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MeckEd Wants To Get Facts Out About CMS Budget

http://66.225.205.104/LM20110111.mp3

CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman plans today to outline how the district should cut $100 million from its budget. That's likely to stir up a lot of anger and, as the non-profit education group MeckEd says, a lot of misunderstanding too. The group has launched a campaign to make sure people have the facts about CMS funding. CMS officials feel like the district has had a tough time explaining its current budget situation. The district is down communications staff and doesn't have much of a budget for its TV station. So school board chairman Eric Davis says he's happy Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education or MeckEd wants to make sure the public knows the facts. "What I see is MeckEd is offering to supplement a staff that has been cut at CMS by budget reductions, by sharing factual information to the community about how CMS is funded from federal, state, and county sources, where that money is spent, and the types of returns we're bringing on that investment," says Davis. Davis says the board appreciates the campaign, but it's only a partner; MeckEd is leading the charge. Wes Simmons, a member of the group's board says there's no doubt the budget process will be painful, but it doesn't have to be an exercise in, what he calls, different constituencies competing for resources. He didn't mention specific controversies, like the decision to close schools in mostly minority neighborhoods. Instead, he spoke in general terms. "So when there are misunderstandings, and I think there may have been misunderstandings in the past, then, hopefully there will be more clarity and citizens will not just think one thing from an emotional response, but have more data to be able to make a more informed response to what's happening in their community," says Simmons. Simmons says MeckEd is still exploring how it will get the information out, but its website will be a starting point. Gorman plans to present his proposed budget cuts at today's board meeting. The meeting begins this afternoon at 2 o'clock at the government center. It has been moved up from the evening because of the winter weather.