This year's Shoulder to Shoulder Rally for Education started with a briefing about issues important to the state's teachers and administrators.
The educators want lawmakers to continue funding to improve academic gains in the classroom, to hold the line on health insurance costs, and to shorten the waiting time for retired teachers to be able to come back to the school with full pay.
"The teachers are concerned that maybe the momentum we've had in the past few years might come to a standstill," says Debbie Metcalf, a Pitt County teacher. "We've worked so hard to get national average salaries, and hopefully a bit beyond. We have excellent schools in our state and we need to put the money behind them."
The teachers are also lobbying lawmakers to support sales tax bills that earmark at least some of the money to school construction.