RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The question of whether there will be money to fund teaching assistants in the new state budget remained unanswered Wednesday because budget talks between the North Carolina House and Senate have yet to begin.
In the meantime, Gov. Pat McCrory and others have let it be known they want that money to stay – but with conditions.
The House and Senate disagree on whether the state needs to fund teaching assistants.
The House budget contains money for them. But the Senate wants to use that money to shrink the size of classes.
On Wednesday, McCrory said he wants the money to remain, or perhaps even be increased. But instead of allocating the money exclusively for teaching assistants, he believes the funds should be made discretionary so that they can be used to either pay for teaching assistants or reduce class sizes depending on the needs of local school systems.
June Atkinson, the state superintendent of schools, agreed with that.
“Our rationale is school districts are at different places,” said Atkinson. “When you have a very high populated school district, that district may not have a sufficient number of classes, whereas if you are in a small school district without an increase in students, you may have greater flexibility.”