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Teachers Again Set Sights On Legislature, More Funding

David Boraks / WFAE
File: Teachers gathered inside the General Assembly last May on the same day they marched in Raleigh.

Thousands of teachers from across North Carolina are expected to gather in Raleigh on Wednesday for a march to press their demands for more state funding for teacher pay and other improvements.  

The rally is being organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators. On its website, the group says it wants to "build on the momentum" from last year’s similar march in Raleigh, which drew an estimated 19,000 teachers and supporters.

Teachers this year are again calling on legislators to provide more funding for teacher salaries, along with more support staff and better retirement benefits. They’re also lobbying for expanded Medicaid funding in North Carolina.  

At least 30 school districts across the state have canceled classes on Wednesday, because so many teachers requested the day off to participate in the rally. Districts that will close for the day include Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cabarrus County, Kannapolis City, Iredell-Statesville, Hickory Public Schools, and the Mooresville Graded School District.

Last week, state lawmakers introduced a measure that could prevent similar school closings in the future. The proposal in the House education budget would prohibit school districts from adding unscheduled days off except for emergencies. Under the provision, districts also could not approve personal leave days for most teachers, unless a substitute was confirmed for the day.

[Related Content: Legislation Could Prevent School Closures During Future Teacher's Rallies]

In South Carolina, the teacher group SC for Ed is encouraging teachers to take Wednesday off to march on the Statehouse in Columbia. The group says teachers should have better pay, smaller class sizes, and a guaranteed break in their daily schedules. At least two South Carolina school districts, in Dorchester and Chester counties, have canceled classes for May 1. 

Mark Rumsey grew up in Kansas and got his first radio job at age 17 in the town of Abilene, where he announced easy-listening music played from vinyl record albums.