Wake, Johnston, Durham, Orange and Cumberland County schools to close May 1 as teachers plan rally

Tim Pulliam Image
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Cumberland County Schools has joined Wake, Durham and Orange counties in closing for students on May 1.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Multiple schools in Cumberland, Wake, Johnston, Durham, Vance and Orange counties will be closed for students on May 1 -- the day teachers plan to rally in Raleigh.

Prime Time all-day care will be available on May 1 at the all-day care site locations for Cumberland County. Parents can call (910) 678-2451 to reserve a child's place. Parents will need to provide lunch and a beverage for their child. Parents registering after Monday, April 29, will also need to bring two snacks and two beverages in addition to their child's lunch.

Wake County public schools said more than 2,000 Wake County teachers requested time off from the classroom to participate.

May 1st will become an optional teacher workday for all four districts.

Last year, 42 school districts shut down so educators could lobby lawmakers for more money.

Johnston County Public Schools made the announcement on Thursday, April 18.

The school system said it made the decision based on the number of employees who chose to take off for the rally.

"Without the presence of essential staff members, normal operations will be disrupted and create possible issues regarding the order of our school day," said Dr. Ross Renfrow, Superintendent.

Durham and Orange public schools made the announcement to parents earlier this month.

"What's different about this year than last year is we're saying, look we've written the letters, we've done the phones, we've done the marches, we've gotten arrested. We shut down schools last year, and we still don't have these things," said Bryan Proffitt, president of Durham Association of Educators.

"We feel good to work in a school district where we're not getting pushback," Proffitt said.

On Wednesday, Vance County Shools announced it will hold an optional teacher workday. The missed day for students will not be made up, school officials said.

  • Funding for student services such as counselors, nurses, librarians and social workers.
  • $15 minimum wage plus a 5 percent increase for all workers and retirees.
  • Reinstate health benefits for state retirees.
  • Restore additional pay for educators with advanced degrees.
  • Medicaid Expansion.

The planned rally is forcing parents to make childcare arrangements.

"Yeah, that's true. But I don't see a problem with it," stated Jennifer Cox, a grandmother of two in the DPS system.

Megall Ridley, a mother of two children agreed.

"I personally don't feel like they are not asking for too much," Ridley said.

Critics said the state has provided adequate pay increases to educators.

In fact, according to the State Department of Public Instruction, teacher pay has risen 5 percent since last year to nearly $54,000.

The national average is more than $60,000.

The report also said teachers in North Carolina have received increases each year for the last five years.

Select schools in Durham will provide meals to students on the day of the rally.

  • Bethesda Elementary
  • Club Blvd. Elementary
  • Eastway Elementary
  • Eno Valley Elementary
  • Githens Middle
  • Glenn Elementary
  • R.N. Harris Elementary
  • Hillandale Elementary
  • Lakewood Montessori Middle
  • Sandy Ridge Elementary
  • Shepard Elementary
  • Southwest Elementary
  • Southern School of Energy and Sustainability