A report on CMS busing options and bell schedules by a visiting team from the Council of the Great City Schools should be ready for release in September, says Earnest Winston, chief of staff for Superintendent Heath Morrison.
The goal is for the council team to combine their expertise in transportation and their knowledge of how other districts handle busing schedules with info provided by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and local interviews. They'll assess alternatives that have been crafted by CMS staff, parents and teachers to see whether any are financially feasible and practically desirable. CMS is spending "up to $18,000" on the study, Winston said.
|Plaza (L) and Thorsland (R)|
Plaza and Kidd say Winston denied Kidd the chance to take part in the discussion with Plaza, Thorsland and other parents, and wouldn't let her join a later session with teachers. Both said afterward they question the sincerity of the district's effort and don't think enough teachers who oppose the late bell schedule and the longer elementary day were interviewed.
"We just kind of feel like it was all done for show," Plaza said this week.
"I think it's going to be status quo," Kidd said.
Winston, replying to an email from Plaza, said he had set aside 90 minutes for the council team to talk with Plaza, Thorsland and other volunteers who had spent months working with CMS staff to explore options. Kidd wasn't part of that work, he said, noting that the group actually got two hours to make their case. Winston said a number of teachers met with the council team, not all of them supporters of the late schedule. "In fact," he wrote, "feedback compiled by (the Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council) highlighting an array of teacher concerns about the late-bell schedule was shared with the CGCS." Update: Winston says Kidd showed up part way through the session with Plaza and other parents and was allowed to stay for that, but was not allowed to attend the teacher session.
And so, the debate seems likely to go on, even after the Council of the Great City Schools weighs in.