NC teachers, supporters rally for higher pay
Posted June 6, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Teachers and supporters rallied in Raleigh Saturday, speaking out on what they call the state's chronic lack of funding for public schools.
Stacy Eleczko began teaching in Wake County 13 years ago. Eleczko said feels at home in the classroom, but the money has put her in a pinch.
"I have to tutor often in the evenings instead of spending time with my husband," she said
The rally, organized by the group "Aim Higher Now," gave Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, an opportunity to hear from local teachers and parents.
"Being an educator in this state is starting to feel more like a sentence than a choice," Eleczko said.
Participants called it unacceptable that North Carolina ranks 42nd in the nation for average teacher salaries.
"If you ask any parent what the most important part of having a strong classroom experience for your child - they will say it's a strong teacher," Meyer said.
The budget, approved by the House last month, includes a two to six percent raise for teachers and additional funding for textbooks. Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said the budget affirms the state's "commitment to our children's future."
But the group said it is not enough to keep high-quality teachers in North Carolina.
"Being underpaid is one thing, being undervalued is another," Eleczko said.
The group released balloons during the rally to represent the teachers who left the state and the profession as a result.
"It feels really good to be out there, doing what I can to raise teacher pay," she said.
Aim Higher Now also held rallies in Greenville and Fayetteville. Another rally is scheduled in Charlotte next weekend.