Hundreds of teachers in Robeson County heading to Raleigh for rally

The Public Schools of Robeson County will close Wednesday because of the number of teachers attending the the March for Students and Rally for Respect.

The Public Schools of Robeson County will close Wednesday because of the number of teachers attending the the March for Students and Rally for Respect.

Teachers across the state of North Carolina are marching in Raleigh to ask legislators for changes like investment in student spending and a multi-year, professional pay plan.

It is organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

"We are feeling under appreciated. We would like our profession to be more respected," Natasha Ellison said.

Ellison is a special education 5th and 6th grade reading teacher at Orrum Middle School.

"it’s time to step up and take action," Ellison said.

She is one of 429 teachers from the public schools of Robeson County marching in Wednesday's march and rally.

The county teachers have a meeting planned with Senator Danny Britt.

"We’re looking forward to great things coming from Mr. Britt," Ellison said.

In a statement to ABC 15 Senator Britt said the state is on the right track, but they have a lot of work to do.

Ellison said they want smaller classes. "Classrooms are overcrowded, so it’s time for the legislatures to scale that back."

They are also fighting for more resources, better pay and respect.

Senator Britt said there is a 6.2 percent raise proposed for the 2018-2019 school year.

"Increase our budget. Our students deserve more; the teachers deserve more," Ellison said.

The school district says, they don’t have enough substitutes to cover all the teachers who will be out.

Brooke Clark is the mother of a first grader and says the day off is worth it.

"Our children need good teachers and to get good teachers they deserve a better salary, so it’s definitely a worthy cause," Clark said.

Ellison said, it’s all for the students.

"This is bigger than me as a teacher. We are educating the future, our future doctors, lawyers, business owners, so we have to really protect our investment," Ellison said.

Robeson County school board voted to raise a teacher sign-on bonus from $1,000 to $3,000 at its meeting Tuesday night.

The following is the full statement from Senator Britt:

I am looking forward to having an open discussion with area teachers tomorrow. I respect educators and I believe they are our best resources to finding ways to improve education. My wife and sister are teachers, so I am familiar with the sacrifices our teachers make to do what is best for our students. While I do believe that educators need more resources, I also know that since the general assembly has been under the republican majority there have been several steps to show support of public education. We have been able to give teachers a raise the last fours consecutive years with a 6.2% raise proposed for the 2018/2019 school year. We have brought the spending for textbooks from 2.5 million in 2010 to roughly 73 million in 2017. I personally sponsored legislation to restore masters pay and to restore the teaching fellows program. We have increased salaries an average of 19.2 percent statewide since 2014. We have a lot of work to do but are on the right track. things are certainly better than in 2009 when the democrats were in the majority and my wife was teaching 4th grade and I was a prosecutor and we suffered personally from both furloughs and pay cuts. Of course there was no public outcry because democrats controlled the Governor’s office and the general assembly.

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