Education agency says jobs aren’t restored with other funds

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s education department says it’s cut $2.5 million from its budget and eliminated about 20 positions without tapping into new funds from the legislature earmarked to help early-grade children with reading.

A Department of Public Instruction document last month to the state budget office had asked to make up for $2 million of the mandated cuts by transferring money designated to carry out the Excellent Schools Act.

That disclosure angered Senate leader Phil Berger, the chief proponent of the Read to Achieve program, which aims to have children proficient in reading by the end of third grade.

Department spokeswoman Vanessa Jeter says the agency submitted an updated proposal this week with position cuts effective immediately. She says there’s no “backfilling” designed to restore eliminated positions.

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