What is May 16th?

May 16th is the first day that the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) will be in session for 2018. We are calling for all NC public school employees to be there to greet them. The NCGA determines up to 60% of the budget for every school district in NC. While teachers, teacher’s assistants, bus drivers, custodial staff, media specialists, cafeteria staff, parents, grandparents, chosen family, and community work long hours, purchase supplies out of our own pockets, spend the extra time and go the extra mile, the NCGA insists on continuing to make us do more with less. We will use this day to let them know that it is their turn and their job to make sure all children have the resources they need to develop, learn, and thrive.

What is the agenda for May 16th?

Here is the agenda from NCAE:

Get Ready for our March for Students and Rally for Respect on May 16. So far the response has been outstanding for our Advocacy Day when the General Assembly goes back into session. We are bookending the day with two very powerful events to show our support for public school students, educators, and public education overall. We will certainly make our priorities clear to elected leaders. A brief timeline for the day:

9:45amMeet at NCAE Headquarters, 700 S. Salisbury St. (be here no later than 9:45. Get here early for parking.)
10:00amMarch for Students (from NCAE to Legislative Bldg, about 25 min).
10:45amEnter Legislative Bldg and start assembling on 3rd Floor. This may take a little longer than usual with new metal detectors upon entry.
12:00pmGeneral Assembly convenes. We want our members in the galleries.
1:00pmTime to make appointments with your local representative and lunch on your own.
3:00pmStart assembling on Bicentennial Plaza across from the Legislative Building for Rally for Respect.
3:30pmRally for Respect begins.
4:30pmRally concludes and participants can start making their way back to NCAE Headquarters by foot or by using the R-Line which picks up at Jones and Wilmington.
Additional updates can be found on the NCAE webpage here: http://www.ncae.org/advocacy-day/

How do I sign up for May 16th?

The NCAE has a sign-up page here: http://www.ncae.org/rally-for-respect/

The May 16 Coalition is asking folks to report on the number of educators coming from their school or their school district at this link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/survey-may16-raleigh

Can I get in trouble for taking a personal day on May 16th?

  • Your personal leave is there for you to use. If you give at least 5 days notice, your personal leave cannot be questioned.
  • From NCAE LEGAL Advocacy Center:
    • Personal Leave – Classroom teachers and media coordinators who require substitutes may be able to use personal leave on Advocacy Day.
      • Advanced notice: If a teacher requests personal leave at least 5 days in advance, the leave shall be granted if a substitute is available. Teachers making the request at least 5 days in advance cannot be required to provide a reason for the requested leave.
      • When it can be used: Personal leave can be taken on any instructional day or workday except the first day the teacher is required to report for the school year, on a required teacher workday, on days scheduled for state testing, or on the day before or after a holiday or scheduled vacation day, unless the request is approved by the principal.
      • Substitute fee: Teachers using personal leave on instructional days must pay a $50 substitute fee. If no substitute is hired for a teacher, the substitute fee will be refunded. The law and state board policy do not provide that the substitute fee may be waived.
    • Sick Leave – Sick leave can only be used (1) for periods when a personal illness or injury prevents an employee from performing his or her usual duties, (2) for medical appointments, (3) to care for an ill immediate family member, (4) for a death in the immediate family, or (5) for an adoption. A superintendent can require a doctor’s note or other proof of the need for sick leave.

    More information from NCAE:

    Using Personal Leave for May 16

    What happens if my principal denies my leave request?

    Make sure the personal day is logged into AESOP anyway. Principals are not allowed to ask what the leave is for but may deny if there is not sub coverage. Our goal is overwhelm the system with absences so that the district considers closing school for the day, allowing educators to go to Raleigh. The only way the district knows about personal days is if they are logged into the system, not the paper forms submitted to principals. So log it in now!

    What do I do if I can’t get a sub for May 16th?

    Technically, your request can be denied. That’s why our goal is to have an overwhelming number to educators put in their absences now so that the school system can devise a contingency plan.

    What if my district has stated that they are not in support of the May 16th Day of Action?

    Public school educators have first amendment rights regardless of any opinion expressed by a school district. Personal days belong to you and may be used at your discretion. What you do or say on your personal day is your business. It is illegal for employers to dictate what employees do or say of the clock and any type of retaliation for political activity is illegal and strictly prohibited. That said, many school districts support educators making their voice heard and advocating for funding. They are hurting from Raleigh’s failure to fund public schools just like we are.

    Can non-certified staff participate? What process do we use for taking leave?

    Absolutely, we have many already registered to come. Non-certified staff and others who do not accrue personal leave may take annual leave with authorization of their immediate supervisor and in accordance with local policies.

