More than 700,000 North Carolina public school students will not have classes on May 1 because so many teachers and other school employees have requested the day off to protest at the state capital in Raleigh.
The Charlotte Observer reports that at least 22 districts, including all five of the state’s largest school systems — Wake County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Guilford County, Winston-Salem/Forsyth and Cumberland — have decided to cancel classes on May 1.
In addition to traditional school districts, some charter schools have canceled classes, including Raleigh Charter High School and Central Park School For Children in Durham.
Thousands of teachers from across the state are expected to come to Raleigh to lobby state lawmakers on issues such as expanding Medicaid and giving all school employees a raise. The march, organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators, is a repeat of last year’s protest on May 16 that brought at least 19,000 teachers to the capital.
The 22 districts and two charter schools that have announced May 1 closures represent 723,057 of the state’s 1.5 million public school students, or 47 percent. The number of closures is expected to rise.
Last year, at least 42 districts closed, representing around 1,043,000 students, or 68 percent of the state’s public school students.
State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson has asked teachers to hold the protest on a non-school day. He says students already have missed too much school because of Hurricane Florence and snow days.