CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Teachers made their plea for a pay raise to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board at a public hearing Tuesday night.
Interim Superintedent Hugh Hattabaugh did include a three percent increase in his budget proposal.
The $355.9 million proposal is $27.5 million more than this year’s budget. CMS has said the majority of the extra money would be used to fund the teacher pay increase.
The district has not increased teacher pay since the 2008-09 school year. More than a dozen teachers spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, all asking for the board to keep the three percent raise in the budget.
“It’s about fairness. If other county employees can get raises, why can’t we? Are we not valued, “ asked Dilworth Elementary School music teacher Candy Hayes, “ We are having trouble meeting our basic needs. Rent, food, gas.”
Hayes said she was, like many other CMS teachers, working two jobs until her mother died. She called herself lucky to inherit money through selling her mother’s house.
“What kind of message are we sending? You have to work a second job or you have to wait for someone to die for you to survive? Really? Is that where we are?” said a frustrated Hayes.
Some speakers told the CMS Board it should give teachers an even greater pay increase than the proposed three percent; although, right now, even that is not guaranteed.
Several parents and students attended the meeting to request CMS get rid of the new late bell schedule.
Last year, the board voted to extend the elementary school day- from 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.- as a way to save money on busing. Parents complained of safety issues, decrease in time spent with family members and tired students.
CMS has said changing the bell schedule back would cost upwards of $4 million. Speakers said they wanted the bell schedule change to be made in addition to, not instead of, teacher raises.
The Interim Superintendent will present the final budget to Mecklenburg County April 10. County commissioners have said the larger budget would be difficult to fund without raising property taxes, something they did not want to commit to doing right now.