CMS to receive $25.7 million from Education Jobs Fund

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The Education Jobs Fund will provide Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with about $25.7 million, the district announced at the Aug. 24 meeting of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.

The fund is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to protect teachers’ jobs and the money can only be used for compensation and benefits for school-based staff. Recipients have until September of 2012 to use the money.

The Board of Education will make a final decision on how the money is allocated. Superintendent Peter C. Gorman recommended to the Board that most of the money be used in the 2011-2012 budget, rather than allocated immediately.

“In theory, using the $25.7 million right now would allow us to hire 467 new teachers this year, ” Dr. Gorman said. “In practice, it doesn’t really work that way. The state will receive the money from the federal government at the end of September, and we will receive our portion sometime after that. By the time we post vacancies, interview and hire, it will be October at the earliest.”

Gorman said that schools would be understandably reluctant to shuffle students and schedules so far into the school year. He also said that research at CMS has shown that teachers who begin after the school year starts come in lagging behind their colleagues, and they stay behind for several years.

CMS administrators are recommending to the Board that most of the money be used in 2011-2012 to offset an anticipated funding cliff when the federal stabilization funds are expected to end.

“It’s been tough for us the last two years – but next year will almost certainly be worse if our estimate of nearly $50 million for the federal funding cliff turns out to be accurate,” Gorman said.

He also recommended that the district use $3.7 million of the $25.7 million this year to divide 75 teacher-level positions among the zone superintendents. He also recommended using $1.6 million to provide coverage for teachers on leave or other critical vacancies at the school level throughout the year. The rest of the money would be used in the 2011-2012 budget year.

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