A local public schools staff union is petitioning the Guilford County Schools Board of Education for more funding for salaries and wages. The requests were largely agreed to by the board, but obstacles remain in the North Carolina General Assembly.

The petition was signed by some 700 public school workers and delivered to the board on Tuesday. It calls for the $15.4 million granted by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to be used to improve the pay scale for classified and certified staff members.

Those first two demands were accepted. The third, which is still under consideration, urges the board to adopt a resolution declaring that Guilford County public schools are in a state of emergency.

Guilford County Association of Educators (GCAE) President Joanna Pendleton says the petition echoes Governor Roy Cooper’s message about the shape of North Carolina’s public education. 

"What we know is that the General Assembly has recently passed legislation that allows local bodies to now fund charter schools with capital outlay dollars," says Pendleton. "And even though that’s an option now for our board of county commissioners, we want them to commit to keeping those public dollars in public schools where they belong."

GCAE members say legislation in Raleigh targeting vulnerable students, recent statewide book bans, and delayed budget approvals have created crisis conditions.

Pendleton says the aim is for the Board of Education to adopt the resolution, and then the group will mobilize efforts to put pressure on local leaders to keep tax dollars in public schools. 

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