CMS requests $12.2 million from Mecklenburg County for teacher raises

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has requested that Mecklenburg County provide $12.2 million to cover raises for teaching positions the county funds.

Superintendent Heath Morrison made the request in a letter dated Sept. 2. The money would be used to give the locally funded schools employees the same raises that the N.C. General Assembly provided for most teachers through the state budget.

North Carolina teachers were granted an average 7 percent pay increase in the final version of the budget signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in early August. Not all teachers got the same raise. Newer teachers received raises of as much as 18 percent, while some long-tenured teachers received a less than 1 percent raise.

Mecklenburg County pays the salaries of about 2,800 CMS employees, about 1,000 of them teachers. Those employees don’t automatically get raises that state-funded positions get from the legislature.

The request has been expected since the state budget passed. The county had been waiting for CMS to calculate how much money would be required.

Mecklenburg County commissioners had already set aside $7.3 million earlier this year to cover raises for CMS positions the county funds.

County Manager Dena Diorio said she is coming up with a recommendation for where the additional $4.9 million could come from. That will be presented to commissioners at Wednesday’s meeting.

Chairman Trevor Fuller and other commissioners have already pledged to provide the money CMS needs for the raises.

Commissioner Bill James has voiced his opposition to providing the money. In an email Wednesday, he said that the county has never gone back and given CMS more money after the budget has been adopted.

“I am not inclined to provide them extra money when there are programs they define as ‘low priority’ that they are not reducing to make up for the things they want,” he wrote.

In Morrison’s letter, he explained that CMS was required to put together its budget before the state legislature finished its plans.

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