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Legislation Could Prevent School Closures During Future Teacher's Rallies

David Boraks/ WFAE
Teachers march in Raleigh, May 2018.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a change to state law that could prevent school districts from shutting down to allow teachers to take off work to spend the day lobbying legislators.

Last year, 19,000 teachers attended a rally and day of lobbying in Raleigh to push for higher salaries, better benefits, more school resources and other demands. Classes were canceled in most districts across the state. A similar size crowd is expected to attend this year’s May 1 rally.

At least 28 school districts, including CMS, have canceled classes because so many teachers requested time off and not enough substitutes were available. In the education budget released by the House today, it says approved school calendars cannot be changed unless it’s an emergency such as severe weather, power failure or public health crisis. It also says a request for personal leave cannot be approved when at least 24 students are scheduled to be in a class unless a substitute is confirmed for that day.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson urged organizers of the rally to hold it on a non-school day so as not to disrupt regular classes.