Wednesday, May 23, 2012

$4,800 for London networking

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board Chairman Ericka Ellis-Stewart was on the plane for the ill-fated Chamber of Commerce trip to London last weekend.  But the cancellation due to airplane mechanical problems may have been a blessing, because Ellis-Stewart has already spent most of her travel allotment for this fiscal year.

CMS provides $5,150 a year in travel money for the chair and $3,100 for other members.  Ellis-Stewart took office (and the chairmanship) in December,  about halfway through the budget year that ends June 30.  She had a tad over $2,800 to spend,  and had already used all but $283 on two trips to Raleigh and a National School Boards Association conference in Boston (see the board's spending as of Monday here).

The chamber's trip to London cost $4,800 for public officials. Ellis-Stewart said Tuesday that she had been talking to other board members about letting her use their unspent travel money.  It's not clear whether she'd gotten that money lined up,  or even whether CMS had actually paid the bill.  Rhonda Lennon, who had the biggest chunk of unspent money (just over $3,600),  said Tuesday that Ellis-Stewart asked her Saturday, the day the flight was supposed to depart, to help cover her cost.  Lennon said she declined. She said was concerned about CMS officials spending money beyond what's budgeted, especially while they're trying to get additional money from Mecklenburg County commissioners.

It's not unheard of for board members who don't travel much to offer some of their budget to those who do. Richard McElrath  --  who, like Lennon, has spent nothing so far this year  --  transferred just over $500 to Vice Chairman Mary McCray this year.  Nor is it unusual for board members to join other public officials and executives on the chamber's annual visits to check out business, economic development and government in other cities.  Eric Davis went to Seattle with the group when he was board chair last year.

But the overseas trip and the expense it entailed was unusual.  During the last budget year,  CMS board members spent only about $12,500 of the $29,950 allotted for travel,  with individual spending ranging from nothing for Lennon to $3,847 for Davis (see the 2010-11 travel report here).

Ellis-Stewart said Tuesday she thought the trip was valuable because of the opportunity to network with business leaders.  At a time when CMS is working to build public-private partnerships, "it's good to have them on your side,"  she said.

Lennon was skeptical.  "You can buy a whole lot of lunches for $4,800," she said.

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

New CMS Mission Statement:

Spend, Spend, Spend! But not a on teachers.

CMS has its own 1 vs 99%.

Yes, I know they are asking for more money for raises, but why not have a show of good faith and find part of that from the budget and make it a matching request?

Why can't that networking be done here? Is it because there they would be a captive audience?

Anonymous said...

How about NOT spending the unused money? In tough times, fiscal responsibility to more important that some boondoggle to another supposed educational conference. Who is watching over these clowns? Where is the accountability?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of respect for education..Project Lift continues to set the stage for failure. Ms. Watts supported principals who forced out 25 to 27 highly effective dedicated teachers from one of our most challenging schools. She then reports she is replacing them with TFAs. She belittles the community she is suppose to be in support of by making reference to her new office on La Salle having bulletproof windows. While in the same breathe, telling teachers they are expected to get out there and go door to door in the neighborhoods.
Ms. Watts all of our children in all of our communities deserves respect from all of our Educators. You should know better!

Read more here: http://obsyourschools.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-era-of-testing-ratings-in-nc.html#storylink=cpy

Skippy said...

What did you expect by voting in a racist who thinks she is entitled to this money?

Christine Mast said...

It's not unheard of for board members who don't travel much to offer some of their budget to those who do.

Just because it's not "unheard of," doesn't make it the right thing to do.

I'd like to see the itemized spending from Ericka's trip to Boston. I'm having a difficult time reconciling two trips to Raleigh (that I doubt had overnight costs) plus one trip to Boston to cost almost $2,600.

Ellis-Stewart said Tuesday she thought the trip was valuable because of the opportunity to network with business leaders.

The people she should be networking with are the local teachers, so she can explain to them why a $4,800 trip to LONDON is more important than communicating with the people she's supposed to serve. Or to let ALL of us know why she's in Raleigh pushing a dead calendar bill, instead of lobbying the State for more money for teacher raises.

Anonymous said...

Sharmel "Denise" Watts isn't interested in children. She's only interested in money and power: hers.

She doesn't know the meaning of respect.

Anonymous said...

