Raleigh, NC -- The state education department says North Carolina public schools have laid off hundreds of teachers and other workers again this year in a pattern repeated for the past several recession-wracked years.
The state Department of Public Instruction said Wednesday that school districts laid off more than 530 teachers jobs statewide ahead of the school year that started last week. They were among 2,400 education workers axed.
The agency says its survey of all but two of the state's 115 school districts found that over the past four years they laid off nearly 6,100 people and eliminated 16,678 positions, many of which were vacant.
The education agency was forced to retract its earlier count of how many lost their jobs were lost due to faulty math.
Guilford County school leaders tell WFMY News 2 that no teaching positions were eliminated for the 2011-2012 school year. They did eliminate 64 other positions including 11 exceptional children staffers, 14 bus drivers and 15 custodians.
The survey of people laid off and unfilled positions eliminated is a political hot potato in Raleigh. Democrats contend state budget-cutting will hurt education. Republicans say teachers were protected from the layoffs spread across state government and any cuts were up to local districts.
GOP lawmakers also said public schools had available about $250 million in federal education jobs funds that expire in September 2012. DPI said that money will be used during the 2011-12 school year to save about 5,000 jobs.