• CMS reluctantly approves criteria for controversial law

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education unanimously and reluctantly approved a plan Tuesday to comply with North Carolina's controversial 25 percent law.

    The law, passed by the general assembly in 2013, requires districts in the state to pick which 25 percent of teachers will get four-year contracts and an annual $500 bonus.
    The law phases out teacher tenure by 2018.
    Nearly all nine board members spoke out against the law, but all commended district staff who came up with a complicated point system to comply with it.
    "I detest this," said board member Eric Davis. "I'll approve it and hope to God I never have to approve anything like this again, but let's move on."
    The district and board members said they hope they will not have to move forward with the plan they approved Tuesday.
    "What is currently on the books will have a very negative impact on education, public education in North Carolina," Ericka Ellis-Stewart, an at-large board member said.
    Earlier this month, the board passed a resolution asking the state for a one-year delay in implementing the law so the district could form its own plan.
    District leaders said it is unclear whether any change will happen when the state legislature meets for its short session in May.
    If nothing changes, CMS will use a point system.
    Teachers who have been with the district at least three years and have a proficient or higher evaluation are eligible.
    To narrow the pool to the required 25 percent of teachers and licensed support staff like counselors and speech therapists, points will be assigned based on staff positions, whether a teacher has national board certification, an advanced degree or is licensed in multiple areas.
    "I think this is making the best out of something that is not good," said District One Board Member Rhonda Lennon. 
    The district said it included as many people as possible to develop what they say is the most fair plan they could come up with.
    "This is not a value system of which teachers we value more because we value all our teachers," said Terri Cockerham, the chief human resource officer for CMS. "It's just a way to get to the 25 percent."
    If nothing changes at the state level, teachers and licensed support staff who are offered the contracts will have to sign them by June 30.

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