CMS teachers speak out at commissioners meeting

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers are urging Mecklenburg County Commissioners to step in and help them get more money in their paycheck.
 
They packed commissioner's meeting Wednesday night which had one leader lash out on social media calling it a mob.
 
He explained to Eyewitness News reporter Paige Hansen why that wasn't the time or place for them to speak out.
 
At the meeting, one teacher said, "I would never want to leave, but I might have to."
 
Many shared personal stories of financial struggle but commissioners heard them advocating for raises funded by the county -- a budget issue they said they'll listen to during the public hearing scheduled for June 11.
 
“It was an orchestrated event. They knew in advance they weren't allowed to do it,” said Commissioner Bill James.
 
On Twitter, James told those speakers to "follow the rules" and "mob the general assembly" saying the North Carolina General Assembly is responsible to raise pay.
 
But one state senator said the county can pitch in.
 
“All we set is base salary, after that, everything else, that's up to them locally,” said Sen. Jeff Tarte.
 
Tarte said he has questions about Gov. Pat McCrory's announcement Wednesday including where the state will find the money for the raises and the long-term Career Pathways for Teachers plan.
 
“I know of no senator that has been briefed on any of the contents which is surprising-- is the polite way to say that,” Tarte said.
 
The governor said the state has $265 million for across-the-board raises. If approved, he said teachers can expect about a 2 percent raise but the budget hasn't passed and county commissioners say they feel the pressure from teachers.

“They've decided that since they can't get anywhere with Republicans in Raleigh, they're going to try and bully and abuse and basically hijack a meeting because they can. That's unfortunate,” James said.
 
Commissioners said once the county decides how much money to give Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, district leaders will decide how to allocate that money.