I find it very disturbing that the board chair would ask other board members use their travel allowances to help cover her cost, which apparently was about $4500, after factoring in her remaining travel allotment of $283. We have all seen the high handed and arrogant manner in which she has conducted board business (starting with her obviously political handling of the district 6 board rep appointment) since she became chair. I would be very concerned that her request from other board members, especially from those who do not agree with her politically, could be seen as(for lack of a better word) extortion--transfer unused funds over to me or there may be payback during future board business. We should all hope this is not the case, but Ms. Ellis-Stewart does not appear to care much for non-partisanship or ethical leadership. Good for Rhonda for standing up to her.
Sharon Starks

Anonymous said...

Ann, Do you know if Ericka requested funds from Richard's account as well, since he also has a large amount left? Did she try to tap into any other board members' surpluses? (Tim Morgan, Amelia Stinson-Wesley, and Eric Davis all have over $1000 left in their accounts) Or did she only make the request of Rhonda? It certainly seems that if she was benignly asking for funds she would have certainly gone to Richard as well as Rhonda, and then perhaps to the other three.

CharlotteIn2012 said...

We had one person running for school board who was going to give His salary back, and asked the other members to do the same.

He also said he would use his bonus air miles.

Yet we have people on the board, who are looking for ways to take more trips than the budget allows.

Tandemfusion said...

That a local school board chair can gain something of value to that role from a junket to London is absurd. CMS is hardly going to engage in joint ventures with businesses based in England. That seems fairly obvious. Having contact with local business persons who happened to be on that trip hardly requires spending public money: she can simply go to a Chamber breakfast and meet the same people.

The reality of much of the travel of public officials is that they simply view a vacation on the public as a perk of the job.

BolynMcClung said...

THIS IS ONE INSTANCE.....

...Where I would support the travel expense. I see the value both in the experience and the relationships.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

J said...

Say whatever you want about Bill James - and I agree with most, he's almost impossible to like as a person - he is exactly right with what he said last week about CMS: "CMS can give its employees a raise any time they want. They refuse to cut low-priority programs. CMS is the ultimate Socialist agency where nothing ever gets cut."

Anonymous said...

How about the travel budget be kept as a lump sum. Travel be on merit basis, not an expected amount to spend as you want. Then each person submit where you want to go, estimated and itemized costs, and what you specifically expect to accomplish to the bean counters for approval. When you return you report what was actually accomplished on a day by day basis. I, too, wonder how it took most of $2800 just to go to Raleigh and Boston. Better yet let a teacher plan your itinerary. They are experts at doing more with less.

Anonymous said...

Why do they need to go to London...or anywhere for that matter? Teachers are stooped under the burden of the " latest and greatest" now! They can't take anymore " great ideas" Or "methods" or " strategies" or " best practices". I think they are tired of being guinea pigs for someone's friend or business partner who has written a book on " how to save education"! Leave them alone and let them teach! School board - stay home and work on REAL issues and stop the foolishness!

Anonymous said...

You CANNOT request that kind of money for a "vacation" to London in these economic times. CMS is asking for money from the County and should be from the State for the budget. It scares me when she is qouted " it builds better business private relationships". Thats Project LIFT which helps very few students in CMS. What trip are you considering to help the others? Stay away from the Chamber that is not a positive influence in this town. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Why is no one talking about abolishing the School Board? They have no taxing authority nor do they control funding. Let the CMS Administration make their recommendations directly to the County Commissioners. How much money would that save?

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, I'm curious--what exactly would be the value for CMS and taxpayers would Ericka gain from visiting London on the our dime? I don't believe the English school system in any way relates to ours (and really, was there any intent to compare systems during this junket?). As for forging relationships with business leaders--as many others have said, that could easily be done here in Charlotte (or for a much lower cost at, say, a couple of days at a retreat center in the mountains-the lovely Wild Acres comes to mind-if taxpayer money absolutely had to be spent for networking).

Additionally, it just plain looks bad for elected officials to be merrily heading off to glamorous locations whether budgets are tight or not. And you have to admit that the justifications for the trip to London were pretty flimsy to begin with (learning about the Olympics indeed!). So what if business leaders get to do it--they are not traveling at our expense! 9:01 certainly hit the nail on the head.
Sharon Starks

Ann Doss Helms said...

8:10, I believe she did request money from other members, perhaps all of them. I called Rhonda last night because she had the biggest sum left; I may follow up on this if I can learn more about whether she actually had the money lined up to pay for this trip. Given the amount, it would have taken pretty big commitments from multiple members.

Anonymous said...

I have to say it this time and commend Mrs. Lennon for saying no to Ericka's Money plea. I am very puzzled as to the timing of that call as well. That seems very fishy to me. Mrs. Lennon good for you for not being a part of her request. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Let's cut our noses off in spite of our faces.

