Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Three decline CMS board raises

Board members Rhonda Lennon,  Eric Davis and Tim Morgan said Tuesday they won't accept the 3 percent raises that the board unanimously approved for all Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees, including the board.

We're talking a token sum.  A 3 percent bump means the chairman's annual salary would go from $15,909 to $16,386,  an increase of $477.  The other eight would see their pay go from $12,237 to $12,605,  up $367 (there's some rounding in here).  If all nine board members declined their raises,  the district would have just over $3,400 to put into another cause  -- barely a blip in a $1.2 billion budget.

All three acknowledged the money won't accomplish much,  but said it symbolizes how much the board still needs to do to make employees, students and families whole after budget cuts in recent years.  Not only did teachers and other staff go three years without raises,  Morgan noted,  but the board closed schools,  changed hours,  limited some bus service and added athletic participation fees.

"It's those items that still bother me,"  said Morgan, adding that forgoing a raise is  "a reminder to me that we still have more work to do."

Davis,  a West Point graduate,  cited a military tradition:  "If it's time to eat,  the officers go to the back of the line. For me,  it's a statement of principle and priority."

Lennon,  who voted against the budget in the spring,  said she still has qualms about some items but voted for it Tuesday to show support for Superintendent Heath Morrison and other CMS employees.

Other board members said there's no point giving up the raises.  Richard McElrath noted that school board members make less than county commissioners and Charlotte City Council members.  "What do they do that's more important than what we do?  I think we should accept it because I think we earned it."

"The work that we do,  we have to value it and not minimize it,"  agreed Vice Chairman Mary McCray.

The trio aren't the first board members to say "no thanks" to a raise.  Larry Gauvreau did the same several years ago,  when he objected to a budget he called bloated.


Anonymous said...

About time ED had some principles and priorities that were linked to teachers and students.

Anonymous said...

Agrees with the above poster. These three were so far up Gorman's rear that they felt his word was God. Gorman was against teachers and so are they as far as we teachers are concerned. It will be interesting to see just how much the current administrators get with their raises. Thankful for the 3% though. Now the State needs to return our cost of living steps.

Anonymous said...

So will the $17K-er get a hint? What Executive Director is getting this? Good job folks.

Anonymous said...

Grandstanding at best, but I like it. Erika no doubt will accept every penny and would demand more given the opportunity.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ann what about the CIO hire? What is she to be paid? Have you checked her background her yet? Zero experience in technology and considered overpaid as super in SC. It looks like she'll get SC retirement while working in NC. She said she's retiring because she never sees her kids and moved to the Lowcountry to enjoy it, but then takes the CMS job. So she's schooled in not telling the truth already! Looks like another Muri.


BolynMcClung said...


Rev. Tate didn't have a problem with the raise. The board traditionally gets a raise when the school system employees have one.

He made a much stronger point.

He might have been willing to symbolically decline the raise if the board had gotten together and used the refusal as a meaningful statement.

Least anyone think the sum is great; it isn't. Around $300 per year; 85 cent a day. $3000 a year for the whole board.

So, the cost of better communication and coordination between board members is around a $1.00 a day per member. If that's is what it takes to have a better board, then I'm sure I can round up $3000 to pay that tab.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

North Carolina doesn't really care about education. The graduation rate is disgustingly low, and teachers make less than minimum wage when you divide their salary by the number of hours put into planning, teaching, graduate coursework and completing professional development.

I agree with one poster who argued that the state needs to return teacher "salary steps" when computing their base state salary. North Carolina, and Charlotte in particular are slowly losing great "veteran" teachers to other states, losing the ability to attract talented "new" teachers due to the lousy pay scale.

What we are left with are people "desperate for a job." Many of these candidates, who are not always the most qualified for the job (ie: Teacher for America; Teach Charlotte), often view their positions as as a "job" and not a career, many serve less than 3 years, moving on to bigger and better paying jobs.

"Who suffers in the end? The children.

Bill Stevens said...

Bolyn, quit grandstanding. Your credibility has diminished to the level of ES-S.

Anonymous said...

So 3 members voted these thousands of dollars of market adjustment raises and the pathetic teacher raises and then decline their raise of just a total of a little over $1K. I am not fooled or impressed. I am, however, looking forward to comparing the total amount for the few admin with the total amount of the budget for the many.

Ann Doss Helms said...

8:40 a.m., all good questions. I'm just not that fast -- got this at last night's meeting and had to bang out three stories. Following up today. Thanks for heads-up on background.

Anonymous said...

This story too.

BolynMcClung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine Mast said...

Look at Rhonda's CMS Facebook page... her cover photo is of her with Tim and Eric.

Rhonda continues to align herself with these two "downtown crowd" members... and continues to polarize herself and refuse any kind of collaboration with the other Board Members to help constituents in District 1.

This polarization does not bode well, either, for the Board working together, as one cohesive unit, to help all kids in the County.

