Tuesday’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board meeting promises a triple-header of high-interest items.
The board is scheduled for votes on the two items that have grabbed public attention for the past year – student assignment and a superintendent search – while launching a possible bond campaign for school construction.
Unlike the last meeting, which featured more than two hours of public comments, this one will be only the board and staff talking. But public interest is likely to remain high.
Goals for assignment review
The board is scheduled to vote on a revised slate of goals for an ongoing review of boundaries, magnet programs, diversity, academic options and other issues related to student assignment. Next month the board plans to hire a consultant to help craft policy options based on the goals.
The goals, as revised during a recent committee meeting, are:
▪ Provide choice and promote equitable access to varied and viable programmatic options for all children.
▪ Maximize efficiency in the use of school facilities, transportation and other capital and operational resources to reduce overcrowding.
▪ Reduce the number of schools with high concentrations of poor and high needs children.
▪ Provide school assignment options to students assigned to schools that are not meeting performance standards established by the state.
▪ Preserve and expand schools and programs in which students are successfully achieving the mission and vision of the board.
The goals aren’t ranked by priority, though members agreed to move down the item about high-poverty schools, which topped the original list. Several parents who spoke at the Feb. 9 meeting asked the board to add a goal guaranteeing students seats at close-to-home schools.
Superintendent search update
The board voted Feb. 9 to extend Superintendent Ann Clark’s contract through June 2017 while beginning a search for a long-term leader.
Questions about the search have been simmering for more than a year, since Heath Morrision resigned under pressure and Clark took over. Some board members and community members have long wanted to keep Clark past her initial 18-month term, which would have ended this summer, while others said the failure to start a search in 2015 broke promises and undermined public confidence.
The search timeline, which had not been posted Monday, will lay out next steps, including public engagement sessions and plans for choosing a search consultant.
Construction and renovation
CMS staff will present a priority list for school construction and renovation, a possible first step toward a 2016 bond referendum. It’s up to Mecklenburg County commissioners to decide when to put school bonds on the ballot, and some have been skeptical of a bond vote this year.
However, CMS leaders say crowding has become a pressing challenge across the county. Tuesday’s report will provide a look at the district’s spending plan and which areas top the list for new work.
The board meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the meeting chamber of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St. It is broadcast live online and on CMS-TV Cable 3; go to www.cms.k12.nc.us/boe for the agenda and streaming link.