Day #1 Under His Belt
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It was a busy first day of new superintendent Heath Morrison's $288,000, four year contract. For eight hours, he toured different facilities within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district, including three schools. The 46-year-old from Reno, Nevada walked the halls, shook hands, got a free tee-shirt and even read a story to summer program students.
But the real work happened away from the cameras. CMS' new top dog says his top priority is the budget. "In between all our visits today, I've been on the phone with different lawmakers trying to assess what's happening in Raleigh. That has a huge impact in terms of what we're trying to move forward with," says Morrison. And that would be getting school employees a three percent raise. Morrison says he's been on top of the budget battle since he was hired in April. He's waiting to hear if the state will provide the funds needed for the raises.
Governor Bev Perdue blocked the $20.2 billion budget last week. She says more money is needed for public education. The legislature overrode her budget veto last year. They were in Raleigh Monday trying to find the votes to override this veto.
Morrison says, "The sooner we know the ultimate decision, the better off we'll be and hopefully it'll be what we thought it would be earlier in the week."
Morrison also says he's got a couple upcoming announcements, including who he's hired for two of three open cabinet positions. The district is also still interviewing candidates for the West Charlotte High School principal vacancy.