By Ann Doss Helmsahelms@charlotteobserver.com
Superintendent Peter Gorman and his top administrators will forgo bonuses again in 2010-11, Gorman said today.
Gorman and many top Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administrators have contracts that provide for performance bonuses. Faced with budget cuts and layoffs for the second year in a row, Gorman said he’ll again put a stop to executive bonuses, including his own.
Gorman’s contract calls for a bonus of up to 10 percent of his base pay, or $26,715. The school board decides how much to give him.
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During the current budget year, officials from Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte took their performance bonuses, a point Gorman highlighted at a Tuesday budget meeting: “Unlike other government bodies, we awarded none.”
Gorman and the board majority have rejected pay cuts. But the board will ask state legislators to authorize CMS to furlough employees to save money and jobs.
Furloughs – or time off without pay – are the equivalent of a one-time pay cut, while a reduction in salary or hourly wages could linger for years.
“There are a number of us who believe that cutting salary is a long-term mistake,” Gorman said at a news briefing today.
For 2010-11, CMS furloughs would likely require staff to take their unpaid time off when students are not in school, he said. That would mean hourly workers such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers and after-school staff would be exempted, because they only work when kids are present.
At previous meetings, board members have said they’d like to have the power to save money by lopping a day or two off the end of the school year, after state exams are finished. That would require not only new furlough authority but revisions in the state calendar law. Gorman said he thinks that’s unlikely to happen in this year’s legislative “short session,” which starts in May.
Even giving school boards furlough authority could meet with resistance in other counties that aren’t facing such large shortfalls, Gorman said. “It can become a lightning rod.”
Here's what the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board decided Tuesday about possible 2010-11 budget-cutting measures that could kick in under worst-case scenarios.
Ask state legislators for permission to furlough employees.
Require middle- and high-school students to use "shuttle stops" for full magnet schools.
Cut pay across the board.
Delay opening of two new high schools.
Cut more teachers and make classes larger.
Change formula for providing extra teachers based on poverty.
Eliminate CMS TV.