Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools cutting staff at the central office

By Dedrick Russell - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Investor confidence is climbing, but confidence inside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) system is sinking with word that layoffs are coming sooner rather than later.

The Mecklenburg County Commission made a unanimous decision to cut $5 million from the school district's budget this year.

Employees in CMS' district office will be the first to go according to Superintendent Peter Gorman.

He says tough times equal tough decisions while one school board member believes cutting CMS' budget is long overdue.

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(The following information is from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools concerning the layoffs.)

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 4, 2009 - The Human Resources Department in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has announced a reorganization which will streamline some operations and reduce the number of positions.

The department, which has 97 employees paid for with state and county funds, will restructure so that 13 positions are condensed into four. The restructuring means that the department will shrink from 97 to a total of 88 positions funded by the state and county. This restructuring will result in a total savings of $489,323.

"Unfortunately, these tough budget times have caused us to have to cut staff," said Maurice Ambler, the district's chief human resources officer. "We want to maintain a high level of service despite these cuts and we've streamlined positions that could be combined with other roles. We believe that this will increase our efficiency while reducing our total number of employees."

The restructuring in Human Resources is the first in several such realignments for the district, which is facing budget cuts as a result of the economic downturn. CMS receives about a third of its funding from Mecklenburg County and about 60 percent of its funding from the state of North Carolina. Both the state and the county have indicated that revenue shortfalls will reduce the money given to the district.

To meet the anticipated shortfall, CMS is working to reduce the overall number of employees in the central-office operations, as well as reductions elsewhere. The required reductions could lead to cutting about 1,200 positions across the district.  Based on preliminary information from the county and the state, CMS could have to cut about $87 million from its operating budget for the 2009-2010 school year. The district budget in 2008-2009 was $1.2 billion.