CMS budget hopes to add security glass, fences, other enhancements to schools

Some Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools may have a different look next year. Reinforced glass and security fences are just some of the security changes proposed by the CMS superintendent Wednesday night.

Dr. Clayton Wilcox is proposing more than $10 million dollars in his new budget for security enhancements. Some of them you will be able to see, while others focus on mental health to prevent attacks in the first place.

The new CMS budget is a sign of the times with a heavy focus on safety.

“Things I never thought I would be asking for, like active shooter training for all our employees,” said Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox.

Among other the changes aimed at keeping students safe in the classroom are hardened doors, glass reinforcement and tinted windows.

Fencing and other access controls could also be added to keep unwanted people out as well as additional locks and cameras.

Dr. Wilcox says he has been working closely with CMPD Chief Kerr Putney over the last several weeks.

The proposed budget includes money for an additional 5 police officers and training with all staff members, including teachers. Not in the new budget are metal detectors or wanding of students.
“It may be that there is some occasional used of the wands when they suspect something might be going on, but I don’t think we are going to commit right now to one method or the other. We are going to work on some things we laid out tonight,” said Dr. Wilcox.

CMS students and teachers say security can only go so far. They’ve been asking for more mental health support.

“There is only one social worker to about 3,000 students. There are only 50 school resource officers for 146,000 students,” said one former teacher.

There is additional spending on mental health within the new budget that will allow for more counselors, social workers and school psychologists. 

The proposed budget also includes a 3-7% pay increase for teachers and a pay increase for the school board.

This budget isn’t set in stone, it still needs county and school board approval.