State Rep. Bill Brawley had an interesting explanation for his support of a bill that would free Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools from state calendar restrictions: CMS earned it.
But now, he says, things are different. Case in point: Constituents recently came to Brawley with concerns about the safety of a bus stop. Brawley went to CMS, and instead of reminding him of rules against changing locations midyear, the leaders listened, agreed they had a case and made the change.
"I don't think it was a big issue to them, but it was a big issue in my district," Brawley said this week. "They trusted me. I'm going to trust them."
Brawley gives some of the credit to Superintendent Heath Morrison, who started last summer, and some to the board's leadership team, elected in December. Chairman Mary McCray, a Democrat, and Vice Chairman Tim Morgan, a Republican, have been building stronger relationships with the GOP-dominated team in Raleigh, he said.
That's not to say CMS is assured of getting the calendar flexibility the board requested in this year's legislative agenda. The bill exempting CMS would have to pass both houses and get the governor's signature. But bipartisan sponsorship can't hurt.
"What you're seeing is a rare beast in 21st century America," Brawley said. "It's bipartisan cooperation. There is a point where we're all trying to serve the constituents, and when that happens it's a good thing."