Will 59 percent of CMS workers ever make living wage? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Will 59 percent of CMS workers ever make living wage?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Tuesday night taxpayers will give their two cents about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' (CMS) $1.2 billion budget. 

This year CMS superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison is requesting $46.2 million more from the county.  Most of that extra money would fund a 3% raise for all CMS employees.  Board members will hear for the first time from taxpayers about the increase.

School workers have not had a significant raise in several years.  Morrison reports 59% of CMS employees don't make living wage.  That means their salary from CMS is not enough to keep up with monthly expenses such as food, housing, transportation and other necessities.

Helen Collins has been a CMS teacher assistant for nine years.  She struggles and now is forced to dip in her savings to help pay her bills.

"I thought it was a career," Collins said. "That you were on that pedestal and you would be paid for the work you have to do all the time."

This concerns CMS school board chair Mary McCray.  She says there are teachers who have six years of teaching under their belt and they make the same as brand new teachers.

"Show me another profession that does that," McCray said. "Then I'll shut my mouth, but if you can't show me another profession that does that - with college educated people and even with our non certified people, they have associate degrees."

This matter has gotten the attention of Commission Chairman Trevor Fuller.

"There has to be fairness," Fuller said. "In how we fund and compensation for our teachers, cafeteria workers and all in our communities. We can't do it all on our property tax rate."

Fuller now wants to establish a committee to come up with solutions so college educated professionals won't have to live paycheck to paycheck.

To find out if you don't make living wage if you live in Mecklenburg County click here.

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