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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Public school teachers around the state decked out in red hit the streets to take a stand against recent spending cuts.

In New Hanover County, educators and even some parents and students stood outside their schools holding signs in support of better pay and benefits for teachers.

“Education reform is important, but teachers should have been part of the conversation, and yet we feel as if that teachers were not part of the discussion on how to put forth comprehensive education reform that rewards good teachers,” teacher Sandy Cecelski said.

By law administrators will select 25 percent of teachers to get multi-year contracts. Educators say the changes will pit teachers against each other adding more tension to an already stressful job.

“And to have that stress with each other when we’re trying so desperately to work together as a faculty; we’re trying to work for the children together, plan together, make sure that our kids are graduating,” teacher Jennifer Sugerik said.

After another year without a raise from the state and only a one-percent supplement increase from the district, many were outraged when a WWAY investigation uncovered superintendent Tim Markley’s former administrative assistant, with whom sources say he is in a relationship, received a $6,000 raise in July that bumped her salary to more than $75,000 a year. Markley showed up to the protest at Ashley High School Monday wearing a red tie in support of the teachers.

Tomorrow the New Hanover County School Board has a Policy Committee meeting, a regular board meeting and a closed session. We plan to be there to ask about pay issues and the development of a fraternization policy. We’ll have live coverage tomorrow on WWAY NewsChannel 3.

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