CMS to weigh raises for staff in budget discussions

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board members on Tuesday discussed requesting raises of as much as 5 percent for the district’s employees as they took their first steps toward determining a budget for the next school year.

The board also largely favored conducting a market analysis to see how salaries for non-teachers stacks up with similar positions in other areas of local government.

“We don’t want to get further behind the eight-ball in terms of competitiveness,” board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart said. “We see that we’re already losing employees.”

She said she favored a raise of between 2 percent and 5 percent but said she recognized that might not be realistic. Several other board members mentioned favoring a 3 percent raise request.

A 1 percent raise for all employees would cost between $9 million and $10 million, Chief Financial Officer Sheila Shirley said.

For raises, CMS will be dependent on the state government and Mecklenburg County. The school district has no taxing power of its own.

Last year, CMS included a 3 percent raise for employees in its budget request. Mecklenburg County commissioners declined to fund them. North Carolina teachers were granted an average 7 percent pay increase in the final version of the budget signed by Gov. Pat McCrory last year. The state’s raises favored early-career teachers, who received much larger pay increases than the most experienced teachers.

Tuesday’s budget discussion will start a two-month process that will include community meetings to discuss priorities.

Superintendent Ann Clark will present a recommended budget in April.

Dunn: 704-358-5235;

Twitter: @andrew_dunn