CMS school board split over superintendent's contract - | WBTV Charlotte

CMS school board split over superintendent's contract

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

February 9th is when the Charlotte - Mecklenburg School (CMS) Board is scheduled to vote on whether to extend current Superintendent Ann Clark's contract or start a superintendent search right away.

The board is split on what to do. Four board members believe the school board can get the job done when it comes to finding Charlotte's next top educator. Others believe starting a superintendent search now would be rushed and would not be in the best interest of the district.

Clark's contract ends in July.

Board chairperson Mary McCray, board members Ericka Ellis-Stewart, Thelma Byers-Bailey, and Dr. Ruby Jones believe a search should happen  immediately.

Board members Eric Davis, Rhonda Lennon, Paul Bailey, Tom Tate and Board Vice Chairperson Elyse Dashew all have expressed concerned about starting a search right now.  They believe student assignment should be first priority before finding a new superintendent.

Tate tells WBTV he needs to see a motion first before deciding how he would vote. Tate says he is comfortable having Clark remain as superintendent and tells WBTV he wanted Clark for the permanent job when she interviewed for the position. Clark was up against former CMS Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison.

Dashew wrote in a text to WBTV, she will not say how she would vote until the vote happens. She says she has heard from CMS stakeholders concerned about the superintendent search process.

"Skepticism that we can get it right under such a short time frame," Dashew wrote. "Since we're starting late. And alarm that if we mess up the superintendent search, this could jeopardize the success of the student assignment process. NOBODY wants that."

Board members were given a proposed timeline concerning a superintendent search at their Saturday board retreat. The proposed timeline calls for candidate applications to start coming sometime in March and a decision be made as early as June. Tate believes that is not enough time to vet a search firm and conduct community engagement.

Tate also tells WBTV he would not be comfortable with a 5-4 vote on Clark's extension.

Tate believes board members will talk soon about what motions could be offered.  The school board member says he wants to see a motion that consists of a reasonable timeline for a superintendent search, and at least a year extension on Clark's contract.

The school board meeting starts at 6 o'clock Tuesday February 9.

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