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Charlotte Area News

Board Now Looks At Choosing Between Waddell And Harding

Waddell High School isn't safe from closure. School board members are now considering plans to close either Waddell or Harding University High. But board member Trent Merchant says neither of the plans makes sense. He wants to delay tomorrow's vote on those two schools for another year. The district's initial plan recommended closing Waddell and sending those students to Harding and South Mecklenburg. Under the plan, Harding students in the math and science magnet, which makes up about a third of the school, would be transferred up the road to Phillip O. Berry. Smith Language Academy would then move to Waddell. But then two weeks ago, CMS decided it made more sense to close Harding and establish an IB program at Waddell. Harding would become Smith's home. But it would be called E.E. Waddell Academy of International Languages after board member Joyce Waddell's late husband. Both plans are up for a vote tomorrow night. The board also plans to vote then on all other school closure proposals and boundary changes for next year. School board member Trent Merchant says that while he supports the other school closings, he wants the board to hold off on deciding Waddell and Harding's fates for another year. "Previous boards have left sacred cows untouched. We can't afford to do that in a financial crisis. We've got to find a way to survive financially while succeeding academically and that might take some reimagining that we haven't been comfortable with in our community up until now. Merchant says the solution needs to be broader and include changing boundaries for other high schools nearby, like Myers Park and Olympic.