Monday, April 15, 2013

Last week, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison presented his budget proposal for the 2013-2014 school year to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. Morrison's 46-page proposal, titled "Advancing The Way Forward," requests a $28.5 million, or 8 percent, increase, for a total of $365.9 million from the county (CMS has a budget of more than $1.1 billion, including money from the county, state, and federal government).

Morrison is nearing the end of his first year as CMS superintendent, after serving in that role at the school district in Reno, Nevada (he was named national superintendent of the year while there). I saw him speak at a Charlotte Chamber luncheon last August and I was impressed with his perspectives on how he would improve Charlotte schools.

Superintendent Heath Morrison. Credit: CMS

A little more than a third of the additional $28.5 million Morrison is requesting would go toward improving technology in schools: increasing wireless Internet capability, adding projection systems in all classrooms, and creating mobile tech labs. Three million dollars would be used to hire 36 facilitators or academic coaches to help teachers improve their skills; $1.2 million would fund after-school and summer programs to help about 5,000 kindergarten through third grade students improve their reading skills; $900,000 would be used to hire 10 people to coordinate community partnerships at 40 to 50 schools and a volunteer coordinator to work district-wide; along with requests for money to create six new magnet programs, as well as money to cover fees for students taking advancement placement tests (source: The Charlotte Observer).

Those all seem like important and worthwhile requests, that I could see myself supporting once I learn more about them. But $28.5 million is a lot of money, and county commissioners have said they might not have the funds to spare, and that they're already having to make cuts to other county-funded programs. Plus, some people might view this as throwing money at the educational problems, when that doesn't always work. But you know what? You, the citizens of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, need to voice your opinions.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is holding two community meetings to discuss the 2013-14 budget proposal. 
  • April 16, 6-7:30 p.m. at West Charlotte High School, 2216 Senior Drive
  • April 22, 6-7:30 p.m. at Rocky River High School, 10905 Clear Creek Commerce Drive
Superintendent Morrison and members of the executive staff team will present information on the budget priorities and facilitate a question-and-answer session. CMS will provide an interactive technology tool that will allow participants to ask questions and provide feedback from their mobile phones and tablets. It would be a good idea that you looked over the proposal before you attended. Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation. Click here for more info on the meetings.


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails