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CMS Accomodates 3,300 More Students Than State Expected

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

CMS has had to make room for 3,300 more students than what the state projected the district would have. The opening of eleven charter schools in the area has complicated the process of coming up with enrollment numbers. CMS projections were closer to the mark, but still a ways off. 

These projections determine how much money districts will receive at the beginning of the year to hire teachers, teacher assistants and buy supplies.  CMS will get the additional money, but it won’t come until at least October. 

CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison says the district is making do until schools can hire another 60 teachers, although he says that will be tough this late in the year.   

Our principals have pulled individuals in the school that are in positions of coaching or facilitators and had them actually be teaching classes,” says Morrison.  “In some cases they have doubled up in terms of taking a class and saying, ‘Okay we’re going to spread those students out.’ So [they] bumped up the class sizes slightly higher in each class, in anticipation that they may reconstitute a class.”

The state Department of Public Instruction expected CMS to actually lose 750 students this year in large part because of the eleven new charter schools. 

However, the district heard many charters were having a hard time recruiting students, so Morrison says CMS told the state the district would gain that many students. 

“We said, ‘Okay, we understand the new charter said that they’re going to have this number of students, but we think we’re going to have this number of students. Why is it that you’re automatically going with what they’re saying and you’re taking them from CMS?’ I think that’s the process we have got to get addressed,” said Morrison.    

This week the numbers came in and CMS actually gained 2,500 students. 

Alexis Schauss with the NC Department of Public Instruction says the expansion of charter schools has made it harder to project enrollment numbers.  She says virtual charters will make things more complicated since they will draw students from districts throughout the state.   

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