Asheville City Schools to close day of teachers rally

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ASHEVILLE, NC (WSPA) – Ahead of a North Carolina teachers’ rally in Raleigh, Asheville City Schools announced it will cancel classes for the day.

The superintendent said more than 60 teachers have requested time off the day of the rally to ask lawmakers for more resources, and said this is something many of the teachers are passionate about and the board supports them.

Next Wednesday more than 10,000 teachers from across North Carolina are expected to march on the Legislature.

The rally is being organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators. They’re asking for higher pay, better school security, and more spending per student.

“We know they have a passion for that, and we do support our teachers and we support our students as well.”

Asheville City Schools Superintendent Denise Patterson said that more than a week out from the rally, at least five-dozen teachers have requested the day off. And more are likely to follow. 

“We have about 150 substitutes and when we looked at those numbers we wanted to have some conversation about that,” Patterson said. 

The Board of Education is addressing the issue by canceling classes for the day. The decision was multi-faceted, Patterson says.

“In conjunction with all of that…their voice and then the number of requests, and then the challenge that it could be potentially around providing substitutes…we needed to consider all of that,” she said.

Teachers also have the option of using that day to catch up on work.

AP students will still have take their exams that Wednesday, as scheduled.

To make up for the lost 6 and a half hours of classroom time, the school day will be extended 18 minutes from May 21 to May 25. The additional hours are balanced out by inclement weather hours that were never used.

We asked Patterson how parents are responding to the news. 

“The feedback that I’ve gotten from parents and from our teachers has been overwhelming in support of the teachers,” she said. “And they are supporting us as a district. I haven’t heard any opposition to that, but as of now, that’s the support that I’ve heard.”

A representative from Buncombe County schools told us they are monitoring the number of time off requests on the day of the rally, and they have not yet made a decision on whether school will be canceled.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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