Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

A November referendum to raise Mecklenburg County’s sales tax a quarter of a cent has yet to get support from a big booster:  the Charlotte Chamber.  The Chamber says it’s not against the purpose of the increase:  using the generated money to pay for raises for CMS employees and to help prop up the area’s struggling arts and science centers. Rather, it says more discussion is needed on finding specific funding options. So, the Chamber is staying out of the referendum debate. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Dumont Clarke, a referendum supporter, says a Chamber-funded campaign would have helped pass the sales tax hike, but he remains confident.

There is a lot going on with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, to say the least. The state will open 11 new charter schools in August and 26 next year. There’s a new reading law and many third graders in the state may have to go to summer reading camps. Union County is looking to redistrict hundreds of students. Common Core standards and digital learning are transforming what kids learn and how they learn it. State's school report cards are due for release this week, and CMS has yet to release its long-promised school data reports. And much more. Two of the city’s education reporters join us to share updates on everything going on with CMS.

CMS high school students may find a bunch of incompletes on their report cards when they get them back in a couple weeks.  It’s not their fault.  State exams will delay some first semester grades.  

High school students are taking several new state exams this week.  They’re designed to measure how much teachers get their students to learn.  To make sure kids take them seriously, the tests count for 20 percent of a student’s grade. 

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools expects to have 5,000 third-graders qualify for reading camps this summer as a result of the state's new third grade reading requirement. District officials worry state money won't come close to covering the cost of these camps.  They’re asking the state for flexibility on the camps, as well as all the tests that come with the new third grade reading law. 

Teachers did not get a raise this year, but state lawmakers have set aside bonuses for the top 25 percent of teachers next year.  It’s up to school districts to figure out who those teachers are -- and that’s no easy task. 

CMS fourth and eighth graders are performing about the same in math and reading as they were two years ago, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress.  The tests have been given to a sample of students across the country since 2003.  At a time when state tests are drastically changing, these scores provide a way to compare student performance from year to year. 

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. 

Students Tag And Release Monarch Butterflies

Oct 14, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

Kindergarten and fourth-grade students at Barringer Academic Center in Charlotte spent the last few months learning about the life cycle and migration patterns of the Monarch butterfly.

The Monarch is well known for its bright orange and black wings, but also for its annual migration from Mexico to Canada – and back – every year.


Many school systems are wrestling with ways to serve students with mobile technology such as tablets. But Guilford County Schools has learned there’s a downside to the devices. The district has suspended its tablet program after students reported 1,500 cracked or broken screens in just the first month of school. 

Mecklenburg County voters will decide in November if the county will issue $290 million in bonds to fund academic programs, construction, renovations and upgrades for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Superintendent Morrison says that CMS has real and urgent needs that the 2013 bond issue would address. And there are other issues at hand like the master’s pay cut-off, the new reading requirements for third graders and the reevaluation of standardized testing. Join us for a conversation with Superintendent Morrison.