CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will be closed Wednesday, May 16, the same day teachers from around the state head to Raleigh to march for increases in pay and school funding. The announcement was made Friday afternoon by the school district after thousands of teachers had already made it known they would not be in school that day, CMS said in a statement.
"Teachers and educators in this district are taking their own personal-leave days to join their colleagues," said CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox said in the May 4 statement. "As of late this afternoon, the current count of teacher and staff absences is approximately 2,000, the majority of which do not have subs," he said.
"We expect the number to increase as the day of the rally gets closer, and we don’t have substitute-teacher capacity to cover all of the requests," Wilcox said. "I can’t guarantee we’ll be able to open all schools on May 16 with the staff needed to maintain student safety – so we’ve decided to make it an optional teacher workday."
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Wilcox said he supports the teachers’ right to rally. "To our teachers, I say this: I share your concerns. I hear your voices calling for change and I know that you lift your voices not only for your own benefit but because you care about students, their futures and our community," Wilcox said.
The North Carolina teacher rally is one of many around the U.S. In Arizona, for example, teachers held a historic six-day protest that ended when the state increased education spending by $100 million, which will give Arizona teachers — some of the lowest paid in the country — a 20 percent pay increase over the next two years. Teachers in West Virginia walked out of the classrooms for nine days, which prompted the state to give them a 5 percent raise.
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