Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CMS board: Big change, little participation

The totals are in, and the overwhelming winner in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board election was "let someone else decide."

About 86 percent of Mecklenburg's registered voters opted out of a race that had 14 people vying for three board seats. To break that down: 609,941 people are registered, and 98,338, or 16.1 percent, voted Tuesday. It's likely that a significant number cast municipal ballots but skipped the school board race (230,451 board votes were tallied, but each voter could choose up to three candidates).

Ericka Ellis-Stewart, who won a decisive first place, got 35,000 votes -- less than 6 percent of all registered voters. Tim Morgan advanced from a district seat to a countywide one, allowing the board to choose his replacement for District 6, with just under 25,000 votes, representing the support of 4 percent of possible voters.

To make the will of the voters even more baffling, 10,400 voted for DeShauna McLamb, who said nothing and made no appearances after filing for office. More than 11,300 chose Lisa Hundley, a newcomer who announced in early October that she would be too ill with cancer to serve.

What all this means for students, parents and taxpayers remains to be seen, but it's bound to be significant. The current nine-person board has been led by a moderate tri-partisan coalition  (Democrats Joe White and Tom Tate, Republicans Rhonda Lennon and Tim Morgan, and unaffiliated Eric Davis and Trent Merchant). The new board will have five Democrats, as newcomers Ellis-Stewart and Mary McCray join district representatives Tom Tate, Richard McElrath and Joyce Waddell. If they vote as a block, they could push the board significantly to the left.

It's the nature of school board work and a divided community that decisions spark complaints. There are plenty of tough issues ahead. It'll be interesting to see how quickly people start to howl about the choices they let their neighbors make.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everyone had their opportunity to vote. If you didn't vote, don't complain.

AnswerMan said...

Top vote-getters in 07 at large race were conservative McGarry and moderate Merchant. This time the top vote getters were 2 African American liberal Democrats. Not saying whether that is good or bad, but clearly some people who voted in 07 did not show up this time. Scott Stone's challenge to Anthony Foxx has energized a base that shouldn't have been so engaged this year, and it affected City Council and the School Board. West side turnout was not that high but the DEM machine votes with discipline for the same people, unlike the burbs that spread out their votes.

Wiley Coyote said...

...To make the will of the voters even more baffling, 10,400 voted for DeShauna McLamb, who said nothing and made no appearances after filing for office. More than 11,300 chose Lisa Hurley, a newcomer who announced in early October that she would be too ill with cancer to serve.

...which is why nothing will change within CMS...

Anonymous said...

WC,
Correct analysis as in more facilitators, less technology, leadership by sorority, funding by foundations, and no vision as how to prepare students for what few jobs are available in this country for the next decade. Even the TFAs are leaving early.

Anonymous said...

You really need to have someone edit your articles before you publish them Ann. There was no "Lisa Hurley" in the race at all, guess Helms must be a product of CMS. I guess we should be happy she can write complete sentences and not worry about her lack of factual information.

Anonymous said...

Ann is a poor reader and researcher. I checked campaign finance reports and they show Hurley lead that race. The CHarlotte Chamber controls what she writes and the price of land just increased in Fort Mill !

AnswerMan said...

Hurley had a big treasury but almost all of the money came from a loan... from himself. In other words, he didn't raise much money. Ann was very clear on that in previous pieces.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Sorry, I did indeed mistype Hundley as Hurley and have corrected.

On Keith Hurley and his fund-raising: I reported once that his $50,000 loan to himself, which he told me he did not actually plan to use in its entirety, technically gave him the highest number. But it indicates nothing about financial support from others, or even campaign spending.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know what will happen to Tim Morgan's seat? The Observer hasn't explained this. Will the existing BOE fill this position or will the new board do this?

It looks like Stewart could be the swing vote in the new BOE. She has made comments that seem to be in favor of bringing back student busing and more social engineering. Stewart has said publicly she'd vote down HB 546, but has also said she's very much in favor of teacher performance pay that is based partically on student test results.

It's going to be interesting to see how Stewart votes in practice. There will be 4 clear anti-reform board members (McCray, McElrath, Waddell and Tate). Stewart might or might not be their fifth vote. If she is, watch CMS travel back in time to the pre-Gorman era.

Ann Doss Helms said...

