Educators worry budget cuts could effect high poverty students
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CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board will vote on the first round of budget cuts on Tuesday. That decision will affect the amount of money allocated to help the district's high poverty students.
CMS has committed more resources to those schools because of the link between poverty and student achievement.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Middle school students are held to a high standards, despite high poverty, homelessness and other barriers they face.
"There are no excuses here and we don't discuss them," Principal Melissa Dunlap said. "What we discuss is are we using available resources to meet the needs of our students."
Those resources are shrinking and have been for years. Just look inside one of the sixth grade classes that used to have 20 students now have 27 or more.
MLK Jr. Middle school benefits from weighted student staffing. It's a formula the district uses that's provided almost 700 additional staff to support high poverty schools.
"What we've said is that if we want to hold everyone accountable for meeting the same standards then some of us, some of our schools, some of our students will need a little more to do that," Dunlap explained.
The $48 million program could lose $8 million or more than 100 positions. Educators fear the effects would be detrimental.
"When our children come here and they have homeless needs," Assistant Principal Angela Richardson explained, "we have a social worker that was given to us by the district. We may lose those positions."
It's pain district staff says is evenly distributed, that could lead to fewer options and less support in all schools.
"I want every child to have what he or she needs to be successful. What that is may not always be the same. But the right for every child to have it exists," Dunlap said.
For students at MLK Middle School, the fear is that cuts could become another obstacle when they're already facing so much.
On Jan. 25, the school board will vote on the proposed cuts to weighted student staffing, changing bell schedules and cuts to the Bright Beginnings Pre-K program. The public will have an opportunity to address the board before the vote.