Why NC teachers marching in Raleigh Wednesday will still be paid

Third grade teachers Brittney Dennis left and Sabrina Peacock

Tens of thousands of educators are expected at Wednesday's march.

- It's not that the opposition to Wednesday mass teacher's protest is against putting more money toward education.

North Carolina's teacher salaries rank 35th nationwide, but teachers there have seen the value of their wages fail to keep up with cost of living increases over the past two decades. But he prefers merit pay proposals to automatic salary increases tied to experience, and he said most systems have the resources they need, they just don't use them right. "I, however, do not get paid for those days", he said.

"The lackluster rankings come at the same time that the North Carolina General Assembly has passed massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy", the North Carolina Association of Educators said.

Organizers' goals include increasing per-pupil spending, enacting a multi-year professional pay plan for all school personnel, adding health and social support resources and issuing a statewide school construction bond to fix or replace crumbling schools. Educators say they want to have a voice, and that the march will demand better pay and working conditions, like a decrease in class sizes.

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Since they began cutting taxes in 2013, lawmakers have slashed the corporate income-tax rate to one of the lowest in the country and now collect about a half-billion dollars less annually, according to the legislature's fiscal staff. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, in the statement ahead of the rally said the increase will be the fifth consecutive raise for teachers. That increase will bring the average teacher pay to more than $53,000, not accounting for local supplements, benefits or bonuses, he said. In Oklahoma, the teachers union secured raises and increases to school funding and say they'll focus on supporting pro-education candidates in upcoming elections. Mark Jewell, president of the teachers organization, said last week his group doesn't expect change from the GOP, so it's going to "change the players in the game". "The plan must also stop the flat-lining of experienced educators' pay".

Which school districts are canceling classes?

Deborah Phillips drives a bus for Wake County, first pickup at 6:05 a.m.

- Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. With more than 40% of instructional staff requesting leave on May 16, "We do not have enough substitute teachers and other staff to safely supervise and effectively instruct students during the school day", the district said. Due to projected teacher absences that "far exceed the district's ability to safely and effectively operate schools", the school board voted to make May 16 an "optional teacher workday". Around 991,000 public school students, or 65 percent of the state's enrollment, have Wednesday off.

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