Monday, March 24, 2014

Charters, tenure, testing and Project LIFT

It's a good week to learn more about education, with an array of public meetings and forums taking place.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday,  Mecklenburg County commissioners will hear a presentation from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools about the county money that's passed along to charter schools.  Some commissioners want to know more about how that money is being spent and whether they can exercise any control.  As required by law,  CMS is passing along about $25 million from this year's $356.5 million allocation to cover costs for almost 11,000 Mecklenburg students enrolled in charters.  With 11 new charters opening in the Charlotte area in 2014-15,  CMS projects it will take another $7.5 million to cover almost 2,300 more charter students.

Pine Lake Prep in Iredell County serves Mecklenburg students
The special commissioners' meeting,  in room CH-14 of the Government Center,  is open to the public.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday,  the CMS board will vote on its version of the controversial  "25 percent plan" to phase out tenure (details of the CMS plan have not yet been released)  and the district's 2014 legislative agenda.  The agenda also includes a report on academic achievement at the Project LIFT schools. That meeting,  in Room 267 of the Government Center, is also open and streamed online.

At noon Wednesday,  Wingate University Ballantyne kicks off a "lunch and learn"  series with assistant professor Chris Cobitz talking about  "What's all this testing in schools about?"  Cobitz is a former testing official with CMS and N.C. Department of Public Instruction.  Bring your own lunch and attend the session at Suite 150 in the Harris Building, 13024 Ballantyne Corporate Place.  (It'll be like Throwback Wednesday if I can make it; I worked extensively with Cobitz and Lloyd Wimberley,  director of the graduate school of education, when they were with CMS.)

As they say in the late-night infomercials ... but wait!  There's more!  You can cap off this education marathon by hoisting a mug at  6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Heist Brewery in NoDa,  where there's a  "Policy and Pints"  session scheduled.  Just keeping up with new education advocacy groups these days is a challenge:  This one is sponsored by N.C. Policy Bridge,  a  "grassroots and top roots"  organization trying to get teachers more engaged in public policy discussion.  Kayti Stuckenberg,  a CMS middle school teacher,  is one of the organizers.  Adam Rhew of MeckEd,  which is helping promote the meetings,  says the core group is young teachers associated with Teach For America.  To attend,  RSVP here.

Update: Just found out CMS lawyer Jonathan Sink and CMS administrators will also be at the Tuesday Breakfast Forum this week  (8:30 a.m. at the West Charlotte Rec Center) speaking about the state's charter school law and the district's desire to have similar flexibility.


Anonymous said...

Someone better ask CMS why they whine so much about charter money. They get NC money for the total students in the county. Then they distribute about 75% of the per student amount to the charter schools. They still come out ahead.

Anonymous said...

3:10, that's not exactly how it works. The state provides its money directly to charters. Mecklenburg County provides an allotment of county money to CMS, which must divide that by all Mecklenburg public school students (CMS and charter) and provide the per-pupil share to each charter that takes Meck students.

I've heard that charters get 75 to 80 percent of what district schools get, though I'm not sure of the source of that calculation. I'm pretty sure it's based on the fact that district schools get construction/renovation money while charters don't.

Wiley Coyote said...

CMS and certain politicians will do everything they can to stop charters.

Anonymous said...


Go drive a truck or become a manager at Burger King. You will NEVER get back you benefits and it will take years to get back on the steps you lost in salary and pension.

Only the "Best and Brightest" are smart enough to LEAVE. CMeS and the state know that you perform you career as a "passion", therefore you will NEVER receive a proper salary nor benefits package.

Unknown said...


Did you make an unintentional extra contribution to public schools in Mecklenburg this year?

The Clerk of Court is responsible for disbursing the money collected by the courts. I believe the amount for the year is $18M, about the same figure as the lottery money. It doesn't all go to the schools, but most.

I've yet to find out how that makes it way to the Charter schools; if it has at all.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Teachers, keep your heads up and keep serving our children. This to will pass. For all the teachers leaving or who have already left, thank you for your service and good luck in your future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Ann You corrected Anonymous 3:10, but in your correction you're citing other percentages that you don't have a source for. I know it's hard to understand the numbers, but if you're going to correct the person, you should be able to volunteer better information. That's why you get paid the big bucks after all.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, I am a recently retired teacher. I don't remember even one case of the word charter ever being mentioned. Ever. It might disappoint you but we are too busy teaching, keeping up with the flurry of info. from testing to other Raleigh mandates. Only old Republicans who spend all their free time on blogs worry about charters.

Wiley Coyote said...


Nice job of inferring things that aren't there.

I don't worry about charters, didn't say I worried about charters. That's a warped assumption on your part.

I worry about the sad state of public education where you retired from.

Only old, brainwashed, retired New Hypocrisy Democrats don't take the time to read and comprehend the simplest comments.

By the way, I'm an unaffiliated voter.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:52am...

"Only old Republicans who spend all their free time on blogs worry about charters."

You mean like Diane Ravitch?

Sorry, she switched sides.

Anonymous said...

At a charter school....

Anonymous said...

Nice comeback Wiley. For once, I'd love to see the handful of people on here who spend hours every day on blogs bashing public education use some of that time to help. Yes, I retired from public education and yes, I saw the problems, same as you. Instead of registering over and over on blogs to tell everyone how bad education I am out trying to improve it. Get this Wiley. I am working with a group that is planning to start two charters (yes Wiley, charters) geared towards kids who have or are in danger of dropping out. I would hope that perhaps you would use your abilities to do the same. I fear that 40 years from now we all will be seeing the same blogs with the same finger pointing.

Anonymous said...

How did the TFA meeting with legislation go? Mabey the legislators will lesson to young teachers that come from money. I hear 200,000 gets you places with Tillis and Pat.

Larry said...

Strange how folks do not know how much Charter Schools get per student from the State as opposed to how much CMS gets per student.

I will bet this might help

It shows 10.3 percent less, but most reports show it is about 20 percent.

And also why are Charters Schools not getting any of that money from the Education Lottery, it seems the democrats did not want to help the Charter Schools.

So that should make some of you on here happy.

Anonymous said...

Character schools are supported by some Democrats and some Republicans, both parties are having some internal struggles over the issue. I would say common core is even more disruptive..