On replacing Morgan: Eric Davis declined to discuss this pre-election, but Morgan said the rules are pretty clear that it must be the NEW board (which will have only eight members, with D6 seat vacant). I had thought they might start taking applications immediately so they could get everyone on board for the superintendent search right away, but Morgan says only after the swearing-in Dec. 13 will the new board formally launch the process.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:47--You've hit the nail on the head. McCray has made no bones about how unfair it is that suburban schools are doing well. Erika I believe once indicated she believed that too. Tom Tate has been rather quiet lately about assignment but I'm sure he will now be reinvigorated.

We'll soon see if all those who told us it was foolish to be concerned about assignment issues were right or wrong.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, meant anonymous 8:37.

Anonymous said...

Ann, This is interesting. There are 2 main factions in this board and presumably each faction will want the candidate that represents the interests of their group. What happens if they can't get a candidate in there who can get more than 4 votes? Will Eric Davis get to be the deciding vote?

Anonymous said...

So who's the pick for the Dist 6 seat? I head Scott Babbiage say he was going to file, and I heard John Ross who ran against Tim in '09 was interested...is there anyone else in District 6 than can help balance the board?

Anonymous said...

Does Elyse Dashew live in District 6? If so, I would put money on it that she'll get the nod.

Anonymous said...

No, Elyse does not live in District 6.

Wiley Coyote said...

Elyse Dashew didn't make the cut after all the hubub and "support" from the likes of the Observer and the Charlotte "elite".

..School Board recommendations: Dashew, Morgan, Ellis-Stewart, Pomis

Why would we want her appointed?

Appoint Elvis.

He couldn't do any worse.....

Anonymous said...

Bo Boylan

Anonymous said...

Ross was okay, but young. Babbiage was a little on the fringe side for my taste - kind of like Nelson - we need another option.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 10:53....

Give us your options so we can see if your reccomendations meet our definition of "fringe"...

Pick a fringe.

Leake, Dunlap, Gauvreau, Waddell, Tate, McElrath, Griffin, Woods, White, etc, etc.

We have no time or place for any "fringe"

I guess "fringe" is the new definition of diversity, because diversity is nothing more than what ones perspective is these days...

Get off race, get off income, get off damning the suburbs, get off needless testing and focus on teaching.

Until CMS does that, nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

Let's be open on why McLamb got all those votes. The Dems go their base out to vote and her names sounds right to match certain profiles for people who want board members that look like themselves. Hundley got votes because of her D ties. This election was about making up for bad liberal turnout last year (also explains the city council results). This election was not about electing the best candidates.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 11:09...

My last name is McRib....

I'm Kalaallit, soooo... that means I probably wouldn't get but one vote, my own.

Anonymous said...

One thing that Ann is implying, but not saying directly, is that race trumps all other issues when it comes to Charlotte politics.

In other words, Hundley and McLamb could drop out of the race and still beat several candidates who actively campaigned.

Mary McCray managed to win on a platform of terminating attempts to make teachers and schools more accountable.

Issues are still important, but they are not the key factor in deciding elections in our metropolis.

Christine Mast said...

Here were my observations about the connections in this election:

http://pundithouse.com/2011/11/follow-the-money-trail-cms-boe-election/comment-page-1/#comment-158784

Anonymous said...

And unfortunately there does not seem to be any organizing done in the suburban areas by Republicans or anyone else--no one encouraging people to get out to vote. There are lots of people living in the suburbs who are sending their kids to public schools. Many were not around during the 90's/early 2000's and have no idea what it was like then and how quickly they could lose the opportunity for their kids to attend nearby schools. These people should be voting but are not.

Does anyone know why the Republican party seems to have so little interest in winning elections?

Anonymous said...

This republican literally walked through a crowd of several democratic volunteers to get into the building to vote. There were few of us voting because the writing is on the wall...politics trumps realistic reform, and since we have that convention coming nobody wants to make waves for fear of the revenue and reputation loss for Charlotte. That is the oversimplified city view of this disastrous process. The more school-centric view feeds off that vibe of keeping the city's image positive at all costs. Suburban parents are hunkering down and focusing on what is best for their children and their school(s). And if that means they leave the system so be it. I already know of one private school that is preparing to break ground for additional classrooms.

therestofthestory said...

This is a sad day for public education and the tax payers in Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte. Property values just took another big hit.

Ann Doss Helms said...

On D6 replacement: I have heard from a couple of people, though not Bo Boylan himself, that he isn't willing. I have heard Bolyn McClung is interested. I was hoping Peter Gorman lived in D6, because wouldn't that make for interesting speculation, but he's in D5.

Anonymous said...

Larry should have run under a pseudonym like LaRay.

Bet he would have won...

Baixiong said...

This election reminds me of a problem Houston, TX/Harris County used to have.

