CFCR supports CMS’ efforts to reduce concentrations of poverty and racial isolation across the district. Further, we support identifying additional strategies to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity in all schools.This $922 million bond referendum is one such strategy and Council for Children’s Rights supports voting “yes” on November 7.
On November 7, citizens of Mecklenburg County can join together as a community to improve educational opportunities for all our children by approving the $922 million bond referendum for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
The 2017 bonds are the third leg of the Board of Education’s comprehensive plan addressing the needs of our growing community. In February 2016 and May 2017, the BOE approved the two phases of the first student assignment adjustment since 2010. Phase I makes magnet school changes, and Phase II changes school boundaries and feeder patterns. Taken together, both phases begin addressing the issues described in their Guiding Principles:
- Reduce overcrowding,
- Support the efficient use of resources,
- Reduce the number of schools with high concentrations of poor and high-needs children,
- Increase access to high-quality home schools, and
- Preserve and expand schools that work.
While critical to both Phase I and Phase II, the bond projects go far beyond student assignment to build 10 new schools, replace seven schools, renovate 12 schools, and add 4,000 seats to seven magnet schools.
Although the needs and priorities are well-documented, although all areas of the County benefit from the bonds, although the Board of County Commissioners determined that passing the bonds will not increase taxes, and although all of our public officials claim they support excellent education for all of our children, some leaders are now opposing the bonds.
Opposition has been most vocal in North Mecklenburg, where District 1 BOE member Rhonda Lennon and District 1 BOCC member Jim Puckett say the bonds do not provide enough for their constituents. Following the lead of Ms. Lennon and Mr. Puckett, the Huntersville Commissioners voted unanimously on September 5th to oppose the bonds, and the Cornelius Commissioners voted 4-1 on October 2nd to oppose the bonds.
In their August 21 meeting, the Huntersville Commissioners discussed coordinating with Cornelius, Davidson, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville not only to oppose the bonds but also to break up CMS through the study commission authorized by the General Assembly in the 2017 long session. As Commissioner Charles Guignard said, “…but I have heard the rumblings that the legislature is looking at the two biggest systems in the state us and Wake. We need to get behind the proposal to break up that monstrosity. They don’t care about us.”
Thurman Ross, the one Cornelius Commissioner who voted against the resolution, takes a broader view. He said, “We got a good share in the last bonds and got several new schools. Just about all schools are crowded in the County, and by voting against the bond, if it doesn’t pass, that could delay us getting our share of funds in the next bond.”
Mr. Ross recognizes what successful public leaders have known for centuries: The public good can only be reached by the entire community working together. Charlotte and the six towns will succeed for all of Mecklenburg County’s children only if we unite to build their future together as a community.
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