Union Co. passes budget to fund teacher assistants
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After months on hanging in limbo, more than 300 teacher assistants in Union County can be rehired for next school year, just weeks after getting their layoff notices.
The Union County Board of Commissioners approved additional funding Thursday, which combined with an expected increase in state funding will preserve the teacher assistant program.
Dozens of teacher assistants were thrilled tonight to know their jobs went from being in jeopardy to being restored, thanks to an infusion of cash from the local and state level.
In addition to approving their budget, commissioners also approved giving an additional $1.65 million in reserve funds for teacher assistants.
That's on top of a total of $4 million the Union County Public School are expected to receive in the recently compromised state budget.
Combined with the extra state and county money, the board chairman said just about all of the 350 teacher assistants can be back in the classroom this fall.
The move thrilled the assistants and school supporters, who wore green in solidarity to commission meetings, asking for the additional dollars.
"The TAs are extremely important to the schools, and to the children especially,” said Kim Parker, a teacher at Poplin Elementary School. “We, the teachers, can't do our jobs effectively without TAs, and if we can't do our jobs as effectively than our children are going to be the ones suffering."
The approved budget includes a half-cent property tax decrease.