Stewart going to England is not that big of a deal, come on. It gives her an opportunity to be up close and personal with area leaders on neutral turf and have their undivided attention. This is how business deals are done. This is how she could grease the wheels to help CMS out.

And how do we know Stewart didn't lobby Raleigh for money in addition to discussing the calendar bill? Were you sitting next to her the entire time? Have you asked her?

As for Lennon being so proud for spending no money on travel, hey that's great, she claims there's no benefit for her district. Well that's obvious, her district hasn't gotten much benefit from her in years. She's been in reelection mode for months.

Sometimes you have to invest some money to get a larger return later.

Really the knee-jerk reactions here including Lennon are laughable. Why was it okay for Davis to go to Seattle but not Stewart to go to England?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if school board members in much maligned "suburban districts" (small local districts found in many parts of the country) have a "travel allowance" in the thousands of dollars, and how many of them would dare tell their communities that they were jetting off to London at taxpayer expense to "network with business leaders".

Anonymous said...

To Sharon Starks @9:22. Business leaders are not travelling at our expense? Yes, they are. When they spend on things like this, it creates higher prices for you and me. No matter how you look at it, it costs us either way. I don't have a problem with the trip, it's business and it is not a vacation. I'm sure the vast majority of time will be spent in boring business meetings rather than touring the castles, but don't be naive and say the business leaders are travelling and it not costing us as well.

Anonymous said...

9:30 am--If Eric's travel expenses to Seattle were within his board travel allotment (which I believe they were) then there should be no issue about him going, since the travel allowance is board policy. Additionally I believe that trip did involve some interaction with the Seattle school system (which has struggled over assignment issues) and I suspect it was much less expensive than the London trip.

However, perhaps there should be an overall discussion of exactly how much value these little junkets for elected officials provide to the average citizen. Are our officials so blinded with their own self importance that they don't realize or care how these trips might look to taxpayers. City officials and Ericka certainly seem to have fallen into this category with the almost trip to London.

Rebels Hate Me said...

So, Ericka spits in the face of Harry Jones' financial offer, because it is not enough. Next, Ericka is begging others for money.

"Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board Chairman Ericka Ellis-Stewart was on the plane"

Why is Ericka on the plane if she cannot afford the ride? She makes a 6-digit salary, so she can pay for it out of her own pocket! Perhaps she was filling out Welfare forms and trying to collect food stamps, too!

Ericka, you are an embarrassment and should resign immediately!

Anonymous said...

And yet again - These are the same people that want Taxing Authority.

Unreal!

Anonymous said...

9:44: I actually agree with you--I know that consumers are helping to pay for business perks through higher prices. I have long felt that sky high restaurant and travel costs experienced by those of us who are paying our own way are partly fueled by free spending business and government expense accounts.

I still think, though, that responsible government officials would be very careful about how they use obviously public money.

Sharon

Anonymous said...

As school board members and other elected and public officilas vacation on tax dollars, I've spent over $500 this school year on classroom supplies including items as basic as paper for the copy machine becasue the administration says they can't afford any more.

Anonymous said...

9:30- Ericka certainly cannot lobby Raleigh for money. She cannot even lobby D-1 for vacation funds. Lennon is actually getting a new school for elementary after waiting years so she has done something for her district. If Davis had the budget allotment to go to Seattle then he had a choice pre-recession to travel. I am sure Eric did not spend $4800 and I am sure he had the payment worked out before he got to the airport. Its clear Ericka's hobby is way above her in the chair seat. The way CMS is being used by this board is pure travesty to tax payers and children of this County.

Anonymous said...

Ericka need to go to a math academy. She has $9.1 million and "found" another $16 million. Her original demand was for $27 million she cannot see that she has $25.1 and a PR department she can cut? GIVE THE TEACHERS THE RAISE THEY DESERVE NOW ! I personally will pay for her Mathematic Retreat in Iredell County School District if they will have her.

Wiley Coyote said...

I find it comical our city "leaders" are going to London to learn how to handle bidding for the Olympics, you know, in case one day in 3015 Charlotte might bid on them.

Add the fact that our BOE chair and other educrats were going for _________ <--- fill in your own guess, adds even more comic fodder.

The city can't run Speed Street and CMS has obvious issues running the public school system and their budget.

...you got what you voted for.

Anonymous said...

Wiley , You could not have put it any better than that. We will have our DNC patrol on for a humble NASCAR weekend. I hoped the city learned from the NATO event last weekend. We will stumble on the Speed Street just like last year just watch. We are getting new sidewalks downtown for our DNC effort. I just wish Beverly Perdue would come back and pave Morehead Street I think she forgot. Keith W. Hurley

John said...

