Thursday, April 8, 2010

Education $$ not helping CMS budget

Education dollars are flowing into North Carolina, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, but they're not making the local schools' budget picture look brighter. Last week, CMS learned it was a finalist for the Broad urban education prize. It will get $250,000 as a finalist. But if it wins - the announcement will be made this summer - it will get $1 million. But all that money goes to scholarship so it won't help operating costs, which may take up to a $80 million cut in state and local funds because of poor revenues due to the recession.

This week, both Gov. Bev Perdue and U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) announced that North Carolina will receive more than $91 million from the federal stimulus to turn around poorly performing schools. Hagan serves on the Senate committee with jurisdiction over education.

Perdue said the money will toward the state's goal of “preparing every student, no matter where he or she lives, to graduate from high school ready for a career, college or technical training demands that we turn around our low-performing schools.”

Noted Hagan: “Schools in North Carolina will receive stimulus funding to implement innovative models to better serve our students. This funding will help North Carolina students compete in the 21st-century economy and become career and college ready.”

But according to Hagan, qualifying school districts must be among the “persistently lowest achieving,” as determined by the state of North Carolina. School districts that have failed to meet yearly progress for two years can also apply, but will only receive funds once all of the persistently lowest achieving school districts have received funds. CMS as a whole doesn't fit those categories though it has schools that do.