CMS Board Members Held Secret Meetings to Orchestrate Counterpunch on Town Charter Schools

CHARLOTTE – Early this summer legislation was passed in Raleigh that allowed four municipalities within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district to create their own town charter schools. The towns wanted the ability to provide residents with better educational choices because the massive CMS system and its board commonly snubbed the suburbs in favor of top-down bureaucratic management and social justice agendas.

The Left cried ‘Racism!’ of course, because the suburban towns happened to be majority white. Well it turns out that select members of the CMS board were working with their legislative liaison to design punishments against the towns, including putting them at the bottom of any list for school construction money.

The liaison is former state lawmaker Charles Jeter. He was technically a Republican, but was one of the most liberal Republicans in the chamber. Doesn’t seem as if much has changed.

“Two days after HB 514 passed, on June 8, the school board clerk invited members to line up meetings with Jeter and Battle to discuss next steps. Those meetings, like all that followed, would be done in groups small enough that there wouldn’t be a quorum, which exempts them from North Carolina’s Open Meetings law.

On June 26, Jeter, Battle, board Chair Mary McCray and board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart gathered to plan the school board’s response to the bill, according to a timeline Jeter later emailed to a board member.

On July 7, Jeter wrote the first draft of the Municipal Concerns Act of 2018. It would eventually go through 11 revisions, but a two-pronged approach remained constant.

One part called for cooperation. The city of Charlotte and six suburban towns would be invited to work with the school board on an education advisory panel. And CMS would look for opportunities to use school district land and municipal money to build new schools, a capability state legislators added as part of the town charter bill.

The other laid out consequences for towns that pursue their own path.

HB 514 presented CMS with a dilemma. Planning, funding and building new schools takes years. The prospect of town-funded charter schools, which get operating money from the state and county, meant two schools created with public money could end up competing for the same students.

The first draft of the CMS response called for prohibiting future school construction in Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville and Cornelius unless the state repealed HB 514. Soon afterward, board members flipped that section to say CMS would “prioritize all capital funds” to projects in Charlotte, Davidson and Pineville.

The other four towns could get back onto the priority list by passing a 15-year moratorium on creating town charter schools.”

Purposely evading transparency laws, spiteful revenge designs against towns that dared to escape from the CMS machine, and more. If this kind of political drama is happening on a school board, that alone would be a good reason for these four towns to do their own thing.

Calling them racist and classist for doing so, and then orchestrating punishments in secret makes it even clearer why every parent should want better leadership for their children than that CMS provides.

There is much more, here.

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