CMS board approves boost to employee pay, adds 72 positions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education approved salary increases Friday morning for teachers, assistant principals, principals and all other employees.

The increases were approved during a special meeting, during which leaders also approved the addition of 72 student-support positions district-wide.

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“We have waited to do this because we were hoping to have a state budget,” said board chair Mary McCray. “We care about our employees and our students, and we are committed to doing what’s best for them despite uncertainty in Raleigh. We’d prefer to have a state budget rather than taking these actions piecemeal but lacking that, we decided to do something now.”

According to CMS, the board’s action will put in place step increases -- set by state salary schedules -- and an increase in the local supplement for teachers and certified staff.

CMS teacher Amanda Thompson was one of many educators who stood outside her school Wednesday morning calling on state legislators to pass a budget.

Though it's not the raises they were hoping for, Thompson said she's grateful CMS stepped up.

"We’re excited about this move, and we’re ready for the state to go ahead and make their move as well," she said.

The plan will also give pay increases to principals and assistant principals. Other employees will receive a 3% raise. Raises for hourly employees, like cafeteria workers and teacher assistants, will bring their hourly pay to $13.22.

"That really says that they value not just teachers but all educators," Thompson said.

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All raises will be retroactive to July 1, the start of the district’s fiscal year, and the retroactive amounts will be paid by Jan. 31, CMS said in a release.

The district said it will also add 72 positions to support social and emotional health, something that will benefit students, McCray said. The district currently has 550 such positions.

“Social and emotional health is essential if students are going to be able to achieve in school,” McCray said. “Adding these will help us provide better support in our schools. We’re still not where we need to be, but these 72 positions will move us closer.”

CMS said the raises will be funded by money appropriated from the state and from Mecklenburg County.

Gov. Roy Cooper sent Republican leaders a letter Friday hoping to restart teacher pay negotiations.