Teachers Raises & School Security Top Priorities in Proposed CMS Budget

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox pitched his $1.6 billion budget plan to the school board on Tuesday night. He wants the county to kick in nearly $70 million more than last year.

Wilcox says he’s focused on equity, people, and support.

He wants $7.4 million to give teachers a five percent raise next school year. He also wants $8 million to increase the local teacher supplement to the highest in the state.

“And then we’re adding one percent to it,” Wilcox said to applause.

A first-year teacher would get a $2,400 raise, a fifth-year teacher would see their salary go up by over $2,600. And a veteran 25-year teacher would see a more than $4,000 raise.

School safety is also a big priority and has been top of mind since a deadly shooting inside Bulter High School. After that, CMS implemented random security screenings at all of it’s high schools.

“From all reviews that I’ve gotten, the random security screenings aren’t the most effective,” says Phillip O. Berry Academy Senior Righteous Keitt.

Keitt says he’d like to see more focus on mental health and conflict resolution.

“Go and be more proactive in trying to stop these shootings and stop these things before they can get out of hand,” Keitt says.

To that point, Wilcox is asking for $5.8 million to pay for 27 social workers, 10 counselors, 10 psychologists, and eight coordinators.

$4.2 million would pay for 25 more school resource officers and 15 security guards.

School Board Member Carol Sawyer said she’s concerned about the possibility of putting SRO’s in elementary schools.

“I just haven’t seen evidence that school resource officers in elementary schools makes schools safer, and for many students it decreases a feeling of safety,” Sawyer said during the meeting.

The district will hold community workshops on the budget in the coming weeks. Then they are expected to take a vote before presenting it to County Commissioners.