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Matthews Explores Split From CMS

CMS student assignment discussions have prompted three town councils to weigh in on the matter. Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville have passed resolutions that every student should be guaranteed a seat in a school close to home. This week, Matthews’ council took it a step further.    

Matthews commissioners decided to explore some dramatic options, including breaking away from CMS. Mayor Jim Taylor says they’re putting together a task force that will investigate what the pitfalls and costs might be.  

"Then we can make a conscious decision as to whether or not it’s worth moving forward," says Taylor. 

State lawmakers would have to approve any proposal to create a new school district. So Matthews commissioners are also working those channels.

They’ve contacted Senator Jeff Tarte of northern Mecklenburg County.  He’s also heard concerns about student assignment. CMS board members have said they don’t want to bus students long distances, as a means to reduce concentrations of poverty in schools, but many parents are skeptical.

Tarte says convincing the legislature to approve separate school districts would take a lot of work, but is possible. 

"If there’s a case that demonstrates how it can be successful, it’s very well thought out, the financial model has gone through proper due diligence, there is a sense collaboration with CMS and if, at the end of the day, it makes for an excellent environment for the students, it has the possibility to be seriously considered by the legislature," said Tarte. 

Senator Bob Rucho of southern Mecklenburg County says he’d support such a move.

More than decade ago, there was a push by some suburban parents to persuade the legislature to deconsolidate CMS, but lawmakers turned that proposal down.