Saturday, February 7, 2015

Could a high school come to uptown Charlotte?

If a group of uptown advocates has their way, Charlotte will have a high school in the center city some day in the near future.

Led by Fourth Ward resident Jeffrey Robinson, the group has put together a website,, and plans to start a petition in the near future. They're also discussing suitable plots of land.

The vision: to create a magnet or charter school that draws from all areas of the city, connected by mass transit.

It's little more than an idea right now, but Robinson said he is trying to rally support among Charlotte's leadership.

There may actually be an appetite among CMS administrators for something like this. A few weeks ago, Superintendent Ann Clark referenced the possibility of an uptown magnet school that partners with a museum like the Mint.


Anonymous said...

This aint New York City on a packed island with rivers and large bridges everywhere and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side.

If a new HS school was built downtown only poor kids would be assigned there that does nothing to improve grades and a long time misconception.
What about feeder elementary and middle schools built to worsen the problem with congestion and traffic?

The inner belt is already packed like a sardine can. Will they try to squeeze in a new airport and runways?

Demolish the outdated NFL Stadium and build schools there. Relocate the new stadium at Carowinds on I-77 where it should be anyway.

NYC Giants play in New Jersey across the river. Same principal.

Unknown said...

VILMA LEAK MIGHT BE HAPPY…and even happier

Back in the days of Urban Renewal a whole African-American community and culture existed near Uptown. It stretched from Cherry to Davidson St. and from Morehead St. to Trade. There was a retail, business and religious foundation…and a great high school: Second Ward.

The City tore it all down in the Urban Renewal fever that swept the nation. For years County Commission Vilma Leake has said the County and City promised to put up a new high school downtown/uptown to replace Second Ward.

In the mid-1990’s a school construction bond that would have funded converting the old Ivey’s Department Store at the Square into a high school failed.

Now another group wants a high school Uptown. It likely would be the most expensive CMS school ever built. Unless property were found near one of the light rail lines. Kids could take the rail to a school that would be full service with room for academics and sports.

We already have a mess with the new K-8 schools that have no sports for the 7th and 8th graders. Let’s not make that mistake with a new high school uptown.

I favor a high school for the growing uptown scene. But I’d just expand the one in South End. It once was Marie G. Davis Elementary. Then it was torn down and replaced with the very modern Military and Global leadership Academy. Besides being a full service high school, it is next to a huge county soccer field. …and the school is on the Blue Line.

And here’s why Vilma might be happy. She really wanted to keep that Marie G. Davis name. Now she’d have two choices; that and New Second Ward.

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Building a school on limited and expensive land is a waste of resources. Take a private school, such as Charlotte Catholic that does not have the land to provide a proper high school with all of the athletic trimmings and the students must find rides to other facilities for practice or even to compete.

Maybe a school that offered no athletics might appeal to some, but it still ignores the extra cost of land. Where will the parents park for school events? Paid parking (not all live and work along mass transit such as the Blue Line). Ride the bus you say - they why are we spending millions of $ on a street car for an area already served by a bus?

This is a bad idea that seeks to waste limited resources so that somebody can have a fantasy come true.

Anonymous said...

Folks just need to stop with all of these "earmark" type school projects. I love uptown but until they deal with the crime around the homeless shelters and bus station, they couldn't pay me to put my 14 y/o on a train to go to the same old same CMS school. As 8:07 stated this is not NYC and even NYC doesn't allow loitering on every single bench along their sidewalks.

I will not believe anything CMS does with new schools until they develop an elementary to middle to high where you have to test to get into. I am not talking a gifted school system but just the average B-A students school system. Elevate those students to their full potential, get them out of the classroom where they are sitting next to kids who don't know how to spell their name in second grade, put those kids together and that is how you build the school system, build future workers. All CMS does is let down these kids.

Wiley Coyote said...

High school students aren't moving downtown, Bolyn.

This will be yet another epic blunder by CMS if this comes to pass.

Using mass transit? What mass transit? A light rail line that runs in only two directions, up and down? You can walk to downtown about as quick from South End than taking the rail.

Taxpayers are already funding bus fare to the new downtown high school at CPCC.

They would have to make it a full magnet or charter, right?

This area splits the West Charlotte and Myers Park zones.

Here's a novel idea. Close West Charlotte and put it closer to all the alumni downtown and fat cats pouring millions into it. Students could then have a firsthand look at how to pour money into a bottomless pit with little to no return on investment as is Project LIFT.

