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East Meck parents see chance to persuade CMS board on attendance

Parents of East Mecklenburg high school students hope to convince the school board to put a magnet program in their school. They saw the opportunity after last night's board meeting, where there wasn't much support for a staff recommendation to fill an attendance hole at the school. WFAE's Simone Orendain has more. The CMS board clearly can't get behind a current staff plan to solve East Meck's impending attendance drop. And parents see this as their chance to sway board members to their cause. Enrollment at East Meck is expected to drop to 1,500 from 2,100 next year when the new Mint Hill high school opens. East Meck Parent Amber Ockerbloom says having a magnet program is the best way to attract students, and therefore retain good teachers. "The way that it always works is when you pull kids out, you've got flight. You've got kids leaving. I think it's just time for them to stand up for East Meck," she says. Last night CMS planners recommended placing a math and science program at East Meck that would draw from its elementary and middle school feeders- and nowhere else. But five board members said they want East Meck's space to be used to relieve Myers Park high's overcrowding. They said Myer Park's international baccalaureate program should move to East Meck or East Meck should have some other magnet. That leaves at least three other board members who all agree they want to see something that will draw kids to the school. Ockerbloom says parents plan to contact board members before they vote on the issue on November 10th.