Board to vote on changes in two weeks
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools staff presented their final recommendations for school changes at the school board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The proposed changes are a continuation of the board’s initiative, Continuous Improvement: A comprehensive Review of CMS, which began in June with the goal of increasing school efficiency and effectiveness.
To achieve that goal, the board identified five guiding principles – make home schools the first priority, ensure magnet schools are closing the achievement gap faster than home schools, maintain stability and predictability, foster diversity, and use capital resources effectively – to guide the staff in their decision making.
The district sought input from the public, holding more than a dozen public meetings over the last six weeks to discuss the more than 70 schools affected by the changes.
Following is a summary of the staff’s proposed changes to area schools, which the board will vote on Nov. 9:
Blythe Elementary: The district will propose an International Baccalaureate program at Blythe Elementary, making it a partial IB magnet school. School board member Rhonda Lennon expressed her support for the proposal, saying she is glad to have magnet options north of Interstate 85.
Davidson IB Middle/J.M. Alexander Middle: The staff will propose consolidating the two schools and relocating the Davidson IB Middle School to J.M. Alexander in Huntersville. The Davidson school has 258 students while J.M. Alexander has 604. The J.M. Alexander building can accommodate up to 1,292 students, and the consolidation would bring the school building utilization from 47 percent to 67 percent.
All current IB-trained staff specific to the program would move, Director of Planning Mike Raible said. The large facility would also allow the district to expand the IB program. Raible and school staff will determine how many students the district could add next year.
“We wouldn’t expect it to double next year,” he said, “but we would expect it to grow.”
In order to avoid any capital investment, the staff will propose to demolish the Davidson IB school building or to make it available for other uses.
North Mecklenburg High: The school will receive “targeted assistance,” additional support from district staff to improve academics and community relationships.
Torrence Creek Elementary: The staff did not include any boundary changes for Torrence Creek in their proposal for next year. The school was originally being considered for change because it operates about 400 students above capacity.