Charlotte Mecklenburg School officials plan to ask the county for an extra $46 million next year. Most of that would go for a 3 percent pay raise for all CMS employees.
Usually school districts look to the state to pay for raises. But for the past five years state lawmakers have only granted a 1 percent pay raise for teachers.
For that reason, Superintendent Heath Morrison says it’s up to the county to make sure teachers and all CMS employees get a raise. He wants the county to give an extra $26.7 million for that.
“This is the highest priority. The time for increasing employee compensation is now,” said Morrison.
He brought a couple of teachers like Peter Huxtable to last night’s school board meeting to make the point.
“When teachers look to where to work, why would they come to CMS?” asked Huxtable. “There have been no raises, the workload has doubled, and the expectations have doubled in the last five years. We may not be able to do much about the workload and expectations, but we can about the salaries.”
State lawmakers are taking about a pay raise for some teachers next year. Governor Pat McCrory wants to raise the salaries of beginning teachers by $2,200. Morrison says if that happens, the district could give employees more than a 3 percent raise.
Morrison also wants the county to give another $3.5 million to create more magnet schools and career training opportunities. An extra $5 million would go toward adding counselors, psychologists and additional training for literacy teachers.
Nearly all board members said they support the superintendent’s proposed budget
“I can tell you that I am excited about this budget, not because we’re meeting all of the needs, but because we’re meeting some of the needs,” said school board member Rhonda Lennon who represents north Mecklenburg County.
“I can tell you that Dr. Morrison may fall off his chair, but I do support this budget already,” said Lennon as the audience clapped.
Applause was easy to come by, since the crowd was packed with principals, teachers and a few parents. The district will have a tougher audience when the budget request goes before county commissioners. They’ll adopt a county budget in June.