Lessons learned from CMS student assignment vote

McCray (Dedrick Russell | WBTV)
McCray (Dedrick Russell | WBTV)
(Dedrick Russell | WBTV)
(Dedrick Russell | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) Board Chairperson Mary McCray says she has some regrets following the vote of the controversial student assignment plan Wednesday night.

"My only regret is that we didn't have all the information board members were asking for to make an informed decision," McCray said. "We got our revised motions yesterday, and really you don't have the time to sit there and ingest all of the information."

McCray's other regret has to deal with the parents of students who attend Morehead STEM Academy. Parents at Morehead STEAM Academy pleaded with board members to leave the school as a successful full magnet and not turn it into a partial magnet program.

PREVIOUS: CMS board approves all student assignment recommendations

"I regret the parents at Morehead feeling like we had let them down," McCray said. McCray voted against parents' wishes and approved turning Morehead into a partial magnet school.

"I think they are going to really come out smelling like a rose," she said. "They just need to be receptive and give it a chance."

While McCray believes the vote is a step in the right direction, some of the votes were split along racial lines. The failed motion to delay the student assignment plan consisted of all black board members voting for a delay and all white board members voting not to delay the plan.

Several other votes were split along racial lines when concerning school attendance lines.

"Being a black board member and a black mother and knowing a lot of the issues that a lot of our black children encounter in our public education system, I could empathize with what I was hearing from a lot of the parents that were speaking," McCray said.

While parents deal with all the changes, CMS Superintendent Ann Clark says she will work on communicating with the parents who walked away from the meeting feeling defeated.

"I am going to be particularly focused on those places where we need to build the community confidence in what the board has voted on," Clark said.

McCray says lessons have been learned. McCray believes more communication is needed and possibly a policy or procedure needs to be in place when addressing adding CMS schools at the ninth hour when dealing with future student assignment plans.

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