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Tuesday's CMS board meeting features the debut — and return — of an interim superintendent

HughHattabaugh.jpg
Hugh Hattabaugh is seen in an undated file photo.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board meets Tuesday to approve a 2022-23 budget request to send to Mecklenburg County commissioners. Last month Superintendent Earnest Winston brought the board a plan that would seek a $41 million increase from the county.

This will be the first regular meeting since the board fired Winston in an emergency meeting last week. Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh is scheduled to make his first public report after starting work Monday.

Hattabaugh is a retired administrator who spent five years with CMS — including a previous stint as interim superintendent in 2011-2012. His contract runs through June of 2023.

That budget plan — $2 billion total — includes more than $300 million in federal COVID-19 aid that can be spent over the next couple of years. He wants to ask Mecklenburg County commissioners for $579 million, an increase of 7.6% over this year.

Some of the proposed initiatives are:

  • Spending almost $8 million in county money to increase the local supplement for teachers. By adding more to the state's pay scale, CMS hopes to attract teachers in a fiercely competitive market.
  • Using $6 million in county money to boost the minimum pay for teacher assistants from $15 to $16.50 an hour.
  • Spending $3.7 million from the county to better serve students who are learning English. CMS has almost 24,000 such students. The plan would hire 32 teachers to work with those students and create a special academy with extended hours for English learners.
  • Using $5 million in county money for building maintenance, including filtration systems to improve indoor air quality.

There’s no public comment period. Those take place during the first meeting of the month, which means the next opportunity for the public to speak about Winston’s firing and offer opinions on what comes next will be May 10.

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Ann Doss Helms covers education for WFAE. She was a reporter for The Charlotte Observer for 32 years, including 16 years on the education beat. She has repeatedly won first place in education reporting from the North Carolina Press Association. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.