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Tracking the Cuts: The Dismantling of Our Public Schools

trackingCuts-web-600 [1]Yesterday, 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 [2]of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts as the 2013-14 school year approaches.
Burke County:
–1.35 million budget reduction;
–43.5 teaching positions eliminated;
–2 instructional support positions eliminated [The News Herald [3]]

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 [3]]

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 [4]]