Typical liberal approach - spend all of your budget allowance and then ask others who don't abuse the allowance to fund your overages!

Sense of Entitlement... the biggest cause of all of our economic and educational issues!

Anonymous said...

KOJO- Control your little PAWN Ericka she may make you look bad ! We dont want that pre-DNC do we now?

Anonymous said...

It's just not Kojo who should be concerned about Ericka's style (although I doubt he is). Her supporters should be appalled at her arrogance (or at least her total lack of judgments as far public perception of her actions)--her leadership (?) style is feeding into a lot of stereotyping. She was given the opportunity to be a fair and responsible leader who could have helped heal rifts within the community. Instead she chose a ferociously partisan path, which has only exacerbated ill will throughout the school system. Thus she is getting little sympathy over her attempt to fund her London trip.

Wiley Coyote said...

'The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money'

..Erika ran out of her money and went after more from another BOE member....

Beware folks. There is a LARGE bond request looming and all signs point to Erika going after YOUR money for it.

Wiley Coyote said...

Pssssst... Erika?

...call Jerry Orr. According to him, they're spending like drunken sailors and have plenty of money.

CharlotteIn2012 said...

For those of you who felt this trip would be necessary, may I make a request.

If you too have authority over large piles of others people's money, then I would love to offer you plenty of opportunity to meet with other people who would love to travel and meet with you. And all for free.

Just dream of the exotic locale you and your family wish to visit and we will find some very important people for you to network with at that dream trip.

Nothing wrong with any of this at all. That is why the person who was running for school board said he would pay with his air miles for trips.

He has seen it happen over and over and did not even let them do that to Him in business, as He know what it would lead to.



No

Anonymous said...

11:11, here is a surprise for you. She is doing and behaving exactly like Kojo and any of her followers would have her do. You are dealing with a "subculture" here that has no problem dreaming and finding ways to separate you from your hard earned money. They are just as happy to see it go into a firepit as to spend on anyone else. Though they will try all ways to help some sorority sister or other colleague up to the taxpayer funded feeding trough.

Anonymous said...

OK, really. you are given a budget for a reason. I still do not see the benefit of spending those dollars on a trip to London, when teachers make so little. There should be more accountability in spending school money for EVERYONE!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why does the Board need to go anywhere - their job, yes JOB is here in Charlotte, NC.

Anonymous said...

London calling?

Come on y'all, Charlotte IS named after the wife of a British king. Besides, Dr. Morrison lived in England for periods of time as a young lad. Ericka is just trying to become more culturally sensitive while embracing diversity.

At least we don't have ties to Napoleon although a side trip to Barcelona to brush up on the Spanish Inquisition might-could be useful for BOE members. There are some lovely paintings by Goya that I think would be suitably appropriate to present to Dr. Morrison as a welcome gift. Let's not forget our Southern hospitality manners!

Speaking of Charlotte's royal heritage....

Gets me thinking about General Cornwallis and something about a "damned hornets nest". Bless Dr. Morrison's heart.

Moo.

Anonymous said...

Or, I suppose Ericka could be brushing up on Olympic security measures and Queen's English in preparation of meeting president Obama at the DNC.

Anonymous said...

1:30, correction, "His Majesty Obama".

Anonymous said...

no, no, no...

I think it's HRH (His Royal Highness). Tea anyone?

Anonymous said...

"The 3rd of May". This is the painting by Goya I was thinking about for Dr. Morrison's new office.

Art, Ask for More.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, the painting "3rd of May" is in Madrid - not Barcelona. I do hope Ericka's U.S. Airways flight isn't cancelled on this educational trip.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to look at the travel report from Ann's link. It goes from July 1, 2011, to May 21, 2012.
Eric, Rhonda, Tim, Tom, Richard, and Joyce have expenses from the full year. Ericka, Mary, and Amelia have expenses for a half a year since they didn't take office until December.

Top spenders are Tom and Joyce, with over $2900 each for the full year and with $670 to $695 left in their travel expense accounts. Eric comes in next in spending with $2835.11 for the full year (part of which he was chair and had a larger expense account)and he has a little over $1800 still in his account. Next is Ericka, with $2807.99 in expenses for half a year and only $283 left over (that's not counting the London trip) followed by Mary, also a half year, at $2573 in expenses, with 0 left over (and a $500 credit from Richard's account). Tim is next with $2511.06 for a whole year and $1105.61 unspent. Amelia spent $716 for a half a year with $1350 unspent; and Rhonda spent nothing on travel for a whole year, leaving $3616 unspent. Richard also spent nothing for his whole year service but gave a little over $500 to Mary (when she ran over her 6 month allotment), leaving him $3110 unspent.

