Republicans pledge teacher raises ahead of Wednesday's rally in Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Teachers from all across the state will be converging in Raleigh Wednesday as they rally for better pay and more education spending for students.

About 15,000 teachers are expected when the Republican-dominated state legislature begins its annual session.

More than three dozen school districts have decided to close classrooms, including five districts in the eastern part of the state, meaning an unplanned day off for more than two-thirds of the state's 1.5 million public school students.

The National Education Association reported last month that North Carolina teachers earn about $50,000 on average, ranking them 39th in the country last year.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger affirmed Tuesday legislative Republicans' commitment to providing North Carolina public school teachers a fifth consecutive pay raise with an average increase of 6.2-percent.

"I'm personally invested, not only as a legislator but also as a parent and I am proud of the work that happens every day in schools across the state, of the miracles that are worked," Moore says.

The state Democratic party responded to the Republican news conference saying Republicans today refused to address teachers' concerns and instead reheated the same warmed-over proposal that fell flat last year.

Governor Cooper plans to deliver remarks at the rally.