Keeping up with all the moving pieces in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools budget is always a challenge -- a cut here, an addition there, a line item moved from one department to the other. Here are some nuggets from the 290-page budget book handed out last week.
The $1.2 billion budget would be an all-time high, even with $30 million in temporary federal aid drying up. If the county gives CMS $27.5 million more -- and that's a big if -- the projected total from federal, state, local and other sources would be $26.5 million over the current year. However, because enrollment keeps growing, the per-pupil total of $8,541 would still be below the pre-recession high of $8,912 in 2008-09. Per-pupil county spending would be $2,542, below the high of $2,621.
Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh's plan would increase employment by 157 jobs -- but the listed total of 16,949 is a head-scratcher, given that CMS has more than 18,000 now. Chief Financial Officer Sheila Shirley says that's because the budget book doesn't tally cafeteria and after-school staff, whose pay comes from fees and the federal lunch-subsidy program.
The biggest net gains would be 45 more teachers, 42 more assistants and 30 more bus drivers. A good bit of that comes from the state, because of the additional 2,000 students expected next year. However, CMS is eliminating 140 jobs for teachers who were hired on one-year contracts, so if the county money to add 62 high school teachers doesn't materialize there could be a net loss of classroom teachers. Shirley says the plan is to have almost 7,500 classroom teachers next year. If you're used to hearing a higher number, there will be almost 9,650 people in "teacher-level positions," including facilitators, counselors and librarians.
See what I mean about a lot of moving pieces?