Thursday, June 21, 2012

CMS: No trick to 3 percent raises

Rumors have been afloat for weeks that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders planned to shortchange teachers on their promise of a 3 percent raise. Instead of a true 3 percent raise, the skeptics say, CMS only plans to increase the local supplement by 3 percent.

Not so, interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh and Chief Financial Officer Sheila Shirley told me Wednesday. The 3 percent plan, which came a big step closer to reality with the state budget plan legislative leaders have agreed on, is to boost salaries by 3 percent, not a fraction of that, they said.

Consider a teacher with 10 years of experience and a bachelor's degree.  In CMS that teacher makes $42,612 for a 10-month work year -- a $37,710 state salary plus a $4,902 supplement paid with county money (check the CMS pay scale here). A 3 percent bump in the supplement would be only $147, bringing the total pay to $42,759. Shirley said CMS hopes to use county money to supplement the 1.2 percent raises provided in the state plan (which still has to be voted on by the full House and Senate and signed by the governor), so the teacher would make 3 percent more next year, which would be $43,890.

By the way, it looks like hiring season is in full force at CMS. The district has 324 instructional jobs posted (mostly teachers) and 101 non-educator jobs


Anonymous said...

Speaking of current openings, there are more than 324. If you click "view" you will see that some schools, especially the ProjectLift schools are hiring way more than just one position.

Statesville Road for example has 8 openings in K-5...current teachers can't that means 8 new teachers, how will that spell success???

Wiley Coyote said...

Project LIFT....

No different than Obama's Stimulus.

Eventually, you run out of money and what you have spent may not have any or very little effect at all.

What then?

It can never be replicated.

Anonymous said...

STOP SAYING CMS IS GIVING A 3 PERCENT RAISE!!!!!!! CMS is giving a 1.8% raise. What a sham, the raise is nice, but what I don't get is that if CMS budgeted a 3% raise prior to NC funding WHY IS THE RAISE NOT 4.8%???? How about giving them their step increases back.....CHRIST flat pay for 4 years while the rate of inflation grew 3 % each year. They are already at a 12% shortfall against the rate of inflation.

Bill Stevens said...

The story is that the state will fund the 3% raises. So will that mean that the 1% that CMS "found" and the 2% that the BOCC has restricted is now unneeded?

If it is now unneeded because the state has funded it, BOCC should use at least 1/2 that amount, $9m or so, to fund an independent audit of CMS's books and procedures. While this in reality may be a 2 year project, it would go a long way to rebuilding the public's and BOCC's trust in CMS. Yes, it is sad to do with a new uperintendent coming in but hopefully this will be a wakeup call news item that all is not so rosy as public officals, educrats and some news media (Thanks for your hard work Ann) paints about CMS and K-12 in general. Too much drinking the koolaid and pandering to a subculture.

Wiley Coyote said...

More than 18,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees are likely to get 3 percent raises in July, thanks to a state budget plan that provides a 1.2 percent hike for teachers and other state employees.

1.2% from the STATE and 1.8% from the COUNTY = 3%.

Greedy CMS wants the remainder of the $18 million that was set aside from the COUNTY for a 3% raise, IF the STATE did not fund any portion of a raise.

Teachers will get a 3% raise with portions of it coming from the STATE - 1.2% and the COUNTY 1.8%.

The remainder of the contingency money should go back into the COUNTY general fund.

CUT CMS' budget!

Anonymous said...

We finally have some clarification about the 3% raise we have been hearing about for MONTHS. Thank you!

Now, the state decides to give everyone a 1.2% increase, so CMS is going to give 1.8% to make it a total of 3%, not an additional 3%. Isn't the money in reserves and ONLY to be used for teacher raises, as promised? What would happen to the left over money? I would hope it goes back to the county. CMS said they intended it to be used for raises; I'd hate to see the remaining money go towards some pet project or the creation of more useless tests.

Teachers have been mistreated and taken advantage of for years with stagnant wages, increased health and dental insurance, added unpaid hours, and being blamed for things outside of their control. It is about time that the NC legislator and CMS administrative staff give them much needed raises.

