Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will soon begin identifying boundaries and feeder patterns in the next phase of school assignment planning.
But some school board members are beginning to question the process.
BOE member Ruby Jones worries CMS would be rushing into the next phase of student assignment discussions and running the risk of confusing or overwhelming parents.
The school board just approved magnet programs and priorities.
Members will soon determine the criteria for identifying schools needing new boundaries. Staff will use the criteria to recommend changes to boundaries and feeder patterns.
The process is expected to culminate with a vote in May. Implementation will occur in August 2018.
Scott McCully, executive director of student placement, said new boundaries are coming in 2018 and 2020 with the opening of new schools, so the board needs to come up with a matrix of how to set school boundaries.
Other board members have voiced concern regarding the plan’s pace.
District 5’s Eric Davis reminded the board they had selected this timeline. Davis worries about pushing the timeline, particularly “the hardest part of student assignment,” to when Clayton Wilcox becomes superintendent, because outgoing leader Ann Clark has “years of experience.”
Board Chair Mary McCray said she felt like the board was being asked to complete the staff’s work through identifying criteria. She worried the board already had too much on its plate.
Clark said she felt the board should decide the criteria, but once the staff have the criteria, they can do the “hard lifting.”
District 6 BOE member Paul Bailey suspects his district won’t support the upcoming bond referendum if the school board doesn’t move forward with the student assignment plan.
Bailey worries the Matthews Education Task Force has vehicles that “are already rolling.” Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor created the task force to evaluate the need for his town to create its own school district.
“Bonds are the foundation,” Bailey said. “It doesn’t matter what you do. You are (already) $2 billion behind.”
McCray said the west side might not support the bond because parents said they wanted renovations at Bruns Academy.
Many parents and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake voiced concerns, during the public comment of the BOE’s Jan. 10 meeting, about the K-8 school.
They claim the building has a major leak in its library and doesn’t have enough space for all grades, with many middle-schoolers in trailers.
“We have got to do something that’s going to help students in the west side corridor or we won’t get any support,” McCray said.
A successful bond is critical to the first phase of the student assignment plan, which included new schools in coming years, such as a full magnet K-8 language immersion school in the south.