CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education will hold a special session Wednesday night, one week after reaching an agreement with Mecklenburg County commissioners on the $56 million that was originally withheld from the district's budget.
According to the district's website, Wednesday's meeting will be a workshop on student outcomes. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.
The money was originally withheld from the CMS budget until the district provided a plan on how they will improve education outcomes, low-performing schools, as well as career and college readiness across the district. Last week, it was announced the $56 million would be released, as well as an additional $11 million to make School Improvement Plans (SIPs).
“We are delighted to turn the page on this budget dispute. The children of Mecklenburg County need us to work together on their behalf,” said Elyse Dashew, chair of the CMS board. “We look forward to collaborating with the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners -- respectfully and strategically, in accordance with our distinct roles and responsibilities. This kind of collaboration is key to making progress in addressing the systemic issues that challenge so many of our students.”
The special meeting comes one day after the district heard from dozens of speakers on several issues. The most hotly discussed subject was critical race theory. To be clear, the district hasn't officially adopted critical race theory curriculum and the board didn't have CRT on its agenda.
It's also still to be determined if CMS will require face coverings this year. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that an announcement from the state would be coming "soon," but it's unclear if that will be a mandate, recommendation or if it will be up to individual districts.
“We do know that it important for people who have not been vaccinated to wear a mask and obviously children who are under 12 are not vaccinated,” Cooper said. “But what we're going to do is look at all of that and come up with some recommendations very soon."
At least three districts in the Charlotte area (Iredell-Statesville, Rowan-Salisbury and Union County) have announced masks will be optional.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) announced fully vaccinated students and teachers don't need masks in school. At this time, the COVID-19 vaccines are only available for children at least 12 years of age. Supporters of mask requirements said the discrepancy among which students are eligible for vaccination may put other students and teachers at risk, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.
"A vote to make masks optional is a vote against our medically fragile children," said Justine Libby, a Union County parent.