STALLINGS, N.C.--"We're going to celebrate those things and move past that. It's definitely on their mind, but it's in the back of their mind today,” said Glenna Bianchin, PTO President at Stallings Elementary School.
What's on their minds is the 350 teacher assistants who might not be back next year, victims of budget cuts. The system notified the staff months ago of the pending layoffs, but remain optimistic they'll be back.
"they're nervous they don't have a job, but they want to do what's right for the school and what's right for themselves and what's right for the kids. So those who feel they need to move on, they will, but the majority of them are having faith in the system right now,” said Bianchin.
School board Chairman Dean Arp says they're waiting to hear if they get extra money from the state, and they're also asking the county commission for any fill in money they can get.
"We're very hopeful about that, that something will be done, although we don't know how much, and I don't think it's going to be the full funding, but we're very hopeful,” said Arp.
He says right now, they can only afford 35-percent of these teacher assistants, which fractured the program. So, he says they gave all TAs a notice, and will re-evaluate, re-build and re-hire, once they find out how much additional funding they receive.
"The plan and the recommendation was to reconstitute that program in a more effective way with the available funding,” he said. “So what we've gone to is a block funding method of providing the remaining money to the schools and providing them flexibility to have their instructional support as much as possible."
The school system will have an answer by the end of the month, once the state budget is finished. The school system also lost 53 unfilled teacher positions.
Friday, Governor Perdue also highlighted the need for funding for these positions in union county, saying these deep and unnecessary cuts come at a time when we should be strengthening the state's education system.