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CMS Delays Opening Of Waddell High, Lincoln Heights Elementary

Waddell Language Academy
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Waddell Language Academy will now return to its original status as a high school in 2023.

Two renovated Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, including Waddell High, will sit idle for a year while the district figures out how to populate them.

Superintendent Earnest Winston told the school board Tuesday he's allowing more time for student assignment decisions, after a May school board meeting drew more than 50 parents who had concerns about preliminary proposals.

At that meeting, CMS staff presented plans for four schools that were scheduled to open in August 2022. The goal was for the board to vote on final plans this summer.

Waddell, which currently houses a K-8 language immersion school, is being restored to its original use as a high school. The early plan called for moving the world language program that's currently at South Mecklenburg High into Waddell and moving some students from the Myers Park High zone into South Meck.

Several parents objected to the plan itself and to the timing. They said Myers Park and South Meck could face one set of changes because of Waddell's opening, followed by more boundary changes whena new neighborhood school in the Ballantyne area of southeast Charlotte opens in 2024.

Winston said Tuesday he'll delay decisions about Waddell and Lincoln Heights Elementary, which is being restored as an elementary magnet school, until summer of 2022.

"Both Lincoln Heights and Waddell will reopen in 2023-2024 school year, instead of 2022-2023," Winston told the board.

Winston says the board will approve boundaries for two new neighborhood schools — an elementary school in Matthews and a high school in the southwestern Palisades area — by November. Those two schools will still open in 2022.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.