Wilmington, N.C. – North Carolina Senate Education Committee co-chair Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) and state House Education Committee co-chair Craig Horn (R-Union) held a press conference Monday to announce plans to introduce legislation at an upcoming special session to provide relief to school systems and teachers affected by Hurricane Florence.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson also attended the event to support legislative preparations for providing relief to teachers, students and families affected by the second historic storm to hit North Carolina since 2016.
“Hurricane Florence was a monumental disaster for many North Carolinians and we are here to provide some certainty where very little exists today for families, teachers and others in the school system,” said Lee.
“We are committed to do what we need to do for our children, our families and those who work in our schools and are glad to announce this first step.”
Lee and Horn are working together on legislation that would alleviate some of the concerns expressed by teachers and employees at school systems that are expected to be out for an extended period of time in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
There are concerns among teachers and school employees that they would have to use vacation or personal days for the period of time that schools were closed. Lawmakers’ proposed bill would relieve those concerns by clarifying that employees will not need to use vacation or personal time.
Legislators are looking at a number of possibilities to achieve the compromise, including waiving some or all of the days missed due to the storm.
“Our hearts go out to all the folks that were affected by Hurricane Florence,” said Horn.
“We are working together, the House and Senate, both houses and both parties on a comprehensive disaster relief bill. We will be coming into session sometime in the next week or two to address this and get the immediate needs addressed.”
N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, who also appeared at the press conference, said he supports the efforts of Lee and Horn to immediately address the concerns of teachers and schools in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
“I want to thank the leadership of Sen. Michael Lee and Rep. Craig Horn for making this happen so quickly,” said Johnson.
“We know there is going to be a lot more work to do in the weeks and months ahead, and we just want people to know that Raleigh will be taking those actions.”
While the measures would be the first of likely several steps moving forward, the hope is they will alleviate some concerns and allow teachers and employees to focus on hurricane recovery.