Rally criticizes GOP leaders on public schools - WNCN: News, Weather

Rally criticizes GOP leaders on public schools

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Teachers and their supporters rally outside the capital building Teachers and their supporters rally outside the capital building
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Teachers and their supporters say Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory are misleading citizens about the North Carolina state budget's effect on public schools.

Several groups organized a rally Thursday morning at the old Capitol building in Raleigh, literally taking their complaints to the lawn outside McCrory's office. Nearly 100 people attended, saying McCrory and other GOP politicians are not mentioning the harm the spending plan will do to students.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge said the governor and Republican leaders need to "get their facts straight" and stop denying how the budget cuts are impacting education.

"The cuts are real, and they're undeniable," Etheridge said.

Teachers and their supporters claim the governor and lawmakers don't understand how budget cuts affect students.

"In the classroom we're looking at larger class sizes and we haven't had textbooks in six or seven years," said Wake County teacher Matt Caggia.

Although the rally brought out many teachers, it also brought out frustrated parents.

"If you have to ask your parents to bring in a ream of paper, or bring in a box of Kleenex -- when it gets to that level, and then gets worse, how much can a human being do?" asked parent Rose Pugliese.

One of those attending the rally no longer has children in school, but even so, Gail Meyer felt compelled to come.

"The fact that our teachers are 48th in the nation in teacher pay is outrageous," she said. "What does that say about North Carolina? Why would anyone want to move here?"

Eric Guckian, the governor's Senior Education Advisor says McCrory is trying to repair a broken system.

"The Governor is committed to reforming our antiquated teacher compensation system and we are willing to work with all parties to ensure that we can address this most pressing issue of creating a rewarding career path for our teachers.," Guckian said in an email to WNCN.

Republicans have repeatedly said the current state budget actually increased public school spending compared to last year.

The Associated Press's Gary D. Robertson contributed to this report

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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