(Mike Rode | WBTV)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) –
North Carolina teachers are being asked to take a personal day on May 16. On that day teachers plan to go to Raleigh and urge lawmakers to create better work conditions for them. Teachers say they can no longer work under current conditions.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators (CMAE) says North Carolina is 39th in the country when it comes to per pupil expenditure, 37th when it comes to teacher pay, 1/4th of North Carolina young people are living in poverty and healthcare costs are rising.
"We are tired of trying to do more with less and we are tired of seeing our colleagues leave because they can’t afford to feed their families," CMAE President Erlene Lyde said.
Lyde says so far about two buses filled with educators will come from the Charlotte area and that number is growing. She says there is more seats available.
"Take back our profession. Take back our schools – take back our communities and take back our state. We want North Carolina to be one of the greatest state of education again," Lyde said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox says the district has a plan to deal with a large number of teacher absences. The superintendent says there are enough substitute teachers but if not – administrators will step in. Wilcox says he understands why teachers want to participate in the rally.
"I think teachers will be the best advocate for themselves, no doubt about that," the superintendent said.
CMS superintendent realizes the importance but is concerned teaching and learning may not happen on May 16.
"I am hopeful that we can find a compromise. Maybe have a smaller number of teachers go to carry the torch and the others will stay behind," Wilcox said.
Republican state lawmaker Craig Horn says he welcomes the teachers to come to Raleigh to have their voices heard but has concerns.
"I don’t discourage it, but there is a better way to do it. Teachers should invite lawmakers to their classrooms," Republican State Representative Craig Horn said.
Officially teachers must request a personal day at least five days in advance. CMAE is asking teachers to put in their requests in now. Lyde say the rally will begin marching for students then teachers will head to lawmakers’ offices demanding respect and better working conditions.
"If we don’t do this now this moment is going to pass," Lyde said.
Teachers say they are serious about this personal day off. Teachers who participate, $50 will come out of their paychecks to help pay for a substitute to cover their class.
May 16 is the day the General Assembly returns to Raleigh.
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