Budget feud between Mecklenburg County, CMS turns after commissioner blasts district

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 10:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A budget feud between Mecklenburg County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools took a turn over the weekend after comments made by Commissioner George Dunlap.

During an event by the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Dunlap criticized Superintendent Earnest Winston and the district.

“When nobody else would come to CMS, they made him superintendent,” Dunlap said during the event.

He also questioned the leadership of CMS as the ongoing battle continues on how to close the education gap, particualry among students of color.

On Tuesday, offered a public invitation to meet with CMS leadership.

“It is my hope they will accept this invitation and we can work to addressing their concerns, while still providing the information request by the Board of County Commissioners,” he said.

Mecklenburg County has proposed withholding $56 million of a near $550 million budget from CMS until it can provide a plan to address education gaps.

The county says this won’t affect students.

The district says it will.

“I just hope they remember that students and children alike are watching them and we see how they throw these schoolyard taunts at each other,” said CMS high school student Sidney Griffin.

Griffin and John Schubert are part of Generation Nation, a group dedicated to developing “a new generation of civic leaders.”

“You can say it’s not affecting things that fund classroom experiences, but you can’t tell me funding cuts at the top are not going to ripple all the way down,” said. Schubert, a CMS high school student.

In a statement on behalf of CMS Board Chair Elyse Dashew, she says, “We are appalled by the personal attack on Superintendent Earnest Winston by George Dunlap.”

Amanda Thompson-Rice, a parent and community advocate, says both sides should remember the students.

“The main question I want everybody to ask themselves when they go on camera or to make a vote, ‘What about the children?’ That’s why we’re here. And no one can think to themselves if I defund education, kids are going to come out on top. It’s never going to happen,” she said.

Children, like these high school students, watch and see everything.

“I play sports so when we travel to other schools, I notice the differences between facilities and general upkeep between schools,” Griffin added.

“It goes beyond schools, this problem. You look at Charlotte and you can already see the vast inequality by geographic area,” Schubert said.

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