The Mecklenburg county commission didn’t stray from their decision to withhold a reported $56 million from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system on Tuesday. A decision that left the Board of Education unsatisfied with the country based on their latest steps to hamper funding.
With that said, the school board announced it will initiate the “dispute resolution statute” to try and resolve the matter with Mecklenburg County. However, it may take a while for the process to fully run its course.
“We are dismayed that this funding dispute has reached the point where we must seek statutory resolution. But we will not stand by while the County impedes our efforts to educate students,” said Elyse Dashew, chair of the Board of Education.
According to CMS, the county’s budget, which was approved and passed on the first day of the fiscal 2022 year (June 1), will leave the district underfunded by $81 million. Overall, the $2 billion budget leaves out $56 million for CMS, according to reports.
A statement released by CMS on Tuesday said, “Failure to appropriate the requested funds to the Board of Education’s budget will indisputably harm students, teachers, and schools. Nearly half of the amount placed in contingency — $27.4 million — affects school-based staff exclusively, including principals, assistant principals, learning specialists and administrative staff in schools.”
It went on to say “Additionally, despite claims the contingent funds will not affect the classroom, the County’s budget will eliminate the ability to provide pay raises for all teachers.”
The county says until CMS proves they have an educational attainment plan to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners that details how the district will allocate future spending, then no deal will be made for funding. Specifically, the county is calling on members of CMS’ leadership group to define why a portion of the money is necessary for operations.
“We do not have a crisis in finance, we have a crisis in leadership,” Rev. Jordan Boyd speaking on behalf of the African-American Faith Alliance said Tuesday night. Boyd was one of the many faith leaders to speak out about CMS and the budget vote for next year. A majority of them sided with the commission and believe the school district needs to show how the money is being spent.
The resolution process now heads to mediation with the two sides meeting in the coming weeks. If no agreement is reached, there is a set list of agreements on how money will be disbursed.