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Educators seeing red over proposed budget cuts

By Maggie Blackwell
mblackwell@salisburypost.comFlood their switchboards, continue to e-mail, travel to Raleigh next Wednesday and wear red. Let state legislators know you expect them to preserve education jobs.
That was the message the local chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators delivered to just over 100 teachers, parents and students who attended a rally at the Rowan Public Library on Wednesday.
Sarah Drinkard, president of the local association, read a message to teachers from Rowan-Salisbury School System Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom. In the message, Grissom said she and other administrators worked long hours last week to save as many teacher jobs as possible. They identified methods to reduce lost teaching jobs from 84 to only eight ó or 17 if Rowan County commissioners don’t divert their usual school supply money to fund teaching positions.
Drinkard hopes to “overflow the room out to the sidewalk” with red-clad teachers demanding commissioners support jobs at the county board’s meeting on Monday at 7 p.m.
Lina Drinkard, former president of the group, noted an N.C. House bill to increase revenues and ease education cuts has been cut to produce $800 million in new revenue as legislators removed proposed tax increases on cigarettes and alcohol.
Wednesdays are “educational days” in Raleigh, when legislators’ doors are open to teachers who have a message. Buncombe County sent 2,000 teachers to Raleigh last Wednesday, Drinkard said, and she hopes Rowan County can send as many next Wednesday.
Drinkard later said cutting jobs among the state’s largest workforce will only perpetuate the state’s economic woes.
She shared an e-mail from a teacher whose principal had just reviewed her performance. She was given excellent reviews, she said, including praise from the principal. The meeting ended with the principal warning the teacher her position may be cut.
The teacher e-mailed Drinkard to suggest teachers who lose their jobs form a group, “Teachers with a Heart,” to encourage each other and volunteer in schools.
The group at the library Wednesday was encouraged to send e-mails to the “big eight” committee chairs and the House speaker, with a unified message:
– Restore 12,000 educator jobs set to be cut from the budget;
– Modernize taxes;
– Vote against amendments to reduce revenue.
Their e-mail addresses are:
Speaker Joe Hackney, joe.hackney@ncleg.net;
Rep. Alma Adams, alma.adams@ncleg.net;
Rep. Martha Alexander, martha.alexander@ncleg.net;
Rep. Jim Crawford, jim.crawford@ncleg.net;
Rep. Phillip Haire, phillip.haire@ncleg.net;
Rep. Maggie Jeffus, maggie.jeffus@ncleg.net;
Rep.Mickey Micheaux, mickey.micheaux@ncleg.net;
Rep. Joe Tolson, joe.tolson@ncleg.net;
Rep. Doug Younge: doug.younge@ncleg.net.
House members from Rowan County and their contact information:
Rep. Lorene Coates can be reached by e-mail at lorene.coates@ncleg.net, by telephone at 919-733-5784 or by mail at N.C. House of Representatives, 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 633, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925.
Rep. Fred Steen can be reached at fred.steen@ncleg.net, 919-733-5881 or N.C. House of Representatives, 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 514, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925.

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