Educators, supporters push county to provide more funding to CMS

- Monday night’s meeting at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center was packed as educators and allies gathered to push for more funding for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. 

The meeting was in a standing room only, and an overflow crowd watched and listened from outside with a majority of the more than 70 speakers wanting to make sure education is top priority. 

“Mecklenburg County must be willing to do more for our teachers,” one attendee said.

A sea of red was all that could be seen as the Red for Ed movement turned out, wanting the commissioners to improve upon the $24 million increase towards the education budget already included in the proposed 2019 budget.

“The budget does a lot of wonderful things but what it doesn’t do is show that we honor and respect our teachers,” said Ray McKinnon, the husband of a CMS teacher. 

CMS is hoping for a nearly $40 million increase. 

Some of those resources not in next year's budget include funding for those students with English not their first language, expanding a program that helps those usually underrepresented in higher education for success in college and pay. 

“The increase in local supplement proposed by CMS would represent about one percent of overall pay. I’d argue that's not excessive it's a need,” CMS teacher Justin Parmenter said.

Although most echoed the state can do more when it comes to education, those in the community want commissioners to be held accountable when thinking about next year's budget.

“We cannot wait for the General Assembly to step up and provide funding for critically needed resources,” the attendee said. 

“I ask that you do more for our teachers and our students because our students need us, so please fully fund the CMS budget,” McKinnon pleaded. 

The county commissioners are scheduled to vote on the 2019 budget Wednesday, June 19.

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