The CMS Board of Education met on July 22, 2014 in the chamber of the government center. All board members were present except District 1 Representative Rhonda Lennon.
The board named two new sports facilities at Olympic High School. Dr. Morrison only had one new staff member to announce. Crystal Lail is the new principal at Elizabeth Lane Elementary. She formerly was the principal fellow at Elizabeth Lane.
District 4 Representative Tom Tate talked about newly revised policy JJJ. This policy is about extracurricular activities. The specifics are about eligibility for all extracurricular activities at CMS. This policy does adhere to the rules of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association(NCHSAA). This new policy will impact students in August of 2014. The board voted 8-0 to adopt this newly revised policy.
Associate General Counsel Jonathan Sink gave the North Carolina State Budget Update Presentation. CMS might need to cut 427 teachers assistants, depending on the details of the final budget.
So far, the State House and State Senate can not agree on several key areas in education funding. The House wants a 6% teacher pay increase and the Senate wants an 8% teacher pay increase. The House would like see no teacher’s assistants lose their jobs and the Senate is proposing a $115 million dollar teacher assistant cut.
The house is also working on HB 1224. This would put a cap on local sales taxes. The Senate Finance Committee is meeting at 5:00 pm today to discuss HB 1224. Details of what was decided by this committee are not yet available.
Dr. Morrison stated that North Carolina is still spending very little on education compared to other states. North Carolina is 46th or 47th in education spending. He would like to see education be a greater priority for North Carolina legislators.
Vice-Chairman Tim Morgan asked Jonathan Sink if HB 1224 is strictly about local sales taxes. Sink explained that HB 1224 was originally about economic drivers. The piece of the HB 1224 bill concerning capping local sales taxes was later added to the legislation. Sink stated that this bill will now go the House for concurrence and then maybe to the full House after that time.
District 4 Representative Tom Tate is concerned about the lack of clarity around this new budget deal. Dr. Morrison stated that this budget uncertainty does make it difficult for human resources(HR) to do their jobs. Dr. Morrison said that CMS has placed a hold on hiring any new teacher’s assistants(TA). Dr. Morrison stated that lack of clarity about this budget is frustrating since CMS is not sure if TA’s are funded. HR Director Terry Cockerham explained that TA’s can be transfered to the exceptional children(EC) area if funding for TA’s is cut.
Dr. Morrison explained that if you compare the education funding now with education funding of ten years ago, K12 funding has dropped 5% in that time. CMS has to do more with less and with greater number of students. Dr. Morrison is also discouraged by the number of great teachers that are currently leaving CMS.
Dr. Morrison is saddened by the retirement of Karen Thomas. He remembers Thomas helping him knock on student’s doors when he was first superintendent. Dr. Morrison stated that Thomas has helped graduation rates increase and she will be greatly missed.
The next regular school board meeting will be at 6:00 pm on August 12th, 2014 in the chamber of the government center. The government center is located at 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, North Carolina.