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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.

Comment on this Story

  • Don’t Know

    So Markley showed up? Did he really have a choice?…….

  • Guest2020

    Teachers can’t handle the competition that exists in private industry. Maybe this will give the bad ones incentive to do a better job rather than sit on their hands and collect a paycheck.

    Teachers are not the only professionals or state employees who are not getting raises. The answer is not throwing more money at the problem. The answer is for the powers that be to be better stewards of the money they have.

    Don’t teachers get the same insurance as the rest of the state employees in North Carolina? Why should they get better than everyone else? That’s not even to mention that they get more days off per year than other state employees.

  • Jennifer Sugerik

    Education is NOT private industry. Our success is not weighed in profits for the company, but rather the success of our students. We are all invested together, as a family to insure our students do their best. Our pay is substandard, our jobs are a minimum of 11 hours a day, but we love what we do. We are not asking to be rich, just respected enough to earn a living wage. Our salaries have actually decreased in the past 5 years with increases in insurance and taxes. We do not get paid in the summer months, so we are 10 month employees (not vacation time). Most of us have second and third jobs to make ends meet for our families. The success of our public schools will determine the future of our country.
    There are some ineffective teachers out there, but most are compassionate, hard working, dedicated professionals. The legislature wants to blame teachers for everything that is wrong with our education system. Instead of blaming teachers, get them involved in the discussions of how to fix things. When something goes awry in a company, those involved sit down and problem solve. When things go awry in education, politicians, who know next to nothing about education (other than they attended school), try to fix the problem without any experts involved. Guest2020—your statements are based on ignorance, which is what our teachers help the students fight everyday. Perhaps it is time for you to go back to school.

  • yoda

    Teachers cannot handle the competition?? We have been competing for many years as our evaluations are determined by test scores. I would love to be paid for my ‘effectiveness’; however, $500 a year before taxes is an insult.

  • Erlkoenig

    I understand Markley has a career development plan. Maybe they can participate in that program.

  • nc tax payer

    im so sick of hearing about schools not having any money, what happen to all the end. lottey money over 3 billions , no one has ask where its all going. ask/ ask. i want some answers. i never ever hear anyone asking .

  • guesty

    When the lottery money is given to the schools, the government then takes the same amount of money out of what was budgeted to them. The schools end up getting the same amount of money and the government then wastes what was taken back on huggy feel good projects.

    It is a shell game where the schools “get” the lottery money but lose what was in the budget. It ends up a wash for them. The lottery was sold to us as a supplement to what was already budgeted, not a replacement.

  • guest2609

    All that money is going to pay secretaries over $50K for what, to sit and answer phones? The priorities are wrong. The monies should be going to the teachers who are in turn trying to teach our children, they are the ones who most have busted their butts to teach our children and put up with the crap that the parents give them and the school system gives them. What are the secretaries doing for our children? NOTHING, they have no involvement with the day to day teachings of our future leaders. Absolutely disgusting. We need to stand up for what is right and if we don’t get the support from the school board we need to send them a message that we won’t vote for them.

  • Guest-o-matic

    …entitlements, delete the stupid free cell phone program and stop paying the free way for every illegal alien that sneaks in here, there’d be plenty of money for education!

    But NOOOOOOOOO! There’s plenty of tax money to pay for those that don’t contribute, are lazy and those that don’t belong here in the first place. Just not enough money to properly pay our teachers to educate our children or take care of our elderly that did work and contribute all of their lives!

    Anyone starting to see that “socialism” thing getting organized yet?

  • Vog46

    I will give you the answers to your questions
    First some “figures” The money is distributed this way:
    46% teachers in Grades K-3
    16% Prekindergarten programs
    21% school construction

    6% Needs based college scholarship
    2% UNC needs based financial aid
    7% UNC needs base financial aid reserve
    2.5% digital learning
    Please note that the funds are distributed by county but since UNCW is within our county I believe those funds are broken down further so that UNCW gets a portion of the county allotment. From the figures above 73% approximately goes to county projects and schools – the remainder goes to UNCW, CFCC and digital learning;
    Last fiscal year New Hanover county got $1.7M in funding for schools 75% of THAT funding went to the county for the programs listed above. The remainder went to UNCW/CFCC.
    The NC LOttery system is among the most efficient on the country. They spend less on advertising than most. If they had NO EXPENSES and gave all revenue to education they would ONLY supply 13% of all education spending state wide. I believe right now they supply about 6%.

    I sense by your frustration that you expected MORE. THAT is the real problem here as you have fallen for the belief that the Lottery would be the panacea that would reduce county budgets for education.
    It was NEVER advertised as such a thing. We knew going in that the politicians set the distribution for the funds and they watered down the affects the lottery would have on education here in NC. I would have much preferred that the money be saved and invested and after 10 years or so be used to provide low cost or free community college education for ALL NC RESIDENTS. Imagine the affect that would have on our economy! An educated work force !!!
    Sadly we now have county government relying on state entitlements to fund education and we have state government seeking federal entitlements for education.
    the result is people like you that cannot or will not do some basic research to see where the money goes but instead you express your frustration implying that somehow the money is hidden or that the Lottery is not performing as well as it should be.
    The only problem here is that you believe something that was never meant to be.


