Superintendent Clayton Wilcox unveiled his first budget proposal as head of CMS, outlining the priorities he wants to spend more money on next school year.
The big thing is school safety. This breaks down into a few big buckets.
Mental/emotional support staff ($4.4 million)
- 33 new elementary school counselors
- 17 new school social workers
- 10 new school psychologists
Physical security ($9.8 million)
- Hardened doors and windows with extra locks, reinforced glass and tinted film.
- Fencing and perimeter controls
- In-classroom cameras and more video monitoring.
- 5 new police officers, 2 locksmiths and 2 electronics specialists.
Other major components of the budget:
- 7% pay raise for teachers
- 3% pay raise for admins/staff
- $500,000 for more diversity training for teachers. Only 800 out of 9,400 teachers would get it, though.
- 46 new custodians
- $40 million in new county funding. Note: CMS rarely gets everything it asks for from the county commissioners.
Why this matters:
The physical safety component will be a tough needle to thread. We all want safer schools, but the execution at the individual campus level will be critical. Nobody wants a school to look and feel like a prison.
The custodian proposal is also super interesting. This is reflective of Wilcox’s philosophy on school culture. He came in and immediately started mowing lawns himself. Wilcox believes that a nice-looking school has spillover effects — almost like the “broken windows” model of policing.
It’s also notable that Wilcox is branding this as a “call to action” instead of the usual government bureaucracy. It’s just marketing, but CMS’s destiny is controlled by the state legislature and county commissioners so marketing is important.