CMS meets on magnets, grad standards

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools tonight will hold the last of seven community meetings to gauge public opinion on possible changes to magnet programs and high school graduation requirements.

The meeting is to start at 6:30 p.m. at West Charlotte High School's media center. The previous half-dozen have attracted at least 500 citizens over the past few weeks, said schools spokesperson LaTarzja Henry. She added that public comments from the meetings will be summarized in a report to school board members, who are tentatively expected to take formal votes sometime in the next month or two.

School board members Joe White and Ken Gjertsen said they hope public comments help guide the school board on magnet school issues. Superintendent Peter Gorman in June gave board members a proposal that would have cut magnets from 13 schools, toughened some entrance requirements and created K-8 Spanish-immersion schools at two elementaries.

Several school board members said the changes weren't sweeping enough, however. White said he hopes the board has a better sense of what it wants to do after hearing what citizens have to say.

Gjertsen said he has attended two of the meetings and estimated that at least 100 people showed up at both. Gjertsen said that while some parents are mostly concerned with protecting their children's magnet schools, others seem ready for larger, more sweeping changes in the magnet system.

“This is something people are really turning out to look at,” he said of the magnet review. “I think it's been a valuable exercise.”