WILMINGTON -- North Carolina teachers may be in store for a financial break. New legislation may cut the fees teachers have to pay for a substitute when they take the day off. It's been a long-standing policy for teachers in the state. If you want to take a day off, you have to pay up. But soon, that may change. Christy Kornegay has been a seventh grade teacher at Roland-Grise Middle School for ten years. Each year, she's given five personal days, but if she wants to take one of those days off there's a catch -- and it comes with a price. Kornegay said, "You have to use a personal day, then that's $50 dollars out of your check." That fee goes towards paying a substitute to cover their classes. It's a policy that's been in place for more than 50 years in North Carolina. Kornegay says she's had to dish out the dough more than once. "I did have a situation. My air-conditioner broke at my house and I had company coming in for the weekend. I had to get it fixed; it was 85 degrees in my home. So, it had to be taken care of," she said. New Hanover County Schools Assistant Superintendent John Welmers said, "It is a burden to have to pay $50 dollars. We're one of the only states that does that and one of the few professions that even thinks of that." There are currently two proposed bills in the state legislature that would eliminate the fee. If passed, the state, along with county school systems, would have to provide the money to pay substitutes. School administrators say right now the policy affects about 1,500 employees in New Hanover County alone. And although they support the proposed legislation, if passed, administrators say the county would have to dish out an additional $75,000 each year to cover the costs.
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