Rally criticizes GOP leaders on public schools

August 15, 2013 1:45:39 PM PDT
Teachers and their supporters packed the state capitol Thursday morning to protest what they say are harmful budget cuts.

The governor's office says there were no cuts made to education. However, participants at the rally say this is misleading.

They claim the budget falls $117 million short of what was needed to continue the current level of education in the state. Also, with larger classroom sizes, the elimination of many teachers' assistants, and a lack of pay raises, teachers say they're seeing many of their qualified peers leaving the field altogether.

"We had four people in our department that either went into the business industry or to other jobs that were going to treat them with more respect and pay them what they are worth," said Cassie Blackwelder, who is a Leesville Road High School teacher.

Meanwhile, Eric Guckian, the senior education advisor to Gov McCrory released a statement regarding teachers' complaints, "The governor is committed to reforming our antiquated teacher compensation system and we are willing to work with all parties to ensure that we can address this most pressing issue of creating a rewarding career path for our teachers."

Sen. Phil Berger says that more than half the state budget is devoted to education and that North Carolina spends close to $5 billion to pay teachers an average salary worth roughly $55,000.

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