CMS ordered to return $3.8 million to the state

By Michael Handy - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The state of North Carolina has ordered Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to give back another $3.8 million.  This after the district already returned more than $5 million.

534 jobs are on the chopping block, and school board leaders say that number likely will go even higher.

"With the furloughs and the pay cuts that the governor has already announced, and then this additional amount that has to be given back, it's clearly a pretty serious cash flow problem right this minute," said CMS Board Chair Molly Griffin.

Pink slips were handed down to 29 assistant principals on Friday, but beyond that no one is willing to say who or what is next in line.

"Our staff is hard at work trying to find out where the cuts can come," said Griffin.  "It's very preliminary now to guess what those cuts might be."

Bottom line, we are going to see some major impacts inside the classroom.  What is even more frightening, is that no one knows how long this economic storm might last.

"Don't cut the classrooms, don't cut the teachers, the psychologists, oh my word, my little girl's got dyslexia, if it hadn't been for a school psychologist she'd be lost," said Deborah Canter.

Canter is one of many parents preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best.

"The psychology department might be cut all together from what I've heard," said Canter.  "Without Mr. Bender, the school psychologist, all 3 of my children, you know, he was the one who identified their problems, and now they're succeeding."

Right now the only hope for Canter's children could be federal stimulus money which is supposed to be earmarked for low-income schools and students with special needs.

However, the board is still figuring out exactly what that means, and if it could use the money to buy back positions like school psychologists.

CMS is not the only system being ordered to return money.  The state is asking for a total of $41 million from all school districts in North Carolina.  The impact will be a huge blow to every district in the state.