New CMS Board Members For West, South Mecklenburg

Nov 5, 2013

Twelve candidates for CMS school board participate in a forum moderated by WFAE's Lisa Miller.
Credit Michael Tomsic

The Charlotte Mecklenburg School board will soon have two new people with the last name of Bailey. Matthews Mayor Pro-Tem Paul Bailey swept district six, which covers southern Mecklenburg county, receiving 60 percent of the vote.  He said voters wanted someone who is a good collaborator. 

"I think it was the aspect of my service on the Matthews town council and my experience with working within a board and then with outside elected officials," Bailey says. "Realizing I can work with folks to accomplish good things."

Bailey got the endorsement of several state lawmakers.  One of his opponents, fellow Republican Bolyn McClung, criticized him for it, since McClung said those elected officials have made decisions that hurt public schools.  Bailey argued that he would use his influence with them to push for the district’s needs. Newcomer Thelma Byers-Bailey easily defeated incumbent Richard McElrath in district two, which covers most of West Charlotte.

McElrath voted to close some schools a few years ago, but was also against several closures. Challenger Byers-Bailey believes the controversy over school closures played a role in her victory.

"They felt that the closure was unjustified that it didn’t solve the problem that it was intended to resolve and that it fell all on one community’s shoulders rather than being spread around town," Byers-Bailey says.

The other school board district races were easily won by incumbents. Voters also easily approved bond packages for both CMS and Central Piedmont Community College.