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Competition For Spots On CMS Equity Panel Emerges Fast

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

The chance to serve on a 41-person committee overseeing equity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is shaping up to be a hot ticket for people who care about public education.

The school board created the committee Tuesday night. CMS posted the application at WeAreCMS.com Thursday afternoon, and by the time offices closed Friday about 60 applications had landed, said Charlie Jeter, the district's governmental liaison.

Would-be volunteers still have three weeks to apply before the Sept. 24 deadline. Community groups can submit names or individuals can nominate themselves. 

At the first October meeting, individual school board members will nominate 20 equity panelists. Then the full board will choose another 20 from the community nominations. Chair Mary McCray will nominate a school board colleague to round out the equity panel at 41.

The panel will work with CMS to ensure that all students have access to the classes, teachers, facilities and other support they need to succeed. The post for applications describes the committee as "a partner in dialogue" and "a sounding board for future initiatives."

"Members ... will review and discuss CMS data and programs in order to monitor progress toward equity," the post says. "Equity Committee members will represent members of parent, student, educational, faith, and community groups with the expectation that they will become both thought parters in, and community advocates for equity."

Having more nominations than seats means the school board must figure out how to choose who serves. That sparked tension last week, when members disagreed over the best way to take an effective vote that would inspire public confidence. The proposal that was on the agenda spelled out a balloting process, but after 90 minutes of debate and amendments, the approved version says nothing about the selection process.

Video of that meeting is archived on the school board's Facebook page.