Friday, March 1, 2013

The people speak: Technology tops budget list

Getting better technology into schools is the top priority for more than 11,000 people who responded to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' online budget poll, according to results presented this week.

Enhancing school safety was a close third,  after two tech-related items.  When asked to rate specific security items,  buzz-in entry systems were the most popular with employees, parents, community members and students who responded.

Superintendent Heath Morrison,  County Manager Harry Jones and top staff members are meeting today to make another run at a plan for school safety improvements, which include buzz-in systems and 8-foot chain-link fences around campuses and mobile classrooms.  The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to ask commissioners for approval to spend almost $34 million.  But some members now say they might have voted differently if they had realized that spending would require delays in other projects promised during the 2007 bond campaign, including construction of two new elementary schools.

At the other end of the public-opinion spectrum,  expanding prekindergarten and diversity efforts got the lowest priority ratings in the survey,  though a majority still rated those efforts important.

The survey is designed to inform Morrison and the school board in shaping a 2013-14 budget.  Ninety percent of respondents called for increasing teacher salaries,  even if it limits other investments.  The CMS board has limited power over that decision,  with the state picking up most of the tab for teacher pay.

Opinions were split on whether CMS should spend millions to reduce class sizes.  The wording of that question seemed slanted toward a negative result,  with people rating their agreement or disagreement on  "class sizes should be reduced despite the cost, even if that reduction comes at the expense of programs that drive academic achievement"  and  "class sizes should remain unchanged given the cost tradeoff,"  which was introduced as $9.6 million to add one teacher per school vs. $130,000 to build one classroom.

To keep up with budget developments, check the CMS budget web page.


Anonymous said...

When it comes to CMS and technology, Heath should bring in a vendor, survey, and focus groups (excluding teachers) for a new program. No Teacher Left Behind.

Anonymous said...

Once again the board votes on a item with no knowledge of the impact. What a wonderful bunch the NAACP hac gathered. Harry Jones should slap each one of them in the face to wake them up before the meeting. CMS paid Scott Murri millions of dollars to come up with a technology plan prior to his departure to Atlanta. He never produced a plan and was completely unaccountable. His work over the years. Has produced BYOT some initials he stole from Mooresville come on folks!

Ettolrahc said...

The biggest threat to CMS Students comes from the learning environment.

Anonymous said...

This survey was a joke.

I could have taken it multiple times and if you look at the breakout, only 4,000 parents responded.

6,200 teachers took the survey out of about 9,200 employed by CMS.

Under budget priorities, we're only given the total percentages of very important or important.

77% answered very important or important. Okay so what group answered the highest percentage? Could 5% of parents responded positively and 72% of teachers? Why were those questions not broken out by group?

With 141,000 students and only 4,000 parents responding, I would toss this survey in the trash. It means nothing.

By the way, less than 1,000 "community members", aka taxpayers, responded to a survey the BOE could use to press the BOCC to raise your taxes.

If Morrison and the BOE use any of this survey to shape budget priorities, they are fools.

Anonymous said...

So weary of the all the running around- let's spend money here, let's spend money there.....

Here's a novel idea- how about - pay your teachers a decent wage and cut out all the endless smokescreens, fruitless meetings, and incessant paperwork and learning in the class room will improve.

Jeff Wise said...

I did fill out the survey multiple times. In fact, I was able to start again right after hitting the complete button. I didn't even have to clear out cookies, there was nothing in the survey that knew my computer had already completed the survey.

For all we know 1 person could've filled out the survey 11,000+ times (no, I did not fill it out 11,000 times).

Ann alludes to the question wording at the end of her post and it's a very fair comment, the questions were very much written in a way to help steer respondents to certain results.

To that end, and in reply to 7:48a, if we can agree that the results being presented in the survey are fairly meaningless because of the slim representation, can not also posit that the very, very small number of parents complaining about bell schedules are also insignificant?

If only 4,000 parents responding to a survey is not statistically significant to impact CMS policy, then surely the far smaller group of parents complaining about bell schedules are equally insignificant to impact policy - right?

Anonymous said...

The small number of parents complaining about bell schedules should not be discounted, however, the BOE should look at all of the facts and make a decision based on what is best for the entire system OVERALL.

No one group is going to be pleased, no matter what the final decision is. That holds true for any issue.

Anonymous said...

This is a problem when the system is too big.

Can't please everyone or even come close.

Also, as far as a survey goes, 4000 parents WOULD be adequate if the survey were done properly (randomly, for starts).

