Monday, March 19, 2012

CMS plan: 157 more jobs, 45 of them teachers

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?

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