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Parent Backlash to CMS Tactics


Just thought I would share this email exchange with you.

I find it very interesting, and perhaps you will, too. Apparently not everyone with children in CMS is thrilled with their request and actions.

The County Commission has taken a lot of heat recently over teacher increases in pay. The slogan you’ll hear a lot is “children before politics”, which comes straight from MeckEd. The thing is, the County Commission isn’t playing politics–MeckED and CMS are. They are engaging in a game of chess with the county–and using parents, teachers, children as needed.

The county literally does not have an extra $46M with which we can fully fund CMS’ request. We have a little more than $30M in extra revenue this year, and some of that money will be going for more school nurses and other projects. It is my hope that the State will increase base salaries for teachers this year, and then the County can increase its supplement, as is typical. However, we don’t have the money for a 3% raise for every CMS employee (who happen to be State employees). We also hear a lot about priorities. Why is no one saying, “CMS, you need to prioritize your budget so that teachers receive the raises you say they deserve”?

The conversation regarding teacher pay and CMS’ budget could have been positive and productive between CMS and the County, but CMS picked a fight before we even had a conversation about it. Hinting at lawsuits? Manipulating the process? These are not the actions of an organization wishing to be a true partner.

The following is an email exchange I had with a CMS parent today.

Have a great weekend,

From: ————>
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2014 1:36 PM
To: Ridenhour, Matthew R.
Subject: Re: Vote against OP’s 300 for 3%

Dear Matthew,
Thank you for your response. I understand the BOCC does not set teacher pay but that seems to fall on deaf ears when you point that out to people. Especially when you have BOE members (Eric Davis) coming to PTA meetings and saying we in the PTA and school community at large need to contact our elected officials beginning with County Commissioners.

By all means use my email. I am attaching the flyers that have come home as well for you to use. My husband sent an email to the principal and vice principal of OP respectively saying that their tactics are over the top. (Last night we got a ConnectEd call encouraging us to contact local officials.)

Thank you for your service both as a Marine and now as a civil servant.

Much appreciated!

I can provide the originals if you have any trouble reading the scanned flyers.

Thanks again!

On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 1:05 PM, Ridenhour, Matthew R. <> wrote:
Dear Ms. ———-,

Thank you very much for your email. OP is a wonderful school, and is in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the district. Lancer and the other roads through there make for some excellent cycling.

In regards to your email regarding the decidedly political tack that the PTA and school administration has taken, it confirms what I was beginning to suspect…that this is a coordinated effort, intended to pressure the BOCC to act in an unprecedented manner. That is, to replace the State as the responsible party for teacher increases and salaries.

With your permission, I would like to share your email with others. You have my word that I will delete your name and email address, and they will remain in my strictest confidence. However, I would like to share the body of your email. Please let me know; I shall respect your wishes either way.

Thank you again,


Matthew Ridenhour
Mecklenburg County Commissioner, District 5

“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” — A. Lincoln
From: ————–>
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2014 11:16 AM
To: Ridenhour, Matthew R.
Subject: Vote against OP’s 300 for 3%

Mr. Ridenhour:
My name is ————– and I live in your district. The Olde Providence neighborhood to be exact. I have a second grader that attends Olde Providence Elementary. I have two older children that have matriculated through OP as well. In the last year, the administration of OP, as well as the PTA, has taken a decidedly political turn. They have cloaked their activity in the guise of advocacy but have crossed the line into politicking. Their campaign is called 300 for 3%. I have been inundated with flyers home, emails, and phone calls. It has surpassed annoying and has moved to haranguing. I thought this may be isolated to just our school but my sister who has two daughters at Smithfield Elementary told me she received a flyer home pushing for parents to have children write letters to elected officials and provided contact information.

This leads me to believe Heath Morrison, as the superintendent of CMS, is inciting a mob to get his way. I hope you will take that into consideration as you decided whether or not to get behind this push for teachers’ raises. The tactics they and their supporters are using is nothing short of bullying. I strongly encourage you to not endorse ANY plan to raise the teachers’ pay born from these tactics. I am truly disgusted at what they are doing!


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