SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLBT) - Teacher assistants make up about two-thirds of the layoffs in Forrest and Lamar County School Districts that had to drop employees to balance their budgets.
The Hattiesburg, Petal, Forrest County Agricultural High School and Lumberton Districts laid off a total of 51 employees.
The assistants help with reading, math and language arts in Kindergarten through second grade. Petal School District Superintendent John Buchanan says the district wanted to keep as many certified teachers as possible.
The district replaced nine of the assistants with Americorps workers who are paid mostly by Americorps with a small stipend from the district.