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Cost for new CMS options grows by $845,000, more to come

The $3.7 million in costs itemized during a December vote to expand Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ menu of school options was only part of the tab, Superintendent Heath Morrison said after the school board Tuesday approved an additional $845,000 for a modular building at UNC Charlotte.

In October, the school board began publicly discussing a dozen new options for 2014-15, including new magnets and alternative high schools on college campuses. Costs weren’t attached to those projects until the Dec. 11 meeting when the board gave the go-ahead.

That presentation noted that there would be a $35,000 addition to the 2014-15 budget for facility maintenance at UNCC-EPIC Early College High, a school where students can earn up to two years’ tuition-free college credit while working toward their diploma.

The UNCC high school is one of the options being offered during the 2014-15 application season, which runs through Feb. 11.

The October discussion had noted that a modular building would be needed at UNCC, but the cost wasn’t specified. The cost wasn’t clear until CMS and the university worked out details on the number of students and location, Morrison said.

On Tuesday, the board unanimously approved spending $845,027 for Mobile Modular Management Corp. to deliver and build a 10-classroom building to house the high school, which opens in August. That will come from county money set aside for mobile classrooms in the 2013-14 budget, he said.

Board member Joyce Waddell asked if that unit would be replaced by a real building. Morrison said that might be a goal eventually, but there’s no money available to construct a “bricks and mortar building” at UNCC in the foreseeable future.

After the meeting, Morrison said the costs listed in December were never presented as a full tally, but instead responded to a board member’s request for spending that would appear in the 2014-15 budget that CMS is starting to develop.

Those costs included $803,000 for mobile classrooms and bus tokens for a new high school at Central Piedmont Community College’s Harper campus and $910,000 for science labs and mobile classrooms to expand Mountain Island Elementary into a K-8 school.

“We have consistently said there will be other costs,” he said. “We have tried to be very public with this. We have shared the information.”

Morrison could not cite a place where the public could find a complete tally of the costs for the new options.

Helms: 704-358-5033; Twitter: @anndosshelms
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