RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Public school teachers from across North Carolina rallied outside Sen. Thom Tillis’ Raleigh office on Saturday, demanding he show support for the HEROES Act, a second coronavirus relief package that would provide funding for public schools.
“We are here because it is past time for Senate action to address the reality of this crisis,” said Tamika Walker Kelly, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE).
The HEROES Act made it through the House, but is at a standstill in the Senate.
“I’m really scared for the safety of our communities and I think this action is a way to demonstrate that fear collectively,” said Alec Greenwald, whose children attend Durham Public Schools.
If passed, the $3 trillion package would provide a wide range of benefits to Americans. Those benefits include a second round of stimulus checks, additional paid sick days, unemployment benefits, and funding for public schools.
“These federal dollars are just paramount in order for us to fund our public schools in this moment,” said Michelle Burton, a public school teacher and president of the Durham Association of Educators.
Teachers who rallied outside Tillis’ office tell CBS 17 the reality is, students and staff are struggling, and say they need that funding to make it through the school year.
“We are here because North Carolina public school educators have remained in contact with students throughout the crisis, witnessing the hardship they and their families are experiencing first hand,” Kelly said.
They also want Tillis to support extending the USDA Food Waiver, which expands access to lunch.
Without it, teachers say students who learn remotely would have to go to school to get their lunch.
“We want our kids to be successful. Well, how can a hungry kid learn?” said Ron Surgeon, a cafeteria employee from Guilford County
CBS 17 reached out to Tillis’ office, but have not heard back yet.
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