Tracking the Cuts: The Dismantling of Our Public Schools

trackingCuts-web-600Yesterday, the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school system released their 2013-14 budget, which includes the elimination of 220 teacher assistant positions. Teacher assistants will also experience a reduction of the number of days and hours they can work. Instructional supplies will also be cut and a planned locally-funded salary increase for teachers did not materialize.

Dennis Covington, the executive director of budget for Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools, explained to NC Policy Watch that while the district’s school budget increased by 2.7% over last year’s, it turned out to actually be $900,000 less than CMS’ estimated 2013-14 budget, released earlier this year. State funding would have meant 396 teacher assistant positions would have been lost, but CMS was able to come up with adjustments that saved 176 positions.

Rural districts are not as well positioned as urban ones, like CMS, to come up with local funding to offset decreased state appropriations.

CMS did gain $8 million for career and technical education, but this is problematic, said Covington. “That money could pay for 100 new CTE positions, and we don’t even have a way to create and hire for that many positions in such a short period of time before school starts.” The money could not be moved to save more teaching jobs or teacher assistant jobs.

State level per pupil funding continued a downward trend from the 2008-09 school year. The state per pupil expenditure for CMS schools has decreased by 7.2% since then, according to CMS’s budget report.

Charlotte-Mecklenberg joins a growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts as the 2013-14 school year approaches.
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Burke County:
–1.35 million budget reduction;
–43.5 teaching positions eliminated;
–2 instructional support positions eliminated [The News Herald]

Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools:
–465 teaching positions lost;
–220 teacher assistant positions lost;
–Reduced hours and days for teacher assistants;
–Reduction for instructional supplies. [CMS 2013-14 Budget Report]

Cleveland County:
–50-60 teaching positions will likely be eliminated;
–30 teacher assistant positions eliminated;
–Dozens of teacher assistants should expect reduced hours. [Shelby Star]

7 Comments

  1. Doug

    August 14, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    It amazing to me how you guys can continue to promote phantom “cuts” when the increase in school funding this year more than covers population growth and inflation To review – there is roughly a 4.8% increase in education spending while student population is to increase by less than 1% and inflation is 1.6%. This reeks more of the typical political trope of the “stakeholders” making the most painful cuts possible in the most publicized manner possible in order to conserve their own power as much as possible. Meanwhile, administrators get rich pay packages and they keep increasing the number of administrators in lieu of actual teachers. How many $150k plus administrators do you really need pushing paper? How many teachers or TA’s would that pay for? Heck in the liberal heaven of Asheville they spent $175,000 of teacher money as a gift to an outgoing administrator:

    http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130518/NEWS/305170051/City-schools-chief-not-owed-buyout

    What you see now is actually a bloated industry that is to be forced to become more efficient and effective to stay in competition for state funds. What we REALLY need to do is hold our local school boards accountable……each one of you need to do some research to see how top loaded your school board is and ask some tough questions about that.

  2. Bibi Bowman

    August 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Just obscene. Wake also had to pay Tata a huge load to get rid of him. I’d like real teachers in classrooms, and tax money spent on public education rather than private chain-schools taking vouchers. Replacing actual teachers with TFA kids is something worse than filling the positions with something less skilled than substitutes and less experienced than student teachers. It is not what I would want for myself, my kids, or any kids I cared about.

  3. gregflynn

    August 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    What about the 4.8 percent increase in public school funding? Where does that number come from?
    This percentage is from a comparison between the FY 2012-13 Budget Money Report with this year’s Budget Money Report ($7,865,960,649 vs. $7,506,553,067) — a 4.8 percent increase. The 4.8 percent increase reflects increases in the state retirement contribution, hospitalization costs, and the 1.2 percent pay increase that was provided to teachers and public school personnel in 2012-13 but not placed in the public school fund at that time. These three things make up $259 million of the 4.8 percent “increase” in the public school fund, but these dollars are either not new to schools or represent status quo funding only, and will not go to support the additional services or personnel needed to help students learn.

    The Governor’s Continuation Budget and the final budget also restored $72 million to line items that were over-expended (longevity, workers comp, unemployment, etc.). This restoration also explains part of the difference in the two Money Reports.

    Finally, the public schools’ student population grew by 17,192 students. So, without going line item by line item, the simple comparison between Money Reports from last year and this year would indicate a difference of $359,407,582, or 4.8%.

    When you take that amount and back out the salary and benefit changes for FY 2012-13 ($259 million) and the coverage for over-expended line items ($72 million), you are left with $28 million to serve 17,192 more students. By the way, the actual cost to serve these new students is more than $5,400 each but the amount provided in this budget is far lower, $1,629 per student.

  4. Doug

    August 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    greggy, nice article I assume you made it up as there is not a reference to be able to establish the slant of your post. But it does not explain that they have 4.8% more. Every year you can thow recurring items in and out to make your story but all entities have to deal with things such as this every year. It does not take away from the fact that the education complex has a HUGE amount of other people’s money to play with….and play with they do with little regard for fiduciary duties.

  5. gregflynn

    August 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I have previously posted the source of the rebuttal to the erroneous 4.8% claim which you have reposted like spam numerous times. The fact that you now request the link when it is omitted tells me you have no real interest in it. http://mountainx.com/article/51789/Competing-claims-NC-Dept-of-Public-Instruction-analyzes-state-budgets-impact-on-schools – See more at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/08/15/tracking-the-cuts-the-dismantling-of-our-public-schools-4/#comments

  6. david esmay

    August 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Doog, Greg just explained the 4.8% discrepancy for you line by line from the Budget Money Report, and where those monies came from and where they went. You claim to be a CPA, but you can’t follow a simple line item explanation.

  7. Alan

    August 15, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Facts don’t penetrate the tin foil hat…