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Gov. McCory's budget cuts have teacher assistants fighting for their jobs

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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Teacher assistants around the state are fighting to keep their jobs after Governor Pat McCrory announced cutting jobs in his budget plan.

More than 3,000 teacher assistants could be impacted if McCrory's plan passes.

North Carolina's teacher assistant of the year William Johnston says TA's play a big part of a child's education. Johnston, a TA at Booker T. Washington Primary School in Clarkton, says they are there for the kids, and if their jobs are cut, the greatest impact will be on the children. He says with the job a teacher has today, they do not have the time to give extra attention to the students. "That's where we come in. We work with the teacher in a partnership to help make sure that that child succeeds. To work with the low performing students, in order to help move them to proficiency. To take the middle ones and keep them moving forward, and also take our high ones and move them in the direction," Johnston said.

Governor McCrory's plan would add 5,000 slots for at-risk children in the state's pre-kindergarten program. Although the Governor's proposed budget would take away 3,000 TA jobs, it would add almost 2,000 full-time teaching positions. The plan would cut funding for teacher assistants except for in kindergarten and the first grade.

Johnston thinks if these cuts go into effect we will see a drop in test scores over time. "I think it's important to help children in kindergarten and especially through the third grade to help establish an educational foundation for them to build on to continue to grow and go forth," Johnston said.

Johnston wants legislators to know the value of teacher assistants. He thinks people should speak out to let them know how important TA's are.

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