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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

District Partner 2008-2011

ERS has partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to analyze the effectiveness and equity of school-level resource use and to help the district advance its 2014 strategic plan.

"We propose to transform our use of resources. We will better align our people, time, and money with our priorities."
-Dr. Peter Gorman, Superintendent, State of Our Schools Speech November 2009

District Facts


Work Focus



  • To advance the district’s efforts to align its use of resources with the goals of its 2014 strategic plans and support resource realignment through the SY1011 budget development process.
  • To conduct deeper analysis around CMS resource use for students with special needs.
  • To inject principles of effective resource use into CMS’ School Quality Review process.
  • To support principals in the Strategic Staffing Initiative and develop school design templates for adaptation by other schools moving forward.

2008: To conduct resource mapping process for the district.

Findings and Outcomes

  • The resource use analysis built understanding and consensus within CMS concerning strategic school-level resource use and overall resource strategy and had a significant impact in changing perceptions on how to measure equity and the key drivers of inequity. The resource analysis helped CMS rethink its approach to providing school leaders with flexibility to enable more strategic decision-making on how to organize school resources.
  • Analysis identified key opportunities to improve CMS practices and served to inform the district’s 2009 strategic planning.
  • Analysis validated CMS focus on aggressively addressing challenges in its highest-need schools to significantly boost student achievement, as exemplified in CMS’ Strategic Staffing Initiative (SSI). CMS is launching its third cohort of Strategic Staffing schools for the 2010-11 school year, and is evolving the initiative to enable more strategic use of resources by the new SSI principals.
  • CMS use of performance as the primary factor in teacher layoffs was consistent with broader action implication related to teacher effectiveness; effectively addressed a Board concern about using the percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch as the basis for allocating additional resources to high-need schools; and demonstrated that CMS’ relatively low-investment level in central functions meant that reductions in central were unlikely to fully close the funding gap by themselves.
  • CMS wove ERS’ strategic resource use principles into its School Quality Review rubric and related processes for implementation in the 2009-10 school year.
  • CMS incorporated many of the action implications of ERS analysis into his 2014 Strategic Plan.

Moving Forward

  • ERS is providing principals in the third cohort of Strategic Staffing schools with training and support, to help them to develop strategic school design templates for the 2010-11 school year.
  • ERS helped CMS in realigning its resources to be consistent with its 2014 strategic plan is ongoing through the SY1011 budget development process. Working closely with CMS, ERS will develop templates to track school resource use; identify misalignments between current use and strategic goals; pinpoint priorities to reallocate resources to improve teaching quality and student outcomes; ensure federal stimulus funding is targeted to the 2014 Strategic Plan’s priority areas; build CMS’ capacity to support special populations; and continue to measure resource use over time using the 2008 analysis as a baseline.

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