Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: The Tip of the Coming Budget Iceberg
The budget cuts to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools proposed on Tuesday by Superintendent Peter Gorman provide a preview of the local impact of state budget cuts on public structures like schools, colleges, courts and hospitals that are likely to be proposed across the state in the coming months.
Superintendent Gorman proposed budget cuts to get a head start on planning the implementation of the 10-percent cuts to schools laid out by the state Department of Public Instructions under the order of Governor Perdue. The cuts outlined by Gorman, which amounted to over $100 million in the next fiscal year, would result in the loss of over 1,500 jobs in Charlotte Mecklenburg schools, increasing class sizes by two students in grades 4 through 12 and reducing the number of classes in the system’s Bright Beginnings pre-K program from 175 to 70. Gorman also recommends adjusting the weighted-student staffing formula, thereby reducing the amount of resources available to schools with high concentrations of poverty.
Proposed cuts along these lines, which will soon be echoed in school districts and public institutions across the state (see map below with county-level impacts state budget cuts on jobs for teachers and instructional support), threaten the state’s fledgling economic recovery and will undermine the future prospects and economic opportunities for millions of children and families across the state.
But there are alternatives. Reforming the state’s revenue system could help prevent the worst of these cuts, saving tens of thousands of public- and private-sector jobs, improving the state’s finances, and building the physical and human capital necessary for all North Carolinians to prosper in the years and decades ahead.