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Cornelius, Huntersville Commissions Oppose CMS Bond

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

  The Cornelius Board of Commissioners has joined Huntersville in opposing the nearly $1 billion bond package for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The Cornelius board voted 4- 1 Monday night to oppose the bond.

A majority of commissioners say the bond does not provide sufficient new schools to accommodate growth in North Mecklenburg.

Commissioner Jim Duke says he voted against the bond plan at the advice of his District 1 school board member Rhonda Lennon and County Commissioner Jim Puckett.

“They say the county has funds to support school needs where there are serious problems, so since there is no immediate crisis, I say let’s pause and fix the way bond projects are selected,” Duke said. “We need to be heard and this will help next time around.”

The bond plan includes funds for 17 new schools and 12 renovation and expansion school projects. North Mecklenburg will get $283 million for nine projects, including five new schools. In the last two bond packages, 17 projects were approved for North Mecklenburg.

Thurman Ross, the lone commissioner who voted against the resolution, says he has no problem with how the funds will be allocated.

“We got a good share in the last bonds and got several new schools,” Ross said. “Just about all schools are crowded in the county, and by voting against the bond, if it doesn’t pass, that could delay us getting our share of funds in the next bond.”

The Cornelius resolution calls for a meeting with CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox and other District 1 elected officials to talk about the school infrastructure needs of the entire county.

Huntersville commissioners unanimously voted Sept. 5 to oppose the bond for similar reasons. Mayor John Aneralla accused CMS officials of using flawed data in determining which schools are overcrowded in Huntersville.

“It’s illogical to think North Mecklenburg doesn’t need new schools because every school we have is close to capacity if not over capacity,” Aneralla said. “We have 62,000 people in Huntersville, and it's still growing. They need to start over on this.”

Residents in the county’s southern districts and West Charlotte have complained that their schools were neglected in the past, where many buildings are not just overcrowded but in poor condition.