It was unanimous. The Gaston County school board agreed Thursday to lay off 98 people in order to balance the budget.
"I don't feel real good about it," Gaston County Superintendent Reeves McGlohon said. "It's the best we can do."
School officials claim with a 6 million dollar cut from the state and flat funding from the county, the district had no other choice.
"It's a sad day." Gaston County school board member Kaye Gribble said.
Many think by not having the teacher assistants next year, students will lose out.
"It's a labor intensive business," the superintendent said. "The key is to have that adult working with that child. This means basically 100 fewer adults working with children and our children need a lot of help."
There could have been more layoffs, but the district dipped into its rainy day fund. The district took $3 million to save 34 positions.
That concerns McGlohon. Only $3 million is left in that fund. This year the district had to use $4 million to repair crumbling high school stadiums.
"We are really concerned that we are not going to have enough money," McGlohon said. "To keep those facilities in the proper shape that we want them to be in so that students are safe and have a good learning environment."
Taking money from the rainy day will only keep 34 people on the job for a year.
"Even though it's for one year," McGlohon said. "We are hoping things are going to get brighter next year and our state legislature and our county can afford to do better for our schools."
The first teacher assistants who will get a pink slip will be the ones with performance issues.
Teacher assistants will find out their status the beginning of next week.
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