CMS prepares for first day of school - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

CMS prepares for first day of school

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) district officials have released updated teacher vacancies days before school starts. As on Tuesday CMS reports 74.5 teacher vacancies and 44.5 openings for teacher assistants. The district hopes many positions will be filled by first day of school.

Teachers struggled this year to get a raise and one school districts took advantage of that. The Houston Independent School District aggressively recruited Charlotte teachers. CMS officials say that effort had a minimal effect. They report they only had one inquiry about a CMS teacher.

North Carolina teachers did eventually get a raise, some substantial - some small. Educators are relieved no major impact from Houston this year, but there is always next year.

"Our teachers love teaching in North Carolina," CMS Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said. "They love teaching in Charlotte Mecklenburg, but you have to remember if they can't get a commensurate competitive wage - they are not going to have not only Houston but other districts coming in."

CMS also reports $80 million worth of projects have been completed before the first day of school. This includes installing cameras at all elementary schools. Also doors to schools now have a special feature to prevent strangers from walking through the school.

"We are in sync," CMS Auxiliary Superintendent Guy Chamberlain said. "With the security movement across the country. And we did engage homeland security and a number of private investigators, security firms to find out where we need to make investments, and I think the investments have been wise."

Several things will be new this school year. High school lunches will go up by .25 cents. Lunch will now be $2.50. Officials claim students in high school get more food as the reason for the increase. Also students at 74 schools will no longer have to fill out paperwork to get a free breakfast or lunch. Those school's poverty rates are high enough that paperwork is waived for students.

Also 51,000 PreK-3rd grade students will get a library card. The library system predicts about 40,000 of them don't have a library card. The hope is the card will give at risk students access to books.

"There are resources available in the library," Char-Meck Library CEO Lee Keesler said. "That some of these families might not have and so it will help their children learn to read."

CMS officials say they are excited about the first day of school and expect learning to happen on day one.

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