MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers and principals will soon get larger-than-expected pay raises after district leaders voted Tuesday on the final budget for the upcoming year.
All certified CMS teachers will see extra money in their paychecks as part of the budget plan.
"This goes a long way in paying teachers and staff what they’re worth and what they deserve, but it's not all the way," board member Rhonda Cheek said.
It took months to get to this point. CMS had to wait and see how much money the state and county were allocated for schools.
Certified teachers will see an average raise of 4.2%.
"Meaning that some people get 2.5% raise, while others get 7%," Amanda Thompson-Rice with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators said.
Based on state law compensation structure, first-year teachers will see larger raises than teachers with more experience in the district.
"I talked to three former employees of CMS that left, they left because of not getting the money," Thompson-Rice said. "So they can go to a charter school where they can negotiate their salary, or they went to other corporations, such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America."
CMS raised all staff members' pay to at least $15 an hour.
"Sometimes we forget about our non-certified employees," CMS Chief Financial Officer Sheila Shirley said. "So, I'm excited to see their increase."
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Since Mecklenburg County funded around $20 million less in reoccurring funds than CMS needed, there were some cuts. Shirley said this includes the local supplement, which had to be reduced from 10% to 5%, as well as the addition of more counselors, psychologists, and social workers.
The district was able to raise pay for teaching assistants with state funding.
"This is not necessarily a win that says, 'OK, we're getting somewhere,'" Thompson-Rice said. "It's like we're taking steps where we actually just crawl it."
The fight for higher pay raises for the next school year is already underway.