Interesting to see how much our "for the little people" left leaning board members are willing to spend of taxpayer money (all perfectly legal of course). Only Richard seems to have shown restraint. Eric and Tim spent close to what Mary spent but did not spend the whole bundle (and again their expenses were for a whole year as compared to Mary's and Ericka's which were for 6 months).

Anonymous said...

I would like to see all members use all of their allotment. If they go overbudget it's bad planning and probably not picking and choosing which conferences would be most beneficial to them. Or they are trying to get their name out there for another higher elected office which is not the taxpayers job to pay for. The ones that spend "next to nothing" are not to be commended either. Everyone could use the opportunity to network and see how things work in other communities. An insular view is very dangerous and narrow minded. It bothers me that Ericka Ellis Stewart knew she would be over budget and decided to fly by the seat of her pants and worry about it later. It also bothers me that Rhonda Lemon has buried her head completely in the sand and doesn't want to travel or learn anything, yet sits on the school board. This was a very informative article. I see people using this forum to talk about President Obama and everything else. That is their right, but he doesn't have a thing to do with our school board.

Really? said...

I am the husband of a CMS teacher...I cannot believe this. I can't tell you how much of our OWN money we have spent to supply her classroom. Yet a board member is on her way to London? My wife barely makes enough to cover her student loans yet she is forking out tons of money so her students can have pencils and paper.

Ridiculous! Please start spending on the teachers and not the system!

Anonymous said...

3:03- Great point , but if your wife wants supplies for the classroom and a raise she has to join a Project LIFT School. That is the best way for 4-5 years to gurantee a wage increase and supplies. In that 4th year she should transfer out as the program will die. CMS BOE could learn so much from our neighbors in York,Iredell,Union,Catawba the surrounding areas at little cost. This flight to London was about Ms. Ericka's future career not CMS. She has no business experience or contacts to this is a free shot at no cost to learn real world business. With none other that big brother Chamber organization who would gladly pay her for favors.

Anonymous said...

ANN if you really want to get into some wasted revenue in CMS. Look into the current Credit Recovery Program run through APEX Online Classes. Students can enroll in an online class to "recover" credit for previous course they have failed. Each seat / enrolled student cost 150.00. HERE IS THE WASTE...... Students can and have in many cases sit for 4 or 5 sessions (failing to earn the actual credit online at 150.00 per session) Several students at one site have failed the actual class two times in a regular setting, then signed up 4 different times for the same credit (600.00 total for 1 student) and still do not pass or earn the credit.

Anonymous said...

3:03 PM, my best advice for your wife and you, quit spending in the classroom beyond the $250 you can write off your taxes. CMS is simply lazy and more than willing for you to fund so they can pander to groups.

Christine Mast said...

@ 9:21am who asked: Why is no one talking about abolishing the School Board? They have no taxing authority nor do they control funding. Let the CMS Administration make their recommendations directly to the County Commissioners. How much money would that save?

SPARK Educational Performances has proposed this:

"Pilot Program: Divide CMS into three separate districts, each with its own taxing authority and an enrollment cap."

There is LOTS of money to be saved under SPARK's proposal, and would bring accountability closer into the hands of the parents and taxpayers in the smaller districts. The proposal would also eliminate the BOCC from being the "bad guy" every budget season, as their taxing authority and funding responsibilities would transfer to the new smaller school districts (except for bonds/capital money). Imagine if we outsourced HR, Legal, Payroll, etc, how much money we could save.

See the following Facebook page for further information.
https://www.facebook.com/SPARKEducationalPerformances

Anonymous said...

Ok, To play Devil's Advocate here.. Since we are being informed that the American education system is falling behind that of the rest of the world, wouldn't it make more sense for our BOE chairperson to visit another country to see how they are doing things as opposed to somewhere local? If the US is falling behind in education, why wouldn't we want our BOE to look beyond our borders for contacts and ideas? The trip makes sense to me, especially when you consider it was part of the larger trip put together by the chamber of commerce. If Rhonda really wants to save money, she can give her BOE salary back to the school system, or better yet she can use some of her travel budget and visit the schools in her district that she is suppose to represent

Christine Mast said...

I'm going to get really picky now. I have reviewed both attachments regarding the BOE Travel Reports.

Once again, I am amazed at the "garbage" that comes out of CMS. Everytime I see a link to a "new" report, I get hopeful that I'll finally see one that I am proud of. One that I would be comfortable publishing if I was responsible for it.

