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monsoon

The Fall of CMS, Good for Charlotte?

Should North Mecklenburg be allowd to Secede from CMS?  

26 members have voted

  1. 1. Should North Mecklenburg be allowd to Secede from CMS?

    • Yes - CMS has grown too large and inefficient. It no longer serves the students
      11
    • No - Breaking up the School System could lead to a decline in the inner city.
      10
    • I don't know yet
      5


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On February 17th a meeting will be held at Hopewell Presbretarian Church in Huntersville to discuss plans for the Northern towns to petition the NC State Legislature to secede from the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system. (a mouthfull sentence LOL).

This is a grass roots movement that has been building for some time and now looks to be ready to move forward in a more organized manner. Grass root efforts from the North in the past have managed to end court ordered Busing and more recently derailed Whilmena Rhembert from the CMS Board. While it looks to be a long shot, there were also doubts about the effort to end busing yet the Supreme Ct. ruled in favor of the parents who wanted to end it. Likewise, the NC Legislature has shown to be very supportive of the Northern Towns when they decide to go up against Charlotte.

So the question of this poll is should the towns be allowd to secede from CMS and be allowed to form their own school district?

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Well, may I be the first to say I hate CMS's policies and attitudes, and I also wouldn't mind seceding if I was from the northern part of the county. The only bad thing is that if it snows in North Meck and not in South Meck, then only the North Meck system would get out and not CMS, lol.

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So would this basically mean that Hopewell High and all its feeder schools and North Mecklenburg High and all its feeder schools will become like "North Mecklenburg School District" or something?

I went to high school at Providence - loved it - but CMS always did seem to suck the life out of some stuff for lack of a better phrase. I don't know how it is so much up in N Meck though

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By the way - Here's a story from the Huntersville Herald about overcrowding at North Meck High School::

Friday, February 4, 2005

North Meck plans for at least 3,000 students

By Tucker Mitchell

Eventually, a new high school will open in the Mallard Creek area -- current Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) estimates say it will happen in time for the start of the 2007-08 school year -- and that will bring much-needed relief to overcrowded North Mecklenburg High.

But that's two years away and, before that school opens, CMS planners say North's enrollment will top 3,000 students an, given CMS' track record on north end forecaasting, perhaps even threaten the 4,000 mark.

"Actually, we'll probably pass 3,000 next year," says North Meck Principal Jimmy Poole. "I think that will work out alright. What I'm really worried about is two years from now when we might have 3,500 or so. Now that will cause some problems."

The 52-year-old campus at North has been expanded several times during its history and now has a listed capacity of close to 2,000 students. The current enrollment, the largest of any high school in the state, is more than 2,700.

Can the school really work at 175 percent, maybe even 200 percent, of its capacity?

Poole says school planners met last week to discuss just that. They picked out sites for 20 new mobile classrooms (that will push the school's total past 50) and even discussed what Poole calls "some very different scheduling."

He declined to be more specific but is doubtless talking about flex or shift scheduling in which some students would attend school in the morning and some would do so in the afternoon.

CMS officials say such plans aren't likely, but add that North will be severely stressed with that many students.

Poole says that even next year the school's common areas will be severely taxed.

"With some additional mobiles, we can probably get everyone into a classroom," Poole says, "but some of the other areas will be difficult. We'll have to go with four lunches, which some (high) schools already do. What you don't like about that is you lose the transition time. We'd have to, though. We can get about 600 inside the cafeteria at one time, so you can do the math. Even at four (lunches) not everyone gets in. And then of course you have the halls and walkways and all during class changes. It will be tight."

Poole says some extra staff would help. Schools are afforded staff on a per capita basis, but under current guidelines, high school staffing is capped once a school reaches 1,800 students. The guideline authors never imagined a 3,000-student school in the system, however.

"I've asked for more security, secretaries and another assistant principal," says Poole. "I know some schools have more than others. There is more security right now at Bradley (Middle) and West Charlotte (High). That's fine. I'm sure it (the extra staff) is where it's needed, but we're going to have some needs next year."

Asked if he could use an extra School Resource Officer -- a regular police officer assigned to the school -- Poole said, "It might not be the first thing I'd want, but any help would be good. If they offered me one I'd certainly take it. I'm sure they could help with traffic if nothing else."

Oh, yes. Traffic. How will that work with an extra 400 to 800 students?

"I don't even want to think about it," Poole says.

-- Tucker Mitchell

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Hopewell is just a few years old and is already hopelessly overcrowded. One has to wonder how a school system such as CMS which has had access to literally billions in construction funds in the last decade, did not bother to look at a population projection map to figure out where it needed to build schools.

The reason I posted this thread here however is to discuss how this might affect development trends in Charlotte. One of the reasons that Charlotte did not fall into the doughnut effect (core of city dies) is its integrated county wide school system. If in the 1970 when schools integrated, there had been a separate city system from the rest of the county, the Charlotte of today might have been much different. Maybe it would have resembled a mini-Detroit or mini-Atlanta instead where the center of the city was mostly poor Blacks. This area would probably extend to about where Charlotte 4 is today which would have been built as a loop highway, and then you would see heavy suburban development beyond that.

