CMS Superintendent angry about NC budget

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte - Mecklenburg school (CMS) superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison is firing back concerning the state's $20.6 billion dollar budget.

Morrison says CMS could take about a $12 million hit.

Teacher assistants (TA's) would absorb most of the cuts. Morrison says CMS would cut TA positions and TA's would work fewer hours and days. Morrison claims that would hurt students who need that one on one attention in the classroom.

NC lawmakers claim this budget is reasonable, realistic, and responsible. Morrison questions that.

"What I question is," Morrison said. "At a time when living within our means has resulted in a K12 budget where we are cutting teacher assistants at a huge level, potentially cutting teachers and cutting instructional supplies - so where did we find the money for vouchers and how does that mean we are living within our means."

Morrison also questions the voucher system lawmakers agreed on. Low income families will be eligible for vouchers ,up to $6,000, to send their children to private schools.

"Why is it we are bequeathing money - public money," the superintendent said. "For private school vouchers without expecting the private schools receiving the public money - are going to fall under the same accountability of the public schools."

Jordan Shaw from House Speaker Thom Tillis' offices disagrees with Morrison. He says this budget reflects the largest amount of money ever spent on education in the history of North Carolina.

Morrison questioned why lawmakers didn't give teachers a raise this year. He worries no raise means teachers leaving. Charlotte's top educator claims no raise could land North Carolina at the bottom when it comes to average teacher pay nationwide.

"We're now seeing teachers leave our state," Morrison said. "For states they would have never had in the past. Teachers leave to go to South Carolina, so they can make more money - that never used to happen."

Shaw's response is the state wanted to give teachers a raise but couldn't because it had to take care of the deficit the state Medicaid program incurred.

Morrison says he will still question lawmakers' decisions but will do his best CMS students will still get a quality education.