  • Jennifer Sugerik

    Ignorance is not pretty……. Our lottery money no longer goes to public schools thanks to our Governor McCrory- Pay attention sir

  • Guest1851658

    So, the teachers are afraid of competition among themselves. My guess is the ones that are fretting are the weaker, less productive ones. I always felt competition was good. This will bring out the best in them as they strive for rewards such as bonuses. I personally feel that that should behave themselves and be thankful they still have a job for now. The old saying “You can be replaced by a push button” is still true, but in the case of teachers, the word “pushbutton” can be changed to the word “computer”.

  • Matt

    It was great to see so many students, parents and teachers turn out to support our great teachers. NC can do much better than #46 in teacher pay!

  • Guest6979

    Good Teachers only become good teachers because they are aided by veteran teachers. If I am to compete with my colleagues then guess what, I am not sharing my new activity or notes from conferences I paid to go to over the summer. I will only working with my students, so what if someone else has a question I am not going to help them, after all I am competing with their teacher. Then let’s not upset the class and get them angry at me because I require them to do homework and study because then they know they can tank a test at the end of the semester and just to get me fired or reduced pay. We cannot put our pay check in the hands of teenagers and other children. If a kid is not doing right in private business they can be fired and removed from the work environment, but in education if they are not doing right I cannot get rid of them. The only other profession I can think of that holds one person responsible for the performance of others is, professional sports coaches. If their team doesn’t perform well then they get fired. At the same time they get paid 10s or 100s times more than we do.

  • guesty

    How many times have we heard there won’t be enough money for social security but we never hear there isn’t enough money for welfare??

  • studentforlife

    47th in teacher pay in the US and predicted to be 50th since our legislature that is run by republican’ts decided that teachers didn’t really need pay raises that amount to anything.
    How are you going to take care of the elderly? By giving them Social Security and Medicare? That is socialism at its finest right there, don’t cha’ think?
    Guest, you can’t have it both ways. You are either for or against socialism and if you want to “take care of the elderly” please tell me your alternate plan that doesn’t include anything that even faintly seems like socialism. You might win a Nobel Prize.

  • Guest-o-matic

    “Studentforlife” tell us all something here. You must have never, ever collected a paycheck in your entire life! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been watching MY check stubs since 1974 where they have been deducting FICA and Medicare monies since day one. I believe my last statement said the between myself and my employers, I’ve contributed over $350,000.00!!! That came out of my pocket for the day I am suppoed to retire. Do you think I’ll EVER see $350,000.00? Nope…NEVER. I’ve worked all my life to contribute money that I’ll never see! My government mandated Social Security savings are now being distributed to lifetime entitlement recipients that have NEVER contributed a dime and also to Illegal Aliens that have NEVER contributed a cent! You don’t even have a clue as to what Socialism is, how it works, much less when it is being implemented on the people of America!

    Tellya what “studentforlife”, don’t worry about me getting the Nobel Prize! All YOU need to be concerned with is having enough money to drag you through some sort of school for the rest of your life. Because, right now you couldn’t qualify for a degree in underwater basket weaving, much less economics!

  • studentforlife

    I’ve been watching my stubs 2 years longer than you.
    There are many ways to be a student as you grow older. You don’t have to go to a school to be a student, you can learn a lot by just living life.
    Medicare is just plain socialized medicine. They take from from all for the collective good. That is socialism. Social Security is different, but they screwed us on that by increasing the retirement age, not that it matters to me because I have taken care of myself while working and don’t require the government to do it when I get older.
    Obviously, you quit learning around 1984 because politically you still have the same views from that era.
    Good luck in learning.

  • Guest2020

    My husband worked for the state many years. He worked hard. He worked long. And he lost his job due to state budget cuts. Fortunately, another job opened up and he was hired in a different position. With that position he worked ten to twelve hours a day. He didn’t get teacher work days off. He didn’t get two weeks off for Christmas. He didn’t get two weeks off for spring break. He didn’t get summers off.

    In his first position, he rarely got raises. In the second one, he wasn’t there long enough to get a raise. He lost that job to state budget cuts. He had the same state employee benefits that teachers had. He had the same reduction in salary due to healthcare insurance and taxes. He didn’t complain because he knew that things were tough all over. There’s a school in Wilmington where the teachers are talking about refusing an offer of a one-year contract. No matter how bad things may get, you would never see my husband refuse to work.

    Your pay is more than the average salary in the state. I don’t need to go back to school. I grew up in a private Christian school. It wasn’t because my parents were rich, but because they sacrificed to give us that education. Public schools had fewer requirements to graduate. We received a proper education. Our standardized testing was done in October. We scored well without our teachers teaching to the test. And guess what, those teachers got paid less than public school teachers. Yet, we came out more educated than the public school kids did.

  • Guest4396

    There are 49 other states that employ teachers.


    ^ +1 You hit the nail on the head.


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