Republicans pledge teacher raises ahead of Wednesday's rally in Raleigh

Teachers walk in together as they arrive for work at San Marcos Elementary School Friday

"We simply won't have enough teachers in place to operate schools safely or to ensure a high-quality instructional day for students".

In a message sent last week to Wake County school employees, the district said any employees who wanted to work Wednesday could do so. Around 991,000 public school students, or 65 percent of the state's enrollment, have Wednesday off. While there, he plans to meet with Superintendent Meghan Doyle and Tabari Wallace, the newly named 2018 North Carolina Principal of the Year.

About 15,000 teachers are expected when the Republican-dominated state legislature begins its annual session.

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So many teachers requested personal days that at least 38 school districts, including the Wake County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham, Johnston County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems. are turning Wednesday into an optional teacher workday. But groups such as the North Carolina Association of Educators, which is organizing the march, say teachers are doing what's allowed under state law. Teachers will advocate for better pay and working conditions. House Speaker Tim Moore's office said the estimated average teacher salary next year will be in the neighborhood of $53,400.

The National Education Association reported last month that North Carolina teachers earn about $50,000 on average, ranking them 39th in the country past year. "They could've chosen not to inconvenience the parents", says Dallas Woodhouse, Executive Director of the NCGOP. But many teachers contend the pay is still too low.

"Teacher salaries have increased each of the last four years - outpacing inflation every year - and North Carolina is one of the top states for fastest rising teacher pay", he wrote. "In a booming state economy, we need to keep boosting teacher pay to attract and keep talented teachers".

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