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Five newbies on CMS board have tough work ahead on boundaries

The Charlotte Mecklenburg School board has five new members following last night's elections. WFAE's Simone Orendain has more: The CMS board has some heavy issues to tackle in the months ahead. Top of mind for everyone is the way the school system handles student assignment and draws boundaries. It's an issue Rhonda Lennon knows well. She won in district one, the seat formerly held by Larry Gauvreau. "Well, I think we're going to have to work very hard, very soon on a student assignment plan and guidelines we can establish that are going to keep us from going through this political bantering every time we have a new school open," she says. In district six, a new high school in Mint Hill opens next year. The board approved a plan in August that draws from students throughout the eastern part of the county - but not the town of Mint Hill. Tim Morgan is the newly elected representative for district six. He says in planning new schools residents need to have an idea of what CMS staff will recommend early in the process. Eric Davis also wants to see earlier involvement. He won the district five race. Richard McElrath won in district two and says academic achievement should be considered in student assignment. Joyce Waddell won in district three and has said race and academic achievement should be a priority. Although the school board is a non-partisan body, board members' political affiliations often influence decision-making. The new board will be composed of two independents, three Republicans and four Democrats.