Bill Stevens said...

Nice gesture but you have got to wonder is not the more effective thing to do is to donate the raise and that again directly to one or more of the schools in your district. If you are not already doing that.

Wiley Coyote said...

If I were serving and had the backing from my employer, I wouldn't take a dime in pay to serve, only the cost of any travel involved which would be minimal.

Having said that, I don't begrudge any of the BOE members for getting paid to serve or receiving a raise.

Wiley Coyote said...


When are you going to smear all of the Black BOE member for being members of the NAACP and Democrats?

I'll be waiting.

Christine Mast said...


Frankly, I'm tired of these kinds of questions from you. They're demeaning and insulting.

When you want to come out from behind your screen name, get involved in PERSON to try to affect positive change, I'd be happy to continue talking with you about real issues that are affecting the kids in this school system.

As for the "grand gesture" last night, acting like children at Board meetings by putting 6 other people on the spot without prior warning does NO ONE any good.


Wiley Coyote said...

When you can't respond to the question, attack the person.

My anonymity makes no difference whatsoever in asking a valid question.

Your comments are just as demeaning and insulting based on your definition of mine.

Regarding who I am, every BOE member and Ann Doss Helms has my real name and who I am, so I could care less about what your opinion is of me one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Christine Mast seems to think she knows it all, in fact when half of what comes out of her mouth is false. Sounds like she wants to be a politician for the North, but I know many people that are frustrated with her comments up here in District 1.

Anonymous said...

And I know many others who will vote her in to replace Rhonda.

Anonymous said...

So a previous CMesS board hired a consultant they knew would produce a study to show that some positions were "underpaid". Deloitte would not have been hired if they had not proven that is the result they would provide.
Employees aren't "underpaid" if they took the job at their current pay. Let the market work.

Anonymous said...

Why would D1 voters want to vote for a candidate who is, as 4:58pm correctly notes, sharing a good deal of false information? Just because someone complains the loudest does not make that person a good, or credible, leader.

Anonymous said...

Lets see who's seats are up next election cycle Eric Davis , Rhonda Lennon and forget Tim Morgan. By for going the 3% raise its a minor motion in judgement. I think 2 of them should take the raise and go to a accounting school so they would have a clue about the budget they just approved ! As well Mr. Davis the "military qoute" is a poor slap to being accountable. Next time I have to step in and fix something for CMS and your board I will save the qoute about the back of the lunch line. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Christine....I hardly see your constant nagging as someone who is trying to effect positive change. That is laughable....you do nothing but hound people for information you don't really need just so you can brag that you got it, and then say questions directed to you from another commentor are insulting and demeaning....really? You are the queen of demeaning and insulting!
And Mr Hurley-- I doubt if CMS wants or needs you to "jump in and fix something"
Perhaps you should go fix Ms Mast.

Carol said...

"in fact when half of what comes out of her mouth is false" - usually, a statement like this would precede a list of facts to back it up. Since the comment didn't contain one concrete example, I would assume this is a personal issue and not a factual one.

And, I have a question to every "Anonymous said...": Why are you posting anonymously? If you are a teacher or an administrator in CMS and don't want your comments seen by co-workers or your supervisors, I understand that. But if you are a CMS parent, a county resident, a local politician, why not use your name? Christine may ruffle some feathers but she obviously stands by her posts because she attaches her name to them. If you, or Wiley (and I have my suspicions about who you are) don't want your name attached to your posts, why not? If you're afraid to show your name, maybe you should rethink what you're posting.

Scott Babbidge said...

Wiley - I would suggest you back off Christine. If you had any idea of the time and effort she has put in doing research on the budget, asking questions that need to be asked, and staying on top of Board Members and Staff until she gets legitimate answers, I think that as the reasonable guy that you are that you would be at the front of the line thanking her.
Perhaps, instead of attacking her, you should ask her to dig into your pet peeve, FRL fraud - given her tenacity and accounting acumen, you might find Christine to be a valuable ally.
I appreciate the 3 who declined the pay raise last night for doing so - but for the amount of time Board Members spend, and frankly the abuse they mostly deservedly (but not always) take, they are not paid nearly enough.
CMS has problems, most of which are the result of politicians meddling in the affairs of education. If we were to elect people who brought an actual understanding of Education to the BOE you'd still see disagreements, but my bet is that you would see a CMS very different than what we see today. Who on the current Board actually has the vision to challenge the Superintendent? Who on the BOE has expressed the kind of transforming vision that could result in the sort of changes CMS needs to move boldly into the future?
People want to talk about closing schools and pay for performance and free and reduced lunch....but we should be talking about how we move an outdated model of education that is doing our children a disservice towards a forward thinking, cutting edge system that delivers high school graduates who are armed with the knowledge, skills and divergent thinking ability they will need to excel as move forward in the 21st Century. Who is pushing against the Fed Dept of Ed and President Obama's miserably failing "every kid needs to go to college"? Not every child can, should, or wants to go to college. Many children want to go into a trade - what is CMS doing to prepare those kids to be working adults post graduation day 1? Where are the corporate sponsored schools or wings where middle and high schools are fitted to deliver ready to work kids with plumbing, hvac, carpentry, entry biotech, health sciences that can start earning money from day 1 instead of spending 4 years going to college and accruing debt they will spend 20 years paying back?
Where is the visionary leadership coming from within CMS?
Instead of name calling and pointless (and anonymous) bickering, let's put that energy into pushing CMS to improve?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:31- If your going to "throw your weight around" use your name. If I had not advised CMS on numerous issues and called to their attention numerous other "oversights" ie. DNC schools in high security zone 3 months prior it would never happen properly. When your big enough to use your name and knowledgable enough to step in and help the failing school system that CMS is then stick your head in the sand. Folks like Ms. Mast and myself do more in a week for CMS than alot of folks who work for the system. We just hate to see the failures it creates. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Focus people.
With E E-S as leader the community will continue to think less & less of CMeSs. This hurts all of us. More local control (3 districts?) would help. This community has shown over and over we will spend $ if we have confidence it's not so wasted. Unfortunately the eroding (eroded) faith in CMS could put an end to community support.

