Friday, April 5, 2013

Making friends in Raleigh

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.

Brawley,  a Matthews Republican who was a CMS parent until his youngest graduated in 2009,  has long been skeptical toward district leadership.  H characterizes the longstanding attitude as:  "We're CMS. Do what we tell you."  Just last year,  after Brawley watched a newly elected Democratic majority on the school board appoint a Democrat to represent the heavily-GOP south suburbs,  he spoke about how that leadership was creating the kind of fear and anger that leads to talk of splitting the district.

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.

So when Rep. Tricia Cotham,  a Democrat,  asked Brawley to join her in sponsoring House Bill 509,  he agreed.  Brawley said he doesn't have strong feelings about the calendar restrictions,  so he could show his support for CMS without compromising his principles.  That's how political relationships work,  he says;  you don't get everything you want,  but in a close call,  goodwill can be the difference between success and failure.

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."


Ettolrahc said...


This is a great story.

Working together is a great way to have things done.

I am sure you missed it when members of both parties got the cap lifted off of Charter Schools from its 100 limit a couple of years ago.

Not that too was a great effort and understanding by so many who looked out for the best of children and their future.

So why not do a retro story on it and show just how well folks worked together from both sides to give us this valuable option for our children today?


Anonymous said...

Brawley certainly hit the nail on the head with his comments about the former school board leadership that was creating "fear and anger that leads to talk of splitting the district." That type of leadership was typical during the 90's and early 2000's (egged on by outside forces), which eventually led to the election of the mid-2000's dysfunctional board. Current leadership (McCray and Morgan)are doing an excellent job--very professional. Of course the lack of fireworks probably does not please some--I remember Arthur Griffin saying how much he relished all the infighting (as long as it turned out his way), stating that "democracy is messy". It can be messy to a point but once a governing body appears to be vindictive and totally one sided it can easily lose the game. It's amazing how quickly this current board learned that lesson.
Sharon Starks

Anonymous said...

As the parent of high school students, I would love to see the calendar changed. Currently, students get out for winter break with just a few weeks left in the semester. So they come back after a two-week break and have to take final exams in the middle of January. It would make so much more sense to complete the semester before the break.
Not to mention that tourism ( particulary in SC) should not drive our school calendar.

Anonymous said...

In regards to CMS high schools, it would also "make sense" to have the high schools start later in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Please remember to compensate teachers accordingly when the district goes back to adding all those teacher workdays before the kids arrive.

Anonymous said...

Folks this is really news worthy? I mean you know the calendar wont change due to the coastal resort areas rates and tourism. Boy one day they will make you visit the Nascar HOF dump as well. I took my kids out on break for a week 3 weeks ago to avoid the tourists. I went to FLA its a better use of my tax money. My kids learned more in that week than they have in 3 CMS semesters.

Missouri said...

9:08, that will interesting to see if that is approached again. The last time they tried it, in two urban high schools, parents were up in arms demanding it be changed back with a few weeks. They were leaving the house earlier than the high school kids to go to work and then the high school kids did not go to school. No one was there to push them out. And as importantly, to see what they were wearing to school.

Anonymous said...

BofE, Jimmy Chancey, Expanded Staff



Anonymous said...

What a feel-good story.

But context?

This is the same Brawley who just said that the "cities" of North Carolina were "arrogant." Really fine-pointed statement there.

Also, what about the bill allowing counties to take over school construction and management from the schools?

Anonymous said...

What about the "poor" teachers?

Anonymous said...


Again, everyone suffers over the actions of a few members of our underachiever class.

Is it any wonder so many people just choose to move away from the problem?

It's the only REAL solution I've seen that works.

Anonymous said...

Investigative Journalism?

AA = Answers Ann

Still Waiting

Anonymous said...

It doesnt matter if half the administration , teachers or students were actual zombies!

MOrrison and the BofE only care about that Federal Money !

Oh, that means more of taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

You've got the wrong Ann. Call the one in CMS and explain this entire false prophets, BOE, and consistent Jimmy Chancey mantra. Better yet, call the Rowan County Legislators and have CTE declared as an official religion with one computer for every worshipper/prayer member. (a la Project Lift). Let us know what you discover with the FP's.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah oh this is the Observer. Write a article with some Teeth Ann regarding education. The filler articles are real weak.