Two weeks ago, Charlotte Councilman and mayoral candidate Anthony Foxx suggested the city divert $4.7 million from the SafeLight fund to the struggling CMS system.
The council voted unanimously to do so.
The SafeLight and SafeStop program used cameras to catch speeders and at intersections to deter drivers from running red lights. The program was suspended in 2006 when the state appeals court panel ruled that 90 percent of the monies collected from the programs should go to local schools. At the time, three-quarters of the money was spent to maintain the programs.
Though the programs ended, the money wasn’t delivered to local schools. Instead, a large portion of it has been sitting idle.
Foxx’s hope is that the money, which he realizes isn’t a cure-all, will help save some CMS teacher’s jobs.
“Keeping effective teachers is a community priority. The city council vote was not only an important step towards that goal but a critical demonstration of how collaboration across governmental bodies can make a positive impact,” said Foxx.
The Charlotte Observer reports: “The city has $2.2 million left from the camera programs, said Budget Director Ruffin Hall. But the remaining $2.5 million – which was spent on operating the cameras – would need to come from elsewhere in the budget, including the general fund reserves.”