Anonymous said...

5:43.. Ms Mast does more for D-1 than your rep "the Lemmon" has done in last 3 years. She constantly questions the illegal/inside/non-ethical moves CMS makes. She pressed for EES to tell the truth along with CMS about a plane ticket to London that has never fully been explained. She has fixed the budget for CMS at no cost. (ask Mr. Yi with County) She has higher standards on her little toe than most who work for CMS internally. That is the person we need to represent D-1 to govern honestly. D-1 today has a chamber floosey that could care less about her district. One of the most unprofessional goofers in the bunch Rhonda Lemmon.

Scott Babbidge said...

Anon 7:52
3 districts is the best option on the table for every child in Mecklenburg County.
But even as we continue working on making that happen we must also keep driving CMS to be better.
Both approaches can, and must, be done simultaneously.
And there is a shining example in Mooresville Graded School District that people will spend more on education when they perceive a favorable return on that investment and as Mooresville has proven smaller districts with more local control deliver better returns than massive county wide districts like CMS.

Anonymous said...

Christine in 2013.

Bill Stevens said...

Overall, ES-S and her crowd still believe the public school system is a social services delivery engine. Do they fear their demographic if it became educated would see through their 1960's veil and figure out they can achieve more than being on the government dole and therefore have their self esteem really fulfilled instead of this false belief they are being fed? "To seem rather than to be".

Wiley Coyote said...


I suggest you read her comments about Rhonda Lennon and what promted my response.

I'm not defending Rhonda Lennon, but when Christine makes personal attacks against her and two other BOE members and uses the "downtown crowd" in HER derrogatory remarks, it's a fair question to ask when she will disparage the Democrat BOE members and the ones who are members of the NAACP.

Then to come back at me personally because she won't answer my question? You can rest assured I will not "back off".

I'm fully aware of Christine's efforts regarding CMS.

I will also suggest Christine develope a thick skin quickly if she intends to run for the District 1 BOE seat.

The voters will decide who ultimately represents them in D1. If it's Chritine, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

consensus= EES is in it for the vacations along with the other board members. She is so lazy and out of touch with society that she views this as a full time job and maybe Kojo pays her as such. Her greed will get too her in the long run. It has kept Mary quite this long as she cannot take the heat fo the kitchen.

Scott Babbidge said...

I read the comments. I'm no fan of Rhonda, and she knows it.
Mostly because she has no business being on the BOE - she is out of her league when it comes to Education. Rhonda simply does what Tim tells her to do and she says what Tim tells her to say. And given that Tim is also out of his league when it comes to Education we have a classic "blind leading the blind" situation. Only after losing their power did Tim and Rhonda decide to play conservative. How many times have you beat the drum about FRL fraud?? That is clearly something any true Conservative would be on like white on rice - yet what have Tim and Rhonda done to launch an independent investigation into that issue?? What visionary proposals have they (or any other Board member, to be fair) brought to the table?
I don't think those observations mean I am somehow now going to "attack" the Black or the Democrat members of the BOE. We know what we will get when Democrats are in control. It's just sad when the folks who are supposed to be representing Conservatives only act the part when it is politically expedient.
Oh and I'll take a thin skinned Christine Mast over a thick skinned Rhonda Lennon 8 days a week.

Wiley Coyote said...


Please endorse Christine.

You're 0 for 4, with you dropping out the last race and the three you endorsed - lost.

I would say Rhonda has just as much business being on the BOE as you.

It's laughable that you smear her because you say she takes her direction from someone else, when you did the same thing saying "Yes Sir" to the powers that be when they told you to back out of your race.

Anonymous said...

Hair Morrison

Is any of this on the "radar" now?