Read about important Crossroads Charlotte events, information and activities.
Mecklenburg County’s recent decision to cut hours and services across its library system brought home an unpleasant truth to residents: Government revenue has shriveled in the recession, and public officials are having to decide what we’ll all have to do without.
That in mind, Crossroads Charlotte on March 30 hosted “A Community Responds: Cuts, Closures and Access,” an information and discussion session that drew about 75 people to First Presbyterian Church uptown.
The purpose was to present people with the facts about Mecklenburg County’s declining revenues and accompanying cuts in service, then allow participants to ask questions and contribute ideas about how individuals and the community at large can cope with what presenters called, “the new normal.”
It’s not pretty. County Budget Director Hyong Yi, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark and library system Director Charles Brown laid out specifically how deep the revenue losses have been and how severe the expected cuts will be in the coming fiscal year and beyond. (Yi’s and Brown’s presentations are available for download here.)
As Mecklenburg County's budget cuts continue, questions abound in the community:
- What’s the real budget situation?
- What are the impacts we know about?
- And perhaps the biggest question: What can we do?
Tonight, Crossroads Charlotte will host “A Community Responds: Cuts, Closures and Access," a gathering to address the real-life impact of the budget.
The meeting is 6:30-8:30 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 200 West Trade St. There's free parking in the lot next to the church.
If you can't make the meeting, follow the discussion on the web:
- CLTBlog will stream video of the event at CLTBlog.com/live.
- On Twitter, follow @CrossroadsCLT or click here to follow the discussion on Twitter (you do not have to have a Twitter account).
Crossroads Charlotte helps people and organizations IMAGINE OUR TOMORROW and exchange ideas, experiences and actions that shape a positive future for everyone. Crossroads Charlotte provides ways for people to ACT TODAY in small and large ways to build trust by creating access, inclusion and equity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Schools and libraries are not the only Mecklenburg County services that are facing deep budget cuts in the coming fiscal year. The County Manager has directed departments such as Park and Recreation to reduce their budgets to help cover a projected $85 million gap.
For the Park and Recreation department, this means reducing temporary labor, building and equipment repairs, off duty security officers and more. The department could face even more drastic cuts in the near future.
Frazier Park, located in the 3rd Ward of Uptown, offers a great example of the service parks provide to the Mecklenburg County. Frazier Park’s facilities help bring together the community. Canine companions enjoy the off-leash dog park, with separate areas for both large and small breeds. Cyclists and joggers make use of the adjacent greenway along Irwin Creek. The park features a playground and community garden as well.
Two days after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board approved superintendent Peter Gorman’s plan to lay off teachers, parents and students are wondering how layoffs will affect their schools.
The biggest concern is that fewer teachers will mean larger classes and less one-on-one attention for students.
Under Gorman’s plan, the district will lay off about 600 teachers and cut pay for all assistant principals. The plan is in preparation of projected budget shortfalls for the coming year.
Nearly every organization funded by the county is scrambling to prepare for smaller budgets for the next couple of years. The CMS layoff plan reflects what’s happening in school districts throughout the country. In Kansas City, half of the district’s schools are slated to close by fall.
Still, it’s a bitter pill. Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools laid off more than 600 teachers and more than 800 total employees last year because of budget woes. Tuesday’s board meeting only drew a smattering of parents, but throughout the district there is concern among parents and students about the quality of education CMS students will receive.
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