Friday, June 1, 2012
Mecklenburg County commissioners said Wednesday that their preliminary agreement to restrict $18.5 million of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools budget was designed to ensure that employees get 3 percent raises. But interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh has sent a mass email warning that CMS leaders are studying "possible consequences of accepting restricted money" and celebration would be premature.
Here's his email:
Dear CMS employees,
On Wednesday, May 30, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners held a straw vote on CMS funding, saying our requested raise would be partially funded by a restricted contingency. This means that the commissioners will withhold $18.5 million of our total county funding until we have shown the commissioners proof that the raises have been given.
The county manager’s proposal would give CMS a total of $335 million plus about $2 million in fines-and-forfeiture money. The total of $337 million is significantly less than the $356 million we requested and the county would hold on to $18.5 million of it until proof is provided that employees will get a three percent raise. The total cost of this raise is more than $26 million.
Forcing us to use county money in this way, coupled with giving us less than we requested, means that we will have to cut more from our operating budget, unless the state funding exceeds our estimate. This is unprecedented. To have our operating budget restricted by a governing body other than the Board of Education is not desirable. For that reason, our Board members are concerned and are reviewing the possible consequences of accepting restricted money in this way.
The good news for employees is that the county commission appears to be aware of your value to our community. However, the final budget votes have yet to be taken. We also do not yet know the final amount of our state allocation, which accounts for about two-thirds of our funding.
For that reason, I’d hold off on celebrating your raise just yet. We will keep you informed as our Board and the county take action on the budget.
Hugh E. Hattabaugh
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Posted by Ann Doss Helms at 4:01 PM