Friday, May 7, 2010

Can the county control CMS spending?

Money for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools makes up the biggest single chunk of the county's operating budget -- more than $300 million this year -- and commissioners have said they want to make sure the money is leading to gains in the district.

But just how much can county leaders control how the school district uses its money?

Assistant Professor Kara Millonzi of the School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill offers an answer to that question and others in a new blog post about local school budgets. You can read the full post by clicking here.

State law, she writes, allows counties to divvy up operating money given to school systems by purpose or function. But county commissioners, acting on their own discretion, cannot appropriate money by line-item for school operating expenses.

That being said, Millonzi said commissioners aren't barred from requesting that a school board not use county money for certain items. "However, any agreement reached by the two boards that is not reflected in the county’s appropriations is not legally binding," she writes.

The Coates' Canons: NC Local Government Law Blog, offers lots of insight from School of Government professors on a variety of topics. Other recent entries discuss whether government employment contracts are open record (which cites a case involving the Observer) and analysis of a suit filed against the city of Kannapolis challenging an Internet Sweepstakes Tax. -- April Bethea


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I would think responsible county commissioners would want to distance themselves from this subject. Trying to control that machine is futile. They will simply move money around and still spend it doing what you do not want them to do to begin with. Sure would love to know who is pulling "Pete's" strings. Every decision for the last 2 years has taken educational opportunity away ffrom numbers of students.

Entree said...

Maybe a better question is what exactly the main goal and priorities for CMS?

Students education?

Gorman Television?

Placating the commission folks?

Anonymous said...

The main goal and priorities of CMS is to preserve CMS and its revenue stream. PERIOD.

All other issues - teaching, education, etc. - are secondary.

Anonymous said...

Moving here from out of state, maybe CMS should be put under the same rules. CMS take control of there budget from the county commissioners and put it back in the public's hands. CMS would create a budget every year and you and I would look it over and decide if the school budget is really worth it. If it failed, CMS would get a second chance. If it failed again, CMS would have to live within last year budget.