CMS

Ann Doss Helms / Charlotte Observer

The CMS school board meeting had a surprise ending Monday night. The board released a draft of guiding principles for student assignment. This is a big step that took more than a year of discussion to make. The draft includes continuing the policy of guaranteeing access to “home schools” and makes socioeconomic status a factor in magnet lotteries. 

The CMS student assignment debate has generated a lot of discussion. School board meetings have been packed. Board members have also hosted forums in their own districts. We recently aired a discussion from one meeting in north Mecklenburg. Now we hear from a forum at West Charlotte High School.

Lisa Worf / WFAE

Project LIFT plans to continue working with West Charlotte High School and the schools that feed into it for at least a sixth year. 

The schools have seen only slight improvements in test scores since Project LIFT started nearly four years ago. But the group of philanthropists and community members say they’ve seen enough positive results to believe giving the strategies more time to develop will lead to strong outcomes.

It's our 70th edition of WFAE Talks. Greg, Lisa, and Tom discuss North Carolina's gubernatorial and U.S. Senate general election races, plus the looming 12th Congressional District Democratic primary between incumbent Alma Adams and Malcolm Graham.

They also discuss the movement in Matthews to explore secession from CMS. And speaking of CMS, district officials made a big mistake with its community student assignment survey.

CMS student assignment discussions have prompted three town councils to weigh in on the matter. Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville have passed resolutions that every student should be guaranteed a seat in a school close to home. This week, Matthews’ council took it a step further.    

Charlotte Mecklenburg School leaders hope to get a bond referendum on the ballot soon.  This week they laid out about $2 billion worth of building, renovation and maintenance projects on their to-do list. It’s up to county commissioners to decide on the timing of a bond package and what fraction of that is pressing enough to put before voters. 

Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

Correction Appended 

Learning is about making connections – not just between, say, a math concept and its real-life applications—but between teachers and students. Race sometimes gets in the way of that. In CMS, most teachers are white but most students are African-American or Latino. The district is trying to recruit more teachers of color, but it’s not easy-going.

Mark Hames / Charlotte Observer

CMS board members decided Tuesday night to extend Superintendent Ann Clark’s contract another year until they can hire a new superintendent. That decision came after a long day for the board that illustrated just how much they have to juggle.  They got an earful from county commissioners and also from the public anxious about what a new student assignment plan may mean.

John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer

CMS board members agreed over the weekend that they should begin the search for a new superintendent. They just couldn’t decide when that search should begin.  The disagreement is whether they can work on a student assignment plan, while also trying to find someone to lead the district. 

Ann Doss Helms / Charlotte Observer

North Mecklenburg County residents gathered last week to discuss student assignment in the CMS system. The area’s school board representative, Rhonda Lennon, organized the meeting.

A little about Lennon’s District: It includes four high schools. Two are considered average by state grading standards. Those are Hopewell and North Meck. The others, Mallard Creek and Hough, are higher-performing schools.

Pages