CMS board candidate Levester Flowers lobbies for magnets

Levester Flowers, 2015 at-large candidate for Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board
Levester Flowers, 2015 at-large candidate for Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board

In his pitch for a districtwide “game plan” and more diversity, Levester Flowers’ conversations with parents tend to center around one big topic: Magnet schools.

Parents want their kids in them, and they want them closer to where they live, said Flowers, a 66-year-old former social studies teacher seeking an at-large seat on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.

He’s not taking a dig at neighborhood schools. But Flowers, a Democrat, believes more magnet programs scattered across Mecklenburg County will spur diversity and lessen school segregation.

“Parents have options now. I ask them a lot: Why do you go to a charter school? A lot of times, they think it’s the flavor of the day – it’s better there,” Flowers said. “You don’t want a school system that becomes 90 to 95 percent minority and challenged economically.”

Flowers is critical of school leaders who “talk about doing a lot of great things but they don’t have an endgame.”

If elected, Flowers said he’ll require administrators to show him a budget and map out “their endgame” for how they’re going to achieve desired outcomes. If they want a raise, they’ll have a year to meet those goals. If they want to keep their jobs, they’ll have two years.

I feel the needs of suburban kids need to be addressed.

Levester Flowers

Flowers frequently pushes for more family involvement in education at board meetings. He’s a former volunteer at Garinger High, where he helped seniors apply for colleges and find grants. And in 2011, he organized the “Save Our Schools initiative” when the district sought to close inner-city schools.

Flowers hopes to assure voters that he’s advocating for all students, not just those in poor neighborhoods.

“Sometimes, we concentrate so much on the need of inner-city schools we forget we’re one school district,” he said. “I feel the needs of suburban kids (also) need to be addressed.”

Levester Flowers

▪ Political experience: Active in Democratic campaigns, ran for Charlotte City Council in 2014.

▪ CMS connections: Volunteer, parent of a CMS graduate and grandparent of a current student.

▪ Occupation: Former teacher and retired mortgage loan officer with Bank of America.

▪ Education: Bachelor’s degree from Livingstone College; master’s in education from UNC Charlotte.

▪ Quote: “My driving motto is ‘Deeds, not words.’ ”

▪ Age: 66.

▪ Contact: www.voteflowers2015.com, lnf_2000@yahoo.com; 704-968-3391.