Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Big money, big issues, big crowd

The crowds that have been turning out for recent school board and county commissioners' meetings may be dwarfed by the group mobilizing for Wednesday's public hearing on the county budget. Correction: I had listed this as Tuesday; the hearing is actually Wednesday, June 11.

The Mecklenburg PTA Council is organizing a  "block party"  starting at 4 p.m. outside the Government Center,  getting people to start gathering two hours before the Mecklenburg County commissioners start taking comments on the budget.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is seeking a $46.2 million increase in its county allotment for 2014-15,  including $26.7 million to pay for raises of at least 3 percent for the district's approximately 18,500 employees.

Line for CMS budget hearing

The crowd is almost certain to to overflow the capacity of the meeting chamber,  as they did for the school board's recent budget hearing.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School Friends,  a group pushing for the raises and supporting the CMS budget,  has lined up space for the overflow crowd to watch the televised meeting at the nearby Blackfinn pub.

As I've noted before,  education advocacy groups are popping up all over this year.  But unlike some of the statewide groups created by anonymous donors,  Public School Friends is  the creation of local advocates who have long lobbied for CMS,  including Elyse Dashew, Marni Eisner and Sandra Conway.

The group plans to stage a  "virtual rally"  on social media starting at 6 a.m. Monday,  asking supporters to tweet, post and otherwise share photos that signal support for CMS.   "Will you pose with the crossing guard who gets your student safely across the street every morning?"  the Facebook page asks.  "The school nurse who deserves a Purple Heart for patience? The teacher who runs the carpool lane like clockwork, rain or shine?"

Superintendent Heath Morrison has been talking up the budget at every opportunity  (find CMS info here).  At the Tuesday Breakfast Forum he noted that some county commissioners have complained about the public show of support,  and urged the district's supporters not to be deterred.  "That's not the democratic way, that's not the American way and I don't think it's the Charlotte way," he said. "I'd rather have you contact your county commissioners saying, 'Don't fund the CMS budget' than have you be silent."


Wiley Coyote said...

You left out Big Fail in your title....

$46.2 million may give teachers a raise, but that's all the money will do.

CMS will squander the rest of it.

History will repeat itself.

Anonymous said...

Talk about big money, your CMS children will be "learning" from a computer program soon enough. Teachers will become nothing more than facilitators and room monitors. This is coming to a school near you!

Anonymous said...

I do not know anyone, who does not think teachers deserve a raise. Independent, conservative, liberal or unaffiliated free thinker's, all think teachers need a raise and solid pay plan. Why is this state unable to provide such a basic service? Honestly, I have never been into local and state government. I voted for Mcory because it was time for a change. Now that I have children in school my focus has changed. Teachers are leaving, my children's school is changing and it bothers me. The pay is too low. Surrounding markets are better. This state does not produce enough teachers for its needs. It needs to recruit. Why can't we pass a reasonable raise and pay plan and move on. I keep reading about pay plans but nothing seems to be getting done. We pretty much have a single party running this state but there is still gridlock. Is tenure really this big of deal? After 3 moths of probation on most jobs a due process policy kicks in. Principals are not complaining about it. This state has a teacher retention problem. Has Raleigh become like DC? Do they live in a bubble? Are they not aware of what's going on? Do they just watch major media outlets that cater to NYC and LA? Why is South Carolina better at this then us? Young people are more mobile today. They are having children at a later age. With the internet and blogs like this, information is more readily at hand. If I was a teacher looking to gain experience, I would not comer here. Teachers are being arrested. National paper's are mocking this state. That can't be good for attracting startups. I believe the federal government should do roads and military. That's it.. The states should be in charge of education. Why does this state not have a pay plan for its teachers? If Raleigh can't handle their responsibilities, kick the money and power down to local communities. I hoped that Mcory would break up large county school districts, not get rid of teachers.

Anonymous said...

I think we all know atleast one person who won't be attending the block party in support of CMS, right Larry:)


Anonymous said...

all jokes aside, while I am not a person who believes that merely spending more money will increase performance. I think it is important for those parents who support CMS to let their voices be heard.

When you look at the pubic education climate in this state, it is clear there are many powerful people who are pushing/promoting their agenda against traditional public education.

And once more, people should understand that with the advent of Charters in this state, even if you are not interested in those charter schools, those schools will take funds away from your child's school, thus having an impact upn your child's education.

Anonymous said...

The day when parents start parenting and raising their kids properly, maybe more people will go back into Education. Until then, no thanks.

Larry said...

7:53 If we did not have someone to be mad at, then we would have to look at the real problems.

So, yes I am the worst thing to have come across in your lives, it has nothing to do with children not learning, the system not working etc. Dropout Factory......

I will be at the meeting, yes I will be wearing a black cape and sneering at Teachers and CMS folks.

Then I will do what no taxpayer should ever do for government, ask them to spend wisely and to show results with the kids, more than we have seen.

Then in a puff of smoke I will disappear with an echo in the chamber resounding: THAT IS WHAT WE TAX PAYERS WANT TO SEE.

After about five seconds of staring into the corners of the room to see where I went, you can then go on with getting more money for the same failed things we need.

Oh and come up with a catchy phrase like, CMS give us more, or face years of media at your door. You know things like that.

So folks what catchy phrase can we come up with for these folks.

Post yours here to help.

And don't remember to boo my name and my comment afterward, that will show how you really feel about tax payers today.

Anonymous said...

I pay taxes, vote Republican and think teachers deserve a raise. Teachers pay is too low. I like my children's school but understand the frustrations with CMS. I do not blame teachers for people in offices downtown.

