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CMS delivers $578 million budget request to county commissioners

The district is asking commissioners for a lot more money- $40 million more than last year.
The district is asking commissioners for a lot more money- $40 million more than last year.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:43 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools leaders presented their budget request for the next school year to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday.

The district is asking commissioners for a lot more money- $40 million more than last year.

The CMS board has already approved its $2.1 billion budget. Members are asking county commissioners to kick in a total of nearly $579 million.

Related: CMS board votes to approve $2.1B budget for 2022-23 school year

The proposed budget includes millions for teacher raises, with an average raise of 2.7%. It also raises the minimum pay for teacher assistants to $16.50 an hour. The district will also hire more staff to help support students’ social and emotional needs.

At-Large Commissioner Leigh Altman praised the school district’s commitment to student outcomes-focused governance workshops.

“Now, here we are a year later and what has the Board of Education done? They’ve done some great things. They’ve done some very hard work with AJ Crabill I have watched I think every single meeting they’ve had with them,” Altman said.

Those same workshops helped the Board identify much-needed investments to decrease the achievement gap and improve students’ college and career readiness rates.

This request was met with some questions when it comes to staffing.

“What differentiated staffing will be available for children with complex needs,” questioned Vice Chair and District 1 Commissioner Elaine Powell.

District 4 Commissioner Mark Jerrell asked how success will be measured for college and career readiness rates including the district’s 42 low performing schools.

“I’m a little disconnected, if we’ll see a difference with respect to the percent of children that are going to be on grade level or projected to be on grade level. Are the outcomes going to be different, are we just saying system-wide no matter where you are,” he asked.

CMS’ presentation was rushed due to a scheduling conflict with its closed session meeting - CMS requested an earlier time slot and was denied.

Some county commissioners say the information was great but the quick presentation took the focus off the actual request.

“Although that was all-important, but I just wasn’t ready to receive that today. This is our budget meeting, our presentation from CMS, so I’m a little disappointed but that’s just where I am,” said At-Large Commissioner Pat Cotham.

Last summer, the county and board struggled over the budget request. The county threatened to withhold $56 million because it felt there wasn’t a strategic plan in place. However, CMS eventually got what it asked for, plus more.

Later this month, the county manager will present her budget recommendation followed by a public hearing.

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