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CMS board to vote on budget

The Charlotte Mecklenburg School board is voting tonight on a budget for next year. CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman has recommended asking Mecklenburg County for more money next year. However, neither he nor the school board think it's realistic to expect the extra funds. Instead, they anticipate state and county cuts could add up to $78 million. Hundreds of teacher layoffs would account for much of that savings, but the board also wants to do away with many neighborhood bus stops for magnet schools. That means kids who live more than five miles from school, would have to be dropped off at a shuttle stop. Then, take the bus from there. Under that plan, four schools would begin at least 1.5 hours later to cut down on the number of buses on the roads. Bob August has a daughter at Smith Language Academy. He worries with the new schedule and the new route she'll be getting home around 6 at night. "This means no time for homework, no time for any afterschool activities, no time for family, barely enough time to eat and go to bed," says August. The district expects to save $5 million by shrinking its magnet busing program. The school board meets tonight at the Government Center at 6 p.m.