Education

CMS board approves proposed 2015-16 budget

Tonya Allison, a teacher at Hidden Valley Elementary School, engages her students at summer reading school last year.
Tonya Allison, a teacher at Hidden Valley Elementary School, engages her students at summer reading school last year. ibartolucci@charlotteobserver.co

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board on Tuesday approved a $1.4 billion budget that would expand summer reading camps to more elementary school students and give most employees a 2 percent raise.

The proposal now faces scrutiny from the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, which has shot down salary increase requests in years past.

Superintendent Ann Clark’s recommendation calls for an additional $39.9 million from Mecklenburg County, which would also maintain funding for teacher’s assistants and driver’s education. That includes $8 million that would be sent to charter schools.

The plan would expand summer reading camps to rising third graders in a bid to avoid loss of reading skills when out of school. Currently, the camps are open only to rising fourth graders who did not hit benchmarks under the state’s Read to Achieve program.

Clark’s budget would also give most teachers and staff a 2 percent pay bump. The state budget is likely to boost beginning teacher pay from $33,000 to $35,000. The CMS proposal would give raises to everyone not affected by that move.

“It’s important that we send the message that talent matters,” Clark said at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The board approved the budget without comment or discussion.

Mecklenburg County commissioners must ultimately vote to provide a large part of the school district’s funding. CMS is requesting a total of $428.1 million from the county. It’s also waiting to see what will be included in the state budget, which provides the bulk of its funding.

After Tuesday’s vote, the school board and county commissioners are scheduled to host a joint work session next week. The county should vote on its budget in June.

Dunn: 704-358-5235;

Twitter: @andrew_dunn

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