    What demands/requests are we making on May 16th?

    As educators, we know that the list of things that our students, schools and communities need feels almost endless. What will be demanded of the NC legislature in 2018 is still a work in progress and we need your input.

    Click here to take our survey
    to help inform collective strategy and demands

    All that said, here are a few primary demands that seem to be resonating with educators around the state:

    • Increase per-student spending, which is currently 39th in the nation and about $2,400 less than the national average.
    • Increase pay for educators with a plan to get to the national average and immediate across the board pay raises for all state employees. This can be paid for by repealing an upcoming corporate tax break.
    • End performance-based pay, reinstate a pay scale that values veteran educators, and restore pay incentives for advanced degrees.
    • Freeze any increases in health care costs for public employees, which requires no additional resources from the state.
    • Accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, giving affordable health care to the one-quarter of North Carolina students who live in poverty.
    • Stop the attacks on public schools by placing a moratorium on new charter schools and private school vouchers.

    Click here to read the initial demands that launched the
    North Carolina Teachers United Facebook Page

    How can I support the Day of Action if I am unable to attend?

    If you are unable to attend, it will be important to make your presence known in other ways.

    • Gather your colleagues for a special edition #Red4Ed picture with a sign or banner to show your support for all the educators, parents and students in Raleigh.
    • Join the Twitter Town Hall on May 16 by searching for #MakeItHappen on Twitter. You can tweet comments, questions, and demands to your legislators and share your #RedforEd pictures and how you #MakeItHappen every day.
    • Write a letter and make phone calls to your legislators with a clear ask for support for the demands we bring to Raleigh.
    • Send a picture of yourself with your message for a colleague to deliver to your legislators.
    • Get at least five others to go to Raleigh in your place.

    How can I keep up with updates leading up to this event?

    Visit May16.org. This website is a clearinghouse of all information pertinent to May 16 activities and planning. You can also sign up for the May 16th Coalition email list (in the sidebar here, or at this link). Also, be sure to register with NCAE if you are coming to Raleigh on May 16th.

    What are some hashtags folks are using?

    #may16
    #itspersonal
    #red4ed
    #inthistogether
    #makeithappen

    Where can I park on May 16th? How can I get from parking to the NCAE building?

    • R-LINE is a free bus service in downtown Raleigh. Buses run approximately every 15 minutes. Since NCAE is at the corner of South St and Salisbury St, either the R13 or R14 stops would bring you to within a block of the building. You can access a map to help determine your parking here. The R1 stop is very close to the site of the rally and the Legislative building.
    • There is hourly metered parking on most of the streets downtown as well as in the State Government parking deck off McDowell Street heading north (right before it becomes Capital Boulevard). Parking fees for the deck are: First 15 minutes – Free; First hour – $2; Each additional hour – $2; Daily maximum – $16; fees are applicable from 7am-5pm (In the past, if folks stayed past 5 pm, there was no charge because no one works the booth after that).
    • There are parking decks on both South and Salisbury Streets which charge hourly rates but are in walking distance of the NCAE building. You can find the location of all available parking decks here.

    In West Virginia and other states, educators occupied the legislature or walked out of their schools until their demands were met. Is that kind of thing going to happen here in North Carolina?

    In North Carolina, the call is for educators to take a personal day on May 16th – or annual leave if you don’t accrue personal days. In some school districts, so many educators have already requested personal leave that school districts are indeed considering closing school. Local school boards are able to make that decision independently, if they feel that too many educators will be on leave for schools to stay open.

    May 16th also marks the start of a six month campaign to hold our elected leaders accountable over their prioritization of corporate board rooms instead of classrooms. A large presence on May 16 will have a major impact on the pressure we put on our elected leaders during the legislative short session this summer and the ballot box come November.

    Ultimately, however, the decision on next steps will rest with the thousands of educators who are coming to Raleigh on May 16 and who are organizing in their own counties in the coming weeks. No one predicted that teacher uprisings would happen in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona and no one can know for sure what will happen in North Carolina in the coming weeks and months.**

    ** The laws surrounding work stoppages or walk outs differ in each state, so educators who are NCAE members who have questions about should contact NCAE for more information on these laws.

    Are there any special security measures at the NC General Assembly I should be aware of?

    The General Assembly now has metal detectors and x-ray machines at both the front and back entrances. You should plan to wait in line to enter the building as everyone will have to go through single file. Any bags, coats, etc. will go through the x-ray machines as well.

    What if I have a question that is not answered here?

    There are two active Facebook groups that provide open opportunity for questions and advice: