Budget time always carries a bit of uncertainty for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools because of how much the district relies on the county and state government. This year, that uncertainty has been kicked up a notch, and the school board has to hope it doesn't come back to bite them.
You may recall the state legislature's decision last year to no longer automatically give districts more money commensurate with enrollment growth. Basically, CMS knew that if they had, say, 2,000 more students, then they would be sure to get money for more teaching positions to cover the growth. That won't happen this year, a difference then-Superintendent Heath Morrison called a "radical change" to education funding.
CMS said this week that it expects 2,400 more students for the 2015-16 school year. But will the district receive money for more teachers? Probably, based on promises made by legislative leaders, but no guarantee.
So CMS is going to go out and hire them anyway.
Superintendent Ann Clark and Shirley said that if the money from the state comes up short, CMS will find money to pay the teachers elsewhere instead of laying them off.
Board members gave their blessing for the plan.
CMS is also banking on entry-level teacher pay rising once again, to $35,000 from the current $33,000. Shirley said that was part of Gov. Pat McCrory's plan.
The discussion was the first on the budget in 2015. There will be budget workshops the next two months before Clark's recommendation comes out in April.