Find out what’s new for CMS options in 2016-17

Marie G. Davis Military/Leadership Academy will add programs to prepare high school students for careers as police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
Marie G. Davis Military/Leadership Academy will add programs to prepare high school students for careers as police officers, firefighters and paramedics. T.Ortega Gaines-ogaines@charlott

The coming school year won’t bring major changes to school options or boundaries in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. But with magnet applications opening in January, the school board approved a handful of changes to transportation and programs Tuesday.

Here’s what they’ve decided and what remains to be settled.

Magnet busing expanded

The change: This year, students at 17 middle and high school magnets have to get to other schools for pickup and dropoff if they want to ride the bus. Next year, they’ll have the option of a neighborhood stop within walking distance of their home.

The goal: Expanding access to magnets for students who can’t get a ride to and from shuttle stops.

The unknowns: After the magnet lottery is done, CMS will know whether magnet enrollment increased, how many students need neighborhood stops and whether that will result in longer bus rides. The cost is estimated at $6 million, but that will also depend on family choices.

Language magnet moved

The change: The high school world language magnet program for the northern half of the county moves from West Mecklenburg to North Mecklenburg High.

The goal: Providing an option that’s closer for north suburban families.

Who’s affected: Next year’s ninth-graders must go to North Meck. Students enrolled in the West Meck magnet can stay or move to North Meck.

Public safety program added

The change: Marie G. Davis Military/Leadership Academy, a K-12 countywide magnet school, will add programs to prepare students for careers in law enforcement, firefighting, emergency management and EMT/paramedic work.

The goal: Preparing students for careers and enticing students to a school CMS has struggled to fill.

Who’s eligible: Next year’s ninth-graders.

Harding Tech created

The change: Harding High, a west Charlotte neighborhood school with an International Baccalaureate magnet, will add a technology institute featuring construction technology, automotive technology and 3-D design and digital manufacturing. Classes will be held in labs at nearby Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.

The goal: Providing more career options at a school that has faced academic challenges since CMS converted it from a full to partial magnet five years ago.

Who’s eligible: Ninth- and 10th-grade magnet and neighborhood students.

Montessori High undecided

The issue: Parents of students in Sedgefield Middle School’s Montessori magnet want students to be allowed to stay for ninth grade next year. Superintendent Ann Clark said she supports the idea but doesn’t have a location for a full Montessori high school, which would be needed in 2017-18.

The compromise: Clark said she’ll keep working on it. If a location can be chosen by the board’s Dec. 8 meeting she’ll bring the high school plan for approval.

Coming in 2017-18

▪ A new preK-8 neighborhood school will open in west Charlotte, pulling students from Berryhill, Reid Park and Westerly Hills. The board approved boundaries Tuesday.

▪ Billingsville Elementary in east Charlotte will get a partial magnet program. Clark had considered opening the magnet in 2016 but decided CMS needs more time to meet with parents and community members to choose a theme.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms