CHARLOTTE -- The budget battle wages on between Mecklenburg County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Tuesday night, County Manager Harry Jones unveiled his proposed budget for next fiscal year awarding CMS $9.1 million.
The allocation is one-third of the $27.5 million the district requested to help cover three percent raises for teachers and employees. If approved, it would be their first raise in three years.
"I think we deserve a heck of a lot more," said Randolph Frierson, president of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators.
He says he's seen close to 200 experienced teachers leave the district over the past two years due to growing class sizes, changes in standardized testing and not being able to make ends meet financially.
"To be able to survive. Not having to worry about getting a second job, not having to stress going into the classroom, trying to do the best they can in educating the future generations," said Frierson.
"There are many pieces of this that are left unfunded, that are critical to the success of students throughout the district,” said Board Chairwoman Ericka Ellis-Stewart.
She says the $9.1 million would cover sustaining growth costs, like retirement and health insurance rate increases and the growing number of CMS students next school year.
As for the raises, she says she remains hopeful the county will have a change of heart. She added CMS staff have since found more than $16 million in redirects and reductions.
“That would not only help to fund 1 percent of the 3 percent [raise], but a portion of growth and sustainability as well,” she said.
A public hearing on the county budget is scheduled for Thursday, May 24 at 6 p.m. at the Government Center. Commissioners will vote on the final budget June 5.