WJTV News Channel 12 - NC teacher assistants' future key in budget talks

NC teacher assistants' future key in budget talks

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A Superior Court judge has struck down parts of new rules. A Superior Court judge has struck down parts of new rules.
RALEIGH, N.C. -  The most high-profile fight between the House and Senate in extended North Carolina budget negotiations is over how large they want teacher pay increases to be.
    
The more fundamental difference may center on whether to fund thousands of teacher assistants this coming year.
    
The Senate's original budget bill eliminates all funds allotted to teacher assistants in second and third grades, leaving money to cover kindergarten and first-grade classrooms only. The House doesn't touch the teacher assistant money. The Senate plan would have eliminated funding equal to 7,400 positions.
    
Senators say they are moving away from assistants toward aggressive teacher pay increases because they say assistants aren't contributing to student achievement. Superintendents say the assistants play a key role more than ever to help students meet new reading proficiency goals.

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