You get what you vote for folks and this is what you got. An inept CMS and BOE that still believes money grows on trees and the taxpayers be damned.

This is the same Ann Clark who just stated that if the state doesn't fund the new teachers she wants, she will find the money elsewhere.

I looked on the map and I couldn't find a place called "elsewhere". Does she have a ticket oak or er, a money oak?

Another CMS Boondoggle in the making....

Anonymous said...

Maybe the old bag thinks she will die soon and they will name it Vilma Leak HS but only if they went back to her separate but equal pre 60s when things were a lot better for the races and before the illegal pc prob with 100 mill freeloaders looking for a "better life"?

Freeloader is a person who takes advantage of others' generosity without giving anything in return.

There are 50 million legal Americans looking for a "better life" so they have to share with law breaker freeloaders?

Somebody tell the WH that America used to be an "immigrant nation" 100 yrs ago. Nevermore. Wait in line or go back where you are legal.

Only so much pie to go around anyway and the US is 19 trill in debt rising by the minute. America is bankrupt. Cant afford it.

Wiley Coyote said...

By the way.

How does CMS justify putting a STEM school into a middle school that just got a big, fat F on their report card?

This school received a combined 34 and obviously did not meet goals.

This is the same school CMS has sucked the life out of with the new Mountain Island STEM conversion and will be using Coulwood's facilities....

Talk about a slap in the face...


Unknown said...

Okay, I have read these comments and while I will not get into an argument with some of the posters I would like to point out something. CMS has a school in Uptown Charlotte already - Metro School which is for Exceptional Children and has been there for years and has just expanded and updated within the past couple of years. Relocate them to one of the closed schools (Smith perhaps?) and use that as a new high school. You are not spending money on a new building and using an existing facility, you are still serving Metro's students and if is a magnet, you will not be splitting two attendance areas.

Anonymous said...

No new buildings necessary. Just revamp schools to meet the needs of the community. CMS should consider having a few exam schools. Boston has 3 and they are very popular to parents who want much more for their children. Also, Boston has a school called Mckinely (3 schools k-5, 6-8, 9-12) which serves students with various emotional disabilities. This schools has a therapist, psychologist, nurse, etc. Charlotte should definitely have a vocational school as suggested by Pat Mcrory.

Ghoul said...

I think Anonymous @ 9:24AM is on the something!

We should build Vilma Leake HS. Tell everyone it will be in downtown, but really build it in Raintree.

Anonymous said...

When I enrolled my now-11th grade daughter in CMS, I was told that the schools I was zoned for were Eastover Elementary, Alexander Graham Middle and New Uptown High School, so there were plans to build an uptown high school with attendance zones in 2003.

Anonymous said...

The Giants play in New Jersey only becuase former Mayor Bloomberg couldn't get a stadium built on the Hudson along the West Side Highway.

Arenas/stadiums/large public gathering places belong in the center of town.

Ask the Charlotte Knights how much they liked being in other Carolina.

Same principle.

Wiley Coyote said...


Ask taxpayers how much they care where the Arena, Whitewater Center, NASCAR HOF and Knights stadium are located.

This taxpayer would just as soon they didn't exist.

Boondoggles all...

Anonymous said...

Move the Language Academy back to Smith Middle and reopen Waddell as a high like it should be, it already has the athletic fields. Draw the attendance zone to relieve the overcrowding at South Meck and Myers Park like they should have done years ago.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg can get anything he wants with his billions. It was the public who did not want to shell out over a billion for a Westside stadium.
The Giants in East Rutherford got the new stadium deal with the Jets and MetLife at close to 2 billion opened in 2010.

60% of all pro sports stadiums in America are located in the burbs.
Most recent move is the Atlanta Braves moving to Cobb County 30 miles outside downtown Atlanta.

The QC always behind the 8 ball.

The 3A Knights enjoyed playing in the Carowinds Lake Wylie area right over the line new stadium expandable to 50k built by ex-Hornet owner Shinn in 1989.

People are confused. Shinn bought the old Crockett 1A Oriole team playing in a Little League park off South Blvd on Marsh after old wooden Clark Griffith burned down. He sold them to Greenboro and bought the White Sox 3A team and moved them south to his new park.

Time to tear down the 20 year old outdated NFL BOA stadium and move it to the burbs. Get rid of the PSL rip off scam.

Rename the team Carolina Cougars. There are no black panthers in North America but plenty of tan cougars in both Carolinas and America.

