Ah yes. The inevitable end to the oh-so-broke shuffle. What’s so funny is that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools does this every year and gets away with it. They claim they are up a creek financially, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, in a bid to get the county to raise taxes and fork the loot over to them. Then when they get their money — or not — they later conveniently discover they were never actually broke to begin with.
This year they claimed they were probably $100 million in the hole and would have to fire up to 1,500 people and sacrifice special education programs for poor children. So the county raised taxes and handed them $26 million extra, way less than they said they needed to avoid the “cuts.” Now it turns out they will not only keep those programs, but they have enough left over dough to hire 500 new employees. In other words, they were never really broke, so we didn’t actually need that tax increase. Don’t assume this discovery will lead to the cancellation of the tax increase. It doesn’t work that way.
CMS has used this flim-flam to amass a bureaucracy so large that it is now one of the top five employers in the region, in the same size league with Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
CMS did this the year before, too, claiming the school system had massive budget shortfalls and would need shovels full of money or children would suffer, only to end up not only not broke, but with a budget $10 million larger than the year before. In other words, CMS leaders lie.
The Charlotte Observer, meanwhile, dedicates dozens of articles to convincing the community that CMS is broke, and usually about one to the shocking discovery that not only is the school system not broke, it actually is rolling in so much dough it can hire another 500 employees.
Look for the whole cycle to begin again in January, when CMS leaders make the alarming discovery that they are broke …