RENSSELAER —Add Rensselaer Central School Corporation to the growing list that won’t have classes Nov. 19.
Superintendent Curtis Craig said the corporation’s four schools will be closed that day for a teacher’s rally at the Indiana Statehouse meant to draw attention to a lack of funding for public schools.
The rally, known as the “Red for Ed Action Day,” is timed for Tuesday when state legislators are back in session to organize for the upcoming General Assembly.
“This day is not part of our 2019-2020 calendar,” Craig said. “RCSC has many educators who will be participating in the event to advocate for our students and the future of public education. RCSC will be closed in support of our educators.”
Craig said the corporation’s teachers “are highly dedicated and would prefer to be in their classrooms teaching students.” As recently as Nov. 7, his administration had planned to keep the school open Nov. 19.
Last week, Craig said around 11 teachers from the corporation were taking that day off but enough substitutes were available for school to go on as usual.
But this week, he said about 20 more teachers have since requested a personal day for the rally date.
“We went from having maybe 10 (or) 12 to 35,” he said of the number of teachers requesting off that day. “I don’t know if we’re unusual. I think a lot of corporations saw the same thing.”
Twin Lakes School Corporation in Monticello, as of last week, had more than 50 teachers who expressed plans to take the day off for the rally.
Craig said he spoke with various area superintendents, all of whom decided to close their respective schools. He has also had calls from the community requesting that RCSC support the teachers by closing the school that day.
“Inadequate funding for schools, teacher shortages and high stakes testing that is constantly changing put great pressure on our schools,” he said. “Every year, more is required of teachers and schools while the resources fail to keep pace.”
He called the event an opportunity for all supporters of public education to show legislators that action needs to be taken on the issues facing public education.
As of Nov. 10, more than 7,000 teachers had registered for the rally, while weather and other factors could affect attendance, according to Keith Gambill, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
“If even half as many of those who have registered so far show up, it would likely be the largest teacher rally in state history,” he said.
For more information about RCSC’s plans to close Nov. 19, people are encouoraged to contact Craig at email@example.com.
The Nov. 19 event is set to run from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It includes meeting with lawmakers, lunch, member stories and a march on the statehouse grounds.