Superintendent Ann Clark is scheduled to present her recommended budget for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Tuesday, giving the public its first look at the district’s priorities in a year where money is again likely to be squeezed by enrollment growth.
The budget is expected to include some programs centered on literacy, which Clark has repeatedly described as the district’s guiding “North Star” since she took over the position in January.
But significant investment in new programs will be challenging. CMS has said simply maintaining the status quo will cost an additional $26.7 million more than last year. That’s because of enrollment growth both in CMS and charter schools, as well as an expected statewide raise in beginning teacher pay and state funding cuts to driver’s ed.
The school board has also weighed whether to ask for across-the-board staff salary increases of 2 percent to 5 percent. Each percent costs about $10 million.
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CMS does not have the ability to levy taxes and is dependent on the state and Mecklenburg County for money. County commissioners would have to essentially sign off on the budget. Last year, the commission declined to fund a 3 percent staff salary increase.
After Tuesday’s presentation, CMS will hold a public hearing and two community meetings on the budget. The school board is slated to vote on the budget in May before the county takes it up.