The Edgecombe County Board of Education will look at cutting positions at a special board meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Edgecombe County Board Rooms in Tarboro.
On the agenda is a proposal for the board to consider a reduction-in-force in kindergarten to third grade teacher assistants and in exceptional children classified positions. Kristian Herring, public information officer for Edgecombe County Public Schools, said the superintendent will recommend cutting five teacher assistants and one personal care provider.
The cuts are necessary as the decline in the school system’s average daily membership affects the amount of funding received from the state for teacher assistants, Herring said.
“When the stimulus money was released during the economy crisis, the exceptional children’s program received the stimulus funding,” Herring said. “During that time, needed supplies, materials and equipment were purchased.”
Staffing was expanded, Herring said.
Herring pointed out that as the stimulus funds were used up, additional funding wasn’t budgeted to replace the stimulus and personnel wasn’t reduced after stimulus dried up.
“This created a budget shortfall for the program,” Herring said.
The number of exceptional children served in the school system also has declined, Herring said.
Schools Superintendent John Farrelly expressed disappointment in the cuts.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to move forward with a reduction-in-force,” Farrelly said. “The amount of funding in the two identified areas has been cut due to declining student membership. In the case of the exceptional children’s program, we will be able to continue providing quality support and services to our children in the program despite losing some personnel.”
Other agenda items include the superintendent’s evaluation schedule and a closed session to discuss personnel matters. Herring said the board evaluates the superintendent on an annual basis and the board will adopt a schedule to begin and complete this process in a timely manner.
“I am looking forward to the evaluation process and feedback from the board as we work through the next several weeks,” Farrelly said.