Once again, I am disappointed.

First, the report dated 5/21/12. Why is there an asterisk on the "Expenditures" column heading? It doesn't reference anything. (I then discovered what this was for after I looked at last year's report. Last year's report had footnotes. But whoever prepared this year's report didn't catch that). Unacceptable.

And why was CMS able to put the preparer's name on last year's report, but the preparer's name mysteriously disappeared from this year's YTD report. Unacceptable.

Now to the "Transfer" column. PLEASE use the same format on all the figures. For example, if one transfer was for -$2,575, and another was for $516.67, PLEASE put dollars and cents on every number. Because right now, a quick glance at the transfers for Eric Davis makes the $516.67 look like the largest dollar amount, only because it has the decimal point and the cents included. Unacceptable.

If you're going to put dollar signs on every value in the first column, then do it for every other column. Or just do it for the first line in each column, and nowhere else. But pick a way and stick with it. Unacceptable.

If it were my report, I'd start over. There's got to be a better format for presenting this data. The last column is cumbersome and difficult to read.

And why does this bother me? Because I'd like to know how many people noticed that THREE, yes THREE Board members attended the NSBA Annual Conference in Boston, MA. WHY did THREE members need to attend this?

Some day, one day, I am going to hold out hope that someone, anyone in CMS, will take pride in their workmanship and proofread reports prior to the publication of the report. Please?

Anonymous said...

Christine, During a recent board meeting Ericka told us all that three of them (Ericka, Mary, and Joyce) had attended the NSBA meeting. She was especially enthusiastic about a session they attended in which they learned that large class sizes don't matter. I think she brought that back as a message to suburban parents.

Anonymous said...

How is a trip to ENGLAND going to bring back my dental, vision and better healthcare benefits?

They shall NEVER return at this pace.

BolynMcClung said...

To: Sharon S.

I don't want our CMS board to live in a bubble. The Board of Ed doesn't have the expertise as a private sector board of directors. Those folks come equipped with years of experience and battle wounds. Our board members are elected and mostly entry level executives. I'm willing to pay for their professional development; whether or not I agree with their points of view.

And, even if they came to their offices with more experience and a higher skill level, I would still invest in expenses such as the London or Seattle trips.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

4:41 PM, I am sure they did not communicate that to any of the urban groups.

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, I continue to be less and less impressed with your posts. Everything that has come out of Ericka's mouth from that trip has been out in the open media for years. Nothing new here.

They think they have to spend tons of taxpaayer dollars to go somewhere for what they hear to mean anything. They are shallow, narcissistic, and unapologetic for their backwardsness.

Christine Mast said...

@ 4:41pm, yes, you are correct. Thanks for reminding me about that. I attended that meeting, and forgot about the context. Wasn't it during the discussion she had about the Khan Academy?

Anonymous said...

Christine, percisely the point I am trying to make. Ericka even misinterpreted what was important about Khan Academy. Class size has nothing to do with the success of this program and of the students that succeed.

Anonymous said...

Ann

Is there any way to obtain and post copies of the expense reports?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Is Ericka on drugs?

Isn't this the same person who wanted CMS to foot her cell phone bill?

There are a lot of boarding schools in the UK. For $22,000,000.00 or $55,000,000.00 ( whatever it is) maybe Project LIFT is also planning to house students? Why not?

Anonymous said...

I think it would have been more appropriate for CMS's District 6 rep. to witness the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace - since we're on our 5th school board rep. in 8 years.

Anonymous said...

Isn't cut and paste wonderful?

Public Schools in the UK -

The term public school is commonly used in the United Kingdom to refer to a group of about 10% of the independent schools in the country, which are in general older, more expensive, more exclusive and members of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The role of public schools in preparing pupils for the gentlemanly elite in the period before World War II meant that such education, particularly in its classical focus and social mannerism, became a mark of the ruling class. For three hundred years, the officers and senior administrators of the British Empire invariably sent their sons back home to boarding schools for education as gentlemen, often for uninterrupted periods of a year or more at a time.

The 19th century public school ethos promoted ideas of service to Crown and Empire, understood by the broader public in familiar sentiments such as "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" and "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton". Ex-pupils often had a nostalgic affection for their old schools and a public school tie could be useful in a career, so an *"OLD BOY NETWORK" of former pupils became important!

*(YOU GO ERICKA GIRL!!!)

The English and Welsh public school model influenced the nineteenth century development of Scottish private schools, but a tradition of the gentry sharing primary education with their tenants kept Scotland comparatively egalitarian.

