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Mecklenburg County approves $30 million more for CMS

Mecklenburg County Commissioners
Lisa Worf
Mecklenburg County
Mecklenburg County Commissioners

Mecklenburg County commissioners have decided to give Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools $30 million more in next year’s budget than this year. They finalized the budget Wednesday night. That’s $10 million more than what the county manager had recommended and $10 million less than what the CMS board requested.

School board Chair Elyse Dashew says the school board will have to make tough choices about how to deal with the $10 million gap between what the board asked for and what commissioners approved. She said that will happen after the state approves a budget.

But Dashew says there has been no talk among her colleagues of going into mediation like they did last year.

"I do believe that our Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners really do care about what's best for kids," Dashew said. "And so we’ve just got to keep doing the hard work to get on the same page so that we can do our part and they can do their part and we’re not fighting against each other."

The $10 million above the county manager's proposal will be a one-time allotment for preventative maintenance, which is twice what the district requested for this. County Manager Dena Diorio has said with this arrangement the district could avoid using lapsed salaries on upkeep and instead use it to increase pay for teacher assistants.

The CMS board had asked for $6 million to raise the hourly pay for teacher assistants with the expectation the county would fund that on a recurring basis.

Mecklenburg County’s budget spends $591 million on CMS, about a quarter of the district’s budget. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

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