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CMS Board Still Struggling To Find Consensus On Student Assignment, K-8 Schools

David T. Foster, III
The Charlotte Observer

Lots of questions, few answers, and no decisions were made as CMS board members grappled with student assignment proposals and the fates of eight struggling Pre-K-8 schools.

CMS school officials hope to have specific recommendations on home school student assignment in place before the end of next month. But there is no consensus on how to get there and how much to weigh diversity, distance and overcrowding in a plan.

School Board Chair Mary McCray says she thinks, at this point, one of the board’s goals is getting lost.

"If we’re not doing anything to break up the concentrations of poverty, then what are we doing? That’s the question. I don’t think we have a good grasp of what we need to be doing," said McCray.

School Superintendent Ann Clark says she is open to going in a different direction, but urged board members to let her know what that is soon.

Clark also pressed board members to make a decision quickly on whether to make changes to eight low-income, low-performing Pre-K-8 schools on the city’s west side.

Several elementary and middle schools were merged into K-8 schools in 2011, partly as a way to save money. Many parents opposed this. Board members are considering changing them because students are still struggling academically. They were presented plans to either keep them as they are, change them back to elementary and middle schools or a mixture of the two.

"The question for me is which of these configurations gives us the greatest chance of improving our student outcomes. We all agree we can’t keep doing what we’re doing now," said Davis.

A public hearing on the Pre-K-8 schools will be held next Thursday.