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A number of political officials in N Meck have been on the record as saying they do not support this effort to secede.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Grass roots efforts arise exactly to convince or replace politicians who do not listen to their constituients. Many times they are successful.

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I think it would be a bad move for the development of the Charlotte area. As far as the overcrowding goes, they can't build fast enough to account for the growth. I just think they should build bigger schools in the first place. When I was in the 10th grade in Texas, the town I lived in had 30,000 people, but my high school class was almost 600 people. The high school had 2400-2500 students in it.

I think that the elected officials there may oppose secession because they don't want the headache of being responsible for a school system. It's always easier to criticize and talk about what can be done better when you aren't responsible for operation. But when you have to do it, suddenly your creativity dwindles and the thickness of your skin decreases.

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Most likely what would happen is the Legislature would probably approve a plan which would create an elected School Board that would report to the County. (As it does today) Mecklenburg county would be forced to fund this new school district from taxes collected in the North.

Tax equality will be a big issue since every dollar spent in the North is a dollar lost to Charlotte schools. Its not clear to me the city governments would be involved at all. Really the only difference from the present system would be the schools are completly controlled by local people, students would be limited to those who live in the area, and tax equality.

The NC Legislature could also grant the School Board the power to levy taxes but I don't see this happening.

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So would this basically mean that Hopewell High and all its feeder schools and North Mecklenburg High and all its feeder schools will become like "North Mecklenburg School District" or something?

I went to high school at Providence - loved it - but CMS always did seem to suck the life out of some stuff for lack of a better phrase.  I don't know how it is so much up in N Meck though

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I GO TO PROVIDENCE!!!

What year did u graduate?

Providence is another school that is grossly overcrowded, and CMS has most likely gotten even more anal since u left, the only senior priviledge these days is the senior bell.

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Sounds as if at least one CMS Board member (district that covers the North) is speaking in favor of the breakup. The results of the upcoming meeting will be very interesting as this has the potential for greatly changing where new development will go in Charlotte. Never underestimate the effect of bad/good schools on real estate. (even with those who have no kids).

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In my opinion, the most significant problem in CMS is poor management, and a focus on lowest cost, lowest quality at all levels. Their spending is often wasteful and counter-productive to the act of inspiring and education young minds. The managers of the system often show signs of being poorly educated, and focus on politics and broad-brush concepts that are usually paradoxically counter-productive (e.g. the best way to retain teachers in poor schools are to not allow them to leave... which in real life causes the teachers to quit the system).

Well-educated teachers are hard to retain because of poor management and low relative pay. The system often ends up with recruiting deficits, so they fill the gap with people that are easiest to recruit, those who have trouble keeping private sector jobs, and are unqualified to teach. Because they hire employees that are often not trained or experienced in teaching, they spend lots of money on downtown administrative offices and resources to create scripts for teachers to read in class. This further hurts retention of well-educated teachers, and causes more inefficiency in CMS's operating model. The downtown adminstrators are often not well educated or experienced in the class room, so they simply apply the latest unproven fad in teaching, which often do not work well.

Capital spending is often wasted on throw-away cinderblock buildings that get moldy and break down, and inspire NO ONE. They are often located based on politics rather than need.

The fall of CMS is good, but the creation of a district for north meck would not be the way to do it. For such a cultural problem that is so deeply rooted, i think the only way to solve the problem is to make the SYSTEM compete, rather than just schools as was attempted with the choice plan, or a geographical split which is already present county by county, and is proposed in this hopewell plan.

I think instead of having a separate sytem in the north, there should be an overlay district with both covering the whole county. It would get even more interesting if taxpayers could select which system to support with their tax money. They should then be rated based on money spent that reaches the classroom, such as teacher recruitment bonuses and pay, classroom size, etc.

I think that competion, however, should not require that parents move outside the county or the city in order to gain the benefit of a better-run system. That process has caused much of the donut development and economic power shift to the suburbs and exurbs in the US, and would be bad.

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I am a product of the CMS system, and it did fine for me...granted the last time I was there was 15 years ago, and I lived in the suburbs and rode a bus to a downtown school that was integrated.

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CMS is doing a mandatory review of its Choice Student Assignment Program. Get informed with the facts of the situation and make sure your voices are heard on the matter:::

CMS wants your feedback and ideas

From now until October, 2005, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will hold a comprehensive review of the current student assignment plan. During this time, the Board of Education will discuss magnet programs, diversity, capacity and facility usage, guaranteed seats, limitation on the percent of economically disadvantaged students in a school, and boundaries for new schools.

Several community work sessions will be held for parents, students, staff and community members to share their thoughts and ideas. Community work sessions, unlike public hearings, will allow community members to come together in small groups to discuss various topics and report out on their discussion.

Several meeting dates have already been established. Additional dates will be set in the future and communicated to the public.

