Teachers ask lawmakers for more funding in new state budget

Teachers at press conference in Greenfield Terrace Park.
Teachers at press conference in Greenfield Terrace Park.(Deric Rush)
Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 8:53 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Educators, parents and faith leaders called on state lawmakers on Saturday to prioritize students in the next state budget.

Four press conferences were held across North Carolina, including in Greenville where people opposed corporate tax cuts and called for a budget proposal that fully funds public schools across the state.

Members of the North Carolina Association of Educators, faith leaders from Pitt County, and concerned parents spoke at a podium at Greenfield Terrace Park requesting for students and public schools to receive more funding in the state budget.

“We see teachers driving Uber, working in restaurants and in retail stores during the school year and in the summer,” Emily Biggs said. “I work part time as a cashier. I’m not there as a hobby.” Biggs is a teacher from Martin County.

Several speakers echoed the sentiment that teachers have to “moonlight,” or work an additional job in order to sustain themselves and provide supplies for their students, and that funding for education should include adequate wages for teachers so they don’t have to seek other forms of employment.

With less than a month before the state’s new fiscal year begins, state legislators have yet to reach an agreement on the new state budget.

Rep. Chris Humphrey (R-Pitt, Lenoir) said there’s no budget yet but they’re open to looking at ways to improve education as negotiations proceed.

“The overall state budget ... about 40% of it has gone towards education,” Humphrey said. “I want to wait and see what the budget looks like and we want to hear from teachers and state employees.”

The North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management releases joint budget forecast updates regularly to help plan the new budget and monitor changing financial conditions that may affect the current budget.

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