Newly released figures today show that the Wake County school system would lose hundreds of teachers and potentially the vast majority of its teacher assistants to help make up for possible state budget cuts.
The state Department of Public Instruction was asked by Gov. Bev Perdue to draw up how it would cut funding by 5 and 10 percent to help close a $3.5 billion revenue shortfall next year. A 5 percent to Wake, or $51.6 million, would cost the state's largest school system 429 classroom teachers and 73 instructional support positions
The impact would be especially hard on teacher assistants, with Wake losing $20 million, or 37 percent of the state funding it now receives. In that scenario, the state would only fund teacher assistants for kindergarten, first grade and half of the second-grade classes.
A 5 percent cut would also mean the loss of 252 months of employment for Wake's assistant principals and 315 months for career and technical education teachers it would mean the loss of 315 months. Based on an average of of 10 months of employment per position, that would be equal to 25.2 assistant principals and 31.5 career and technical education teachers.
The impact would be even more severe under a 10 percent cut, which would cost Wake $78.4 million.
A 10 percent state funding cut would cost Wake 523 classroom teachers and 82 instructional support positions.
It would also mean losing $39.4 million for Wake teacher assistants, or 73.5 percent of the current state funding. The state would only fund teacher assistants for kindergarten in this proposal.
It would also mean the loss of 376 months of employment for Wake assistant principals and 472 months for career and technical education teachers. That could be the equivalent of 37.6 assistant principals and 47.2 career and technical education teachers.
Five percent of the state's K-12 budget is $396 million. But because a cut of $304 million is already built into the public education budget, schools would have to come up with a $701 million cut. A 10 percent cut is worth $701 million, or $1.1 billion when the recurring cut is added.
A 5 percent cut would mean the loss of 4,340.5 classroom teachers and 6,786 teacher assistants across the state. A 10 percent cut would mean the loss of 5,313 teachers and 13,259 teacher assistants.
Under both state scenarios, class sizes would increase by an average of as much as three more students in some grade levels to deal with having fewer teachers.
It's uncertain just how much education funding will be cut by the General Assembly when it convenes next year. Perdue had asked other state agencies to look at deeper cuts of up to 15 percent.