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State Superintendent announces elimination of 61 positions at Department of Public Instruction

Updated 8:21 a.m. 

The following are the list of positions being eliminated at the state Department of Public Instruction to meet the General Assembly’s mandated budget cuts. Scroll down to see original story. 

Curriculum & Instruction

2 Education Program Director I—will be abolished once incumbent retires/leaves

Digital Teaching & Learning

Administrative Specialist—vacant

Textbook Warehouse

Administrative Specialist—vacant

Human Resources

Administrative Associate II—filled

Educator Support Services

Information & Communication Specialist II—vacant

Administrative Specialist I—filled

Education Consultant III—1 vacant; 13 filled

Education Consultant II—10 vacant; 15 filled

Technology Services

User Support Technician I—3 vacant

User Support Technician II—1 vacant; 1 filled

IT Enterprise Architect–filled

Applications Systems Analyst I—1 vacant; 4 filled

Applications Systems Analyst II—1 filled

Database Analyst I—filled

Network Analyst–filled

Administrative Specialist I–filled

In order to meet the $5.1 million in General Assembly mandated cuts to the State Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Superintendent Mark Johnson announced today the elimination of 61 positions at DPI. Twenty-one of the positions are currently vacant. 

The eliminations affect two departments at DPI: Information Technology and Educator Support Services. The bulk of the eliminations will be in Educator Support Services, which oversees the state’s low-performing school turnaround efforts. 

“I support the decisions we made, but we did not make them lightly. I thank all the affected employees for their hard work in support of our public schools,” said Johnson in an emailed statement. “Each will have the option to receive transition assistance, and we are adamant about helping each affected employee who wants our help to find new employment.”

In his statement, Johnson said the plan to meet the budget reductions was drafted by “members of the DPI leadership team with the understanding and support of the State Board of Education.” 

State Board of Education Chair Bill Cobey commented on the cuts via text message, saying, “Tough as the budget cuts are, the Board supports the plan as the only viable possibility.” 

Johnson said the cuts were “informed” by recommendations from an operational audit of DPI by Ernst & Young, which took place earlier this year. He goes on to say in the statement that for Educator Support Services, DPI will start to implement recommendations from the audit to move to a regional support structure “and to change the way we provide support to low-performing schools and districts.” 

For IT, DPI is also moving towards the plan put forth by the audit, which suggested moving some of ancillary responsibilities of the IT department to outside vendors or the state Department of Information Technology. 

“The position reductions in IT are a step toward this newer model of support to the agency that will better enable us to serve our customers in the field,” Johnson said in his statement. 

Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, said that the cuts to Educator Support Services in particular are not acceptable as they will hurt the state’s efforts to help low-performing schools. 

“The cuts announced today are falling disproportionately on support services for our lowest performing most challenged schools,” he said. “The exact opposite of what we should be doing.” 

He pointed out the positive attention North Carolina school turnaround efforts have received from researchers. Gary Henry, a well-respected researcher from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, has presented multiple times on the success of the state’s turnaround efforts.

“It actually has some of the most impressive results in terms of seeing improvement at schools,” Poston said. 

State Superintendent Mark Johnson and State Board members asked the General Assembly to delay these budget reductions prior to the short session, saying that implementing the reforms of the audit would be difficult with further cuts. The revised 2018-19 budget did not, however, reverse the reductions, though it did allow DPI to offset some of the budget cuts for one year using $3 million in reversions. The General Assembly also limited where DPI was allowed to make cuts in order to meet the reductions, including preventing leaders from making reductions to the Innovative School District program or the Office of Charter Schools. 

These budget cuts follow on many years of budget reductions from the General Assembly, including $3.2 million last year. 

Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.