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NC Officials Shocked That Minimum-Wage Hike Killed 177 School Positions

'Some of these vacant positions included badly needed social and emotional supports, especially important during this pandemic...'

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools vice chair announced Tuesday that the district had to eliminate 177 job openings because of an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, WBTV reported.

Vice Chair Thelma Byers Bailey said the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners forced CMS into cutting positions.

“These are the facts: While it is absolutely true that CMS did not fire a single individual because of these decisions by the county commission, it is also absolutely true that we had to eliminate 177 jobs,” said Byers Bailey.

“That’s 177 people who could be working at CMS, helping our students and making a difference,” Byers Bailey said. “But because of the county commission’s actions, we did not have the funding necessary to hire those people.”

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The commissioners told the district in June that it would not receive $11.7 million in funding until it increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour, WBTV reported.

“Last Tuesday, more than two months after this board did as the county demanded, the commissioners released the funds,” said Byers Bailey. “Our valued employees will finally receive the raise that had been put on hold.”

CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston went to the Mecklenburg County Commissioners meeting last week to ensure that the district was on track to receive its funding.

Commissioner Trevor Fuller asked a question about layoffs and eliminated positions following the hike in the minimum wage.

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The county manager told the commissioners that the district did not lay off any employees, though it did have to eliminate open positions. WBTV reported that the commissioners appeared confused that CMS had to make the cuts.

“I don’t know why the commissioners were surprised by this,” Byers Bailey said. “Some of these vacant positions included badly needed social and emotional supports, especially important during this pandemic.”

WBTV Reporter Chandler Morgan outlined the budget cuts in a tweet.

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