Teacher uses internet to draw attention to low salary

Lisa Gerardi started a new internet campaign to buy a reliable car to replace her 1992 model.
November 12, 2013 4:11:14 AM PST
A second grade teacher in Durham has found a unique way to call attention to the state's low teacher pay.

Lisa Gerardi started a new internet campaign to buy a reliable car. She currently drives a 1992 Chevy Camaro that's on its last legs.

She is the first to admit she drives a clunker. This 21-year old car is what she relies on to get to her job teaching at a Durham elementary school.

"Well, I hope they say that I'm a fun teacher that makes learning fun," said Gerardi.

It's one thing to keep the attention of 7-year olds, but relying on the car to get there is a whole new stress. If it starts, there's still the cracked windshield and missing and broken tailpipes. The car is literally falling apart.

So Gerardi went for help on the internet to crowd-funding sites. She's telling her story, and asking for donations to buy a reliable vehicle.

? Click here for Gerardi's gofundme website ?

"I started the crowd funder for a new car -- not really thinking everyone needs to help me buy a car --but to make a point that, on my salary, I can't really afford to replace my car myself."

After 2-1/2 years teaching, Gerardi makes about $31,000 a year, plus another $3,800 supplement from Durham County.

She was one of the 100 teachers from around the state who walked out on the job last Monday to protest outside the State Capitol.

With teacher salaries here ranking 46th in the nation, teachers say they're fighting for a wage they can live off of.

After sending letters to the General Assembly, one Republican state representative, who wants to stay anonymous, sent Gerardi a $250 check.

"He was very sympathetic and assured me that the issue would be brought up the next time the General Assembly meets," said Gerardi.

She's raised $300 toward her $4,000 goal. There's still a long way to go in a fight to stay above water.

"I can't afford to live," said Gerardi. "I want to do this. I'm committed to my students, but realistically it's not sustainable."

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