Acceptance of social elitism was reduced by the two World Wars, but despite portrayals of the products of public schools as "silly asses" and "toffs" the old "system" at its most pervasive continued well into the 1960s, reflected in contemporary popular fiction such as Len Deighton's The IPCRESS File, with its sub-text of supposed tension between the grammar school educated protagonist and the public school background of his more senior but inept colleague. Postwar social change has however gradually been reflected across Britain's educational system, while at the same time fears of problems with state education have pushed some parents who can afford the fees or qualify for bursaries towards public schools.

As of 2012 the current Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party (David Cameron), Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats (Nick Clegg) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (George Osborne) are all public school educated.

Anonymous said...

Cross Cultural Networking.

I'm assuming the headmaster at Eton was planning to fly across the pond to mingle with CMS's elite during Speed Week?

Global Competitiveness Starts Here!

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, I would agree with you that too many board members lack executive skills and experience. I think this is a real problem for a school system this size (and perhaps is a reason why it shouldn't be this size). But I am quite certain that Ericka's "professional development" does not need to include a trip to London. She should start with mentoring by a seasoned executive, of which we have plenty here in the community.

No objection to Eric's trip to Seattle--it was within his travel allowance and, as stated before, the trip actually included discussion with Seattle School officials, who have assignment issues similar to ours.

School board members don't have to live in a bubble, but they do have to exhibit some common sense if they want the respect of the community. Junketing off to London to "network", especially without the funds to do so, is not an example of common sense.

Sharon

Anonymous said...

The Board doesnt give a damn about the teachers and CMS administration wants teachers to work hours off the books for free. When will it end?

Anonymous said...

To end all the discussions. NOBODY on the CMS Board of Ed should be taking vacations with the CHamber. They want tooo much influence and its poor judgement to think otherwise. Dont go on trips dont go to their offices it provides no value to our County. They are looking for influence and its a HUGE CONFLICT. Its bad enough his brother sits on the board.

Anonymous said...

I am not against school board members going on fact finding trips though with the internet, conference calls, GOTOMeeting capabilities, etc. less is probably justified. The problem with going to conferences like the national school board, is all these people are locked into "groupthink' and their only solution is more tax money.

Also, seems to me, there are enough open events in and around Charlotte that school board members can rub elbows with any other government leaders. Heck go to a business lunch. Play a round of golf. Agree to meet at Speed Street for an hour or two. Ask a BOCC or City Council person to go on one of your school visits with you.

Use a little imagination. The problem is most of this "subculture" we have to put up with in Charlotte can not think their way out of a wet paper bag.

Anonymous said...

God Save the Queen (city)!

Anonymous said...

CMS has students from 168 countries who speak 165 different languages. If Ericka needs to get out of her bubble to broaden her mind and develop her skills, maybe she should take a leisurely walk about a CMS school. I met 2 exchange students from Germany and one of the "stans" last week at a CMS school. The German student complained that CMS was too easy. She also hated one of CMS's most desirable schools in Ballantyne before transferring to one of CMS's magnet schools on Beatties Ford Rd. where she likes the student body and curriculum a lot more. The kid wants to attend Harvard. Pretty cool and I didn't have to fly to London.

Anonymous said...

And the exchange student who wants to attend Harvard happens to be a dance major at the CMS magnet school she gladly transferred to on Beatties Ford Rd. Did I mention the Alvin Ailey master class? When is Charlotte going to put the money and focus into this school that it deserves? My kids don't go here but I wish they did.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the German exchange student found her fit at NW School of the Arts. If she is a dance major it's no wonder she prefers this school to the "desirable Ballantyne" school and probably the students at NW have more in common with her, since they are all into the arts. I do find it a little narrow minded of the student to "hate" her former school and express her dislike of its students. Are they all exactly alike? For that matter, I wonder why the author of this particular post had to include the slam against the Ballantyne School--you were making a good point without it.

Ann Doss Helms said...

9:47 p.m., isn't that odd? That always confused me in British novels when "public schools" clearly referred to elite private schools. A British friend assured me that's just how it's said over there, but I still don't understand why.

Anonymous said...

11:19--My son attended another "desirable" high school in far south Charlotte. He loved math and computers. Many of his friends who shared these interests were from Asia. They all seemed to like the high school and I doubt that they would have been happy at NW School of the Arts--to each his own. By the way, for at least three years running the valedictorians of this school attended either Yale or Harvard, after scoring perfect 1600s on their SATs. Pretty cool, huh!

Anonymous said...

