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CMS Board To Look At How Closings Impacted Schools

http://66.225.205.104/LM20111108.mp3

A bumpy beginning to the school year at Harding High School has prompted the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools board to take a closer look at how the district's newly-consolidated schools are faring. Many schools took on new students after the board decided to close eleven schools last year. A few weeks after school started this year, the school board heard from a student named Roger. Last year, he was a freshman at Waddell. He worried about making the move to Harding, but he told the board it seemed to be working out. The only downer was the longer bus ride to school. "Other than that the school's turned out to be pretty nice. Everybody there gets along. It's going on all right. I feel better about it now," he said. But in the weeks following, several fights broke out at Harding and the principal decided to cancel a homecoming rally. Two weeks ago the school was on lockdown for most of the day because of a threat. Students were searched. No guns, but four knives were found. School board member Kaye McGarry says she's heard from lots of parents concerned about the situation at Harding. So she decided to get an update on how all the newly-consolidated schools are faring. "Kids are scared and parents are scared, so it's become a security issue," says McGarry. "Until you get current information on the status, what the problem is, what CMS is doing to solve the problem... I think this is what we need to address to keep the board informed, but also the public." The school board plans to hear that report at Wednesday night's board meeting. Board members will also learn more about the district's leases of five schools. They amount to about $65,000 a year, with contracts ranging between $1 to a pre-k program to $40,000 to Lake Norman Christian School.