Anonymous said...

The BOCC better get out their pencils and calculators...ask CMS how much of the $18 Million is actually needed to add 1.8% on top of the 1.2% increase coing from the state. If the answer is less than $18 Million, then there are 2 choices: 1) put the remainder back in the County Fund, or 2) ask for confirmation that the remainder will also be used for TEACHER raises.
If CMS won't give the guarantee, than the decision for the BOCC is easy. It was also be a very clear statement about how serious CMS is about taking care of its teachers.

Christine Mast said...

I don't know how much more of this I can take from CMS... it's amazing how many SPINS Mr. Hattabaugh and Ms. Shirley continue to put on these 3% raises. Ms. Shirley played around with the details in her update to the BOE at their last meeting. Now they're both doing it again.

Let me try to explain this a different way... with FACTS.

My starting point is the "2012-2013 Proposed Budget Recommendation" Book that I have in my hands. You can also find the document here:

In that document, PLEASE look at page 29 and 30. On page 29, you'll find the explanation for the 1% Cost of Living Increase of $7,480,112. On page 30, you'll find the explanation for the Additional 2% Cost of Living Increase and Market Adjustment of $18,555,613.

These are the two numbers that everyone should be talking about. Both dollar amounts are in the LOCAL (County) COST column.

Now look at page 51 in the Budget document. Notice the "REQUESTED INCREASE ABOVE 2011-2012 COUNTY APPROPRIATION $ 27,523,460" includes the "1% Cost of Living Increase" (funded from redirections above) $7,480,112 and the "Additional 2% Cost of Living Increase and Market Adjustment $18,555,613".

See how the TOTAL 3% raises were proposed to be paid for with two buckets of money:

#1 -- the 1% portion would be funded by the money that CMS "found/saved/redirected"

#2 -- the 2% portion (plus market adjustment) would be funded by the County... WHICH THEY DID, by putting it in a restricted fund, payable upon proof that the raises were paid out

Christine Mast said...

To keep explaining:

The 1% has always been funded by the savings CMS found already... NO ONE ELSE NEEDS TO FUND THIS FOR CMS.

The remaining 2% ($18.5 million) has been paid for by the County in their restricted funds.

So before the State ever finalized their budget, CMS ALREADY HAD THE FUNDS TO PAY THE 3% raises.

Now, we have to factor in the State contribution. According to reports yesterday, the State may give CMS the funding to cover 1.2% raises.

Let's review:

1.0% has already been covered by CMS
1.2% may be covered by the State

That leaves 0.8% (3.0% - 1.0% - 1.2% = 0.8%) to be covered by other funds that CMS will receive for FY12-13. Obviously, they can use part of the $18.5 million in restricted funds from the County to fund this remaining 0.8%.

Christine Mast said...

Yet another way to explain this:

I requested a spreadsheet from Sheila Shirley, CFO, detailing the pieces of the 3% raise calculation. That spreadsheet says that the 3% raises are calculated on the budgeted 2012-2013 Base Salaries from the Total State and County Salaries. I will try to summarize them here:

1% increase $6,133,250 (to be paid by CMS, using funds that were "redirected/reduced")
FICA (7.65%) 469,194
Retirement (14.31%) 877,668

Total in budget book (page 51) for 1% increase $7,480,112

2% increase $12,266,500
FICA (7.65%) 938,388
Retirement (14.31%) 1,755,336
Market adjustment 3,595,389

Total in budget book (page 51) for 2% increase $18,555,613

So let's review...

The 1% raise was ALWAYS promised by CMS to be PAID by CMS, using "savings" they found elsewhere.

For the 2% raise, the BOCC graciously restricted $18.5 million of County funds, payable to CMS upon receipt of proof of the raises.

Now, if the State is going to fund 1.2% of the total 3% raises, that leaves 0.8% that CMS has to "fund" from other sources (namely, the BOCC restricted contingency).

If all my assumptions are correct, CMS would have a windfall (from the BOCC) of just under $7 million, that they could use to plug the gap in funding from the BOCC. And if CMS decided not to pay out the market adjustment, which was one of Sheila Shirley's suggestions at the last BOE meeting, that would be another $3.595 million to use for other expenses.