February 9, 2005 -- Discussion on Fundamentals of Student Assignment/Guiding Principles

Rama Road Elementary, 1035 Rama Road -- 6:00-8:00 p.m.

February 17, 2005 -- (repeat discussion) - Discussion on Fundamentals of Student Assignment/Guiding Principles

Highland Renaissance Academy, 125 West Craighead Road -- 6:00-8:00 p.m.

March 24, 2005 -- Discussion on Magnet Programs

Ranson Middle School, 5850 Statesville Road -- 6:00-8:00 p.m.

April 19, 2005 -- Discussion on Boundaries and Feeders

E.E. Waddell High School, 7030 Nations Ford Road -- 6:00-8:00 p.m.

In addition, the community will have an opportunity to speak at public hearings during the Board of Education meetings on various topics. Logon to the CMS website at www.cms.k12.nc.us for detailed information about Board meeting dates regarding the comprehensive review.

Special Section on the CMS Website

A special section on the CMS website will be devoted to providing up-to-date information on the comprehensive review. The section will have Board meeting presentations, Board work sessions information, a schedule of meeting dates and information on the community work sessions. In addition, the public can e-mail their suggestions and ideas by using the e-mail link on this website page.

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I think CMS has some well-run schools, and also there are always people that learn and become well educated no matter what learning environments they are in. (Frederick Douglas being the one of the more extreme examples). I think 30-50% of the students probably get as good an education as they ever would with the current system.

The current system/leadership is so out of touch with classroom realities, and are so deeply mired by political traps (e.g.

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Hopewell and North Mecklenburg (which will exceed 3000 students next school year) have become hopelessly overcrowded mostly because CMS refuses to build more schools in the North. I belive this was done in part by the CMS Board members who are trying to "punish" the North for winning the lawsuit that ended Court ordered Busing. In addition several have made it a racial issue which always complicates thiings.

Instead of dwelling on these childish issues, the CMS Board needs to do the job that it was elected to do and that is serve the students. The actions it has taken since the court ruling have done everything but that so now we get calls of secession. We are fortunate in Mecklenburg country that more than one city goverment controls everything.

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Reality check...Hopewell Highschool was built AFTER the court case. Also CMS has plans for another North Meck HS. The problem is that the Choice plan is allowing too many people to chose to go these NorthMeck schools. They need to redraw the boundries until the new school is built.

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Reality check...Hopewell Highschool was built AFTER the court case. Also CMS has plans for another North Meck HS. The problem is that the Choice plan is allowing too many people to chose to go these NorthMeck schools. They need to redraw the boundries until the new school is built.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But approved and funded years before the case was resolved.

I think the North parents would agree with you on the boundries. Redrawing the boundries is one thing they certainly agree needs to be done. Hopewell's zone extends way too far into Charlotte when ohter, closer highschools are empty.

Hopewell.

7415.jpg

What they need to do is better utilize West Charlotte as it way underutilized. They can include the CBD if they are interested in racial equality, which is the real reasons so many close in students are being shipped to the Huntersville schools.

7576.jpg

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Also part of the equation that not many people are talking about....especially the suburban Republicans is that Bush's No Child Left Behind Act allows a lot of these kids outside of the N Meck zone to go to Hopewell and N Meck and CMS has to accomidate them if it wants to continue receiving Federal Funds.

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Also part of the equation that not many people are talking about....especially the suburban Republicans is that Bush's No Child Left Behind Act allows a lot of these kids outside of the N Meck zone to go to Hopewell and N Meck and CMS has to accomidate them if it wants to continue receiving Federal Funds.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well that is assuming that schools such as West Charlotte and others closer in the city have been declared out of compliance and failing The parents would argue, why isn't CMS dealing with those failures instead if ignoring them by simply bussing students off to other schools? And of course they are not as others here have indicated.

But in anycase it would be a moot point if the North becomes a different school district. Which is the whole point I would believe.

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If we concentrate poverty into a single school, poor kids never get to learn from peers and families that have succeeded in the real world. But, in general, middle/upper class parents don't want their kids to learn from kids and families that have not succeeded in the real world. This (and the racist equivalent) has caused white flight for half a century.

Court cases, lawsuits, busing, weird district boundaries, etc. are all band-aids until the core solution of geographic social integration is achieved.

Diversifying the inner city neighborhoods will go a long way. If white/black/hispanic/asian, rich/middle/poor, sporty/scary/ginger/posh/baby kinds of people lived downtown and neartown, these weird gerrymandered school districts would not be necessary to achieve school diversity.

I still think CMS is poorly managed, but the diversity issues are not unique to meck county.

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This whole secceding would be a temporaray solution for North Meck....as the area continues to grow...the "undesireables" would move right on in, unless NorthMeck plans on building a wall to keep them out. Secceding would be running away from the problem instead of addressing it.

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This isn't a question of undesirables. It is a question of providing a school system that serves all students which is something that CMS is failing terribly at. Both in overcrowding the schools in the North, and not fixing the schools in the inner city that are causing the crowding.

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