More Districts Cancel Classes For Teacher Rally

May 7, 2018

Wake County Schools will be closed for one day next week as thousands of teachers plan to attend a rally at the legislature.
Credit Brian Batista / For WUNC

More schools are canceling classes next Wednesday as teachers prepare for a rally at the legislature.

Orange County and Iredell-Statesville schools will join Wake, Durham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Guilford and Mecklenburg schools in closing on May 16.

School administrators determined that teacher's requests for personal days had reached a critical mass that could not be filled by substitute teachers. Wake County, for instance, received more than 2,500 requests for personal days on May 16, while a typical day receives 500 requests for sick or personal leave, according to Wake County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten. The district's students won't make up the class time because they are already in school more than the 185 days that the state legally requires.

The rally is being organized by the state's association of educators, whose members are unhappy with the Republican-controlled legislature's decisions on teacher salaries and school funding.

Republican leaders have largely panned the rally. In a conference call this week, Senate president Phil Berger compared it to a teacher strike, which is illegal in North Carolina. And House speaker Tim Moore accused the teachers of playing politics. They say teacher pay has increased significantly since Republicans took control of the legislature.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.