DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Officials have voted to close schools in a North Carolina district as more than 1,000 teachers are expected to take a day off to spend time lobbying for better pay.

The Durham Board of Education voted 6-1 Wednesday to close schools on May 16, local media outlets reported.

More than 1,000 Durham teachers are planning to call out of work that day and head to Raleigh to attend the March for Students and Rally for Respect. The event starts with a march in downtown Raleigh to the legislative building as the lawmakers go back into session, and teachers have said they plan to urge lawmakers to raise pay and increase resources for students.

Teachers also plan to meet with House and Senate members to push for school safety improvements and repairs to crumbling buildings.

With more than 40 percent of the district's teachers taking off, the board agreed it could not operate schools and said May 16 would be an optional teacher workday.

That decision means that teachers will not have to take a personal day. The district's classified employees like bus drivers will lose a day's pay, and child nutrition will forfeit about $100,000 in federal reimbursement for meals.

"There's no other option but to close schools," school board Chairman Mike Lee said. "We won't have enough teachers to safely administer schools, it was an obvious choice."