UCPS invites back laid-off TAs; Ellis sworn in

With cash from county in hand, board officially invites teacher assistants back to jobs

by Mike Parks

A few months after the Union County Public School system let go some 350 teaching assistants due to an anticipated budget crunch, system leaders have invited those former employees back to work.

The school system expected to come up nearly $10 million short on next year’s fiscal budget, and opted to cut teacher assistants to avoid making other cuts in the classroom. That immediately spurred a call for more money from the state and county, with Union County commissioners eventually agreeing recently to give the system another $1.65 million on top of operating expenses and capital outlay totaling more than $6 million to help.

With that money now safe, the school system is asking teacher assistants to come back to their positions. It’s not clear yet how many will return to UCPS, because as of last month a number had already secured jobs elsewhere.

In other news…

Mary Ellis is sworn in as the new superintendent of the Union County Public Schools system. She takes over for former superintendent Ed Davis. Photo courtesy of UCPS

• Superintendent Mary Ellis is officially in charge of UCPS, taking over for outgoing Superintendent Ed Davis. Ellis has worked in the county’s school system for 33 years, most recently as deputy superintendent. Davis stepped down at the end of June.

• UCPS Board of Education vice chairman John Collins was named board chairman, with Laura Minsk taking over as vice chairman. Former chairman Dean Arp recently stepped down after winning the Republican primary for N.C. House District 69.

• Some staffing moves were approved, with Cuthbertson Middle School principal moving into the director of middle school education position for the county. Scott Sofsian takes over at Cuthbertson Middle, where he’s served as assistant principal. At Sun Valley Middle School, Vicki Merritt takes over as principal. She was assistant principal at Northeast Middle School in Charlotte. Blaire Traywick has left Sun Valley Middle to be principal at Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts.

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