Friday, July 5, 2013

CMS school board race starts today

Filing for the six district seats on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board opens at noon today.

Four years ago,  most of the incumbents stepped aside,  leaving new members to claim five seats on the nine-member board.  This year four of the incumbents  --  Rhonda Lennon, Joyce Waddell,  Tom Tate and Eric Davis  --  say they plan to run again.  Richard McElrath in District 2 said this week he still hasn't decided,  while Amelia Stinson-Wesley,  an appointee to the District 6 seat,  says she's not ready to tip her hand.

For a $60 filing fee,  contenders can take a shot at one of the toughest jobs in town.  Board members earn about $12,600 a year  --  far less than Charlotte city council members or Mecklenburg County commissioners  --  for overseeing one of the area's biggest organizations. Members need to keep up with rapidly changing trends in education;  understand a tangle of federal,  state and local regulations;  and have a working knowledge of such fields as construction,  technology and transportation.

Candidates should be prepared for anything.  The folks who got elected in 2009 didn't expect to be plunged into teacher layoffs and school closings,  but that's what dominated their first couple of years.  Then came a superintendent search.

For those of you who decide to take it on,  please shoot me a link to your campaign web site,  some bio information and a good head shot (  I'll try to make it easy for blog readers to stay up to date on the campaign.

The boundaries have changed slightly since the last district election.  See the district map here,  and click here to see which precincts have been assigned to different school board districts.


BolynMcClung said...


It is difficult to tell what skills a School Board member should have. But given the lack of funding combined with the explosive growth of below-middleclass-incomed-families, it is going to be the ability to say “NO” to a whole lot of special interests. And do it in a way that doesn’t split the community.

The next School Board is going to have to make a lot of academic decisions in the blind if it uses all the new messed-up reporting systems and instructional methods that NCDPI has burdened the LEAs with. The most challenging will be that their superintendent wants to continue with the growth model while the state will not. That will make those trip to Raleigh uncomfortable.

The high cost of transportation will not go away. Families will have to let go of the idea that if they can’t escape the poverty of their neighborhoods, they can at least send their children out of them for ten hours a day. New Board members must work with the City and County to create better neighborhoods. It is something that has never been done.

The six members elected this November will have to decide if CMS will expand or mothball the L.I.F.T experiment. This is unpredictable. L.I.F.T hasn’t reported any achievement data. Next year will be the first using the year-round model (two styles in four schools). There isn’t a lick of confirmed information that will make it a campaign issue. But at the end of these six’s third year they will have to go thumbs up or down.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville, NC

Wiley Coyote said...

CMS has no business trying to "create better neighborhoods".

They need to focus on creating a better public education product.

Public school systems already tried and failed to gerrymander neighborhoods. The result was White Flight.

Anonymous said...

These school board members and potential candidates need to remember their places. Things like making teachers change grades because of pushy parents is unethical.

Anonymous said...

Mecklenburg has reached the tipping point and districts are set up to ensure minorities rule CMS. Don't expect it to improve with social engineering now CMS BOE priority.