From Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour, in response to “Mecklenburg County’s hypocrisy with CMS” (Sept. 8 editorial):
It is important to highlight Mecklenburg County’s ongoing support and commitment to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
It is true that CMS has significant needs. There are schools which need new or renovated buildings, and there is a backlog of deferred maintenance.
This year the county took unprecedented steps. Beginning this year, the county will be giving CMS $18 million per year for five years to pay for its deferred maintenance. Additionally, we are giving them $33.25 million toward capital needs, for schools such as Collinswood. All of these dollars are over and above the nearly 50 percent of our budget that we allocate for CMS.
It is true that the structure of the Sedgefield deal would mean that CMS does not get an additional $3.85M on top of what we are already giving them, but we are protecting our ever-diminishing green spaces and tree canopy.
The process for selling CMS’s excess land can certainly be improved, and I hope those conversations occur. In the meantime, I am happy that the county is able to both fund CMS’s significant capital and deferred maintenance needs, while also protecting our green space and recreational areas. Protecting the Sedgefield green space is something that will have a lasting, positive impact on future generations.