By GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A key Republican budget-writer is predicting the number of job losses in North Carolina public school classrooms actually will be much less than the 1,800 reported to state educators as school began in August.
Sen. Jerry Tillman of Randolph County made the comments Tuesday as an education oversight committee was about to meet. The panel wasn't planning on discussing the layoffs, which were part of nearly 6,400 eliminated positions reported by local school districts that had to find another $124 million in spending cuts this school year.
Tillman said the state budget had enough money so school districts could preserve teacher and teaching assistant positions.
A liberal-leaning watchdog group called Progress North Carolina said Republican leaders need to acknowledge their budget expectations didn't meet the reality in the classrooms.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)