New Hanover Schools closing May 16 after nearly 600 teachers request off
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Schools have joined a handful of other districts across the state that have decided to close on May 16, the day thousands of teachers are rallying in Raleigh.
The day will be an optional teacher workday.
“We have made the decision to close on May 16th due to the fact that we are currently approaching approximately 600 teachers who have requested leave for that day. Based on our current substitute teacher pool, that would leave us with over 200 unfilled positions. At this point, we can not provide quality instruction and there would be serious student safety concerns with that many teachers out of the schools,” Dr. Tim Markley stated.
Thousands of educators throughout North Carolina are planning to convene in Raleigh on May 16 to attend a rally at the General Assembly to address education issues.
“It’s ridiculous when teachers have to go out and buy notebooks, and papers, and pencils, Kleenex, sanitizer, things like that,” said New Hanover County Educator’s Association executive Barbara Anderson. “That’s why the lists going home are getting larger and larger for parents.”
The state reports average salaries will rise again next school year to around $50,000 still nearly $10,000 below the national average. Anderson says more than anything they want more funding for teachers to spend on their students.
“Teachers need to step up and advocate because out students don’t have a voice and a lot of our parents don’t have a voice,” said Anderson who also serves as a media center coordinator in the New Hanover County schools system. “So the teachers are now rising up so they can be the voice for our children.”
The NHCS district says students will not have to make up this day.
The schools will provide meals through the Summer Food Service program.
Breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will be provided at the following schools: Williams, Bradley Creek, Wrightsboro, Williston, Virgo, and Sunset Park.
Meals will be provided free of charge to all children 18 years of age or younger.
New Hanover County Schools is working with principals and other school leaders to accommodate testing schedules that must continue on May 16, such as some International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement tests.
Parents and students will receive information and instructions from the student’s school in the coming days if the student is scheduled to take a test that day.
Transportation will be provided for students taking tests through the NHCS Transportation Department. Information regarding transportation on May 16 for these test takers will be provided by the schools.
Since high school athletics are now in the playoffs for the spring sports season, any playoff games scheduled for May 16 will be played as scheduled.
High school playoff schedules are dictated by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
NHCS hourly employees can choose from three options for the work day, including: 1) opt for annual leave; 2) opt to take a day without pay; or 3) report to work for additional duties, training, or professional development opportunities as assigned by their supervisors.
Salaried staff will continue to work on their normal job duties.
Normal teacher workday leave request rules will apply.