The article in the Charlotte Observer entitlted, "Budget Rewrite Saves Teacher Assistant Jobs", is a clear attempt by our political leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly to mask the truth of what their budget cuts are going to do to local school districts. What's even worse, the Charlotte Observer uses a headline that seems to support the idea that the North Carolina Legislature has somehow magically found funds to save 15,000 or so teacher assistant jobs. They haven't. What they have done is shifted the responsibility for making the job cuts back to the local school districts, which now have to find $429 million dollars to send back to the state out of their budgets. Our state legislature is playing the "discretionary cuts" game again, which translates into someone else having to do their dirty work. The public rarely knows or understands the discretionary cuts game.
Ann McColl, North Carolina State Board of Education lobbyist, calls it like it is when she says, "Some of the really tough decisions about positions and job losses are just being passed down to the local level."
With the magnitude of cuts our legislature is asking of our schools, local districts will have no choice but cut positions, either teachers or teacher assistants. It seems some politicians still operate under the delusion that there's millions of dollars still being wasted in schools, but after three years of cutting, there's just not much there.
The sad part of all this, our legislators are doing this simply so they can respond in the next cycle, "I didn't cut any jobs."
Update: My partial apologies to the Charlotte Observer; they are only partially wrong. They got the misleading article and story from the Raleigh newspaper, News and Observer. Their headline on this budget reads "School Jobs Saved in State Budget."