Harding University High School thinks CMS is leaving them behind

Superintendent addresses school equity

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Harding University High School (HUHS) Booster club wants Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District to pay attention to their school.

Booster Club President Matt Morrow approached the school board Tuesday night and reminded them the district said equity was going to be a focus for the district. Harding University says its football field is in bad shape, the school is one of four that doesn’t have a field house and the bleachers on the visitor’s side need to be replaced.

“It’s not just a safe environment,” Morrow said. “I’m afraid somebody is going to get hurt.”

Phillip O. Berry Academy had issues with their field. Parents and students voiced their concern and CMS heard them and now that school is getting a new field. Harding is older than Phillip O. Berry and people there claim their needs are greater. The Booster Club says if equity supposed to happen throughout the district - then Harding should get a new field too.

"The money was found for them," Morrow said. "We can find ways to find the money for us."

HUHS Athletic Director Bryant Bailey says the issue must be addressed. He says the conditions are hurting the school to gain extra revenue. The field don’t meet regulations to host certain athletic events. He wants a new field. CMS says eight high schools in the district currently have synthetic turf fields and Harding is not one. Bailey describes the issues of the football field.

“Currently we have a drainage issue,” Bailey said. “Obviously with all the Hurricane rains, plus the snow - now the water and stuff is not draining off properly - so it’s a lot of standing water.”

CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox says he didn't know about the issues at Harding. He says the buck stops with him to make things better.

“I am going to get out there later in the week,” Wilcox said. “And take a look and see what I can see and then we’ll see what we can do with the universal dollars that we have available.”

Wilcox admits it's not easy deciding where money should go to achieve equity across the district. The superintendent did say when it comes to equity teaching and learning must come first.

"My real focus on equity is going to be in the classroom," Wilcox said. "And I certainly understand that people from time to time try to catch me in that trap, but I got to be focused on kids and what they are doing in terms of their teachers and the materials they have first and foremost."

Harding people understand Wilcox's stance, but they still wonder why no relief. They claim they have done a good job with what they have and they still go unrewarded.

"We are just at a loss," Morrow said. "At how we continue to just get thrown under the bus and have no explanation why."

The Booster club says it will continue to approach the school board and superintendent until equity is achieved across the district.

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