Many worried that students will suffer as CCSD looks to cut jobs

VIDEO: Many worried that students will suffer as CCSD looks to cut jobs

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County School Board held its first meeting Monday since the teacher cut announcement a week prior.

On March 14, the board voted to eliminate 117 teaching positions across the district.

The reduction would save approximately $7.3 million for the district.

The budget constraints come after an $18 million deficit was reported by the C.C.S.D. last September.

At the meeting Monday evening, there were frustrations on both sides of the table. Many there said there must be another way.

"The teachers didn't make the decision that led to these overages, the administrators did," said Carmen Nash.

Nash has two children in Charleston County schools and said, while she'd like to see teachers' jobs saved, she's fighting for a bigger cause.

"It doesn't help the children and the overages within the district right now," Nash said. "It won't help the children and the fact that they're willing to cut teachers first, over administrators, concerns me."

Others, like Janet Beckett, who is a teacher, stressed the importance of her job and the literacy program, hoping it will be kept off the chopping block.

"We are working hard everyday, these children are meeting their goals and exceeding their goals," Beckett said. "Without this program, without the funding, I don't know what's going to happen with some of them."

The board argued they're going to be smart about the cuts and try to keep all qualified teachers.

"I cannot imagine a scenario where a qualified good teacher who wants to be employed by C.C.S.D. is going to be asked not to do so," Charleston County School District board chair Cindy Coats said.

Coats said people need to stop thinking about these as cuts in the first place.

"What we are saying is that we are increasing the class size by one student in the middle schools and the high schools," Coats said. "It will mean we need less teachers in those classes. We're just not hiring new teachers, more teachers for those classes."

While the board decides exactly how to save money, parents hope the students aren't the ones who suffer.

"They need to get it together," said Nash.

The board will approve the 2016-2017 budget by June 30.

By state law, teachers' contract will go out by April 15.

Coats said based on the response from teachers, the board will then decide how to cut.

CCSD Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait said they will make administrative cuts, as well.

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