Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools unveiled a reassignment plan Tuesday that could shift more than 2,500 students to newly opened schools next fall.
The proposal, which would affect only a small percentage of the district’s 145,000-plus students, would relieve overcrowding at a half-dozen of the district’s schools by shifting students to four elementary schools set to open for the 2015-16 year.
It comes as CMS has continued to deal with steady growth in enrollment. The district announced late last month that it had 2,500 more students this year than the year before. CMS has grown at a similar clip over the past decade.
The school board is slated to vote on the plan next month.
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The four new schools are funded by money from 2007 and 2013 bond referendums. Two of the schools are currently under construction and have yet to be named.
• One will ease crowding at Hickory Grove, Windsor Park and Albemarle Road elementaries in east Charlotte. All three are at more than 150 percent of capacity. The new school itself will open over capacity, according to CMS projections.
• The second will relieve crowding at Highland Creek Elementary in north Charlotte. It will
ultimately be a K-8 school, but will only serve students through sixth grade in its first year.
The other two schools mark the re-opening of campuses closed in the aftermath of the financial crisis and ensuing economic recession.
• Oakhurst Elementary would re-open as a science, technology, engineering, arts and math (known as STEAM) partial magnet school off Monroe Road southeast of uptown. About 45 percent of the students would come from surrounding neighborhoods, with the rest entering through a lottery. It would relieve the overcrowded Billingsville and Winterfield elementaries.
The recommendation answers repeated calls from parents in the area to create a STEAM magnet program at the location. But the proposed boundary leaves out the Chantilly neighborhood, where some parents have lobbied to be part of the new school. The gentrifying area currently sends students to Billingsville. Parents have told the school board in past meetings that they feel they have to send their children to a charter or private school or move.
• Starmount Elementary would re-open near South Boulevard and Arrowwood Road, relieving Huntingtowne Farms and Montclaire elementaries. It would also open over capacity. CMS is not recommending that Starmount have a STEAM magnet, as several parent groups had asked for.
CMS also recommends that two neighborhoods off Providence Road West near the South Carolina line, Glenfinnan and Strathmoor, be moved from South Mecklenburg High to Ardrey Kell High. Only 17 students are expected to be immediately affected.
CMS schedules a broad reassessment of student assignment plans every six years. The last, in 2010, included the closing of 10 schools as budget cuts gripped the district and sparked outrage among the dozens of parents who packed the meeting held to approve it.
CMS will soon begin the 18-month process for the upcoming comprehensive review, scheduled for 2016.