The proposal to boost the Mecklenburg County sales tax to fund teacher pay raises and a lot of other projects has been controversial since county commissioners put it on November's ballot. But it now finds itself with one influential supporter.
MeckEd, a nonprofit advocacy group, put out a formal statement this morning backing the measure. It would boost the sales tax by a quarter cent, with 80 percent of the money going toward raises for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees, 7.5 percent for raises at Central Piedmont Community College, 7.5 percent for the Arts & Science Council, and the balance for libraries.
Here's the full statement from MeckEd:
MeckEd is committed to fair and competitive compensation for teachers across North Carolina and in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. While we applaud this year’s statewide teacher salary increase, there is more work to do. Given the increase in teacher turnover rates and the drop in North Carolina students entering colleges of education, it is imperative to invest in teacher salaries in every way possible.
As a community, we must help CMS attract and retain the best educators to our classrooms. MeckEd’s 2014 Public Policy Agenda calls for raising the state’s average teacher salary to the national average, in order to better compete for top teaching talent.
MeckEd endorses the referendum to raise teacher salaries, and we encourage all Mecklenburg County residents to support this important investment in our educators on November 4th.
The Charlotte Chamber may be deciding today whether to support the referendum. The organization has already said it won't be mounting a campaign to push it ahead of the election. Charlotte City Council members have been a little hesitant about it, too.
And of course, there was a little battle in Raleigh over whether to let Mecklenburg vote on it in the first place.