Nearly half of Union County educators call out for teacher's march in Raleigh

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - In Union County, more than 1,000 teachers will not be at work on Wednesday. That number is nearly half of the teachers in the county.

Instead, they will be at the teacher's march on Raleigh for better school funding.

"Whether it's a work day or not, I'm going," Kim Hargett says.

Hargett has been teaching for almost 30 years, and for her, public education is paramount.

"It is the foundation to our democracy," she says.

It is why she is joining thousands of other teachers in Raleigh May 16 and it is why she sat in on a school board meeting Thursday, where Union County school leaders discussed whether or not to close their doors that day.

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"With that many adults out of the building, we are concerned about what that means for student safety," school board spokesperson Tahira Stalberte said.

It is no simple discussion.

There are several things for the board to think about, like scheduled AP testing, free breakfast and lunch for those who need it, and giving parents enough time to arrange for childcare.

Ultimately, the board voted Thursday to give superintendent Andrew Houlihan the final decision. He will have to make that decision by noon Friday.

"It's thrilling to see so many people [involved]," Hargett says. "It's an important moment for the Union County Public Schools."

Though the decision on whether to close school entirely has not yet been made as of Thursday night, the school has already postponed that day's AP testing to May 23.

They say they will keep free breakfast and lunch available at Sardis Elementary, Rocky River Elementary, Monroe Middle, Walter Bickett Elementary, and East Union Middle School, and will also keep after school programs in place that day.

Parents should get an automated message about the superintendent's decision by noon Friday.

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So far, this is the list of schools that have canceled class amid the teacher's march in Raleigh: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Cabarrus County Schools, Hickory City Schools, Rowan-Salisbury Schools and Kannapolis City Schools.

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