As thousands of teachers march, North Carolina legislature opens

Demanding respect, thousands of teachers and students swarm North Carolina capital

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"If that's avenue they need to take, I support their efforts", she said, referring to Wednesday's rally.

It depends on whom you ask.

Thousands of North Carolina teachers were expected to rally at the capitol on Wednesday for higher pay and increased education spending in a walk-out that follows similar protests from teachers in other states seeking more money for schools.

Tomorrow, we are shipping out to North Carolina, where teachers are preparing to walkout for at least one-day on May 16th to mark the beginning of the North Carolina General Assembly. Yet North Carolina teacher pay-which averages out just above $50,000, including local supplements and benefits- remains almost $10,000 below the national average and ranks 39th in the nation.

Tammy Sawyer, a spokeswoman for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, indicated a few teachers from the district are planning to attend the rally, but ECPPS officials aren't expecting any disruption to the school day.

"An analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds North Carolina would have $3.5 billion more in annual revenue if lawmakers had not changed the tax system that was in place in 2013".

North Carolina is latest in a string of states where teachers have gone on strike to push for higher pay and better conditions.

But funding for both are on the rise.

The state Democratic party responded to the Republican news conference saying Republicans today refused to address teachers' concerns and instead reheated the same warmed-over proposal that fell flat previous year.

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Legislators, now is the time to adjust spending on education.

Walker hopes after the march lawmakers will give more money to increase teacher pay, but also help educate students.

Moore called the proposed 6.2% increase "a major step".

It's estimated that 2,000 teachers from the greater-Charlotte area plan to go to Raleigh.

"I think a lot of us started to see, 'well shoot, if West Virginia can do it, North Carolina can do it, ' " middle school Spanish teacher Sally Merryman told NPR. North Carolina spends $8,940 on each student - the national average is $11,984. "The plan must also stop the flat-lining of experienced educators' pay".

However, she said she's glad the Edgecombe County school board didn't cancel school for the event.

- Increase the number of school nurses, counselors, social workers and other support personnel and expand Medicaid to improve community health. They've raised the lower end of the scale, but they've kept us at that same salary.

More than 650 teachers had asked to take off in Wayne County, and nearly 300 requested time off in Onslow County before the school boards made a decision to cancel classes. On the day of the march, Durham Public Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch to students at 13 schools.

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