NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Dozens of teachers and their supporters wore red in support of education at the New Hanover County School Board meeting.
“Right now there is a mass exodus of highly qualified, fabulous North Carolina teachers leaving,” said Janna Robertson, a UNCW professor.
To encourage teachers to stay and stand up for better treatment, the group stood side-by-side in unity with a clear message, continuing their protest against education and teacher pay cuts.
“It’s kind of a cry for help. I’ve been teaching for five years. I haven’t seen a raise and they’re taking tenure away,” said Nikki Strawn, a teacher at Wilmington Early College High School. “Do I stay in a profession that I literally can not afford to stay in or do I keep hoping for change?”
There may be change coming for teachers like Strawn.
Tuesday night the Board voted to pass a resolution against the General Assembly’s mandate that requires 25 percent of teachers in each district get a $500 annual bonus and a four-year contract in place of tenure.
“We are asking them to repeal that and come up with a different kind of plan,” said School Board Chair Don Hayes.
Hayes said as a former educator he understands the teachers’ concerns and hopes the Board’s resolution will increase teacher morale.
“All we are attempting to do is to show we are supportive of our teachers here,” he said.
The Board hopes its decision will inspire other school districts to take a similar stand.