CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As students get ready to head back to class, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools' top leader says the just-settled state budget is not what legislators are claiming and will lead to cuts to the classrooms.
CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison says finally having a budget is a good thing. But the budget itself, not the great boost the 7-percent teacher raise the legislators are touting.
"I think most lawmakers are now acknowledging that it's probably pretty closer to a 5.5-percent pay increase on average," Morrison told reporters.
In fact, as NBC Charlotte has said for days now, depending on how many years you've been a teacher, the raise varies dramatically; veteran teachers get much lower raises.
"It's a range," Morrison points out. "In some cases, some teachers are getting an excess of 18- percent; in some cases as low as point-three-percent."
Morrison says because of the state budget, there will need to be cuts to the classrooms. There is a $2.6 million gap when it comes to paying for teaching assistants.
The only good news there? There are enough open positions that there will not be layoffs.
"So in no case will there be any loss of teaching assistant jobs in terms of somebody losing their job," Morrison confirms.
There are cuts to CMS central offices-- about $100,000, the transportation budget was slashed by $630,000, and CMS did get more money for textbooks.
And now that they finally know what they can pay teachers, the superintendent says recruiting teachers will be a little bit easier.
"It's nice now to know what our salary schedule will be. That helps in the marketing of our school district and state, and will certainly help to attract teachers on the entry level and we'll have to work very hard to make sure we're not losing our veteran teachers."