As it is, the fact that ANYONE could fill out the survey multiple times makes it invalid.

But the same kind of warped thinking that is behind opposition to voter id makes this all seem "fair" to the bleeding-hearts in our midst.

But never worry, invalid data has never stopped an educrat from forcing a decision on their subjects.

Shamash said...


And to think that the folks who put together that survey are probably the same ones clamoring for more "technology" in the schools.

I'm sure they'll make everything "secure" with that, too.

This is obviously a wetware problem.

Do you think the survey software was any smarter than the pay-per-view online version of the CO?

I mean, that's really effective, too, isn't it?

I wonder how much CO pay for THAT boondoggle?

Amazing how similar the thinking is between the two.

Must be sharing the same water supply or something.

BolynMcClung said...


No technology policy should be written by anyone who every watched Black and White television.

All IT policy should have to be approved by nine people whose sole qualification is having argued with their parents over having a cellphone as a middle school student.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Well, in 5 years we'll be able to determine if 2,000 free laptops improved educational outcomes over at ProjectLIFT. I remember the free CMS bike give-a-way for kids who passed their EOG's.

And there will be no further comments from the peanut gallery today.


Shamash said...



There are plenty of "old folks" who understand today's technology.

Not everyone of our generation is out of the loop in technology.

Everything wasn't just invented last year, you know.

Stop the stereotyping...

Shamash said...


2000 Laptops?

Sure, why not?

We all need to plug into the hive as soon as we can.

No, wait, it's the "cloud"...

Sorry, but my old-fogey brain can't handle these new concepts.

But, someday folks will learn that software and hardware are no cure for wetware problems.

Or so I've always thought.

I was hoping we'd eventually evolve our way out of this, but now an Idiocracy seems even more certain for our future.

I just read a sobering statement in a recent Scientific American on the limitations of intelligence (due mostly to the physics behind our brains).

From July 2011, The Limits of Intelligence:

"In a sense, it could be true, as some say, that the Internet makes you stupid: collective human intelligence - cultures and computers - may have reduced the impetus for evolving greater individual smarts".

That closing statement followed a suggestion that human beings may take a lesson from bees in how to continue to advance in the face of our mental limitations.

Welcome to our future.

Bzz, bzz.

And, ironically, bees often use dance to communicate.

So I'm off topic yet again...

Anonymous said...

Once again a CMS survey forced out to parents multiple times and low responses. Of course as CMS and they will say the surveys were not sent out rather they were randomly filed. I received it 4 times and was asked to fill it out 3 more times. I refused to fill it out , because I don't support a spoon fed survey. When CMS figures out that a survey should not be forced out to a pool of participants then I would consider the data collected. I would rather they spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars they waste on surveys in a decade used for teacher raises or other classroom needs. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Morrison and BofE


Missouri said...

Wow, you really thought this was the results of the survey? Educrats and their inner circles are notorious for conducting "surveys" and then reporting their interpretations they want to "sell" to the public, the mass media, and politicians.

You see how much the NAACP is pulling the strings of our public education leadership now.

Anonymous said...

Sir Moron is an anagram of Morrison.

Just thought I'd point that out for future reference.

Missouri said...


"may have reduced the impetus for evolving greater individual smarts.."

Sounds more like Obama's America, making us just another European state. Must be part of his campaign to be the next UN Secretary General.

Anonymous said...

Obama has no clue and our local fearless spenders don't either Foxx, Jones. Leading a growing city with repeated spend and lose events. It will stop when homie Obama cuts off the funding. Their will be no more ten million dollar Duke energy illegal contirbutions.

Anonymous said...

Hire permanent Technology professionals. Contractors (or firms)don't have a heartfelt interest, only more money to pay them.

Anonymous said...

CMS got rid of most of the classroom computers in our south charlotte elem school and now expect the parents to go out and buy their young children I-pads and I-phones. The kids are having a great time playing video games all day at school, of course all in the name of education. The sad thing is most of the parents have run out blindly and bought their kids these tech devices (we call babysitters), without ever questioning CMS or the school's Principal. Shame on you CMS.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Scott Muri for the stupidity of BYOT. CMS is now contributing and encouraging the dumbing down and tech dependence of our "Videit" culture.

Anonymous said...

At our private school the teachers share carts of netbooks and the children have limited and supervised access to this tech throughout the week at scheduled times. The PTO helped pay for them.

Texas Girl said...

Computer coding should be taught in all High schools, private and public. End of story.