Charlotte Talks: Voters To Decide Record School Bond, Chart School Board's Course

Oct 16, 2017

Monday, Oct. 16, 2017

Huntersville's J.M. Alexander Middle School opened a new building in August that was funded by a 2013 bond referendum.
Credit Diedra Laird / The Charlotte Observer

A record-setting bond for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is on the November ballot, as are a half-dozen school board seats.

PART ONE

Mecklenburg County voters are about to decide a $922 million package of projects for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. If approved, the bonds would go toward building ten new schools, replacing seven already existing schools, and renovate a dozen others in hopes of relieving overcrowding.

A recent poll said voters would overwhelmingly approve the bond package. But in northern Mecklenburg, there's firm opposition to the bond.

Town boards have sided against the bond, and the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce on Thursday joined the anti-bond contingent. Area leaders said northern Mecklenburg is shortchanged in the list of projects, but bond supporters say that part of the county has received its fair share of bond projects over the years.

Mike Collins hears from both sides of the bond effort.

GUESTS

Ann Clark, former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools superintendent, bond supporter

Jim Puckett, Mecklenburg County commissioner, bond opponent

PART TWO

The same survey that found widespread support for the school bonds also called into question public confidence in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Nearly a quarter of those polled said they were less confident in CMS than they were a year ago.

The poll was on the heels of a student assignment overhaul, and the arrival of a new superintendent - the fifth person to hold down that job in a decade.

Voters will help determine the district's course when they decide six district seats on the school board. Three of the seats are guaranteed to have new faces as the incumbents aren't seeking re-election. Two education reporters fill us in on who's running and the issues ahead of them.

GUESTS

Ann Doss Helms, education reporter, The Charlotte Observer (@anndosshelms)

Dedrick Russell, education reporter, WBTV (@dedrickrussell)

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