Amid last minute preps for massive teacher rally, Republicans propose new school funding

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- On a living room floor tonight in southeast Raleigh there was a colorful array of magic markers and poster boards complete with cleverly crafted memes.

"My momma said, there are too many kids in my classroom," was the caption on Dentra Keith's sign that she completed with a well-known picture of a pre-adolescent Cardi B.

"I do want to get people's attention," Keith said. "There are too many kids in the classroom."

Keith is a Wake County school counselor at Carroll Magnet Middle School in North Hills. Catherine Harris is too. Nashonda Clark works down the hall as a classroom teacher. They are three of the thousands of educators preparing tonight to march on downtown Raleigh to send a message to state lawmakers.

For Harris, the message is the desperate need for more support staff.

"We have one school social worker and he is split between two schools. We have one nurse and she's split between two schools," Harris said.

Keith said current classroom caps of 24 students per class is regularly exceeded. She says the current average is 33 students.

"It gets a little bit odd when you have to go searching for chairs for kids because you have way too many kids in the classroom," Keith said.

On the eve of the teacher protest, Republican leaders in the State House announced a new budget plan that addresses at least some of the teacher's demands:

  • 4.8 percent raise for teachers

  • 1 percent raise for non-certified school staff

  • Restores extra pay for teachers with advanced degrees

"A sixth and seventh pay raise for teachers will keep our promise to reward veteran educators who have spent decades in the classroom," said House Speaker Tim Moore, Republican from Mecklenburg County.

Back at the poster-making party, Moore's budget plan was met with skepticism.

These teachers say fixing educational outcomes in the state simply requires more.

"It has nothing to do with left or right or Republican or Democratic. It's humanitarian," said Nashonda Clook. "It's what people need. It's what our kids need. What we need ourselves."

So those three educators from Carroll Magnet said their school staff plans to take advantage of the Go Raleigh bus stop outside their school tomorrow morning.

Last year, at least 19,000 people marched in Raleigh and this group of Wake County teachers believes tomorrow could be even larger.
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