As superintendent, I have the privilege and the responsibility of ensuring that more than 145,000 students receive the education they need and deserve. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is a diverse district with a wide range of educational offerings. We are committed to providing a personalized learning experience that addresses the needs and interests of each student. We strive to offer each student the best education possible so that every student graduates prepared for college or career.
Our annual operating budget is the expression, in words and numbers, of this commitment to providing the best education possible to every child. As a large, diverse district, we have many needs. It is my task as superintendent to identify the priorities that are most critical for our students each year. For the coming year, in addition to addressing the needs of our growing student population and facilities footprint, I believe that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools must focus on three key areas: literacy, recruiting and retaining top-quality employees with competitive salaries and social and emotional supports for students.
The proposed operating budget for 2015-2016 strives to keep the promises we have made to our students of a personalized education. It also recognizes some troubling realities, particularly in the area of state funding.
Much of public education in North Carolina is funded by the state. But there are areas where state funding appears to be declining. For Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the effects of diminished state funding are exacerbated by our continuing growth. At this time, we do not know if the state is going to fund growth as it has in the past – but we do anticipate that next year, we will have 2,400 more students than we had this year. We also know that, in order to keep increasing student achievement as we have in recent years, we must maintain our focus on literacy and on social/emotional supports for students.
For the 2015-2016 school year, we are seeking a total increase in county funding of $39.9 million. This amount reflects $3.4 million in reductions and redirections to help offset rising costs. The net request of $39.9 million breaks down as follows:
Our budget proposal seeks to meet the needs of our students and our employees so that we can continue to provide the education our children need and deserve. Mecklenburg County’s families have clearly indicated that education is a top priority. An investment in our schools not only will meet the current needs of our students, employees and families – it will help our community meet the needs of the future.
Ann Clark, Superintendent
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