Step Up for Our Schools

Buncombe County Board of Education and Buncombe County Commission

Step Up for Our Schools

After more than a decade of attacks and underfunding from lawmakers in Raleigh, Buncombe County Schools are in a crisis of staff burnout and turnover. Already, remaining staff are caught between a rapidly rising cost of living and declining real wages. These conditions mean many staff are stretched to the breaking point, and too many students are not receiving the quality services they deserve.

Our students can’t wait for help from politicians in Raleigh that may never come. Our students need more support than ever, and they deserve nothing less. Each and every one of them has a right to a world class public school led with world class educators and staff.

Fortunately, the BCS Board of Education and the Buncombe County Commission can act now to make sure our schools can recruit and retain the dedicated staff our students deserve and provide every student with the services they need.

To: Buncombe County Board of Education and Buncombe County Commission
From: [Your Name]

We—BCAE members, BCS staff, students, parents, and supporters—are calling on the BCS Board of Education and the Buncombe County Commission to create and fund a budget that will:

1. Fund meaningful raises for all staff:

For classified staff:
- Raise classified staff pay to a minimum of $22.10/hr—the 2024 living wage for Buncombe County*—or a 20% raise, whichever is greater for each staffer.
- Acquire and maintain Just Economics Living Wage Employer certification and commit to providing an annual cost of living adjustment for classified staff.

For certified staff:
- Increase certified staff salary from local funds by 10% in every category

2. Prioritize staff time to do our jobs well:

- Hire a full-time substitute as a full-time classified staffer in every building
- Create 5 additional teacher workdays free of mandatory PD or meetings (protected workdays). Pay all classified staff for a full day’s work on these days, starting with the 24-25 academic year.
- Pass a policy requiring that a minimum of 3 planning periods per week remain clear from mandatory school-directed meetings for all certified staff
- Establish a board policy for trade time to define clear and equitable expectations.

3. Fund EC, mental health, and student support services:

- Increase pay for all classified and certified EC staff by $2,000/yr in order to help retain staff and fill vacancies
- Increase EC positions by 10% districtwide, including creating new certified and classified positions
- Ensure that all students have increased access to a school-based therapist who accepts all NC Medicaid plans–with a goal of at least one full time therapist for each school
- Maintain all ESSER funded positions and double behavior support staff by hiring an additional 13 behavior support specialists and assistants, with a goal and plan to grow to at least one full time school-based behavior specialist at each school.


BCAE Members, BCS public school staff, and parents & community supporters of BCS