And when I say "windfall" and "plug the gap," I'm being sarcastic. CMS has more money than they know what to do with. Yet another year's worth of dooms-day talk that never materializes in facts.

Wiley Coyote said...

$7.5 Million in found money.

Those dang little buckets. We need to get a sheep dog to round those little puppies up to keep them from getting lost!

County Commission? Are you listening?

Christine Mast said...

One more thing and I'll stop:

Shirley said CMS hopes to use county money to supplement the 1.2 percent raises provided in the state plan...

She HOPES(?) to use the County money? That's exactly what they ASKED the County to fund... and the County DID just what CMS asked them to do!!!!


I cannot believe the arrogance of CMS, acting like they still may not be able to fund these raises... the money was there the day the BOCC voted on CMS' budget.

Wiley Coyote said...


CMS is like a pack of vultures.

They see "extra money" left over AFTER the County kicks in the 1.8% for the remainder of the raises.

Then the usual crying that if we don't get that money, we will not be "fully funded".

CMS can't manage what they have and spend money wisely.

CUT the CMS budget!

Anonymous said...

Again our thanks Chrisitine. It seems in less than a day you have done more for teachers than Rhonda Lennon has done in years. Christine in 2013!

Ann Doss Helms said...

Christine, I hope I haven't inadvertently implied more than was said. My sense was that Hattabaugh and Shirley were being somewhat vague mainly because the folks in Raleigh had just passed their compromise plan, which the CMS folks hadn't reviewed in detail. Plus it still has to face full House/Senate vote and governor's signature. I think we'll get more specifics on Tuesday.

Bill Stevens said...

Ann, Hugh and Shirley are deliberately vague much to the same end purpose that "finding the check" for Ericka will never happen. The less they commit for print, the easier it is for them to turn around and moan, whine, cry, etc. when their addiction (to taxpayer money) is not more than fully satisfied and accountability is ever increased.

And Christine, I have been through that handout in past years with staffers and in the end, they will make "mid-year" adjustments that fit any new fad they might think of. That handout never becomes final and in the end, is not worth the paper, or stoage byte, it is on. I had a principal tell me one year when I asked about a program the budget plan called for, they would never see one dollar of that as a line item. It all becomes one big pool of money and everyone goes swimming in it.

BolynMcClung said...


Subject: Use of word “hope” by CMS staff…or anyone

Let’s see if I can help you by putting the shoe on the other foot.

Suppose you decide to run for the school board and then it happens.

As a board member, would you rather a staff member give a tentative answer to a question that hasn’t been decided by the board, or would you rather that person give a message to the public that states how you’re going to vote?

My experiences are that the staff and you will hear the answer at the same time: when the vote is taken by the board!

You’ll find the classic version of this on the front page of The Chicago Tribune for November 3, 1948.

Bolyn McClung

Wiley Coyote said...


The word "hope" was plastered everywhere four years ago.

How has that worked out for us?

Christine Mast said...

Bolyn @2:56,

Rather than argue about the usage of words here, I would hope that you'd have an opinion about the financial details that have been presented.

What I fail to understand is why the BOE/CMS Staff can "propose" a budget to the BOCC, but then turn right around and not bother with any of the details as presented...

Either you want something in a certain way, or you don't. You don't get to play it both ways. (well, I guess CMS does, and has for years)...

Bill Stevens said...

Ah Christine, now you get it. Playing it both ways, CMS style.

Much like how you hear from the executive branch in DC these days. If some law is inconvenient for you (to ensure re-election), just send out an executive order to have it ignored.

Last thing, well there is never a last thing when discussing CMS, I am sure the final determination with Ericka's check is that since she is chair, she can make any decision she wants to (like going to London when she knew she did not have enough funds in her travel budget to cover it) and CMS just has to figure out what pot to take the money from. As with the cell phone bill and with this travel expense, surely she would not be expected to cover those costs out of her monthly check from CMS. Or should she?

BolynMcClung said...


Thanks for asking what I thought of the raise numbers. I don't have time now, but I will answer later.