CMS Hears From Public About Budget

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by Will Kennedy
Bio | Email | Follow: @willkennedynews

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools wants to give its employees a pay raise, but the county says the money may not be there to do it.

Paying teachers more could keep the best and the brightest in the district. But it comes with a hefty price tag.

"Teachers have to constantly make the decision between doing what they love in the classroom and being able to provide sometimes the basics, and sometimes the extras, for their own families," says Coulwood Middle School principal Janet Moss.

Ask almost anyone and they'll tell you, we need to support our schools and pay our teachers more.

"I think for a city like Charlotte, and for a community like this, it should be one of our first, highest priorities," says Myers Park resident Susanne Sawyer.

But words and reality are sometimes different things.

Teachers are bolting for greener pastures across state and county lines. CMS employees haven't seen a significant pay increase in years. Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison wants to give teachers a three percent raise.

That could go a long way towards retaining top teaching talent; and keeping principals, parents, and students from having to face...

"A possibility of one of their best teachers saying, 'I have to leave, because I can no longer afford to do this,'" says Lois Johnson of the Greater Charlotte Alliance.

"We need to retain the people that are most powerful in the classroom, and make sure that our students who deserve the best, get the best," says Moss.

Tuesday's public hearing was a chance for people to encourage the board to support the increased budget. It calls for $46 million more from the county than last year.

But even with the Board of Education's approval, that bump still has to go before the county commission.

"We think it's a pretty large increase, 13 percent from last year, so it is pretty big," says Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio. "We're going to evaluate their proposal, just like we evaluate all the other proposals that we've received."

The school board is set to approve the budget next month, and then send it to the county.

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