Spokane Public School Instructional Assistant Jobs In Jeopardy

SPOKANE, Wash. - High School classroom sizes will remain the same in the Spokane Public School District, but the fate of special education instructional assistants remains unclear.

Wednesday night, the Board of Directors considered cutting $1 million dollars from special education to help bridge at $13.1 million dollar budget shortfall.

The proposal, which would cut nearly 59 instructional assistant positions, was met with strong opposition.

Instructional aids provide one on one attention for students with special needs.

At Wednesday's board meeting dozens of concerned parents, teachers and instructional aids tried to persuade the board from keeping instructional aids off the chopping block.

"You take that extra help away and those kids are going to slip through the cracks," said one instructional aide.

"Shouldn't we be starting to improve our kids lives at a younger age instead of letting them slip through the cracks?" asked one parent.

11 year old Dawn Mejias has a learning delay and relies on her instructional assistant to flourish in school.

"She has been a very successful student because of a resource IA and now it looks like that IA will be moved out of resource and into another position," said Lori Mejias, Dawn's mom.

After hearing nearly three hours of testimony, the board agreed to look other places to reduce the drastic cuts to special education.

However, there is no guarantee all instructional assistants will have a job next year.

The board will vote on a final budget in August.