CMS wants the power to approve charter schools - | WBTV Charlotte

CMS wants the power to approve charter schools

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg school (CMS) board wants more power and control. It is recommending in its legislative agenda to give all NC local school districts the authority to approve charter schools. That idea is already getting a failing grade from some educators who represent charter schools.

"I wouldn't be very happy about that." Charlotte Choice Charter School Director Linda Cruz said.

Cruz's charter school will open up next year. She couldn't imagine if she had to go through CMS to get a thumbs up.

"I would think that it would be a much more stringent and difficult process." Cruz said.

CMS school board member Tim Morgan believes having local school board members approve charters could be a good thing. He says new superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison wanted this. Morrison said this was done at his last job and told Morgan it worked out.

"It created more of a partnership between the charter and the local school district," Morgan said. "So they can work together in various aspects and that's something that's not being done locally."

Morgan points out local school districts would not control the charters just approve them.

"The charter structure will still be the same," the CMS school board member said. "Where each charter school will have their own board that would work, promote or run that particular charter school."

Cruz doesn't believe that. She thinks this is about keeping money in CMS' pocketbook. The school district must fork over money to students enrolled in charter schools.

"It's an opportunity to keep those funds in the local school district," Cruz said. "And I think that's the bottomline - that's what it's all about."

Other charter school supporters think this is another way for CMS to seek control.

"I don't think one entity should have total control over all of our children," Charlotte Choice Charter Co-Board Chair Sallie Caldwell said. "I think our children need to have the opportunity for options."

Caldwell thinks CMS should take care of its own problems first before tackling another project.

"I like to see them meet those challenges," Caldwell said. "And then maybe if you met those challenges then you can take up the opportunity to take up some of ours."

It would take an act of the General Assembly to make this happen.

The school board is expected to pass its legislative agenda at its November 14th meeting. Once that happens board members will start lobbying state lawmakers. 

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