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'Simply drained': CMS teachers demand more help from district

Since Aug. 1, over 500 teachers have left Charlotte's schools. Those who stayed say they're overworked, underpaid and on the verge of breaking.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers rallied outside Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting to say they're burned out and need more help from the district. 

During Tuesday's meeting, CMS officials voted to make next Monday, Nov. 1 a teacher workday. This created a four-day weekend for students and gives educators an opportunity to get caught up on new training initiatives from the state. While the CMS board voted to give students that additional day off, members of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators gathered outside with a strong message to anyone who would listen. 

"We cannot continue with any of these patterns that are really affecting our educators immensely," one teacher said. "We won't last. It's as simple as that."

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The group said teachers are overworked and underpaid. They said teachers are under even more pressure because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and added workload created by the departure of colleagues. Despite incentives to hire and retain teachers at the start of the year, CMS said more than 500 teachers have resigned or retired since Aug. 1, and nearly 100 more are planning to leave. 

"When we continue to lose great teachers, you cannot have a healthy school system," one person said. 

Protesters said that with all the departures they are now doing two, and in some cases, three times the amount of work and they're on the verge of breaking. 

"We're covering classes, we're sacrificing our planning, which leads to planning at home," she said. "Many are mentally, physically and emotionally, simply drained."

To help with the teacher shortage, CMS has rolled out a new "guest teacher" program at 42 schools. The program will create full-time positions that are assigned to specific schools. Guest teachers will be paid $150 per day as full-time CMS employees. 

Contact Richard DeVayne at rdevayne@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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