CMS bonds: what are they, and what do they mean for parents?
As Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ $922 million bond campaign gears up, some people are asking what happened to the projects promised when voters approved $295 million in 2013.
Eight of the 17 projects are finished, including two new schools that opened their doors to students in August. Nine more are under construction or being designed.
Why the delay?
Bond approval doesn’t mean CMS gets a big check to launch all the projects at once. Instead, it’s basically a line of credit, with Mecklenburg County Commissioners deciding how much to borrow each year without busting its budget and requiring a tax hike.
And in the region’s booming construction market, where CMS competes for workers with all the construction sites around town, the district has to be realistic about how many projects can be done at one time.
It might seem logical to wait until all the 2013 projects are finished before seeking more money. But bond approval allows CMS to buy land, start design and sign construction contracts, with the first projects from the 2017 bond overlapping the final 2013 projects.
Here’s an update on what’s done and what’s still to come.
▪ Oakhurst STEAM and Starmount, which had been closed, were converted to elementary schools: Opened in 2015.
▪ Replacement school for Nations Ford Elementary: Opened in 2016.
▪ Addition and renovation at Olympic High: Opened in 2016.
▪ Replacement school for Statesville Road Elementary: Opened in 2016.
▪ Replacement school for J.M. Alexander Middle School: Opened in August.
▪ Renaissance STEAM Academy (new K-8 school to relieve Berryhill and Reid Park): Opened in August.
▪ Addition and renovation at South Mecklenburg High: Opened in August.
▪ Renovation at Northwest School of the Arts: Opening this month.
Coming in 2018
▪ New K-8 language immersion school at the old Eastland Mall site (relieving Albemarle Road elementary and middle schools.
▪ Addition and renovation at Myers Park High.
▪ Addition and renovation at East Mecklenburg High.
▪ Addition and renovation at Northridge Middle.
Coming in 2019
▪ Renovation of Selwyn Elementary.
▪ Addition and renovation at Ashley Park, Walter G. Byers and Druid Hills K-8 schools.
▪ Career-technology modifications at Garinger, Independence, North Mecklenburg and West Mecklenburg high schools.
▪ Addition and renovation to convert Davidson Elementary to a K-8 school.
Coming in 2020
▪ New K-8 STEAM school in the Rea Farms area.