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Education

CMS Decides To Spare 60 After-School Programs And 200 Jobs

Grand Oak book boats from Twitter.jpeg
Grand Oak Elementary
Grand Oak Elementary students sit in "book boats" during an online reading activity.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools no longer plans to close 60 of its after-school programs and lay off more than 200 employees. After a February vote to close those programs, more than 400 additional students signed up as in-person class time increased.

Concerned parents and principals also fought to protect the jobs and programs, which are supported by family fees.

Chief Academic Officer Brian Kingsley told the school board the enrollment increase is enough to keep all 82 programs open for the rest of the year. But he said it’s still far from capacity, and schools will keep recruiting.

Kingsley told the board that even with increasing enrollment, the programs will run a deficit of $416,000 a month in April and May — down from $812,000 a month in the initial projections.

"We need to ensure that we get back to breathing health in this system to ensure that next year we’re not experiencing an annual deficit similar to what we’re experiencing this year," he said.

CMS had already notified 238 employees that their jobs would be gone April 1. Officials now say they can save all but 22 of those jobs.

The school board voted unanimously to keep all programs open. Members Rhonda Cheek and Jennifer De La Jara said colleague Margaret Marshall has worked relentlessly to figure out a way to avoid closing programs.

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