Local leaders questioning why $45,000 was earmarked in state budget for nonprofit

CHARLOTTE — The African American Faith Alliance has been known as a critic of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools for years.

“Advocating for better leadership, advocating more accountability, advocating for greater expectations, advocating for closing of the student achievement gap,” Jordan Boyd of African American Faith Alliance said of CMS.

The group of pastors and county commissioners have now caught the eye of state legislators like Republican Rep. Tricia Cotham. A source confirmed to Channel 9 that Cotham had earmarked $45,000 in the state budget for the AAFA.

“We have no idea where this is coming from, that it was even placed in the budget,” Jordan said.

The earmark specifically states the money is for the Alliance’s educational advancement and tutoring services, which is a confusing fact for Boyd.

“We don’t really know what the allocation is really for, I heard that it was for tutoring, we are not a tutoring organization, we are an advocacy group that works for student achievement,” Boyd said.

The source told Channel 9 that Cotham selected several different groups in Mecklenburg County focused on children. CMS at-large member Jennifer De Le Jara is a bit more skeptical.

“She has been really, even before she switched parties, she was the front face of what is known as the privatization movement, trying to move public money into private hands,” De Le Jara said.

An outspoken critic of the Alliance, De La Jara is raising questions about whether it was appropriate for the alliance to be selected to receive a portion of the state budget.

“Mostly because right now, the African American Faith Alliance is out spreading misinformation specifically related to the bond, and of course this is on the ballot this next Tuesday,”

Boyd sent a statement to Channel 9 on Wednesday in response to De La Jara.

“She is offended by our consistent call for accountability and leadership to which there has been very little with the CMS board and leadership,” he said. “She abhors our knowledge and influence to expose their lack of integrity around student achievement and teacher support.”

The AAFA isn’t sure if they are going to accept the money.

We also reached out to Rep. Cotham several times about this, but she said she is recovering from oral surgery.

(WATCH BELOW: CMS bond referendum could provide much-needed improvements to schools if passed)

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.