Teachers from all across North Carolina will host a walkout in Raleigh to petition state politicians for better salaries on Wednesday. This group will include educators from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS). After some debate, CHCCS has decided to not have school on the day of the protest.
“Due to projected teacher absences that far exceed the district’s ability to safely and effectively operate schools, the Board of Education voted to change Wednesday, May 16 to an optional Teacher Workday,” said a statement on the CHCCS website.
This walkout takes place during a period of growing dissatisfaction among teachers across the United States. According to the Washington Post, the average teacher salary in North Carolina for the 2016-17 school year was $49,837, which is below the national average and an 11.8 percent decrease from the 1999-2000 school year.
During a school board meeting May 3, the district voted unanimously to close all CHCCS schools for the day of the walkout. CHCCS is joining other school districts that will be closing across the state, including Wake County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
School closings can be stressful for low-income families who are unable to take time off work to take care of younger children and cannot afford to hire a babysitter. They can also be difficult for food-insecure children who are typically able to get consistent meals during the school day through free and reduced meal programs.