UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Union County Public Schools has designated Wednesday, the day of a statewide teacher rally planned in Raleigh, as an optional teacher workday for students.
The district announced Friday afternoon that school will be closed for students on Wednesday after more than 1,000 teachers said they will not be at work on that day to attend the march. That number is nearly half of the teachers in the county.
The teachers sent the requests to the district on Thursday and a school board meeting was held for leaders to discuss whether or not to close their doors on Wednesday.
The rally is intended to call for increasing teacher pay and investment in public education, lowering staff ratios in schools and decreasing class sizes.May 16 is the day the General Assembly returns to Raleigh.
"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 was no simple discussion.
The board had to consider several things, like scheduled AP testing, free breakfast and lunch for those who need it and giving parents enough time to arrange for childcare.
On Friday, the district said the end of year tests that were planned for Wednesday will be rescheduled. Breakfast and lunch will be served for students at Sardis, Rocky River, Walter Bickett and Wingate elementary schools. Meals will also be served at Monroe and East Union middle schools.
Students will not be required to make up the day, school officials said. The after school program will operate on a teacher workday schedule.
So far, this is the list of schools that have also canceled class ahead of the teacher's march in Raleigh: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Gaston County Schools, Stanly County Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, Alexander County Schools, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Cabarrus County Schools, Hickory City Schools, Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Gaston County Schools, Stanly County Schools, Alexander County Schools and Kannapolis City Schools.