CMS Board of Education unanimously approves $2.1 billion proposed budget

CHARLOTTE — Major pay raises could be coming to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools staff members if the county approves the school district’s budget.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve its $2.1 billion operating budget for 2022-2023.

The CMS board is asking the county for $578 million, which is a $40 million increase from last year.

CMS is proposing a 10% pay increase on the supplement for teachers and certified staff.

Teacher assistants would receive a minimum pay of $16.50 an hour.

“For too long, governing bodies have argued about budgets as if they are only numbers on a page, but a thoughtful budget is more than that,” Board Chair Elyse Dashew said in a news release. “Each number in the budget represents our assessment of the needs of our students and how best to meet those needs. It is our responsibility to ensure the children of Mecklenburg County have access to a sound basic education. This is only possible with adequate funding, strategically aligned and thoughtfully deployed, as laid out in the budget we voted on tonight.”

Hugh Hattabaugh had his first meeting as the interim superintendent of CMS on Monday. Former Superintendent Ernest Winston previously proposed the budget that could make CMS teachers’ pay the highest in the state by increasing the local supplement.

Hattabaugh is rejoining the district at a time when academic performance and low test scores are a big concern from school officials, something he focused on when he last acted as interim superintendent in 2011.

Last year, the county tried to withhold $56 million from CMS and asked the district to produce a plan on how to close achievement gaps for minority students.

Now the budget is finalized, it will head to county commissioners for approval.

Channel 9′s John Paul investigated to see if CMS would really make the most in the state.

Currently, first-year certified teachers for CMS make $41,736 over ten months. Compare that to Wake County, where they make a few dollars more - $41,892.

If CMS teachers get a 2.7% raise, they will make about $42,863, jumping above Wake County teachers by about $1,000.

That assumes Wake and other counties don’t give their teachers raises. Those counties still have to work out their budget, which will likely include a raise as well.

“Actually, they should do better. You couldn’t have your job without a teacher. Teachers is where it all begins,” resident Latoya Lewis-Jones said.

Last year, CMS schools had a battle with the county over funding.

County commissioners withheld $56 million from the district until it offered a plan to improve school and student success.

The county and CMS eventually came to an agreement.

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