Larry said...

I too want Teachers to get more pay.

I tried for decades and paid and voted in what they asked they needed to make education work for all children.

Now I am doing what any sane person should do, and holding the Whole System responsible.

Not the central office, the elected officials, Teachers, or the Parents.

The whole system. And as part of that I want to see changes, be it deoncolidation or what ever that shows the system is being changed and fast.

So sorry if this gets in the way of special interest groups and the like, but I want only one thing a future for Children.

Anonymous said...

Solution - Get rid of some of the top heavy bureaucracy.

Take back our schools said...

I am a strong supporter of public education but CMS is nothing near that. The race hustlers, the community organizers, the left and others have forced the poiticans, who want to stay in power by their votes, the school systems to become the surrogate family for these kids. Their family units are a joke.

But the prime question here is, where are you going to get the money? Most of you posters believe is just grows on trees like our president does. The state is $450 million in the hole. The county relies on dscriminating against the fewer and fewer successful people (fraudulent property tax appraisals) in this county and that is a model for failure. Too many people in this county get a free ride when it coes to tax time. They just hollar for more and more to be taken from others.

I believe teachers pay should start at $40k per year and be subject to merit raises just like private industry does. I am willing to pay for top notch teachers to "teach" not be the surrogate mother/father. I beleive the school system should be more firm when dealing with many of these students. Separate these students out from the general population and make them and their "family units" go through heavy mental health counseling for them to become "civilized". If they want to succeed like many of us learned when we were in school, they've got to understand lifestyle, decisions, value systems, etc. play a part in that success. You can not throw $10k, $20k, $50k teaching per child and achieve that success.

The politicans, educrats, etc. are just too chicken to call out this demographic for what they are, just a leech on society.

Anonymous said...

Well, now we know where Heath's true talents lie: Mobilizing people to protest. Why not? He cannot seem to motivate some kids to learn. If you can't motivate, then mobilize.

Anonymous said...

Split the district into four,
Then maybe we'll support giving more.
Spend the same amount on each child.
Maybe then increasing taxes would be worthwhile.
Teacher pay is an effective DISTRACTION
When CMS performance goals can't get traction.
Heath is quite the whiner in chief,
But I guess that is better than being a thief.
Cut the bloated payroll of central staff;
Reward the wheat (teachers) instead of the chaff.

Anonymous said...

I too support the idea of raises for teachers. I would support the idea more if CMS teachers were not absent 11 days per year out of 180 days of school. How many days per year are students absent?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, at 9:44,
I too think teachers should be paid more, at those that show up for work. Howlers, if they and the parents protested the gang in offices uptown, I bet the school board would take care of the central problem.

Anonymous said...

11 days out of 180 is not worth getting worth getting into a twist about, teachers have children too for god's sake. Given them break!

Anonymous said...

Have a fair and balanced pay plan and raise by next year. Break up large county schools. Put more power in local communities hands. Make schools local. Keep politicians out of schools. Keep the federal government out. The money is there. Don't let them kid you. Money is not an issue and heaven knows they do not need anymore. If every state in the union can figure it out... Embarrassing!!!!

Anonymous said...

I do support a raise for teachers. I do NOT support the County having to make up for what the State should be doing.

I moved to Charlotte for lower property taxes and the reasonable cost of living. If the County takes this on, we will no longer have that.

I am watching Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and other Democrats on this. It's an election year. I support our teachers, but I want our State to fix this problem. I liked the County Manager's budget!! CMS got all that they wanted minus raises.

I'm ready to also vote out our current Republican leadership if they don't come up with a better plan than what is currently floating around by the Governor and the Senate. This is complete madness!

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in my 50's whose family was considered poor while growing up. However, one thing that I can say with certainty is that my family loved and cared about me. That's whats missing today.
Although I have been teaching for several years( read as bad veteran teacher), I work hard and don't appreciate having to beg for a raise. I am absent maybe 3 days at most each year. Posters continue to place all teachers in one box and it's just not fair. If a teacher is not doing his/her job then they should be let go and they can be. Tenure only allows teachers with 4 or more years due process. Why should I have to give up tenure so I can put gas in my car and by groceries both of which have significantly increased. There are approximately 500 current job openings in CMS and although I can't just walk away at this time, I am happy for my fellow teachers who can.

Anonymous said...

Today the Observer is running an article describing Heath Morrison as an independent voter who is upset about the Draconian cuts to education by the NC state senate. The same article says that the senate is proposing the largest teacher pay increase in state history, moving NC from 48th to 27th in teacher pay in a single year.

For an independent, Morrison seems to be a stalwart defender of tenure, or "due process" as he calls it. Without even a hint of irony, he describes a bill with massive pay increases as Draconian.

Chablis said...

Ann, good question by a poster. What is the average student absence rates at ES, MS and HS?

Heath, if you cut at the top you would have more credibility with your teachers and the CMS parents.

Anonymous said...

Ann, I wonder how much CMS is spending on the new Personalized Learning (computer software teaching our children)program being rolled out next year?

Teachers will be obsolete soon enough.

Anonymous said...

To get those raises... 79 teachers will be cut and 850 teacher assistants will be cut in CMS. The contract says AT ANY TIME the legislature can alter the agreement...what if that means they can pay less? Etc. Sadly, I don't have a choice as I moved to CMS and they made me restart my tenure track even though I've taught for more than 10 years...all of us...we HAVE to go on the new "plan" if it is passed...and then what? The next year when the money runs out we wind up making LESS than when we went on the new plan? It's a cluster waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

6:57pm Somebody else has their hand in the cookie jar.