CMS notifies 304 teachers they'll lose jobs
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools notified 304 teachers May 22 that they will not have jobs next year. The district will send similar letters the week of May 25 to teachers who meet the criteria for non-renewal established by the Board of Education – retirees, employees with end-of-year contracts and part-time teachers.

The letters are part of an ongoing reduction in force by CMS, made necessary by county and state revenue shortfalls. The district receives nearly all of its funding from Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina.

The district’s budget proposal for the 2009-2010 school year, now being reviewed by the county, made $51.1 million in reductions and redirections. The district’s funding request to the county was for the same amount received last year; no increase was requested. To allow for maximum flexibility, the budget proposal also established four tiers of additional reductions totaling $35.1 million. These teacher reductions were part of the tiers.

“These are cuts that we hoped to avoid,” said Dr. Peter C. Gorman, superintendent. “Unfortunately, the information that we’re getting from the state and the county suggests that these cuts will be necessary and perhaps even more. The economic downturn is affecting our two main funding sources.”

The budget proposal for the district calls for a reduction of 367 teaching positions (outlined in the tiers) for the 2009-2010 school year. It also calls for reducing a total of 1,316 positions (including the teacher reductions) and trimming every area of district operations.

Teachers were selected for notification based on relative performance measures first, and then seniority (used in cases where two teachers had the same relative performance scores). Among the teachers receiving notification, 178 were chosen based on performance and 58 because of licensure deficiencies. If relative performance or licensure issues were not a factor in non-renewal, the district will place non-renewed teachers in a pool that will be used to fill any vacancies.

The number of notification letters and the number of employees affected by the reductions may not precisely match the number of positions listed for cuts in the budget, said Maurice Ambler, chief human resources officer for the district. Resignations, retirements, trading of positions at the school level – all of these things affect the number of affected employees.

“From now until the opening of schools in August, we are in a period of great flux,” Ambler said. “Our staffing needs will depend on the number of resignations and retirements that come in between now and the end of the summer.”