People kept voting Leslie Perez into runoffs as head of the Democratic Party in Harris County.

The well-informed electorate assumed that Leslie Perez was a typical female Hispanic candidate
and "she" got a lot of votes based solely on her name.

How do we know this?

Simply because the actual person behind the name was not as "she" appeared at all and not exactly a prime candidate for public office.

This Leslie Perez was actually a transsexual ex-convict who killed his ex-wife before undergoing his sex change and changing his name.

His real name was Leslie Douglas Ashley.

So be careful voting for those obviously "ethnic" names.

Unless you know who's really behind them.

Anonymous said...

As for D6 replacement, as long as you are registered Democrat, you can declare the Vilma Leake clause and not have to live in the district.

Scott Babbidge said...

I hardly believe that I am fringe. Clearly, I am a common sense American who espouses REAL Republican ideals. My most trusted friend in Charlotte is a Black man. When I chose to stand on my principles and uphold a promise to be a team player and NOT spilt the Republican vote and dropped out of the race I did it on my terms and to prove I am not the kind of typical politician that has alienated the people in this country. After I withdrew the first two people who reached out and expressed their disappointment were Democrat Lloyd Scher and Charlotte Teachers Association President Judy Kidd.

I can DEFINITELY see how that makes me fringe.

Oh yes, that I have in classroom experience, been married to a public school teacher for 22+ years, put my child through public schools in AZ and here in CMS. That definitely adds to my fringe-ness right?

I would vote to repeal the extended school day, to NOT allow CMS to raise our taxes, repeal the wasteful and counter-productive standardized tests. I would work to fully open the budget and bring fail, meet and exceed standards to ALL budget lines and program expenditures. WOW those are fringe ideas too right?

Oh and I will vehemently fight to turn control of individual schools over to the professionals and parents of the individual schools.

I will, if I have to do it myself, push for a full and independent investigation and audit of the free and reduced lunch program.

And I will fight to make sure we fully find the things that work while getting rid of the things that don't work.

Yep that Babbidge guy is a fringe kook whack job alright!!

Anonymous said...

Scott, you should use the all caps style more in your writing. It helps your readers understand just how angry you are. The BOE meetings get a little boring and we could use somebody who isn't afraid to scream.

CMS Parent said...

Loved Mr. Babbidge's ideas and was saddened when he dropped out of the race.

I am saddened that the suburban schools are not only NOT a priority of the newly elected at large members (and that includes Tim Morgan--as evidenced by how little his listened to his district), but more of something that needs to be taken down a notch because it's "not fair" that suburban schools do so well.

Anonymous said...

Look at the numbers. The 8 D's on the ballot got 59% of votes. The 3 endorsed by the party got 36%. The 3 R's got 22%. The 4 R's for council got 37%. The black candidates for council got 42% of the vote and the black board candidates also got 42%.

Scott Babbidge said...

Anon 8:34 pm

I bring ideas - completely refute any remote possibility that I am fringe - and the best you can do is criticize my use of capital letters (which, by the way, are used for emphasis and not yelling as you allege). And yes, I am fully aware of "email etiquette" regarding capital letters - but I'm one of those crazy fringe people that finds it a tiny bit hard to believe that using capital letters somehow means I would screaming at people at a BOE meeting.

Odd how you went after my use of capital letters - oh wait it's not that hard to believe given that all of the items I mentioned in my post are ideas that teachers, parents and taxpayers overwhelmingly support.

I guess you would rather have a guy appointed to the District 6 seat who happened to contribute $400 to the current district 6 representative's campaign?

Maybe just maybe I am exactly the kind of leader CMS has desperately needed.....oh but wait its better to have 9-0 board votes that put kids last rather than have people with ideas standing up for the best interests of our children.

So rather than criticize me for using capital letters why not support my desire to help the children of this county by standing up for what is right instead of sacrificing kids for the sake of "appearing" to all get along?

Anonymous said...

I could not care less if you use all caps to help make your point. People who resort to writing like that don't believe their words are strong enough to stand on their own - to each his own.

Really though Babbidge is not truly for the best interests of students. He's for the best interests of students as it relates to Republican ideas. He's a good party boy, telling us over and over - because he didn't quit the race (yes you did) he pulled out to not split the ticket. How'd that work? Your ambitions are transparent.

It's fun to see him get all worked up and attack people who question him - thin skin. Works well for a politician. And watch his response to this comment, he'll prove how so-called liberal ideas have failed education even though many of his examples will have roots in his party. And he'll try to write some sarcasm to show how childish this comment is in an effort to make himself look above the fray.