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4 CMS board members say they’ll run again

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At least four of the six Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board members up for election in November plan to seek another four-year term.

Tom Tate, first elected in 2005, and Rhonda Lennon, Joyce Waddell and Eric Davis, elected in 2009, say they plan to run again. Richard McElrath, also elected in 2009, said Wednesday he hasn’t decided.

Amelia Stinson-Wesley, who was appointed to the District 6 seat in 2011, said in late March she had not decided whether to seek election. She could not be reached this week for an update.

Candidates don’t file for the November nonpartisan election until July, but this is the time when races start taking shape.

MeckEd, a nonprofit education and advocacy group, will hold a “ CMS Board of Education 101” session on April 18.

Prospective candidates and anyone who’s interested can learn the basics of CMS governance from current and former board leaders.

The board’s three at-large members aren’t up for election this year, but all six voting districts will choose their representatives.

The election comes as CMS emerges from a period of school turmoil and leadership transition.

The 2009 district election brought five new board members, who thought they’d be dealing with the challenges of rapid growth in a booming economy.

Instead the economy crashed, bringing massive teacher layoffs and school closings. Superintendent Peter Gorman resigned amid controversy over closings, testing and teacher morale.

None of the at-large members sought re-election in 2011, leading to more board turnover in the midst of a superintendent search.

Now the current board is gearing up for its first budget season with Superintendent Heath Morrison, as the economy has begun to strengthen.

The November school board election is expected to coincide with the first CMS bond referendum in six years, as the district plans to build and renovate schools in ways that support an education vision based on public school choice and options.

Helms: 704-358-5033
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