CMS School Board discusses funding teacher assistants

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

On Tuesday night, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board members went over what was accomplished and what wasn't during North Carolina's legislative short session.
 
"I celebrate the fact what we did during a short session -- which normally doesn't happen -- we did affect teacher salaries," Rhonda Lennon District 1 board member said.
 
Teachers will get varying raises this year but there is concern in the district about funding for teacher assistant positions.
 
Based on initial numbers, CMS estimates it will have to use $1.6 million from its savings this year to pay for teacher assistants it planned to hire.
 
The district hoped a technical correction would allow for more flexibility so it wouldn't have to use its savings.
 
"The technical correction would probably be something along the lines of, 'OK, you can use this pot of money to fill in this gap,'" Jonathan Sink, the district's associate general counsel said.
 
The state's $21.1 billion budget gave most state employees a $1,000 raise plus five bonus vacation days.
 
Non-certified school employees will get half that amount and no bonus vacation days.
 
"We need to start treating our school employees like we treat the rest of the governmental employees in this county and this state," Lennon said.
 
CMS leaders congratulated each other throughout the meeting on the work they put in during the short session. 
 
Members said they will continue to press for education funding during the next session.
 
The regular session is expected to start in mid-January.
 
For anything to change with the teacher assistant funding, Gov. Pat McCrory would have to call a special session before then.

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