Politics & Government

Thousands of teachers will march in Raleigh on May 1. Here are the event details.

The area near Fayetteville Street will become filled with a sea of red on Wednesday as thousands of teachers and their supporters flood downtown Raleigh to march on the state legislature.

The N.C. Association of Educators released details Thursday for how the May 1 march will take place as protesters demand that lawmakers approve items such as increased funding for education and Medicaid. Just like with last year’s march, the crowd is likely to clog traffic, fill up parking spaces and lead to long lines at downtown lunch spots.

Under the schedule:

At 8:30 a.m., buses begin to arrive at NCAE headquarters on 700 S. Salisbury St.

At 10 a.m., pre-rally begins at NCAE headquarters.

At 10:30 a.m., march begins using Fayetteville Street as the main travel route. The march will go around the State Capitol Building, through Bicentennial Plaza, around the General Assembly and then to Halifax Mall behind the Legislative Building.

At 12:30 p.m., a rally begins on Halifax Mall.

At 1:30 p.m., march attendees hold regional meetings with state lawmakers.

At 2:30 p.m., event ends.

At 3:30 p.m.., buses pick up people at NCAE headquarters to take them home.

Organizers say they expect the crowd to be at least as large as last year’s protest, when an estimated 19,000 people marched on the Capitol.

This year, at least 34 of the state’s 115 school districts have canceled classes on May 1 because so many teachers and other school employees have requested the day off.

On Wednesday, Triangle teachers talked about why they’re marching on lawmakers again. They said issues such as expanding Medicaid funding and providing more counselors and social workers are what students need and deserve.

“We hope that every parent, student and community supporter would join us on May 1st for a hands-on, real-life lesson in democracy,” said Kristin Beller, president of Wake NCAE.

Republican state lawmakers are defending their record.

“This year, the far-left NCAE is calling on teachers to strike despite historic increases in teacher pay and education spending under Republican leadership,” Senate leader Phil Berger said in a statement Wednesday. “The far-left NCAE strike will keep kids out of the classroom and force parents to find childcare.”

The new state budget introduced Friday by the House would clamp down on future protests by saying personal leave requests can’t be approved unless a school can guarantee that it has a substitute teacher available.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.