Richardson's team was envisioned as a NC SC Carolina team. Time to make that a reality and let BOA shell out 2-3 billion for a modern new stadium off I-77 at Carowinds.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Too bad no one cares about the over-crowding of a middle school. Check out the difference in students at CHMS compared to JA Robinson or South Charlotte Middle. Move Elon Park to JA Robinson and then the kids will meet up again at AKHS. Something needs to be done now.

Anonymous said...

What about SW Charlotte? A high school has been planned for more than a decade for the Palisades area, yet CMS sit on their hands (and the donated land) and ships kids 15+ miles to Olympic, which is the #1 overcrowded high school in CMS being 700 (yes, SEVEN HUNDRED) students over capacity. There are 3000+ new homes planned for the area yet to be built. Where are these kids going to go to school? Put a new high school in SW Charlotte where the real NEED is!

Anonymous said...

Why does CMS only look at Uptown or South Charlotte? Why is Steele Creek constantly overlooked? SW Middle and Olympic are ridiculously overcrowded. CMS owns land where a new middle school is was slated to be built on Steele Creek Road and a new HS in the Palisades, yet are talking about a HS uptown??????
Idiots are in charge.

Shamash said...

Anon 9:15am.

"I love uptown but until they deal with the crime around the homeless shelters and bus station, they couldn't pay me to put my 14 y/o on a train to go to the same old same CMS school."

Oh, you want us to become civilized first?

That will come shortly after we eradicate poverty and make everyone equal in our society.

In other words, not gonna happen.

Until that time (say, FOREVER...), this is probably not a good idea.

I agree about the "public" transportation, too.

The train may be a notch above the buses, but still, we aren't quite there with our "civil" behavior..

Some cities can do this, and some entire countries (like Japan, Singapore, etc., etc.) can do this but the US is just not that safe, clean, and orderly in comparison. And probably never will be.

I'm certainly not going to let my little girl on that by herself (or even with her older brother) any time soon.

(Reminds me too much of Weird Al Yankovic's song - Another One Rides The Bus.)

And some of our "public" schools aren't that far behind.

It's unfortunate, but it's just a fact.

Shamash said...


Interesting history of Second Ward HS...

Those kinds of schools will most likely NEVER exist again.

Society has changed too much.

Educated blacks have better opportunities outside these areas today.

At one time, educated blacks had few opportunities outside their "communities" and the professions of teaching and preaching within, so many schools had teachers with advanced degrees.

I mean who else was going to hire a black Ph.D in 1964?

Once we had "desegregation" in full bloom, that system was dismantled and "urban" education for blacks has NEVER been the same.

Probably never will be, either.

Educated blacks mostly left the others behind and didn't look back much.

That's one reason those in "poverty" today (especially blacks) are so much worse off than those who were in "poverty" 50 years ago.

Today, we mostly have those who have literally been "left behind"(despite NCLB).

The same thing happened in other cities as well with Dunbar HS in Washington, DC, being possibly the most famous example.

It's just a different world today.

(This is also why I think early childhood experiments like Perry preschool just may not apply to those in "poverty" today. It is truly a different group of people now compared to 50 years ago.)

Vilma Leake may be happy with many things, and desire many others, but she cannot recreate the past.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for mentioning desegregation, because I also question whether or not if Black kids were better off 50 years ago with regards t education. For some reason I think this is such a interesting debate. I have recently finished reading "Teacher Wars" , the author makes some very interesting points about what transpired after schools were desegregated. She touched on some of the issues and one of them was teacher quality, many highly qualified African American teachers lost their jobs.

The next book I intend to read is by Thomas B. Timar, "Closing the Achievement Gap". He maintains and correctly in my view, that placing the entire burden of closing the gap on schools is bad policy and unfair. Ironically, Charter schools and this new school grading policy is proving his point.

geez said...

are the downtown schools overcrowded? And who is going to send their kids on public transportation at 6:15am to a DT high school? seriously

Anonymous said...

Moving the language academy from Waddell back to Smith will never happen. CMS spent 900k to move a school from one site to another and then spent nearly the same amount to renovate the entire facility for administrative offices. Yet each day the students were there, sewage backed up, water bugs roamed freely, and the apartments next door were multiplying
vandals who roamed the campus. But the real reason is the Smith site is close to South Park for the admin folks to do lunch or check the latest shoes at Nordstrom's.

Anonymous said...


Shamash said...

Anon 11:46pm.

"Thank you for mentioning desegregation, because I also question whether or not if Black kids were better off 50 years ago with regards t education."

I think some of them clearly were, but I don't think that was the rule.

