CMS Chief Financial Officer, Sheila Shirley
In August, I met with CMS Chief Financial Officer, Sheila Shirley to discuss how the final state and county funding met CMS’s budget goals. Overall, the state increased teacher pay by an average of 3.3% and Mecklenburg County met the request from CMS to match that pay increase to school employees on its payroll.
The County also added an additional six social workers and six counselors for the system. This was much smaller than the combined 60 counseling positions requested in the original budget.
CMS is currently far above the recommended ratios of students to counselors in its elementary, middle, and high schools. Ms. Shirley and I agreed that more counselors and social workers are needed to handle the emotional needs of our students, and I hope that county funders will be able to increase the numbers of these important positions in future budgets.
CMS will be opening 5 schools in 2017-18 and money to cover those expenses and an increase of 753 students has been secured. In total, the CMS budget is funded 59% by the state, 31% by the county, and 10% by federal and other sources.
One piece of news I want to share is that Mecklenburg County has budgeted $6-million to childcare subsidies for low-income families. These funds would be sufficient to cover all of the wait-listed 4 and 5 year olds needing help with childcare. Getting these children into high quality programs will help these children be better prepared for kindergarten. I applaud the County for making this investment in early education.
Chief Operating Officer, Carol Stamper
I also met with Chief Operating Officer, Carol Stamper to discuss the 2017 bond proposal. Our conversation centered on two projects, the proposed “south” high school and the proposed replacement of Lansdowne School. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
- South High School – The bond proposal contains $110 million for a new high school to serve as a relief for Ardrey Kell, South Meck, and Myers Park High School. No land has been purchased for the project at this time as the purchase of the land hinges on the passage of the bond. Talks are ongoing with a number of potential sellers in the area, but no placement decision has been made. The earliest the high school would be open for operation is 2023, assuming all goes as planned. No assignment decisions have been made at this time.
- Landsdowne/Elizabeth Lane Replacement/Relief – A replacement school for Landsdowne Elementary is on the bond proposal as well. This facility is slated to accommodate additional students attending Elizabeth Lane Elementary. Elizabeth Lane is at capacity and can no longer accommodate additional mobile units. The earliest this project would be delivered is 2021. No assignment decisions have been made at this time.
Principal at Olde Providence Elementary, Patti Johansen
My meeting with Patti Johansen, Principal at Olde Providence Elementary confirmed that things are going well there. They will begin to implement a Paideia model this year as well as introduce a new writing program.