Can Charlotte schools fill the technology gap in time? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Can Charlotte schools fill the technology gap in time?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Will Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district be left behind when it comes to technology?

The school district says it must have all schools online before the Fall 2013 semester.

The state will be using online testing, digital textbooks and other features that students must have in order to get a HS diploma.

Right now only about 33% of CMS schools have WIFI and are ready to embrace technology.

Nearly 70% of the schools have computers but don't have internet access in all areas of the school.

CMS leaders say they will have a hard time finding money for technology to put in next year's budget.

"It's not only going to be CMS that's going to be left behind," CMS School Board chairperson Mary McCray said.  "But every large district in the state is going to be left behind. I would even go as far and say North Carolina maybe left behind because we don't have the money, the infrastructure or any of that to be ready for all that we will have to face."

McCray thought the state would use the Race to the Top grant money to foot the bill. 

"We were told initially the state was going to undertake a lot of this." McCray said.

But that's not happening.

"Now a lot of that cost is being passed on to locals," McCray said. "And it's at a time when our budgets have not gotten back to where they need to be."

This could be a problem as CMS tries to figure out where the money will come from. 

CMS Parents are now concerned and don't like the fact only about a third of CMS schools are able to make the connection from anywhere on a school campus.

"I just think as a school district," CMS parent Dandris Davis said. "As a whole, every child should have the same opportunities."

"It should make a big difference," CMS parent Phyllis McClure said. "They don't have to do so many books and so many papers being printed up, so it would save money that way."

CMS superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison will unveil his budget in April. We'll wait to see if he will include enough money to meet the technology demand the state has put on school districts.

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