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Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools cancel classes for students ahead of planned May 1 teacher rally

April 5, 2019

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will cancel classes on May 1 as teachers plan a downtown Raleigh rally to demand more support for public schools from state lawmakers.

School officials said Board of Education members voted unanimously Thursday night to convert May 1 to an optional teacher workday, cancelling classes for students.

Officials said the decision was made in response to the “high number of expected staff absence due to the North Carolina Association of Educator’s Day of Action in Raleigh, and the district’s ability to safely operate our schools without enough substitute teachers.”

More than 40 school districts across the state made the decision to cancel class for students when a similar rally was held in downtown Raleigh last year.

Last year’s rally, which was held on the first day of the legislative session, drew an estimated 19,000 people, led to some changes in the state budget and at the ballot box. Teachers got raises this year, and Republicans lost their veto-proof majorities in the House and the Senate.

Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said that priorities during this year’s rally include the fight for a budget that will prioritize student recourses, educator pay and school safety. Another top priority is more funding for school nurses, counselors, social workers and psychologists.

NCAE is also asking lawmakers to restore bonus pay for teachers with master’s degrees, and the organization also wants to see Medicaid expanded. Sick children or students with sick parents can’t do their best in school, Jewell said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson has asked teachers to avoid disrupting the school day to protest.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is the only district that has announced the cancellation of classes on May 1 so far.

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