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CMS Board Plans To Ask For $55 Million More Tonight

The CMS school board is expected to request an extra $55 million from Mecklenburg County and the state tonight. School board members made their intentions known two weeks ago on how to help close an estimated $100 million budget gap. They want the county and state to come up with an extra $55 million. School board chairman Eric Davis says over the past two years, the county has cut the district by $50 million. At a board meeting two weeks ago, Davis said the district needs that money back. "It will take sacrifice, but it's imperative that we begin now to reverse the steady retreat of reduced support for public education before we lose the gains our students have made," said Davis. According to the district's plan, an extra $55 million would be enough to keep class sizes and the Bright Beginnings pre-kindergarten program as is. It would also prevent further cuts among teaching assistants and other school support staff. Mecklenburg County would likely be asked to come up with most of the extra money. County chairwoman Jennifer Roberts has said the commission could decide to give CMS some extra money, but doubts it will amount to $55 million. Anticipating state cuts, CMS is in the process of sending out layoff notices to 1,500 employees, including 600 teachers.