CMS on verge of losing $190 million in COVID-19 funding

CHARLOTTE — Educators across the country, including those with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, could face a major financial cliff as district officials head into budget season this spring and summer.

CMS staff members will meet with the school board to talk about the best way to absorb the expiration of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

That funding is COVID-19 stimulus dollars that school systems received to help ease the impact of the pandemic.

CMS is projected to lose $190 million with $60 million of that connected to hiring guest teachers, counselors and more.

The district said it will have a significant impact on the district.

“We may have to realign roles and responsibilities of some staff,” said Crystal Hill, the superintendent of CMS. “We value the contributions of our employees and want to keep everyone employed,”

Amanda Thompson, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, said the stimulus money was key to hiring social workers and counselors to support student’s mental health.

“We’re definitely disappointed, not with CMS, but in the federal government for the situation that we’re in right now where we are losing resources that we know the pandemic exasperated,” Thompson said.

This comes at a time when CMS continues to hire guest teachers to deal with hundreds of teacher vacancies.

“What I appreciate is that guest teachers not only filled the gap, but they also stood in the need for our students,” Thompson said.

Thompson hopes CMS leaders will stay focused on that need as the budget process plays out.

The CMS staff budget workshop with the school board is at 4 p.m. on Monday at the Government Center.

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Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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