Hundreds of area teachers request day of teacher rally off

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — None of the school districts in our area plan to shut down on May 16, the day thousands of teachers plan to protest at the General Assembly in Raleigh when lawmakers reconvene for the legislative short session, but at least one school district is keeping an eye on the situation.

New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum said late this afternoonn that 358 teachers have requested leave for that day. She said at this point neither the superintendent nor the school board has made any decision about cancelling classes, but the school district will continue to monitor the number of planned teacher absences. Quattlebaum said requests have to be made five business days in advance.

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Quattlebaum had released a statement earlier in the day, when the number of time off requests was at 160.

“At this time, our goal is to keep the schools open,” her statement said in part. “We are working with our principals to ensure classroom instruction and necessary student support services can be provided to our students without interruption. Our primary focus continues to be on delivering a quality education to all our students and ensuring they are in a safe and conducive learning environment. This commitment continues each day, even on days when one or more of our teachers are absent.”

Brunswick County Schools have received just over a dozen requests, so far. District spokesman Daniel Seamans said those numbers will have zero impact on instructional time.



Bladen County Schools have only received one request for leave on May 16, while Whiteville City Schools have not received any requests for the day off.

We have left messages for Columbus and Pender County Schools but have not heard back.

The state’s largest and third-largest school districts announced Monday they will be closed on May 16, following a similar move by the second largest district last week.

The Wake County Public School System said about a quarter of its 10,000 teachers in and around the state’s capital city asked for the day off to participate in the rally. Guilford County schools canceled in the wake of nearly 2,000 expected teacher absences, twice the number of available substitutes.

The rally is being organized by the state’s association of educators, whose members are unhappy with the Republican-controlled legislature’s decisions on teacher salaries and school funding.

Second-largest Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Friday canceled classes for the protest.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.