Nick de la Canal/WFAE

Six years ago, a group of young women were picked to take part in a special program. The girls were all in the seventh grade, all were Latinas, and all were deemed to be at risk of dropping out of school or becoming pregnant. The program is run by a volunteer group called Circle de Luz. And last week the group – and the young women they mentored – had reason to celebrate

If there was a word of the night at yesterday’s Mecklenburg County Commissioners meeting, it would have been “teachers.” Not surprising since the board was set to approve its $1.3 billion budget, which includes more money for schools and a referendum for this November that would add money for teacher pay. The meeting turned terse and politically divisive and even had a bit of a budgetary surprise.

Lisa Miller / WFAE

Mecklenburg County commissioners are weighing whether to give CMS employees a raise out of the county’s pocket be that by paying the district an extra $26.7 million or asking voters to approve a quarter cent sales tax. A few hundred teachers showed up to a public hearing last night to make their case. 

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio presented her budget to County Commissioners Thursday. Here's a look at what is, and is not in her $1.5 billion proposed budget. 

Lisa Miller / WFAE

Teachers get the top-billing in most stories about education budget cuts. But there are a lot of other people who make a school run such as guidance counselors, school psychologists and social workers. CMS wants the county to foot the bill to add about forty of these positions next year.

What's the Likelihood of Teacher Raises This Year?

May 2, 2014
Tasnim Shamma

Raising teacher salaries is something Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers have agreed is a priority this year. The plan is to boost base pay to $35,000 over two years for teachers in their first ten years on the job. That amounts to raises of $500 to $4,200.  But as legislators begin crafting a budget, they say there may not be enough money to do all of that. 

WFAE’s Lisa Miller joins me now to discuss the likelihood of teacher raises this year. 

albertogp123 / Flickr

North Carolina school students will have to tackle several hours of standardized tests in a few weeks. State and federal laws mandate that. As the debate over these tests intensifies, many parents wonder if their kids can refuse to take them.  The answer is yes, but it may cost them. 

CMS And Charter Schools

Apr 11, 2014
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

If you’ve been following public education in recent years, it almost seems as if the system is under siege.  That’s certainly the case locally.  CMS recently told county commissioners that they would likely lose $80 million to charter schools this year – an amount that cannot be made up with cuts in overhead.  And teacher pay continues to be a big issue.  We get an update on all this from Superintendent Heath Morrison and state school board member John Tate.

Lisa Miller

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. 

Davie Hinshaw / Charlotte Observer

StudentFirst charter school in West Charlotte is closing its doors next week due to financial problems. That means CMS will have to find room for most of their 260 students to finish out the year and the school district won’t get reimbursed for that expense.