Again, Dunbar HS in DC was a prime example. There are plenty of documentaries and books on that school.

In my opinion, it was an example of "what works" that shouldn't be ignored, even today.

Too much energy is wasted on worrying about today's urban schools being "segregated" and that being a prime reason they are failing for blacks, but that CLEARLY is not true.

There is still no "magic" in putting a black kid in a white school or next to white students or white teachers, so everyone has "equal" opportunities.

That's just crap. Decades of social engineering and solutions like busing have proven this.

Putting attractive honeypot "magnet" schools in areas where white people won't normally go isn't going to change things, either.

(Sorry, "uptown"...)

I really don't understand why some group (such as the NAACP, perhaps, which doesn't really seem too concerned about "advancing" anything other than themselves) doesn't focus a LOT of effort on trying to create something similar to those old schools, even if it is a "private" (or maybe even a "charter" school).


But no.

That said, I think the history of such schools AFTER Brown v. Board is just as interesting.

It seems that not only did these teachers "lose" their jobs, but some just quit and decided their job was done once they were assured that black kids would get "equal" access to the same, if not similar, schools as whites.

And in a sense, they were probably right as far as the so-called "talented tenth" were concerned.

But, the other ninety percent (so to say) are still struggling.

I'm not sure there is a reasonable solution at this point, since a lot of the talented people have found their way out of this situation and really aren't looking back much.

Pouring more money into the "problem" doesn't seem to help much, either.

But there's a sense that more money and maybe nicer facilities, more services and more free stuff are STILL the solution.

It's the same mistake those early black educators made when they stopped teaching (or were forced out) just because everyone thought having "equal access" to an education was mostly what was needed.

For some that works.

Anonymous said...

The CMS Way

Get out of total inept management decisions by starting another boondoggle project that wastes more and more taxpayer money without any measurable results

Anonymous said...

For me it is an easier solution to all this mess with schools. You can divide the kids three ways. 1. Gifted, 2. good and average, and 3. needs major developmental help. Develop a three way school system. Group 1 and 2 must test to get into the school starting in kindergarten. Gifted kids stick out very early, test them, get them into a school all by themselves so that they can excel (and start doing calculus in 6th grade). Group 2-Good behavior kids, average smart, these kids know their alphabet, numbers, shapes, can sit still, shares, interested in counting to 100 all by kindergarten, test them and group them. Group 3-The kids with abusive parents, homeless and going from school to school, don't know the spelling of their name, doesn't know red from blue, maybe knows which way a book turns, group those kids together in kindergarten.
Retest all kids in third grade per state standards now, so that some kids can move per their abilities. The kids in group 3 can get extra help, social services, really have many extra eyes on what is going on at home so that DSS can get involved, maybe these "home visits" that were talked about, have parental classes.

The problem that ensues currently is that you have great, smart kids (group 1 and 2), with crappy parents stuck at Title 1 schools, these kids never get weeded out and given their full potential because they are stuck with the majority of type 3 kids. These kids get lost in the system. Type 3 kids should not be geared toward college but more vocational and college bound is optional in high school but they must test to take the courses.

The school systems must stop looking at color and poverty but actual ability of these kids. Stop mixing mental abilities. Stop grouping African Americans as poor and hopeless. It is abusive, to me, not to look at mental abilities instead. Schools are not meant to solve all social issues, but rather lifting up groups 1 and 2, they are the real future worker bees, the ones that if you lift them up to their full potential will be able to help group 3 in ways that generations have never seen.

Shamash said...

Anon 9:49am.

We accept the sorting of students according to ability in sports, but it's not acceptable anywhere else.

That's because schools WANT winning athletic teams, but don't really care as much about anything else.

An illiterate child is mostly invisible to the rest of the world while a poor athlete can embarrass the school in public.

Anonymous said...

Shamash, agree with you. It's easier to identify a non-athlete but much harder, and time consuming to identify a struggling student. And, sports are just more fun!

Anonymous said...

CMS Board Guiding Principles are to put neighborhood schools before magnets. This is not reflected in the board's actions. I understand they are reviewing and possibly updating these principles now. I hope they are re-inspired to support our community by allowing our kids to go to school in their neighborhood. I don't want see the magnets go away, but I don't want to see them created at the expense of neighbor schools. Magnets provide great options. They should be used to fill niche interests. They shouldn't be the fix for bad schools.

Anonymous said...

Stop forgetting about SW Charlotte. Build a High School where it's needed most in Steele Creek area. You have the land USE IT!!