CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district officials began the hard work of discussing school closures Tuesday with a list of 32 schools that will be part of the initial conversation.
CMS Superintendent Dr. Peter Gorman has said that the district may have to close "a double-digit number" of schools to close an anticipated multi-million dollar budget gap.
The list discussed at a school board meeting Tuesday is a preliminary staff analysis of some schools that should be considered. It includes old buildings, schools with academic challenges, and also over-crowded schools like Ballantyne Elementary and Community House Middle School that will have a different set of challenges.
Other schools mentioned include Elizabeth Traditional Elementary School, Billingsville Elementary School, Villa Heights, Lincoln Heights, Alexander Middle School, McClintock Middle School, Quail Hollow Middle, Davidson IB Middle School, Marie G. Davis Military Academy, Hawthorne High School, and E.E. Waddell High School. See the full list here: https://extranet.cms.k12.nc.us/news/stories/newsletters/pdf/9A7A201044906PM.pdf.
"This is not a list of which schools we will close. It’s a list of schools we need to evaluate and work on for a variety of reasons," CMS board chair Eric Davis said. "Closing schools will only be one potential solution we will apply to these." CMS staff ranked schools using a complicated formula that considers academic factors, per-pupil cost, and condition of the buildings.
Davis said academic factors will be weighted far more heavily than the other factors.
The inclusion of crowded schools in Ballantyne is confusing for parents like Tamara Morrisey who has a 7th grader at Community House Middle and a younger son at Elon Park Elementary. "The growth of the school, the commitment from the families and the PTA, the involvement in the school-- it does not seem like a logical choice to me," she said.
Davis said he hopes for ideas from parents like Morrisey as they work through the process."Tell us--in the event that we have to in some way change your child's school--how we can make it work for your child and your neighbor's child," he said.
CMS will have public hearings on the topic. Those dates are not yet set.