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Charlotte Area News

CMS Board Wants County To Follow Its School Building Priorities

CMS is closing eleven schools this coming academic year, but there are others in the district still overcrowded or in disrepair. Mecklenburg County commissioners have decided to replace three of those and renovate two others. But that doesn't square with the projects the school board wants funded first. Torrence Creek Elementary in Huntersville has been crowded for years and the school district has long said replacing it is a top priority. But county commissioners took a look at the CMS priority list and decided work should begin on three other elementary schools first--Pineville, Newell and Bain. School board chairman Eric Davis says that will cause problems because the district needs a place to send the students when it tears down the old schools. "But we can go ahead and start the Stumptown/Torrence Creek new school because we have the land," says Davis. Stumptown would be the name of the school that replaces Torrence Creek and it would be built in a different location from the current school. Until a few years ago, county commissioners were in the habit of following the school board's priorities for new buildings. But then the county cut back on building projects because of the recession. This year commissioners started making their own construction priorities, using criteria different from the school board's. Not only does that frustrate Davis he says it's also not in keeping with the priorities voters were promised when they approved the bond money in 2007. Davis doubts the county will reconsider its building plans this year, but the school board will discuss its options tomorrow night.