FAQ about the first day of classes for the 2014-15 school year

Some questions and answers about the start of classes for the 2014-15 academic year:

Have CMS and the other school systems filled most of the teacher vacancies?

Most, but not all. A check with several systems surrounding Mecklenburg County last week indicated there were only a few vacancies, about the same as usual. CMS said it had 74.5 vacant positions at the middle of last week. That accounts for less than 1 percent of the teacher positions.

The highest number of vacancies were for teachers in mathematics, high school science, and (surprise!) language arts, which typically has few openings.

How many buses does CMS operate, and how much driving is done?

Transportation director Carol Stamper said 125,000 CMS students will be transported by 1,020 buses. Those vehicles travel 100,000 miles a day.

I asked for a change in the pick-up or drop-off point of my student. When will that change take effect?

Stamper said that if you made the request in recent weeks, the change should go into effect by Wednesday afternoon’s runs.

Is there an easy way to get a schedule of events at my child’s school?

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Chief Learning Services Officer Valerie Truesdale said a new calendar of important dates will go active today on each school’s website. She said those schedules can be uploaded to most mobile devices.

Does my child need all immunizations completed by the start of school?

Students’ records must show all immunizations by the 30th day of classes, which will be Tuesday, Sept. 23. Students who can’t prove they’ve been immunized will be sent home, per state law. A list of required immunizations can be found here.

Is there anything different with food services this year? Any price hikes?

Breakfast and lunch prices remain the same for elementary and middle school students. High school students will pay $2.50, up 25 cents from last year, for lunch. And CMS will continue serving breakfast to all students, with an increase in the daily fruit serving from a half-cup to a full cup.

What’s new with construction in CMS this year?

Palisades Park Elementary in southwest Charlotte opens today. There are new athletic stadiums, with artificial turf, at Olympic and West Mecklenburg high schools. Garinger has a new artificial turf surface at its stadium. And there are new gymnasiums at Independence and Myers Park high schools.

The system’s elementary schools now have security cameras, as part of a $30 million security upgrade.

Which schools have the most mobile units?

CMS Associate Superintendent Guy Chamberlain (who retires today) said Albemarle Road Elementary leads the way with 38 mobile classroom units. Next are Olympic High (31) and Garinger High (27).