CMS votes in favor for sales tax hike

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education voted Tuesday night in support of November's controversial tax hike referendum.

The county commission approved the measure in June, to allow voters on paying a quarter-cent more in sales tax to shoulder the district's funding needs.

If approved, eighty-percent of the revenues will go to the district and fund teacher salary increases.

Rhonda Lennon, representing district one, was the lone board member who voted against it.

She believes the referendum will fail because the public feels they are being taxed too much as it is.

"We are passing the buck instead of finding the money within the county budget. They've pass the buck to taxpayers and put their hand out for more," she said.

Board members said they did not appreciate the county commission devising an alternative funding plan without first getting their input.

They were quick to say, the referendum however, is the only option left now to give teachers what they were promised.

"This is what we have. This is what they've given us because as it has been stated, we don't have taxing authority," said member, Tim Morgan.

Morgan was among the eight board members who support of the hike.

He says he has seen first-hand what happens when teacher salaries are not competitive.

"I guarantee if you see almost ever school CMS has, we have the same issues. We are loosing teacher to other districts, to other states, to the private sector. We've got to stop the bleeding," he said.

Board members expressed concern over a number of lingering unknowns. One question was whether sales tax revenues will indefinitely go to fund teacher pay every year.

Board member Eric Davis said now is the time to move forward and collectively garner pubic support for the hike.

"Our teacher have stood by us for many years, especially the last six years. Now it's our time to stand with them," he said.


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