Education

CMS board plans to pick new superintendent by mid-December

CMS Superintendent Ann Clark’s contract will expire in June 2017.
CMS Superintendent Ann Clark’s contract will expire in June 2017. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board on Tuesday moved up the timeline for its search for a new superintendent.

The board voted to adopt a schedule allowing for the new superintendent to be picked by Dec. 14 of this year. Previously, the choice was scheduled for early next year.

The candidate would not be announced to the public until the contract negotiation is completed, which the board hopes to finish around Jan. 10.

The contract for current Superintendent Ann Clark will expire in June 2017.

The changed schedule will allow the new superintendent a longer transition period to gain a better understand of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, said board member Rhonda Lennon.

Board member Paul Bailey voted against the update, expressing concerns that the item was not added to the agenda until a day before the meeting.

“It is unconscionable to put this item on a Monday afternoon before a Tuesday meeting,” he said.

The update passed 7-1, with board member Tom Tate not in attendance.

Board member Eric Davis voiced concerns about voting without Tate but ended up voting in favor of the final motion.

The meeting concluded with a presentation about national trends regarding magnet programs. CMS is moving forward with its initiative to increase choice programs and magnet school enrollments.

The data presented the benefits of having a mix of racial and financial backgrounds in schools.

Rick Kahlenberg, an expert on equal opportunity schooling, showed data suggesting that low-income students perform much better in economically diverse schools than they do in low-income schools.

Three models were presented to act as possible templates or inspiration for what could be done in Mecklenburg County.

The models focused on how socioeconomic status will be determined. The options varied from using the number of students on free and reduced-price lunches to using the financial and education levels of parents in order to determine who qualifies as having low-socioeconomic status.

“We know this information,” Lennon said. “Let’s just get it done, people.”

The board will be holding a work session in early August to further decide how CMS will proceed with the student assignment plan.

Tyler Fleming: 704-358-5355, @tyler_fleming96

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