CMS Board Approves Superintendent’s $1.3B Budget Proposal

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education signed off on a $1.3 billion budget Tuesday night that gives teachers raises.

But it may be a tough sell to Mecklenburg County Commissioners who have the final say.

With no comments or discussion at the school board meeting, the board approved Superintendent Ann Clark’s budget proposal for 2015-2016.

Clark says she wants the budget to send a message that “talent matters.” 
 
“There’s clearly a need to acknowledge and affirm the critical role they play both to be able to recruit and bring people into the district,” said Clark.
 
The National Education Association ranked Charlotte 47th in the nation in teacher pay last year.
 
“We truly are indebted to making sure that the employees that we have have a living wage,” said Chairwoman Mary McCray.  
 
The school board is requesting $428 million from Mecklenburg County–about $39 million more than last year.  
 
The bulk–$16.2 million–would go to teacher and staff pay raises. Most teachers would receive a two percent increase.
 
Close to $9 million would go toward keeping teacher assistants and funding literacy programs like summer reading camps.  
 
Another $8 million would fund charter schools, which is required by the state. 
 
$5.8 million would help with additional space to accommodate 2,400 more students expected next year and $4.5 million is for on-going things like state-mandated driver’s ed classes. 
 
Now, the budget is in the hands of the county. 
 
“You show what you need it for, and I think we’ve done that,” said McCray.
 
County Manager Dena Diorio didn’t give much indication Tuesday about how the county will respond.
 
“They’re going to put forward their request, and it’s based on what they think that their needs are. And we’ll evaluate it in the context of all the other requests we’ve received,” said Diorio.
 
There’s a workshop scheduled next Tuesday for the school board and commissioners to discuss the proposed budget.