positions and more than 350 teacher assistant jobs. The cuts will go into effect at the start of the 2012-13 fiscal year, July 1, and will be felt in classrooms when school starts in August.
Superintendent Ed Davis said the budget shortfall is caused, in part, by the end of federal stimulus money.
Groups of parents have met several times in recent weeks with state legislators, asking for them to find more money for the Union County Schools. During several of those meetings, lawmakers have promised to do what they can.
A number of parents were at Tuesdays meeting, many of them saying they had moved to Union County specifically because of the schools. They voiced concerns that the budget cuts will hurt the quality of education their children receive.
But board members said they had no other choice than to make the cuts.
Davis said teaching and teacher assistant positions will be restored, if state funding is greater than expected.
The teacher cuts amount to one for each of the school systems 53 schools. The Union County Schools have about 4,450 employees, including 2,555 licensed positions (teachers and administrators) and 1,901 non-licensed (teacher assistants, secretaries, custodians and food services employees).