Congress to consider immediate funding to save N.C. teacher jobs

Posted May 26, 2010 6:00 p.m. EDT

— The Obama Administration announced Wednesday that it is pressing Congress to approve emergency funding that would keep more than 10,000 teachers in North Carolina employed.

Congress is considering $23 billion in emergency support to preserve education jobs across the country. Another $1 billion would preserve early childhood education jobs.

If approved, the funding would support the jobs of approximately 300,000 educators, including approximately 10,340 in North Carolina, according to provisional estimates by the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

“It is crucial that we keep our teachers in the classroom,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “Our teachers are vital to our students’ success, our economy’s success, and our nation’s success. We must act now to prevent teachers from being laid off and ensure that America’s students have the knowledge and skills to succeed in the 21st century.”

State Superintendent of Public Schools June Atkinson said the money would provide immediate help for districts with huge cuts in local funding, like Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg counties.

“I’m all for it. I want to save jobs and educators. This could be a stop-gap to a better place,” Atkinson said.