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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Teachers, parents and education advocates are seeing red, literally, when it comes to the education budget.

It was a sea full of red at Wilmington’s Riverfront Park, where a rally sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Educators focused on telling legislators to get their facts straight about education spending.

“We need public school to be valued, we need the students of North Carolina to be valued, we need the teachers, educators, administrators of North Carolina to be valued,” Murray Middle School Teacher Pamela Smith said. “We need our teachers assistants to be valued, and our budget absolutely does not support that.”

Teachers say when you factor in inflation, the number of new students and the cost of living, an overall increase in education spending amounts to nothing.

“The average teacher won’t see any increase, and we’ll see a decrease,” said Kristina Mercier, a teacher at Roland-Grise Middle School. “The only increase we will see is in the number of students in our classrooms.”

Teachers say budget cuts mean fewer resources, the loss of more than 5,000 teachers and nearly 4,000 teacher assistants and an end to teacher tenure among other cuts. They say the way they are being treated shows legislators do not value their work.

“It’s not about the money,” Donna Sloan said. “Nobody went into it to be rich, but they can’t afford to keep working at this level of income.”

Sloan, who teaches at Holly Shelter Middle School, says many new teachers are forced to work extra jobs, and some even need Welfare just to get by.

“You should have an opportunity and be able to make a living for your family,” Sloan said. “That’s all we’re asking. We’re not asking to get rich.”

With the budget already completed, advocates say their focus now is to prepare for the future.

Many of protestors today targeted Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District). We tried speaking with Goolsby, but he was in court and unable to do an interview. He pointed us to an article he wrote with his views. Click here to read what he has to say.

Comment on this Story

  • ConcerningtheFuture

    Some of the comments in response to the StarNews article are deeply saddening. I understand they are stemming from misunderstanding and at times, a simple lack of knowledge, but we should not be 1. shunning teachers’ willingness to speak up for what they believe is unconstitutional 2. asking that teachers leave our state if they want financial security (or 3. demonizing teachers by bringing up uneducated statistics and invalidated google searches). If you look at many of the teacher comments in this article, they are not only concerned with themselves… they are concerned for their students, peers and administrators. If we push teachers to other states, NC will be in even more trouble- an increase in crime, prejudice, welfare, etc.
    For an educational system to succeed, the workers need to feel rewarded and necessary, not easily replaceable and unappreciated.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay “Self Reliance,” wrote, “These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs” (par. 6).

    In this same essay, he also cleverly stated, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
    We want the people who stand up and question those who are destroying the true ideals of democracy for their own political or financial gain; therefore, we need the educated in this state- the teachers and their students. If we chase the critical thinking out of this state, scare the youth out of pursuing degrees in education and make current teachers weary or nervous about going back for higher degrees of education, this state will slide further into economic disaster- the poor will become poorer while the rich will feed off the continuing increase of small minds. This could push us to continue to make ill-advised and close-minded decisions about our society and environment. We need to understand history. We need to become more avid in the fields of science and math. We need to create bridges for the youth to understand societies from around the world…
    Education costs and political debauching of these funds is inevitable… as the population of NC, we need to be forward-thinking. We need to come together and demand a government who wants the general population to succeed.
    Teachers aren’t asking for more money… but they rightfully deserve to fight the last 6 or 7 years where all they’ve received are freezes and cuts. Yes, it’s upsetting that NC is so low on the nation’s pay scale… but we can’t allow our students (our future) to fall to that same number whether it’s regarding intelligence, success or opportunity in the above discussed fields.
    A North Carolinian

  • nc tax payer

    i have alot to say about this. 1st if you not happy with the pay. go to another state. 2nd stop having so many kidds. that stop over crowding. theres too many kidds now, ( no i dont have any kidds. 3nd where is all the educational lottery , where is all the millions at. i never hear anyone asking about it,

  • Bearclaw

    North Carolina’s teacher pay has dropped from #26 in the nation to #46 in just five years. What more is there to say?

  • Guest123123

    Somebody has to be #46 right. Why dont they move to the state that is number 26 and teach there. Just a thought.

  • SamILM

    …as of today, we are number 50.

  • SurfCityTom

    the private sector. What you describe has been present for many private sector employees and members of the military.

    So pray tell, where does the money come from?

    Here’s a start — how about the $154,000,000 which the state must repay to the Federal Government due to rampant, uncontrolled borrowing by Easley and Perdue to keep Medicaid and long term unemployment benefits flowing in a Democratic agenda.

    $154,000,000 — would that have an impact on funds available for teachers?

    And this will continue for years until the debt is finally paid off.

  • tke1

    Facts?!? Why would these folks need facts? They are doing what their democrat/liberal mind controllers tell them to do.
    The school systems are already drawing more money than they can spend without actually putting it into the classroom.
    Some eager young reporter should do an investigation and expose the total amount the schools are getting from the courthouse. For example: all fines, bond forfeitures, and funds from law enforcement seizures go to the schools. If you are found guilt and get a sentence of $100 plus the cost of court, the $100 goes to the schools. If you forfeit a $5000 bond, it goes to the schools. If items seized by law enforcement in a search are auctioned, the proceeds (minus fees) go to the school system. Imagine all the fines collected in traffic court, criminal court, etc. that go to the schools but you never hear of that. It is the secret educational income.

  • Monkey Junction

    Maybe Goolsby is too busy defrauding his investors of money to pay attention to his constituents.

  • Confused Guest

    I read what Goolsby “has to say” in the link above. Can he provide an explanation for teacher assistant cuts, teacher cuts, supply money cuts, and increase in class size? Please provide an explanation on why these cuts will benefit public education.

  • Erlkoenig

    I never had a teacher’s assistant. Nowadays, teachers claim they can’t do without them. Summers off, assistants, and still not enough? How about some sympathy for the over worked or out of work parents?

    Teachers have it made.

  • Guest7969

    to the real world with the rest of us!

  • Guesttre

    Who in a time of flat employment growth, flat economic growth and dropping wages would ever be disgusted with an almost 5% increase in funding? The ungrateful that’s who.

    Who should be disgusted? Those who have to pay molestors and malcontents to NOT do their job, you know educate. What do we get for our money? Very little. Google “sex with student” the number of results is shocking.


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