'Pass the budget': Charlotte teachers protest before school Wednesday

'Pass the budget': Charlotte teachers protest before school Wednesday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Teachers across North Carolina, including teachers from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, protested the state budget impasse before school Wednesday.

The budget stalemate is in its fifth month.

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Channel 9's education reporter Elsa Gillis saw CMS teachers outside holding signs in the cold as parents dropped off students. They were also chanting "Kids first" and "Pass the budget."

Teachers said the protest isn't just about getting attention in Raleigh, but making sure families are aware of the stalemate impacting schools across the state.

Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the budget on Friday, rejecting a 3.9% raise over two years. He said wanted higher raises for teachers than Republicans offered.

Since then, budget discussions have gone back and forth with no resolution and teachers are taking a stand.

Justin Parmenter is a teacher at Waddell Language Academy in south Charlotte. He said teachers will be outside their schools protesting before school starts before walking in together as a show of solidarity.

"We aren't getting anywhere with our budget in North Carolina," Parmenter said. "We had the Legislature try to pass a sub par teacher pay bill last week which was vetoed by the governor, and they seem to be making very little progress. Our children are our number one priority, and we need resources to be able to do the job that they deserve."

Olympic High School teacher Rae Legrone said the lack of pay has had a huge impact on her family.

"Personally I have three jobs, my husband's also in the public sector so we knew that we weren't going to be paid a lot in our lifetime but it is hard to make ends meet," Legrone said. "As a teacher, I do put money into my classroom."

Parmenter told Channel 9 that teachers are calling on the Legislature to sit down with the governor to work out reasonable raises and a budget.

"What we expect is for our leadership to be able to sit down, negotiate, come up with a compromise that everyone can agree on," he said.

Teachers said the bottom line is that this is impacting their ability to teach your children and right now, a lot of them lack the resources they need.

"We don't have a budget, that we are woefully underfunded, that there are support staff positions that can't be hired because of the budget impasse, and we think it's detrimental to our entire community," Legrone said.