CMS warns commissioners academics could suffer

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte - Mecklenburg school (CMS) board members met for the first time Wednesday with county commissioners after approving the school district's $1.1 billion budget.

CMS wants $27.5 million more from the county next year to pay for growth and a 3% raise for all employees.

School officials told county leaders they fear if teachers don't get a raise, some effective teachers could leave the district.

"It will be an issue when we are out recruiting and trying to retain the best," Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said.  "It will be that much more challenging."

Commissioners grilled school board members about finding the money in its budget to fund the raise. They asked CMS about cutting several programs to pay for the raise.  They asked about cutting the popular Pre - Kindergarten program called Bright Beginnings and it was stated about eliminating high school sports.  Interim superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said that wouldn't work.

Commissioner Jim Pendergraph is interested in CMS outsourcing to find money for raises.

"I want to see where there privatization issues are," Pendergraph said.  "There are things they can do where the county has proven will work and they have not done anything yet."

Commissioners say it will be tough to give CMS enough money to pay for raises.  Commissioner Vilma Leake says she is open to the idea of just giving enough money to give raises to just teachers not everybody.

"I am for teachers getting raises," Leake said.  "Not administrative team but teachers, the ones who are confronted and working with our children."

Commissioners are scheduled to vote on its budget in June.

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