12:59 and 1:51 hit on some of the problem with CMS schools. There are 2 forces working against each other here. One, there is the force that does not believe in magnet schools. There are probably 2 or 3 factors they will point to but the resultant is if try to fit square pegs in round holes you simply cut away potential of the student and worse, the schools are all lowered to the level of the lowest common denominator. Now that is limited in a control group of schoolhouses.

The other force is the obvious that CMS needs varying ways to address the various talents of all the students. It is rather ironic that CMS likes to talk about diversity but refuses to address it in the obvious arena the would create even more academic achievement. Why else are so many (yes not all but a high percentage) of the magnet programs centered around the urban schools?

Anonymous said...

1:51 PM
My intention wasn't to "dis" any schools in South Charlotte. My children attended two schools in the area with kids from Ballantyne. I live in the Piper Glen area so I'm not about to throw stones. My brother attended Yale as a physics major. I guess I was surprised how much this kid disliked a school that many would consider one of CMS's best - that's all. Her experience also reaffirms my belief in providing academic alternatives for students because one size doesn't always fit all. I do think NWSA needs major renovations and the fact the school happens to be located on Beatties Ford Rd. right down the street from the Project LIFT zone bothers me. I think a countywide school like this should be beautiful - or at the very least - a lot less ugly. I don't think this school receives as much support as it should from CMS although I suppose many people feel this way about various schools. NWSA does have what I consider a lot of fragile students. The "at-risk" population here is significantly greater than Providence High. I've attended and visited other art magnet schools around the country which are generally a source of pride in their surrounding communities. I've met some remarkable kids at NWSA just like I've met some remarkable kids elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

2:41
I attended a magnet school in CT founded in 1973. Magnet schools were originally designed in response to racial desegregation orders of the day. I think most people would agree that voluntary integration proved less contentious and far more successful (in most cases) than forced cross-town busing. Most magnet schools across the country are purposefully located in lower income areas. The whole idea is to encourage higher income families to attend by offering a unique and more concentrated curriculum that appeals to individual student talents, interests and strengths. Although I consider myself a neighborhood school advocate, I do think magnet schools have a place in our community and are a valuable asset in promoting not only academic achievement but the ideals of American public education. Who wouldn't want their child to attend a high quality, highly integrated school? Unfortunately, things aren't this simple. I think CMS has too many magnet schools but this is a different topic for a different day. I think less magnet schools that are all high quality and are all highly competitive to get into is the way to go. Magnet schools shouldn't be an alternative only because your neighborhood school is awful. Magnet schools shouldn't be by default. In a perfect world, every neighborhood school should be a viable option.

Anonymous said...

From 9:47

You do realize in the UK that it's fairly easy to pick out exactly where a person was educated (public or state) and more or less what their income is based on their accent? Most Americans (ex-pats) who live in the UK send their children to international or public schools. Most (of course, not all) American business people who live in the UK don't send their children to British state schools. Perhaps Ericka was attempting to educate herself on the matter. Some schools in the UK offer the IB program which is as competitive and popular there as it is here. Generally speaking, schools in the UK also heavily support the arts thanks to that Shakespeare guy and all.

What's the holiday that the British burn someone in effigy? I'd like to burn a few CMS school board members in effigy. I think this could become a smashing Queen City tradition.

Anonymous said...

Here is another irony in how magnet scchools came to be in CMS. Blacks almos forever badmouthed whites that the inpression they had was that whites did not want to sit next to blacks in the classroom. Well when magnet schools started up here, it was well publicized it was for racial integration and guess which spaces filled up first, the white kids and which spaces did not, the black kids. So here you had wating lists of whites to get into the racial balanced schools while blacks rarely filled their spots. And no, the Board back then would not allow those open spots to be filled by the whites on the waiting list on the first day of school.

Once again, another sign that this "subculture" just lacks any common sense.

Anonymous said...

Hyphen Ladies rule CMS.
Let them eat cake. Let hyphen lady #1 take all the vacations she wants if she cuts the PR dept by 80% - back where it was several years ago.

Anonymous said...

Early on, I tried the 16 letter hyphened last name with the Ms. title but gave it up. It seems a lot of younger woman have gone back to embracing "Mrs. Smith". I think the Ms. hyphen thing dates a woman. When lesbians are allowed to marry will they go with Mrs. and Mrs. or Ms. and Ms.? What about hyphenated names? What name do the kids get?

Anonymous said...

I think it comes down to syllables too. Ann Doss-Helms is 3 syllables and 11 letters. My hyphenated name was 8 syllables and 22 letters. Back in the day, it wasn't worth writers cramp.

Anonymous said...

I am willing to chip in for Ericka's vacation flite to London - if it is a one way ticket and she never returns.