CMS Superintendent warns against state school supplies proposal

State leaders are proposing a bill that would give teachers $400 to buy their own school supplies, but CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox warned educators to be cautious of the program proposed by State Superintendent Mark Johnson, who used to work as a teacher in CMS at West Charlotte High School. 

Under the NC Classroom Supply Program, every licensed public school teacher would get $400 to buy their own school supplies through the electronic account Classwallet or get reimbursed. 

“This is not new money that’s going to help them,” said Wilcox. “This is really a share game if you will.” 

“It sounds nice but yearly we spend over $400 in our classroom,” said Sedana Noble who is a third grade teacher at Reedy Creek Elementary School.

She spends money out of her own paycheck to give her students what they need. “Some of our students come from impoverished areas so sometimes it’s not just your basic academic needs you are also buying some hygiene products maybe clothing."

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“If you simply give $400 to every teacher in the system, there may be things that we can’t buy going forward,” said Wilcox. He warns the program isn’t using new money for schools, but is taking funding away from the district. “We by paper by the rail cart or truck load.” 

He says CMS can buy supplies at a discounted rate and in bulk. “If a teacher goes and pays thirty-two dollars on paper for 500 sheets, they can’t purchase it at the same level we can.”

On Wednesday CMS discussed their budget at a community workshop. Four percent of it goes to school supplies, but Noble puts it all in perspective: “Teachers, keep working from the heart because the outcome is way more than the income.”